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It was rather late at night and I was returning home from a party. As exhausted as I was, I somehow stumbled to my car navigating my way through a dark route. Once there I popped my phone into the charger and set the map for home. I would say it was around one to two AM at this time, and I was ready to pass out, but I trekked on into the night. Listening as Siri told me, I got onto the highway that normally takes me home and prepared myself for the half hour voyage.
It was odd, as I merged onto the expressway there was an absence of cars, and this wasn't some abeyance of traffic either, after driving for fifteen minutes I didn't witness one other vehicle. I guessed this could've just been a coincidence and kept on following the route home.
Thoughts from the hectic night began racing through my head, and admittedly I wasn't entirely sober enough to be behind the wheel. Regardless, I was aware of what was happening enough to recapture the night. I was catching up with old college friends and we spent our time reliving the events we relished so much together at our university. It was refreshing, it felt like being a student all over again. Unfortunately my tangent of anecdotes was interjected by that robotic voice emanating from my phone, "In 1 mile take exit 21 to merge onto Murphy Blvd."
As always I was a bit annoyed by Siri's constant reminders, but I knew it was for the best as she was my only guide home. After taking the exit I began scanning the radio for songs. Particularly I was looking for the best of the nineties to accentuate the get together with my buds. I wasn't getting too many stations on the receiver and continued to fiddle with it. Some hazy fuzzy clamor seemed to almost spill from the speakers. It wasn't the standard sound produced by a non-existent channel, but rather it was the sound of rustling leaves and the frequent break of a twig. Trying to eliminate the irritating cacophony I continued to tweak the dial.
Pulling harder on the knob it popped off and fell onto the passenger's side of the car. I reached over to grab it, and once again was interrupted, "Turn left onto Simon Rd".
Out of instinct I slammed my foot on the brake. With the position I was in my body rocketed forward as the car brusquely came to a halt. In the process my head jeered into the glove box and I was left with a severe migraine.
"Goddammit," I said to myself as I rubbed my face and sluggishly shifted my body back into my seat.
My eyes darted left and right, they examined each mirror, but once again no one was on the road. In my twenty or so minutes on the road I hadn't witnessed one other person, this was truly peculiar I thought. Despite the oddity I let my hands fall back on the wheel and pressed on the accelerator. Just a couple more minutes I thought.
I made a sharp turn left and headed down the road back home. Once driving down this road at a slower speed I felt more comfortable. It would've only been a few miles till I was home, and my headache was beginning to subside. Siri began to dictate once again, but my focus refused to acknowledge her as a lifeless blob on the side of the road distracted me.
As my car rolled closer to it I noticed the object attempting to inch its way off of the street, yet in some sort of struggle. I couldn't discern much of what was happening so I turned on my brights. I felt as though a new realm previously invisible had just been revealed. With clear vision this puzzling creature became fully visible.
I first noticed a trail of dark, almost colorless blood smeared across the street. This streak originated from a location beyond my area of visibility, however it had a distinct end point. The painter of this river of red was a dog, or maybe I should say half a dog for that matter.
The poor pup was dragging what remained of its torso along the pavement, stretching out its two front paws and desperately grasping for new ground with each reach. Its exposed ribs barely managed to retain its intestines, which were strung out several feet behind the animal, yet still attached, and being carried along in its battle for life. Hushed whimpers escaped the dog's vocals, as it continued to meander across the landscape.
Initially I sat in my stopped car thinking this was the most grotesque road kill I'd ever come across. However, at a second glance I noted the tracks it had created with its own remains and outpouring of plasma. I also analyzed the creature and could see deep scratches that exposed its fat, and clearly torn muscles that appeared ripped rather than mushed.
This was no result of a tire, this dog had met its fate from a predator, and something else was out there in the woods that had devoured it as prey.
As the dog nearly found its footing on the other end of the asphalt, a ringing began blaring from my radio. I figured I must have left it on full volume on some blank station.
As much pity that I felt for the dog, it was late and I needed to return home. About a minute after leaving the gruesome scene Siri was imminent on giving directions. She stated over and over again for miles, "Make a U-turn," I ignored her, as usual apple maps was giving me false directions. I wouldn't be able to disregard her for long.
The roads I was sure I was familiar with seemed to have transformed into completely unrecognizable routes. I made turn after turn on my own for around half an hour before even glancing at my phone. The area I was in was fairly rural and lowly populated. Most of the streets I took led to dead ends, or farms.
Confused out of my mind I picked up my phone. By this time I was irate, it was extremely late and my phone failed to bring me back home. I checked my location, and zoomed out. At this moment I became fully confused. I had to rub my eyes, there was no way this was possible.
The digital map had shown my location on a road name that was no more than five minutes from my house. When I expanded my view I noticed that there was a separate road with the exact same name. In fact Murphy Blvd. and Simon Rd. were also duplicated. The streets were about a half hour away from each other, but were exactly the same.
They didn't just have the same name; they made the same turns, had the same intersections, even the coloring of the pavement looked copied. This just didn't make any sense to me, something was clearly wrong with my maps. My mind was flourishing with questions, and I fell victim to my curiosity.
I honed in on my location and flicked the screen up. I cautiously swiped up on the road to ensure I didn't miss a thing. Stopping at the intersection, I moved my finger across to motion left. I made a few more taps up on the device and ceased my navigation. I could feel each breath becoming more difficult to take as I gazed down at my phone. Every part of me trembled as my heart began to race, sweat perspired in the layer between the palm of my hand and my phone. What I was looking at was no duplicate street or road; it was a satellite picture of my house, located several miles away in a different town.
I had to go see it. It was late, I was on the verge of passing out, but I just had to check it out. With little trust in Siri and her directions, I cut off my ties to technology. I trusted my memory and headed "home". I barreled down the dirt road I was accustomed to, turned into the neighborhood, and ventured down the eerily familiar road to my house.
My foot wasn't even on the accelerator; I didn't have the necessary courage to blatantly arrive at this destination. I simply let my car roll forward at no more than five miles an hour. The velocity at which my mind was racing juxtaposed this sluggish stroll. As more and more thoughts balked my sanity a tingling sensation pulsed through my body. The massive accretion of fear had become impossible to subside now.
When I finally arrived in front of the house it was as if all my certainties that the iPhone was just broken had been shattered. It was no longer a virtual image; it became a reality. Less than a hundred feet from me stood the exact house I had been living in for years. There wasn't a single noticeable difference in the frame.
I creaked open my door and softly shut it to avoid alarming anyone. I tip toed up the driveway and of course saw the same model car as mine. Although, I must say this vehicle displayed little signs of wear and tear. It actually looked brand new, covered in a shiny blue lacquer.
My inspection of the car was cut short when the neighbor's dog began to bark at me. I almost fled inside to silence the alerting dog, but was unable to when my mind made a connection. I only had a quick glance in the dark, but I was almost sure of something when I saw this dog.
The dog hobbled over to me as its barks abated. The creature only had three legs, but made the best of its mobility. The disturbing aspect of this wasn't the lack of a limb. Peering into the eyes of this dog it was clear that this dog was no different from the one I had seen on the side of the road, other than the fact that it had three legs and not two.
"What the hell was going on?" I thought. Someone must've found this dog and stitched him back up. I refuted this claim quickly as there was no way that canine could have been repaired. There must've been something out there in the woods hunting these animals. The entity that took that first dog's life must've stolen this one's leg. Footsteps echoed in the distance.
I crouched behind the automobile to abscond the rays of light illuminating my position. The tiny pup turned its attention to the approaching footsteps. I heard the sound of soles hitting concrete emanate and grow louder. Accompanying it was the noise of dripping and the rummaging and shifting of what sounded to be a tarp possibly.
Fortunately I soon discovered these were originating from the neighbor walking up his driveway, as they were no longer rising in intensity. The pup now started barking. In accordance with his greet he dashed towards his owner. The voice that said, "Good boy, yes you are," was no different than that of my new neighbor back at home.
I had to get a visual on the event. Moving hastily I darted my head up above the frame of the car and peaked over the hood. Surely enough I saw my neighbor patting this three legged pet on the head, but his other arm was wrapped around a large blue tarp that was blotched with blood and spilling it left and right. The man was distracted by his dog and unraveled the mess he was failing to hold together with one arm.
Out of the bundle fell two legs attached by the remaining waist of a dog. I was sure this was the lower half of the animal I had seen suffering earlier. I felt sick to my stomach and felt restrained from moving. I heard the man speak to his dog again, "Look what I got for you buddy. Brand new!"
He couldn't possibly be referring to the legs, could he? My curiosity no longer outweighed my terror. I was unwilling to wait any longer; I pushed myself off the back of the car and began sprinting the hundred feet or so separating me from the beacon of safety my car now seemed.
Before reaching a full on dash an unsettling tone beckoned out at me, "Hey what're you doing here? Siri should've brought you to the harvest zone a while ago." This voice was my own.
I overcame the obstacle of fear and motioned my head back as swiftly as I could. The front door to the house was now open, and what I saw surely had resemblance to me, but was far from exact. I looked and saw a disfigured being whose limbs were twisted and disjointed, his skin paralleled the features of leather with its tough and darkly colored appeal, but his face was the most abject of all.
An eye socket remained on the better side where the other was a mess of flesh and bone, scarring smothered his cheeks, his gaping mouth displayed few and jagged teeth protruding through his discolored mushy excuse for gums, and his nose dissipated after an inch, leaving two rugged holes in the center of his face.
The hairless, wretched version of me attempted to trek his way towards me on his ruined excuse for legs. I had no interest in finding out what would happen if he were to reach me. I returned to my car with haste and took off.
I opened up apple maps in the hope of finding a way home. When the app opened up I found myself scrolling through a warped map. At the end of one road the start of the same one would reappear. I decided I couldn't trust the damn thing and would try and head home on my own.
I took roads I knew, roads I didn't, I made hundreds of turns, and tried just about every route, but I couldn't escape. No matter where I went I kept ending up on the same street. Out of options I had to turn to apple maps. I wasn't allowed to enter an address for whatever reason. I tried everything, tweaked every option, but it was set on preventing me from altering its course. A preset location was on it and I went ahead and followed the directions.
Driving my worn car at a slow speed I listened to each motion. "Turn left." I grabbed hold of the wheel and shifted the car left. I wasn't really aware of where I was going, but I remained driving. "Continue for one mile then turn right." I did as she asked, and I was gradually starting to recognize the area. Just as I hit the next corner and prepared to turn my memory flooded back to me.
The distinct sound of rustling leaves once again resonated throughout my car. Siri spoke out, "Drive a half a mile and the destination is on your left." I heard some muffled voice under the clamor of leaves and twigs. I turned the radio up to get a better listen.
"Is this him?" a deep voice asked. The only response I heard was another man attempting to silence the dialogue.
Siri iterated, "The destination is on your left in 400 feet." The pace I drove at slowed. The indistinguishable muffles over the radio subsided. As I drifted closer and closer a high-pitched ringing grew louder. I now realized this wasn't the result of a blank station, rather it was the sound of a receiver approaching the source. "The destination is on your left," Siri noted.
To my left two men both formally clothed in suits emerged from the thickly wooded area. The larger of the two carried a blade that was a couple feet in length. The other held a radio system with him with an antenna and what looked to be some sort of hacking device. Time wasn't on my side, as they seemed to inch closer at a rapid rate despite their slow pace.
I pushed my foot on the accelerator; I wasn't prepared for what would unravel. The car was motionless however, I checked the fuel and it read empty. Locking my doors and rolling up the windows I could only sit and watch. Now only twenty feet or so from my car the men grinned. One of them was tugging open a garbage bag as the other lifted his machete from his shoulder in preparation.
With my car door now being the only barrier between them and me, I could hear a faint voice speak.
"Arrived at destination."
Written by Pacersnation16