They say the devil drives a Coup deVille. If he does, people say he would drive it down Dye Road.
At first glance, it seems perfectly ordinary, even picturesque; a pleasant dirt farm road in the middle of miles and miles of beautiful farmland in Northern Texas, about five or so miles out of the community of Possum Kingdom. In fact, you could drive down it in the middle of the night or day, pick your fancy, and nothing remotely disturbing will happen to you. So why is this road so feared by the locals? Why is it that this peaceful lane of Texas called "The Backroad to Hell"?
Roads will take you many places, it turns out. And with Dye Road, it's not about being on it, it's where the road takes you.
I first heard of this unpaved horror while driving with a friend of mine, who will remain anonymous. We passed it en route to Possum Kingdom to meet another friend and go fishing. He pointed out the little dirt road and said in a solemn voice, "I've only been down there once."
At the time, I had only been in Texas for about seven months, so I blissfully asked, "What's down there?"
My friend laughed. "Not much," he said, "Just an old airfield."
Several days later, I did research on airfields in Texas, being an avid lover of aviation, but noticed that there were no designated airfields, civilian or military alike, in any records as far back as the 1950's. This struck me as odd, for any airfield had to be registered to tender incoming and outgoing flights; even the infamous Area 51 is registered as an airbase, though of course, there is little to no information about it.
I began to ask the locals around, but strangely, no one wanted to talk about it. They would just brush it off and give sorry excuses like "Its just a patch of concrete," or "no one's been there in years." I could tell they truly did not want to talk about the place, and I was beginning to get unnerved. My friend, who was now taking flying lessons, learned that the whole area about ten miles in diameter around the field was a no fly zone for low altitude craft. We were both very puzzled.
Our little search seemingly lost, we got an unexpected tip from a man at a gas station who identified himself only as The Farmer. He told us that he had heard we were looking for answers about the field and said he could help, but only if we met him in person at the base. When my friend asked why, he simply replied, "I used to work there."
Later that day, we found the man leaning against his truck waiting for us right outside the gate to an abandoned air field. From what I saw immediately, there was a crumbling old observation tower, an adjacent barracks and a newer, recently built hanger. It turns out that The Farmer used the field to keep his crop duster, which made sense to my friend and I; why let a perfectly good air field go to waste, right?
Except, the air field was almost completely overgrown.
The concrete was cracked and shattered, and to the left there was no runway at all, instead, someone had taken wire meshing and green paint, and turned the lot into tennis courts, now abandoned with the rest of the base. It now looked improbable for the man to use the runway and we told him this. He just laughed and said he would avoid driving on the concrete or even walking on it if he could manage it.
The Farmer, it turned out, was an ex-CIA agent, and the airfield was an old military testing facility for weapons in the Cold War era. The Farmer pointed out overgrown parade grounds, the now collapsed vehicle garages, and the testing observation stations. In 1954, the United States formally acknowledged that the Soviet Union was a mounting threat to US interests, and decided to counter it. The base was constructed to test a wide variety of weapons and experiments, all from the public eye, for back then, the airbase was the only sign of civilization for miles. "This place made Area 51 look like a public petting zoo," said The Farmer when asked about the security of the base and secrecy.
The Farmer then had to leave and invited us to explore the base as much as we wanted, but before he left he gave us a very grave, stern warning.
"Odds are good you kids might come across a big steel door in the ground," he whispered, "For Christ's sake, DO NOT open it."
"What's down there?" my friend asked, to which The Farmer shook his head.
"Everything we left behind."
Explore the base we did. We checked out the parade grounds, the observation stations and found some pretty awesome stuff; old fire extinguishers, one or two helmets, and moldy, moth eaten kit bags. What we really were looking for were old electronics and even weapons that the military left behind. It sounds stupid I know, but if you were given free reign over an old military base, don't pretend you wouldn't do the same. I personally hoped I could get my hands on a rare Stoner 63.
All the while, my friend and I guessed what the military might have left behind. Nukes, biochemical weapons, vehicles, jets that could travel faster than light, that kind of crap.
The first thing I noticed that seemed disturbing was in the control tower.
We climbed the rickety iron stairway, which was so eaten by rust it threatened to buckle underneath us at any moment. At the top, we saw nothing in the room. Nothing at all save for a single chair. There were no electronics, in fact, there were no wires. This was confusing, given that a control tower would at least, the very least, have a radio to contact the aircraft on the ground. But no. No lights, no switches, no wires, nothing. We examined the chair, which looked like a very uninteresting chair at first glance, until I saw claw marks in the arm rest and the cuff links where one's wrists and ankles would usually go.
Neither I nor my friend knew what to make of this. My friend also noted the concrete area was too short to be a runway. From the top looking down, he was right. The entire concrete patch was no longer than at least four small lots lined up against one another. Every eight feet or so, we noticed that there were chain couplets in iron loops in the ground. We dismissed this for a helicopter landing pad and we decided to move on. The barracks were next.
We easily busted the lock and headed inside. The wood paneling on the walls had been eaten away by termites. Bed frames, covered in rust and falling apart, seemed to be piled messily all over the room in mounds. And all over the floor were small aluminum boxes. Rifle magazines.
We thought we had scored. Surely, some old military tech was nearby. We poked around some more until we found all the magazines and shell casings. We found Twenty Three empty magazines...and Twenty Three shells.
Now, one bullet wouldn't normally do much, even a rifle round. The standard magazine for an M16A1 was usually 15 or 30 round boxes. But one bullet each? We guessed they could have all come from one loaded clip, but the magazines and the cases were all in separate areas; Where ever there was one shell, there was one magazine.
Just as I was thinking about this whilst pacing, I ran into a spider web and jumped in shock, pulling the silk out of my face. When I looked up, trying to find where the web came from, I froze. I could only stare open mouthed at the ceiling. My friend looked at me and looked up as well, and dropped the magazines he was holding in horror.
On the ceiling were 23 neatly punched holes in the tin and wood roofing. Every hole had a black spray encircling it like some disturbingly painted flowers decorating the paneling.
"My GOD!" I whispered.
Twenty three mags. Twenty three bullets.
Twenty three men...
We hurriedly exited the building, and noticed that it was quickly getting dark.
The Barracks definitely had us unnerved but the opportunity to explore the base had us eager to see what else was here. Unfortunately, other than Farmer's hanger, which we didn't touch, and a huge concrete wall down a little path, there was nothing.
We decided to cut our losses and take maybe a fire extinguisher or a helmet, maybe even one of those magazines from the barracks as proof of our visit. I was against the latter. I didn't want to enter that place if I could avoid it. He went in and got one, and I chose a cool looking helmet, complete with goggles strapped to the iron. My friend, however, also handed me a book.
"What's this?" I asked, taking it and inspecting the thin, rotting leather.
"Looks like a journal." he said. He dug out a flashlight, the evening was fading quickly to night, and I read the first page.
"Hatcher wants them combat ready. We don't have the means for this and even if we did, I don't think they'ed be willing to cooperate. We keep running the same experiments but (ink blurred and unable to read, until a page later.) Number 3 has gone into cardiac arrest. This getting out of hand, but we are so close, so close, in fact, that I will put him back on the rig. I kills me to do this, but I (again, ink blurred. Five pages on.) All that matters is the research. I have been enlightened now, and I can see that morality has kept me bound like an animal. Well, I am animal no more. Now I am god! The experiments have proven immensely successful! Why can't Hatcher see that? Isn't this what he wanted me to (Ink blurred yet again. two pages on.) Hatcher used the submission drug on my precious subjects, and had them shoot themselves in the head. That son of a bitch! Years of research, a waste. My precious children were so close to perfection, and Hatcher couldn't even grow the balls to kill them himself. No, he mocks me! He'll learn, oh, yes, he'll learn you don't fuck with a god. Maybe I'll (The ink becomes unreadable possibly due to the writers rage, and does not become coherent until the end of the journal) They are coming for me, I know it. I have been sitting in this abysmal room with what is left of my children, holding court with them and the flies. Oh, they're very good listeners, trust me. I've told them stories, sent them to bed, they are my children after all. Wait, is that Hatcher knocking on the door? OH, GOD, NO! YOU'LL NOT HAVE THEM! YOU WON'T TAKE MY CHILDREN AWAY! YOU CAN'T!
THE RESEARCH IS INCOMPLETE!!!!!
My friend and I look slowly up and look at each other. We slowly realize.
"The barracks, the men?"
"The latch to the underground?"
"They left the doctor behind."
We turn to the truck to get out of this place of madness, this hell hole of unknown horrors.
What was in the underground. We didn't know, and we weren't going to wait and find out.
We got in the truck and began to drive away.
That's when we heard it.
"THE RESEARCH IS INCOMPLETE! YOU MUST FINISH IT!" I turned to see who had yelled.
It was dressed in a lab coat, with mangy flowing white hair. Its face. God its face. It was carved by a scalpel, covered in black bruises and mold. It never followed us, but stood there, glaring at us accusingly with empty sockets for intruding on its territory.
We belted out of there, our hearts slamming into our throats, even as we came to the crossroads to the main road. The Farmer was getting out of his truck, waiting for us.
The looks on our faces told him everything we needed to know. He shook his head.
"I'm planning on blocking off this road for good." he said. "The Doctor doesn't like visitors."
"But the underground labs." my friend choked, "We never opened them."
"You're lucky," The Farmer said simply, "Last time it was opened, twenty four bodies were thrown in. Nothing ever comes out."
"Twenty four?" I said, holding up the journal, "But there were twenty thr-"
"Twenty three children, it's now time for bed.
When the Doctor tucks you in, you'll wish you were dead."
"That's the story they used to say, The Farmer said, "The Doctor couldn't leave his children alone, so he joined them in the labs. He's still in there, or rather, it's still in there, if you don't think what ever that was constitutes as human."
"But how did he get out?" my friend asked.
"Haven't you been listening?" The Farmer said, "I don't believe he's human anymore. He's as twisted as the monsters he calls his children. Be thankful you never saw them."
I suddenly understood.
"You threw ordered the twenty three men to kill themselves, didn't you Hatcher?"
The man froze and shook his head.
"I've seen horrible things in war. Even worse as a CIA agent. Death and close brushes with it, it's all part of the job description. That said, after everything I have seen, nothing, I repeat, nothing, compares to the sickness I saw in those labs. There's a reason, I believe, why those vaults are underground. So they could be closer to hell, where they belong."
He shifted, scratched his nose.
"You'd best get outta here. I got one last chore to do."
He pulled out a roll of paper toweling and some 409, and walked over to the Street Sign.
"He comes out here every night," said Hatcher, "Some how, 50 years later, I'm still cleaning his messes."
I soon saw what me meant.
The Sign no longer said Dye road.
Someone had written in blood, DIE road.
My friend and I have never been back there. Even now, what we saw haunts us to this day, and we are left with more questions than answers. Just how many children are in the Doctor's labs? What is his research? How did he survive?
The man named Hatcher died several years ago, supposedly from senile dementia and acute paranoia. He had taken a butcher's knife and stabbed himself in the stomach 23 times, writing The Research is Incomplete on the walls before bleeding out.
The man who held the dog's leash dead, my friend and I now feel, with growing dread, that it is only a matter of time before the Doctor seeks new experiments to conduct, more research to do, more children to "raise".
Today, if you drive down Dye Road, do not drive its full length, if you dare drive it at all. There is no doubt that evil that taints it and its final destination. And hurrying back, if you're unlucky enough, someone, or something, will have gotten ahead of you. For on the asphalt you will see written in blood, THE RESEARCH IS INCOMPLETE and COME BACK, MY CHILDREN.
And be sure you have something to wash the street sign before you leave.
It will always be spelled DIE ROAD.