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Eden Canyon

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I feel like this story is just going to be evidence of my own stupidity. Pretty much a what-not-to-do when you end up in a situation like this. At the very least, it’s quite a story and one that scared the hell out of me. I don’t care much for night driving anymore.

I work at a large retail store setting up displays and building fixtures. Quite often, I’ll get sent out to other stores if they need the help. This day, I ended up going to a store a couple hours away from home to help them out with some bigger projects. We went late, but (thankfully) didn’t end up going all night. However, when I left, it was about one in the morning.

I had a hell of a drive home. The freeway wasn’t troublesome but there wasn’t a lot to look at on the way back. The road was pretty dark and passed through a number of hills and fields making a dull trip back in the dark even bleaker.

I know this is bad when you’re driving, but if nothing is going on, I tend to zone out. My thoughts ran on their own and wandered from one to the other. I barely registered the fact that it had gotten rather foggy out. I remember thinking, “Hey! It’s starting to look like Silent Hill now!” and then moving on to the next random thing that popped into my head.

Thankfully, I didn’t crash into anything, but I missed my damn turn off. There was enough visible for me to recognize that this didn’t seem quite right so I pulled out my phone and ran the GPS ap. I should’ve used the damn thing from the beginning, but I figured I was smart enough to remember the directions home.

Sure enough, I missed my turn-off and the GPS routed me a way back to my destination. The next turn-off was quite a ways down and labeled “Eden Canyon”.

I didn’t think much of it at the time and simply drove on. Soon enough, the Eden Canyon exit approached. It wasn’t anything to make note off. It was just a normal turn-off that led to some road in some town that I’ve never heard of but wasn’t near enough to me to care about.

It was when I turned off that I noticed something strange. I pulled off the freeway and, as I was driving toward the cross-street, I noticed there were quite a few cars on the side of the road. Normally, seeing a car on the side of the road wasn’t something unusual. But there had to be at least three or four on the side of the exit alone. I rolled to a halt at the stop sign separating the exit from Eden Canyon Road. Curious and with no cars behind me, I took an extra moment to look down the road. To my left, a dim light hung casting an eerie glow as it illuminated the fog and the small tunnel that led underneath the freeway. That was the way I needed to go to get back on the freeway. Simple left turn, make another left onto the on-ramp and I’m heading home!

The right side caught my interest though. The dim light to my left just illuminated enough of the darkened road for me to see more of these cars sitting on either side of the road. I could only make out a couple as the light quickly was swallowed by pitch darkness beyond. It was exactly the type of road that must lead to the front door of some sinister mansion or haunted woods. The fog and strangely abandoned cars on the side of the road only furthered this idea for me.

Now, I’m a horror buff. I stay up late reading scary stories on the Internet, my video game collection is composed up of mostly survival horror games, and I’m one of the few people that will actually see if the latest horror movie has a midnight showing in theaters. The weekend was right around the corner and I had absolutely no plans. My curiosity grew and I bit my lip. Where did this road go? And why were there so many cars on the side of the road? With these questions in mind, I did what any normal horror fan would do.

I ignored my GPS and turned right, car heading down that road into further darkness. I wasn’t kidding when I said that this story is filled with me being a dumbass.

Eden Canyon didn’t get much better as I drove along that road. The pavement narrowed inward and my headlights couldn’t pierce the growing fog as much as I would’ve liked. I worried that if another car came barreling down the road, I’d end up in a head on. However, I pushed on. Cars still lined both sides of that narrow road. I glanced in both directions, eyes working to push past the fog and darkness to see any details.

From what I could make out, there wasn’t anyone in them. I’ve heard of truckers pulling off and sleeping in their trucks between deliveries but these were normal vehicles. It didn’t seem like there was anything wrong with them either. From what I could see, they had no flat tires or denting. They looked perfectly drivable. So why had so many pulled over? Maybe there was some kind of event going on down the road and this was the only parking available? That seemed…somewhat plausible.

My curiosity only grew as I drove that road, my headlights the only source of light upon this dark back road and the gravely sound of tires rolling on pavement the only background noise I had.

As I passed by another car, a silver two-door coupe, I noticed light reflecting off of it, illuminating more of that vehicle than my own lights could offer. I looked up into the rear view mirror to find myself staring at two bright headlights glaring back at me like angry eyes.

I wasn’t alone any more. A part of me was somewhat overjoyed. Dark, creepy roads are far less creepy when someone else is with you. The other part of me, the imaginative part that always seemed to question if the shadows were looming closer in the darkness, wondered if this car was the reason why Eden Canyon had laid claim to so many cars. Images ran through my head of this car gunning it and shoving me off the road, leaving me in some ditch as a crazed hillbilly butchers me. I wasn’t reassured as the car sped up and rode my tailgate.

My fingers clutched the steering wheel tightly, knuckles turning white as I kept glancing back nervously. The image of some toothless brute ripping me from my vehicle kept popping into my head. When the car began to shift, slipping into the other lane and then back, I couldn’t take it. The logical side of me was saying that he just wanted to pass, but I couldn’t help but imagine the driver was only preparing for his next kill. I jerked the wheel and my car bounced onto the side of the road, kicking up dirt and sliding rather closer to the rear-end of another mysteriously abandoned sedan. I gripped the steering wheel tight and held my breath until the car zoomed past me.

Whew. God, why did I have to have to be so stupid? That guy was probably just trying to make it home. I shouldn’t have gone down this damn road. I decided then that I was going to turn back.

The screeching of brakes caught my attention before I could pull out. I looked up and the fog seemed to clear enough for me to see the car halting not far down in the middle of the road. I swallowed and began to shake. Oh here it comes. Hillbilly murderer was going to turn my skin into a lampshade. But the car just…sat there. It didn’t move. The driver didn’t get out. Hell, from where I could see he wasn’t even moving in the car but my visibility wasn’t the greatest.

It took me a moment to realize I should have been looking down the road instead.

Through the illuminated fog of the car’s headlights came a dark shape. It seemed rather rotund and bulky and moved with an odd shuffle to its steps, like its legs were two different lengths. As it came closer, I could almost make out details of it. I could see what seemed to be the shape of a man with some kind of large thing on his back. Like one of those giant camping bags people take with them when they want to spend three months in the woods. But did they really use bags that big?

The man stumbled up to the driver’s side of the car and peered into the window. His head seemed to twitch slightly and I figured this guy almost got hit and was going to give the driver a piece of his mind.

The man shuffled back, jerking oddly as the car door opened and the driver stepped out. He seemed like a young guy, probably early twenties. He stepped out slowly and then…just stood there. He stood still, hands hanging at his sides as the backpack-wearing man seemed to look him over.

I narrowed my gaze, wondering what the hell was going on. This wasn’t like any argument I’d seen before.

Then, the backpack man lift a hand to place it on driver’s head. Only that couldn’t have belonged to a normal human being. It was large, I could tell even from this distance and with poor visibility. Too big. It seemed to engulf the driver’s head and swear I could see the tips of it curl like claws. The driver didn’t make a move. He just stood there.

Until the man squeezed.

The driver jerked and, though I couldn’t hear it, I imagined the sickening pop as his head crushed under that grip. The driver’s limbs flailed and then hung limp as legs collapsed underneath him. He would’ve fallen to the ground if that thing still didn’t have a grip on his head.

My eyes widened as I stared in shock. What the hell? This thing…what was this thing? It wasn’t a person. I knew that now. And why the hell did the driver just walk out and let it kill him? Questions raced through my head, running like a marathon through my mind.

I moved only when I noticed that the thing was starting to walk toward my car, one hand still gripping the head of that poor driver, dragging his corpse along like a limp doll.

I didn’t know what to do. I looked about suddenly as I tried to figure out my plan. I almost switched off the lights but, if I did, that thing would know for certain that someone was in the car. As it drew closer, I went with the only plan I could think of. I pulled the seat back and then slipped down to crouch down by the pedals. I’m not a very big guy but it was an extremely tight fit. From my position, I could see the driver’s window rather well. Which also meant that the thing would be able to see me if it looked down as well. I prayed that it was dark enough for me to be hidden.

My eyes focused on that window, staring at it as I held my breath. All I could do now was wait and hope.

It had to be that moment that the fog seemed to clear, letting enough moonlight down so that I could make out some detail beyond my window. If only I didn’t have to see it.

Just enough light came in that I could make out that thing as it approached my driver’s side window.

Maybe, it had been a man. Once. But not anymore. It’s face looked wrinkled and swollen in odd places. A crooked nose stretched out and curled downward to a mouth it seemed to smack in circular rotation. Eyes seemed to bulge out of their sockets, threatening to pop out any moment. Beyond that ugly face, I could see what I thought had been a backpack was really an odd mixture of a misshapen hump of flesh, bulging out like a massive tumor that was attempting to swallow him up and pieces of metal jutting out of it. Some I could recognize as car parts, such as what seemed to be a stick-shift jutting out of flesh where one shoulder should’ve been. Others just seemed like scraps of metal had dug in to find their own little home in this thing’s sick collection. For a moment, I asked myself where he got those parts, as the cars on the side of the road didn’t seem to have been tampered with.

I abandoned that questioning thought as a hand rose and smacked into the window while it peered in. That hand matched its owner, a large wrinkled appendage with a swollen palm and sickly skinny fingers stretching out from it. I had been right. Attached to the ends of those fingers were large claws that tapped against the glass as it drew closer.

For a moment, those bulbous eyes locked with mine. They seemed to widen, staring into me. I could feel those eyes looking into me and…past if that was possible. Like they were pushing past my gaze and into my skull. I grimaced and my head jerked. I can barely describe what I felt next but if somebody shoved fingers into the folds of your brain and began to root around, that’s what it seemed like. I felt sick and struggled to hold in bile that was quickly trying to make its way up my throat.

Then, my muscles suddenly tensed. One of my hands rose on its own and fell upon the seat. I didn’t tell it to do that. Nor did I tell it to pull my body up from my heading spot, letting it slip out into full view of that monster.

My stomach lurched as I realized now why that man got out of his car. He didn’t have a choice. That thing made him do it. It had some control over him. And now it was using it on me.

Against my will, I began to pull myself up and out of that opening. My arms pushed me up and I found myself leaning up toward that window.

I found myself face to face with that thing.

I wanted to look away. I wanted to scream, to beg, to cry but I couldn’t even do that. Instead I just stood there, leaning in and locking my gaze with two grey eyes that looked like they’d leap out of that skull at any moment and bury themselves into me.

The creature stared at me for what felt like hours until, finally, it broke that gaze to look down to where its other hand rest. I assumed that’s where the poor driver was, still clasped by his broken skull. I’m glad I couldn’t look down. I didn’t want to see what was left of him. It looked upon that body and then back to me. Its gnashing mouth seemed to curl inward before twitching into a sneer, revealing to me rows of broken and rotted teeth.

Then it turned away. Slowly, it lurched down the road, dragging that body behind it as it shuffled along. It moved for a good ten feet before it turned and disappeared off the side of the road, ducking behind a large truck.

I blinked and curled my fingers before I lowered my gaze. God, I could move again! Only for a moment did I hesitate. Did I want to try to escape? Would it be back? Should I try to hide?

Screw all that. I wanted out of there! I’d risk it. I turned and threw myself back into that seat, grabbed the wheel, and performed the most dangerous U-turn of my life. Then I was speeding down that road. I didn’t care if another car was coming. I just wanted out of there!

Thank god I reached that dim light from the freeway on-ramp without hitting another car and, what would’ve been even more terrifying, seeing that creature again. I took that turn way faster than I should’ve, my car skidding on the way up but, soon, I was back on my route home.

I don’t know why that thing didn’t take me. My only guess was that it had already found its meal for the night. I wondered if it considered I might tell others about it but, let’s be honest, who would believe me?

When I got home, I called the police and left an anonymous tip that someone may have been killed on Eden Canyon Road down a ways from the freeway exit, but I never heard anything more. I even scoured the newspapers in the area, trying to see if anyone had been declared missing or if a body had been found.

Nothing.

And that could’ve been me. If I went a little further…if that car hadn’t wanted to get past me so badly…I would be that ragdoll dragged around by whatever that thing was. I got lucky.

Now, whenever I drive in the dark, I pick my roads carefully.

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