Below are our Twitter story threads. I’ll continue to update this and post it as we near the end of our journey. If you would like to join in on the fun and vote, you can find me here on Twitter. There is an active vote going on now!
Today is an unremarkable Tuesday, you wake up, get ready, and slide into the driver’s side coffee in-hand. You have a team meeting, so you are leaving earlier than usual today and it’s still quite dark outside. It’s a new town with a new job for less hours and better pay. You got a good deal on a new place that’s less than thirty miles from the city.
You turn onto the main road, spirits high with possibilities of a new life. It’s quiet out where you live and you’re nestled behind a patch of woods. The neighbors are just a few minutes apart and the amenities are centralized. You chuckle at how boring you’ve become.You had taken the time over the weekend to get to know the city, so with confidence you turn left onto the main road and hum along with the music.
You’re aware that you have to drive for several minutes before you hit the main highway, but after fifteen minutes you begin to second guess your turn. The trees haven’t grown any less sparse, in fact they look incredibly dense. You deliberate for a bit but decide to stay the course. Maybe it just seemed to take longer than you remembered. You shrug it off and crank the music up, there’s still plenty of time left. The road twists and bends, you don’t remember it being hilly either. It’s become narrow and to your surprise, the trees have cleared to reveal you are fairly high on top of a steep hill. You need to turn back but quickly realize there isn’t even enough room to do so.
There doesn’t seem to be anyone in the area so you put your car in reverse and slowly back down the hill, steering it into the middle of the road so that someone would have the chance to swerve if they needed to. The road swells a tiny bit and you are able to turn around. All too soon, you find yourself at the end of the road. It’s a T intersection with only left and right. You frown, confused at your predicament─ you hadn’t turned at all. Upon closer inspection you also notice the pavement has turned to dirt. Completely flustered at this point, you pull out your phone. There’s barely a bar on your connection and it keeps changing between the edge network and one bar. You call out to your phone assistant to open the maps app, but the only thing popping up is ‘lost connection’. You inch forward into the grass to get out of the way, cut the engine and step outside. Maybe you’ll get a better connection. The air hits you like a blast chiller, a wall of freezing winds beat against your face and skin. Your teeth chatter as you glance at your phone.
The second bar pops up and you quickly call up to work to let them know you will be running behind. You get a hold of an admin at the front desk and are transferred over. After what feels like an eternity, the line clicks and your manager picks up. They sound confused. You quickly explain what’s going on and that you’re running behind. There’s a pause on the other end and then ask, “who is this?” Your face flushes as you realize they probably haven’t memorized your name. You explain that you just started and wanted to let someone know. There’s another long pause and then, “I think you have the wrong office.” I frown and repeat the phone number back to them and then give them the name of the company. “Yes, that’s correct and you have the right office─ but no one works here by that name.” Maybe my paperwork was shifted around I offer and that we were having a meeting this morning to go over progress on our projects. This time, they sound irritated, “Look, I don’t know who this is but we don’t have a new employee. If you worked here you would know the meeting was rescheduled for next week.” No one told me, I responded, starting to get a little miffed myself. I told them to ask Ben and that there was probably a little mix up. In any case, I will be up there as soon as I can. He says nothing and hangs up the phone. How odd.
You can get a signal but still can’t open your maps. The worst of it is you can’t see a road name to even call and ask how to get back. You look back and forth and then back at the road you drove on. The road is so bad that you worry you might blow out a tire but you manage to finally come to a part of it that has calmed. You continue down the path until it finally gives way to pavement and then ends at a main road. You purse your lips and look in both directions tapping your fingers on the steering wheel. If you don’t remember turning down the road to begin with, how in the hell would you know which way to turn? Just how many T roads were in this city? You glance out across the field to get some sort of idea on where you are, but all you can see is slow, creeping fog. Your attention turns to the left and you spot flashing yellow lights. Your curiosity is peaked, but on the right you can vaguely make out what looks like a city.
You’re not sure, but it could be worth driving toward the yellow flashing, it could mean construction workers and help. On the other hand, it could just be warning lights and it would be a waste. After deciding to turn left towards the lights, you drive for several minutes before finding the source of the light. Shocked, you see the entrance of a tunnel. A long, dimly lit tunnel with yellow blinking lights looms ahead. You come to a stop just outside of the tunnel, unsure if you want to proceed but ultimately decide it’s the best option. The end of the tunnel isn’t in sight but does look vaguely familiar. You press the gas pedal and slip into the darkness.
You drive down what feels like the longest tunnel in history, but still can’t see the end.
It’s beginning to dawn on you that you haven’t seen a single car, or anyone for that matter. The sickly yellow lights flicker every hundred feet or so creating an eerie twilight effect. The abysmal amount of light they put off couldn’t light a house, let alone a tunnel. Even in dark tunnels you can see some sort of light. Something isn’t right. You become more and more apprehensive the further in you travel. Are you being paranoid or is it getting darker? The lights have now taken on a faint green hue. Your foot eases up on the gas pedal and you slow to a crawl. The green-lit area continues for quite a way down. You’re in a straightaway, no more bends, and an end still isn’t visible. Your panic mounts as you turn back toward where you came from and the road is nearly pitch-black.
It could be just your mind playing tricks on you, though, so you manage to turn your car around. You can’t shake the feeling that you need to get out of here as soon as possible. The air here is stagnant with a distinct musty smell and you can’t put your finger on it, but
The primal part of your brain is in full force, screaming to run away. You barely make it out of the green lighted space when your car dies. You look down at your gas tank meter and see that you still have plenty of gas. Maybe the air down here is causing issues?
You know it’s total b.s. but at this point it has to be something non-gas related and you don’t want to even think about the possibility of being stranded here. You try starting it up again, but nothing happens. Not even a click. Your heart races as you fail again and again
to start it. You glance around nervously to see if anyone is around but only the ghoulish glow and silence surrounds you. Taking a deep breath you grab the door handle and push. You wince at the noise echoing down the tunnel sure that at any moment something horrible
Would rush toward you from the shadows. The air is heavy on your lungs and you struggle to feel as if you can draw in enough air. It’s heavy and─ wet, saturated with a cloying damp sensation and musty. The air actually tastes musty with the scent of three week old bread.
You roll down your window, put the car in neutral and push the car toward the lighted part of the tunnel. The car instantly roars to life, nearly giving you a heart attack. You reach over, put it in park and hop inside─ eager to get back on the road. Just like before as soon
as the front end crosses the threshold it dies. Curious, you put it in neutral and back it up. It again fires up. Maybe your original theory is right and the air is weird. There’s nothing more you can do except turn back and continue down the road the way you were going.
You travel several miles in the milky-green twilight when a blue light catches your attention to the left. You slow down and peer over. It’s a small gas station with a convenience store. You sigh in relief and pull into one of two spaces.
He still doesn’t respond. You’re stuck mentally trying to decide if you need to bolt─ Then a thought occurs to you, in your haste to get out of here you have forgotten to check and see if you need gas. You take a deep breath and turn back toward the counter
“Um, sorry. I also need gas, I think. What would cover all of those?” Your eyes raise up but you’re surprised to find that the attendant is gone. You spin around quickly but there is nothing there either. You can clearly see the pumps, but no price listed on their sign
You spin back, expecting him to be right behind you but only the same empty counter with the twenty dollars greets you. You rummage through your bag and pockets but only find another twenty and some ones tucked away. You place everything you can find on the counter and walk briskly back to the door. You reach for the handle and freeze. The breath sticks in your throat as you stare at the reflection in the window on the door.
The blood slowly drains from your face─ you can’t move, can’t breathe. A sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach forms as you realize that there is definitely something very wrong with the store clerk. His reflection sits unnaturally tall, so tall in fact that the ceiling is less than a few inches from his head. To your absolute horror you see his head is bent at a 90° angle. His face is distorted, you can’t make it out but his body reminds you of the daddy long legs you used to play with as a child. Your legs won’t move, you’re stuck staring at the abomination─ fascinated at your impending doom.Insect-like noises fill the space, like a loud brood of cicada’s calling for their mates. But this is different, it’s paired with static-y type sounds that vibrate through your chest and head. You stagger back, clutching at your head. This is it, the moment your body snaps into action. You shove the door and bolt outside to your car. The food spills everywhere as you shove the key into the ignition and lock the doors. Your car roars to life and you slam it into reverse then peel out of the parking lot.
You put enough distance between the gas station and the car that you finally slow down and pull over. You let out a long shaky breath, your hands trembling as you grip the steering wheel. What the hell was that, you wonder. You take in long, steady breaths trying to make sense of what happened. Your heart beats so hard and fast you can feel the blood rushing through your head and chest. In your haste to get away you now realize that the tunnel has grown lighter. Instant relief washes over you as you see an end to your concrete prison ahead. Your shoulders relax and you hit the gas, screaming toward the end of this hell. You can’t believe it, the car finally clears the exit into the beautiful night air beneath the open sky and bless them─ the stars. Your eyes drop from the sky back down to the road. No. It can’t be, it’s impossible. This can’t be real. Your lip quivers and tears stream down your face. The entrance to the tunnel stares back at you. The small patch of land between the tunnel you exited and the tunnel in front of you is no more than 500 ft away. The stars are twinkling above you and the surrounding area is lush and green. It would be beautiful if it weren’t for the fact that a tunnel waited for you at the end. You want more than anything for this day to end. It started out so wonderfully─ new job, new life ─ you had even left early to make sure that you were on time.
Not only had you become lost, but upon calling your new job you were told that your job didn’t exist and no one was even hired. That could all be chalked up to a clerical error but─ this? Where the hell are you and for that matter, how the hell do you get out? What in the blue hell is happening? Why is it happening to you? Your breath comes out fast and shallow and you can feel your chest tightening the more that you think about everything. You nearly jump out of your skin when your phone rings next to you. You snatch it up and look at the screen. The text displayed just says ‘unknown’. Probably spam, but hell maybe there would be a salesman on the line─ someone that can help. You answer quickly and wait for sound on the other end. You hold your breath nervous that it may just be a computer on the other end. “Hello, are you there?” The man asks. “Yes,” you reply “I’m here! Please help me, I’m lost and my phone is barely getting a signal.” The caller pauses for a moment, “you said you are lost?” Your shoulders sag in relief that a real person is on the other line. “Yes, I am. Please, could you call someone to come and get me?” His voice is soothing, like butter coating a warm pan, “Of course I can. What was your last known location?” you pause thinking about how many turns you had made. Your voice shakes as you reply, “I was on highway 134 going toward I-35 when I somehow got turned around onto a mountain trail.” Your chest relaxes a degree as you can remember more, “there was a point on the Path that got too small so I had to turn around. I somehow spilled out onto a T in the road, then I turned around and made it back to what I think was highway 134 again. I took a left at that T and went through the entrance of an extremely long tunnel.”
“Mm hmm,” he said, sounding as if he were filing his nails on the other side, already bored with the conversation. You’re angered by his shitty attitude, but keep it to yourself knowing he is your only option to get out of here. You stutter but continue “I-I’m not sure where I am, but I know for a fact that I am now outside and there is another tunnel ahead of me. Please, please help me.” The man on the line sighs, “have you tried driving through the other tunnel?” Your temper flares, “I won’t drive anymore, my car is close to being out of gas please, just call emergency services and give them the general area, these calls are recorded right?” He chuckles, “yes, something like that.” You can’t believe how much of an asshole this guy is being but you take a deep breath and try to let it go. “Go through the tunnel,” he states. His demeanor has changed, almost threatening. “Didn’t you hear me─” “You shouldn’t have taken them.” Your body goes ice cold and your hands begin to shake uncontrollably. “Please,” you plead. He laughs on the other line, “go through the tunnel” he yells.
The line goes silent and you stare at it for several moments. The phone falls from your hand as your eyes drift up to the tunnel entrance. You can’t bring yourself to go back into that tunnel, you just can’t. There has to be a better way. You glance at your phone in hopes to find that signal has returned, it hasn’t. You make the tough decision to turn off your phone to conserve battery. The car charger works, but not nearly enough. If only you had remembered to bring the portable charger with you. Firm in your resolve you decide to exit the car and search the area. Maybe fresh air will help clear your head. You close the car door softly, just in case there is another murderous entity nearby. The open air feels magical against your skin and a warm, gentle breeze caresses you. You look around the area and sigh. There doesn’t appear to be any lights near which means no houses or city. You’re in a more elevated area so you can see hills and mountains in the distance. From either vantage point no sign of civilization seems to exist. It’s you, nature, and a road of never-ending horrors. The real problem is figuring out which way to go. Your pulse quickens as you realize it will be a guess─ one that could easily end your life. There is a small part of you that wants to believe you can make it out of this alive. You can’t bring yourself to accept that, somehow you feel it may be the end.
Without many options other than driving into that damn tunnel, you just have to make a calculated guess. But before that, there is something bothering you about what the creature and the man on the phone said. Why were snacks and drinks worth so much? Come to think of it, in your haste to get away you haven’t even looked at them. You open the driver’s side door and slide in, pulling the door closed next to you. Your hand connects with something crinkly and you fish it out from under the seat. You flip the chip bag around and scan the entire package, but can’t find anything out of place. Next you find a candy bar but it too just looks and feels like a normal one. You reach again and find a drink. It’s not very cold, but is still covered in a dewy condensation. You hold the bottle up to the dim light and your eyes grow wide. You inhale sharply and quickly toss the bottle on your passenger seat. Your lips tremble as you fight to keep it together, to not scream your lungs out. No, no, no, no! Inside the bottle, almost perfectly preserved is a fetus. You retch uncontrollably but only bile manages to come up. No way. There was absolutely no way you would drive through that tunnel again. You climb out of the car and try to make yourself think. Had there been any turns? Had you just gone straight? If you had continued west after your turn it would mean that the way back to the main road you came from is to the south. The problem is, you aren’t sure if that is any better─ everything has been deserted. Which leaves north, or further west paralleling the tunnel but not going into it.