I found a Road to Nowhere. You can too.
There’s a place you can go, wherever you live. Doesn’t matter the city, state, country, continent. You can find it, if you try hard enough. For me, it was only about 45 minutes from my house.
“Place” may not be the right word, actually.
You have to be looking for it. If you aren’t consciously seeking it out, you won’t see it. But it’s more than that.
Before I continue, I will say that there are certainly benefits to be reaped if you seek this place out, but I cannot stress enough the other end of that spectrum.
You have to be ready, mentally. Your mind, it has to be strong. If you’re uncertain, this place will exploit that, it will make your consciousness collapse into itself, leaving you a shell of the person you were before you went in.
I want you to think about that. Think about laying in a bed, or being propped up in a chair, your eyes open but not truly seeing anything.
Imagine not being able to think. No pun intended, but think about that. Imagine your mind as a sea of endless dark. Now imagine being like that forever.
Ponder the concept of “forever”.
Complete blankness. Pitch black. Perfect dark. It’s that, every single day. Every single night. For weeks, months, years, decades. Darkness, that you’re still awake in.
And then you die, but it doesn’t end. This place doesn’t allow it to be the end.
More years pass, more generations, centuries, thousands of years. Darkness, that doesn’t stop. You can’t see, you can’t hear, you can’t smell. Darkness.
Think about how much time will pass after you die. Think about the world evolving, devolving, deteriorating. Think about the earth dying, all of humanity being wiped away. For you, it’s still nothing but pure darkness that you’re still cognizant of.
Think about the universe folding into itself, and everything just ends. Everything, that is, but the darkness in which you’ve spent the last millenia, alone, trapped inside a prison of your own making, unable to think but so very aware of what’s happening, though you don’t understand any of it and you can’t do anything about it.
At least for me, that’s a terrifying prospect. In truth, the concept of forever doesn’t even seem conceivable to my mind. It makes me sick to my stomach even thinking about it; but you deserve to know. I want to share this place with you, but I want you to know the risk.
As I said, for me, it was just over 45 minutes away from my house. Outside the city in which I live lies miles and miles of farmland. I followed the instructions to the letter. I left the place I slept the night before (my house) at exactly 11:27PM, on a night when the moon was a waning gibbous.
I headed west. At points where the road going west ceased, I went only south until another road going west was available. Eventually, I ended up on a road between large fields of corn. That’s when my car died. As was explained to me, this was to be expected. The instructions then said to wait, and that I would know when to turn my vehicle back on and perform the next step.
I sat on that road for 7 minutes. All I could hear was the buzzing and chirping of cicadas and the occasional gust of wind.
I don’t know if it was gradual or sudden, but there was a moment when I realized that I could no longer hear anything. No wind, no cicadas. Pure silence. Perfect quiet. I took this to mean I was to continue.
I turned my car back on. I closed my eyes. I believed I would find it, I believed it would work. I kept my eyes pressed tightly shut, and I pushed the gas pedal of my car down to the floor. My heart was beating out of my chest, my palms sweating, my knuckles white around my steering wheel.
I don’t know how fast I was going, but my car isn’t slow, and I was flooring it with my eyes closed for, by my count, around 12 seconds.
My car then died again.
I opened my eyes. Before, I’d been able to see the lights of a farmhouse or two in the distance, but now those lights were gone. The moon and stars seemed to have dimmed, too. I looked around, and just ahead of me on my left was a break in the cornfield. I didn’t know if it was the Road, or if that was simply a perpendicular road that didn’t continue to my right.
I turned my car back on and made the left turn onto that road, hoping it was the right one. I drove slowly, unsure of what to expect if I were indeed in the right place. My rational brain took control for a moment, and I considered turning around and abandoning the idea entirely, a consideration that was quickly extinguished when I looked in my rearview mirror and saw nothing but darkness. It was as if the darkness was following me; every inch I moved forward, so did it, but when I tried to reverse, the darkness stayed. I took that to mean I had no choice but to continue down the Road.
I don’t know how long I was on the Road, it could have been minutes, it could have been hours; while on the Road, it was as if I couldn’t comprehend time. I know that’s a strange statement, but that’s the only way I can think to put it.
After following the Road for however long, I crested a hill, and in the distance I saw a light. As I continued down it, I soon realized that there were actually two lights, one on either side of the road. I soon came upon the source of those lights: buildings, one on either side of the Road.
As I approached the buildings, I tried to slow down, but the car kept a steady pace before dying completely, sending me rolling to a stop exactly between them. I then had a good view of them.
The building on the left was a two-story house like any you’d see in a suburban neighborhood. Steps led up to a large porch, and it was from the porch that the light was shining; it seemed all the lights in the house were off.
To my right was a building that I can only describe as looking like a motel from the early 1900’s. It didn’t explicitly state that that’s what it was, but it was a single story wooden structure with a main set of double-doors and two single doors on either side of it. A fixture on either side of the main doors provided the light on that side of the Road.
I looked in my rearview mirror, and it was like a solid black backdrop had been draped down behind the car. I sat in my car, looking at each of the buildings. There didn’t seem to be another soul in the area, just total silence, perfect stillness.
Again, I don’t know how long I sat there. Being on that road, it feels like you’re between being awake and unconscious. Like you’re in a dream, but are unaware that you’re dreaming. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s the only way to describe it. What I can describe is the fear I felt, the apprehension to getting out of the car. I’d rolled the window down at one point, and there was no smell in the air, no breeze, but there was a tension so palpable I could almost see it. It is not a place where people belong.
What was the most afraid I’ve ever been, despite not knowing what I was in fear of, was exponentially amplified when I saw a figure coming towards me on the Road. There was a slight limp in its gait, the only detail I could make out from as far away as I was. It was only a silhouette, breaking through the perfect darkness that lied past where the lights from the two buildings reached.
My whole body seized up and my heart leapt to my throat. I was completely and utterly petrified. I was trapped between an endless dark ocean behind me and something unknown in front of me, but I knew, in my body, my mind, my heart, my soul, the essence of my being, I knew that driving forward and trying to pass it was as undesirable a prospect as turning around and heading into the nothingness.
I instinctively knew I had to seek shelter in one of the buildings. I looked at them both again, then straight ahead. In the few moments I’d taken my eyes off of whatever was approaching me, it had moved substantially closer; one moment it was 40 yards away, walking slowly, and the next it was 25 yards away, but it had never picked up speed.
I tried to get out of the car, but my legs were rubber. It was like my fight-or-flight response had kicked in and my mind had chosen flight, but my body wasn’t able to follow through. It walked closer, and I was soon able to see that it wasn’t an “it”, but a her.
She wore a black dress that hung to her knees, and her hair was the same color, and hung straight down her back. Her skin was pale, and her arms gaunt. Her face…was missing the lower jaw, and she had no upper lip. Her eyes were simply two black holes, and I could somehow tell that the darkness that lay behind me was the same that lay inside the hollow cavities.
Seeing her face jump-started my body and I flung the door open. I was torn. I didn’t know in which structure I should seek safety. Both buildings silently called out to me, but each seemed more dangerous than the other. It was an impossible choice. Meanwhile, she continued walking towards me, taking deliberate, limping steps.
I had to pick a building, and I had to pick it right then and there. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point, a light in the house went on, on the second floor. Through the second floor window, I could see another silhouette, this one just standing in place, not moving. I looked over to the motel, and there too had a light gone on, and in a window next to the farthest door stood a silhouette.
And both doors were now open.
The woman approached, and I absentmindedly ran towards the house. I went up the steps, through the door, and I looked behind me, catching the briefest of glimpses of the woman who had inexplicably ended up on the porch just feet behind me before the door slammed shut and I was bathed in darkness. Behind her, the motel was ablaze in silent flames.
It simultaneously felt like I was in that darkness for seconds and for years. I thought I’d failed, that I wasn’t strong enough mentally to understand what it was trying to show me. I thought I’d soon lose the ability to know that, to even remember where I’d begun and what had become of me. But I didn’t.
I came to back in my running car, parked between the two buildings, which now sat dark with no lights on. The motel wasn’t burnt to the ground, as I would have expected. The woman was nowhere in sight. The darkness still sat behind me, but I wasn’t afraid anymore. I put my car in drive and started down the Road. After only a few moments, I looked in my rearview and saw the darkness envelop the buildings.
I soon came to a point where the Road ceased its forward-going path, and went only to the right. Beyond it and on both sides was that same darkness. I made the right turn, and in a single moment, one that blended around me, one that I wasn’t conscious of but yet somehow noticed, I was on the road between the cornfields. I was back.
The next morning I drove to the psychiatric hospital to see my friend Luke. He lay in his bed, his eyes staring forward, void of any life behind them. They say it’s all in his head, but I know better. I know the handprint-shaped scar he has on his forearm isn’t a coincidence. We had learned about the Road to Nowhere at the same time. I’d gone the week after he did, knowing Luke to be someone to not follow directions as they should be followed.
We’d been given the same instructions, the same warnings. He had failed. I sat by his side and told him, in the best way I could, about the Road.
I told him I wish I knew what it would have been like for him. From my understanding, everyone’s experience is different. I don’t know why I saw a house and a motel. I don’t know who was in the windows. I don’t know who the woman was. What I know is that I have a need, a primal urge to speak with someone who experienced the Road to Nowhere and made it out.
It’s all I can think about. The Road hasn’t left my mind since the night it happened, which was about two years ago. I’ve lost my job, my wife left me, I haven’t seen my kids in over a year.
I need someone to find their Road. I need someone to do it properly. I need someone with whom I can discuss the Road. I need to know who the woman was. I need to know why the Road exists. I need to know.
Please find your Road. Please message me. Please help me understand its purpose.
Categories: Nick Botic Original Story