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William Cooley

The Anomaly at South Hill Road

It's been approximately one week since David went missing. His disappearance was strange, he told you he found a new trail off some dirt road about a 20-minute drive away from your house and he fully planned on hiking it. You always knew David to be a very skilled outdoorsman, and long hikes in secluded Appalachian hills were second nature to him, which made his disappearance all the more concerning and confusing.

The Disappearance

Before he left for the hike, David told you one key piece of information. The trail was off a dirt road called "South Hill Road."

You get off of work, and the sun has already set. You decide to go at least find where this road is so that you can go search for him in the morning.You arrive at the beginning of a heavily forested and cramped dirt road just off a main road. Dirt roads like this are nothing new to you, however, as you grew up in the Appalachian hills yourself.

The search

You drive down the road for some time, hitting numerous bumps and potholes on your way through. The night is clear still, and you notice no movement in the forest whatsoever.The road is just one long, straight stretch. You begin to wonder to yourself how David even found out about this place, which is truly out in the middle of nowhere. You can't even remember how far back the last house you saw on the way here was.You decide to keep moving on through the woods.

Into the woods

"Just how long is this road?" you begin to think to yourself. It feels like you have been driving in a straight line for at least ten miles now. You decide to turn around, instead opting to just come back tomorrow when there is still daylight out.You can't remember how you got here, so you try to put your address into the GPS. No Signal. There weren't any turns on the dirt road, anyway. "No big deal," you think to yourself. "I'll just drive back and find service somewhere along the main road."

"How long have I been driving back?""I swear I wasn't this far out. Am I sure I took no turns?""No, there's no possible way, there wasn't any turns to take."

You drive back along the route that you came from for what seems like an eternity. Strangely enough, the landscape looks almost entirely different, though you chalk that up to just being tired and it being dark outside. You are certain that you have been driving back for far longer than you went into the woods. It has been an hour of driving now. Fear sets in as you realize that somehow you have found yourself lost on a straight road. You begin to see trees and rock formations that you swear you just saw a few miles back. It feels as if the features of the landscape begin to repeat over and over again.You decide to just keep driving, eventually, you will find a main road and get a signal for your phone.

You drive for another two hours. You haven't seen any houses, trespassing signs, or even any animals for hours. No signs of life. The night sky is so clear. Oddly enough the moon does not seem like it has moved at all. You notice that somehow the clock in your car has also not changed time for about 30 minutes.You continue to notice repeating tree stumps, rocks, and branches hanging overhead.Fear turns to panic now as your gas gauge gets into the red.

You get out of your car. You continue on foot with the moonlight and your phone flashlight guiding your path. The air is humid and dense, light gusts of wind blow in random directions around you.After a bit of walking you notice, for whatever reason, the night has become considerably darker. You look up. The moon and stars have disappeared. You walk for about an hour. As you walk you continue to see repeating landscape features. You even find two rocks right next to each other, they are the exact same size, shape, and color as one another.You continue walking, the air fluctuates rapidly in temperature and humidity. Fog will set in what seems like an instant, before disappearing just as quickly as it came. You begin to suspect you are hallucinating, or dreaming.

Your car sputters out and comes to a stop

On Foot

After another hour of walking, you notice a rock in your shoe. You bend down to get it out and take your shoe off. While sitting down, you feel something move below you, startling you. You shine your light on the ground, nothing. You put your hand on the dirt to make sure nothing is there, yet you feel something moving again. You shine your light on the ground and take a closer look. The ground is moving. You look around you, this time taking a closer look. The trees, rocks, and ground are all shifting and moving slowly and subtly. The road itself is bending and contorting like a snake stalking through the grass. You panic. You mindlessly run to a rock just off the road to sit down and catch your breath. You rest there for a moment before you realize you are not there alone. to your right, sitting in the exact same position you are, is a heavily decomposed corpse, wearing the same clothes David was last seen in.

The trees converge on the road, swallowing it whole until it looks like there never even was a "South Hill Road."Just like David, your body was never found.