They say that when driving at night along any road far from civilization, one might stumble upon a small, charming town. The name differs from time to time, but it’s always something pleasant, peaceful, and quaint, yet despite the welcoming appearance, there is a slight sense of wariness about it. Some indistinguishable feature that gives off an ever so slight sense of repulsion, but it is easily ignored. There are a few anomalies to it as one enters.
First off, the town does not appear on any map. This gives an apparent feeling of being lost, as one might have traversed this road before and seen no such town even in construction.
Perhaps one had been on vacation and traveled this road only five days prior. One would likely assume that they had taken the wrong exit and ended up on the wrong route.
At any rate, the town would be a wonderful place to stop and ask for directions. The late-night driving, though, has begun to take its toll on the mind. Even those well-stocked with coffee would think it unwise to continue driving much further at this point.
One might ask the first person one sees. This person varies from time to time, but they will always have a sorrowful - perhaps mournful - look about them. They would point one to the center of town for directions and a place to rest.
One would very likely stop at the local inn. The building has an old style to it, as does the rest of the town, but seems fairly well-kept. One might notice that while most of the people one sees seem rather saddened, the man working the desk at the inn wears an extraordinarily cheery expression. Once one’s room is found and one settles into the comforting mattress of the bed, one would very quickly slip into deep sleep in this vibrantly decorated room.
Then, the games begin.
You wake up cold and—for all you know—alone. It is hard to see without the faintest light piercing the black veil, but you can tell from the cold jagged stone beneath you that you are no longer in your room. Before your eyes can adjust to the dark, you hear a light click echoing all around you.
Do not call out to this noise, for it will not answer kindly. The clicking will continue, slowly growing in volume and frequency. You will begin to see small lights almost like red fireflies. It is very ill-advised to reach for these lights. Once your eyes are adjusted you will see what they truly are.
Embers. Embers set in scorched flesh. Figures burned and scarred. Contorted figures with seared limbs moving unnaturally. With each twisted motion, the bones snap and crack. Brittle flesh breaks to allow the abominations movement. Do not scream. If they hear you, they will quickly pinpoint your whereabouts. There is a knife beside you. It is not there to fight your way to freedom or to offer your blood, but it does serve a purpose. Take it and stand up. Don’t run, walk.
The faster you try to move, the more difficulty you will have lifting your feet from the cold sharp edges of the floor. Though you have no conscious instructions, you know where to go. Perhaps a dream or a subconscious memory. Perhaps an inaudible whisper in your ear. Control your breathing if possible. It will help avoid detection. Do not touch them, or they will find you. Don’t let them get close enough to hear your pounding heart. At this point, it will be pumping in your ears, and the sounds of breaking bones will be barely audible above it.
Eventually, you will come to a wall as sharp and cold as the floor, but not necessarily as hard. This is where the knife comes in. If you don’t have the knife, scratch. Claw and scratch until you see a light. The light will lead to freedom.
After surviving such an ordeal, one would awaken on the side of a stretch of road. All things one had on that road will be gone: vehicles, belongings, children. They have all been swallowed by the void. A thick fog blankets one’s surroundings, and each person one sees henceforth will have no visible eyes. It will be a sad and lonely life, wrought with loss and regret. At least you survived, right?