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I’m stuck in a barren wasteland. The ‘water’ is an undrinkable mud bath. The soil is almost all rock, nothing growing in the cracks. The sun is unbearably hot. I think back to before my capture, before I was forced here by them. I was driving down the interstate, everything perfectly normal. I was listening to my favorite music, humming along. I was going to a far off job interview. I was making great time, and my head was filled with the joyous thoughts of finally having work. Then, they came.

When I encountered the first of them, I was a little unnerved, but not terrified or anything. I still remember the first one I saw. A hooded figure, his face completely concealed. He was standing in one of those patches of concrete-contained grass you always find on highways and such. He was holding a sign that read ‘You are Nearing Damnation’. I didn’t think too terribly much about it. ‘Just some nutcase’, I told myself. But that was far from the end of it.

After a while, I saw another holding an identical sign. The only thing different about him was that his hoodie was a darker shade of grey. I just tried to ignore it. But they kept appearing, each with a slightly darker hoodie. I was a little scared at this point. Was this some kind of mass prank or protest?

As I neared my destination, I was glad to be getting off the highway. There was only one tunnel left and I would be on the more backstreet roads. I hadn’t seen any more of the hooded figures, so I was starting to calm down. As I neared the tunnel, I saw another hoodie wearer on the grass patch right next to the tunnel. This one was different, though. His hoodie was completely black. But the most striking thing was that he had his hood down.

He was a mostly normal looking young man. He had dirty blond hair that looked somewhat matted up. His eyes were a fairly striking shade of green. He seemed moderately pale, but nothing out of the ordinary. The only weird thing about him were his pupils, which were heavily dilated, like he was on drugs or something.

His sign was also different. It said ‘Damnation at the End of Tunnel’. I was a bit fearful now, but I managed to shrug off those feelings of superstition and drove through the tunnel. I really wish I hadn’t.

I drove through that tunnel for what seemed like hours. My car’s clock had stopped as soon as I entered the tunnel, and I had to turn off my radio because I was getting nothing but static. I finally saw a distant light at the end of the tunnel. I drove through, hoping for an end to the madness.

I drove into what looked like some sort of desert. The road was blocked off ‘For Construction’. When I got out of my car to take a look at the other side, I soon found that there was no other side of the road. It just sort of ended. There were little oases scattered about everywhere for what seemed like miles. I went up to examine one and found the water to be far too muddy and stagnant to drink.

I still see them. They stand in the middle of the mud oases. They have their hoods down now, all of them. Every little oasis has its own hooded ‘partner’. The scary part is that they all look normal, and they're all different, every one of them. Some are men, some are women. Some look to be in their late 30s, others look as young as 12-14. They just stand there, swaying their hips from side to side, as if waiting causally. The only weird thing about them is their dilated pupils.