's 2017 Horror Write-off:

Where The Sidewalk Stops

Submitted by Shiisiln

Ok, so there's this one sidewalk that I see every time I walk to school.

It's like, across the street on the route I usually take. And there's just a bunch of totally ordinary houses and trees and stuff on that side, so I never would have noticed it except for one weird thing.

Halfway down the street it just... stops.

Notice that I didn't say 'end'. I said stops. I feel like there's a distinction there; 'end'would imply that just sort of naturally (yes, I know sidewalks aren't natural. Work with me here) came to the end of it's length on the side of the road.

I would expect it to be broken and cracked from years of neglect, maybe. There are other sidewalks like that in the city, where it's so busted up it looks like the grass and weeds are slowly devouring it.

Or grass! If it was the end of a sidewalk, I'd expect there to be little bits of grass and dandelions hanging over the edge of it. But that's not what it looks like.

It just stops. Right in the middle of the block. In a ruler-perfect line, no grass, no cracks or weird discolored spots, like you usually see with cement that's been broken and fixed many times over the years.

It's like... it's been sliced off. With a knife. Or, no, one of those slidey-things you use to cut paper, when you need to be exact.

It's such a small, weird thing to notice, but once I noticed it, I couldn't stop noticing it. Like, it just jumps out at me now, every time I walk past it. It just looks wrong, too perfect, too- well, exact.

... yeah, I know, when I put it that way, it sounds pretty stupid that I've paid so much attention to it. I kind of think so too. That's why I haven't told anyone else about it.

But there are other strange things I've noticed about it, too.

I mean, there are other places in the city where sidewalks end, (again, not stop, not like this,) but I think they all have accesses onto the street? You know, with those little red bumpy concrete slopes they put up so wheelchairs and like, bikes and stuff can get onto them.

This one doesn't have any way to get on and off the street; you'd have to walk up over the concrete lip and across the grass verge.

And where it stops, the last... brick? Is that what the sections of sidewalk are called? Anyway, the last one isn't even an entire brick, it's like, a third of one, which I've never seen before.

So for a while there I just thought it was weird. Not weird enough to bother investigating, just weird enough to wonder about. But then, like a week or two later, I realized something even weirder- and kind of disturbing.

I never see anyone on it. Which makes sense, I guess; it's sorta inconvenient to walk down that way if you know the sidewalk is gonna crap out halfway there.

But like, people live on that street. I see them moving around inside of their houses, and once or twice I've seen them outside trimming their bushes or watering their lawns, but never on the sidewalk, or any further out.

There aren't even any driveways going across it. All the houses face the other way. It's like... there's some rule or something, that this part of the sidewalk has to stay unbroken, nothing can disturb it.

(That's... that's a weird thing to say, isn't it? Well, that's what I thought at the time. I have an overactive imagination. At that point I was convinced it was some kind of grand government conspiracy, or a gateway to the fae world, or something.)

Even the lawn around it is perfectly trimmed and manicured. Grass grows in between the blocks, but in little regimented lines. Like, it looks exactly the same in each crack. Once I noticed that, it started looking REALLY surreal and unnatural.

Things aren't supposed to be even and perfect like that; not out in the world where anyone can come along and mess it up just by walking over it.

At this point, my curiosity got the best of me. I was sorta freaked out, but I just HAD to know what was going on.

So, one Saturday, I decided to check it out. I didn't go straight for where it stopped; I felt like that would be cheating.

No, instead I circled around the block and tried to find where it started.

And on the other side of the block, what do you know- there was a completely normal sidewalk. It had an access with a bumpy red bit, and driveways going across it, and dirt and leaves and grass growing in the usual, irregular way across the uneven cracks in between each brick.

I also saw a ton of people out on their lawns; people walking dogs and kids playing out on the driveway and stuff. They mostly ignored me when I came up the access and started walking down the sidewalk by them.

I'd brought a pencil and a notepad to write down any spooky phenomena that I observed, and my phone so I could document it on camera. I probably should have come better equipped, but deep down, I don't think I really expected to find anything that out of the ordinary, so I didn't bother.

So I started walking. And walking. And walking. And... after a while, I started feeling really stupid.

Like- it was literally just a sidewalk. I was strolling down the sidewalk on a nice spring day, it was the weekend, people were out mowing their lawns and shit... there was nothing creepy or strange going on at all.

As I said, I have an overactive imagination. And it gets me in trouble a lot. So I was kicking myself for being an idiot and wasting my precious weekend hours on some weird detective adventure.

I started to think about giving up and going home- and I forget now, why I didn't. I think I got distracted with my phone, checking my messages and stuff. Heck, it was a nice day, maybe I decided to just keep walking because it felt good.

But then after a while, I looked up, because I realized that hey, I'd been walking a long time. Shouldn't I have reached the corner by now?

And that's when I realized- nobody was around me.

No one out mowing their lawn. No kids out playing, or walking dogs. Just a long row of houses stretching out in front of me, all facing away from the street, no driveways crossing the sidewalk.

I turned around, and it was the same thing behind me. I couldn't see any of the landmarks or people that I distinctly remembered passing just a few minutes ago; there were only rows and rows of nearly-identical suburban houses, facing away from the street.

And then I looked down. Wanna guess what I saw?

Yup- a long, unnaturally smooth, clean sidewalk stretching out in front of me, identical rows of grass growing between each perfectly-even crack,

So at this point I was freaking out, but I kept walking anyway. Because I'm a dumbass, I guess. And my imagination was going in the opposite direction at this point, desperately trying to convince myself that I had just like, crossed the street without noticing at some point and ended up in a part of the neighborhood I didn't recognize.

But as I kept walking, things got more and more undeniably weird. This headache started building in the back of my head; one of those pressure headaches that makes your teeth hurt and feels like someone has your skull clamped in a vice that they're slowly screwing down.

It got worse as I walked, and the symptoms started to spread. This terrible pressure settled around my chest, restricting my ribs, making it harder and harder for me to breathe. My ears popped, then started ringing faintly.

I got so nauseous and dizzy that at one point I was sure I was going to puke. I don't... think I actually did? I don't remember puking. I think I would remember that.

It even got harder to move; it felt like I was trying to swim through molasses, like I had invisible weighs hooked up to my legs as I forced them to carry me forwards.

It felt like I was drowning. I started to worry that I was having a heart attack. I didn't really know what a heart attack was supposed to feel like at the time, but I imagined it couldn't be much worse than this.

And all the while, the sidewalk just kept going. I don't think nI ever made any turns, just kept walking straight for what felt like hours, but no matter how far I went, there was still more sidewalk.

Perfect. Unbroken. Exact. White cement and ruler-straight rows of grass under my clumsy sneakers.

Finally, I closed my eyes and started running. I could hardly breathe, but I wanted- I needed- to get to the end of this. To the stop.

There was every reasonable chance to turn back, but I felt like I had come too far to quit now. Just a little further! I kept telling myself. You have to see where it goes!

Like I said, I was a dumbass.

Then, suddenly... I opened my eyes, and I was there.

Right in front of me, the sidewalk stopped, a clean slice in the middle of the cement.

To my eyes, the air around it was glowing and everything was warping like a heat mirage, psychedelic colors spinning in strange patterns over the spot where it stopped.

At the time, I was convinced that I was looking into a portal to another world, but in hindsight I hadn't been breathing properly for like a full three minutes- I think my eyes were just freaking out from the lack of oxygen reaching my brain.

I don't think it actually looked any different than it had from across the street. But something was definitely, desperately wrong. The fact that I felt like I had fallen into a trash compactor was proof enough of that.

Whatever was going on- well, I had been scared before. But now, seeing that spot where the sidewalk cut off, I was filled with this awful, crawling sense of dread.

It felt like after that point, everything just stopped. I had reached the end of the world as I knew it, and if I took one more step I was sure- SURE- that something unimaginably horrible would happen.

So for a while I just stood there, staring into the abyss, drunk off the lack of air, and even through the terror and the pounding in my head and the screaming tension in my bones- I still felt curious.

I still wondered what would happen if I just put my foot forward, and stepped off the edge of the sidewalk. For a moment, I think I seriously tried to convince myself to do it.

But thankfully, my survival instincts were stronger than my curiosity. I wrenched myself away from the spot, stumbled off down the grass verge, and wound up in the street.

And then I almost got hit by a truck. That was fun.

Once I'd picked myself up and crawled back up onto the verge, it took me a while for my head to stop spinning and for weird lights to stop flashing in front of my eyes. So it also took me a while to realize that I wasn't on the street with the stopped sidewalk anymore.

In fact, as soon as I got up and looked around, I realized that I was on the completely opposite side of town than I'd started out on.

That was definitely disturbing, but I was too exhausted to care; I think I was just glad I wasn't dead and I knew how to get back to my house from there.

So I went home, took a really long shower and a nap, and never told anyone else about what had happened.

I thought about it. I thought about it a lot, actually. There were plenty of times I almost told my parents, my friends, random kids at school.

But- I mean, come on. Who would ever believe me? Most people already think I'm weird. They would laugh at me if I told a crazy story like this. Or they would think there was something actually wrong with me.

I don't need that. My life is hard enough already.

So for now, I'm just going to write it down like this. Just to get it out of my head. Maybe someday, I'll be brave enough to finally tell someone what happened, whether they believe me or not.

But for right now, well... I'm not gonna cross the street. And I'm not going to try and walk on that sidewalk ever again.

And when I walk past it, I'm going to keep my head down and ignore it as best I can.

Sometimes, that's the only thing you can do.