's 2018 Horror Write-off:

The strangers down the long lonesome roads.

Submitted by Coral (email)

There are many names for them: Strangers, outsiders, demons, extra-dimensionals, worms, ghosts, hollow men, and figments.

All these are names for those things that skulk down those lonely highways out here. You won’t see em’ coming, but you’ll know they’re nearby by the lights of their headlight eyes, or by their horrible howling, or even from just the feeling you get from their presence.


I’ve been driving down these roads for 40 years, and in my time I’ve learned to identify them by the noises, or even just the feelings. A feeling of doubt, fear, anger, or even arousal signifies their prescense.

No two strangers will ever look completely alike; every single one of them looks different. Sometimes, they’re just big ol’ worms with mouths full of teeth, other times they’re more like man-sized lizards that bear a massive grin on their otherwise featureless faces.

Quite a few look almost human but… not quite right. If humans were dogs, they would be thylacines; their proportions are just off in some way, and they can open their mouths far too wide, wider than any human.


I’ve been studying them. During my trip down the road, I’ve decided to pass time by studying, describing and cataloging the strangers down the lonesome road. It’s been 39 years now… I think.

Some of the strangers I’ve seen on this road were aggressive, and I’ve nearly died at least… 16 times as far as I’ve counted. 

I don’t know why they attack, or why they feed on people and animals, because they don’t seem to be able to comprehend the idea of malice, and they don’t seem to need any kind of sustenance to survive as far as I know.


Many of them are unpredictable, switching from docile to aggressive on a whim.

One time, a stranger began to strangle me in my sleep. I could feel its cold, slimy appendages wrapping around my throat as the burning scent of rotten fruit filled my lungs and nostrils, and then suddenly it just… let go. Not even when I started to lose my breath, but just out of nowhere. And then it just sat there and stared at me for an hour before it just wandered off into the forest, spontaneously combusting the second it reached the trees.


Strangers are always closer than they appear, and much, much bigger too. You know how like, whenever you get far away from a person or place or thing, it looks smaller? The thing is, that doesn’t seem to apply to the strangers; it’ll look like they’re miles away… too far to even clearly make out, but instead they’ll be right there in front of you, close enough to breath scorching hot foul gas across your face, close enough to taste your fingernails and eyes.


Not all of my encounters with the Strangers have been of a malevolent nature. I once ended up in an abandoned factory inhabited by them, and it was, in a very alien way, almost beautiful. Bioluminescent humanlike figures stretched and contorted as they frolicked in pools of light, their bodies intertwined like serpents. I saw big things that looked like dogs, hanging from the ceiling, their rubbery bodies expanding and collapsing rhythmically.  There were glowing creatures that looked like worms whose bodies seemed to stretch on forever as they danced through the air. At the center was an enormous thing that looked like a hybrid of lizard and deer, with transparent skin and a floating cube for a head. I felt, for the first time in a long while, safe, calm, and tranquil. I guess you could say it was a pretty enlightening experience.


Saw one of the strangers today. It was fuckin’ huge, bigger than the others I’ve seen, and looked like a big worm made of blue light, with massive pincers. I made sure to keep my distance, because I knew, in that scenario, what I was dealing with. One of the few strangers I’ve been able to successfully classify, because unlike others, they always look exactly the same, with very few differing qualities.

It was attacking several shimmering ethereal creatures and messily devouring the corpses. Great, just fucking great, now I’ll have to see more of those goddamned trees popping up around there. Damn shame too, that was a good hideout spot; now its going to be impossible to move anywhere without getting stuck in a tree.


Wait… Hold on, I’m looking over the corner and… The stranger is still there, though now its more humanoid in shape… but, there’s somebody else there. Human, I think, and he doesn’t seem to notice the thing yet. What is he… He’s going over to investigate the bodies. Oh shit, Oh shit. Alright, I… I have to do something or– No, no I’m not going to intervene, I said I would never intervene but…

Shit, never mind, its too late now. The thing’s noticed him, and that means… well, I don’t think I can do anything now. Wish I could’ve helped, but I’m afraid nothing short of a flamethrower will take out one of those things. Maybe he’ll get lucky and it just won’t attack.

I Sure hope so.


In the years I’ve been traveling down these roads I’ve began to feel… strange. I’ve been getting dizzy spells, coughing up blood, getting muscle spasms and strangest of all, some of my skin has been… shedding, for lack of a better word. Its funny, to be honest– the symptoms began a while ago, but somehow I had never noticed them. Never paid them any mind until now. Ha… Ha… I feel… different.

M… My legs j-just gave out. Am I dying? Could that be it? No… no I can’t die yet, I still have so much more to see, so many things to *cough * c-catalog…

*Hack* *retch* h-hhhhhh….

P-perhaps the creek water I had ingested was foul all along…

Haha…. I- I can feel something growing out of my body, moving on its own.

Goodnight, listeners.

And goodbye, for this may be the last you hear of me