Witch Creek Road Explained (Spoilers)
ISSUE 1 – SARA
Issue 1 contains chapter 1, chapter 2 and chapter 3, and opens with Sara in a very dire situation: two of her friends are dead, and she's being toyed with by a friendly (but deadly) flesh-eating demon. The demon draws a circle around Sara and tells her that, “This is your safe place. As long as you stay inside this circle, no harm will come to you.”
The story shifts back about two weeks. It shows the very repetitive life of Sara, an insecure girl without many friends. A girl with a borderline eating disorder. A girl whose days pass without much interest. That is, until she becomes the object of desire for Dirk, one of the stars of the football team. He convinces Sara to join their upcoming camping trip, and even arranges for Abby to give Sara a ride.
Note that none of this appears in the Webtoons version, as it slowed down the pacing too much. So instead, the story picks up with Sara, Betty and Abby driving toward the lake, for a weekend of camping, drinking and teenage fun. Unfortunately they take a wrong turn and find themselves in the middle of nowhere, lost and without reception.
Abby sees three girls standing in the clearing, and assumes they're some unwanted goth girls from their school. She tells them to leave, and promptly gets torn in half. Sara freezes in fear, forcing Betty to climb into the driver's seat, only to realize that the car keys are with the now-dead Abby. The demons approach the car and quickly kill Betty. Sara is the only one of the three to be left alive.
The story shifts to the second car, which consists of Tyler, Dirk, Connie, Edwin and Grace. Dirk points out where the cheerleaders turned, and Tyler gets annoyed that Dirk didn't tell them that was the wrong road. While they argue, Ryan and his group (Ryan, Shaleeta, Ben and Angelo) also arrive. The two cars turn down Witch Creek Road to go in search of their lost friends.
When the cars arrive at the clearing, the main demon reminds Sara that she can only guarantee her safety if she remains in the circle. However, Sara doesn't listen and immediately starts running toward Tyler's car, screaming for help.
One of the demon's jumps onto Ryan's car and starts punching through the windshield. Ryan starts driving, but when the demon's fist smashes through the windshield he loses control of his car, slamming it into the side of Tyler's car and narrowly missing Sara. The four occupants of Ryan's car exit the vehicle and run.
Sara, meanwhile, pushes her way into Tyler's car, taking the driver's seat. The main demon is walking toward them, and Sara snaps.
She tries to run the main demon over, crashing them both into a tree. She reverses and takes another run at the demon, hitting the tree dead one – but the demon is unscathed and is on top of the vehicle. When she smashes through the windshield, the occupants panic and abandon the now-damaged vehicle, leaving Sara behind.
Sara, in an attempt to save herself, draws a circle in the ground around her. Unfortunately the main demon points out, “That's not how it works.”
The circle that the demon draws around Sara holds no actual power – it's simply symbolic. In short, it's a promise. “If you stay here, I won't hurt you.” That's not to say circles don't have power – the one inside the cabin certainly does – but the one the demon draws in the dirt is mostly just for show.
It could be argued that everything that happens is Dirk's fault. If he had answered Betty's text properly, and told them Witch Creek Road wasn't the correct place, everything that followed could have been avoided. Instead, he was more concerned with flirting with Sara via text than making sure Betty had the correct information. This ends up playing on his conscience, and plays a large part in influencing his actions in issues 2 and 3.
ISSUE 2 – DIRK, aka SARA PART 2
Issue 2 contains chapter 4, chapter 5 and chapter 6. It focuses mostly on Dirk, though it also serves to shed more light on Sara, allowing us to understand her character better. It also introduces us to Mercy, Sara's bully, who (along with Mercy's two friends) mocks Sara. In fact, they reduce Sara to tears, and Dirk mentions to Mercy that she might want to lay off Sara a bit.
This doesn't go over well with Mercy, who points out to Dirk that's he's just as big a dick to people like Keifer, and that the only reason Dirk cares about Sara is because she's a girl.
Dirk goes to see Keifer, who thinks he's there to beat him up at first, but Dirk instead asks him one simple question: “Do I make you cry?” Keifer tells him no, but that Dirk does make him feel bad about himself. Dirk apologizes, saying that he's a dick to everyone.
Dirk ends up breaking up with Mercy via text – something that enrages her and sparks a confrontation. He threatens Mercy with a video, mentioning that she and her friends need to stay out of his way, and out of Sara's way, or everyone would see what was on the USB drive. Though not explicitly said, it's hinted rather heavily that the video is of a threesome between Dirk, Mercy and Chloe.
Following his confrontation with Mercy, Dirk finds Sara, thus beginning his attempt to woo her.
The story then shifts to the woods. We see Connie running through the trees. She comes to a clearing and sees a cabin.
Filled with relief, she runs toward the cabin and throws herself through the front door. Once inside, we see that most of the other survivors have also found the cabin – though Dirk asks about Sara, and Ben asks about Angelo.
Almost immediately after arriving at the cabin, there's a knock on the door. Dirk opens it, and we see a very different version of Sara.
The new version of Sara has been cobbled together from the body parts of the other victims – Abby, Betty and Angelo (who died between issues one and two) – and she has eight arms and eight eyes as a result.
Whatever the demons did to Sara was done within the angles – and because time doesn't exist within the angles, Sara has no idea how much time has actually past. This becomes apparent when she sees the others, wondering if it's been years or months or minutes since she last saw them.
Sara also possesses the minds of the others, so that when “Angelo” notices Ben, it prompts Sara to move toward him, claiming Angelo thought he'd never see Ben again, leading to an embrace between Ben and Sara. But it doesn't stop with the embrace – Sara quickly tears Ben's throat out, claiming Angelo wants to eat Ben so that they can absorb Ben and be together.
Grace eventually jumps into action, shooting Sara with her shotgun. Dirk tries to stop her, believing he can reason with Sara. Dirk begins looking for Sara, who retreated after being shot, and Grace stays close behind him, waiting to act again.
In the end, Tyler restrains Dirk while Grace shoots Sara a few more times. Sara appears to die, but tells the others that they can still find her within the angles.
PUNISHMENT OR REWARD?
It's debatable as to whether Sara's transformation was meant as a punishment or a reward. On one hand, by our standards Sara is now a monster. But on the other hand, the main demon removed her stomach (thus removing Sara's body issues) and made it so the minds of Abby, Betty and Angelo were also contained within her, so that Sara would never be alone. At the end of the issue Sara seems genuinely sorry, and that she only wanted the others to be happy like her. She also tells them not to worry, because they can still find her within the angles.
ISSUE 2 EPILOGUE (chapter 18)
Chapter 18 opens with Sara's bully, Mercy, and takes place shortly after the events at the cabin. Mercy refers to the assembly to mourn their dead classmates and how Sara's "even more boring dead than she was alive."
Sara appears in the corner of the room (being able to move through the angles of the world).
A frightened Mercy tries to run, but Sara catches her, and tells her Mercy should be happy to see her. "You see," Sara says. "There's a monster in your house. It crept in when no one was looking."
Sara explains that Mercy needs to choose between opening the bedroom door or locking it. If she opens the door, there may be something on the other side – or there may be nothing. If she locks the door and stays inside the bedroom, then she may survive – or maybe Sara is the monster in her house.
The epilogue ends with Sara telling Mercy to choose.
The outcome of Mercy's decision wasn't as important as Sara's actions. In this epilogue, we see a more coherent version of Sara out for revenge. For example, if she had truly wanted to help Mercy, she would have simply told her what to do. Instead, she presented Mercy with a decision that could have very dire consequences. So the real question becomes: did Sara go there with the intention to kill Mercy? Or was she offering up some help with a heaping side dish of psychological trauma?
ISSUE 3 – RYAN & SHALEETA
"A house. By the ocean."
"A white picket fence. Like in the movies."
"A dog named Akkina." "Or Ianto."
The one thing they don't seem to agree on is the idea of children - Ryan wants two, a boy and a girl, while Shaleeta suggests getting a chinchilla instead.
We also learn that Shaleeta comes from a partially broken home, in which Shaleeta already has three people she calls dad. This causes her to question their plans, but Ryan assures her they'll always be together.
Flash forward to the woods. Ryan and Shaleeta seem to be the only two who never made it to the cabin, and they're being hunted by one of the demons.
Shaleeta eventually falls and is too tired to continue running. She tells Ryan to leave, but he refuses. Instead, he kneels next to Shaleeta while the demon circles them, and he begins reciting their plans for the future:
"A house. By the ocean."
"A white picket fence."
This continues until Ryan gets stabbed. He manages to say, "Two kids. A boy... and a girl..." to which Shaleeta agrees. But Ryan knows she's only humoring him and calls her a liar with his dying breath.
With Ryan dead, Shaleeta tells the demon to kill her, too. The demon refuses, telling Shaleeta that she needs Shaleeta alive so that she'll believe in her. The demon walks away, leaving Shaleeta alone.
DIRK, PART 2
The story then shifts to the cabin, where Dirk has arranged Sara on the bed and covers her with a bed sheet. He then leaves the bedroom and tells the others that he's leaving. Tyler begins to protest, but Dirk points out, "There's only one person I care about in this room: me. [...] Whether you believe this or not, [Sara] wasn't some fucking flavor of the week for me. So if I couldn't protect her, how the fuck can I be expected to protect a bunch of people I don't give a shit about?!"
Tyler gives up and tells Dirk to leave, but to leave the gun. Dirk hands it over but says he's going to take whatever he wants out of the unclaimed items. Tyler agrees, which sends Dirk on a quick spree throughout the cabin, claiming a shotgun, ammunition, Ben's kitchen knife and some grenades. Tyler is in shock at what Dirk's able to find, and Dirk points out that, "While all of you were busy pissing yourselves earlier, I was busy taking inventory. This guy was a fucking prepper or something." And, in a brief moment of sharing, Dirk says, "You'll also find a rifle mounted on the bedroom wall. Ammunition in the bathroom closet, under some towels. On the dresser is a photocopied page in fucking ELVISH or something. And if you move the rug in the living room, you'll find some satanic circle bullshit." Grace takes particular notice of Dirk's circle comment, foreshadowing some of the events to come.
Dirk then leaves, in search of the demons and some revenge.
Dirk eventually finds the main demon, who offers Dirk a deal, saying, "I wish to compromise. Sara was my friend. Sara was meant to be your lover. You will become my Sara, and I will become yours. We can both be Sara. To each other."
Dirk refuses, instead trying to cut the main demon with his knife - and realizes too late that the demon has pulled the pin from one of his grenades. Dirk dies.
ISSUE 3 EPILOGUE (chapter 17)
We see Shaleeta sitting in a park a few weeks after the events in the woods. She holds a bottle of alcohol, wrapped in a brown paper bag. A man walks up to her, saying he wishes to talk about what happened in the woods. Shaleeta tells him she can't remember due to selective amnesia, and she gets up to walk away. He tells her that "for someone who doesn't remember anything, you sure drink like someone who's trying to forget" - meaning the man believes Shaleeta to be faking her amnesia.
Shaleeta begins walking away, but stops when the man mentions the demons. He tells her the demons were summoned by a former associate of his, using a notebook that the man shows Shaleeta.
The man leaves the notebook on the bench, telling Shaleeta that it contains something she may find interesting: how to stop the demons.
ISSUE 4 – GRACE
Issue 4 contains chapter 10, chapter 11 and chapter 12, and focuses on Grace. Grace would be the Survivalist character – someone who can use weapons and can remove her emotions from the equation. She's the first to attack Sara in chapter 6, and when Edwin suggests securing the bodies of Ben and Sara, she's quickly steps up to do what's needed.
Issue 4 begins with a bit of Grace's backstory, and takes place less than a week before the fateful camping trip. Grace and Betty are playing video games and discussing the upcoming trip, with Grace commenting that it's Tyler's intention to set Edwin and Connie up.
We also learn that Grace believes the key to survival is to find “that little corner of the world that's yours and not letting anyone take it away from you” – a philosophy that will come into play later in this issue.
The story shifts to their present condition, where the survivors are still in the cabin. The story picks up not long after Dirk left, with Edwin telling the others that they need to secure the bodies, in case the bodies come back to life – and considering some of the craziness that's happened, it's a legitimate concern. Grace jumps into action, but Connie refuses to believe the bodies of their friends are anything more than that, and doesn't want to disrespect them. When she's outnumbered, she decides to leave the cabin, but it's too late. The main demon is at the door.
Tyler tells the others to run. Edwin explains some of the reasons behind this in issue 5 (see chapter 13) – mostly being that Tyler doesn't understand that he can't win. Up to this point, Tyler's been successful in everything he's tried, so the idea that he's up against something that he can't overcome is a foreign concept.
Both Edwin and Connie escape through the bedroom window, but Grace grabs the notebook and decides to make her stand within the circle - she remembers Sara talking about the "curves" and believes the circle will provide her with safety. Grace tells Tyler to run, but he doesn't, and eventually one of the demons cuts off his hand. He moves toward Grace, asking her to let him into the circle, but she stands her ground – as she said earlier, you need to find “that little corner of the world that's yours and not [let] anyone take it away from you”. Tyler pushes this, and Grace shoots him.
The demons allow this scene to play out, and underestimate the fact that Grace will kill Tyler in order to protect herself. They also underestimate the fact that Grace has the notebook and intends to use it – and for a moment we see the first instance of fear coming from the demons.
When Grace reads from the notebook, it “breaks” the world. And, for a moment, she's moved to a place of complete darkness. In fact, she's inside the angles, along with the main demon. And while they're in the angles, the demon explains some of the possible scenarios that are currently playing themselves out. In one world, for example, Grace and the main demon argue, until the main demon leaves and cuts away at the cabin until it collapses on top of Grace. In another version, Dark Grace arrives and tells Grace to leave the circle. And in this version, the main demon still causes the cabin to collapse on top of Grace. In fact, the collapsing of the cabin is the only consistent thing to happen between the versions that the main demon describes. In the end, Grace is returned to the “real world” just in time to have the cabin collapse on top of her.
WHY DID THE WORLD BREAK?
The notebook, or circle, were defective. They had already failed once, when the original user attempted to summon the demons. So using them again causes a fracture. The circle is a bridge between the angles and the curves, and activating the already broken bridge causes a momentary break in reality, in which various outcomes are played out.
The main demon describes two of these outcomes, but there are more. For example, we witnessed a third version of the world, in which Grace is moved temporarily to a place outside of time and the demon describes what's going on. And there's a fourth version, in which Grace manages to move out of the way of the falling roof just in time and survive. And there are possibly other versions we may never know about.
ISSUE 4 EPILOGUE (chapter 16)
Issue 4 (ch 12) ends with the cabin falling on Grace – but this isn't the end. Though Grace dies, her spirit becomes trapped within the circle. As the demon mentioned, it's a prison, and that's exactly what it does – it imprisons Grace's spirit.
The epilogue takes place about a week or two after the events in the cabin. The police tape can still be seen – though it should be noted that time for Grace may be moving at a very different pace. When the Collector summons her, we see that she's become the “Dark Grace” that the demon was referring to in chapter 12. The circle, which was meant to hold against creatures from the angles, instead created an angle-version of Grace – a demon version that, like the main demons, can exist outside of time.
In the end, Dark Grace agrees to help the Collector, in exchange for her freedom... and one condition: she seeks revenge against the demons, which she refers to as “wolves”.
Side note: Dark Grace exists outside of time, which is one of the reasons we see her in chapter 12. In chapter 12, Dark Grace returns to the moment before her “death”, to warn herself. Unfortunately Grace doesn't believe Dark Grace and “dies”, her soul becoming trapped within the circle and giving birth to Dark Grace.
The Collector is a mysterious figure that collects items of power, though his motivations are unclear at this time. However, it seems apparent that he knows about the "wolves", and that the notebook was copied from a larger tome in his possession. The Collector also appeared very briefly in an earlier story, "The Living Finger", where we see him connected to the Scarred Woman (who is mentioned in chapter 15).
This is where all the bad stuff originates. It's first referenced in Issue 3 (ch 8) by Dirk, who says, “On the dresser is a notebook written in fucking Elvish or something.” According to the Collector's associate, it was copied from a larger tome, and the notebook was used to summon the demons (see chapter 17). Unfortunately something went wrong with either the notebook or the circle, and the demons escaped, killing the man who summoned them. The notebook was later used by Grace in an attempt to save herself, but because the circle or notebook is defective, it “breaks the world” - Grace is temporarily moved to a place outside of time, and the demon describes the various versions of the world that are now going on around her.
Despite causing the problems to begin with and being “incomplete” according to the Collector's associate (see ch 17), the notebook works well enough summon Grace and release her from the prison of the circle. The Collector's associate then gives the notebook to Shaleeta, telling her that it contains the key to stopping the demons (see ch 17).
In chapter 16, Grace refers to the demons as “wolves”, calling them “The wolves that look like girls. The wolves that exist outside of time.” This is not the first time the demons are associated with wolves. In issue 1 (ch 2), when standing outside the car, they recite the old nursery rhyme, “Little pig, little pig, let me in,” taking on the role of the big bad wolf. Sara, in issue 2 (ch 5), also mentions that we only perceive them as girls because “that's all [our] mind[s] could comprehend.” She also mentioned that their language is “beautiful and frightening and filled with teeth.” And in issue 5 (ch 15), the main demon continues the big bad wolf metaphor with the lines, “We huff. We puff. We blow the house in”.
ISSUE 4 EPILOGUE (chapter 19), aka THE BROKEN WORLD
We get a glimpse into one of the alternate worlds that was created in chapter 12, when Grace read from the notebook. In this world, the cabin still fell on Grace, but she had managed to move out of the way just in time – thus surviving, and preventing herself from becoming Dark Grace.
It's been about a month since the events in the cabin, and Grace is on the run due to guilt (at having killed Tyler) and fear (of going to jail). Sara comes to visit Grace, who comments, “I thought I killed you,” to which Sara replies, “Don't be silly. I'm not even sure I can die.”
Sara has come because Betty wants to speak with Grace. This is an important scene, because we see that the other personalities still exist – fully intact – within Sara. For a while, all the other eyes close, and it's just Betty.
Betty explains what happened to Grace, with the key points being:
- Dark Grace (who exists in the main world) is as strong as the demons, and has since been released by the Collector.
- The demons have become lost.
- The short-haired demon creates “beacons” to help her find her way back to a particular place and time, which she did with Shaleeta.
- The best way to prevent the demons from returning is to remove their beacon.
In the end, Grace decides to leave the woods in order to track down and remove the demon's beacon; that is, she plans to kill Shaleeta.
ISSUE 5 – EDWIN
Issue 5 contains chapter 13, chapter 14 and chapter 15, and focuses on Edwin. It begins with Edwin playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends, including Tyler, who seems new and unfamiliar with the game.
After the game, Tyler and Edwin are walking home. Tyler mentions to Edwin, "You seem to enjoy playing the hero, so why don't you bring more of that into your normal life?" Edwin points out that "We can't all be big and strong, like you," to which Tyler replies, "Being a hero's about mental strength" and that, "One of these days, you're going to have to step up. And it's going to be scary. But it's also going to show everybody what type of man you are."
We then move to the present. Edwin and Connie are running through the woods. Connie wants to stop and wait for the others, and Edwin explains that the others aren't coming – that Grace figured something out, and Tyler is most likely dead. He tells Connie, "[Tyler] looks at the world as something to be conquered, and that's what he's been doing for the past 18 years. He doesn't understand that there are things that can't be conquered."
They continue walking, and Edwin eventually takes out his phone to make sure they're walking in the right direction, pointing out that they might not have reception, but the phone's compass should at least work. He also points out that the demons probably know where they are and they need to keep moving. But it's too late – the main demon is already there, and she explains that they're able to track them through their scent.
One of the other demons grabs Connie, and Edwin demands they let her go. However, when push comes to shove, Edwin isn't the hero he wants to be. Instead he runs, leaving Connie with the demons.
Edwin makes it out to the road, but gets struck by a car. The other two demons walk to the car to deal with its occupants, while the main demon speaks with Edwin.
Edwin tells her he doesn't want to die and points out that there are "other ways". The main demon agrees, and holds out her hand, saying,"All you have to do is take my hand".
HUMANS AS CREATURES
While the demon speaks to Edwin and Connie, she refers to humans as "creatures", clearly indicating that, while the three demons may look human, they are something entirely different.
When Edwin is dying, he points out, "There are other ways," and the main demon agrees. He's referring to the fact that they let Sara live and asking for something similar – because, in the moment, Edwin's fear of death is far greater than his fear of what he might become. Rather than agreeing, the main demon holds out her hand, forcing Edwin to make the decision for himself.
ISSUE 5 EPILOGUE (chapter 20)
Chapter 20 picks up where chapter 15 leaves off, with Edwin reaching toward the main demon's hand. Just as he's about to grab it, he finds himself standing outside a door. He opens it, and it's his bedroom; he's home.
Edwin's little brother, Max, is there, and for a moment Edwin seems elated - he's home and with family. But then he learns he's been gone two months, and Max points out Edwin has a tattoo on his arm.
Edwin goes to the bathroom and removes his shirt, only to find a number of tattoos covering his body. He starts picking at one, and it turns out to be something closer to a zipper. He begins to unzip it and a millipede crawls out.
Edwin tells Max to get out of the house. Then, standing in front of the mirror, Edwin begins unzipping the tattoo around his neck. He removes his face. The epilogue ends with Edwin looking at himself in the mirror and laughing.