~ (tilde) expands to the value of the variable
HOME which is set by the process
login or to the value set in one of your shell's config files.
From the man pages:
HOME - The home directory of the current user; the default argument for the cd builtin command. The value of this variable is also used when performing tilde expansion.
Tilde Expansion - If a word begins with an unquoted tilde character (`~'), all of the characters preceding the first unquoted slash (or all characters, if there is no unquoted slash) are considered a tilde-prefix. If none of the characters in the tilde-prefix are quoted, the characters in the tilde-prefix following the tilde are treated as a possible login name. If this login name is the null string, the tilde is replaced with the value of the shell parameter HOME. If HOME is unset, the home directory of the user executing the shell is substituted instead. Otherwise, the tilde-prefix is replaced with the home directory associated with the specified login name.
In your case (assuming you have not changed
~/local is expanding them to
If what you want is in the root folder of your system, don't put the
~ (leave just
/ at the front).
References: man page for bash/