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Would any of you like your short stories to be in 'The Halloween Collab 2013'?
I've added a writing section to it and it would be nice to fill it with some more content (will be good promotion for your work)
Here is a preview of it so far (can be accessed by clicking on the graves): Link
If anyone is interested please PM me
- the deadline is the 28th of October
Well here is my story,
I decided to go to the park with my friends; they were unveiling a new statue near the children’s park. I wasn’t going to go there because I’m not that age anymore. I’m turning 18, so we decided to go to the field where there are soccer nets. I usually play as a goalie but when I don’t play that position I play striker. I forgot to bring a ball so I had to go and get a ball. I asked my friends if they were willing to get a ball but they denied because it was my duty to bring my ball. So I decided to go and get my own ball but on the way to my house I saw a tall and easily seen person, he wore a hood over his face so I couldn’t see how he looked like. I thought he was strange because he looked like he was stalking me and then it all happened. I wanted to test my theory to see if he was actually stalking me so I ran. The strangest thing just happened, he pulled down his hood and it looked like he was a Mexican selling drugs that’s when I got scared, he also looked very unappealing. Then he started to run like I did and he was chasing me or so I thought… I then looked back to see if he was still following me, when I looked back I saw a tree in my way, I tried to move out of the way but then I was too late. I already bashed my head on the tree.
I suddenly wake up, my face and my whole body is on the grass. I then looked around and it then it all looked familiar, like something I’ve seen before. I hear screaming voices and then see a gun on the floor. I then decided to pick it up so I then picked the gun up. I then saw a dark figure, running around the woods, where I am. Then the figure starts screaming and crying. I then started screaming at the dark figure “Who are you and why are you crying?” Then surprisingly, the blood curling scream stops, then the darkly dressed figure says “I am your worst nightmare, you have 12 hours to leave this place and never speak of it to anyone. Or the penalty will be execution!” Then the figure disappears into thin air. I was trembling with fear, I then hear something, and I then take out my gun and I was starting to shoot at it. Luckily it was a dog, and I nearly missed his left ear by and inch. I still had 5 bullets left; all I needed now was food and a way out of this nightmare. I decided to go hunt wild animals. I saw a wolf approaching me so then I took out my gun and tried killing him, but I was too late, the dog just charged at the wolf and bit his neck and held on to it… The wolf had died under seconds. I now have the main thing I needed, food. I fed the dog and I went to sleep. When I woke up there he was the dark hooded figure. “You may know me as the Grim Reaper; you have 5 hours left, beware!” I then took out my gun and I started to shoot him, “There is now way you can get rid of me I’ll be watching you!’’ The dog went and he tried to bit his neck. “Take your useless mutt away, because it can’t harm me, I am not flesh, I am a ghost and I seek revenge on all who trespass.” He pulls his hood off; he has no face all he has is a skull for a head! The Grim Reaper disappears once again and then suddenly leaves behind a strange object, a knife of some sort. The dog suddenly digs up a bottle and inside a burned up paper: You must take the Grim Reaper’s knife and stab him in his heart. I go to seek shelter and then I drop my gun behind it is now useless because I have no more ammo left. I start to cut down a tree to take the wood needed to build a shelter. I start to build and then suddenly I hear a voice “1 hour left before I come!” I have to get ready I tell myself, so I hunt some food and try to find water. I succeeded I found a nearby lake and a deer, I got ready. I waited and the he came. I needed a diversion, and then I hatched a plan. When he came he only found the dog he asked “Where is your owner…” he couldn’t finish his sentence because when he turned around I was right behind him I jumped and I pierced his heart with the dagger I found, he went down with a scream… Then I saw the spirit of the Grim Ripper escaping his motionless body. Was he dead or was he alive? (The continuation will be posted the day of the deadline, 31 October 2013 hope you like it! :))
The storm raged. Lightning lit up the sky every few seconds, and the wind pounded against my house with all the pleasantness of a sledgehammer. It was an awful time—and Henry wasn’t home yet.
I tossed in our bed, unable to fall asleep. How could I? It was late—too late—and his warm body wasn’t beside mine.
The phone rang, and I barely heard it over the thunder.
“Hello,” I said.
“Honey, it’s me. I’m leaving the office now. I’ll be home as soon as I can.”
“Okay. Be careful. I love you.”
“Babe, don’t worry. You know me.”
I smiled. Henry’s confidence was one of the many traits I loved about him—one of the many reasons we were getting married next month.
But, no matter his promise, he wasn’t home soon. I waited and waited. I picked up the phone to try his cell, but I didn’t have a dial tone.
In my heart, I knew something was wrong. Maybe the weather was worse in the city, and he had to pull over? Maybe his car broke down, and he was stranded? Maybe a road or bridge washed out? So many horrible thoughts rushed through my head.
I felt sick with worry.
Unable to calm down, I got up and filled a glass of water. I took a pill and tried to relax in bed. More time passed.
Suddenly, I heard the front door slam.
Henry was home!
I flipped the light switch, but the hall lights wouldn’t come on. I slowly walked to the front entry way, touching the wall for guidance in the darkness.
Suddenly, the front windows lit up from lightning, and a dark silhouette appeared by the door. I screamed out in surprise.
“Henry? Oh, thank God.”
He was there—drenched and shaking.
“Oh, I’m a nervous wreck,” I sighed, burying my head in his wet jacket. “What took you so long?”
Henry whispered, “It was terrible. There—there was an accident—right in front of me on the interstate. I had to wait…for the police and ambulance to get there. I—I—can’t describe it…it all happened so fast…”
I caught my breath. I held him then, not caring that my clothes were getting soaked. “Oh, I’m so glad you’re safe.”
We hugged for a long time. He didn’t want anything to eat or drink. He just wanted to go right to bed. He had another important meeting in the morning.
In our bedroom, and with Henry—my security blanket—by my side, I was able to finally relax and sleep. The storm ended at some point in the night, but it did so without my attention.
I awoke the next morning well past my normal time. Henry had already left for work. I made coffee and sat down at the kitchen table.
The phone rang.
I checked the caller ID and frowned at the familiar number. His mom was probably calling with more “important” wedding advice.
“Hey,” I said, doing my best to sound cheerful.
She was crying.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
It took a few moments for her to speak. I just caught fragments between sobs. “I—he—they couldn’t find any—his wallet—the accident—all gone.”
“Linda, calm down. What are you saying?”
I heard her take a few labored breaths. “The police couldn’t find his wallet—they just identified him now.”
“Who? What are you talking about?”
She moaned again. Then, with fury in her voice, she said, “Henry, damn it! Henry! He’s dead! He died last night on the interstate.”
- Part I
The locals have a legend about my forest that they like to pass around with their beer. On cold nights, they cram inside and build up roaring fires and I can only hear snatches of their stories, but on warm nights, they trickle outside and sip from sweating mugs and talk about me. I like to sneak up close and listen to them trade stories. It’s good to know what they think of my forest. I depend on their feelings of safety.
My forest surrounds a small but healthy town. My trees are dark and towering and clustered so closely together that if you walk fifty paces in, the town with all its human sounds and smells disappears. In the summer, the leaves are so thick they block out all the light and I get to run through midnight in mid-afternoon. The townsfolk sink into a heat-soaked doze, and few wanderers disturb my silent forest. Things are peaceful then, but boring, and sustenance is hard to come by since the more worldly townsfolk venture out for the summer and don’t come back until the season is dead. So I prefer the late autumn.
Late autumn is when the trees have been stripped bare by winds hungry for winter. The branches claw at the sky, desperate to pull the clouds down and cover their nakedness, but that’s how I love the trees. There’s a purity to them, a starkness to their silhouettes that can hold no secrets. The air carries the smell of dead leaves, a stench that I love to kick up as I race over the crunching ground, and there’s always the clean bite of winter on the wind that makes me feel so alive. And that wind brings the wanderers in.
Since the people put the road down, I find fewer and fewer wanderers in my woods. Most know to stick to the road because it will eventually lead them to the town, but once in a while, I find a nervous wanderer carrying an empty gas tank and looking for a shortcut to human civilization. Or I find an adventurous soul who has come into my forest with the intent of exploring. Those are my favorite people. They’re the ones who will look ahead and see me standing between the trees, watching them, and waiting. If they’re exploring in a pair, they’ll whisper, “Look, a dog!” and they’ll wonder what I’m doing way out here.
The sight of me can be a little unnerving for those who are not adventurous. I am all white, and I’ve heard the townsfolk call me Ghost. Some of the people mistrust me because of what they call the other one, but most of the townsfolk agree that I am a friendly spirit, and something of a forest guide.
I lead the travelers and the wanderers, you see. I find them in my forest, and I know that they will have a great deal of trouble finding their way out on their own. My forest can be inescapable if you can’t hear its pulse, and there are so few humans who can. Especially now that the only horses I hear talk of are trapped inside of engines. So, even though I’m finding fewer and fewer wanderers these days, more and more of them are completely lost.
Four out of five times, I lead the wanderers safely to the town. The other one takes the fifth wanderers, as the townsfolk say.
I do what I can, but I can only lead so many out of my woods. It’s just impossible to save them all. Most of the townsfolk seem to understand this, and they forgive me for it. They’re the ones who have met me. They’re the ones who saw the white dog in the forest, and followed it home. They’re the ones who whispered “Thank you, Ghost,” when I left them at the last row of trees, and who most enthusiastically passed my legend around with the beer for the next few nights.
I’m happy to help, really. Truth be told, I depend on the trust of the townsfolk. It’s what keeps me alive. There are those who would sour my survival by muttering about the other one and how he devours the flesh of lost travelers. Those that I’ve saved shake their heads and say, “That’s not Ghost.” And they’re right, of course. I’ve never done anything like that to the wanderers, no matter how hungry I may be. Just in case, though, I keep listening to the stories. Just to make sure their trust has not faded, and they are not too afraid of being taken by the other one to venture into my forest. I need them. Especially during bad years when I have so few wanderers that I almost starve.
There was one year that was particularly horrible. You’d think I’d have forgotten now that a few decades have crept by, but the memory stays with me like an unreachable itch. Truthfully, the issue was a string of bad summer storms that left the forest drenched in the cloying smell of rain and looming thunder. The sky did crack open and let the sunlight ooze out for a brief while, but the winter frosts crept in early. I knew I was in trouble then, for there are virtually no wanderers during winter and the few that do come lose me so easily in the snow that they cannot follow me. Some manage to stumble their way to the town on their own, but most collapse in the snowdrifts and let themselves die. I stay with those wanderers, watching their souls wither and dissolve into dust, hunger gnawing at my belly. I can’t do anything with a withered soul, but I stay with them anyway, hoping that they’ll find the strength to get up again and follow me and help me fill my gradually emptying stomach.
The year of the early winter, I very nearly starved to death. The summer storms kept the wanderers at bay, and during the very brief autumn, I met and led three travelers back to town. The frost leaked across the forest not even a week after I had escorted the third traveler to the town, and I watched helplessly as the dead leaves became spiked with white and the ice clung to the edges of the creek. It was a black winter that year, with only a single light snowfall, but the air was so bitterly cold that the townsfolk stayed inside and the road was silent for weeks on end. I saw two cars that year. One of them raced through my forest, tore through the town, and darted on its merry way, never once looking back. The other came on a day when the black winter gave another empty threat of snow. The clouds barreled across the sky as this other car came rolling cautiously down the road. By the time the moon had stabbed its way into position near the top of the sky, the car had sputtered to a firm stop. Another empty gas tank.
- Part 2
I crept to the edge of the woods and watched the dead car. Thin moonlight gleamed off the body in white bars, bleaching the car the color of an old bone. When the driver’s door opened, the moonlight jumped and the bone cracked. A man stepped out.
He wore denim pants and a dark jacket that looked too thin for the winter. I sniffed the air as he walked to the front of the car and popped the hood. My nose filled with the rich scent of his old leather jacket and the artificial smell of his greasy car engine. I heard the man muttering curses as he worked at the engine. When he failed to fix the problem, he reared back and kicked the fender.
The man stalked around his car, growling more curses and swinging his foot at various parts of it, but never kicking quite hard enough to dent the thing. When he had spent his frustration, he moved to the middle of the road, scanned left and right, cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted for help. His breath misted silver-white in the moonlight, but the trees swallowed up his voice. He stood in the silence, waiting, and his shoulders slumped when there was no answer. That’s when I spoke up.
Usually, I have to wait for the wanderers to decide for themselves to step into my woods. They’re more likely to do it when there’s a pair of them, or a small group, but wanderers without partners tend to stick to the road. This one, though, he smelled of youthful arrogance and self-proclaimed immortality. A dead car was nothing more than an inconvenience for him. He was not afraid of the night. And he was a visitor. He had never heard the stories of my woods or me or the other one. If he followed me, I would have no trouble with him. He looked like he could keep up, and like he would hate to be outrun. If he followed me. I needed him to follow me.
“Here!” I barked. “Over here!”
He jumped, turned, saw me standing next to the road.
“Here!” I barked again. I bounced on my front paws and wagged my slim tail, hoping the man would at least understand that.
“The hell?” he said.
That wasn’t good. He would not follow me if he were unnerved. I had to act before he had time to over-think the moment. I’d never get him off the road otherwise, and he’d be beyond my reach then.
“There’s danger here!” I tried to tell him. I knew he could only hear barks and yips, but I tried all the same. “You have to come with me! You’ll never get to town on your own. The night’s too cold and your clothes are too thin. Follow me! Please!”
He seemed to sense the urgency in me and took a step forward, but then he hesitated. The moment was fading, and I would lose him if he did not come. If I could leave the forest, I would have bolted out into the road and run around him, tugged on his jacket, pushed my head against his legs, but roads are beyond my domain. All my followers have to come to me. This one was making me desperate, so desperate. So I did the one thing I could do. I turned and ran into the woods.
I did not go far. I just dipped out of sight and waited. I worried that I might have lost him for good, but then I heard him call, “Wait!” Frozen leaves crunched under his boots and he wove his way into my woods.
My relief was almost as thick as his foggy breath, but I did not linger long. I let him catch a glimpse of me between the trees, a white dog shining in the frigid moonlight, and then I took off again, bounding through the woods.
“Hey, wait!” he called.
I did wait for him every so often, pausing ahead of him and letting him catch up. I was careful not to lose him, but the cold must have taken its toll for he was slower than I thought he’d be. That wasn’t good. I’d have to balance speed with his stamina. If I pushed him too hard, he’d collapse and I would lose him to fatigue and then I’d starve as his life slowly ebbed away. I had to slow down and let him see that I was not going to leave him, and that was enough to convince him to keep up.
Midnight spilled into the forest, staining everything with an unearthly glow. The bare trees stretched towards the sky, clawing at the inky black ceiling. A breeze sliced through the branches, scraping twigs against each other and scratching out the silence of the night.
I saw the man look up at the dancing trees and shiver.
“You’re cold,” I whined. “I’d warm you if I could, but I cannot.”
He crossed his arms and tried to rub warmth through his leather sleeves. “Where are we going, boy?” he asked, his voice shivering almost as badly as he was. “Where we going?”
“Forward,” I yipped.
We started off again, but the wind picked up. It hissed through the naked trees and ran cold fingers over us. Even I was feeling the chill. It slid into the hollow hunger had carved out inside of me and tried to spike its way into my nerves, but I shook myself and pushed it off my spine. The man rubbed his hands together and blew into his cupped palms, but I could smell him fading. I had to get him moving faster.
“Come on,” I barked. “We have to hurry! There’s danger here.” I ran ahead. I heard him groan, but he broke into a jog and the frosted leaves crunched louder under his footfalls.
He did not know that there really was danger other than hypothermia stalking him. It’s what the townsfolk call the other one, and it’s what takes the fifth wanderer. I lead four to safety, and the fifth never leaves the forest. The last wanderer dies somewhere between my trees, his or her soul devoured and nothing more than an empty husk left behind. The townsfolk never find the husks, but they can guess. This man, though, he was a visitor, and he had no idea about the fifth wanderers. He also had no idea that it had been a very bad year, and that the pattern had to be broken. I knew, though.
I had to keep him moving. He jogged when I asked him to, but he kept slowing to a walk after a couple of minutes. I was losing him. I needed something else to motivate him.
That something else came in the sound of a snapping branch somewhere behind us. Looking back now, I know that it was probably a deer or some other harmless animal that cracked the quiet, but in the middle of the night with frozen moonlight spiking shadows everywhere, it could have been anything.
When the branch snapped, the man leapt into the air and spun. “What was that?”
“Something else,” I growled, edging past the man. “Something bad.” I raised the fur along my back and barked into the night, screaming for the thing to get away. I waited for a response, growling, but nothing came back to me. “Don’t trust the silence,” I snarled to the man. Then I turned and ran.
“Wait!” he called. “Don’t leave me!” He was running now, sprinting after me. “Please!”
I could not wait. Not when I finally had him running. He would outrun hypothermia for a little while, and his fear would drive him on. If I could have led him in comfort, I would have, for that’s in my best interest too, but that was out of the question by that point. His fear would keep us both alive.
“Keep running,” I howled back at him. “Don’t stop!”
We raced through the trees, breaking dead leaves and twigs, surging through bars of moonlight. A pale man chasing a ghost-white dog. We kept running, running, running through the midnight hour. The trees loomed around us, dark skeletons promising to crush us into the fallen corpses of summer leaves, but still we ran. We ran until we came to the frozen creek.
- Part 3
There was a fallen tree that stretched across the creek. It was long dead and beginning to hollow, and even during dry weather the thing was slippery with moss. It was the only bridge across the creek until it fell apart, though, and the only other safe place to cross was miles away from the spot.
When I saw that dead tree, I sprinted for it. I scrambled across the trunk, hooking my nails into the bark as best I could. I saw my shadow run across the surface of the half-frozen water below, but I kept my footing and reached the far bank. I turned just as the man reached the creek.
“Hurry!” I barked before he could pause. “You have to hurry!”
He hurried. He stepped out on to the tree trunk. He maybe made it a third of the way across before his boot landed on a patch of moss. His foot went out from under him, and he fell. He screamed as he dropped nine feet. He stopped screaming when he crashed through the ice. The creek had always been deeper than it looked, and it swallowed him whole.
I did not have to wait long for his body to resurface. It drifted back up and began to move with the easy current, bouncing off the frozen edges of the creek. I prowled along the bank, waiting, and watching. My patience was rewarded just as the body began to sink again.
I saw his soul tear its way out of his body. It floated up through the water, a glowing orb heavy with unused life. Whole, unwithered, and pulsing. I was so hungry I jumped in after it.
A soul soaked in fear has a bitter, acrid taste that lingers on the tongue, but even during a good year I’m usually starving by the time the fifth wanderer comes around, and at that point I’ll take what I can get.
Gently closing the door to her bedroom, she held her breath as she heard the latch click into place. Turning around, she sighed and slid down the door, clutching her legs to her chest and burying her face in her knees. She hoped her roommate hadn’t heard her from across the hallway. The old floorboards in the house were prone to creaking fits at the least opportune of times. Her mind reeled and she felt dizzy as she tried to comprehend the day’s events. He was dead. Really dead. She had seen it happen and there was no one to tell.
She hadn’t eaten that morning. It was one of those strange days, the kind where the clouds themselves appear as if cloaked watchers, ominously anticipating the as-yet unknown. She performed the morning ritual just like every other day; allowing the steaming water from the shower head to course over her face before scraping her dark hair back and heading down the wooden stairs in whatever clothes were clean and least conspicuous. Normally she would abruptly make the right turn into the kitchen and pour herself some cereal, but this morning she was half a mile away before she even realised she had skipped breakfast. The thought played on her mind as she walked through the red-bricked streets of the inner city towards the university library. She had arranged to meet him there.
He was taller than her, and had dark hair and thick-rimmed glasses. He was shy, and they had know each other for twenty years. They had realised they were falling in love when they were fifteen and had been together ever since, easing happily into the comfort of co-dependence without a thought for what, or who, could come along and shatter their world. They had decided to attend university together as mature students but at the age of twenty-seven, the worst was happening and it was her doing. She knew it was but she hadn’t meant for it to be this way. It had stopped being as easy as it should have been. They had opted for separate housing and saw each other regularly but lately her mind had begun to drift. She couldn’t explain it, but she was thinking less and less about him and more about her lessons. She had begun to plan for her future but those plans had not centred around him, as they always had before. The plans centred more around her work. She had been studying literature for two years and she had been spending more and more time in the library. With his degree in an entirely different subject area, the frequency with which they saw each other was dropping dramatically. But it was her choice. He was attentive and loving and he had never so much as looked at another girl. The texts were regular, the emails were sporadic and amusing, and the notes he left at her place for her to find were the sweetest thing she could ever have wished for. But reciprocation had become an issue and the cracks were beginning to show. She had started to be brusque with him without understanding why. He was quietly slipping away from the forefront of her mind and the part that actually caused her physical pain was the fact that she didn’t seem to care.
The library was her favourite place to go. The smell of dusty books had always been a firm favourite. Escapism was a recurring theme in her life and she wanted nothing more than to run far, far away. But when practicality dictates that that is a total impossibility, the next best thing is to escape into someone else’s world. Someone else’s words. She preferred lengthy horror novels, reading scores upon scores each term. The terror dulled the stabbing pain inside her head as she avoided making sense of her own situation. Vampires, ghosts, demons, zombies and the occasional parallel dimension were her morphine. Aeons-old books from high shelves that weighed so much she struggled to carry them and small novellas written last year were piled together on the floor in her favourite corner most days. She would take them home and shut herself in her room with only the characters for company. Some she would cast aside in disgust but when an author got it right, when the words came together like a beautiful melody and sung to her of far-off places and exquisite vocabulary, that was when she was lost. She admired the people who had produced such work; envied the coffee-stained, smoky rooms of the downtrodden genii, the ability to whirr one’s brain into such a frenzy that self-editing becomes a thing of the past as the words spin out like silk from a wheel onto paper or laptop screens across the globe. Dancing with words was consuming her, and there was no time left for silly human relationships, frittering away the hours that could be better spent living through another’s mind.
It was a Friday. She was getting closer to the meeting point, and something was urging her to hurry. Moving faster, she entered the large, L-shaped courtyard that housed the oldest of the university buildings. She paused for a moment to look up. This part of the town was different to the red brick terraces that made up the majority of the student accommodation there. Here was the castle, the centre of the city, and the beautiful stonework of classic gothic architecture. She looked up at the arched windows with their lead piping, and glanced at the gargoyles perched menacingly atop the roofs. Bringing her gaze back to earth, she began to move again slowly towards the corner around which the library was nestled. As she stepped forwards, her head span and suddenly all she could she was a white sheet of writing paper as an invisible pen guided by an invisible hand wrote in the most beautiful script she could imagine, one painstaking letter at a time,
I would tear the stars from the sky for you. I can fix this.
The image disappeared as quickly as it had materialised and the memory of the letters fell through her fingertips like an early morning dream fleeing from its creator. Her thoughts hazy, she walked on and rounded the corner, looking up at the stone steps that led to the library entrance.
That was when she saw him. Crumpled on the ground outside the library, he didn’t appear to be moving. There were people crowded everywhere but no one seemed to notice him at all. She heard herself scream but was aware that her lips were firmly pressed shut. She ran towards him, calling for help. She crouched beside him and as their eyes met, he smiled and took one last, ragged breath. No explanation, no words. It was as if he had nothing left to say. She felt nothing as she watched him die. And then she felt lighter. She no longer had to worry about how to juggle this man with her mystical otherworldly adventures through literature. She rose to her feet and looked around. Everyone was carrying on with their day-to-day lives as if nothing had happened. She should have been frustrated by this. She should have yelled and cried and clawed at the students and lecturers and workers until someone made everything better. But she didn’t. She turned back to the step...and stopped. There was no body. He wasn’t there. It was as if he never had been. There, in his place, was a small piece of paper, clearly ripped from the page of a book. She bent to pick it up, and studied the words on it. The passage had been mostly blacked out with permanent marker, with only three words remaining, clearly strung together on purpose:
Sometimes everything you
She was very aware that she had become lost in the words, trying to decipher any form of meaning from them. Glancing up from the piece of paper, she looked around in confusion. It was dark. No one was there. She had no idea how long she had been there, but she decided it was best to return home and come back in the morning. Turning on her heel, she walked back around the corner and through the orange glow of the streetlamp light towards her house. She moved straight upstairs, into her room, and closed the door.
She woke up on the floorboards next to her bed. It was five in the morning. A book lay open next to her head, and she pushed herself up onto her elbows and pulled it towards her. This particular book told the tale of a daring young prince who tried to save a princess only for them both to be savagely murdered by a demon. It was open on the page where the princess found the prince’s disemboweled corpse and resolved to navigate the maze and get out of there.
Shower, hair, dressed, downstairs.
This morning she went straight for the coffee percolator. The sound of the taps running might wake up her housemate but she wasn’t worried about that right now. She had to get to the library. She waited the agonising fifteen minutes for the coffee to brew and poured the entire jug into her flask, swigging a mouthful and allowing it to burn her tongue as she locked the front door.
The courtyard was empty this morning. The library opened at six but the librarian normally took a nap at the desk until around half eight when students would actually start coming in. She had decided to try to find out what book the passage she had found on the library steps was from. Maybe it would make some sense of the whole thing. Maybe it wouldn’t. She wasn’t too worried either way but it gave her something interesting to do for once that didn’t involve abandoning her own life. She thought she could make out some more of the words underneath the marker pen, and if she could just input them to the library database she would maybe pull up the book.
She pushed open the heavy wooden door as quietly as she possibly could and shuffled silently through the atrium and into the poorly-lit fiction hall. The librarian was not at her desk, but instead of confusion she felt slight elation; this was going to be easier than she had thought. A quick glance around revealed that the librarian was not in the immediate vicinity, so in the gloom she ducked around the desk and settled herself at the computer. Clicking the mouse button, she was nearly blinded by the light from the monitor as it jolted into action. Allowing her eyes to adjust, she stared in disbelief at her own student number and a list of books she had out. She had never been late with a return or renew, so it made no sense that the librarian would be checking on her. Shaking her head, she was just opening the library’s book searching database when she became dizzy and lost focus. The bright white of the screen morphed into the crisp white of fresh writing paper and words were scrawled by someone who wasn’t really there, right in front of her eyes.
She’s trying to destroy you and prevent our paths from crossing. I can destroy her.
A ringing in her ears jolted her back to reality as she blinked and looked around the room, trying to get used to the darkness. The words had removed themselves from her mind again as if they were never there, but a small pang of fear was left in the pit of her stomach and she couldn’t explain why.
She spun around in the chair as she heard the dull thud of a book hitting the stone floor, and got up. Moving down the aisles towards where she thought she had heard the sound, she took care to breathe silently. She respected the contents of these shelves more than she respected most people, and that sort of hallowed reverence automatically spawns quiet awe. Peering down each aisle as she passed, she saw nothing until she had reached the horror section. There, at the bottom of the shelves, was the haggard body of the librarian. She walked towards the librarian, looked into her eyes, and watched as her chest rose and fell for the last time. She blinked, and when she looked back at the floor, there was nothing there but a small piece of paper ripped from the page of a book, with the majority of the passage blacked out with marker pen and only three words left remaining:
ever wanted is
She pulled the first piece of paper from her jeans pocket and looked at the two side by side. ‘Sometimes everything you ever wanted is’. The words echoed around her head but the sentence was incomplete and frustration had started to creep into her bones. There was no point trying to help the librarian now; whatever had happened she knew no one would believe her or understand. She walked back out of the aisle...and straight into another student. Mumbling an apology she looked frantically around at the packed library, broad sunlight streaming in through the high windows, dust dancing in its glorious rays. The clock above the exit into the atrium read a quarter to one. She pushed her way through the throngs of people and out into the clear air, glancing at the librarian’s desk as she went past. There was a different librarian sitting at the computer, and she knew she would never get away with trying to find out which book the passages had come from now.
She walked home at top speed and tried to open the front door. It was locked, meaning her housemate was probably out. Once in, she closed it behind her and made her way upstairs towards her bedroom. There was an envelope taped to her door with her name on it. Confused, she took it down and entered her room. She opened the envelope and pulled out the paper inside. The untidy scrawl was instantly recognisable as her housemate’s, and she skimmed through the unpleasant words.
Are you alright? I’m really worried about you. You haven’t slept in days and I know you drank all the coffee. I know we’re students, but c’mon. It’s just not right. I expected to be kept awake by parties and drunken idiots, not this. All I can hear all night long is you pacing up and down in your room, and tapping away on your keyboard. I get that you’re obviously working on something important and I know you want to write but it’s getting creepy. Can you please do it during the daytime instead, or go elsewhere, like that library you’re so obsessed with? If you want to talk, just let me know. I’ve gone out, I’ll be back later. Your boyfriend called yesterday, said you never met him at the library like you promised and wants you to call him back.
She crumpled up the note and threw it into her bin. Clearly her housemate was trying to mess with her mind. It wasn’t going to work. She didn’t need this, she just wanted to get on with her life and try to understand what was happening to her. Slumping down on her bed, she turned on her laptop and opened up a search engine. She was inputting some of the passage when her wifi signal disappeared. The router was downstairs, so she stood up and made her way onto the landing. As she moved towards the stairs, she heard the front door open and close and her housemate call a greeting. She was about to come into view of the top of her housemate’s head from the summit of the staircase when everything in her field of vision morphed and wandered away from her and was replaced once again by the white parchment with its invisible hand writing elegant script right before her eyes.
I can’t stand to see you being treated like this, it’s ripping apart my soul. I will rip the life from her for us.
The words disappeared again from her vision and her mind, and her eyes readjusted to her own hallway. She realised she was standing at the top of the stairs and she looked down to see the gasping body of her housemate lying at the bottom. She moved quickly down the stairs and crouched on the floor next to her housemate as her housemate’s eyes rolled backwards into her head and her chest stopped moving. She didn’t even have to blink this time; suddenly the body was gone and there was a piece of paper in its place. She couldn’t explain what had happened; she hadn’t seen anything disappear or materialise; it was just as if it had always been that way. She knew there was no one else in the house and she grabbed the piece of paper and checked her watch as she ran back up to her room. 3AM.
Closing her bedroom door behind her, she sat in the middle of her floor, surrounded by books. She read the paper with the light from her still open laptop. Of course, most of the words were blacked out but five remained:
right in front of you.
Rifling in her pockets she pulled out the other two pieces of paper and her lips silently formed the now complete sentence, ‘Sometimes everything you ever wanted is right in front of you’. She glanced at her computer screen and saw that her wifi signal was back. With nothing else to do she quickly tapped the keys and the words appeared on the screen in the search engine. The search was completed in less than a second but it felt like an eternity. Her eyes widened as she read the title of the horror novel that was the top result, ‘Escapism’, and her mouth opened slightly as she saw the name of the author.
It was her name.
As she looked on at the computer screen, it morphed and changed into a piece of crisp, white writing paper. With long, curling strokes, once again words appeared as if drawn by someone who was not there.
I did this all for you, everything you ever wanted is yours now. We can stay together, like this, lost in the beauty of language. We weren’t happy alone. Everything is going to be alright.
EXCERPT FROM LOCAL NEWSPAPER, APRIL 25TH, 2014
MISSING: SARAH BRADLEY
Sarah, 27, university student. Reported missing on Monday by friend and boyfriend. Last seen Wednesday 16th April leaving university library wearing a black hoodie and light denim jeans. Any information that could lead to her whereabouts, please telephone local police.
My father used to have a saying: “Never underestimate what a man will do when their backs are against the wall.” He was a businessman before the economy decided to take a turn for the worse and he was quite good at it, always knowing where to invest and which hands he needed to shake. I never quite wanted to follow his footsteps though; my passion had always been situated among the arts. I always had a wonderful relationship with my family and they supported me, even after things became financially unstable. They fought to make certain I could pursue my dreams. Eventually though, they had to withdraw their aid and here I stand now buried in debts from my university loans and with a degree that requires “experience in the field” to gain entry.
Irony seems to flourish within the fine arts industry.
This is why I had looked on that letter with equal parts trepidation and wishful yearning. It arrived at my apartment and I nearly threw it into the garbage, assuming it was yet another piece of junk mail come to flood my postal box as it did every few days along with the assortment of staggering bills that continue to plague my existence. Despite my initial instincts, I had opened the message and nearly laughed aloud when I read its contents:
To Mr. Jacob Daniels,
My name is Dr. Derek Masters. You have been selected to participate in a scientific study in Atlanta, Georgia on the evening of the 20th of October. You, along with four other participants have the opportunity to earn a very large sum of financial capital if you choose to assist with this social experiment. It is a simple, painless event which will take place in a sizeable estate on the outskirts of the city. For merely accepting to take part in this ordeal, your bank account will be granted twenty-thousand U.S. Dollars upon receiving confirmation that you have arrived safely at the gates to the experiment location. If you choose to take part in our experiment, please call the number listed below and the operator will take down a few items of information from you. Also, please dress your best as it is still a social gathering after all. I truly hope to hear from you soon.
Doctor Derek Masters.
Clearly this had to be a hoax. Why would a scientific research project take interest in some part-time working twenty-six year old college grad still flipping burgers to barely pay the bills? Not only that but why would some company be willing to burn a hundred thousand dollars just to get test subjects for this thing? This was definitely just garbage… but it couldn’t hurt to check the number and see if the operator might reveal anything. I mean, worst case scenario, I would wind up on another damn call-center’s list to bother me about my life-insurance policy or whatever.
The conversation was quick and concise, the operator had asked only for the name of the bank I most frequently visited and that was it. No account number, no passcode, nothing that would compromise my security. I don’t know why, but it bothered me even more that they weren’t after my money. But against my better judgement, I accepted the position as the fifth subject in their little sideshow.
Desperate times, desperate measures… Those bills weren’t going away of their own accord and I wasn’t getting that lucky career break I was hoping for so this seemed the best option at the time. Now here I am driving my beat-up car through the pouring rain to some mansion in the middle of nowhere to take part in something I have no real details about all for the sake of not losing the roof over my head by the end of next month.
The rain pounded on the roof of my car, mimicking the continual drumming of my fingers on the steering wheel as I slowly made my way across the long stone bridge and up the hill through the woods to the address I was given. My GPS was having trouble with its connection this far out in the boondocks but thankfully it held up long enough for me to see the sign carved out in the stone on the side of the road with a pair of small lights illuminating the words Bridgeview Manor. As I approached the large brick perimeter, the wrought iron gates swung open for me, their electronic sensors apparently were triggered by my car’s presence as I drove through reluctantly. As I did, I received an email notification on my phone that my bank account had just received twenty thousand dollars.
My God, this was for real.
The rain seemed to give way for a minute or so, and the clouds parted to reveal a picturesque sunset as that golden orb continued to sink behind the endless clouds and down below the horizon. It was then that I was truly able to appreciate the vast size of the estate before me. I was shocked by the intricate woodwork and expert masonry that were abundant throughout the exterior. I could only imagine what the inside of such an opulent home would entail. Seizing the opportunity given by the temporary reprieve from the storm, I gathered my things as quickly as possible and hurried to the door and pulled open the entry with my free hand.
My expectations were not disappointed. The foyer itself contained an intricately designed grand staircase and a beautiful glass chandelier with a breathtaking floral arrangement in the center of it all. Suddenly, I felt my best attire wouldn’t be even in the same universe as whoever else was invited to this… whatever it was. Surely my humble sweater vest and tie would hardly stand up to code for the hosts of the manor.
That was something that immediately dawned upon me: I had been completely oblivious during my entry towards the four others standing in the foyer by the floral display. Something made blatantly obvious as the first of them closed the gap between us rapidly.
“Oh good, the last moron finally arrives,” the man wearing a clearly fancy suit and jacket said as he neared me, “We can get this nonsense out of the way and I can get back to something that actually matters.”
“Dr. Kluttz! Don’t be so harsh, he was chosen just like the rest of us,” an older woman shouted at the man as she followed him over, her face showed the wrinkles of many hard-working years and her modest tan-colored dress showed she was far less well-off than the belligerent doctor, “How are you dear? Did you make it through the rain alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine thank you,” I replied warmly to the older woman, “My name’s Jacob Daniels. Do you have any details of what we’re all doing here?”
“We’re winning money of course! Bwahaha,” the third person had joined the greeting party and guffawed so heavily that his portly gut shook in response along with his very casual jacket and street clothes, “I’m Solomon Sanders, pleasure to meet ya, Jake!”
“And I’m Marcy Gold,” the old woman interjected after the gray-mustached man had butted into our conversation, “We were told that we had to wait until all of us had arrived before the experiment could begin. So, here we are. Oh!”
She paused for a moment and turned around to call out to the fourth person who had remained in the back.
“Cassie! Come on over here and meet Jacob!”
I was shocked when I saw the woman in a simple but elegant red dress coming towards me.
“Hi, Jake… Funny seeing you here,” she said with a mixture of happiness and uncertainty.
I knew her, not only was she my best friend growing up in Atlanta, but we were lovers for a short time after high school. What were the criteria for being selected for this… I mean, what are the odds we’d both be chosen? Well, this was going to add a whole new level of awkwardness to this ordeal.
“Cassie… You look great,” I said after realizing I had been silent for too long.
“Thanks. Your family still doing okay?”
“Yeah, they’re struggling to get by but they’re doing alright for themselves. What about you? How’s your sister?”
Before she could respond, a voice called out from the large flat-screen monitor in the foyer and suddenly the wrinkled face of a white-haired man with very thick glasses appeared.
Continued in the next post.
“Greetings, one and all! My name is Doctor Derek Masters, and I am the one who gathered all of you here tonight for this very important and special experiment. Now that you have all arrived, I may explain the situation. This reminds me of a very special time—“
“Get on with it, Masters, I have my own practice to get back to so I’d like this done as quickly as possible,” Dr. Kluttz blurted out.
“Patience, Colin,” the image spoke very calmly, “All that this experiment entails is that you stay the night in this mansion and you will receive two-hundred-thousand dollars. The doors and windows are all now sealed and there is no exit from this building until tomorrow morning. There are hidden cameras in every room of this mansion. Your cellular devices will not work within the confines of the house and we will be unable to interfere with anything occurring inside. Now, there is a catch of course. If for some reason, one of the participants is unable to collect their share of the money then their funds will be divided among the remaining subjects. You will find that the mansion has much to offer; in fact, I understand Miss Marcy has already taken the liberty to prepare dinner for everyone with the help of Cassandra Michaels. Now, please enjoy your stay at Bridgeview Manor.”
With that, the monitor shut off and the five of us were left in silence, with the only disturbance being the return of the rain bombarding the outside along with the periodic booms of thunder closing in. Miss Gold seemed to notice the tension and decided to speak up.
“Why don’t we all go get some food and just go straight to bed? Don’t want to let a warm dinner go to waste.”
“I’ll pass,” the doctor said coldly as he began climbing the stairs, “I haven’t really had an appetite for anything a woman’s prepared for me since my divorce. Damn alimony payments drive me up the wall; those worthless fatass spoiled kids of mine eat better than I do every day. I’m headed up to the library if you need me. Hopefully I can find something worthwhile to pass the time up there.”
“Well, I won’t say no to a good meal! Bwahaha,” the large man claimed jovially, “Let’s go eat, shall we?”
I couldn’t understand how people could be so calm in a situation like this. We were basically just given a bounty on each one of our heads, a steep one at that. I looked to Cassie, who seemed to be the only one aside from myself even slightly unsettled by this turn of events.
“We just have to make it through the night, Jake,” she said quietly in my ear as she passed by, “Go put your things away and come get some dinner… The bedrooms are on the second floor to the right, just find a free one and settle in.”
I hesitated for a moment, but relented and gathered my things before starting up the stairs. While the technology within the house had been stated to having cameras everywhere, they had apparently spared no expense to keep the look of antiquity throughout the mansion as well, as the only real lights were candle sconces on the walls that provided very little illumination through the dark halls as I left the comfortable embrace of the bright foyer. It took some time but I found a room without any other belongings in it.
The room I had opened just before mine stole my interest though, as I had spotted a symbol I thought I recognized stitched into the large duffle bag. Given the unkempt and dirty appearance of the luggage, I assumed it had to belong to the portly Mr. Sanders. Upon further examination, I knew I recognized the symbol. It belonged to the state correctional facility on the edge of the city not far from my home! Didn’t they just report a break-out or something? Damn I wish I had paid more attention to the news… I couldn’t help my curiosity, hoping against hope that he had some sort of identification or something in his bag that might ease my fears. To my great dismay, I found nothing beyond awful smelling clothes.
Awful smelling clothes and a loaded .45 caliber pistol.
My breathing became erratic and my pounding heart sank into my chest. God, he’s going to kill us all and take the money for himself. No, maybe not… he’s either stupid to leave his bags and… this gun unattended like this or he’s a prison guard or something who got selected just like me… right? Wishful thinking, I know… but I guess just to be safe, I had to hide his gun somewhere. I thought about it for a short while before deciding to stash it within the confines of my mattress.
Upon finishing, I started back down to dinner, but I thought about that offensive doctor who went off on his own and the danger he might be in. Despite my own feelings towards his rude display, my conscience wouldn’t allow me to just let him go unprepared against the potential perils of this sick game. I found my way to the library and saw a few candle lights burning and called out for him.
“Doctor Kluttz? Colin? I really think you ought to come down and join the rest of us for dinner. We really shouldn’t be alone…”
No response as I moved closer to where the light emanated.
“Doctor Kluttz…? Oh dear God…”
As I rounded the corner, I discovered the doctor’s body impaled by a broken table leg among a pile of books, his lifeblood pooled beneath his now stiffened figure. I heard a shriek behind me which sent a chill down my spine so quickly that I was afraid my heart would explode from my chest. I turned around as quickly as possible to see both Cassie and Miss Gold at the doorway.
“You were right, Cassie! My God, he killed him!”
“No! No, wait it wasn’t me,” I pleaded.
“I know, Jake! I know,” Cassie replied, trying to calm the situation, “It had to be Sanders! At dinner, he was talking about how he was in the war and how the only thing that brought him joy nowadays was making the prisoners he was in charge of at the penitentiary a living hell and he said that his share from this game would get him nearly close enough to paying off his gambling debts… I went to put away the dishes and that was right before he told Marcy he was going to visit the wine cellar… We decided to check on you and Dr. Kluttz when Sanders never came back!”
I couldn’t help but notice that Miss Gold was carrying a steak knife. It was a fact that continued to unsettle me as she turned to Cassie again.
“Sweetheart, we’ve got to stop him. It’s the three of us against him and he’s got military training on his side. If we don’t kill him now, we’re going to have our throats slit in the middle of the night.”
“No Marcy! We can’t do that. All we need to do is barricade ourselves in and wait until morning, the police will be able to sort things out from there.”
“Don’t you get it child!? A murderer is on the loose and you want to stay in one spot while he has his way? Not me! My grandchildren are gonna have their future secure and if that fat sociopath has to die to make that happen, then so be it!”
With that, she stormed off, knife in hand while Cassie looked to me for some kind of support.
“I have to agree with her,” I heard myself say but still couldn’t believe the words left my mouth, “I would feel a lot safer…”
Cassie looked betrayed and I could see a fire burned behind that icy blue-eyed stare.
“This won’t solve anything! I won’t have any part in it!”
“Fine! Hide like you always do from all your problems!”
I didn’t mean to say such hurtful words, especially bringing up our past, but the tension was too high, I couldn’t help it and I passed by her as her eyes welled up with tears. I didn’t turn back. I wouldn’t let Sanders hurt Cassie or Miss Gold. I held onto the railing as I barreled down the grand staircase. I wasn’t sure where she disappeared to but I knew the cellar was where Sanders was allegedly heading.
(Continued in the next post)
I quickly descended into the cellar, holding my breath as I took each step into the dimly lit basement. Every footfall seemed to make the loudest noise in my mind even though in reality it was barely audible as it touched the dusty earth beneath my shoes. Another sound suddenly caught my attention, it was a quiet groan and as I approached it became more apparent that it belonged to Solomon Sanders who now lay on the floor, grasping at his chest.
“That… wrinkled bitch,” he said through coughing fits, “Something must’ve… been in that food… Agh… Dammit! Why now? Aghh!”
With that last painful wretch, the man’s head fell back, his eyes wide open and his body completely still. I couldn’t believe my ears. It made sense though in a way… The old woman was clearly capable of aggression given that she went from a simple housewife to a determined killer in moments when she wanted to convince Cassie and I that violence would be the best answer… Miss Gold must’ve known Sanders would take care of Kluttz for her but the poison in the food would be enough to finish the ex-soldier.
Oh God… No, Cassie!
I scrambled up from the dusty floor and clambered up back out of the dark cellar. If Miss Gold was the killer then she only had two targets left and since she knew where both of us would be… I had to hurry; I had to make it to Cassie before she did.
I made it to the foyer and looked up to see Marcy Gold at the top of the grand staircase.
She stood at the top of the white wooden stairs, still holding that knife and began descending as she called out to me.
An enormous thundering boom occurred outside as lightning struck and the power shut off entirely, cloaking the entire foyer in darkness. I heard a shriek again as a clamoring series of thuds and crashes rang throughout the entry hall. Moments later, the electricity flickered back on and near my feet was Marcy’s crumpled form, bleeding severely from the knife that must’ve gotten loose on her tumble down the stairs in the darkness. She lay very still and at first glance, I could tell that she was already gone.
So that was it… The threat was over.
I looked up the stairs and saw Cassie looking over the edge, there was no way I could read her expression but she immediately turned and fled. It was then that an infinitely more disturbing thought entered my mind.
It was her…
She had no alibi for the time of Kluttz’s death, and she had supposedly helped prepare dinner which Sanders claimed was poisoned and now, during the blackout, she could have easily pushed frail Miss Gold while she was on the stairs, causing her to fall to her death. When we were still together years ago, her sister was diagnosed with cancer and her parents were long gone, so it had been just the two of them against the world with what little money was left to them to pay for her treatment. Clearly that had begun to run dry and so here she was, playing this demented game to get her sister’s salvation. I just never expected her to go so far. Had desperation really pushed her to such extremes?
She won’t get me...
I ran up the stairs at a blinding speed and bounded down the hallway towards my room. Frantically, I threw open the door and dove at the bed, hurling the mattress from its resting place and revealing the weapon I now knew was my lifeline. In reality, I knew it was merely adrenaline, flooding through my veins, giving me everything I wanted and more to face the terror that gripped my mind. I grasped the cold metal of the gun and brought it close to my chest. I pulled out the clip and checked to ensure it was still loaded and started to creep down the hall to the room I earlier assumed was Cassie’s.
My head ached with the knowledge I would have to kill my childhood best friend but my heart pounded and my legs shook at the thought that she would do it to me if I didn’t. I took a deep breath and kicked open the door, where it collided with the wall in a loud slam. Immediately I saw her and she let out a wail as she came in with a dinner knife. I ducked beneath the first swing out of sheer luck but the second took me fairly neatly through the corner of my neck. Pain wracked my body and my vision started to blur. In the confusion, my aim faltered and I fired the gun several times as I heard Cassie shriek. A moment later, we both collapsed to the floor, facing one another.
“Why… did you kill all those people,” she weakly replied.
I had no idea what she was talking about. She was the only one who could’ve done it. She was the killer.
“I can explain that,” a voice echoed throughout the area.
It was Dr. Masters. A monitor descended from the ceiling with his face plastered on it.
“What… do you… mean?”
The images on the screen shifted to reveal the recorded events as the doctor spoke.
“Doctor Kluttz, while not the most personable individual was in fact quite clumsy and while using the ladder in the library, lost his grip and fell onto a desk within the study. The rotund Mr. Sanders was obviously not in the best health and while he did not have the cleanest record on file, he never truly fired a gun, truly a tale-weaver that one. It was mere coincidence that his heart decided to give out tonight of all nights. Lastly, Miss Marcy Gold should really hold onto the railing when descending stairs, especially while carrying sharp utensils. The cameras here run on an alternate power supply than the rest of the utilities here, so we caught her unfortunate misstep and her demise was unassisted by anyone.”
So that means…
“The only real killers here tonight… would be the two of you... Thank you both for your participation within this social experiment. It was… educating.”
I looked to Cassie through tear-filled eyes and she lay motionless, already unconscious and the pool of her blood began to mix with my own. I cried then, I didn’t want to lose her… I didn’t want to die. My own greed and paranoia drove me to this end and now…
The darkness closes around me and I regret knowing exactly just how far people will go to survive…
3,994 words used.
Like the last dying ember of a cigarette I find myself useless. The waning moments of my life and still I cannot look back and think about what good I’ve done.
It started when I woke up to searing agony. Pain was shooting through my skull from one ear to the other. The whole day sounding like I was listening to the radio one digit off the right frequency.
I’m taking a shower. I blink. I’m brushing my teeth. I blink. I’m getting dressed. I blink. I’m making coffee. I blink. I turn on the TV and see I won the lottery but it wasn't really me. Worthless. I’m lying on the floor. The fan above me is moving slower the usual. I need to dust it. My phone’s ringing. Don’t answer; they’ll know who you are. Waste of space. Stupid, stupid, waste of time. We hate you. Don’t pick up the phone; they’ll know it’s you. Shut up.
Worthless. I’m twenty three years old and have nothing to show for it. Boring, my life. One of my favorite combinations is poisoned cold pizza and hot coffee. It’s not poisoned; I live alone. It’s poisoned; they know who you are. They know about you.
I need to take my medicine.
People don't know what it feels like. To wake up and have to wonder if you're gonna be alright that day; to wonder if you'll have a panic attack or not. To wonder if you're gonna snap or not.
To have a black hole in your chest; collapsing in on itself while a sharp sensation travels up your spine and into your sinus’s. To taste and smell iron and blood. To have the whole world pulse in front of your eyes and blur and sting from the tears.
Cutting my hair and taking a nice hot shower always makes me feel refreshed. Even when I step out of the tub and see myself standing in the bathroom with a baseball bat. I don’t go for my head first; instead I go for my stomach. Then the knee.
“You’re weak!” I yell at myself. “If I killed you right now no one would even fucking care!”
I take the baseball bat and hit myself across the face. I think I lost a tooth.
I wake up in a pile of blood. I must have slipped in the tub. I clean up the mess, wrap my head up and go to my front porch for a smoke. I thought myself standing in the garden. Must have hit my head harder than I thought.
I finish my cigarette and go back inside, pour myself a bowl of cereal. I should probably go to the hospital.
I walked up behind myself eating and whisper in my ear.
“If you said goodbye to me tonight…”
I grab myself by the shoulders and pull me down. I start kicking myself in the stomach.
“There would still be music left to write, what else could I do? I’m so inspired by you! That hasn't happened for the longest time…”
I kick myself in the face.
“Once I thought my innocence was gone…”
My face is a bloody pulp. Tears are flowing down my face.
“Now, I know that happiness goes on…”
I scream out for help. No one’s there.
“That’s where you found me…”
I punch myself repeatedly in the face.
“When you put your arms around me…I haven’t been there for the longest time!”
I start choking on my blood. My chest starts collapsing in. My vision is pulsing and red. My eyes are stingy and my throat is sore from screaming.
I’m not even doing anything to fight back.
I blink and the bell sounded twelve times, it was midnight. The snow’s falling heavily. Shivering, I pull my coat tight around me. The paper bag around the bottle starts to chaff; it doesn't like the cold very much either. Knowing I shouldn't, I bought it anyway. I take a swig; it keeps the memories at bay.
I reached the bridge and I climbed onto the rail to sit. It's my favorite spot in the world. The streetlights in the distance giving off a faint glow. The snow peacefully falling, the cars underneath non-stopping. It puts me at peace.
Tonight, though, was different. The memories came back anyway. I had been working all day and I needed a drink. Sometimes I go overboard as I did that night. I went home and my wife and two kids were playing Monopoly. They know you. They’re going to poison you.
My wife saw me walking up; she came out to meet me on the front porch asking me where the car was. I told her to ask old man Hill down the street but she didn't understand what I meant.
I said “you remember how he’s always taking our stuff and never returning it?”
"Well he took the car and it's not coming back."
But still, she looked at me with confusion.
"I met him at the docks, told him he could have it. Then he took it, and I knocked him out, and started the car. It rolled into the river. Fucker's dead."
My wife gasped and covered her mouth as she looked at me with fear. She ran inside the house, locked me outside, grabbed the kids, and took them upstairs.
You have to stop her. She’s out for you. She’ll kill you if you don’t stop her.
I kicked the door in and found her upstairs calling the police. I blink and she’s no longer able to talk to the police because of the phone cord strangling her. And my kids, my kids saw it all. They should never have to live with that memory. So I spared them with the only thing I had left: my fists.
Now you’re safe. They can’t get you now.
Immediately I realized what I did; I broke down on the floor.
I gathered myself and made for the front door passing the open Monopoly game. I saw a “get out of jail free” card and thought of only one thing.
I burnt the house down.
So here I am one year later sitting on top of a bridge drinking my life away alone and scared. I know there’s a price to be paid and if there’s a Heaven I’m not getting in but can Hell really be worse than my life now?
I can't do anything, constricted in everything; in jail, just not behind bars.
The bottle slips out of my hand and shatters on the street below. The broken glass and liquid forming an odd shape. I study for a minute before I realized it’s an arrow. Looking at where it’s pointing I see a chance for redemption; a woman across the street being assaulted, possibly raped.
I saved her from a dark fate and she was very grateful but when I finally saw her face I didn't know what to do. It was my wife. She smiled at me as she drew a pistol from her purse and shot me in the chest.
The bottle slips out of my hand and shatters on the street below. I slip off after it, plummeting downwards in a forever feeling free fall. I guess this time I can’t get out of jail for free.
Here's my story! Hope you Like It! ^_^
Here’s my Story:
Let’s play in the Woods
Today was just another completely ordinary day at school. I was sitting there with my classmates, taking notes for the upcoming test in next week. The lunch bell rang at 10:45, as it always has. After lunch, I usually get together with my little group of friends -Sebastian, Michael, and Alex-, and go into the woods a kilometre or two away from the school. We usually play a game called Man-Hunt in those woods, but… Today was a little different though. As Sebastian and I were walking towards the wooded area, we noticed that the usually always-early Alex and Mike (Michael) were not there. Even more confusing, both of them were the type of people who wouldn’t miss school for the world. Ignoring the occurrence, Seb (Sebastian) and I entered the woods, thinking we could play Man-Hunt together while waiting for them. We made a quick little game of King Counter to see who would be “it”. I lost, so Seb ran off into the woods while I counted to 30 seconds. Afterwards, I walked into the woods to start my search. Knowing him since the third grade (six years, since we are both in 9th grade now), I know that his favourite hiding places are in the bushes, so I had to make sure to check every bush I see. Ten minutes had gone by, and still no Seb. I thought of abandoning the search and going back to the school just as something caught my eye, something sticking out of a distant bush. I ran towards it, yelling: “SEB! I FOUND YOU!!!” but nothing moved. As I approached the bush, I noticed that it was completely still. Inhumanly still. Now face-to-face with it, I pushed the leaves and branches out of the way, and shrieked in horror: Alex’s limbless body, covered in blood, was lying on the ground. A filthy piece of paper lay on his body saying: “YOU’RE IT” Written in his own blood. I just stood there, paralysed and vomiting in disgust. Seb, hearing my scream, sprinted to the scene. The second he saw Alex’s dead body, he screamed too. Both scared to death, we had so much going through our heads; we had no clue what to do. The pressure was too much for me, and I collapsed to the ground. Hours later, I finally awoke and looked around: “Where had Seb gone?” I thought, panicking. “Something killed Alex, and it’s going to come after every one of us as well, I have to get Seb the hell out of here before we both get killed.” As I was starting to sprint around, I just realised that I had no idea where I was going, or where I was. Reducing the pace to not waste my energy, I looked at my watch: 3:17. I had to get home, but something was holding me back to go and find Seb: after all, I couldn’t abandon my best friend with some sort of psycho killer running loose in the woods! That previous thought convinced me to voyage deeper into the woods to continue my search. Half an hour later, while walking down the narrow passageway between the trees, I got startled by a nearby rustle. Thinking that I have found Seb, I rushed to where the noise was emitted. I start walking to try and keep myself calm at the moment. While doing this, I felt a type of liquid trickle down my forehead, down onto my nose. I looked up, and I stared at it in agony and horror at the same time: I saw Mike’s lifeless body, hung onto a tree, the rope tied to a very unstable branch and the other end on his neck, which was horribly disfigured and mangled. I just stared at the soulless body from below in disbelief: first Alex and now Mike? Still shaking from the shock, I got snapped out of my train of thought when the branch that Mike was hung on snapped: I jumped in fright. His body crumbled to the floor like a rag doll, and that’s when I noticed another one of those notes, similar to the one Alex had on his dead torso. I picked it up, and read: “FOUND YOU” Once again, written in blood. The moment I finished reading those two words, I heard a loud rustle, then accompanied by fast-paced footsteps: Something was coming after me. I dropped the note in panic, and sprinted for my life. I was running so fast, I didn’t even care about the branches whipping me in the face when I ran into them, nor my breathing level. I tried to outrun whatever was chasing after me, but no use. Increasing my speed, I burst through a wall of leaves, and I was so scared I didn’t even realise I was back to where Seb and I had started, outside... I climbed the fence surrounding the woods as fast as I could, and I made it out and over alive. I kept sprinting, and never looked back. I never figured out what that thing was, neither what happened to Seb, but those memories will haunt me until the rest of my days. I moved to a different province, changed schools, no matter what I do: it still HAUNTS me. It appears in my dreams, I see it in the corners of my eyes, and I’m going insane. I’m not safe here. I’m not safe anywhere: It’s everywhere.
Not my story but wanted to share this anyway:
"The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door."
The following story is supposed to scare the shit out of you.
If you laugh, or if you have no common sense of reason, the serial killer within may notice you.
He won't stop until he gets you. And then, you will only have to submit yourself to his judgment...
Never throw your dices in his game...
Based on too many real events. So, be careful. Better for you to believe it...
BELIEVE IT, or ELSE!..
The time was a Halloween night. The place was a small town. It was a peaceful and a calm town.
It owes its peaceful state to the last pirates king who has restored the "ONE PEACE"...
But this night, many awful events are going to occur... Let's zoom in... Alright, that's better... Now, here we go...
The cute tiny Pikachu's body was cut down in no time. His little zappy tail was covered in greenesh.
Oh yeah... Actually he was a shiny Pikachu and his blood was "G" type...
Nevermind, let's focus on the scene...
It was professor Oak's lab. All the people there, for unknown reason, have been butchered like pigs.
Their bodies started to decompose immediately. The whole place now smells bad, just like hell...
It's even too bad for the serial killer to stay inside there...
Killer: Great. Now, I'm really pissed off, I better get going...
He took a way outside, looking for "Unluckies" and singing:
"I wanna be the berry beast
As no one ever was
Cut them is my real quest
Kill them is my cause "
As he walked through the bushes, a familiar voice called him from behind.
Professor Oak: Hey! Wait! Don't go out! It's unsafe! Wild Pokemon live in tall grass!
Professor Oak: You need your own Pokemon for your protection. I know! Here, come with me!..
But he didn't respond to his request. Instead he turned back in a sudden, and stared at the old man...
He stared at him for a couple of minutes as if he was looking for something...
Professor Oak: Stop it!.. I'm so scared... Your eyes are kinda paralyzing me...
But he didn't stop at all! He continued to focus on the professor and now he shows a "Scary Face" as well.
Professor Oak: Okay... Look buddy... It's Halloween tonight, I know... But I can't give you any candy...
Professor Oak: Well, you know... CANDIES are RARES!
Killer: It's okay for the candy, I wasn't waiting for you to give me any... I'm here for your head!
Professor Oak: WHAT??! Hey wait a sec... What's your name there??!
Killer: My name is... My name is... My name is NOT TOO IMPORTANT!!!
Professor Oak: Well, it's OK if you say so...
Killer: I'm an insider. I'm not a part of this world. But I have a quest here on "Monkey Archipelago"...
Killer: In order for me to achieve my goal, I'll need something to guide me through this world.
Killer: But the girl who was living next-doors has no map, so I sliced her too...
Killer: And now your head is gonna be my guide... You were a sailor, weren't you??!
Professor Oak: A sailor you say... I'm Captain Silver Oak, the almighty king of...
Killer: That would be more than enough!
Professor Oak: What you say??! I have 8000 men in my lab, YOU CAN'T DEFEAT ME!!.
Killer: All your base are belong to us. You have no chance to survive. And I won't even give you time to strike back...
By the time he finished those last words, the old man was already knocked out...
Killer: Now that we have our guide, let's get started...
Guide: Left right straight forward...
And the beast ran away singing:
"I'll travel across the land
Searching far and wide
Then you people, you'll understand
The power I have inside "
There was no person to cry, no person to pray for mercy as well, except for you...
Every person he has met that night, was either vertically cut in half or have his neck disconnected from his shoulders.
Every second that passes, blood streams started covering "Newgrounds"...
And now our (hero), is inside a "Little Garden" known as "The Linking Park".
This place is known for pokemon trainers who want their pokemons to have special moves that TMs can't teach.
They come here and connect their minds with their pokemons, so they can practice together and gain new experiences.
There was a girl singing:
"yaa tsi tsup ari dik ari dull an dik ari dill an dits tan dool
la dippyduppy dull la roop uttyroopy la goorigan goook aya gittygangool
arup cha cha adippydappydill la baritztandill lan den lan doe "
... and her "Farfetched"...
That was a technique she founds on youtube, to teach him the "Leek Spin" move.
This move is psychic type and can cause brutal damage to the opponent's brain, if used sequentially.
And also there was someone in the back repeating "Paul, Paul, Paul"...
When the beast attacked the girl, the person in the back was shocked and stopped singing...
Someone: Leave her alone! She's human!! Now, leave her alone...
Someone: Oh, wait... Why I'm saying this, she's not "Britney"...
Killer: Okay I feel tired now, I should find a place to rest...
Killer: Hey you??
Someone: You may call me Chris...
Guide: You're a boy??!
TO BE CONTINUED... ONLY, IF YOU SURVIVE IT
Just a thought but it would add to the effect if you opened up this site for the sound of rain
Not the first place you’d imagine waking up after a halloween party. Well, unless you’re in a film, then, it’s pretty damn possible.
I have no clue whatsoever as to my being here, the night flew by in a flash. From what I can hear, rain is lashing it down outside. All I know is I’m in an eerie room which reeks of something I would rather not be imagining. That’s what hits you first. The smell. A revolting odour so pungent my sinuses would scream if they had the ability to. It’s not the kind of stench you’d be able to ignore after being in its presence for a while. Oh, lord, no. This is absolutely disgusting.
After regaining however much focus I can muster, I realise I am not alone in this desolate room. Cube-shaped in structure and consisting of nothing but off-white tile walls, bloodstained over time. A solid concrete floor as cold as ice and a (what used to be sturdy) wooden table laden with sadistic tools. No doubt, weapons of mutilation. I also see a small, trembling heart in the corner of the room in a pool of its secretion. I believe the black market will be involved at some point. I guess I might as well also mention that semi-torn poster of Applejack splattered with the red ink of death (ironically, the stuff that keeps us alive) to the right of me a couple metres away. It’s the only thing holding together my shattered sanity right now. Not that I’m a brony or anything.
My mind now focuses on the others around me. I count 3 others. A young woman (mid-20s?) and an older lady, probably in her 30s. The third is a man whose face I cannot decipher. It would be much easier if it weren’t so bloody and broken. The puddle of red oozing around his head expands as the seconds tick by. The seconds counting down my inevitable demise. Quite a thought, that is. Knowing your death is only moments away.
Only now do I notice the creepy figure slumped on a chair, tucked away in the corner, concealed by shadows. A figure of darkness. Death’s incarnation. I reckon he’s just another homicidal maniac who engages in his hobbies a fair amount. The red walls only back up my assumption.
I fidget a little and my skin shows resistance as it pulls away from the concrete. The dried-up, sticky, red fluid covers the floor in patches. Its adhesiveness is much like that of dry coffee stains. The kind that are left behind in circles from mugs and teacups and what not. Who drinks coffee with a teacup? I’m losing my mind here. However, this sticky situation I’m in (I guess position is a better word) isn’t that bad given the fact that my body is restrained in barbed wire. Yep, ouch.
The figure rises and wheezes. I would tell him to cut the cigarettes if I could squeeze any sound out of my dry throat. Dressed in a worn-down, brown leather trench coat, he walks over to the tools on the table. His head dons an old, well-worn, 1970s gas mask. Steampunk isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a killer’s fashion sense, is it? When was that a trend? The year two thousand and never? The man in the mask picks up a hefty wrench . . . I shall call him Mr Trench n’ Wrench. Anyway, Mr Trench n’ Wrench, here, approaches the young woman. She has been cowering the whole time I’ve been conscious. Curled up, as if concealing something. Mr Trench n’ Wrench raises the wrench - seriously, though, if I were a serial killer with plenty of other tools at my disposal, I would come up with a more creative way of ending a life. Come on, Mr Trench n’ Wrench, I’m sure there’s a bit of imagination hidden behind that gas mask somewhere. Thud.
Lady dies. Body lies. Baby cries.
A baby. She was covering her baby. Its wail impales my ear drum. For certain, the baby is completely oblivious as to what has just occurred. The passing of its mother. I sense the killer is agitated by the screaming infant. Off he goes, back to the table. The baby silences . . . that was a fairly unorthodox pacifier.
I begin to wonder what method he’ll come up with to dispose of the woman by my side. She, too, is bound with barbs. To my shock, he heads on over to me armed with a mallet. I thought we were taking turns. She’s before me! I’m after! I’m all for ‘ladies first’. Please, let me be a gentleman! He presses the mallet up against my cheek bone. Seriously not in the mood to be in a Miley Cyrus music video right now, with all the death and barbed wire and such.
The pain is horrendous. A big blow to my face - now bloody with a tooth or two missing. The force knocks me down. My body in a foetal position. I squeeze my eyes shut, attempting to block out the face of the crying woman next to me. The ringing in my ears and banging in my head drowns out her cry. Tears leak from my face, infusing with the blood running down my cheek. Mr Mallet pulls me up by my shoulders, wary of the barbed wire. The pain on the left side of my face is unbearable, forcing my left eye to remain shut. I stare into the spectacles of this gas-masked villain, seeing nothing but darkness within. The mask a mere inch from my face. With my good eye, I see that a capitalised ‘E’ has been sewn onto his trench coat, frayed along its edges. It gives me something to direct my attention to, I cannot bear staring into the emptiness of the mask.
“Any . . . last . . . words?” the mask asks. The voice carries strain, as if every word scraped along his throat. Raspy. Deep. Dying. The mask’s voice seems as weak as me. I begin wondering who this guy is. Questions. Questioning not only him but myself too. What will I never see again, once this ordeal is over? I’ll never finish school. Never see my friends or family. Never get a girlfriend or have kids. Kenty! I’ll never see my best friend again, a loyal little dalmatian with a unique pattern by his left eye which resembles a lone tear. Perhaps he saw foresaw this, you always read how dogs stay at an owner’s grave, waiting for their owner to return. Man, I won’t even get a chance to watch Season 8 of HIMYM either! I break down again, sobbing uncontrollably.
My tight throat prevents me from even letting out a tiny yelp. This man, a man who resorts to killing others for his own gain. But what does he gain? This wire has definitely severed many nerves in my wrists eliminating any possibility of me picking up a pencil ever again, but, despite everything he has taken away from me . . . I feel sorry for him. I want to forgive him but my compassion does not overcome my desire to give this bloke a taste of his own medicine. I do all I can do with whatever strength I have remaining and spit in his face. It was less of a spit and more of raspberry.
“You’ve got red on ya,” he replies to my action. The splatter on the mask runs slowly, dripping like the rain seeping through the ceiling. Drip, drop, drip. He grunts aggressively and scurries over to his table, like a rat running over to cheese. What weapon will he use now?! And all I see, before my heavy eyes stay shut for good, is a needle in his grasp.
I feel the pinch in my neck and hear him slump back in his chair. The woman beside me must have passed out because I hear nothing. Either she’s silent or I’ve just become deaf, I have no idea what has been injected into my body. My neck burns, the heat searing me within and spreading like wildfire. The evil elixir courses through my body, finding its way to my organs and dealing devastating damage. It feels like magma, making its way through my veins and causing unimaginable pain along the way. My body convulses causing even more irreparable damage to the parts of my body intertwined with the barbed wire. A spiked snake constricting me, squeezing the life out of me. My heart works against me, pumping this deadly venom through every part of my soon-to-be corpse. Rain continues to pour outside . . .
That’s it, I conclude. My life, terminated by a killer’s concoction. What has he done to me? To us. Where are we? When will this anguish end? Why is he doing this? Who is he?
He’s Mr E.
Peace at last.
~ Robbie, 16
There is a clear difference between terror and horror, like the master Stephen King said: " Monster are real and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Our psyche might be just as terrifying as monsters that devour flesh.
"My dreams have actual relevance in the real world. Some people would call it prophecies, but a prophecy is inexorable and I hate the perspective of being powerless to myself. I know it seems kind of stupid, but it is true. When i was 10 years old, I dreamt of my dog being ran over by a truck, and it was very real and terrifying. I did not had much friends back then, so my dog was my best friend. That day I locked my dog (friend) for the first time, trying to outsmart the destiny. I found out the hardest way that i can't do shit about my dreams, and the more I try to avoid it, the more the world reshapes itself in order to screw me over. After i locked my dog. and went to school, my father got home earlier and released my dog, wondering why he was locked. My friend jumped over the fence for no reason at all and was smashed by a truck, according to my father.
I remember all my dreams. I read somewhere that 80% of the people forget their dreams after waking up. I was in that 20%. Most of my dreams were about people I've seen in my life, fortunately. My life was not that full of tragedies, especially because I avoided personal relations, I thought that relations were mostly selfish and full of crap, untill I met my girlfriend. She is the only person that knows my true self, and realizes how scared to shit I am. She thinks i dont have friends because im too good, and i don't want to hurt anyone near me and even myself.
Last night, i dreamed of killing my girlfriend. It was brutal, she was cheating on me and I shot her with a shotgun. My mind is so fucked that now I think that she might be cheating on me, flashbacks of past decisions that leaded me to doubt are taking over my mind. She is the only person in the world I love unreservedly. I have not seen her in 2 days, and I am starting to think I already killed her. Im clueless, and I can't live with myself and my thoughts anymore, therefore I am leaving this world. Questions that ravaged my mind, like, "Am I the only one with this curse?", "Can I be cured?" and etc. are irrelevant now. I'd rather die than be a slave of myself."
Fuji, Part One
"If you've never heard about mount Fuji, all you need to do is make sure you never go there."
That's from the first letter I ever received from my friend when he decided to travel abroad in Japan. He wrote to me frequently even though we weren't that close because he wanted me to warn everyone. He felt like Mt. Fuji (and the area of forest around it) was the most dangerous and evil place on earth. Myself, I'm not sure, but I do know that I haven't heard back from him in three months, which is completely unlike him. I'm extremely worried about him, and I'm debating with myself if I should go looking for him, but after reading his letters, I'm not so sure. Anything in bold italics is commentary from me or a letter date. Regular bold is when I wrote a letter to Mitch. Everything else from here on is from Mitch's letters. Tell me what you think, because I don't know. I half think he's playing a joke on me, but then there's the part of me that's not so sure.
First letter, May 3rd , 2013:
I'm sorry to mail you so out of the blue, especially since we haven't kept in touch all that much even when I've been in the states. I have been extraordinarily busy on a very difficult project. The project, by the way, has gone awry, which is why I'm writing you.
I know we aren't that close, but I must ask this favor of you. I want you to warn people. Warn the entire internet if you have to. Stay away from Mt. Fuji! If you've never heard about Mt. Fuji, all you need to know is to not go there. And tell everyone you know to do the same.
I plan to explain more of my and Yuka's story later. (She's been helping me research). I have much more to tell, but I wanted to write the most important thing first. As you know, I've been here for a couple of months now, and I plan to get you all caught up on everything with weekly letters. You must spread this story! It's the only way I know to protect people. I have to make this letter short, but I will write more later.
May 9th, 2013
Sorry about my short correspondence last week. A few things came up, which I'll explain down the line. I dearly hope you are reading this. If not, I don't know what I'll do.
As you may or may not know, the forest outside of Mt. Fuji is famous for the number of people who commit suicide there, usually through hanging. This was actually the subject of my research. Yuka and I were trying to discover the reasons behind such an extraordinary number of suicides there, now as high as 200 lives a year in the forest alone. We were trying to discover whether the suicides are more because of cultural causes, or if there was something related to the environment there. For example, with birds, an environment with a high level of electromagnetic activity will mess with a bird's sense of direction. If you travel to the forest (god forbid), what you will find is that it is unnaturally quiet there. Some people say it is a peaceful quiet. I say it is anything but. The truth is, it's just an evil place.
I know that sounds like a very unscientific thing to say, but science has yielded no answers for me. All I ask is that you hear me out.
We began with some basic research on the culture and history of the place, which Yuka was more than happy to assist me with. Having grown up in the mountain, her knowledge of the stories and reasons people grew up there is very fascinating. Aokigahara is the name of the forest. Many people falsely blame the suicides on a novel published in 1960, called the Black Sea of Trees. While the novel did make the place more well-known, people had been taking their lives there long before. In Japanese mythology, the place is associated with demons, and people believe it is haunted by the spirits of elders who were abandoned and left to die by their children.
The initial theory was, (and it seemed to make the most sense at the time) that depressed people were hearing about the mystical and cursed nature of the forest, and deciding to take their lives there, almost as if they wanted their lives to have a mystical, poetic ending, since they may not have had that feeling of importance in their lives.
Unfortunately, there were parts of this theory that did not quite add up. For one thing we found that while most of the people who commit suicide there were locals, there were some people who commit suicide from other countries visiting who didn't know anything about the back history of the forest or who were simply tourists out to see the mountain. They showed no real signs of depression before arriving in the area.
Another thing that made no sense was the fact that many of the people who hung themselves became obsessed with a peculiar symbol days before the suicide. A few had carved it on their walls or belongings, or drew it repeatedly in their journals days before they committed suicide.
At first we thought it was the mark of some strange suicide cult, but these people were all from different parts of the country, or different countries altogether, and they had little in common with each other. Typical suicide cults dress similarly, act similarly, adopt a strange kind of groupthink. But the people in these cases were so different. In fact, the only connection between them was the symbol, and the method of suicide: hanging.
It is getting late. I will write more next week.
Fuji, Part 2
May 17th, 2013
A few things have happened lately. Yuka has fallen ill but she is doing okay, so its just me right now working. I'll give you more details on that later. For now I would just like to continue with my story. I really hope you are receiving these. If you get the chance please write me back.
The symbol was something I completely did not expect. When I first saw it I thought nothing of it. Then I began to see it in more and more in the cases of the people who I studied.
In case you are wondering where I was able to get this case information on people, we actually got it partially from the authorities and partially from exploring the forest itself. It is a pretty frequent occurrence when someone commits suicide in the forest. So many people are coming in and out of there and the place is such a busy tourist destination anyway, that often times it is nearly impossible for the local police to identify or investigate all of the deaths. There were many instances where we were the first people to find a body. While we did go to the authorities, I did manage to first take a few pictures of some of their journals and what have you. That's one of the places i found this image. I know this is technically illegal but I felt it was necessary for my research and seeing the same symbol on many of the different bodies that I found was disconcerting to say the least. It drove my curiosity further.
While the local authorities tried to downplay the suicides, there were often so many that they were actually open to help us with our research provided they were able to have more success with identifying and finding the people who died. They weren't able to share too much classified information. They weren't able to define who specifically wrote this or that, but they did confirm for us that like with us, many of the people they investigated also wrote the symbol before their deaths. Additionally, all of the people who committed suicide who also wrote the symbol ended their lives through hanging.
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on a occult symbols and mythology. I, however, have never seen this symbol before in my life, though I have seen something similar. Yuka and I searched through the novel the Black Sea of trees. We also searched through Japanese mythology books and books on Japanese symbolism. In Japanese mythology we found nothing similar to this symbol whatsoever.
Where I recognized the symbol from was western mythology. It reminded me of the Phoenix or fire bird symbol. The main variation on this particular symbol versus the Western version is that this symbol was missing a head. Everything else about the symbol remains the same. Tail pointed down. Wings spread out proudly.. I do know that certain occult groups see the Firebird as a kind of deadly omen. To see a symbol of the Firebird without a head is just disconcerting. I don't know enough to know what the symbol means or might mean.
Hope to hear from you soon,
At this point in time, I decided to write Mitch back. He didn't receive my letter for about a week or so. Oh the power of snail mail! In case you're wondering why I didn't just call him, its because dialing internationally is expensive, and while I was concerned for him, I didn't think it was an emergency. I very much regret my decision now.
May 21st, 2013
I wanted to tell you that I have been reading your letters and I'm concerned for you. You made it sound almost like you were in danger. So far from what I have read, you haven't mentioned anything that would seem to endanger you immediately, so I wanted to know what's going on and if you need me to come down there and help you out.
Best wishes Mitch, and know I do care for you.
Fuji, Part 3
May 26th, 2013
Thank you so much for writing me back. I was starting to get a little depressed and was wondering if you were even reading them. It does much good for me to know you are.
To expound, yes this place is dangerous. No, don't come down here. I mean it. The reasons I haven't really revealed any threat to you yet are as follows:
1) I couldn't begin to explain this threat to you without first explaining my story and why it is a threat.
2) I was concerned you would come down here and try to rescue me, but that's what "it" wants, if you can even call it an it.
3) I partially feared your skepticism, or that you would think I was playing a trick on you. I need you to believe me, or at least pretend you do. It has been keeping me going sometimes.
4) At the time of writing you, I was in a more immediate danger. Since then, the danger has downgraded into more of a looming threat.
Of the threats, there are two.One of them is human. You see, lately Yuka has picked up a stalker. She tells me that he used to be a childhood friend, but hasn't seen him for years. He seems to know something about our research, although Yuka is baffled as to how since he has never to the best of our knowledge approached us while we are working. He never says anything either, but just seems to point to things, or hold up a sign. The sign, written in Japanese, translates roughly to "no rebirth." Neither Yuka nor I have any idea what it means. All I know is that this person, this Tetsuya, is vastly different, more brooding and creepy than she remembers in her childhood for sure.
The other threat you'll have to forgive me for, because I am certain you will think I've lost my mind, but I cannot stand the torture of thinking about it without someone to speak to about it anymore. I am certain that the other threat, whatever it is, whatever you want to call it, has something to do with that symbol. Based on Yuka's and my research, the best explanation I have is that I believe the symbol is a kind of "idea virus", or if you are an avid user of the term, a "meme". Thanks to the internet, "memes", or ideas that spread rapidly and quickly like a virus are all the more quicker to proliferate. In this case, the virus is more literal in the sense that I think it actually infects and harms a person's mind or soul. I know, it sounds absurd, but the more we research, the more evidence we find that this is the case. This idea, it's more than just an image. It's a symbol. It goes deeper. It represents something. A worldview, perhaps, I don't know, but whatever it is, it's making people who were otherwise happy, seemingly well-adjusted individuals eager to take their own lives. The worst part is that Yuka and I have been exposing ourselves to it constantly the last few days, so I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it has an effect on us. For that very reason, I hope our theory is wrong.
Tetsuya had begun stalking Yuka a little before the time of my first letter. I had been here about two months when I started writing to you. In case you're curious, she has been feeling better lately. I guess she just came down with a cold. She does seem more spooked, and I half wonder if she was visited by Tetsuya again in the last couple of days. When I first wrote you, a particularly troubling incident had just occurred. We had just begun to notice the symbol from multiple sources during this time. After a long day of researching, and even going through the things of an unidentified dead body, Yuka and I parted ways and she went home to her apartment. I had just laid down in my bed for about 30 minutes when I got a phone call from her.
It was Tetsuya. He had broken in through the window of her apartment, and had written the symbol all over the walls in blood. In addition, he wrote the phrase, "No rebirth" everywhere. When she had gotten home, he was standing by the window, holding his sign, only this time, "No rebirth" was written in blood on one side, and he flipped it over to read "only death" on the other. She of course freaked out, and he ran out the window and down the fire escape. At first we wondered where he got the blood, but then we saw that blood streaked down the fire escape, and we saw a small pool of blood on her carpet. We realized that he cut into his own hands to write the messages. He'd be lucky to be alive after losing so much blood. Since then, she's barricaded her apartment, and police are watching it to see if they can catch him, but he only shows himself in places where there are no police around, and like I said, he never says anything, just holds his signs. By the time she is able to get in contact with the police, he's gone. If it weren't for the apartment incident, I suspect the authorities would think she's crazy.
So, that's what has happened up until now. After the symbols starting appearing, our whole cultural theory fell apart, so I would like to tell you more about what we tried next to figure this out. It is getting late, so I will explain more of that in the next letter.
Take care, and thank you for listening,
I didn't necessarily believe Mitch at this point. (I'm still not sure I do), but I did know that he believed his theory 100%. He was right, though. It was absurd. A symbol can't kill you. A symbol can't make you do things, but I was worried because he seemed to start thinking that it could. Belief is a powerful thing. If you think that you're being psychically attacked by a cursed symbol, then you start to act like that. If you believe you're being possessed or cursed, then you start to act like that too. I told myself that if he wrote next week and seemed worse off, I would at least try calling him...Except, I didn't receive a letter next week, or the week after.
Fuji, Part 4
June 11th, 2013
So sorry I haven't written you, Casey. Things have taken a turn for the worse. I've been busy talking with the authorities a lot, and haven't had much sleep. Yuka is missing, and I'm terrified for my life. It started with Tetsuya again. Like usual, he's been following her around, only lately, he's been more aggressive. He's had been acting like he was trying to tell us something but can't. We were both walking down the street, and there he was with his sign again. I don't know how he always evades the police, but they're never there when we need them. We walked by him, ignoring him like usual, only this time he threw his sign on the ground and pushed us, just screaming like a madman.
At that point Yuka screamed out (In Japanese) "What is it that you want from us? Why don't you say anything?" At that point Tetsuya just began laughing, except the laugh sounded strange, as though there were something wrong with his mouth. At that point, he opened his mouth. He had no tongue. The next day, Yuka went missing. I tried to call her, no answer. This was distressing for me not only because I care for her, but without her, my Japanese is rough and it is difficult to communicate. I went to the authorities, but they told me they cannot file a missing person's report unless it was 24 hours. After 24 hours, I went back, went through all the paperwork, was grilled and accused by investigators, the whole works.
When I got home, my apartment was trashed. Someone had broken in, and wrote all over my wall just like Tetsuya did at Yuka's house. The only difference was that this time it was not in blood. I'm not sure what it was. It was this strange greenish pink color and had an off smell about it. It was really hard to describe. It was almost metallic, but kind of musty smelling too.
It was a poem. I've never seen it before and tried Googling it, but I found nothing. This is what it said:
"Prometheus was a liar, never was a fire.
The Phoenix was a lie, never did it rise.
Your heroes are all frauds
You expect too much of god,
Beneath all that was the symbol. I still have no clue what the substance used to write the poem is or if Tetsuya did it, but I'm getting freaked out, honestly. If I didn't think it would endanger you, I'd almost reconsider asking for your help, but it is important you don't see the symbol. Even with the stress of everything, you cannot see it, nor will I share it in my letters. I'm really having second thoughts about this whole experiment. Yuka is gone, the experiment has fallen apart, I've got a creepy stalker writing me creepy poems in my house when I have no idea how he even got in. It's all too much. I'm really hoping I can find Yuka.
I received Mitch's letter around the 15th or so, (don't remember the exact day). As soon as I got it, I tried to call him multiple times, but I never got a hold of him. It's as if he just stopped answering his phone. I tried emailing him, likewise no answer.
June 28th, 2013
The authorities found Yuka. Oh god, Casey. Whoever did this was a monster. After searching and asking around, the police issued a search warrant for her apartment. She was beheaded, Her bedsheets were sewn into her skin and cut like wings. She was draped and hanging over the side of her bead, and she was covered from head to toe with scorch marks. At first I thought Tetsuya did it, and maybe he did, but just yesterday the Japanese police found Tetsuya's body in the forest. Like the others, he chose to hang himself, and he carved "no rebirth" all over his body and also carved the "headless phoenix" symbol into his body.
I don't know how much more of this I can take. Without Yuka, just trying to buy food at a local market is difficult. Since I'm a foreigner and can't explain my case well, they think I killed her. Continuing to experiment at this point is right out ridiculous, and yet...maybe there is something I can do yet. Maybe I can find a way. In either case, I have to try.
I still tried to call Mitch back at this point with no success. The next letter is the last letter I received from him. It smelled rancid and metallic.
I see now. I understand. Tetsuya was trying to warn me. There is no rebirth. No rebirth at all.
No rebirth. Only death.
Death alone. Only death.
It all makes sense now. Everything falls into place.
It is a fragment from my vampire epistolatory novel (a small fragment of the intro).
Warsaw Newspaper Article July 11th 1924 pg. 13
Yesterday in the evening hours a decision was made about the renovation of the northern sewers in Warsaw. The task was supposed to be staffed with 400 sewer workers, engineers, masons and plumbers in order to completely renovate the cities XIXth century sewer system built by the Russian occupants. The official report is that the project was canceled due to lack of funds, labor force, meant to be used in the metro system.
For Warsaw Newspaper, Piotr Kamilewski
Diary of Janusz Kowalski August 12th 1944
The battle has begun! The fight against the Nazi occupant was started and for now we are winning. Hitler will soon understand that Poland will not fall easily, HE WILL NOT HAVE WARSAW! It is 11 days and two hours from "W" hour, but it is only now that I can write my memoirs. My bag got shot and this diary received a heavy blow, I had to rip half the pages off and I will have to conserve the words. Who knows how long will the fight take and if I will be able to find a notebook on the way. I am being reassigned to Zoliboz district.
Diary of Janusz Kowalski August 14th 1944
The fight continues and the Nazis don't give up, I killed a couple this morning, one of them form SS, I'm proud, cause these fuckers deserve their fate most. I'm in Zoliboz, to which I got via sewers with my squad. Though so far Nazis don't know of our way of transportation I have the feeling we're being watched. These tunnels are masoned and tight, they carry sounds for miles and perhaps it was a different squad.
Diary of Janusz Kowalski August 20th 1944
The nightmare continues, many of us died, the bombings continue and there is no sign of help from outside. Germans figured out about the sewers and attack us there. Sometimes we sent a party to flush these rats out. The parties either return with German dog tags, sometimes not at all. Now some strange sounds appear and are louder, but that I can understand, we fight on land and under it. Yesterday while guarding the hose entry I saw something in the channels. It was big and swift, what's more disturbing is that it is completely silent. It's too bad I don't have a flashlight.
Diary of Janusz Kowalski August 25th 1944
Things got serious, we're slowly loosing, but I won't let that stop me. Day by day the sewers get more dangerous. Cave-ins, Bombings and Germans are one, but what I saw today at the patrol was horrible. Normally I see 4, 10 corpses a day, but that one takes the pie. Imagine a grenade blowing from inside someone. Only it wasn't a grenade ... jaws. Someone or something ate him alive, claw and toothmarks, the torso was emptied. Something lives down here and is carnivorous, that's it I'm putting a request for transfer.
Diary of Janusz Kowalski August 26th 1944
Those dogs! They denied my request! Worse still I was ordered to go on a patrol into the old northern sewers. I don't get it, we should be clearing communication with downtown not some backwater tunnels which are not even on the maps. I'm to leave tomorrow.
Diary of Janusz Kowalski August 27th 1944
6:12 P.M. This place is wrong. We're in some strange old tunnels. Sometimes they bind with the new ones, sometimes we must squeeze through some ancient, stone-made ones. Slime, filth and spiderwebs, they weren't used for decades at least. What's worse, there is no life here. All spiders long dead, slime rotting for many years, no rats, not even a mouse. Usually I like this sight, but now I miss it. No Nazis ... only these sounds I heard, when I saw that thing.
8:00 P.M. Mariusz is gone! There were only three of us down here and now one of us just disappeared. We checked all previously seen tunnels and nothing. Now we watch our backs, I have little time to wr....
0:00 A.M. THIS IS A NIGHTMARE! Adrian is gone too! We set ourselves at a tunnel crossroads. Sounds of strange creatures were coming from everywhere. We were scared but we had to keep it together. I don't know what happened, I just closed my eyes for a moment when leaning on Adrian's back and then I get woken up by falling on a cold, wet ground. These sounds approach, COSER! IT'S OVER, I'm GOING BACK TO BASE!
Diary of Janusz Kowalski August 28th 1944
2:35 A.M. FUCK! FUCK! FUUUUUUUUCK!!! I'm lost! These tunnels are cursed! They go only downwards like as if to hell! And even if I go up, they soon turn down. FUCK IT!!! I'm going just about anywhere, there must be an exit anywhere!
3:11 A.M. Our Father, Who art in Heaven; Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily br... (Here the writing is stopped by a rapid and large scratch of the pen)
5:30 A.M. If anyone found and now reads this, RUN!!! This is Hell. It's Satan's work, don't you see what's happening here. Devil himself ripped the stone walls of this tunnel and digit them like a mole into a chamber, which he decorated with bones and flesh. Oh my god these roots are alive and move!!! The grow into a web, it moves towards m... (an unrecognizable sudden sign breaks the writing)... and those sounds! they are roars, screams! It's here, I can't write any long... (Here the writing ends with a scratched unrecognizable pen made line, finishing with a whole made by a pen, the page is sprinkled with brownish-reddish spots).
(A thin and sharp lined writing follows. Made apparently with a knife or a claw which almost slices the paper with an ink apparently made of the same thing as the droplets sprinkling the page
TiBurrum Achsdaalum BertaloriSHI
I was told that this might not actually qualify as a horror story, but I took the time to write it so why not put it here.
A cigar. My particular poison. Lit with a wooden match to keep the flavor just like they said in the Hellboy movie. If you watch enough over the years you can gather enough tidbits from anywhere to appear smart. I don’t know if there’s a taste to preserve in cigars that come 10 to a double pack but they give out match boxes with purchase. Hooray for grandeur.
Night is the key to all this. It’s that time of year where night is relative so you have to be sure to make it real night. Pick a time when you’re going to be as alone as the world lets you be anymore. There has to be nothing meaningful that’s going to step out beside you. You should wear a coat but you might be a maverick renegade who won’t need the fine use of your hands after a while. All you need for sure is a well lit patch in the night and a voice.
A voice is completely vital. It could be someones vlog or old music videos but you need one. But they have to be old. No new voices. Only memories. If it’s a voice you don’t know then a voice could sneak up on you from behind.
It could be an old, ragged traveler like in the morality tales. He saw the light and came looking for human kindness. Maybe I have a light or an extra cigar. If I don’t have one out here I might have more inside. I’m a few steps away and up on a wooden porch. Could I get the door open and get in before he’s right behind me? He can’t be very fast but he might have something like a knife, a dirty one. I don’t have anything, why would I? Even if I go get inside and lock the door is the other door locked? Is every window? If the shades are open he could still come up to one asking and banging as I run through. Even when I do call the police anything could happen in the minutes in between. By the time they get here he might have left. If he left he could come back.
Coming back is what the night is all about, isn’t it? When I was young my sisters would tell me there were still trains on the long abandoned tracks out back at night. That was never my main fear. There was more than once a thunder storm or a truck going by was that ghost train but there was always something worse. It wasn’t vampires either. I’d done my research and always kept so many stuffed animals around me in bed that there was no path to turn into mist and get me.
For me it was always aliens. Aliens had bright lights and looked almost human with weird eyes. The aliens could lift you up or freeze you. They could freeze you and walk right in looking almost human and contemplate what to do with you while you’re awake watching.
That’s what it was at night then. If there was a plane overhead it was a mothership. If there was an artificial light it was them searching and coming for me. Every patter of settling or mice in the walls meant they were already inside. Any second a leg or a hand was going to cross over that doorway and they would have me. The little boy who thwarted the vampires. I was so wise but what could they want? They might tell me but it would only be worse if they talk. Then they take my away.
It didn’t help at all that my father slept with the radio on so whenever I woke up there really were voices. It’s funny what scares you as a kid.
I’d never be out here if there could be aliens. I’d hear them coming and taking you awake was never their trick. There’s always a trick. You can trick and trick until someone walks right through them.
Ghosts can’t walk through rod iron. That’s the folklore. That’s why cemetery gates are made out of it. The first thing this made me wonder was if you could use rod iron to hit them. Of course that’s right where I go with it. What’s that say about me? There’s nothing there to injure but if I swing a stick of iron at them it could push them back or dispel. It’s only supposed to keep the unquiet souls of loved ones in their proper place and I go and make it violent.
That’s not where ghosts stay though. If they did we wouldn’t need ghost stories. Ghosts inside a place tend to be tied there. A ghost outside can just be outside. They could be wandering or between places. There’s a patch between here and there that would be perfect. It’s wooded with a couple of paths. There’s the ancient remains of a basketball hoop on one tree for establishing shots. It’s just far enough that whatever wants to could emerge without instantly telling you it shouldn’t be.
What shouldn’t be could be good or bad. Unfinished business doesn’t really care. I don’t know what unfinished business she would have, the old woman who used to live there. She was hale and hearty longer than anyone has a right to be and even after the one knock that starts the end for any of us she kept herself.
Once before all of that she said that if she saw me out one day having a cigar and a beer that she would join me for a cigar and a beer. That was the way she said it, in that way the elderly have of thinking they’ll finally have a catch phrase. Cadence is the word. I don’t smoke during the day much and I never liked drinking outside. There’s too much to carry.
Then there’s the other one. The one I was unkind to. All the good in the world will never be pure once that first unkindness is done. It’ll never be allowed to be.
I won’t tell you why but it was a bad night. The bad of the night wasn’t my own but I had a stake in it. I have every right to tell this story. For all that, for whatever was said and done during the day the night came. On that night I had no way of knowing just how bad the day ended up being. Not a soul to turn to I did what always cleared my head before. I had a cigar.
It was like other nights if more singular in focus. I don’t remember if I brought anything with a voice. Nothing was going to actively distract me. It was purposefully me and the void. We’ve all had those nights for our own reasons. Just me, something sweeter than a real cigar smoker would like and the precious void. Then came the animal.
It’s personal which animal it was so project as thou whilst. Leave it that it was an animal I’ve never seen out in the wild before or since. It came from the side where that path is. I wasn’t sure what I saw at first, then it settled and sat. It could have just liked the light or the bit of warmth or needed a break from being an animal for a moment. But it was her animal.
I always called her that animals name. I stumbled on it. I’ll defend to the death I didn’t have it on reserve. Then there it was. It was there on this night and no other. Her animal, just sitting there being the animal it was.
Was it there to tell me all was well? Was it there to tell me that it wasn’t? Was it there to tell me all was well for the unacceptable reason? Were its eyes glowing in the light to tell me that? Was it her totem, if those exist? I said hello to it, assuming nothing, just by its natural name. I didn’t answer me, which I think was good. It only sat where it was in my perfect view for almost the entire time I was out there and then went back to the forest. Whatever is true of this world, that happened.
That was then. This is now. It wasn’t cold yet then. The only night was real night. Tonight my hands are useless. There weren’t any voices out that I didn’t bring myself. So I picked that up along with my matches and for a second there was nothing.
Someday I’m going to want to hear them enough that I will. Nothing killed me tonight.
Once upon a time there was a ghost named Angus. He lived in an old abandoned house. One day two men decided to explore the house. Angus was waiting for them. They broke down the back door and entered. Angus jump out of a cupboard at them and went "Boo". The two old men left the house and never came back. Instead they hired a demolition crew which came and tore down the house to build a park for the local community. Angus was never heard from again. Happy Halloween!
At 10/31/13 08:18 PM, Omegeist wrote: My story
Once upon a time...
I forgot, here is a picture of Angus
"Minutes from October 3rd"
South Calville Cult of Tvalcheorp the All-Devouring Quarterly General Meeting
October 3, 2013
Churley Residence, 42 Mandrake Lane
Chair: Franklin Starling, High Prophet of Unremitting Misery
1. Approval of the agenda
2. Report on progress towards the summoning of Tvalcheorp the All-Devouring
3. Assessment of possible hazards to South Calville Cult
4. Election of Curator of Forbidden Whispers
5. Other Business
Meeting called to order at 7:30 pm
1. Approval of the Agenda
MOVED BY Samantha Churley
SECONDED BY Robin Lao
Chair explained that the nomination and election of the Scribe of Forbidden Whispers must begin prior to 8:30, as Lao must leave by 9 in order to pick up his son from basketball practice, after which the meeting would return to unfinished agenda business.
2. Report on Progress towards the summoning of Tvalcheorp the All-Devouring
Chair introduced Danielle Farrington, Conductor of Spilled Entrails. Farrington noted that the South Calville Cult is, barring unforeseen setbacks or interference, on track for the eclipse of 2014. Bimonthly sacrifice of beasts of the land, air and sea in increasing size has thus far been: a spruce beetle, a goldfish, a vole, a robin, a squirrel, a garter snake, a seagull, a jackfish, a raccoon. Clarice Wiebe’s beagle was recommended for the next sacrifice, as it fits the size requirements and is nearing the end of its natural lifespan anyway. Wiebe opposed the recommendation, and the issue was taken to a formal vote.
MOVED BY Danielle Farrington
SECONDED BY Jeremy Williamson
CARRIED twelve to one
In addition, Thomas Rodenberg, Keeper of Broken Iron, announced that Rodie’s Scrapyard is continuing to acquire the requisite amounts of corroded metal, and Helen Gray has “plenty of sulfur available for the next blood sacrifice”.
3. Assessment of possible hazards to the Calville Cult
Chair introduced Malcom Churley, who had prepared a report on external threats to the cult. Churley noted that the cult’s visibility is increasing due to the eldritch corruption it has inflicted on the area. Occasional, unprovoked outbursts among children of, “It comes for you. It comes for us all. Tvalcheorp will sup on your flesh and dance upon your bones,” have already drawn the attention of one cigarette-smoking, overcoat-clad investigator of the paranormal. Churley remarked that the investigator has been largely quiet since his body was left in a cornfield for the rooks to feast upon, but outside suspicion is a growing concern. Further, Churley observed that a small group of teenagers has been regularly gathering outside his place of business, the South Calville Grocery Co-op, but he is unsure whether the group is a team of amateur sleuths or simply loitering.
Jeremy Williamson moved that Churley “refrain from such shameless self-promotion” and that all references to the South Calville Grocery Co-op be struck from the minutes. The movement was not seconded.
Chair and High Prophet of Unremitting Misery Starling then addressed the assembled, declaring that the greatest threat to Tvalcheorp’s rising comes from the weakness of our own hearts, and that to falter now, so close to the Great Arrival, would be unforgivable. He remarked that this weakness is what led the previous Curator of Forbidden Whispers to his current gibbering insanity, and announced that, from this meeting forward, the reader of The Terrible Revelation of Tvalcheorp (and Other Bedtime Stories) must change every week. In addition, the Curator of Forbidden Whispers cannot read from the Terrible Revelation, only record and curate the reader’s forbidden whispers. This is no longer a guideline. This is law.
MOVED BY Franklin Starling
THE HIGH PROPHET’S WORD IS ABSOLUTE
THE MOTION CARRIES
4. Election of the Curator of Forbidden Whispers
Chair noted his pleasure with the efficient running of the meeting thus far. Clarice Wiebe was nominated by Samantha Churley. Jeremy Williamson was nominated by Thomas Clough. Robin Lao was nominated by Helen Gray.
Votes in favour of Robin Lao: 7
Votes in favour of Jeremy Williamson: 3
Votes in favour of Clarice Wiebe: 10
Jeremy Williamson moved that the vote be stayed until next week, with the reasoning that sympathy for Clarice Wiebe’s dog biased the voting.
MOVED BY Jeremy Williamson
SECONDED BY Thomas Clough
OVERTURNED eleven to two
After this point, Robin Lao was took his leave.
5. Other Business
Danielle Farrington raised the issue that, to her knowledge, an unknowing sacrifice from within the Calville Cult has not been selected for the final ritual. She expressed concern that the choosing of the soul-key Tvalcheorp the All-Devouring will use to unlock the door to our reality may prove difficult to do in a fair and appropriately secret way. High Prophet of Unremitting Misery Starling demanded a return to order after a fit of embarrassed coughing. Thomas Clough moved that for simplicity’s sake, Robin Lao be sacrificed, as he was not witness to this portion of the meeting.
MOVED BY Thomas Clough
SECONDED BY Danielle Farrington
Malcolm Churley raised the possibility of calling forth chittering flesh-husks from the Realm of Festering Horrors to guard key locations and discourage loitering around the South Calville Grocery Co-op.
MOVED BY Malcom Churley
SECONDED BY Helen Gray
CARRIED eight to five
Reasearch into the feasibility and logistics of utilising chittering flesh-husks for this purpose is considered part of Clarice Wiebe’s duties as Curator of Forbidden Whispers.
Thomas Clough raised the possibility of wearing official cult regalia on Halloween or calling forth chittering flesh-husks to improve the quality of his planned haunted house. Five minutes of guttural screaming emanated from High Prophet of Unremitting Misery Franklin Starling. Thomas Clough retracted the motion.
The date for the next Quarterly General Meeting of South Calville Cult of Tvalcheorp the All-Devouring was set for January 4th, 2014.
It comes for you.
It comes for us all.
Tvalcheorp will sup on your flesh and dance upon your bones.
Richard Smith, Records-Keeper of Bureaucratic Sorrows
Unnamed Forest Road in Eldingdown State Park - P1
The dream always started the same way.
He would be driving a Jeep on a long, narrow forest road. It was Ethan’s jeep, but he was comfortable driving it.
He knew the road; he had driven it before. He had driven it just last weekend. In the dreams, which he’d been having since then, it was always the same. The road was dark, so he had the high beams on. They cut through the clear night but not beyond the edge of the thick treeline.
There was always someone in the car with him, he knew that much. But it was like his head was welded to his spine and he couldn’t turn to look at the passenger’s seat, although he dearly wanted to. He had to keep driving forward. Every night, he got a little farther.
Father Paul met him at the door to the darkened nave at 6:47 AM, with the tiredness he wore around him visible even under the heavy goose-down coat that hung from his shoulders. Brandon apologized for requesting to meet with Father Paul so early.
“Not at all,” said the priest, who produced a key the width of his pinky finger and poked it in the lock to let them into the darkened church. “I’m a morning person, anyway.”
It was the third time they’d met that week, but if the priest noticed his guest's increasing urgency he let it roll of his shoulders as they walked together into the darkened nave. This particular church was in one of the more upper-crust neighborhoods in Brooklyn, so it was a proper 20s-era Catholic church, with granite floors and vaulted ceilings and pews well-worn by a thousand asses, if a little shabby now.
The slot windows let in only a few bands of the morning light, but he was able to follow the Priest’s echoing footsteps down the central walkway between the pews and to the confessional booths near the chancel, where they had met several times before.
“You’re sure you want to talk in here?” The Priest said, gesturing in the direction of his office. The tiredness was audible on his voice, now, but it wasn’t just tiredness from the morning. “My office is just through that door. I have a coffee machine.”
“No thanks, I’m more comfortable talking here.” He chuckled a little bit. “More experience, I guess.”
Once they were both settled and Father Paul had slid the confessional divider open between them so their voices could pass through, he said, “So the dreams. Are you still having them?”
“Yes. Every time I go to sleep.”
“And you tried the herbal tea I suggested?”
“I did, Father. It didn’t help.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
A moment of silence passed between them, amplifying the quiet in the church.
“I’ve been getting farther and farther each time, now. I’m afraid of what will happen if I get to the end of the road. I don’t want to see what’s at the end of it. Last night I—the dream changed. I called you immediately when I woke up.” Another long silence. He could hear Father Paul fidgeting a little in his robes. “I think I need to tell you the story, now.”
“About what happened to you and your friends last weekend?”
For the past five years, since they were in their final year of college, Brandon and his three former roommates had been driving four hours to a remote campsite in the countryside for Halloween. Well, it was partly for Halloween and partly in memory of their fifth roommate, Peter, who had died unexpectedly last summer in those very woods. Most of all, though, it was an excuse to make a bonfire and get drunk in the middle of nowhere for no reason, while also feeling like they were doing something meaningful.
So this is where last weekend found them, with Brandon and his three remaining roommates all arranged in the four corners of Ethan’s jeep as they drove down the secluded unnamed back road to their traditional camping spot in Eldingdown State Park.
It was a long drive, but the convoluted road was beautiful, nearly covered over by the long arms of oak trees in blazing colors and flanked by expansive evergreens on either side, and they all knew the road well, having driven it so many times before.
At what appeared to be the end of the road, Ethan made a sharp right between the trees, and they drove right up to the leaf-covered fire pit that marked the camping spot. They got out and stretched their legs, grinning in anticipation, but also somewhat sobered as their last memory of the place had included Peter in it. They unpacked, relieving Ethan’s car of the tent, numerous cases of beer, and the camp chair apiece that they’d packed as supplies.
"I don't mean to interrupt," Father Paul's voice came from the other side of the divider, surprising him, "but I really must pause the story and go get some coffee. Would you like some?"
"Thanks, I'm fine." Brandon listened as Father Paul shuffled to his feet and then into the echoing nave, wondering how he was going to continue the story.
Knowing they would be too drunk to do it later, they had erected their tents and unrolled their sleeping bags and Ethan put the seats down in the back of his jeep and spread out his sleeping bag inside it. They gathered armloads of firewood which Eric, the Eagle Scout among them, ignited into a sizeable fire. Then as it was getting dark they unfolded their camp chairs and were already well on their way to intoxication.
"To Peter," Ethan said, and they all sobered up a bit and raised their PBRs in salute. "May he be wasted with us in spirit, forever."
"And may that bitch that made him crash his car into a tree go fuck herself." The other three murmured in agreement to Eric's outburst.
The evening stretched into night and they didn’t talk again about Peter. Chris, the fourth member of their group and least intoxicated, brought out marshmallows and chocolate (“fuck, I forgot the goddamn graham crackers,”) and they laughed and joked around and drank so much that whatever they talked about was lost to Brandon’s memory.
Father Paul had come back with his coffee and been filled in on the story up to this point. He noticed Brandon’s abrupt transition to silence and said, “Brandon? Is there a problem?”
“Yeah, I’m alright. Just trying to figure out how I’m going to tell this next part of the story without sounding crazy. I’d gotten pretty drunk at that point, really drunk, everyone was.”
“Well, yes. Jesus forgives you.”
“Chris had passed out and we just let him sleep. That dude could sleep through a train wreck. And the other two were wasted out of their minds. So was I. I don’t even know how late it was at that point, whether it might’ve just been a dream. I don’t even know if it even happened or not but this—” he gestured at the darkness of the confessional booth, “—I’ll just tell you what happened. You can think I’m crazy, or maybe not.”
“I’ll withhold judgment until I hear the story.”
“Alright. Well. This woman came up to our campsite. Just out of nowhere. She was wearing a Halloween mask.”
“What was the mask?”
He strained at his drunken memory to bring the image of the young woman’s mask into shape. “I wanna say… I don’t know, it was just a monster mask, like the type you buy from a costume store. Like a demon mask or something. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. So this girl just came out of nowhere, and she wanted to party with us. She wanted to drink. So we gave her a beer and just went with it.”
“And what happened?”
“She was a cool girl. Took her mask off and chilled with us. She seemed normal, if a little bit reserved. Who cares about that stuff when you’re drunk? I don’t think I realized how odd it all was, or wondered where she had come from, until the next morning when I woke up and she was gone. The campfire was out and littered with bottles and Chris was still just passed out in his camp chair. And she was just gone.”
Unnamed Forest Road in Eldingdown State Park - P2
The next morning, reeling and nauseous from hangover, he had gone around to the side of Ethan’s jeep and pounded on the window to rouse him. That was when something glinting near the front tire caught his eye. Glass, shattered in the leaves. The front windshield was in pieces.
“Fuck, dude,” Ethan was rolling over; he hadn’t seen the damage yet. “Do you even remember what happened last ni—what the fuck.”
“Dude,” Brandon said, “What happened to your car?”
“Fuck, dude, I don’t know. What the hell? Were we that drunk last night?”
Sobered by the damage, they walked around the car and examined it for more. There was nothing other than the fractured windshield which had shattered outward from a central point centered over the driver’s side of the car. They did a thorough examination of the interior and found that nothing was missing, nothing was misplaced. By now Chris and Eric had risen and come over to investigate.
“Guys.” Chris said, “You got too freaking drunk last night.”
“Shut up, man. How would you know, you slept through half of it.”
Ethan was in a foul mood, so they made a hasty cleanup of their camp while they waited for AAA to arrive. They drove home in the back of the AAA tow truck, spirits low.
That was last weekend.
“A strange story, to be sure.” Father Paul said. “But I sense this isn’t all you came here to talk to me about. The forest road in these dreams you’ve been having. Do you think it’s the same road as the one you took to the campsite?”
Brandon nodded earnestly. “I know it is. And that’s what I came to talk to you about. The dreams are, well they’ve been getting worse. I’ve been trying not to sleep, but it creeps up on you. I told you about the last one I had.”
He had called him at 5 AM, one day ago, in hysterics. “The one with… with Eric on the side of the road.”
That dream had started on the same road, with the same unseeable presence in the passenger’s seat. But that time, something on the side of the road caught his eye in the high beams. He’d driven up on it thinking it was road kill, until he got close enough to see the unmistakable shape of a human spread out on the asphalt. It was Eric. He was dead, and flanked by tire tracks.
“You told me about that one, yes. I agree, it is troubling.”
“Last night, I had the same dream, but I didn’t wake up right away after seeing Eric, like before. And whoever was in the passenger’s seat seemed to be watching me very intently. You know how sometimes you just know when someone is. It makes your skin prickle. So I just drove past him.”
And then something had caught the corner of his eye. A demon mask held in a lap. Suddenly, the paralysis keeping his eyes locked on the road disappeared and he turned his neck to look at her. A human face, just inches away, staring at him with blank eyes from the passenger’s seat.
He had a moment of panic and then he realized. It was not a human face at all. It was stiff as though made of wax. He could see a crack running from its jaw-line up to disappear beneath the hairline. Its eyes were as lifeless and shiny as if they’d been plucked from the skull of a dead man. It was the girl who had joined them at their campsite that night, but her face was a mask.
He was frozen with horror. Where before he couldn’t turn to see what was beside him, now he was powerless to look away as a pale hand reached up and started to peel back the edges of the mask.
And then there was a thump, and the car shuddered and skidded and he slammed his foot on the brake. Whatever spell had been put on him was broken, and his eyes snapped back to the road where he had come to a halt with a spider web of cracks spreading out on the windshield. He opened the door to see what he had hit, but some part of him already knew. It was not going to be a deer.
It was Ethan. The right side of his face had been scraped off by road burn, and his neck was twisted at a right angle to his body. He looked just like Eric had.
Father Paul sighed and sipped his coffee, which Brandon could smell through the divider. “A troubling dream indeed. I can see why you would be uneasy about it.” Another sip. “I can’t help but think there’s more to the story of last weekend. Perhaps these dreams are the manifestation of some guilt that’s been eating at you. Dreams are a window into the conscience, and subconscious, you know. And, I can’t help but notice we are meeting in the confessional, instead of in my office or anywhere else otherwise sensible. It seems you need to meditate on what really transpired that night.”
He wracked his brain. “No, there was nothing else. I told you everything I remember.”
“And you’re sure of that?”
No, wait, there was something else, he realized with a pang. It had been in the early hours of the morning, an island of memory between two seas of drunken black. He had opened his eyes to see Eric and Ethan pressing close in to the girl’s lawn chair, cornering her. He remembered the utterly impassive look she had on her face, like it had been made of rubber.
“C’mon,” he remembered Eric saying. He saw his hand tug at her blouse. “Be chill.”
“Yeah,” Brandon had slurred. “Be chill.”
“C’mon, babe. I’ve got a nice warm jeep just over there. Heated seats…”
Brandon went home after his meeting with Father Paul and drank boxed wine and watched Netflix until night came. He started on the fifty Hail Marys Father Paul had prescribed. He left a few messages on Ethan’s cell phone.
Hey dude, I wanted to talk to you about something that happened last weekend. Do you remember—well, do you remember a girl walking up on our campsite? Random, I know. I just wanted to ask about it. Just call me back, man. He waited for an answer, but none came.
He called Eric, who didn’t pick up, and left the same message. He sat on his recliner, feeling more and more uneasy. Eric always picked up.
He worked his way through half a season of Full House and finished his wine. He fought sleep but he was drained, and it came up on him anyway.
For the first time, the dream began not driving, but walking along the road towards the campsite. He knew the road well—it was narrow and winding, wide enough only for one vehicle at some points with old oak trees that grew right up to the side of the road. If it were daytime, he would have been able to see the colors of their leaves changing.
He knew that if he turned around and walked back he would be able to see the body of Ethan spread out on the pavement with his neck at a right angle to his body. And, if he walked further back than that, he would see Eric spread-eagled on the road. But he was powerless to do anything but keep walking forward.
After not too long he heard the sound of a car approaching. He turned around to look at it and saw the distinctive headlights of Ethan’s jeep. But it wasn’t Ethan at the wheel, it was Chris. And he wasn’t looking at the road, he was looking at someone in the passenger’s seat. A woman with a mask for a face, just starting to peel it off.
Before he could see what was underneath, the headlights blinded him. For a moment the world seemed to collapse in on itself as down became up and left and right became meaningless, sight and sound and smell and vision was all the same loud coppery cold sensation of pain. Asphalt rushed up to meet him, but he was still looking upwards towards the windshield, straining to see what was under the mask.
This time, he did not wake.