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May 2015 Discussion Post: Very Superstitious

May 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM

This month, I’d like to discuss superstitions!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a superstition is a belief that two things are connected, despite a lack of any concrete proof. As an example, one of the most famous superstitions is that breaking a mirror will curse you with seven years of bad luck. There’s no true evidence that any actual causation exists here, yet this belief is still passed down over generations.

So tell us:

Do you subscribe to any beliefs that could be called superstitions? If so, why? Do you have anecdotes of your superstitions appearing true? Do you remember when you first learned any of your superstitions?

If you don’t personally believe any superstitions, but you have familial or cultural superstitions that you’d like to share, please do! Very often these beliefs appear, evolve and spread within certain regions or groups, and I’ve always found it fascinating to compare notes.

If you have any theories or stories about how a specific superstition developed, please feel free to share with us!

The only guidelines here are the general commenting rules: be polite and don’t use this topic as an excuse to troll or insult each other.

Obligatory soundtrack incoming:

…now have fun!

Frank’s Forest

May 22, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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In the backseat of her mother’s minivan, Ashley admired the passing autumn foliage and contemplated the excitement and fear she and her best friends were sure to experience at Frank’s Forest, an attraction featuring actors as zombies, witches, and werewolves galore, all trying to “kill” the visitors.
For four years, she, Emily, Sarah, and Zoey had wanted to go to this haunted attraction. Each girl pleaded with her parents, only to hear the same answer: “You’re too young.” Now that they were freshmen in high school, their parents decided they were old enough to experience it. To make it even better, they had the opportunity to partake in the thrills and fear on the night of Halloween as well as that of a full moon.
Despite this, Ashley had a sinking worry in the pit of her stomach. Though she knew thousands of people had participated in Frank’s Forest and loved it, she was certain something would go terribly wrong.
Over the course of the past year, Ashley started seeing a therapist to discuss her increasing feelings of paranoia. At first, it was focused on the paranormal; she claimed to see countless ghosts lurking around her home. Since her parents had no reasons to believe otherwise, they kept an eye out for supernatural happenings around the house. To their dismay, her parents never experienced any ghostly activities. The spirits only seemed to want to interact with Ashley.
Once her ghost phase moved on, she felt as if someone was constantly staring at her. Whether she was in class or with her family or completely isolated in her own room, she could not shake the feeling that someone was watching her. This feeling kept her constantly on edge and would not allow her to sleep for more than a few hours at a time. She realized she must be going crazy and admitted it to her parents.
Therapy worked as long as she didn’t have a reason to have paranoid thoughts anymore. However, her feelings of paranoia only intensified when her friends reminded her of their dream to go to Frank’s Forest. Ever since that conversation six months ago, Ashley has had nightmares where she and her friends have died in hundreds of different, gory ways. These nightmares only got worse when they made definitive plans to go on Halloween night, the night of a full moon. Her paranoia convinced her there would be real werewolves there that would transform and maul all her friends and her to death.
Although her fear was petrifying at times, she refused to ruin the fun and excitement for her friends. Ashley decided not to tell them of her therapy sessions or her unshakable worries.
“Ash, are you okay?” Sarah asked tentatively from the adjacent seat.
“I’m fine; I’m just a little nervous, I guess,” she assured.
Zoey turns around from the passenger seat, glaring at her with an annoyed expression. “Why are you nervous? We finally have a chance to go, and you’re going to ruin it for all of us! Just enjoy it, won’t ya?” she demanded.
“Now, Zoey, that’s enough,” Ashley’s mom interfered.
“C’mon, Zo, don’t be rude,” Emily chimed in. “By the way, thanks for the ride, Mrs. Hamilton.”
“Yeah, thanks,” the other girls added.
“No problem, girls,” Mrs. Hamilton said, smiling as she turned down a dirt road and into an unfamiliar forest. After five minutes, the girls saw a small yet packed parking lot. Mrs. Hamilton backed into a space and turned to face the girls again. “I don’t know this area well, and it’s quite a drive, so I think I’ll find somewhere to relax until you girls are done. Just shoot me a text or call me when you’re all done and I’ll be back for you, okay?”
“Alright,” Ashley answered as her friends climbed out of the vehicle.
“Ashley… Please try to relax and have fun tonight. I know it might seem scary, but don’t freak yourself out. Your friends are with you, and they all want to have fun with you, too.”
“I know, Mom. Thanks again. I love you.”
“I love you too, sweetie.”
Once Ashley exited the van and the girls crossed the lot, Mrs. Hamilton pulled out of her spot and back down the road. After the girls watched Mrs. Hamilton leave, Sarah interrupted the silence. “We don’t want to be late, guys,” she said, gesturing toward a narrow dirt path with a “TICKETS” sign handwritten in red paint.
The girls walked silently down the path for a minute until they reached the ticket booth. Sitting inside was a woman with dark circles under her eyes and an uncommonly pale face. “Four of you?” she asked in a husky voice. All four nodded. “That’ll be $80.” Each handed her a $20 bill, which she placed in a cash register. “Behind this ticket booth is a group of picnic tables. That’s where your guides will be meeting in a few minutes. Until we meet again.” She smirked at them as they passed.
Once they are out of earshot, Zoey commented, “She was creepy.”
“Are you guys sure we can handle this?” Ashley wondered nervously.
“Of course, Ash! We’ll be fine,” Emily reassured her.
“We just paid for our tickets, anyway,” Zoey reminded her. “If you don’t wanna do it, I guess you don’t have to; you’re just out $20.”
“Look, there’s no need to make such a big deal out of this, guys,” Sarah chimed in. “Plenty of people have gone here before, and it must be pretty good if it’s still open. Let’s have fun.”
Ashley sighed and nodded. “Sorry, guys, I’m not sure why I feel this way. But I can do this.” She lied to appease her friends.
The girls approached the picnic tables, all of which are occupied by couples and small groups in their late teens and early twenties speaking of their excitement and anxiety about this upcoming experience. In total there were around a hundred fellow visitors. Once the girls found a spot to sit together, they idly chattered for a few minutes until the actors slowly approached. There were two physically fit actors and a skinny actress. One man donned a heavy mane and excess amounts of thick hair on every visible inch of skin. The other’s skin was a haunting grey color, and as he sluggishly shuffled forward, he brought the unmistakable odor of rotting flesh. The woman wore a skintight, seductive black ensemble with a velvet red cape, featuring pointy vampire teeth and sticky blood around her lips.
Ashley shuddered immediately upon recognizing the monster the actors represented; she was right about a werewolf being there, and was now absolutely convinced they were going to die. Every part of her wanted to turn around and go home, but she couldn’t explain it to her friends in a sensible way.
“Hello, ladies and gentlemen. We will begin as your guides and transform into your worst nightmares,” Werewolf introduced in a menacing growl.
“Basically, we will lead you into the area and leave you on your own,” Vampy added.
“Do any of you have questions before we begin?” Zombie asked.
Ashley called out, “How long will this take?”
The trio exchanged a look and chuckled ominously. “However long it takes. It depends on how much of a fight everybody puts up,” Vampy responded, winking at Ashley.
Ashley involuntarily shivered. By asking that question, she made herself — and her group of friends — an easy target, she was sure. “Guys, I have a really bad feeling about this,” she whispered desperately. “We can’t do this. I can’t let us do this.”
“What’s your problem, Ash? They’re actors; they’re supposed to intimidate us and make us afraid. It’s their job,” Zoey snapped quietly.
“Don’t be rude, Zo,” Emily scolded. “Ash, it’ll be okay. Do you realize how many people come to this every year and have an amazing time? Seriously, we’re gonna walk out of here safe and sound. I promise.”
“Alright, everybody follow us!” Zombie commanded as he and his comrades turned around to head back in the direction from which they came.
Ashley exhaled deeply and looked to her friends. “Here we go,” she murmured as they walked side by side, following their temporary guides.
After a silent and eerie walk deep into the woods, Werewolf, Vampy, and Zombie abruptly stopped. “We’ve arrived at our destination,” Werewolf explained. “Now, we must reunite with our comrades. All of us will return in five minutes’ time.”
“We take pleasure in hunting humans and making feasts of them,” Vampy added, smirking. “Each of us is famished. If you do not desire to become a meal, I would suggest that you hide or attempt to escape.”
“However, half our pleasure comes from the thrill of the hunt. Therefore, you cannot stick together as one large group. It would be much too simple to track you down and devour every last one of you. The people you came here with are the only ones you may stay with,” Zombie said.
“Know that our next encounter will be fatal. We — werewolves, vampires, and zombies — are the only ones who can fatally wound you. Our other friends are simply devices to terrify you. Your screams are also clear indicators of your location. If you encounter our less deadly friends, refrain from shouting out if you value your lives,” Vampy supplemented.
“We sound like soulless monsters, and rightly so,” Werewolf augmented. “Despite this, we are not completely unreasonable creatures. If your group is the last group standing, we will restrain ourselves and let you go free. Oh, and don’t even bother calling outsiders for assistance; you have no cell reception. If you don’t believe me, go ahead. Take out your phones.”
Immediately, every human pulls out their cell phone. Each one has the same message on the screen: NO SERVICE. Zoey, Emily, and Sarah look around at one another, both impressed and slightly worried.
“Your five minutes begin once we can no longer see you: a generous gift since our eyesight is much better than yours,” Zombie concluded. “I hope to see many of you soon. Good luck.” He and his comrades crept backwards until they were no longer visible.
As soon as the group was left to its own devices, couples and small groups immediately branched off and began walking away in several different directions, talking quietly amongst themselves.
“I think we can be the last group to be found if we jog instead of walk,” Zoey suggested. Sarah and Emily nod in agreement as the girls begin their run in a direction unique from the rest of the crowd, backtracking toward the ticket booth.
“What’s our strategy?” Emily wondered.
“We do whatever we can to be the last ones standing,” Ashley answered grimly, assuming her friends now agreed with her worries. “It’s good we’re heading in the opposite direction of the monsters. It should take longer for them to find us.”
As they progress, they heard the familiar sound of a wolf’s howl, a sound that stopped them in their tracks. Living in an area where it was common for wolves to appear in someone’s backyard, the girls all knew it was a genuine howl, not a human imitation. “They wouldn’t have a tourist attraction like this in a forest where there are wolves prowling around, would they?” Ashley questioned. This was proof enough for her that the werewolf was real, and if he was, so were the others.
“They must have speakers in the tops of the trees and a recording of a wolf howl,” Zoey rationalized. “Come on; we need to pick up the pace.”
The girls continue running until they heard a series of bloodcurdling, paralyzing screams from behind them. Once again, the group stopped. Ashley began to shake uncontrollably as she knew the screams were real, too. “Our five minutes must be up,” Emily stated matter-of-factly.
The others hushed her. “If they started already, we need to keep quiet and keep moving,” Zoey whispered. “We want to last as long as possible, right? We need to get our money’s worth.”
“Do you think everybody found each other back there and kept close together?” Sarah wondered softly. “How many screams were there?”
“I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. They don’t concern us,” Zoey stated diplomatically. “All I care about is us making it close to the end, if not the very end. Let’s go.”
After a few more minutes of uninterrupted silence and running, more bloodcurdling screams break out from behind them, closer this time. “Others are heading back here, which means the monsters are, too,” Zoey observed quietly. “We need to pick up the pace.”
However, before they could do that, they heard a crashing sound from directly behind them. As each girl turned around, she gasped and covered her mouth to stifle the screams. A lifeless, pale, and hauntingly thin female body lied limply inside the enormous dent of a previously healthy and stick-straight tree, featuring two puncture wounds on her neck and little trickles of blood dried onto her neck.
“Do you see the dent in the tree?” Sarah shrieks, forgetting about the importance of muted voices. “Humans can’t throw that hard, even from a short distance away. They either have a catapult, or…”
All eyes turn to Ashley as they realize her worries were both justified and correct. “I told you guys I didn’t want to do this,” she murmured as tears formed in her eyes.
As the girls’ faces slowly lose their color, they attempt to walk slowly in the directly for which they were heading. “We need to keep moving,” Emily muttered, emotionless.
“We’re not getting out of here alive, are we?” Sarah asked them.
“I don’t think anyone is,” Ashley responded honestly.
After thirty seconds of lifeless walking, they hear leaves rustle behind them. As they turn around to investigate the source of the noise, they hear it from the previous direction, as well. All four girls realized instantaneously that they were surrounded. At the moment, none of the monsters were visible yet. “Are we the final group?” Emily called out timidly. “We heard plenty of screaming going on. Does that mean we get out of here alive?”
The response consisted entirely of growls and devious laughter. “We aren’t known for our honesty,” the familiar vampire voice responded, a smirk apparent in her tone.
“Well, I’m sorry we ever doubted you, Ashley,” Zoey said, reaching for her hand as the girls felt the monsters closing in on them. Once they were finally visible, Ashley noted the clothing dampened with blood and the dried blood ringing their mouths. In the moment before the four girls were preyed upon like wild animals, Ashley felt a strange happiness, finally realizing that at least her paranoia regarding Frank’s Forest wasn’t paranoia at all.

Credit To – Melanie Adela

This is a Crappypasta Success Story – a story that was rewritten with the feedback received on Crappypasta and accepted for the main site. You can see the Crappypasta posting for this story here.

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Black Teeth

May 21, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I want to start by stating that this story starts out like most. My friend and I decided to spend our summer break in a cabin that his father owned on the outskirts of a large forest. We figured it’d be fun. There was a lake nearby that you could walk to and it was an all around different environment than the city. We figured we deserved some down time after finishing up our college exams. Some time fishing and swimming in the lake and some fresh air would do us some good.

Frankie and I have been friends since we were really young and although we grew apart personality-wise we’ve always stayed in touch. Frankie is your classic outgoing likable guy. He has tons of friends and everyone likes him. He is confident, charismatic, charming….. everything I’m not. In fact, we have almost complete opposite personalities. I’m shy and I don’t have that many friends. I’m willing to admit that I’m a bit odd. I don’t like sports like most other guys. I like art. That in itself isn’t what makes me odd it’s more the subject matter of my pieces that makes people feel uncomfortable around me. And no, no I don’t draw pornography. I draw and design monsters, anything from zombies to aliens. Now a lot of people like my art but that’s because they don’t know me on a personal level. Most of my friends and family dislike my subject matter. They think it has a negative influence on my mind, that it’s unnatural for someone to think about these things so often. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some sort of monster hunting freak or cultist; I just like monsters. I like the feeling of false fear like a lot of other people. Of course it’s fun to feel chills up your spine……. when it’s fake. I once asked Frankie why he still wanted to be my friend and he simply said: “You’re interesting, unlike most people”. That’s what I’ve always admired about him. He’s very accepting of all people, even me. He isn’t like everyone else who tries to change me. I’m his friend, flaws and all.

When we first arrived at the cabin it was like something out of a dream. It was huge, had lots of windows, wood furnishings; the works. We didn’t waste any time either. We immediately set our things down and made our way down to the lake. The sun was still high enough up in the sky to where we thought we could make it back before dark. I of course brought my sketch book hoping to get some inspiration while I was down there and Frankie just brought his fishing pole with a small bag of bait. It wasn’t very hard to find our way down and it took us about thirty minutes altogether to get from the cabin to the lake. We sat there for a good while talking about random things like music and girls(Frankie did most of the talking, no surprise there). After a few hours we both were silent just enjoying the sounds of the lake and birds, the wind too. I sat and drew the Creature from the Black Lagoon while he fished. After a couple hours the sun began to go down. So we packed up our things and started to head back to the cabin. About five minutes into the walk back I realized I had forgotten a packet of professional grade art pens back at the dock so I told Frankie to keep going and that I’d catch up with him later. Frankie seemed somewhat reluctant since it was beginning to get dark and it was my first time out at the cabin. He made a joke about having to call the forest rangers if I got lost. We both laughed and then parted ways. It didn’t take me long to get to the dock but once there I noticed something peculiar. I slowly inched toward the dock looking closely at the ground. There were sets of muddy wet footprints going from the end of the dock to the forest area beyond. It looked almost as though someone or rather something crawled out from the water onto the dock then into the woods where Frankie and I had gone. I stood there for what felt like eternity then grabbed my pens and quickly began walking back. I said before that I liked the feeling chills down my spine when I knew it was fake. This was not how I felt in that instant. I was more then a little scared. The only thing I could do was convince myself that there was a logical explanation, one that didn’t include lake monsters or murders lurking in the forest. I clutched my pens tightly and looked around carefully making sure I was alone as I quickly followed the path back. It was then that I began to hear movements all around the pathway, leaves and bushes rustling, twigs breaking…….. footsteps, the dripping of water.

I ran. I ran all the way back to the cabin and I shut and locked the door behind me then began pulling down all the blinds. I fidgeted uncomfortably looking around at all the windows and doors waiting for something to happen. I jumped when I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I relaxed a little when I realized it was Frankie. He had a look mixed with confusion and concern. At first I didn’t speak at all, I could hardly catch my breath. But I explained what happened and Frankie gave a disbelieving smile, “You’ve been watching too many monster movies, it’s probably just otters or raccoons. They have been known to clean their hands in lakes and streams, that’s probably what you saw and heard,” he said nonchalantly. I felt both relieved and stupid. I figured that I was just overreacting, falling victim to an overactive imagination, one that just so happens to like monsters. So I forgot about it. We ate dinner, watched some tv then went to bed.

That night I had a dream, or at least I hope it was a dream. In this dream there was a creature standing at the end of my bed staring at me. I think it was looking at me anyways; I couldn’t seem to find its eyes. There were two hollowed out sockets where the eyes probably would have gone. It was covered head to toe in hair-like, algae-like substance. Its entire neck was hidden in the substance as it draped over its huge broad shoulders. It leaned over placing a boney, sopping wet hand on the end of my bed, the tips stained a dirty black. Its fingernails were chipped and overgrown, scratching against the bedpost as it made it’s way to the corner of the mattress. The floor made a sloshing sound with each step as it slowly made it’s way closer to me. I wanted to scream, run, or hide but I was frozen in place. I didn’t make so much as a peep as it leaned it’s massive body over my face. Water dripped from its body onto my face and arms accompanied by a few tiny black water beetles that squirmed when they landed on the bed. It opened its mouth, which had no lips just a set of teeth that were uneven, yellowed and stained black. I watched as water drip from its jaw followed by one of its black stained teeth landing right in the middle of my chest. It leaned its face inches from mine and it was then I noticed the unbearable stench of tobacco. It made me feel sick to my stomach. Everything went silent, the only sounds were that of it’s labored breathing and my own heartbeat. My eyes widened and I felt cold, scared. I could hardly contain my fear any longer. The room started spinning and my vision grew cloudy and dim. My own breathing became shaky and uneven. Within seconds my eyes rolled back into my head and I was unconscious yet again. But I could have sworn that in those last fleeting moments I heard the words “You’re mine, boy” slip coarsely from its throat like a puff of smoke.

I woke up in a cold sweat that morning. I stumbled out of bed and sat against the wall trying to calm myself down. It was just a really bad dream, just a dream, just a dream. It had to be a dream, a result of too many monster movies, right? Once I had calmed down a little I went to the bathroom and took a shower before going to the kitchen to get some breakfast. Frankie was already downstairs making himself some eggs and bacon from what I could smell, and honestly eggs and bacon sounded pretty good right about then. The sun was a comforting sight as I reached the kitchen table. When Frankie noticed me he gave me a quick smirk before asking, “See anything spooky this morning?” I frowned slightly. I knew he was joking but the memory of what happened that night was too fresh in my mind to ignore completely. I shrugged and managed to pull a quick smile before picking up my drawing pad to help distract me. Frankie gave a dissatisfied expression as if he were hoping that joke would be funnier then went back to his eggs and bacon, “You want some?” he asked. I answered eagerly to try and lighten the mood, “YES, finally! I thought you’d never ask! I was about to starve to death over here!” We both laughed and began poking fun at one another back and forth. It was almost as if things had gone back to normal. In my absentmindedness I had drawn something I hoped I would never have to see again. I didn’t notice until I was almost completely finished with the sketch. Those two empty sockets that haunted my dreams. I immediately shut the book and put it aside uncomfortably. How in the world could I draw that without even realizing it? Art isn’t a thoughtless process; you have to know what you are drawing in order to actually draw it properly. So… why did I want to draw it? My eyes drifted slightly over to my hand noticing something even more alarming. The tips of my fingers held a yellowish tinge accompanied by small black stains in between my index and middle finger. At first I thought it was just ink but none of my pens were leaking at all. How in the world did my fingers get like that? Thankfully Frankie had finished the eggs and bacon before my thoughts could develop any further.

Once we finished eating Frankie suggested that we go to the lake and do some more fishing and maybe even go swimming. I was reluctant but I wanted to do anything in my power to forget my fears so I eventually agreed. I put on my bathing suit and tried the wash the black stains off my fingers in vain. It wouldn’t come off. I don’t know how but I managed to convince myself it was just ink and that I had probably overlooked a pen. I mean it made enough sense, right? I grabbed my sketchpad out of habit, which was sitting open to a blank page on the kitchen table. I shrugged; figured Frankie had probably looked at it while I was getting dressed. I honestly wasn’t planning on doing any swimming but it’d be easier to refuse Frankie’s encouragements at the lake than at the cabin. We both headed down to the lake once we had gathered our things. Frankie seemed at ease in the outdoors but I kept an eye out for anything peculiar. I couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that something was wrong.

Everything seemed normal once we got to the dock. The sun was out, the sky was bright blue, the lake looked inviting. Perhaps it was all in my imagination. Frankie was ecstatic when he saw the lake. He hurriedly placed his gear down, took off his shirt and jumped in. He swam around with a huge grin on his face looking up at me from the water, “Come on in! The water feels great, just the right temperature! I’ll race you to the middle and back!” he motioned for me to join him but I hesitated. I was still uneasy despite how normal everything seemed. “Maybe in a little bit, I have some ideas I want to draw out first,” I lied. Frankie tried a few more times to convince me but ended up swimming alone out where it was deeper. I sat down and opened my drawing pad, flipping the pages to find the last unused page. Once I got to the page I froze. There was a picture already there……. that hadn’t been there before. I didn’t draw it. I know Frankie didn’t draw it. There was no way he could; I was holding my drawing pad the entire way to the lake. I stared at it feeling a chill run down my spine. It was a picture of a boy sitting on the dock looking at a large book much like mine but there was a giant dark figure behind him. I noticed a large shadow begin to slowly cover my book and me. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. I couldn’t hear the singing of the birds anymore but I could hear Frankie yelling my name. He was swinging his hands in the air and yelling about something. I couldn’t really hear what he was saying but I think I already knew. Water dripped onto my drawing pad and my shirt. The smell of tobacco filled the air. My eyes were beginning to water in fear as I slowly gazed up to see those empty sockets staring straight back at me.

My eyes widened in fear. I tried to run but it grabbed my leg and yanked me down. I grabbed at the edge of the dock but it pulled me with such force that I couldn’t help but let go. It began to drag me into the forest. I screamed, commanded it let me go but it didn’t even look back at me. I could hear what seemed to be slurred mumbling coming from its mouth. It yanked me along forcefully as I grabbed at anything I could. I scrapped at the ground till my hands and arms were covered in dirt, cuts, and bruises but it made no difference. I continued screaming hoping someone would hear me but no such luck. Suddenly a small shack came into view. It looked as if it had been abandoned for decades. I was surprised it was even still standing; it looked as if it could fall apart at any moment. It stopped at an old storm cellar, which it opened with its free hand. It dropped my leg and I immediately tried to run but within seconds it grabbed my shoulder and threw me down into the cellar. I fell down the stairs and hit my head hard on the floor. I sat there staring at the ceiling as the world spun. I heard the creature laugh with a scratchy, breathy voice as it slammed the doors shut. I was out cold within minutes.

I don’t know how long I was out but by the time I woke up it was dark. My head was throbbing and I could feel a warm substance trickle down the side of my face into my hair. I tried to sit up but that made me feel even worse. Everything kept moving and I couldn’t keep my balance. My wrist hurt badly, probably landed on it wrong when I was thrown in here. The room was filled with lit candles so I could see but not very well. I jumped slightly when I heard glass break from the floor above me. I could hear yelling and more glass breaking. My head was beginning to feel better so I sat up and turned my head up towards the ceiling. There was more than one voice, three to be exact. One was hoarse and angry, the other two sounded slightly younger, a man and a woman. Suddenly I began to hear screaming. I noticed a discoloration in a small section of the floorboards above me. I felt a drop of warm liquid fall on my cheek. I went to wipe it away and looked at my hand to see what it was. I was horrified to see the red liquid smeared across my hand and I quickly crawled out of the way of further drops. I needed to get out of the cellar now! I was about to turn around when I noticed someone sitting at a table next to the sidewall. He looked pained, leaning his head against the tips of his fingers. He looked over at me with an expression filled with years of unhappiness. In the middle of the young man’s shirt was a large bullet wound surrounded by a damp bloodstain. There were speckles of blood on his face and shoulder. His hair and eyes were as black as coal and his skin as white as paper. He looked very similar to me except, he wore clothing that looked as if they were from the 1900s. He had on a white button up shirt with brown long pants accompanied with thin suspenders and black dress shoes. “He put me here after he shot me, his own son. That was before he decided to dump my body in the lake,” he fiddled with his hands for a moment before speaking again, “He was always so disappointed in me, he blamed his smoking and drinking on me, like I was the reason. But I think he was just lonely, afraid I’d leave him behind like my mother did. She died when I was young and he was never the same again.” He looked up at the ceiling with a glare so cold it could freeze a person’s soul, “I guess maybe he thought he’d make me stay. After all you can’t leave if you’re dead, now can you? But I would have loved to see the look on his face when he fell in too and was too drunk to save himself.”

His expression became somber again filled with it’s own loneliness and regret, “I was about to get married to the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Her smile could melt the very surface of Neptune it was so warm. She was my sun, the light of my life…. and he killed her too.” Suddenly there were large footsteps coming from the upper floor. He looked at me seriously, “You shouldn’t be here. You need to get out of here while you still can! He’ll kill you just like he did my fiancé and me. You need to wake up now!” He said. His voice was fading and so was everything else. Everything was dark and my head began to throb. I could hear a familiar voice in the distance. It became louder and louder until I opened my eyes once more, “Nick! Nick! Wake up! Oh my god!” My head was throbbing and I tried to make sense of what was around me. There was light streaming in from the open cellar doors. From what I could tell it was evening from the orange pale color of the light brightening the room. Frankie was crouched next to me shaking my shoulders. He looked around frantically and tried to get me to sit up. “We need to go now! Can you walk?” he asked me. I nodded tiredly. There was no way I was staying in there any longer than I had to regardless of my throbbing head. Once he had gotten me to my feet I stumbled slightly but was able to keep my balance. Suddenly we heard loud footsteps coming from upstairs. Immediately Frankie began pulling me to the top of the cellar stairs and out into the forest. Once there I guess adrenaline began to kick in because I felt well enough to walk and run on my own. We both began to run. I looked back to catch a glimpse of the young man I had seen in my dreams standing in front of the house watching us leave. We ran for our lives but with my injury I found it hard to keep up with Frankie who disappeared in the foliage in front of me. Once I arrived at the cabin Frankie was nowhere to be found. I called out his name but got no response. I stumbled around the side of the cabin where the garage was only to find that it was empty. No car. I felt my heart drop. I could suddenly hear the sloshy footsteps inching closer from the forest beyond, coming from the direction of the old shack. I backed up desperately as I saw the grim figure edge out of the forest towards me. Its head twitched slightly as it tried to form a sick twisted smile, “F-O-U-N-D Y-O-U,” it wheezed heavily.

Out of nowhere I hear a car horn approaching from the driveway. Frankie pulled up the car with a screech and shouted out the window, “GET IN!” I jumped in and we sped away, away from that creepy shack, away from the ghosts, and we kept driving all the way until we reached the city where we visited a hospital and a police station. We of course did not mention anything about eyeless creatures and ghosts. We told them there was a crazy man that stalked us and attacked us who lived in the shack nearby. They visited the area, didn’t find any man or creature but due to the age of the shack they deemed it unsafe for the public and had it torn down. They also did a search of the cabin for any clues and found a peculiar item in my room. Hidden in the covers of my bed they found a small black stained tooth, which they kept as the one and only evidence they ever found that anything had ever been to or around our cabin. During the investigation Frankie and I did go back to gather our belongings. We were both uneasy at first but figured it’d be all right with a group of armed police there with us. Nothing out of the ordinary happened while we were there; I’m hoping that the destruction of the shack made creature, spirit, whatever it was move on as well as the people he killed. It took me ages to gain the nerve to open my drawing pad again. To my surprise all pictures of the creature were gone along with the black and yellow stains that had been on my fingers. It took a while for me to get back into drawing but hey at least I’ll have good material to work with now.

Credit To – Gelid

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Death’s Reflection

May 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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They say a mirror has the ability to reflect part of the soul. Some have suggested that’s why vampires can’t see their reflection; because they have no soul to reflect.

That’s what I was thinking about, when two burly looking men hauled my new floor-length mirror into my new bedroom. “New” being a subjective term, since the mirror was actually said to have been made in the late 1800’s, and the bedroom was made a little after that, along with the rest of the house of course. The mirror was found in the dusty attic when we moved in. It had an intricate golden frame and slight distortion that only an ancient mirror would have. My mother was quite taken with it, but my parents already had a mirror in their room.

It’s just me and my parents now. I use to have a little brother, but he’s gone now. We don’t talk about him much.

We were originally from Australia, but we moved to England for father’s work. More specifically, somewhere in the countryside of Yorkshire Dales. I didn’t want to move. I hate change. And something about this house just doesn’t feel right to me. My room is also way too large for my liking. It gets too cold at night, and the hardwood floors creek under my feet. But my parents don’t seem to care. In fact, they love this place.

“Is this a good place for it?” one of the movers asked, having finally positioned the mirror somewhere in the vast bedchamber, which seems a more fitting term for the place than a bedroom.

“Yes that’s fine,” I replied without glancing up. I was reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula on my antique bed, which is probably why I started thinking about vampires and mirrors.

Later that night, my parents and I had our dinner by candlelight. The electricity wasn’t set up yet in the house, since we were located in such a deserted location. My parents didn’t seem fazed by this however, they thought it was fun.

“It’s like we’re camping!” My mother cheered.

“This is how people used to live you know, India, back before electricity was even invented. Tell me who invented electricity,” my father challenged. He took responsibility for my education ever since pulling me out of school after my brother’s disappearance. He usually looks for any excuse to educate me.

“Thomas Edison, father,” I promptly replied.

“Very good, now let’s eat.”

Later that night, I decided to explore the land a little. There was a small lake right next to our backyard. I sat on the edge of the black water, creating ripples with a stick I had found as I gazed up at the moon. It was full tonight; I could hear wolves in the distant forest, and pretended like they were men whose bodies were being ripped apart as they transformed into malevolent werewolves.

The night air was starting to get a bit chilly. I was about to get up to go back inside when something in the water moved. It’s probably a frog or a fish or something I thought. But curiosity got the better of me. I peered inside the water, whose surface brightly reflected the moonlight. At first there was nothing to see.

Then something round and large slowly rose to the surface. I used my stick to poke at it, and it turned over. I shrieked and jolted up away from the lake, running back into the house as fast as my feet could carry me.

“India! What’s wrong child? You look as white as a sheet!” Mother exclaimed when I came in through the back door.

“Nothing mother, I’m just tired. I’m going to sleep now,” I said expressionless. I needed to be alone.

This was the first night in our new home. It had started pouring rain a few hours ago, and didn’t seem like it would relent anytime soon. I could never sleep when it rained.

I lay in bed for hours, eyes wide open, staring at my dusty ceiling, thinking about what I saw out in the lake…

Just then I felt like something moved inside my room. I jolted upright and looked around, half crazed by lack of sleep. My eyes wandered for a while until they rested on the mirror which the two movers had decided to place in front of my bed. I stared at my reflection for a while, made visible by the pale moonlight streaming in from my open window.

I was about to lie back down again, when I noticed something in the reflection of the mirror. There was a small picture frame hanging on the wall that I hadn’t noticed before. I quickly turned around to peer at the wall behind me, but the picture wasn’t there. Starting to panic, I looked back into the mirror and once again saw the photo. It was a little boy holding up what looked to be a fish on a fishing rod. Startled, I looked back once more, but once more I saw no photo on the wall.

That’s all I remember from that night.

That morning I woke up to a streak of sunshine on my face. Dazed, I sat up in bed and stretched my cramped muscles. That’s when I remembered the picture from last night and quickly gazed into the mirror. There was no photo on the wall. Must have been a dream I thought as I got out of bed.

I found my father in the study after I had finished my breakfast. “What are we studying today father?” I asked him as I took a seat in front of his desk.

“Today will be a history lesson. I thought it would be interesting to teach you about the origins of the house we now live in. I have been doing some research on the topic and think you will find some of it interesting,” he began.

“In 1894, a woman named Charlotte Wentworth moved in here with her 7 year old son. She was a seamstress who did most of her work at home. Her husband had died a year before, but there is no longer any record as to the cause of his death. There is however, a record of the death of her young son. Not long after they moved in, her son supposedly drowned in that very lake outside the house. Some of the townspeople in the village up the road spread nasty rumours about the mother murdering her own child. What was the reason for that particular rumour? Well, she appeared to be psychologically unstable, considering she committed suicide soon after the death of her son. There is no longer any record as to how she killed herself. Isn’t that morbid, India? I thought you might be interested in that, seeing as how you love your Gothic novels and such,” my father concluded, with a smirk.

“Yes father, that was very…interesting,” I replied and left shortly afterward.

That night I couldn’t sleep again. I stared at my own reflection in the mirror for so long my eyes went dry from lack of blinking. A bit after midnight I was staring into the mirror and I could have sworn I saw my reflection blink, although I was sure I hadn’t felt my eyes close. I crept out of bed and threw my bedsheet over the glass. Satisfied, I went back to bed.

The next morning, I woke up to something shining in my eyes. It was a reflection of the sun from the mirror. I groaned and turned over in bed. It took my groggy mind a while to realize what was amiss. I bolted out of bed and scrutinized the mirror. The bedsheet that I had thrown over the glass during the night was folded and lain out on the foot of my bed.

“Mother must have come in here earlier,” I decided. I got dressed and made my way downstairs. My parents were nowhere to be found. After searching the vast house for a while I finally found them in their bedroom. They were both still sound asleep. Feeling a bit disconcerted I decided to make breakfast myself.

I finished my piece of toast and left some for my parents before going back into my room. I took out Dracula and got lost in the world of vampires for a while. I was just at the part where Quincey is stabbing Dracula to death and he is crumbling into dust, when I heard it. It was the faintest of whispering. The source was coming from right next to my ear. I jerked my head to the side but no one was there. I slowly turned back to my book. When I flipped the page, I heard it again: I can’t breathe… a child’s voice was whispering into my ear.

I got out of bed and threw the book at the mirror. “I can’t take this anymore! Who’s there? Is someone there?!” I yelled into the mirror, feeling stupid and frustrated. My door flew open then and my parents came rushing in.

“India! What’s going on in here? Is everything alright?”

“Yes, I’m sorry I woke you,” they were about to turn away when I decided to tell them. “Would you find me crazy if I told you that I have been seeing things? And hearing noises?”

My parents glanced at each other, then my mother spoke. “Well it is an old house dear, the pipes and wooden supports are bound to make noises. But what kinds of things have you been seeing child?”

“Well, the other night I saw a picture hanging on the wall in the reflection of the mirror, but there isn’t a picture on the wall!” I exclaimed, gesturing to the wall above my bed.

“India darling, you know you have quite the imagination. This is what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. Maybe we should put you back on those pills. John, what do you think?” my mother turned away from me and started to discuss this with my father, as if I were a toddler who couldn’t understand.

I knew it was a bad idea to tell my parents. I sighed, picking up my book from where it was sprawled in the corner of the room and began to read.

That night something was different. The crickets were silent outside, and there was no moonlight. The air had a certain restlessness to it. I had decided to light a candle and keep it on my dresser next to my bed. The flickering light cast shadows in the room, and I could see the bright flame in the reflection of the mirror.

I was just closing my eyes to try and fall asleep when I heard heavy breathing coming from the opposite side of the room. I slowly turned to look and caught something in the mirror that made my heart stop.

I sat up in bed, eyes wide and heart pounding in my ears. It was a reflection of my room, but not my room. The furniture was different and there were pictures all over the wall. But the most horrifying thing of all was that I wasn’t in it. Instead, there was somebody asleep in my bed. They were breathing deeply, the kind of breathing that signified deep sleep. I could see my door opening in the reflection, although in reality it remained closed. I was too stricken with terror to do anything but watch.

A woman garbed in a long flowy dress entered the room. She crept up to the sleeping person in bed and reached over as if to kiss them. But instead, her hands grasped their throat, jerking them awake. Only then did I realize that the person in bed was a little boy, like the boy I saw in the picture. Like the boy who died here in 1894. The woman, who I could only assume was his mother, continued to choke him until he ceased thrashing around on the bed. He was dead.

I shrieked despite myself. The woman whipped her head around and glared at me through the mirror. She then stood up straight and started walking towards me.

I scrambled out of bed and threw open my bedroom door. I made it to my parents’ room and knocked frantically on their door. Nobody answered, so I barged in. My parents were lying in bed. I ran over to them and started shaking them awake. But they did not wake. Frantic, I rolled my mother over and screamed in terror as I stared at her face. Her eyes were wide open, with a look of such horror on her face I thought I would die of fright. My father was in the same state.

I fell to the floor shaking in terror. I barely noticed when the door started to open softly. I barely noticed when a pair of pure white feet crept towards me, making no sound on the rickety floorboards. I barely noticed when she touched me. The last thing I remember are how cold her hands were as they pressed against my neck.

When I opened my eyes, I was lying on the floor of my bedroom. I sat up, sighing in relief. It was all just a horrible nightmare. I stood up and turned towards the mirror. What I saw made my knees feel weak and my palms sweat. It was me, but I was lying face down on the ground. My parents were lying on either side of me. I turned around and there they were. The mother and her son, as white as death, staring at me, smiling. The boy reached out his hand for me; welcome, he whispered.

Credit To – Os

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The Abalone Thief

May 19, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Although there is no internet access or even cell phone service in this tiny cabin where I sit typing, perched on a cliff high above the Pacific Ocean, still I write this blog, in the hopes that it might find some new civilization, long after mankind is gone. That this may be a testament to one man who found faith and religion, after doubting for so long.

You see, I was never a spiritual or superstitious man. I was a man of science. A student. A marine biologist. Before this I never had what one would call faith in anything resembling religion. To me it was all math, everything. The strange mutations of life were simply an exponential progression of evolution. But now, as I see the sacramental fires burning bright on the beach below me, and feel the awakening of the ancients echo in my sleep and dreams, now that I realize that man’s time is over and it is a new beginning for beings much greater and more powerful than our own, I offer up a poem, a sacrament, a narrative, to the events that unfolded before the great awakening.

Let me start at the beginning.

I was a doctoral student at the University of California Santa Cruz working on my PhD in marine biology. Mollusks were my specialty. Specifically Haliotoidea Haliotis rufescens, or as they are known by their common name: red abalone. Abalone are an edible type of sea snail, a marine mollusk, single shell gastropod found in coastal waters around the globe. Like all snails they have a head, with a mouth and a pair of eyes, and a foot which they use to cling to rock formations while using their file like tongue to scrape algal matter into their mouths. They also have an enlarged pair of tentacles. They are considered a delicacy, their flesh being comparable to calamari. Red abalone, the largest and most prized of the species, are found only on the west coast of North America. Red abalone are not endangered but because of overfishing and acidification of oceans they have become rather scarce; that is why, California put a ban on the commercial fishing of them in the 1990s. They can be harvested for personal use only north of San Francisco, April through November, with a hiatus in July, and with a limit of only three a day and a total of eighteen a year.

Since I was writing my doctoral thesis on Haliotis rufescens it was deemed that I should spend the summer in a tiny fishing village called Shelter Cove. There I would study, measure, count and map the abalone and also report any suspicious activities relating to abalone poachers to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. So, when the school semester ended in June I packed up all my gear (scuba set, books, slides, specimen jars, microscopes) and strapped my kayak to the roof of my trusty old Subaru outback and headed north up highway 101 for Shelter Cove.

Shelter Cove is a quiet little hamlet on the coast of Humboldt County. The sign as you enter declares it, “An Island in Time”. There is only one long, winding road in, which climbs up to nearly 2,000 feet as it transcends the summit of the King Range mountains and, conversely, only that one twisting, dangerous, cliff strewn road out. To the south is nothing but inaccessible shoreline facing steep cliffs, dotted with pockets of tiny beaches where the surf smashes down on jagged rocks, and deep, dangerous tide pools. To the north it is relatively the same, only a thin, potholed, dirt road winding over the cliffs slightly to the east.

This is why this area is known as Humboldt’s Lost Coast. The brave surf and kayak here but it has a notorious rip tide and once an entire troop of tired boy scouts resting on the beach were swooped up by a sleeper wave and sucked out to their deaths in the ocean’s depths.

The lodgings that were given to me consisted of a small cabin, nothing more than a shack really, perched high up on a cliff face. To the right I could see the boat launch the fishermen used, the caged in area where they gutted their catch. A small stretch of beach lay there where locals would drive their pick-up trucks up onto the sandy shore and drink beer and barbeque. To my left was another stretch of beach they called Deadmans, separated from the boat landing by a jutting cliff. Deadmans, a favorite surf spot, is only accessible by the ocean. The surfers have to paddle on their boards around the cliff face to get there.

The only internet access in Shelter Cove is from satellite and the university was too cheap to put one up in the shack they had supplied me with. I couldn’t even get cell phone service to use my phone as a hot spot. So when I had to post my data on the University’s Science Lab website, I would have to travel down the road a few miles to a coffee shop in the lobby of an old hotel that had Wi-Fi. There I could also manage to get cell phone service, but only in the parking lot at the top of a steep embankment.

My closest neighbors lived down a rutted dirt road. A young single mom and her 9 year old girl Suzy.

On my first day, as I was unfastening my ocean kayak from the roof of my battered old Subaru Outback, Suzy rode right up to me on her pink Huffy bike, an inquisitive look on her round little face.

“Who are you?” she asked in that bluntly curious manner children from small towns often have.

“My name’s Theodore.”

She nodded as if she approved of my name, her eyes wandering along all of my equipment.

“What’s all this stuff?”

“This is my scuba gear, these are specimen jars, and these, here in these boxes, are microscopes. With a microscope you can see real small stuff.”

“I know what a microscope is. The sixth graders use them at my school. Why do you have all this stuff?”

“Well, I’m a scientist and I’m here to study abalone.”

“Abalone? Oh gross, my Uncle Bob tries to make me eat that stuff every 4th of July. I don’t like seafood.”

“You live in a fishing village and you don’t like seafood?”

“No. I don’t like anything slimy, stinky, slippery, wet or gross.” She nodded her little head in that authoritative manner she had used when I told her my name and then rode off, leaving me standing there laughing.

After that day, whenever Suzy rode past on her bike and saw me she would stop and talk. Though she claimed to hate slimy stuff- (“Oh!” she’d squeal, “Get it away!” when I held up a baby squid for her inspection), she soon fell prey to the wonders of nature, marveling over a sea urchin or laughing uproariously at the awkward antics of a huge dungeness crab I had brought back from the ocean for her amusement. Her big brown eyes would gleam and her pig tails would bob up and down as she stroked a starfish. I showed her the tiny holes in the mantle of the abalone’s thick domed shell, the respiratory apertures, and explained to her how the sea snail vented water through them with its gills. She stared into the microscope at macro algae and I explained how the abalone fed on them with the small median teeth of the radula. As her enthusiasm began to grow I sensed a future marine biologist in the making and grew to truly love her visits.

I quickly settled into a routine of waking early and taking my kayak out to dive. Even though it was summer the water was cold, averaging about fifty degrees, and I had to wear a full wet suit with a hood and gloves. I would pull my hood over my head, pull down my half mask, put my regulator’s mouthpiece to my lips, and slip into the murky water to explore the underwater rock formations with my flashlight, looking for the domed, brick red shells that are the underwater homes of the abalone who had suctioned themselves to the craggy surfaces. I would count and measure them and then return to my kayak to scrawl out my findings. It was peaceful work but it could be dangerous. Every year dozens of abalone divers wash up dead on the shores, smashed against the rocks by a swell or sucked into dark ocean caves. In 2004 an abalone diver, who ironically worked for the Recreational Fishing Alliance and was on a federal fisher management panel, was attacked by a great white shark while diving not too far south from here, off the coast of Mendocino. When his friends first saw the huge cloud of blood in the water they thought it was some kind of sick joke. They were gravely mistaken. His mauled and ravaged body washed up on shore a day later.

In the evenings I would type out my statistics on my laptop, their average depth and proximity to the shore; and, in my free time, I would wander the desolate shoreline exploring the tide pools while I sipped a local micro-brew and sampled some of the fine cannabis the hills to the east of us were famous for. I’d gaze up at the sky, streaked in pink and purple as the sun sunk down into the ocean, watching pelicans beat their wings in unison as the high pitched wails of young harbor seals echoed off the towering bluffs. I was happy. As happy as I’ve ever been. By my third week I had charted the entire shore line for over half a mile.

At the end of the first month I had made enough inroads with the notoriously secretive locals to be invited to a party.

It was a wild event, held on a sprawling manor that sat on a grassy hillside with the ocean spread out below it. It was the last day of June and there would be a month long hiatus for abalone harvesting all of July, so the abalone divers were throwing a feast. There was abalone wontons, abalone salsa, two kinds of abalone ceviche, abalone sausage, but the most scrumptious was the abalone wrapped in dates, goat cheese and bacon and deep fried. All of this as well as the standard fare of salmon, halibut, cod and oysters. Bottles of wine from nearby vineyards littered the tables and ruddy faced fishermen gathered around kegs of local micro-brew. The sheriff was there in full uniform and when someone passed him a joint he puffed it and passed it on like everyone else.

A week into July I noticed a massive amount of abalone missing off the point of Deadmans.

Abalone concentrate where current flow causes drift seaweed to accumulate. The point of Deadmans was one of those places. Because abalone expand a large amount of energy when moving they tend to stay in one location. Last week the point of Deadmans had been littered with abalone; now, there wasn’t a single one left. I shone my flashlight along the submerged rocks, nothing. I reached my hand into a narrow crevice, felt around the deep fissure for the telltale feel of those thick shells, cautious and aware that a swell could suck me into the narrow space, crush my bones, wedge me in and trap me.

Even if there wasn’t a moratorium on abalone fishing going on an absence of this size was unprecedented. This had to have been some kind of large scale poaching. In San Francisco, in Chinatown, dried abalone sells as an aphrodisiac for $2,000 dollars a pound. A haul this big could easily net over half a million dollars.

First, I alerted the fish and game department. Next, figuring that the poachers, after having exhausted the supply on the point, would now move down into Deadmans cove itself, and that they would most likely come in the early twilight hours, I decided to stakeout Deadmans beach to see if I could catch the poachers if they returned.

The only way accessible to Deadmans cove is over the ocean; so, I hauled my kayak out to the boat launch, slipped it into the dark water, waves lapping at the concrete pier, jumped in and paddled out. There was a full moon but the fog was rolling in thick across the relatively calm water.

I kayaked past the beach where a few pick-up trucks were still parked, surfers relaxing on the shore and having a few beers after a day of riding the waves, and made my way around the towering point of Deadmans, carefully avoiding the crescent of jagged rocks that rose up out of the black water and fog. Paddling into the small cove I rode the surf up onto the beach. Pulling my kayak across the black, pebbly sand to the cliff face, I found a small cave, nothing more than a craggy wrinkle in the bluff, and tucked my kayak into it, camouflaging it with driftwood, dried seaweed and a few handfuls of sand. With my kayak hidden I hiked down the beach and behind a large, washed up tree stump I set up my small one person tent. I hunkered down for the night, staying awake for a good while, but then drifting off to a light slumber, determined to sleep lightly and awaken as early as I could.

In the middle of the night I awoke to a garbled noise. I at first assumed it was the yapping of sea lions; but as sleep left me, I realized it was human voices. It sounded like they were singing or chanting. I poked my head out of my tent. The entire beach was now draped in a thick shroud of fog, but when I peered out into the distance I was startled to see a mass of orange flames flicking up into the night sky. It was a huge bonfire and silhouetted around it appeared to be a circle of people. Was I dreaming? I blinked my eyes and focused on the fire and, yes, around the fire was a ring of people in black, hooded cloaks.

They held hands and slowly circled around the flames, chanting, with the fog swirling around them. On the outside of the circle were others,also in dark cloaks, remaining still as statues, holding torches. They couldn’t see me, hidden in the fog behind the massive log, and I watched curiously. It was definitely strange; but, I just assumed it was a bunch of teenagers getting weird, or, maybe even a coven of old hippy wiccans getting their witch on. Either wouldn’t be unheard of in these parts.

I watched the strange ritual for over an hour till they were done. Then they responsibly put out their fire (which impressed me), burying its smoldering remains in sand, and wandered up into a ravine where a trail took them up the cliff side. So there was a way to Deadmans cove besides the ocean. I would have to scope out that trail when I got a chance. Maybe the abalone thief used it to get to the beach.

Since the strange cultists, or whatever they were, had not waded out into the ocean or given any sign of abalone poaching, I paid them no real mind -live and let live, right? Just a bunch of kooks getting weird. I had often heard that Humboldt County was a weird place and that Southern Humboldt even weirder. I waited all day on the beach for any sign of poachers, eating trail mix and dried fruit, but saw nothing.

When the sun set and the sky began to grow dark I packed up my tent and went and retrieved my kayak. I had been on the beach for over twenty four hours and had seen no sign of the abalone thief. I pushed my kayak out into the surf, jumped in, and paddled back around the point.

That night, even though I was exhausted from my little expedition, I was restless and unable to sleep, tossing and turning in my bed. I went outside onto the cliff edge to smoke a joint and drink a beer to calm my nerves. A slight breeze stirred the leaves of the manzanita and dune tansy that lined the cliff edge, the salty smell of the sea heavy in the air.

It was then I noticed that from up here I could just make out a fire burning on Deadmans below me, tiny silhouettes of circling acolytes around it. I could even make out the torch bearers that encircled the group. They were back, the local weirdos. Probably just a bunch of Goth or metal kids who listened to too much Marilyn Manson. The beer and pot were doing their trick and I yawned, feeling exhaustion take over.

That night I had the first of the dreams.

I dreamed I was in the ocean, deep underwater, beneath the waves, examining the abalone. I ran my finger over their hard outer shell imagining their fimbriated head lobes, their columellar muscle. It was breeding time and I could see their respiratory apertures venting eggs and sperm into the ocean’s water column.

I had no scuba gear. I didn’t need it. It felt as if I had some sort of gills, for I could feel the salty water swooshing in and out of me as it churned, cold and green. Full of fascination I studied the formations of rock and shell as a hand, almost human, crept over the craggy shelf. It was covered in pale, green scales and the tips of the fingers ended in black claws. It reached out and took hold of a Haliotis rufescens’s blood red shell and slowly peeled it off the rock, the slime trail the sea snail uses to locomote leaving a viscous, oozing stain.

I gazed in wonder as a humanoid head then rose up over the rocky ledge. A face with the features of a fish: gills, small holes where the nose should be, massive black, empty eyes. I stared on as the creature put the abalone to its mouth and with fanged teeth pulled the sea snail slowly out of its shell and began chomping on it, swallowing it in quick, eager gulps. When it was done it extended a long, thin, black tongue, forked like the tongue of a snake, and licked the empty shell clean.

So this is the abalone thief, I thought to myself, with the calm and calculating mind of a scientist, without any fear whatsoever.

Then I saw, out in the murky distance of the ocean floor, more. There were more of them, hundreds of them. Maybe even thousands of them. An army of these scaled sea creatures, feeding on the abalone; I realized that they were gaining sustenance to strengthen themselves. They were preparing for something.

This army of creatures was readying themselves for the coming of a being greater than that that has ever roamed this earth. They awaited a great awakening. And in a massive epiphany, I realized the importance of their mission, and that I was needed; I must join them, lend my psychic support, and then I realized what the cult on the beach was doing, what their goal was. Then I looked down at my hands and realized that my hands, too, were webbed and covered in scales. I was one of them.

I awoke bathed in sweat, shivering, unable to dislodge the strange dream from my mind.

The dream was bizarre. Silly. Obviously it had no bearing on reality. Sea creatures poaching the abalone? But something within me felt different. I felt very unscientific. For the first time in my life I felt an inexplicable spirituality: a desire to worship a higher being, a higher power. I also felt very, very scared, though I couldn’t say why.

The next day I searched for the path that lead to Deadmans. I realized that from my cabin, I could walk along the cliff edge, between the clumps of coyote bush and dune tansy, down a hill into a gully that eventually formed into a steep, rocky ravine. Following this ravine down into a small valley I found the trail. Nothing more than a deer or elk path, really.

On an impulse I decided to stake it out that night. To watch and see if that strange group appeared again. Just to check them out, for curiosity sake, and see what they were up to. If I could identify any of them maybe I could question them about the abalone thief. See if they had any good intel on boats or strangers coming or going from the beach.

That night, sure enough, as I crept down to the ravine, I could see the fire burning on the beach below. I positioned myself off the trail and above the cove, just close enough to see the beach fairly well with my binoculars. I crouched down and put the binoculars to my eyes.

I could see that they were holding hands around the fire again, slowly rotating, most likely chanting the strange mumbo-jumbo I had heard last night. I tried to make out their faces to see if I could catch anyone I recognized, but their hoods obscured them and all I could see were dark shadows where their faces should be.

I scanned the gathering with my binoculars and noticed something going on off to the side, some sort of commotion against the cliff wall. Two hooded figures were holding a struggling figure by its arms. I focused my binoculars and what I saw made my mouth go dry and my gut clench. It was Suzy. They were holding little Suzy and she was naked. Naked and struggling. This couldn’t be.

Then, as I watched helplessly above, they pulled her forward to the fire. It took four of those cloaked maniacs to hold the squirming girl down, as another, this one’s robes a crimson red, raised what must have been a knife above her, for it glinted in the moonlight, long and pointed.

I froze.

What should I do? What could I do? There had to be at least a dozen of them down there.

Then it all happened so quickly: the knife fell and I thought I could hear that little voice I knew so well cry out in pain and go silent. The crimson robed one hacked into her chest and pulled out a dark object I could only assume was her heart and brought it to his mouth. He then passed it on, little Suzy’s pale, naked body now limp and crumpled on the sand.

I had to do something. I had to call the cops.

I spun around and clawed myself up off the ravine and as I did my foot slipped and I sent a shower of pebbles and dirt down into the mist covered gully. I froze, my mouth dust dry, clinging to the rock face. Had they noticed? With a pounding heart I started back up.

Once I got to the top I sprinted over the bluffs to my Subaru, now out of breath and huffing. Fumbling with the keys I started the engine and sped down the road. I squealed into the parking lot of the Inn of The Lost Coast, leaped out of my car and with sweaty, shaky hands dialed 911 on my iPhone. When I told the operator what had happened and where I was she transferred me to the sheriff.

“Calm down,” he said, “and explain to me again what happened.”

“I saw them kill her,” I said. “Kill her and eat her heart.”

“Who?”

“Suzy Anderson.”

“Suzy Anderson that lives on the corner of Toth and Steel Head with her mother Cathy?”

“Yes, I’m sure it was her. On the beach at Deadmans.”

“You saying she’s been murdered?”

“Yes.”

“By a cult in hoods on the beach?”

“Yes. Fuck. They ate her goddamn heart. Are you not listening to me?”

“Okay, Ted, okay. Just calm down. Now, listen, what I want is for you to go on home. I’ll check up on this and stop by after I get it all sorted out.”

“But they killed her.”

“Now, Ted…”

“But…”

This time firmer: “Now, Ted!”

“But…”

“Now, no more buts, Ted! You go on home and I’ll see you there. Got it?”

I couldn’t believe how nonchalant the Sheriff was being but what could I do? I would just have to do what he said: go back to my cabin and wait for him.

“Well, okay,” I said and I heard the line go silent. I stared down at the black device in my hand, knowing if I left this one small spot of land it would be rendered useless. I would be cut off from the rest of the world. Alone. But what could I do? He was the sheriff. Even if he was an overweight, pot head, he was the sheriff, and I had no choice but to listen to him.

So I drove back to my cabin and waited. I looked out over the cliff face but I couldn’t see the fire burning anymore. I drank a beer, tried to go over my data, but I was too shaken up. My hands shook so bad I couldn’t even manage to type numbers into the keyboard of my laptop.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door that startled the living shit out of me. Shook me to the bone. Wishing I had just hightailed it out of there earlier, driven away down that long winding road that was the only way in or out, never to come back, I crept up to the door and cautiously pulled the curtain of the window back. Peeking out the window I saw the Sheriff standing at my doorstep with Suzy’s mother Cathy and a little girl.

I tentatively pulled the door open.

“This the girl you saw murdered?” the sheriff immediately barked at me.

I gazed at the little girl before me, a girl the same age and height as Suzy, with similar hair, but definitely not Suzy.

“No. This isn’t her. I said Suzy Anderson.”

The little girl looked up at Suzy’s mother. “What’s he talking about, Mama?”

“This is Suzy Anderson,” the sheriff grumbled. “And this is her mother. Known both of ‘em my whole goddamn life. Now what the hell is going on around here?”

“No. It’s not. That is not Suzy. I saw them kill her!” I shouted. Somebody had to fucking believe me. I gazed up to Suzy’s mother who looked at me like I was crazy and clutched the little girl to her.

“Momma, Ted is scaring me!”

“Okay, you two go wait in the car,” the sheriff mumbled, waving Suzy’s mother and the little girl along.

He then put one of his big, beefy hands on my shoulder and pushed me into the cabin.

“Listen, mister, you’re scaring that little girl half to death and you need to tell me what the fuck is going on.” He spoke into my ear and his breath was hot on my face. “You on drugs? Doing a little meth to stay up all night and do your research?”

He gazed suspiciously around the room, the specimen jars full of bugs and mullosks, the beakers of sea water samples and glass slides. “Do I gotta go get a warrant from my old buddy Judge Johnson and come back here and search this place?”

“Am I on drugs?” I shouted. “Me? I saw you smoking a joint at that party!”

He laughed a hearty laugh and grinned a big shit eating smile. “Hell, son, that’s for my glaucoma. I’ve had medical marijuana for over fifteen years. Was one of the first people in the cove to get it. Everyone knows that.”

I was starting to feel dizzy, the room was beginning to slowly rotate.

“You alright, son? You don’t look so good.”

“But the fire on the beach. Did you check out the fire?”

“Yeah, I went down there. Looks like a bunch of kids was having a party, left fucking beer cans everywhere. But they’re gone now.”

“You went down? How?”

“How do you think? I walked.”

“You know about the secret trail?”

“Secret trail? Damn, you’re a dumb one, ain’t ‘ya? That fucking trail ain’t secret. Everybody knows about that fucking trail.”

I staggered back. The sheriff pulled out a chair and pushed me heavily into it.

“I saw it. I saw them kill her. Kill her and eat her heart.”

“You didn’t see nothing, son. Sometimes the light of the moon reflecting off the water, the sound and rhythm of the ocean, they can play tricks on your mind. Trust me, I’ve seen many a good man go a little crazy out here. Shelter Cove is known to have its share of crazies and they didn’t all start out that way.”

I sunk my face into my hands and shook my head.

“But, I… but, I…”

He put his big mitt of a hand on my back in a tender way, gave me a pat. “Tell you what, son. You get some rest. Sleep on it. I’ll come back tomorrow afternoon and we’ll talk again. Even take a little walk down to that beach. I’d like a walk with a scientist guy like you, maybe you can tell me what some of that weird looking shit in the tide pools is.”

How I fell asleep that night I don’t know. It was as if I had been drugged. I drank half a beer and a great lethargy fell over me and I stumbled to the bed with my eyes heavy and was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

That night the final dream came to me and I had the great realization. I was in the ocean, with all the other deep ones; the cool salty water swooshing in and out of our gills, the light of the moon sending out great shafts of pale light through the deep, murky water. Of course we were harvesting abalone. Eating some for our own strength, bringing back armfuls of others for the great one who slept out in the ocean depths: the dark lord who was awakening and who would soon rise in a fury of black leathery wings and tentacles.

The next day the sheriff arrived at my house as he said he would. He brought with him a box. I opened it to find a large, black, hooded cloak. I slipped the cloak over my head, pulled up the hood, and together we walked down to the beach to start the fire and await the arrival of the others.

Credit To – Humboldt Lycanthrope

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Vanities for the Vampire

May 18, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Vanities for the Vampire

This is a video pasta. If the embedded video is not loading for you, please click the link above to go directly to the video’s YouTube page and try watching it there.

Credit To – MorganM

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Don’t Peek

May 17, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I lay awake under the covers of my bed. I’d grown accustomed to sleeping with my head completely underneath due to the extreme coldness in my bedroom. We had recently moved house and although we were settling in quite well the cold was something we all had to adjust to, especially with winter slowly creeping in.

As I gazed blearily into the dark blankets I started wondering what had awoken me, for I had been sleeping peacefully until just this moment. I strained my ears and caught a very faint creaking sound, almost rhythmic in its regularity. I shut my eyes once more, it was simply the shutters on the windows creaking in the wind. I settled back into the pillows and listened to the noise, it was almost soothing in a way.

My eyes suddenly shot open, my old house had shutters that would sometimes creak in the wind but this new one didn’t. I’d inspected the windows thoroughly a few days before fruitlessly trying to plug up any gaps that might be letting the cool air in. I’d asked my parents to change bedroom but they said they needed the space in the other rooms and my brother definitely wasn’t swapping his, he had the warmest room in the house next to the boiler.

Listening intently I realised another thing, the sounds didn’t seem to be coming from the direction of the window. Although slightly muffled by my blankets, the sound seemed to be coming from directly above me as if I had some ancient creaking fan on the ceiling. I still didn’t want to leave the warmth of the covers so I turned my head to try and listen to get a better idea of what it was.

As I moved my head the sound abruptly stopped. I lay there holding my breath trying to catch any hint of the creaks again. Just as I thought the noise had stopped for good I heard something that chilled my insides, even in the warmth of my bed. A grating scratching sound like teeth grinding on a bone uttered the words:

“Don’t peek”

Lying completely still, my heart was racing. The creaking had once again started slightly faster this time, and with a jolt I suddenly realised what it was. Breathing. The horrible thing that was hanging above me was breathing. How could I have thought it soothing before? It was a horrible choked noise, sounding more like a death rattle now than the quiet creaking of before. The voice had been inhuman, utterly devoid of any emotion.

I lay trembling listening to the quickened pace of the breathing. Minutes dragged on and after seemingly hours daylight began to creep into the room. I must have dozed off at some point, even amidst the sheer terror that I was feeling that night, because I couldn’t remember that horrible breathing stopping. It was silent now, but I refused to get out from under the covers.

It wasn’t until my mother came in to wake me up for school that I braved leaving the safety of my bed sheets. I tried to tell her about what had happened the previous night and she initially seemed concerned, but that was mostly due to the bags under my eyes and lack of sleep than some kind of “make believe monster”. I went down for breakfast dreading the day of school that lay ahead of me in my tired state.

As I predicted school went by slowly and I dozed off in class multiple times much to the annoyance of my teachers. After a short talk with the principal after school about making sure I get enough sleep and not to let it happen again I could finally start the walk home. As I walked a new dread filled me, would it be back tonight?

Forty minutes later and I was walking down the driveway. Seeing the lights from the windows was comforting, it was already getting dark and I really didn’t want to be walking alone at night. I went inside and was instantly cornered by my mother who’d had a phone call from school earlier on. They had told her about me sleeping during lessons and she wasn’t all too happy. I was told I was going to have supper and then get an early night so that it wouldn’t happen again, much to my disdain.

I ate supper as slowly as I could in order to prolong the time it took for me to have to go into that room again. All too soon my plate was cleared and I was sent up to bed with a warning about no TV if I let it happen again. That was the least of my worries.

I climbed into bed and made sure that my door was ajar and the landing light was left on. I could hear the TV and murmurs of my parents which gave me some comfort, at least they weren’t too far away. The room was getting cold again but I refused to go under the covers, the light from the door partially illuminated the room and banishing the darkness giving me courage.

I lay like this for a few hours, partially dozing off when I heard the sound of the TV go silent and movement signalling that my parents were heading for bed. I listened to their door close and sighed, maybe there was nothing after all. The light spilling into the room comforted me and I curled up underneath the covers away from the cold.

I awoke staring into blackness, it took a while for me to realise what was wrong. The light from the landing had gone off, I could tell without leaving the warmth of my bed sheets. I felt an icy chill and memories from the previous night came rushing back. I lay still as a corpse as I held my breath, listening.

It was there, I could hear the rasping rattling sound of its breath. A shuddering sigh escaped my lips and I realised that was a mistake. The hideous breathing intensified, as if some inhuman being had realised its prey was trapped within its grasp. To my horror the breathing got louder, it seemed to lower from the ceiling towards the thin barrier that lay between me and it.

It sounded like it was a few feet above my bed now, its dry rattling was all I could hear. Until once more:

“Don’t peek”

The voice sounded even more terrifying when it was this close, it was all I could do not to scream. I knew that if I tried to make a noise it would silence me before the sound had left my throat. I closed my eyes, tears escaping through my scrunched eyelids as I waited for dawn. And it watched.

I was awoken by my mother yet again, sometime in the early hours I must have passed out from either fear or tiredness. Perhaps both. I felt awful and I must’ve looked it too because my mother did a double take when I rose out of my blankets. She suggested I take the day off school, that I must be ill. I was tempted until she said “A day in bed will do you good”. I sat bolt upright and flat out refused, I was ok, I just felt a little iffy but I’m sure it’ll pass.

My parents both have work and my brother would be at school, there was no way in hell I was staying in the house, in that bedroom on my own. Even in daylight it was an uncomfortable thought.

The school day was another blur, falling asleep in class and speaking to the principal again. He was getting frustrated at my apparent lack of interest in my subjects, seemed to think I was doing it on purpose for attention now. I didn’t argue, sitting in his office after school delayed going back to that room.

That night played out much the same as the one before, except the creature was getting closer once more. Night faded again to a bleary day repeating the same old steps, falling asleep, principles office and dreading going home. This time I was promised a detention after school the following day and if my behaviour continued then they would discuss further options.

That night I sunk into bed once more feeling utterly defeated. It was just going to continue like this, it was going to ruin my life and keep me awake forever. I’d read about people dying from sleep deprivation, was that going to be my fate? Soon enough the breathing started again as I lay powerless beneath the covers. This time it felt like it was merely a few inches from the top of my sheets. I could feel them quiver with each breath the thing took.

“Don’t Peeeeeeek”

It rasped the words so loudly I half expected my parents to come bursting into the room to see what was going on. But as with every other night they were either sound asleep or just deaf to the nightmare that was happening in my room. I could feel pressure on the covers, it was pressed right up against them now. My mind raced in panic, all it had to do was rip of the sheets and it could devour me or take me or do whatever other horrific thing it had in mind.

If this is how I’m going to die I want to go out with a fight at least. I had no idea how strong the monster would be, or if I could even hurt it at all but I had to try. I grabbed the top of my bed sheets and paused for a moment, steeling my resolve. Its gasping breathing had increased now as if it could sense what was happening.

With a roar I pulled the bed sheets down from over my head and swung upwards as hard as I could with my fist. I hit nothing but air. Scanning the room for any signs of the creature I quickly jumped out of bed and sped towards the light flicking it on. As the room filled with brightness my eyes took a while to adjust, I had my back pressed against the wall so nothing could get behind me in my temporary blindness. Once my vision had returned I had a proper look around, rummaging through my cupboards and under the bed. There was no sign of anything abnormal. I stood shivering, after the initial adrenaline rush I was feeling the cold of the room again. My breath appeared mist-like in front of me.

I glanced at the bed again wanting to get back under the covers. After a few moments of consideration I climbed back into the warm blankets. This time I refused to put my head under the covers no matter how cold it was. I had left the light on which gave me comfort, I was sure the thing needed darkness to manifest itself. A glance at my clock told me it was 1.47am. Had I defeated the monster? Maybe it didn’t want me to peek because that was what it gained strength from, fear of the unknown. These thoughts swirled around in my head as my eyelids drooped.

I awoke the next morning feeling refreshed, that was the best nights sleep I’d had in a long time. As my mother came to make sure I was up she commented on my appearance, the bags under my eyes that had been present for the last few days had gone and my face had colour once again.

The day at school went well, not once did I fall asleep and I tried my hardest to catch up on what I missed. I still had the after school detention to get through but even that didn’t seem so bad now I was properly awake. I could use the time to catch up on my work. As the school day drew to a close I went towards the detention hall feeling confident that the past weeks horrors had ended.

After the detention I started the walk home from school. I wanted to hurry because it was already getting dark. By the time I saw the comforting lights of my house the sun had fully set. Opening the door I called out an apology for my lateness before heading into the living room. The television was on, the usual wildlife documentaries my parents watch that I never had much interest in. The room was empty however, so I headed for the kitchen thinking maybe they had already started dinner without me.

Upon entering the kitchen however, I stopped confused. They had indeed started eating without me, plates containing a half eaten meal were sitting on the table. But there was no sign of my parents or my brother. A quick check in the other downstairs rooms confirmed they weren’t there either. I headed upstairs in the vain hope they had decided on a very early night. Even if that was the case they wouldn’t have left their meals like that.

My heart was a dull thud in my chest when I reached the top of the staircase. A peek into my parent’s room showed it empty, the same with my brothers. I was beginning to sweat now as I walked slowly towards my bedroom door. I gripped the door handle, my mind was telling me to turn around and leave, but I had to see. I pushed open the door and looked towards the bed.

Three black silhouettes were sitting up against the headboard, two larger and one smaller. They were the unmistakeable shapes of my parents and brother. Something looked off about them however. I groped towards the light switch as the voice in my head screamed at me to go downstairs and run to the neighbours, to call the police. Ignoring it I flipped the switch.

The vacant eyes of my family were all staring at me, glasslike but somehow they were looking right at me. Their heads were hanging at an unnatural angle, as if their necks had been simply snapped. They had been propped up against the bed like grotesque puppets. A cry was caught in my throat as I stood rooted to the floor. I willed myself to take a step back when I heard it again, the sound that had tormented me all those nights. The breathing really was a death rattle now, it sounded somehow even more full of malice than the previous nights. And it was coming from right behind me.

“You Peeked”.

Credit To – Spamalot2006

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