The Vegas Illusion

December 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM
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When going to Las Vegas, ride the rides from places like New York, New York and the Stratosphere, gamble away your money in a drunken state on a few hands of poker, or take a complete stranger back to your expensive hotel room. Or perhaps you’d prefer a magic show from Cirque Du Soleil or David Copperfield? I would suggest this option for your first night in Sin City. Real magic is to be found in Vegas, but not on the Strip, oh no. For a true experience that will make you believe in the realm of magic, you must seek out master illusionist Mephisto Centurion.

To see his astounding performance, drive off the Las Vegas Strip past the airport, and keep going until you reach desert. Be sure you make this journey after midnight, for Mephisto’s act is only to entertain the nightlife. Once it seems like you’ve made a wrong turn, stop your car, get out and peer across the night desert. You won’t see anything at first, but then a hotel shrouded in darkness will catch your eye. Leave your vehicle behind and approach the hotel in the distance.

You will notice that no lights are on in this hotel, but don’t be fooled, it is plenty occupied. Walk up to the hotel’s entrance and knock on the glass doors, which will swing open. The entire lobby will be dark, and no one will be there to greet you, so bring a flashlight as you enter the building and make your way through a large, empty casino, following the signs hanging from the ceiling that will direct you to the hotel’s theatre. While there will be no one around, if you get the sense that you’re being watched, you’re correct, but don’t let that feeling hold you back. Continue to follow the signs until you come to two large, golden doors with many faces sculpted on them.

These doors will open for you, and to your surprise, you will find an enormous, bright theatre filled with hundreds of people you didn’t even know were there. It will be a full house, but one seat will still be available in the front row. Take it, it’s yours. Once you are seated, the lights will dim, the curtains will open, and the great Mephisto Centurion will appear in a flash of light onstage, dressed entirely in black with a cape, top-hat, and a long, black beard and mustache. He will have a wide variety of tricks up his sleeve that will astonish you, so try not to blink.

The beginning part of his act typically consists of card tricks like making a card float in the air right out of the deck, or making the card appear on the other side of the room. Something even more mind-boggling is when he takes a real sword and impales himself right through the stomach. This special trick isn’t even performed inside a box, it looks like the sword is actually going through his body, and he’ll pull it straight out and be just fine. He can also make real animals and automobiles disappear and reappear at his command. His talents are endless.

Fire will accompany many of his acts, and you will find yourself cheering and applauding with amazement, but in the back of your mind you’ll be thinking that nothing you saw actually happened in real life. Once this thought crosses your mind, Mephisto will ask for a volunteer, and point directly at you. He tells the audience that he will make you disappear, how can you resist such an honor to be part of his legendary act? A spotlight will shine upon you, and the whole audience will join in to give you encouragement. Stand up, and get onstage where the real experience will begin.

You may have seen disappearing acts before, and you’ll probably think that a trapdoor will open, and then Mephisto’s assistants will help you back to your seat while everyone claps for you. Instead, you’ll feel the most intense rush of your life. Mephisto, at nearly seven feet tall, will loom over you, and inform the crowd that the trick is about to begin. He’ll have you tell everyone your name and what you do for a living, then he’ll have you stand atop a platform and wave his hands at you while chanting words of an ancient language. At a certain point during his speech, you’ll notice his eyes glowing an eerie purple, and before you can scream, a beam of white light will engulf you.

After the light comes the darkness, but it only lasts for a few moments before you’re flying through a wormhole at a very fast rate beyond your control. It will be quite a thrill, so don’t close your eyes. When you reach the end of the wormhole, the next thing you know, you’ll be soaring high in the air above the Stratosphere, and an invisible force will keep you up there. The feeling of the wind will make you realize that it’s not a dream. Don’t be afraid to swoop down over the Vegas Strip that glows in the night.

Enjoy this flying sensation, don’t even question it, just have fun while you can because it won’t go on for too long. Before you know it, you’ll be teleported inside a lion’s habitat at The Mirage. A lion will wake up and approach you, and you’ll run for your life, frantically searching for an exit, but there will be none. The ferocious beast will eventually have you cornered, and ease in for the kill. In fear, you’ll curl into a ball, shut your eyes and prepare for the end.

When you open your eyes again, you’ll be in a dark room with a wide opening at the top. You’ll realize all too quickly that you’re standing inside The Mirage’s volcano, and the show is about to start. You may scream loudly in hopes that someone will rescue you, but it will be too late. A ball of fire will come for you, and there will be no way to escape it. Just seconds from your impending doom, there will be another flash, and you’ll be back at your seat, sweating and trembling as you suddenly hear clapping from everyone in the theatre.

Mephisto knows your journey was intense, but he was there with you the entire time to guide you along your way. He welcomes you back and thanks you, then he bids the crowd farewell and vanishes. Converse with the crowd, if you wish, then make your way back through the dark lobby. As soon as you exit the hotel, there will be another flash, and then it will be morning, and you’ll be in your own hotel room with no memory of how you got there. That’s when the realization comes that the magic trick isn’t over… and it never will be.

Don’t bother looking for this place in the daytime, you won’t find it. If you look up Mephisto Centurion online, all that exists will be a single article titled: “Vegas hotel burns; Illusionist goes missing.” This article was written in 1960, only a few days before the famous El Rancho hotel burned down, which was a far bigger story. The hotel was called The Vegas Illusion, and Mephisto’s act was the main attraction. Little did the audience that attended know their entertainer was completely out of his mind.

He committed arson that night, burning the whole place down with the intent of taking himself with it. Many guests fled, but some did not make it out alive, and their remains were never found. Mephisto, real name Albert Torrance, worshipped an ancient god who promised him great power if he sacrificed his body, and he would do it in the most dramatic way possible with one show. Now he has abilities you can’t possibly comprehend, and he’ll be entertaining you for all eternity.

You can ask for help from the people around you, but they won’t hear you because, well, you’re dead. You died the second you got out of your car and stepped into a dark abyss that consumed you. There was never a hotel, there was never an audience, there was only HIM, and his beloved act. How do I know all of this? I am The Creator of the Magic Realm, I am amongst you, and I invite you to the show of a lifetime. I promise that my dear apprentice will make it all worthwhile.

Credit To – J. Stan Shocker

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Bedtime II: The Aftermath

December 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM
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After writing my account of an horrific experience I had as an 8 year old child, many have encouraged me to speak about the aftermath. I’ve been hesitant to do so as I have felt unsettled since I broke my silence. Sleep has not come easy to me these last few nights. My scepticism, however, remains resilient and as such I will tell of what I experienced in the other room.

This won’t be as long, as what occurred only took place over a few days but that was more than enough for me.

If you recall, after that unwelcome nightly visitor left me, I was moved into another bedroom a year later. This room was much larger than the previous one and had a warm and welcoming atmosphere to it. Some places feel bad. The room before felt foul, but this one did not.

Thankfully I was given a normal bed, the previous one was taken apart and thrown out (a welcome sight I might add). I loved my new room, I enjoyed the space for all of my toys, I was happy that the place was large enough to have my friends drop by, but most of all I was relieved to just be out of that uneasy, foreboding part of the house.

On the first night I slept more soundly than I had done for a long, long time. Of course I still moved my bed several feet from the wall. I told my mother that I and my friends liked to use the gap between the bed and wall as a hiding place when we were playing.

I awoke the next day feeling refreshed and relaxed. As I lay there watching some of my favourite cartoons on a small portable television, I noticed something odd. An old dark brown armchair which had always been there, sat at the foot of my bed, large and looming. It was frayed and worn, having been given to us as part of a suite by my cousin, but it had been used many times even by then. The chair itself was not unusual, but what unsettled me was that I could have sworn that before I had went to sleep, the chair had been facing away from the bed. Now, in the cold light of day, the chair was facing me. I assumed one of my parents had moved it while I slept, probably looking for something which had been left their before we switched rooms.

The second night was not as restful. It was around 11pm and I could hear my parent’s television from the other side of the house. The room was largely in darkness, the only illumination an orange hue drifting through my window from the street lights outside. I lay there content. Content, until I heard something quiet, yet unmistakable.

At first I thought it was the sound of my own breath exhaling and inhaling as I rested, but when I stopped for a moment, the quiet almost inaudible sound of someone else in the room breathing in and out did not cease. It continued, rhythmically and without pause.

I lay there in the darkness, but while I was still recovering from the terror instilled in me from my experiences in my previous bedroom, I was not entirely afraid. The breathing was so distant and unlike the wheezing I had heard during my encounter with that thing in the wall, that I remained calm, and even at that early age I believed that it was so subtle, that it was probably my imagination playing tricks on me.

Still, I took no chances, I stepped out of bed, walked across the room and turned the light on. The sound had gone. I stared at that old worn armchair facing the foot of my bed, which was within reaching distance of where I slept, and turned it around to face the other way. I had no real reason to do so, but something about it sitting there filled me with dread.

The third night I was not so fearless. Again, I awoke in darkness. Lying on my back I stared up at the ceiling which seemed to happily absorb the dim orange light from the street. The tree outside my window swayed in a calm breeze casting a strange collection of improbable moving shadows across the room.

I could hear nothing but the long and distant hum of the city’s night traffic. Just as I began to drift back into sleep, I heard it; a creak from the bottom of my bed as if something had moved, or shifted its weight on the floor.

I raised my head, peering through the darkness, but saw nothing strange. Everything sat as it had done throughout the day, nothing was out of place. I cast my gaze across the room; some comics on the floor, a few boxes which had still to be unpacked, the armchair unmoved still facing away from the bottom of my bed; there was nothing sinister here.

I was now fully awake, glancing over at my television considering whether or not to enjoy some late night TV. I’d have to keep the volume low of course as my older brother would hear it in the next room and no doubt tell me to switch it off.

Just as I sat up fully in bed, I heard it again. A low creak, accompanied by a sound. The sound of the slightest of movements. I looked again at the room. The dim orange shadows cast by the leaves hanging by my window now took on a more menacing form.

I still saw no reason to be afraid. I stared at the chair at the end of my bed and saw nothing unusual about it. It’s quite common for the mind to take a moment to fully come to terms with what it is seeing. It takes time to put the full horror of what is in front of you together, into a moment of cold, bitter realisation.

Yes, I was staring at that old worn armchair in the dark, but what I was also staring at was the person sitting in it!

In the dim light I could only see the outline of the back of its head, the rest obscured by the spine of the chair. I sat motionless, staring, praying, hoping that my eyes were being misled by their surroundings. The slow creak of movement as it shifted in its battered throne chilled me to my very core; this was no mere trick of the dark.

Then, it shifted onto its right side. I knew what it was doing, it was turning to look at me. It was difficult to make out, for even in that room it seemed darker than everything around it. I saw what looked like a collection of long fingers slip over the crest of the chair, and then another. The room was silent but for the sound of this thing shuffling in its seat, and the crash of my racing heart.

At first I could only make out the outline of its forehead, but then it began to rise up revealing two pin points of light in the dark recesses of its deeply set eye sockets .

It was staring at me.

I screamed, and within a moment my brother and mother came into the room, switching the light on, asking if I’d had another bad dream. I sat speechless, barely acknowledging them, staring intently at the now empty armchair.

I was only in that room for another few days before we suddenly moved. I saw nothing for the remaining nights, except for my last sleep in that room where I awoke to the warm air of something breathing into my ear. I jumped out of bed, turning the light on. The slow rhythmic breath of something unseen remained, louder than before. I spent the rest of that night on the couch in the living room.

Two years later I slept soundly in my bed, in our new house. There had been no other incidences, and I was sure I had left behind whatever strangeness had plagued me, in that little average suburban home.

I was, however, left one parting gift. My tormentors (and in my opinion the watcher in that armchair was a different entity to the thing in the elongated room) had one last surprise in store for me. Like an animal claiming its territory, I was not entirely out with their grasp.

For one last, terrifying moment I felt the presence of those, things. I lay their sound asleep, two years since those horrifying experiences. I was in the throws of a nightmare and suddenly, happily found myself awake, safe and sound in my bed. The room was darker than usual. I breathed a sigh of relief as one does when waking from a nightmare.

But the room was so dark.

I could see nothing at all, as if something had snuffed out the light. I chuckled to myself, realising that I must have pulled my blanket up and over my face while sleeping. The cotton blanket felt cool against me, but the air was a little too warm, almost stifling. Just as I was about to remove the blanket for some air, I heard it: For the last time I heard it.

The rhythmic breathing of the watcher at the end of my bed.

Fear gripped me, followed by anger and despair. Why could I not be left alone? I then did something most peculiar. I decided to speak to it. Perhaps this thing did not mean to harm me, perhaps it was unaware of the terror it had caused. Surely a young boy deserved some mercy?

As the breathing grew louder and closer, I began to cry. I could feel its presence on the other side of the blanket, its breath hanging over me like a stagnant wind.

Through the tears I uttered two words, words which surely would put an end to all of this:

“Please stop”.

The breathing began to change, it became more animated, quicker somehow. I could hear something shuffling next to me, standing close by. The breathing then moved, first back to the foot of my bed, and then slowly across the room, through the door, into the hallway, and then gone.

Half crying, half elated, I lay in the still darkness, my face still covered by the blanket. You may consider this a victory of some sort, but I do not. If those things were real, I know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that their intentions were not misconstrued, they were twisted, filled with malice. I would normally never use such a word to describe anything, but it’s as close to evil as I hope I ever come.

How do I know that? I’ll tell you how. Moments after that thing seemed to have left the house, something pressed forcefully down on top of me, pushing the blanket with great strength against my face. I could feel a large hand with long thin fingers wrapping the covers around my skull, its nails imprinted upon me like razor sharp ridges. I managed to slide down into the gap between the bed and the wall, quickly making my escape, clambering and screaming out of my room waking my family.

Make no mistake, that thing in the darkness tried to smother me, smother me to death.

Credit To – Michael Whitehouse
Note: This story is part of a series. You can read the first installment here – Bedtime
Look forward to more installments being posted over the next few days!

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