Pokémon Black

November 12, 2010 at 12:26 AM
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I stumbled on this unsettling story of an obscure Pokémon bootleg/art-hack that I thought might be neat to share on here. I think this originated from 4chan, so I’ve no idea if this hack actually exists. It probably doesn’t, but it’s still a great concept/tale!:

I’m what you could call a collector of bootleg Pokémon games. Pokémon Diamond & Jade, Chaos Black, etc. It’s amazing the frequency with which you can find them at pawnshops, Goodwill, flea markets, and such.

They’re generally fun; even if they are unplayable (which they often are), the mistranslations and poor quality make them unintentionally humorous.

I’ve been able to find most of the ones that I’ve played online, but there’s one that I haven’t seen any mention of. I bought it at a flea market about five years ago.

Here’s a picture of the cartridge, in case anyone recognizes it. Unfortunately, when I moved two years ago, I lost the game, so I can’t provide you with screencaps. Sorry.

The game started with the familiar Nidorino and Gengar intro of Red and Blue version. However, the “press start” screen had been altered. Red was there, but the Pokémon did not cycle through. It also said “Black Version” under the Pokémon logo.

Upon selecting “New Game”, the game started the Professor Oak speech, and it quickly became evident that the game was essentially Pokémon Red Version.

After selecting your starter, if you looked at your Pokémon, you had in addition to Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle another Pokémon — “GHOST”.

The Pokémon was level 1. It had the sprite of the Ghosts that are encountered in Lavender Tower before obtaining the Sliph Scope. It had one attack — “Curse”. I know that there is a real move named curse, but the attack did not exist in Generation 1, so it appears it was hacked in.

Defending Pokémon were unable to attack Ghost — it would only say they were too scared to move. When the move “Curse” was used in battle, the screen would cut to black. The cry of the defending Pokémon would be heard, but it was distorted, played at a much lower pitch than normal. The battle screen would then reappear, and the defending Pokémon would be gone. If used in a battle against a trainer, when the Pokéballs representing their Pokemon would appear in the corner, they would have one fewer Pokéball.

The implication was that the Pokémon died.

What’s even stranger is that after defeating a trainer and seeing “Red received $200 for winning!”, the battle commands would appear again. If you selected “Run”, the battle would end as it normally does. You could also select Curse. If you did, upon returning to the overworld, the trainer’s sprite would be gone. After leaving and reentering the area, the spot [where] the trainer had been would be replaced with a tombstone like the ones at Lavender Tower.

The move “Curse” was not usable in all instances. It would fail against Ghost Pokémon. It would also fail if it was used against trainers that you would have to face again, such as your Rival or Giovanni. It was usable in your final battle against them, however.

I figured this was the gimmick of the game, allowing you to use the previously uncapturable Ghosts. And because Curse made the game so easy, I essentially used it throughout the whole adventure.

The game changed quite a bit after defeating the Elite Four. After viewing the Hall of Fame, which consisted of Ghost and a couple of very under leveled Pokémon, the screen cut to black. A box appeared with the words “Many years later…” It then cut to Lavender Tower. An old man was standing, looking at tombstones. You then realized this man was your character.

The man moved at only half of your normal walking speed. You no longer had any Pokémon with you, not even Ghost, who up to this point had been impossible to remove from your party through depositing in the PC. The overworld was entirely empty — there were no people at all. There were still the tombstones of the trainers that you used Curse on, however.

You could go pretty much anywhere in the overworld at this point, though your movement was limited by the fact that you had no Pokémon to use HMs. And regardless of where you went, the music of Lavender Town continued on an infinite loop. After wandering for a while, I found that if you go through Diglett’s Cave, one of the cuttable bushes that normally blocks the path on the other side is no longer there, allowing you to advance and return to Pallet Town.

Upon entering your house and going to the exact tile where you start the game, the screen would cut to black.

Then a sprite of a Caterpie appeared. It was the replaced by a Weedle, and then a Pidgey. I soon realized, as the Pokémon progressed from Rattata to Blastoise, that these were all of the Pokémon that I had used Curse on.

After the end of my Rival’s team, a Youngster appeared, and then a Bug Catcher. These were the trainers I had Cursed.

Throughout the sequence, the Lavender Town music was playing, but it was slowly decreasing in pitch. By the time your Rival appeared on screen, it was little more than a demonic rumble.

Another cut to black. A few moments later, the battle screen suddenly appeared — your trainer sprite was now that of an old man, the same one as the one who teaches you how to catch Pokémon in Viridian City.

Ghost appeared on the other side, along with the words “GHOST wants to fight!”.

You couldn’t use items, and you had no Pokémon. If you tried to run, you couldn’t escape. The only option was “FIGHT”.

Using fight would immediately cause you to use Struggle, which didn’t affect Ghost but did chip off a bit of your own HP. When it was Ghost’s turn to attack, it would simply say “…” Eventually, when your HP reached a critical point, Ghost would finally use Curse.

The screen cut to black a final time.

Regardless of the buttons you pressed, you were permanently stuck in this black screen. At this point, the only thing you could do was turn the Game Boy off. When you played again, “NEW GAME” was the only option — the game had erased the file.

I played through this hacked game many, many times, and every time the game ended with this sequence. Several times I didn’t use Ghost at all, though he was impossible to remove from the party. In these cases, it did not show any Pokémon or trainers and simply cut to the climactic “battle with Ghost.

I’m not sure what the motives were behind the creator of this hack. It wasn’t widely distributed, so it was presumably not for monetary gain. It was very well done for a bootleg.

It seems he was trying to convey a message; though it seems I am the sole receiver of this message. I’m not entirely sure what it was — the inevitability of death? The pointlessness of it? Perhaps he was simply trying to morbidly inject death and darkness into a children’s game. Regardless, this children’s game has made me think, and it has made me cry.

Credit: Super creepy Pokémon hack

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Available Beta Readers

August 28, 2014 at 12:11 AM
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This page houses a list of community members who have volunteered to act as beta readers for aspiring pasta writers.

If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, a beta reader is someone who will look over your unfinished story and offer feedback, corrections, editing, etc. This makes it different from Crappypasta’s feedback system, which is intended only for finished submissions that were deemed in need of more work.

When contacting these beta readers, please keep the following points in mind:

  • The people listed here are VOLUNTEERS, and are therefore under no official obligation to you. If a reader gets busy and cannot give you feedback at the pace you’d like, please do not harass them. Be understanding of that fact that these are people with real lives who are willing to dedicate some of their free time to helping aspiring writers. You are not entitled to their time, and you should certainly not expect them to put aside real-life obligations in order to help you work on your story.
  • Using a beta reader is not a guarantee that your story will be accepted. Peer editing will drastically improve your chances, obviously, but please keep in mind that the people listed here do not actually have any control over the submission process – as such, please do not insult or harass them if they help you with a story and it’s still rejected. Similarly, if someone helps you with a story and it ends up on Crappypasta, please do not give in to the temptation to blame your beta reader in the comments. The Crappypasta community – and myself – will see right through that tactic. Remember that, in the end, enjoyment of a pasta is subjective and your beta reader cannot guarantee a positive reaction from myself or the community at large.
  • Some of these beta readers have listed guidelines and boundaries concerning what topics they are and aren’t willing to read. Please pay attention to and respect these limits.

Please use the table below to browse all available beta readers. Remember that there are multiple pages to this list, so please look through all the pages in order to find your best fit! Since this table will resize itself to fit your screen, use the horizontal scrollbar to view all the fields.

Name
Contact
Availability
Preferences
Other Notes
AhriannahEmail: blooxrayne89@gmail.com - You can also find me on either of my blogs, Killthekillers.tumblr.com or ahriannah.tumblr.comI am in the military so sometimes it may take me a day or two to get back to someone with feedback.But I will read almost anything. The only thing that I cannot read are stories with horrendous abuse. (I have diagnosed PTSD from childhood and I will leave it at that.)Just title the first email as “Beta” or “edit” and I will check it asap.
AllanonShannaragarrettmullikin@gmail.comI am currently completely available at all times, except for mornings on sundays, until summer ends. When summer ends, school will prevent me from seeing the emails, but I will try and read my email as much as possible.I will read pretty much any kind of creppypasta, although I will not read a story with rape in it at all. If its a spin-off of a popular creepypasta character(Slenderman, the rake, Jeff the killer and the like) go send it elsewhere, as I support the writers that have new things rather than things I already know about like the characters I mentioned.Beyond this, know that I read pretty quickly so expect comments back fairly quickly.
Amatourcreepypastaedits24@gmail.comI work two jobs; I live in Washington DC, which is on the East Coast of the USA, where it’s currently 12:41pm. Time zones are very important :D I will probably read your story in the morning; think about it all day at work and edit it either that night and finish by the next morning.Genres: Anything really. I love most of the stories I’ve read. I don’t do Slenderman, Jeff the killer, or Jane or Bobby Bigbaloo, or any of the other, in my opinion, hashed nonsense.

Also, come with 2-3 pages of actual thought and time, not just jumbled ideas and we can definitely hash out a short story for you in time for the next submission period. :D
I can read all night and edit for you by the next night for short pieces, 2-10 pages. For 10+, allow 2-4 days, since I will break down your piece since longer pieces tend to have well multiple levels lol.

I use Microsoft word Track Document so please use that to write your story as the back and forth will have my comments and edits highlight and sectioned off for you for easy review and following.
anjycun7ch3x@gmail.com I have a load of free time (unemployed)I will read anything that might chill me to the bone :)
Austinmusicofozona@yahoo.com I am a college student but have a lot of spare time that usually gets wasted, so I would love something to do for me to be productive. That being said, sometimes I will be busy in class or some sort of music lesson, I will get back to you a.s.a.p.
AVPavp8778@gmail.com’m available during the week and most weekendsI’m available during the week and most weekends to read and provide constructive criticism on any style and genre of creepypasta. I’m also a well read and well practiced poet if anyone has poetry to share. Also, if you love your story and don’t need and or want any suggestions on how to change it, I can do pure proofreading for anyone who wants it done. I’ll check for spelling, grammatical, and syntactical errors to help you submit a flawlessly written pasta.Posting your pasta in the body of the email would be the most effective way for me to read it since I use a variety of devices at different times.
Beta Readerbetareader.creepypasta@gmail.comI’m normally interested in suspense-thrillers or mysteries, but I’ll read just about everything as long as the grammar doesn’t make me want to choke myself. But of course, that’s what I’ll be there for, to make sure the grammar doesn’t make others want to grab a noose.I’m available almost the whole day and you’re free to contact me anytime that you want. GENRE: Any
LENGTH: Any
I can be a bit straight-forward, so be prepared for a blunt but effective review/edit (whatever you may) of your pasta.
Bskot04mortem.manet@gmail.comI’m not sure how much time that I have to contribute, but I would love to help when I do.
CatThatZombieChick_89@yahoo.comI’m rarely at work soI’m pretty free.I don’t have any preferences, and I’m not the troll type, so you can expect an honest, but kind review and help from me. :)
CrackedMackInterested folk can contact me at midnightmarinara@gmail.comI work five days a week, but am free most evenings to read stories.I will read just about anything, though I am most interested in ghost stories and other tales of haunting; however, if the story is a spinoff of an existing, well-established Creepypasta or character (Jeff the Killer, for instance), I’m not interested in the slightest. Those stories can be sent elsewhere.
Crimson Voidmuzykal.skulls@gmail.comI am a college student, but I’m in my last semester and I do have a lot of time off. Most of my proofreading would be done in the evenings during the week, but also on the weekend if I could get to it.I haven’t been around CreepyPasta for very long, but Jeff and Slenderman have definitely reached my ears. My favorites are those centered around games, although of course I can’t judge one written around a game I’ve not played. Were I to be chosen to help contribute to this fantastic idea, my preferred pastas would any that are not spin-offs of originals such as Jeff or Slenderman. I don’t care for gorepastas, but I would review them. My game knowledge is mostly in Legend of Zelda, though I hold some knowledge of Pokemon and others. Authors would have to let me know of course. **I love pastas that rhyme, but they’d have to be good.** Also, anything that holds suicide, rape, abuse, etc. is disturbing and depressing. But I will read it if – IF – it is not there simply to try and make it creepy. That stuff isn’t around for our enjoyment, and something we should be accordingly disturbed over. I will read these if no one else will, but I would prefer to not receive ONLY these.As a bit of a heads-up, I’m a bit of a spelling/grammar freak. I’ve noticed a lot of crappypastas that could have been better if not for the glaring amount of those types of mistakes. If any author wants help with these errors, I’d be more than happy to provide that assistance.
Dark Div1neMrDarkDiv1ne@gmail.comI’ll check this e-mail at least once every day, and I’ll get back to you relatively quick depending on the stories length.I’ll keep attention to the fluency of the story, and see if it all blends well together (i.e. Does this part of your piece flow into this one well? If not how could it improve?) You know how that works. I’ll keep tabs on your detail as well, and see if you need more or less. (I don’t care to know what every blade of grass looked like…) I’ll also tell you how Creepy your story actually is, and I’m sorry if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.I’d love to help out, just please if you do send me something, try and not send me another one until I finish the first.
EmmaEchadburn2991@hotmail.co.ukI’m happy to read any stories and provide feedback.
fifteenhoursI currently run a blog (http://fifteenhours-creepystories.tumblr.com/) and the authors may contact me there via ask. I’m a university student so my days are pretty much packed, but I do try to take some time out every night to manage my blog, and I’ll just add this beta reading to my nightly agenda.Types of stories that I’m interested in: I particularly enjoy stories of the dialogue form (like Kisaragi Station) and I really enjoy one with a twist at the end of the story. However in general I’m pretty open to all types of stories.

Types of stories that I’m NOT interested in: I do not really like series that are too long and I am absolutely against stories involving rape.
Also please note that the longer the story, the longer the time it would take for me to comment on.
GeneralChaosgeneralchaos2005@gmail.com I am not working at the moment, and am trying to get on disability. Turn around time will vary depending on if I can concentrate that day and what needs to be done.Part of my issue is “brain fog”, so if your pasta is very long or written on the level of Umberto Eco, you might have better luck with someone else.

Other than that, my very favorites are “true” ghost stories. I generally don’t mind blood, guts, or gore, but if it winds up being something that bothers me, I’ll let you know so you can send it elsewhere.
Put Edit or something like that in the title.
hunteriggy.ride.1997@gmail.comi`ve helped a lot of authors get their books up and going so i have a bit of experience.
Joshchezmix64@gmail.comI will read anything that comes at me!
Katherine CEither through the feedback page on my blog (http://atticussattic.wordpress.com/editing-and-collaboration/ ) or email (atticussattic@gmail.com). The benefit of going through my blog is that it also gives people a chance to check out my work and my style to decide if we would be a good match. I’m a grad student, so my availability fluctuates wildly. However, reading and editing are a fun hobby for me, so I tend to make sure I have some time for that. I’ll also be doing a lot of traveling soon, so lots of time to read and comment! Generally I have no longer than a week turn around on other editing work I have done, but that will change based on the popularity of this feature.I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to creepy stuff. I would not be a good fit for some of the more fanfiction style posts, as I tend to not have a substantial knowledge of canon in the areas typically written about. I’m personally a fan of my psychological horror, but I’ll read just about anything. I’m also open to any level of writing. So, really, if you want some feedback, feel free to get in touch and I will certainly read it!
Khipperkhipkhipkooray@gmail.comI can get back in: 1-3 days. Feedback and proof reading takes time and I can only do most if this stuff in the early evening and later evening. I will get back to you, just not within 24 hours. I adore the strange, the unusual, the witty, and (of course) the creepy. I’d love to help out with stories, from simple proof reading to giving thorough feedback.I’ve been taking intensive writing classes for three, going on four years.
KrystalContact: krystalcardona@gmail.comM-F | 1800 – 2359
S-S | Will vary

Feel free to contact me at anytime, just expect a delay if you contact me during my work hours or time when I’m away from a PC.
I enjoy medium to long length, more on the suspense side than goreporn.

I do not (usually) enjoy overly long series (more than 3-5)
Please include “BETA PASTA” in your E-mail subject line.
Maddison Melquistmlmelqui@gmail.comI’m happy to be a beta-reader for anyone who’d like a second opinion or set of eyes on their story :)
SelladorYou can contact my tumblr inbox at jaydoublea.tumblr.com

If tumblr is inconvenient then esclameofficial@gmail.com
I will happily help whenever i have time available. I’ve read countless of creepy pastas since the concept existed.
ShrikeLrdOfPainrwunder22@gmail.comI have a full time job from 9-5. I’ll communicate with the authors about expected deadlines and if I don’t have capacity, I’ll let the author know.Genre: Serious CreepyPasta submissions.
Length: Any, but I’m not going to proof your novel for free. The longer it is, the longer it will take to review it.
Format: Word or Google Doc. Google doc preferred b/c you can just ‘share’ it and allow editing permissions. Easier to keep track of progress and you retain the doc the entire time. It’s easier to throw in comments and fix spelling/grammar. Just make contact with me before you share to initiate discussions.
I actually do business writing/reviewing for a living so I’m hypersensitive to spelling, grammar, language, etc. I love the horror genre and I’ve submitted three pastas during this open submission period. I’m happy to help out.
Sierrapsthrizzle@outlook.comPretty much anytime.Anything and everything creepy. I’m a writer myself (though I have yet to submit anything to this site), so I can help with grammar, pacing, spelling, etc. I’m also a pretty seasoned horror fan, so if a story follows too standard a format, I can make suggestions on how to make it less predictable and more subtle or suspenseful. This goes for any story, whether it’s treading well-worn ground (like vampires or zombies) or it’s something more original but the author isn’t sure where to go with it or how exactly to end the story. I’m glad to see there are already a lot of people offering their time, so I hope I can contribute mine too. In school my friends always came to me to proofread their writing assignments and help make corrections or suggestions, and I’d love to do so again and help strengthen the community here. :)
Star KindlerE-mail: trekkiegirl2@charter.netI work wildly varying hours; one day I can be working 5am-4pm and the next 2pm -11pm and then a couple days later 3am-1pm, so it might be a day or so before I get back to you. Generally, I don’t have a lot of time to do heavy copy editing. If you are willing to have a longer turn around time, however, I can do it.I can and will read anything. I do tend to dislike violence (any kind, physical or no) that serves no other purpose than being violent for shock value. Otherwise I am pretty open.
Stephan D. HarrisStephan.d.harris@gmail.comI’d be willing to lend a hand with feedback.
The Readermallie@baypath.edu I’m a stay-at home mom so availability is always I’m pretty open minded when it comes to storylines. I am not really interested in Slenderman/Jeff the Killer/evil video games simply because I feel they’ve been beaten to death.Official Founder of the Crappypasta Corrective Calvary!
The Really Real Candlejackcontact me by email ninjaman.elliott@gmail.combetween 3:30pm-7:30pm estI am interested in all series pastas and lone post pastas
Weirdo Reading Mangaktjc17963@gmail.comI’m available Mon. – Fri. 2pm-8pm Pacific time. If you email me after 6 I won’t get back to you until the following day. I pay very close attention to spelling/grammar mistakes, as well as attention to detail and plot holes. Also, of you have trouble finishing the story, I could assist. I’m also a human thesaurus, so if you wish to write a more sophisticated story, I would be more than willing to help.
YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE USERNAME!paultomlinson48@yahoo.comI’d say I’m very available, but my school revision may hinder some nights. But that’s not for a long time.I like Micropasta, but I don’t mind Pasta series’.I have 5 pastas on here, 2 being Parodies, 2 being part of ‘Modern Monsters’ and 1 being a stand-alone. I’ll answer any more about myself if you’re interested. Just say ‘BETA’ or ‘EDIT’ and I’ll help!
TylerTyler.pirate@Hotmail.comI'm available to read most weekends.I don't really have any preferences.
Olivia Mc Carthyniccarthaigho@osrai.ieI’ve quite a bit of time and will get back in a few days.I love reading and writing and hope my advice will be helpful
I won’t reply to anything really horrific (rape,torture,abuse etc.)
But other than that will read anything:)

If you would like to be added to the above list, please either use the Contact Us form or comment on this post with your name, contact information, availability, any preferences you have regarding topics/types of pastas that you’d like to beta read, and any other additional notes that you feel are relevant.

If you would like your entry on this list edited or removed for any reason, either reply to your original comment or use the Contact Us form. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU COMMENT/EMAIL USING THE SAME EMAIL AND IP ADDRESS THAT YOU USED WHEN YOU FIRST VOLUNTEERED FOR THE LIST. If you don’t do this, I will email the address I have on file for you to confirm the changes- if no reply is received, I’ll assume that it was someone else impersonating you for whatever reason.

The idea for this page was originally suggested by Nessa – thank you!

Have fun, everyone!

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August 2014 Book Club: The Mothman Prophecies + Shin Megami Tensei IV Giveaway

August 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

August 2014 Book Club: The Mothman Prophecies

If you’re not familiar with our book club posts, please read the explanation here. To summarize, each month I will select a book for the community to read in order to broaden horizons and foster inspiration and creativity. We do this in the hopes that expanding the Creepypasta writing community’s frame of reference when it comes to all the creepy, paranormal, exciting, and just plain weird stuff in the world will result in less of the Mad Lips-esque copypasta submissions and more new, fresh stories for everyone to enjoy.

This month’s selection is The Mothman Prophecies, by the late and beloved John A. Keel.

First off: this book was turned into a relatively successful movie starring Laura Linney and Richard Gere. It’s actually pretty enjoyable and, if you haven’t yet seen it, I do recommend giving it a shot. However, please don’t use it as a replacement for reading the book – the storyline in the movie is A) only loosely based on the book and B) only features a very small part of the much larger narrative in the book. The book touches on related events, Men in Black (Keel is actually the one who named the concept of MiBs as such!), a much larger focus on the fascinating “Indrid Cold” entity, other cryptids, and much more that clearly could not have fit in a simple feature film.

Disclaimer: It should be said that these books were chosen with mature readers in mind. If you are under 18, please do check with your parent/legal guardian before reading these books. I’d really prefer to avoid a pitchfork-mob of angry parents who find this topic inappropriate for their kids. I’d also like to say that the opinions expressed in the books are, of course, the opinions of their authors and the people profiled only – I’m not advocating or co-signing any of the groups covered in these books.

So how does this work?

THIS POST is your book club. The comments here are where you should air out all your thoughts and ideas that spawn from reading the suggested books. There’s no requirement for how fast you progress through the book, or even if you finish it at all, so please feel free to jump in and discuss the book whenever you’d like.

This book is “nonfiction” so many things can be discussed without fear of spoilers (after all, the main story arc does cover something that truly happened and it’s a big strange to consider history as a spoiler), however – feel free to use spoiler warnings in your comments if you feel like you’re about to bring up a certain twist or turn of the book that might come as a shock to someone who just started reading.

As before, since the winner has been contacted and payout is in process, the raffle is going under a cut.

The Leather Cape

July 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Early in the summer a few years ago, I started dating this girl whose mother worked at the local flea market. The girl – let’s call her Tiffany – and I had been dating for a few months when she asked me if I would like to come help her work with her mom. I certainly didn’t want to sacrifice one of my precious Saturday mornings to go work all day at a dusty flea market, but I really liked this girl and, to be perfectly honest, wanted to get into her pants, so I decided to go.

That’s how I found myself on my way to the craphole flea market at seven thirty in the morning on a Saturday morning that I really wish I had slept in on. We opened her mom’s store at eight, waited around for customers for a while, but when it got close to ten and only one woman had shown a passing interest in the handmade ashtrays her mom was trying to sell, she told Tiffany and I we could go take a look around the rest of the place.

Tiffany and I walked around for a while, but we didn’t find anything of interest. There was a movie store that had pretty much every movie you could think of, but so did I at home, so no help there. Both of the book stores were a bust, finding nothing interesting but some old Stephen King novels that I already owned and a crotchety old man who watched us like a hawk – probably because we were some “damn teenagers” who, of course, would go out of our way to steal an old dusty book barely held together with spit and glue. We had meandered our way through most of the building when we happened upon a small shop that was selling EXCLUSIVE! RARE! HARD-TO-FIND TV PROPS! according to the very loud banner stretched across the top. “Want to go in?” I asked Tiffany.

“Nah, I have to go use the bathroom. You can go in though.”

“Oh, fine, make me go into the shady store by myself!” I joked.

“You’ll be fine. Go!”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes. You have to go inside. I’ll be right back.” She gave me a playful slap and walked away.

As I walked into the dingy booth, the owner gave me a grim nod without a smile. I didn’t really see anything of interest at first. They really did have some obscure stuff, such as old plush dolls from Rocko’s Modern Life and Ren & Stimpy. There were also some old Pokémon playing cards – not sure if that counted as “rare TV props” but it was still cool – and even some of the old Nickelodeon themed board games. I had several nice hits of nostalgia, but nothing really stuck out at me enough to make me want to buy it. I was about to walk out when the owner said “got some more stuff here behind the counter.”

He pulled out a box of assorted dolls and junk and dropped it carelessly on the counter. “Ain’t had a chance to put them away yet, but you can look.”
I half heartedly picked through the box out of politeness, but I really just wanted to get out of there. I pulled out a couple of old Rugrats dolls and a Squidward doll that had an odd red stain on its head, and was about to just say “no thanks” and put them back and get out of there when I saw something that hit me with such an intense blast of nostalgia that I almost fell over.
A dirty white skull stared at me from the bottom of the box, his huge, black glass eyes that were entirely too large for his head – just as I remembered. I reached down and picked him up, almost forgetting the entire world around me as I looked over the thing I had completely forgotten about until this moment. The tan top hat and cape, made of some of the roughest leather I’ve ever felt, was sewn up in the same crazy patterns I remembered so vividly from my childhood. As I rubbed some of the dirt off of his body, noting the feeling of a rough little bump on his hat and the leathery stitches holding together his clothing, I noticed that his jaw didn’t open all the way. Instead, it barely opened just a bit and slid sideways, from left to right, making an almost unpleasant grinding noise. Every detail was exactly as I remembered.

“Well?”

I jerked out of my stupor with a start. Looking stupidly at the owner, I used every ounce of intelligence I possess to come up with a brilliant reply. “Uh. What?”

“I said, are you gonna buy it or just stand there all day molesting it? Come on kid, I wanna go on lunch.”

“Uh… yeah. I’ll take it.” There was no way I was letting this go. “Would you happen to know if this is… like, actually from the show?”

“Kid,” (I really wished he would stop calling me kid. Just because he was probably in his late fifties doesn’t mean he can address me, at 26 years of age, as a kid) “I don’t even know what show that’s from. All this crap is my brother’s. He would tell you that it’s all the real deal. But I just wanna get rid of it.”

“Well, I hate to be a bother, but is there anyway I could get in contact with him? This show doesn’t even… well, I just need to know if this is actually from the show.”

“Can’t. Dead. Three months now. And the doll is ten bucks. Take it or leave it.”

I handed the rude owner the cash and left the shop with the doll, deep in thought. There was no way this doll should even exist. That show didn’t exist. There was no way it did. I had dreamt it all, hadn’t I? All that screaming…

I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t even see Tiffany until she was almost right in my face. “Oh, hi.”

“Hi! Did you actually find something in the shady store?”

“Uh… yeah.” I told her about the doll. She didn’t recognize it, but I didn’t really expect her to. Our conversation quickly turned to other things, such as the creepy old lady she had encountered in the bathroom who had taken up fifteen minutes of her time asking too many personal questions.

We finished out the day, her mom thanked us for our help, and we spent the day together. For those who are curious, I did not succeed in getting in her pants, but that’s inconsequential to the story.

Anyway, that night when I got back to my apartment, I pulled out the doll, something I’d been dying to do all day but had avoided so I didn’t seem like a freak, and gave it a closer look. I couldn’t get over how genuine the cape felt. I loved the feeling of running my fingers over it, enjoying the smooth, yet rough, texture of the stitches. The top hat was removable, and the glass eyes were indeed made of really thick glass. It was all as I had remembered. I was in utter shock, even still. How did this exist?

I sat on my couch and began thinking about the show. Candle Cove. God, I hadn’t thought about that show in easily fifteen, maybe even twenty years. I couldn’t have been older than six or seven when it ran. I only remember it being on for a couple of months before it got cancelled. I remember greatly enjoying it at the time. I would come home from school, always so excited and always making my mom turn the TV channel 58 to watch it. I remembered sitting on the floor, way too close to the TV, watching her turn the dial with the finger that had a mole on it, always the same way every time. Yeah, I’m old enough that the TVs of my childhood still had manual dials instead of a remote, so sue me. I chuckled to myself. I hadn’t thought about any of that for so long. I missed my mom, thinking back on it now. She had passed away about five years ago from skin cancer, and it had hit me hard. She had always been such a big influence in my life. She would always tell me about what an imagination I had, and how she just knew it would take me far. I wish she had lived long enough to see me graduate college and land a job at a small, independent film company where I edited movies. It certainly didn’t make me famous or anything, but it paid very well and I was responsible for some of the better editing in many different films. Some of which I knew she would have loved to watch. I missed her terribly. I missed how when I was sad she would pretend to draw on my face, and I would always watch the mole on her finger as it traced my face because I thought her “freckle mountain,” as I called it, was pretty cool. I missed the way she would chuckle and shake her head at me as I watched the show, remarking on what a big imagination I had “with my little pirate show.” I had always wondered exactly what she meant, but the older I got, the more I realized it must have all been my imagination. The whole thing. The entire show must have been me just thinking too much or something because there was no way that they could have aired that episode. The one with all the screaming… All the characters, screaming bloody murder and jumping and flailing. I remembered vividly the horrible feelings I got from that episode, and even as a child I thought it was strange. Things like that don’t even get aired today, much less all the way back in ‘71.

I must have been rubbing my finger over the doll’s face again, and hadn’t noticed what I was doing until I felt a strong pinch. I gasped and looked down, and quickly pulled my finger out of the doll’s mouth. What the fuck? Why did that hurt so bad? The teeth weren’t sharp or anything. I hadn’t even realized I had put my finger in there. I must have bumped his jaw or something and pinched myself. I sighed and shook my head at my own foolishness, and went back to looking at the doll that was responsible for so many of my childhood nightmares.

As I examined the doll’s mouth, I found myself wondering why it only moved side to side. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more the memories came flooding back. The Laughingstock… Jesus. That old piece of shit pirate ship that was always so close to falling apart. The Ed Wynn voice it had, telling the pirates they had to go inside some place and face the danger – usually the Skin-Taker, whose image I held in my very hand. I remember Janice, the little girl from the show, asking the Skin-Taker why his mouth moved like that. God… What was it he had said? I strained the muscles of my memory until I suddenly got goosebumps when the phrase drifted through my mind, leaving icy trails of fear running down my back.

“To grind your skin…”

It was such a cheesy thing to say, but there was nothing cheesy about the way he had glared so silently into the camera with his evil, black eyes, almost challenging someone to defy him.

Shaking off my childish fears, I tossed the doll on my coffee table and went to go take a shower. I needed to clear my head, but the entire time in the shower my thoughts only wandered more and more. I started remembering more about the final episode that had aired, and the way all the puppets and Janice had screamed and thrashed and shook so violently… there hadn’t even been a plot or anything. The entire episode had consisted of nothing but all the characters screaming and crying and it was all so chaotic and traumatic. I remembered how I had started to cry and my mom had run in from the other room, asking me what was wrong, and I had told her through my tears how Janice was crying and no one was helping her and my mom had turned off the TV and picked me up and made me feel better. Then she went and put me to bed, tracing my face with the finger until I fell asleep and had terrible nightmares all night long about the Skin-Taker chasing me and screaming incessantly… all these thoughts ran through my mind and even though my shower water was pretty hot, I still had chills all over my body.

It didn’t help that when I turned off the water, I could hear my TV was on.

I froze. I knew I hadn’t left my TV on. I hadn’t even turned it on since I got home. I had simply walked through the door and sat on my couch and looked at the doll, and I knew I had never even touched the remote to the TV. I slowly got out of the shower and dried off, listening carefully to the sounds coming from my living room. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Calliope music.

The last set of memories came with a refreshing course of nostalgia. My mother’s finger, the one with the mole that had always comforted me so, turning the dial to the station with all the static. The station always had static, I remembered that. Until 4:00, when Candle Cove came on, there was never anything but static, but when Candle Cove came on the calliope music, ridiculously happy, would start to bleed through the static, slow and distorted at first but speeding up and being more bouncy as the picture cleared and Pirate Percy and his friends greeted Janice to a new day full of adventures. Now I suspected that it had always been static even when the show was on… maybe that was why my mother had shaken her head and laughed at me. But, if it had always been static, where did the doll come from? How did it even exist if the show did not? I was so confused, and the stupid, catchy music coming from my living room was not only making me more confused but was creeping me out a bit too. Shaking off my thoughts, I opened the door and heard the tail end of a sentence spoken in a voice that sounded remarkably like Ed Wynn…

“…GO INSIDE!” it was saying.

I stepped out and slowly walked into the living room. My hallway was ridiculously long and it only served to increase my tension, but just as I rounded the corner, the TV turned to static.

As the only light in the room was the whiteness from the static on the TV, I got really creeped out. I rushed to the lamp and flicked it on, and saw that the doll was exactly where I had left it – right on top of the remote.

I sighed in relief and shook my head in embarrassment. It all made sense now. I had simply thrown the doll on the remote and the force of his impact had turned on the TV. I simply hadn’t noticed because my TV takes forever to turn on and by the time it had, I was in the bathroom. It had been static-y the entire time, and it was simply my confused, slightly disturbed thoughts and emotions that had projected the noises I heard into my brain. I really needed to get some sleep. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to the flea market. I could have slept in all day and avoided this whole mess. There would be no questions about where the doll came from or if the stupid fucking show even existed or what all my disjointed, confused memories were trying to tell me… everything would have been alright if I had just slept in. Sound advice for life. Always sleep in.
This is all stuff I tried to tell myself to relieve the creepy feelings I had. And it almost worked. It had almost worked, and my heartbeat had finally slowed, and my blood pressure was normal, and the goosebumpbs had finally gone away, and all the things I told myself had made me feel better. My justifications and explanations had almost… ALMOST made me feel better. Until I picked up the doll and started absentmindedly started running my fingers over it again. I started playing with the funny little bump that was on the top hat again and I remember being extremely comforted. All the bad feelings suddenly went away and I felt so much better. All was well. The show probably had simply existed in another format, and since I was so young my confused mind had simply combined my memories with something else and projected them over the show, giving me all theses confused feelings. I would simply get dressed, get on my computer, look up the show, and put all this crap to rest. Maybe I would even throw away the doll. It would be for the best. I shouldn’t have even bought it, but now that I had, $10 was not too much of a price to pay for some peace of mind. I got up to put the doll in the trash, but the towel wrapped around my waist started to unravel so I reached to grab it and dropped the doll. Tonight was just not my night.

I bent down to pick up the doll and his top hat, which had fallen off. It was then that I got a good look at the hat, when it was separate from the menacing black eyes that demanded all my attention before. I had been playing with the funny little bump on the hat, and I had felt an intense sense of comfort as I did so. When I looked at the top hat, I realized, with a sudden blast of recognition and fear, what my memories had been trying to tell me. I realized what it was about the funny little bump that had given me comfort. It was the same bump that I had stared at for endless hours as a child, in times of happiness, sadness, pain and fear.

The funny little bump… was my mother’s mole.

Credit To – saqua23

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How to Write a Vidya Gaem Pasta

April 1, 2014 at 2:00 PM
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(A last hurrah to the Haunted Game ‘genre’, as it were.)

So, you’re wanting to write a video game crappy – erm, creepypasta? Think you have what it takes? To be honest, you probably don’t. But fear not! With just the submission form (who needs proofreading? Or drafts? Hell, who needs edits? Not you, that’s for sure!) and this handy guide, you’ll be writing terrible pastas in no time!
Wait, did I say ‘terrible’? Like, out loud?
I meant ‘beautiful’.
Yep.
Totally.
————–
First of all, you’re going to have to pick a topic! Maybe you should go for something well known? Maybe try your hand at more obscure games? It’s your choice! Let’s get creative!
(And by ‘get creative’, I mean ‘write the same shitty pasta that’s already been written a thousand times before’. But that doesn’t matter. Whatever.)
>Try a Pokemon pasta! They were the most popular video game pasta subject for a reason, you know. Don’t know anything about Pokemon? Doesn’t matter – just as people who have never played Pokemon can pick it up easily, you don’t need to know anything about it to write a pokepasta! Just throw in some peekachoos and charozords and you’re all set!
>Maybe a Minecraft pasta? Just like how you can do so much in Minecraft, you can write so much about it too! ..Or you can just write about Herobrine! ‘Who’s a hero brown,’ you ask? Why, only a slightly original monster that was mutated into a cliched horror monster by thousands of bad fan misinterpretation!
>Try your hand at a Legend of Zelda pasta! Hey, you remember that one ‘ben drowned’ pasta you read about a year ago? Well, let’s write that again, but with all grammar or decent writing absent! I’m sure it’ll get thousands of upvotes! (read: downvotes)
>Something a bit more obscure? Why not? You could be contributing to the large amount of stories that only make sense to a small, unknown group of people! A scary story… about lawyers? Farming? Why? Why the hell not?

Wow, that took a while! Time for deciding the name of the pasta! This is nice and simple!

[GAME NAME]: [DESCRIPTIVE WORD] [WORD RELATING TO THE PASTA]

Sounds relatively simple! Let’s try it out a bit!
Pokemon: Bloodied Diamond
Minecraft: Curse of Herobrine
Ace Attorney: The Demonic Testimony

Do you like those names? I like those names. Let’s move on!

Of course, your main character has to get their game in some way. What’s that? Introducing the character? No, no, no, no, no. You’re doing it all wrong.
>”I got it from a garage sale/market sale/yard sale” – The oldest and best one in the book. If 99% of people write it this way, then it can’t possibly be bad, can it?
>”Some shady guy/girl/being of unidentifiable gender gave it to me” – Sometimes, we just want to skip the boring introduction and get straight to the action, and there’s no better way to do it than this.
>”I downloaded it online” – Who goes to garage sales anymore? Keep up with the times with this new, hip trend!

Moving on to step number three – of course, because this is a creepypasta, the game has to be haunted, right? But what’s it going to do?
>Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary – because hey, if you put in no effort here, you can use that effort later, right? That’s how it works, isn’t it? Right? Right?!
>A couple of graphical glitches – because nothing makes your viewers tremble more than the screen flickering a little or some colours changed. This is a true fact.
>Noises. – More specifically, weird noises. Glitchy sounds. Muffled screaming. The usual.
Okay, those are some basic ones, but why not step it up? Add some blood! Lots of blood! Also, make sure to use some of these words at least three times in the story…
>Hyper-realistic
>Bloody
>Demonic
>Ghostly
>Scary
Alright, we’ve got some scary shit going on, but if the main character ran away now, the pasta would stop half-way, right? Let’s choose an excuse for them to stay around.
>”I thought it was just a glitch”
>”I thought it was just a glitch”
>”I thought it was just a glitch”
Just kidding. You get no choice on this one. Trust me, this is for the better.
Alright, now just fill in the rest of the story using more glitches (as always, consider adding more blood and hyper-realism to your story), until WHAM! Something really scary happens! This can be anything – hell, it doesn’t have to be scary. Just as long as your main character responds fittingly. Or, alternatively, not-so-fittingly.
How will your protagonist respond to the sheer creepiness? How will this story meet its conclusion?
>Throw their console out – Destroy their DS! Pulverise their Playstation! Erm, throw a TV out the window? Whatever. It works.
>AND THEN THE PROTAG DIED – Dead things are creepy. People dying are creepy. Why not kill off the protagonist? I’m sure that, with the large amount of characterization we gave them earlier, it will really shock the readers. Honest.
>YOU’RE NEXT – Did you know that all creepypasta readers have a constant fear that there’s a monster behind them? Use this to your advantage? Everyone’s terrified of walls!

Alright, now we have the main story and -
Oh?
Did you think that was finished?
Oh no, this is the fun part. Now we add some… er… personality to your story. And by ‘personality’, I mean ‘bad writing skills’. I mean, let’s face it, nobody really misses punctuation. I sure don’t.
Choose one of the following typing quirks – I mean, writing styles.
>capital letters. get rid of all your capital letters. no-one likes them at all. too old fashioned.
>WHY NOT HAVE LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS? BE NEW AND DANGEROUS. MAKE YOUR ENTIR STORY CAPITAL LETTERS. (Obviously, don’t use this one with the previous one.)
>Make Every Capital Letter Refined And Pronounced. This Makes You Seem Posh And Smart.
And at least one of these. You can have more, if you want to be EXTREME.
>Motherfucker, let’s get some fucking swears up in here. Swears are bitchin’ as shit. It makes you sound fuckin’ hip and cool. Fuck yeah.
>No punctuation ever at all because seriously having things just constantly flow is so much easier and better in every way wow
>Waht if you where unabel to spel things right? Sonds fun!
———————
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely just finished writing your first video game pasta! Now just publish your beautiful (read: horrendous) story (read: crap heap), and watch it get thousands of upvotes (read: downvotes) like it deserves! Good luck!

Credit To – Yu “The Operator” Meigns

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Yo, dude, do you own a dog?

April 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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“Yo, dude,” Brewster said, looking out the glass doors at the back of my kitchen. He pushed back his baseball cap and scratched his head. “…Do you own a dog?”
I looked up from my Pokémon game, frowning. It was about 2am and the neighborhood was as quiet as death, but leave it to Brewster to find my empty backyard more interesting than Pokémon. He was a textbook jock; an impressively tan lax bro with muscles the size of Texas and a brain the size of a tube of chapstick. I was a black nerd. Somehow, we were best friends. I paused the game to grab a fistful of popcorn. “Hell no, my mom’s allergic. It’s probably a stray.”
“It looks really sick, dude. It’s creeping me out.”
“Just close the blinds.”
“I don’t want to,” he whined.
“Jesus, Brew, we see strays every day!”
“I don’t know, now it’s like foaming at the mouth…” He cringed. “Ughh.”
I rolled up from the couch, grumbling as I dropped the Pokémon game and walked up behind Brewster. “Look, you moron, the—” I stopped as I looked out the door and into the darkness of my backyard, lit by a few garden lamps.
That was definitely not a dog.
That was definitely a naked gray bald man crouched in my backyard, drooling and staring at us.
My face screwed up in confusion. Leave it to Brewster to think that some poor homeless man was a dog. “Aw, crap. I’m calling the cops. That’s not a dog, that’s a homeless guy. And he’s probably mentally ill, it’s not his fault.”
“But he growled at me!”
I was already dialing the Baltimore City Police Department, ready to explain that there was some naked guy in my backyard at 2am. Typical stuff for “The City That Bleeds”. The dispatcher clicked on the line.
“Baltimore City Police Department, state your emergency,” a calm female voice answered.
“Good evening, uh, I live at 126 Woodbird Drive.” I looked back to the glass doors; the homeless man was still firmly rooted on my property. “Um, there appears to be a naked man in my backyard.”
Static suddenly crackled to life in the background. “Could you give me your address, please?”
Frowning, I gave her my address again and waited for her to respond. Silence; except for static and an occasional pop. I thought that I had lost the call but there was still no dial tone.
“Hello? M’am? HELLO, M’AM?” I shouted into the phone. “THERE IS A NAKED PERSON IN MY YARD.”
“Where are you going?”
“What?”
A loud pop echoed on the phone before the same tone repeated itself:
“Where are you going?”
“M’am, are you on drugs?” I asked, that being the only plausible explanation at the time.
“Come back.”
“…excuse me?”
“Come back.”
Suddenly, out of nowhere, the thick smell of rotting meat clogged the air. Both Brewster and I gagged; he stuffed his sleeve over his nose and looked back at me fearfully. “Why does it smell like hamburgers?”
“Hell if I know!”
His voice turned fearful. “It’s the dog!”
“Brewster, shut up!”
I turned my attention back to the phone, but the woman continued to repeat the same phrase over and over again.
“Come back.”
“Come back.”
“Come back.”
“Can you connect me to the Baltimore county office?” I asked.
The women was about to respond when Brewster let loose a high-pitched shriek; I whipped around to see the homeless man’s face pressed against the glass door, snarling. I gaped at the visage and my eyes bugged. My mind struggled to process the face. That was definitely not a naked homeless man.
The thing had hollow, black eyes and a canine snout; its curled lips revealed dozens of stained fangs. A few gossamer hairs grew on its emaciated head; the rest of the body gray and taut. Its spine stuck out on its back. At this point Brewster crumpled up on the ground, sobbing and repeatedly screaming “Mom”, as the thing brought a huge, bloodied claw up to the door.
I dropped the phone, the woman’s voice now only reduced to something that sounded like Latin, or Japanese, I’m not really sure. The phone clattered on the counter as the Naked Gray Thing and I stared at one another, I shocked and horrified, it evidently enjoying scaring the crap out of two pathetic high schoolers. After what seemed like hours, the thing’s face crept into a huge grin and it paused to rasp two single words. Although the glass door muffled the sound, I heard the two words as clearly as if they were whispered in my ear:
“Frederick Ellison.”
Brewster stopped screaming and jerked back to look at me in horror as the thing shot off back into the darkness. I swallowed.
Oh, shit.
That was my name.
Brewster and I both looked at each other and screamed. We hit high octaves of horror.
“WHAT DO WE DO?” he shrieked.
“I don’t know. Calm down.” I grabbed his shoulders. “My mom keeps a shotgun in her closet. Grab that and come back downstairs.”
He bit his lip, resembling a massive infant for a split second before running upstairs. I heard his footsteps banging above my head before they stopped abruptly. It didn’t sound like he stopped to open the closet— it was as if he was startled by something and froze in fear.
“Brewster?” I called hesitantly.
“Uh…dude?” His voice was high with fear. “Do you have an adopted Asian sister?”
I frowned in confusion before busting it up the stairs, bursting into my mom’s room to see Brewster frozen in the middle of the room, staring out the window. My mom’s room has a small balcony, and on the balcony stood a small, thin Asian girl. She was about our age with straight black hair and a face that could’ve killed someone. Her downy brows sharpened low over her dark eyes in a mask of rage.
I stared at her for a moment. How could she have accessed the balcony?
“Are you lost?” I shouted at her. “This isn’t your house!”
She continued to stare.
And then she took a step forward.
I’m not sure if it was her furious expression, the fact that a strange girl just appeared on my mom’s balcony, or the fact that a weird naked gray thing had just attacked us, but Brewster and I both rushed into the closet and jammed ourselves inside. I grabbed the shotgun wedged in the back and cocked it, aiming it at the closed doors of the closet.
“I’m scared,” Brewster whimpered.
“Shut up,” I muttered. “It’s just a random girl.”
I cracked the closet an inch to look outside.
Looking into the space was the girl.
My heart stopped and I fired the gun wildly, the base slamming into my shoulder as bullets riddled the room and smoke filled the air. Brewster screamed and jumped on me in fear, knocking the gun away. As the smoke cleared, the girl still stood before us, unharmed. We silenced immediately as her furious expression changed into a deep frown.
“All right, you idiots,” she said. “You’re in trouble, and I’m here to help. The name is Mildred.”
__
Mildred and I sat opposite one another in armchairs, Brewster cowering next to me. Mildred wasn’t as terrifying as before, now seeing her in the light— although she still had chronic bitch face. The clock ticked on the wall.
“Uh,” I said. “We’d really appreciate you telling us why you followed us, broke into my house and then told us that we were in trouble.”
She nodded, disinterested. “Yeah. Right. Okay. So.” She paused. “I hate to tell you this, but…you’re being hunted down by a monster who won’t stop chasing you until he basically rips you up and eats your dead body.” She paused again. “I’m sorry.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Excuse me?”
She sighed. “Let me phrase this another way.” She paused. “You’re screwed.”
Brewster and I exchanged glances. “Uh…what?” Brewster managed.
She steepled her fingers a la Doctor Evil, turning to me. “If Garden Tool says your name…” Mildred made a chopping motion with her hand. “You’re good as dead.” She paused. “Except for me. I attribute my survival to my intelligence and charm.”
“Garden Tool?”
“That gray thing that came up to your door.” She rolled her eyes. “The grand council of internet virgins uses the name ‘the Rake’ and writes fanfiction about him. I don’t know, it’s stupid.”
I blinked at her. I was never exactly a horror aficionado, but the fanfiction I read never involved Naked Gray Dog Men. That was a subject I did not want to touch.
Her eyes snapped to mine. “I live a few doors down from you. I heard the screaming and went to investigate.” She paused. “It was after me last week, but I suppose it has a new plaything.” She shrugged. “Now both of us are screwed.”
I threw my hands out. “You say that so casually!”
“It’s pretty easy to talk about death once you’ve accepted the inevitability of it,” she said cheerfully.
There was silence for a moment.
“I can try to help you guys out,” Brewster mumbled guiltily.
I turned to him. “Goddamn, Bre—”
The powerful stench of rotting meat hit me and I stopped; Brewster and I both registered it at once and turned to Mildred, our eyes tearing and sleeves over our noses.
“Yo, dude,” Brewster whimpered. “It’s that smell!”
Mildred wrinkled up her nose. “That isn’t good.”
“What the hell do we do?” I asked desperately.
The doorbell rang.
All three of us looked to the front door, still overpowered by the rotting smell. It was about 3 AM. My mom was on a business trip. Who the hell would be at the door at 3 AM?
Brewster jumped up from his seat. “I’ll get it—”
“Brewster, you idiot!” I grabbed his arm and pulled him back, picking up the shotgun from the side of my chair.
I inched to the door, looking through the peephole.
Darkness. Not the darkness of night, but pure black with a glass sheen. My mind worked to figure out what I was looking at, when I suddenly realized in horror what it was.
An eye.
“Oh, shit!” I scrambled back just as the door began crashing on its hinges, battered by something huge. Cracks raced across the wood and I cocked the shotgun, aiming it at the door.
“I have no experience shooting a gun,” I said, cowering behind my armchair. Meanwhile, I think Brewster wet himself.
Mildred sat up in her chair. “We need to leave. Now. Get a car; it’ll catch us on foot.”
The door was almost down. “I don’t have a car.”
Mildred looked at Brewster and he shook his head, trembling. “Mine’s in the front.”
“Shit.” She tried to knock the gun out of my hands. “Don’t even bother, that won’t work anyway.”
My eyes bugged at her. “What?”
“We need, like, holy water or some religious shit.”
“You tell me that now?” I shrieked.
The door fell down with the splintering of wood and a huge crash.
The three of us shot behind one armchair to hide, which was both stupid and ineffective. I heard claws scratch against the wood floor as whatever broke down my door walked into my house. There was silence for a few moments, coupled with wheezing, before I heard a familiar, rasping voice. I knew instantly what had just broken down my door.
“Meeeaatt…come outtt.”
Garden Tool.
When you’re about to die, you notice the little things in life. Like the fact that the kitchen faucet was dripping, carelessly left on by Brewster, or the sudden knowledge that you forgot to pick up beef jerky from the store. The little things.
Death was approaching, and I knew that in that moment, we weren’t infinite.
We were fucked.
I eyed Mildred, muttering to her. “Are you absolutely positive a gun won’t work against it?”
“Well, it won’t kill it.”
“Stun?”
“I guess…”
“Commeee out, meattt…”
I shot up from behind the armchair and pumped lead into the monster, tumbling back from the shotgun’s recoil. I attempted to say something suave, like “This time, it’s personal,” but all I said was, “AUGGGG”.
As I fell back, Garden Tool did too, lurching back with the shots and splattering the room with black blood— but just as he rolled on he floor he rose again, bullet wounds filling up with flesh. The blood faded. That was definitely not normal.
I stood, paralyzed, as he stalked forward. The thing cracked a grin, revealing stained sharp teeth, black eyes narrowed. He knew that I was terrified.
“Guns don’t workkk.”
Suddenly, I heard a shout behind me:
“BAD DOG!”
Brewster came through for me just this once, hefting an armchair over his head with mighty roar and heaving it at Garden Tool. The monster tried to duck away but the chair was too large and it smashed into his body, trapping him back in a corner. Black blood began to pool around the chair and his twitching limbs.
The three of us stared at the bloodied armchair.
“Is he dead?” I asked.
The armchair moved and in a split second the three of us tore up the stairs while Garden Tool was incapacitated, stuffing ourselves back into my mom’s bedroom closet.
“Why the hell didn’t we run outside?” Mildred asked angrily at us.
“We can’t worry about that now,” I whispered. I turned to Brewster. “Bro talk. What do we do?”
“I don’t know, man,” Brewster sniffed. Tears appeared in his eyes. “I’m scared, bro. Guns don’t work. Chairs don’t even work.”
“Brewster, we’ll get through this.” I grabbed his hand. “Remember the power of friendship. I love you, brother.”
“I love you too, dude.”
“Okay. What do we do?”
“I got the keys to my car, we just need to get to the front of your house.”
“How?” Mildred whispered angrily, cutting into our heartfelt friendship fest.
“A distraction,” Brewster whispered. “How about I jump out, start flapping my arms and meowing—”
Garden Tool threw the closet door open, screeching in fury. I screamed and for once in my life, had a good aim— I shot him directly in the mouth; he jerked back from the force, screaming in pain and frothing blood.
“EVERYONE MOVE!” Mildred howled, pushing us into a run. We barreled to the front of the house, Garden Tool springing up and tearing after us.
I leapt through the busted front door and shot out into the winter night, stuffing myself into the passenger seat of Brewster’s car. Brewster and Mildred followed suite, Brewster taking the driver’s seat and Mildred tumbling into the back of the car. I cocked the shotgun as Brewster struggled to take his keys and stick it in the ignition, much like R. Kelly.
“Brewster, MOVE!” I yelled.
He blinked back tears. “I’m scared!”
I pulled him into the passenger’s seat, jamming the shotgun into his hands and shoving myself into the driver’s seat. I heard scrabbling outside the car.
Garden Tool leapt onto the front of the car and then smashed it’s head on the windshield. I gunned the engine and floored the car forward; Brewster blasted a bullet into the windshield, missing Garden Tool completely and blowing a massive hole in the car. Glass exploded everywhere; I threw my arms up to shield my face as Garden Tool forced his torso through the broken glass, screeching in my face.
HIs breath smelled like, guess what, surprise, that rotting meat smell that followed him everywhere. He was about to lunge at me when Mildred shot up from the back seat and threw something around his neck, pulling back.
Garden Tool shrieked, choking, scrabbling to untangle itself from whatever was choking it. I caught a glimpse of the rope for a split second, a crucifix charm dangling off of it. A rosary.
Mildred let go of the rosary and Garden Tool fell back from the front of the car. I rammed the gas and the car roared before shooting forward, running over the creature with a satisfied thump and roll of wheels.
We burned rubber onto the street, shooting into Baltimore city. Mildred looked back and saw Garden Tool for a split second, slowly rising from the ground. She flipped him off.
“MILDRED, DON’T TAUNT HIM,” I screamed back at her.
“Whatever, mom!”
I drove blindly, flashing past side streets and continuing deep into the city. The more people, the safer. “Okay, Mildred, where the hell do we go?”
“I’m kind of hungry,” she mumbled. “McDonalds?”
“You said that religious items hurt him? All religious items? Where’d you get that rosary?”
“My grandpa’s church. The Korean one out in the county.”
“Can you tell me how to get there?”
“Sure, but we’ll have to bust in.”
“I don’t care. If you think it’s safe, we’re going there.”
Mildred gave me a look that wasn’t the most confident thing I wanted to see, but I steeled myself and turned onto the highway, burning rubber the rest of the way.
Soon enough, we rolled up to a darkened church on one of Baltimore County’s smaller streets. A sign with Korean lettering stood in front of the church. The road was deserted.
“My grandpa’s church,” Mildred muttered. “I forgot how deserted it was.”
“Well, let’s get inside before that thing hunts us down…” I got out and slammed the car door behind me, tossing the keys to Brewster. I pulled on the church’s front door, armed with my shotgun. Locked, obviously. I had no clue how to pick a lock, let alone bust a door down, but I wasn’t going to look like an idiot in front of Mildred and Brewster. I had already shot a monster in the face; might as well continue my descent into badassery.
Brewster stood next to me at the door, frowning. “I don’t like this, bro…”
“I know, dude. But this is all we can do right now.”
He paused, eyes downcast. “This is all my fault. I’m sorry, Fred. I’m the worst bro ever.”
I punched his shoulder. “Hey, don’t be like that. You’re the best bro ever.”
“But you still condemned your friend to death,” Mildred chimed in, worming her way into the conversation. Brewster went back to looking depressed.
I turned back to the locked door and began using the shotgun as a kind of battering ram before Mildred shoved me aside. “Idiot. Let me do it. You’re not fooling anyone.”
I quailed away as she got busy picking the lock, finishing with a smug smirk and the click of an unlocked door. She cracked open the door, smile turning into a frown. “Jesus. I forgot what a dump this place was.”
The three of us piled into the church, locking the door behind us. Mildred flipped on some lights and the space illuminated in a disappointing array of empty chairs and a fake wooden podium. It looked nothing like the predominantly white-Catholic churches of Baltimore; it might have well been a multipurpose room. Bowls of what I assumed were holy water stood at random places in the church. A massive Jesus crucifix was poised behind the altar, weeping blood tears.
Mildred flopped down in a seat. “Well, here we are. Feel free to start praying. I don’t know.”
I paced the back of the church. “Okay, so, I propose that we create a gun filled with holy water and wine, call it the Baptizer 2000, and then—”
“Uhhh,” Mildred said.
I turned to her. “Uh, what?”
She paused before muttering, “I kind of lied about the power of Jesus thing.”
I frowned at her. “Excuse me?”
“The religion thing?” She avoided eye contact. “Actually, that was just a guess.”
“WHAT,” I screamed.
She thrust up the rosary she had used to choke Garden Tool. “My grandpa gave me this from this church, and that seemed to work. I threw a dollar-store crucifix at Garden Tool once and he laughed. I don’t know, okay?”
Brewster finally seemed to comprehend what was going on. “So…you drove us out here for nothing?”
“No! I know there’s something about this place that must work, it’s just…” she gave a little shrug. I saw her face sadden. “I was actually hoping you two could help me. You didn’t think I broke into your house just because I wanted to help you out, did you?”
“You don’t seem like the most charitable person.” I glared at her.
She matched my glare. “I’ll have you know, I donate—”
She silenced at a far off noise— the sharp, muffled ring of a telephone.
I scanned the room and saw the telephone perched on the far side of the room. I started towards the phone as Brewster yelped, “Wait, bro!”, but I caught the call on the last ring, answering with a hard, “hello”. I was getting tired of these games.
Static on the other end.
“This isn’t scary,” I said. “I live in Baltimore city, for God sake!”
There was a pop of sound, before:
“Where are you going?”
I shrieked like a small child and hung up the phone. Suddenly, there was a bang and the church lights cut to black. I froze, my voice taken away.
“Fred, bro?” Brewster’s far away voice called.
“What the FUCK,” I responded.
Something slammed into my temple and white-hot pain split through my head. I fell back, my mind going dizzy for a minute, the darkness and sudden sounds of shouting mixing together in my head. I figured that this was what a hangover felt like. I tried to get up but I struggled; after a minute I managed to stumble to my feet again. Something was strange.
The church was completely silent.
I steadied myself on the wall, pinching the bridge of my nose. My head pounded.
“Brewster?” I called. “Mildred?”
Silence; the pain in my head made it hard to think straight and I ended up stumbling backwards. I thought I was going to hit the wall but instead I fell back into a seat behind a heavy curtain. I panicking for a moment, feeling walls around me, but then I thought back to my church days— a confession box.
I rested my head in my hands, rubbing my head. “Jesus Christ…”
“Yesss…?”
I looked up, eyes wide. That was definitely not the voice of Jesus.
That was the voice of Garden Tool.
“You are not Jesus!” I yelled in a random direction, blind in the darkness.
Garden Tool rasped a laugh; I realized he was on the other side of the confession box. The stench of rotting meat filled the air. “I have something that is everything to youuu…”
“What, the Pokémon game? I don’t care what you steal from me!”
“Return to this church at dawn and I will let him go.”
My heart dropped. “What?”
The lights suddenly flashed back on. I hissed and squinted before stumbling out of the confession box and throwing the curtain aside. Garden Tool was gone.
I cursed and suddenly remembered Brewster and Mildred before running to the front of the church. Mildred was just raising herself up off the ground, a hand at her bloodied head.
Brewster was gone.
“I feel like I just got hit by a truck…” Mildred mumbled, still groggy.
“BREWSTER!” I rushed past her, screaming Brewster’s name. At some point I tripped on a chair and tumbled onto the floor, but instead of getting up I just stayed there for a while. I knew my search was fruitless— Brewster was gone.
Return to this church at dawn and I will let him go.
I eventually got up, Mildred standing over me. “What the hell just happened?”
I swallowed. “Garden Tool took Brewster.”
Her eyes widened. “What?”
I whipped around to her. “The religion shit didn’t work, Mildred!” I yelled, kicking a chair. “All of this is bullshit! He took Brewster! You took us here for nothing! NOTHING!”
“I didn’t promise anything.” Her voice was hard. “I could’ve just left you two to die. Instead, I try to help. You should be thanking me for even trying.”
She threw her arms up in huge movements to show all that she did for us, which added up to breaking into my house, forcing Brewster to cut up a pineapple, asking to go to McDonalds when we were being hunted down, and then taking us to a random Korean church.
I stormed away from her, and, having nowhere else to go, walked up to the altar. I sat down at the front of it and attempted to pray, but no matter how desperate I was, I was still an Atheist. I attempted to be proud of my mental fortitude.
I put my head in my hands and struggled to be calm. All I had to do was face Garden Tool at dawn and Brewster would be fine. Brewster would be fine. Brewster would be fine.
There was still a massive hole in my heart as I attempted to comprehend my own death at the claws of a monster. The fear was there, but no hesitation— Brewster was my main bro, my heterosexual life partner. I would take a bullet for him, let alone sacrifice myself to a monster. He would do the same. I looked up at Jesus hanging over the altar. I supposed that’s why people coveted religion so much— the feeling that someone had your back, no matter what.
A thought suddenly shot through my mind.
My eyes widened and I got up from my seat, effectively standing in awe of my own brilliant idea.
I knew exactly what to do.
Mildred puttered up behind me, giving me a skeptical look. “Are…are you okay?”
“…I’m fine. I’m perfectly fine.” I turned to look back at her. “Hey, Mildred?”
“What?”
“Where’s the closest place we can buy dynamite?”
__
Dawn.
The sun peeked through the windows as I stood at the altar of the church, smoking a cigarette. The cigarette tasted disgusting, but I looked like an absolute badass so I was struggling through it.
The monster was due to appear any minute now, and I had my shotgun at the ready. If my plan worked, it would be the most epic day of my life. I could write all of my college essays about it. The birth of my first-born child would be welcomed with an apathetic nod, because nothing would be as beautiful as this moment. If my plan didn’t work, Brewster and I would both be dead.
You win some, you lose some.
There was the loud bang of a slammed door somewhere from within the church, and I whipped around to see Garden Tool slinking from the front of the church, black eyes shining. He wore a massive grin of needles. That hunched, gray form was nothing human or animal— and he dragged something along behind him in one of his claws.
He was dragging an unconscious Brewster behind him, my best friend completely out but otherwise unharmed. For a minute I thought he was dead, but then I saw the copious amounts of drool dribbling from his mouth.
As Garden Tool neared me, his eyes flickered and he noticed the shotgun in my hand. He hesitated for a moment before leaving Brewster behind on the floor and slinking closer.
“You never said no weapons,” I said nervously, as if using logic would appeal to a gray dog-human monster.
He hissed a laugh. “I fear no weaponnn. Prepare for deathhh.”
Garden Tool tensed, looking ready to pounce, and I released an incredibly pathetic whimper of fear. I caught myself, attempting to remain stoic.
“This isn’t a regular gun,” I managed, relatively close to peeing myself in fear. Garden Tool suddenly seemed to notice that I had modified my gun with something. Don’t ask how I modified it; I’m in AP Engineering. “I call this baby the Baptizer 2000. Not only does it shoot bullets, but holy water too.”
“Your pathetic religion won’t kill meee…” Garden Tool hissed with laughter once more, squinting in delight. He moved from his crouched position, and my fear dampened. He was amused.
“You know, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.” I paused to exhale smoke from the cigarette, attempting not to choke and start tearing up. “I’ve been contemplating life.”
“Sucideee?” he asked, hopefully.
“No. I’ve been thinking about all of the joys of life, and what makes all of our struggles meaningful.” You could’ve heard a pin drop; Garden Tool’s expression became slightly confused. “I know that religion might not hurt you…but you know what will?” I paused, letting it soak in.
“Love. Love will kill you.”
Although he tried to hide it, I saw his expression flicker into one of absolute fear, and then switch immediately back to an expression of amusement. “Love? Love? Emotion is nothingggg.”
“You keep on saying that things are nothing. You’re wrong. Love is everything. Back in my house? The shotgun and armchair hurt you because Brewster and I were protecting one another. Mildred’s rosary worked because her grandfather gave it to her.”
As I ended my speech, Garden Tool’s eyes widened. Damn, I should’ve written my thesis paper on that shit. It was pure gold.
“Garden Tool, you’re right. Religion won’t hurt you. But you know what will?” I cocked the gun. “This, and 100 pounds of explosives. Filled with love. Bro love.”
Garden Tool didn’t react; I knew that he didn’t want me to see his confusion. I cocked my head at the Jesus statue behind me. He glanced at the statue, its arms held out in a welcoming gesture— arms now full of dynamite, dynamite that I bought using my mother’s credit card at a shady downtown Baltimore weapons shop that Ray Lewis probably frequented. The dynamite gathered in a string that lead down to directly in front of me. Garden Tool couldn’t contain his shock; he whipped his head at me with an expression of pure fury. His nostrils flared.
He lunged at me, claws out and jaws agape, and I shot him square in the mouth with a combination of holy water and bullets. Garden Tool seemed to freeze and drop in mid-air like lead; crumpling on the ground and frothing from the mouth. An inhuman gargle ran from his jaws. He attempted to rise; I shot his back and he crumpled up, howling.
I stepped up to him, tossing my gun aside. I daintily held my cigarette in my fingertips. I was glad to stop smoking it, smoking tasted like shit.
“You’re reign of terror is over, Garden Tool,” I said. “Never again will you prey on random high schoolers.”
Through his gurgling and writhing, I saw something slip from one of his eyes, as clear as day. A tear.
My heart fell. I wasn’t as badass as I would’ve liked to think I was, despite the despicable nature of the creature. I blotted out the cigarette out on one of the chairs and aimed the gun at Garden Tool’s head.
“Au revoir, asshole,” I said. It was the best I could do.
I ended up pulling Brewster’s dead weight by his foot. I had to bump the church door open with my back and drag him through, but as I was doing so the door accidentally closed on his head and he woke his a start.
He held the door open, sitting up and blinking groggily at me. “Dude…?” He suddenly snapped back into consciousness and jumped up, crushing me in a massive hug. “BRO! YOU’RE ALIVE!”
We pulled back. “I’ve never been more alive!”
Tears sprung up in his eyes. “And you saved me, bro.”
We fist bumped. “Hey, Brewster. That’s what I do best.”
We walked out from the church and to where Mildred was waiting outside, leaning against Brewster’s car. After taking a tour through more of the unsavory parts of Baltimore, trolling for explosives, she wasn’t exactly happy with me.
She sighed and cocked an eyebrow. “So, did you kill him? I thought there was supposed to be an explosion and you walk out of the church triumphantly.”
“He’s dead, but no explosion.” I paused, shrugging. “I really didn’t want to blow up a church. Also, I guess I’m not one for theatrics and death in the same situation.”
Suddenly, the church exploded behind me, filling the air with a massive boom and an upward rush of smoke and fire. The three of us jumped behind the car, watching the church’s frame burn and crackle.
My eyes widened. “That wasn’t supposed to happen!”
Brewster patted me on the back. “Yo, dude, don’t worry about it. The Korean people can fix it.” Mildred glared at him.
We sat back against the car and all took deep breaths. I nodded at Brewster. “Well, buddy, everything turned out okay. Want to go back to my house and play some more Pokémon?”
“Most definitely, brother.”
So the three of us drove Brewster’s completely destroyed car back to my house, stepped through the busted-in front door, and sat down to play Pokémon. Even though our adventure amounted to several million dollars in damage and probably months of therapy for Brewster and I both, I had my friend by my side. And when it comes right down to it, religion or no religion, afterlife or no afterlife, good life or bad life, the people you love are all that matter.
At that moment, life was good.
I looked up from the Pokémon game for a moment to see Brewster on the other side of the room and looking out my busted up front door.
“Yo, dude,” he said, scratching his head. “Why is your neighbor wearing a suit?”

THE END

Credit To – Ellen Meny

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