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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Be Careful What You Wish For

January 24, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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The night was painted like a scene in a bad horror movie, the wind howling through the cracks in the windows sounding like the screaming of a tortured woman. The house vibrated with each crack of thunder and the lightening lit up the house as if it were broad daylight . Jacob, Alex and Kaya pretended to be brave and manly, hoping to impress the girls they invited over while Kaya’s parents were out of town.

Sydney was the hottest girl in the entire high school and Kaya really wanted to ask her out. He had to make an impression tonight. As they sat awkwardly staring at each other in silence, Kaya spoke up, breaking the tension.

“Alright guys, I got something that will liven up the night”, he laughs with his crooked grin.

“What, did you steal some of your parents booze?” Jacob mused, fiddling with his cell phone. The girls looked at Kaya, waiting for an answer.

“No jackass, even better. I found an old Ouija board in the attic the other day when I was up there looking for my old Pokemon cards to sell on Ebay. Let’s see if we can contact the other side” he joked as he went into his bedroom to get it.

Sydney looked uncomfortable just looking at the thing but her fiends seemed excited. She had heard some freaky stories about playing around with the Ouija boards.
“Dude, haven’t you seen the Exorcist? Is that what you want to happen to you?” she said half joking and half not.

Kaya responded in his most serious and ominous tone, “Don’t you think it would be kinda cool to be possessed? I have always wanted to be able to turn my head in a 360 and puke split pea soup at people just for fun.”

Alex agreed with him while the girls giggled nervously, “Yeah Kaya, but since you are failing Latin I don’t think you’d make a very good demon.”

Kaya dusted off the box and laid out the board on the coffee table and instructed everyone to sit in a circle. Jacob lit some candles and Alex dimmed the lights.

“Everyone put your fingers on the pointer like this,” Kaya demonstrated trying to be scary “and we will ask it a question.”

They all leaned in around the table and eyeballed Kaya, waiting for him to start.
“What are we supposed to do next?” Maddi asked looking at her best friend Khloe rolling her eyes.

“Well in the movies they always ask it for a sign or something.” Jake responded.

Kaya cleared his throat, “Are you there spirit of the dead? Give us a sign or something” he giggled.

They held their breath and waited for the spirit to answer but the pointer didn’t move.

“Uh hello out there, earth to spirits, come in spirits” Kaya yelled out sarcastically.

Still nothing.

“This is stupid, it doesn’t even…” Khloe sighed as she took her hands off the pointer. But before she could finish her sentence the lights flickered, dimming the house even more.

“There we go” Kaya whispered under his breath.

“Whatever Kaya” Maddi winced, “it’s probably just the storm. It’s blowing like crazy out there.”

“Quit being such a girl Maddi and put your hands back on this thing.” Kaya demanded and continued.

“Are you here?” he said in his spookiest voice. The silence seemed deafening as they waited.

The pointer seeming to move without any effort began to buzz and slide slowly toward the word YES. Everyone looked nervous and suspicious.

“Alright, who is moving this thing?” Sydney asked starting to get really scared and looking at Kaya who was doing his best to hide his undeniable fear.

“It’s not me, I swear on Jacob’s mother grave,” he said as he winked at his best friend.

“Somebody ask it something else” Alex coaxed.

“Are you a girl or a boy?” asked Kaya.

The pointer slid quickly around the board spelling out B O Y.

“Are you good or evil?”

The pointer moved once again, gliding even more frantically, their fingers barely touching it this time.

E V I L…
Just as the pointer reached the L, the lights began to flicker once again and with a loud zap, the whole house went dark.

**
Kaya scrambled to reach for one of the candles on the table that had strangely seemed to go out at the same time as the power. Sydney used the flashlight on her phone to illuminate the darkness. She was practically on Kaya’s lap and almost in tears.

“You guys need to stop this. This isn’t cool. If you planned this whole thing just to scare us Kaya I will never talk to you again.”

“Just chill everyone. It’s just the storm. Let’s keep going,” he said, terrified yet strangely curious to learn more. Everyone put their fingers back on the pointer but Sydney.

“How old are you?’

The pointer moved again. 15

“When was your birthday?”

10 27 99

Kaya jumped up nearly knocking over the table. “Ok, who is moving this thing? He demanded accusingly, glaring at Jacob.

“Dude, I’m not doing it” he replied looking just as concerned.

“Isn’t October 27th your birthday? Sydney asked, looking at Kaya in fear.

“Yes, it is as a matter of fact, this spirit has my exact birthday apparently”, he said, his hands moving back to the pointer.

“What do you look like?” Kaya asked out loud. The pointer quickly moving again from letter to letter…

B l o n d e

B l u e l i k e y o u

“So we are twins then?” Kaya asked. “I suppose you are going to tell me that you are my long lost brother” he joked.

The pointer jerked immediately to the word NO as the flame on the candle began dancing madly.

At this point Kaya was the only one playing- the others huddled close to one another on the couch just watching and waiting.

“How did you die?” Kaya asked.

N O T Y E T

“What do you mean? You don’t want to tell me?”

The pointer raced.

N O T D E A D

“What do you mean you’re not dead?” Kaya asked confused. “How can you talk to me if you are not dead?”

The pointer spelled out a response.
S O O N

***
“Stop it, stop it stop it, just freaking stop it Kaya! You are such a jerk! I will never go out with you!” Sydney yelled, her voice quivering with anger and fear. “Let’s go girls, we are so out here.”

Kaya stood up, almost knocking over the candles. “Syd, please don’t leave, I swear to God it wasn’t me! You gotta believe me!”

But it was too late, they were already closing the door behind them, Alex more than happy to walk them home.

“It’s just you and me dude,” Kaya smiled. Sit down, I wanna ask it some more questions.”

“No way man, you’re on your own,” Jake answered shaking his head in disbelief.
Kaya sat back down in front of the board, feeling a surge of energy and adrenaline coaxing him on.

“What did you mean by soon? You mean you’re going to tell me soon?”

N O
N O N O N O N O N O N O N O N O N O N O

The pointer was nearly spinning out of control, circling the board in figure eights, always returning to the word NO

“What is your name spirit?” Kaya questioned, looking around for Jake who was already out the door, flashing a peace sign. Chicken.

The pointer was still. Kaya took a deep breath and tried hard to focus. He ignored his instincts to walk away, feeling the need to ask it one more question.

“You like to play games, don’t you?” he accused the spirit, speaking into the air like a raving lunatic.

YES

He was starting to burn with an anger he never felt before. His insides churned and shook and his mind raced and heart pounded. With fury, he asked loudly once more,
“I SAID, WHAT IS YOUR NAME SPIRIT?”

The pointer began moving… first to K, then to A…

He closed his eyes, fearing that he knew what the next letters would be.

Y A.

It stopped.

Kaya screamed and threw the board up against the wall cursing it.
“This is ridiculous” he said out loud to himself trying to justify what just happened. He had read about the power of suggestion in a book once but this was just crazy.

Screw this, I ‘m going to bed.

****
It was surprisingly easy to fall asleep, the invitation into the darkness seemed to come quickly this evening. His dreamless sleep lasting only a short while until he was startled back into reality by a strange and familiar sound. He wasn’t sure HOW and imagined he was still asleep but the Ouija board had somehow found its way on the bed right beside where he was laying.

Kaya jerked from beneath the covers, feeling the icy cold sting of the air inside of his throat nearly choking him as he gasped in disbelief. Something inside of him, something internal was drawing him closer to the board. Like a moth to the flame he moved, his hands with a mind of their own, reaching out to touch the shaking pointer that desired to answer his one last question.

He watched as it effortlessly moved across the board, highlighting letter after letter, gaining more power and energy with each one.

M I R R O R

He removed his hands and waved them in front of his face- captivated by the strange tingling that was ravaging his body. Mirror… Did the spirit mean for him to go look in the mirror? Confusion and nausea and elation hit him all at once as he felt that magnetic pull throbbing in his gut, moving him to his feet and into the bathroom. The air was growing thicker and it was getting hard to breathe as he entered the dark room that was illuminated now by only the streetlight outside.

He felt superhuman, almost immortal as his eyes adjusted themselves to the dark. The stranglehold of panic and release possessed him as the flicker of metal caught his eye and made him look down on the sink just below the mirror. He knew for certain that he did not put that butcher knife there.

He wanted to run, to hide, to scream but he wasn’t allowed to. He felt the pull of desire move him to reach down and pick up the knife, admiring its sharp edges and pointed blade. It was if his body was no longer his own.

His eyes moved to the mirror that was covered in steam like it was after he took a hot shower. He watched in horror as an invisible finger spelled out a message.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

He tried once more to scream and shake the knife out of his hand but he couldn’t. He wiped the steam from the mirror hoping that erasing the letters would make this nightmare less real. But what he saw next was something he was not prepared for.

Looking back at him from inside the mirror he met his own eyes and reflection. But his eyes were no longer blue- they glowed red like the burning embers of the hottest fires of hell. And his wavy blonde locks were now black and stubby, like the bristles on an animal’s hide. The refection moved in time with him as he moved closer to examine his face and arms that’s skin seem to have aged and weathered instantly. What was happening to him?

He looked at the sinister face that now belonged to him and was met with the most sneering and twisted smile that he had ever seen. He watched helplessly as his hand held the knife to his throat, the smile widening and revealing sharp, jagged, rotting teeth. He struggled to inhale and find his voice to scream, to plead, to beg- but all that came out was hysterical laughter and these words…

N O N O N O N O N O N O N O N O N O….

Credit To – Misty Brown and Kaya Brugmann

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The Stalker – Part 2

October 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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Note: This is the second story in a two-part series. Please read The Stalker – Part 1 if you haven’t already!

My bus arrived late the next morning – a blessing to me since I probably would have missed it otherwise. I barely managed to stumble out to the bus stop after sleeping through my alarm, hair a mess and still wearing the same clothes I had fallen asleep in the night before. I checked my phone as the bus rumbled towards the school: I had no fewer than 200 new text messages, all presumably from Emi, along with 20 missed calls from the same. I sighed heavily and rested my head in my hands, massaging my temples glumly. My dread at the prospect of seeing Emi again had not abated since last night. I honestly had no idea how I felt about her – I had liked her enough in the beginning, and that hadn’t entirely gone away, but she was really beginning to freak me out. Overall, I suppose I just felt as though I was in way over my head. I needed to find some sort of diplomatic way of telling her to back off, but neither assertiveness nor diplomacy were exactly my strong suit, and I just kept drawing blanks every time I tried to think of something.

I was the last one off the bus when we arrived at school; I just couldn’t muster the willpower to get up and move my legs… at least until the bus driver snapped at me to get the hell out. I shuffled into the building glancing fearfully around me like a paranoid person, hoping to be able to avoid Emi until class started. Unfortunately, she yet again managed to see me before I saw her, and my stomach dropped as I heard a loud call of “Over here, Zachy!” approaching from my left.

I was too tired to take in the specifics of her latest fuzzy, neon-green monstrosity of an outfit as she approached (aside from noting vaguely that she looked like she was late for a 3am rave). She cut her way through the crowd of students to my side with startling efficiency. Taking the initiative for once, I headed off whatever comments she had been planning to make by starting with: “Look, I’m really sorry about last night; you really surprised me and I think we probably ought to –”

“Oh, it’s okay!” she interrupted chipperly, ignoring any notion of slowing down by enveloping me in another painfully awkward hug, this time adding a quick peck on the cheek as she withdrew. I flinched backwards involuntarily. “I totally get it. You’re shy! That’s really cute.” She grinned playfully and winked at me.

I shook my head exasperatedly, starting to feel more annoyed than fearful. “No, I really don’t think you get what I’m –”

“I brought you something to eat!” she interjected again, pulling a white cardboard box out from under her arm and flipping it open to reveal a half dozen pink-iced donuts with rainbow sprinkles. “To make up for scaring you off last night. Dig in!” she said with a bright grin.

What was her obsession with feeding me? Given what I had seen and read in her room last night, I was seriously beginning to suspect that this woman was trying to slip me roofies. “No thanks,” I responded, “I really don’t like –”

“Donuts?” she interrupted for a third time. “Don’t give me that, Zachy! EVERYBODY likes donuts!”

Frosting,” I finished curtly. “I don’t like frosting.”

“Oh, that’s no problem! You don’t have to eat the frosting. Here… I can even lick it off for you!” she said with a playful grin. Damn, didn’t this girl have any boundaries at all? There was no way I was eating anything that she had licked. I was just about to tell her so when, thankfully, the bell for first period rang, which I latched onto as an excuse to get the hell out of there.

“Sorry, gotta get to class. Always takes me forever to open my locker and I don’t wanna be late. See you later,” I finished rapidly, starting to turn and walk away even before the last sentence was out of my mouth.

“Wait, Zachy!” she exclaimed, following after me through the burgeoning crowd, “Did you get any of my messages last night?” I felt one of her hands grasp my upper arm tightly, while the other suddenly slid into my jacket pocket and… withdrew my cell phone! She released my arm and I spun quickly to face her, now seriously miffed.

“Hey, that’s mine. Give it back!” I exclaimed, my voice rising in anger against her for the first time. She ignored me and continued reading through my messages as if I hadn’t spoken.

“Oh, Zachy, you didn’t even read a single one? I poured my heart out to you and you don’t even care at all,” she chastised me, face drawn into an exaggerated pout. Her voice was a grating whine that sounded more like a sardonic parody of dismay than the real thing. “You’re a real meanie, you know that?”

“Give. It. Back.” I growled, glaring with as much authority as I could muster.

“Oh, fine!” she huffed, tossing the phone back at me carelessly. Caught off guard, I fumbled with the phone and barely managed to catch it before it hit the tile floor. “You’re lucky I still like you even though you’re mean. See you after class, dummy,” she finished, turning and flouncing away with a supercilious flip of her pigtails.

Yeah. Lucky freakin’ me.

I stumbled into homeroom with a sigh of abject relief, slumping into my desk chair and letting the relentless drone of the teacher lull me into a relaxed stupor. When it came time to go to the science class I shared with Emi, I deliberately waited until the last minute to get there, then chose a seat as far away from her as possible. A little cold, I know, but she had crossed a line. I was hoping for, and fully expecting, this science class to be thoroughly uneventful – but I guess we all know how that goes. About halfway through the lecture, the monotone voice of Mr. Michaelson was suddenly interrupted by a loud noise… emanating from my pocket. The classic Final Fantasy victory fanfare – my text ringtone – echoed starkly through the otherwise silent classroom. I jumped violently in surprise, and Mr. Michaelson turned to glare at me angrily.

The ringtone went off again, and I fumbled my phone out of my pocket quickly, trying frantically to silence it as the rest of the class stared and giggled. In my panic, it took me ten or fifteen seconds to figure out how to turn the ringer off properly. Finally managing to silence the thing, I glanced across the room to see Emi blinking at me innocently, her own phone open and glowing in her lap. “Sorry,” she mouthed with a shrug, though I didn’t think she looked sorry. My face flushed with anger and I was about to mouth something very rude back at her, but was interrupted by a loud admonition from Mr. Michaelson.

“Mr. Thompson! Care to come to the front of the room for a moment, or is my lecture interrupting your socializing?” I bit back my anger and shuffled sullenly to the front of the room. Long story short, he took my phone for the remainder of the day and assigned me after-school detention, right in front of everyone. I kept my gaze planted firmly on my own feet as I trudged, scowling, back to my desk. I could have fucking sworn I’d turned off my ringer last night and never turned it back on. Did Emi accidently turn it on when she took my phone? Did Emi intentionally turn it on when she took my phone? Was this some kind of weird revenge thing for not answering her messages? It made me mad just thinking about it… mad, and a little bit irrationally scared. Just what the fuck had I gotten myself into…?

I darted out of the classroom as soon as the bell rang, intent on avoiding any sort of interaction with Emi for the rest of the day. My last class before lunch was English, and at the end of that period, I asked the teacher if I could stay in our classroom during lunch and do some make-up work where it was quiet. The teacher, a pleasant enough older woman, agreed, saying that I could stay and study for as long as I wanted but wasn’t allowed to eat in here. I sat at my desk pretending to study until she finished collecting her things and left. Then, as soon as she had disappeared down the hallway, I quickly snapped off all of the lights and sat down cross-legged behind a file cabinet, hidden from anyone looking in the windows. Once again, I felt like a Class-A coward, but I had the distinct feeling Emi was going to come looking for me, and I did not want to be found.

I withdrew my old Gameboy Advance from my bag and flipped it on, settling in to play Pokemon in my hidey-hole for the next hour. Several times I heard what sounded like high heels clicking down the hallway outside the classroom, and saw dark silhouettes cross past the windows. Every time this happened, my heart jumped a little bit in my chest, though logically speaking there was no reason to think that any of the footfalls or shadows belonged to Emi. At least, not until the classroom door creaked ajar, letting a sharp shaft of light into the room, and a voice called from the breach: “Zachy! You in here?”

I froze, quickly clicking off my game so that the light from the screen wouldn’t give me away. I tried to be completely silent, sitting stock-still and holding my breath anxiously. Emi just stood in the doorway, not saying anything, for several seconds. The light from the hallway cast her spindly, elongated shadow halfway across the floor. Then, I heard the “click…click…click” of her high-heels on the tile as she took three curious steps deeper into the room. My heartbeat sped up as an irrational wave of fear broke over me, and I silently pressed myself closer against the wall, praying that she’d just go away. After another few endless moments, my prayers were answered as I heard her footsteps click back towards the doorway. She shut the door with a dull thunk behind her, plunging the room back into relative darkness, and I listened with utter relief as her footfalls receded back down the hallway.

The remaining fifteen minutes of the lunch period passed without incident, though I was afraid to turn my game back on. When the bell rang to signal the return to class, I turned the lights back on, gathered my things, and darted to my next class as quickly as possible. Luckily it was only a few doors down and I managed to avoid being ambushed on the way. Afternoon classes passed as they usually did, in a haze of useless information with unrelated worries constantly intruding on my ability to concentrate. When school finally ended, as much as I would have liked to just go home and collapse, I was almost glad that I had detention, because it meant that Emi would have to walk home without me. I reported to the principal’s office with my detention slip, and he gave me back my phone and assigned me to an hour and a half’s worth of cleanup duty – punishment and free labor, two birds with one stone, I thought bitterly, slipping the phone into my backpack.

I was given a broom and dustpan and instructed to cover several rooms on the south end of the school building, including the band room. I remembered Emi mentioning that Aliyah was in the marching band, and I wondered optimistically if I might run into her on her way to or from practice… maybe we’d even wind up riding the same late bus home! However, when I went in to sweep up the band room, I found it completely empty, and deduced unhappily that practice must have been cancelled today. Man, I could not catch a break!

I sighed heavily and started in on the cleaning. The place looked as though it hadn’t been swept in months; some of the dust-bunnies were evolving into dust-elephants. I hummed to myself a little bit to pass the time as I chipped away at the menial labor; then, realizing I was completely alone, started singing out loud. I don’t know how long it was before I noticed it over the sound of my own voice… the faint tapping issuing from behind a door labeled “Low Brass Closet.” I fell silent and stopped what I was doing, staring at the door.

Tap, tap, tap… no, it definitely wasn’t my imagination. A chill drifted down my spine. What could that possibly be? I leaned my broom against the wall and took a couple of tentative steps towards the door. The tapping grew louder, more insistent. I hesitated. Tap, tap, TAP, TAP, THUD, THUD… the sound escalated from tapping to banging, heavy and frantic. Part of me wanted to bolt, but part of me was strangely mesmerized. Hands clammy, heart accelerating, I turned around and retrieved the broom; then, holding it out in front of me like a baseball bat, I started towards the door.

THUD, THUD, THUD… I crept slowly closer, heart in my throat, a little voice in the back of my head telling me that this was stupid, but something else, some inexplicable instinct, driving me on. As I drew within a few feet of the closet, I started to hear something else under the banging. It sounded like… a muffled cry, choked and barely audible, yet still obviously panicked and fearful. The moment I realized this, my initial fear was dispelled like a misty veil, and a very different kind of fear suddenly filled me. I dropped the broom and practically ran the remaining steps to the closet, recklessly yanking open the door.

There, suddenly illuminated in the spill of fluorescent light from the band room was… Aliyah! I gasped sharply, my hand flying to my mouth involuntarily.

Aliyah lay prone on the floor of the cramped closet, arms and legs bound tightly with thick, rough-looking ropes. Flat gray duct tape covered her mouth, wrapping at least twice around her head, and her eyes were covered by a dark blindfold. Her cries increased in volume and intensity as she heard the door open, and she began to squirm and flail backwards ineffectively, obviously in a complete panic. I just stood there, dumbstruck and staring, for longer than I’d like to admit, but eventually my paralysis lifted.

“Aliyah!” I shouted concernedly, rushing forward with the intention of untying her. She jerked backwards with another muffled shriek, kicking her legs violently in my direction. Her right foot caught me in the shin, almost causing me to topple forward on top of her. “No, hey! It’s me, Zach! I’m here to help!” I protested, moving towards her more cautiously now. My shin was throbbing, but I ignored it. “I’m going to untie you, okay?”

Aliyah continued to moan and shake with fear, but she didn’t try to kick me again as I reached over warily to remove her blindfold. Her head flinched backwards as my fingers brushed the side of her face. Gently, I pulled the smooth black fabric up off of her head; her eyes blinked rapidly in the sudden light, then turned to stare at me with abject terror. “Just hold on, I’m going to get these things off of you,” I reassured, “Let me untie your arms, okay?” She looked at me for another moment, still trembling all over, then nodded jerkily. I reached down and started fumbling with the knots securing her arms behind her back, pulling at them uselessly for several minutes before finally loosing them and pulling the coiled rope off of her wrists.

Her hands flew immediately to her mouth, scrabbling frantically at the duct tape wrapped around her head. I tried to help her find the end of the tape but she slapped my hand away, still jumpy and obviously preferring to do this by herself. After several minutes of watching her struggle with the tape, breathing heavily through her nose, she finally found purchase and started haphazardly unwrapping the gag. She let out a small, sharp yelp of pain as she ripped the last of the tape off of her mouth, then took in a deep, shuddering breath.

I waited a moment for her to catch her breath before asking in a soft, tentative voice, “What happened to you?”

“I-I don’t… know,” she stammered out, still panting heavily. “I was here alone… picking up my stuff… when all of a sudden…someone grabbed me. Their hands were… over my mouth… and there was this weird smell… and then… then I was alone in the dark. Groggy… couldn’t breathe… couldn’t move… tried to… bang on the door, but… took a while to… get my strength back. God, Zach, when you opened that door… I thought – I thought you were…” she cut off mid-sentence, shuddering violently and casting her eyes down into her lap.

“It’s okay,” I soothed, “Everything’s going to be okay. We’re going to finish untying you, then we’re going to go to the principal’s office and get everything sorted out, get you home. Okay?”

“Y-yeah,” she stuttered back in a small, quiet voice, reaching down to undo the bonds around her legs. She let me help this time and we had them undone in just a couple of minutes. She got up slowly, leaning on me for support and testing her weight on both of her legs before letting go. Her knees trembled for a moment but she kept her footing. She closed her eyes and took a deep, steadying breath, then grabbed my hand and walked with me out the door towards the principal’s office. I was torn between intense worry and a flush of small, guilty pleasure at the fact that she was actually holding my hand. We reached the front office at the end of the hallway far too quickly for my liking.

She stopped in front of the principal’s door and I followed her lead, glancing over at her quizzically. “Thank you,” she whispered softly, not looking me in the eye, then rapped quickly three times on the principal’s door before I could respond.

The rest of the evening was spent in a blur of questions and explanations as Aliyah and I tried to describe what we knew of the situation first to the principal, then to the three police officers he summoned to the school upon grasping the seriousness of what had transpired. The police questioned us both separately and then together, hammering us hard for any details we could remember. What time was Aliyah attacked? Who all was still at the school? What time did I find her? Did we know anyone who might have the means or the motive to do this? I had my own suspicions about that last one, but in the end I decided to keep my mouth shut. Maybe that was irresponsible, but it wasn’t as if I was certain of anything, and I really didn’t feel the need to stir up any more trouble by pointing fingers. The officers remained calm and neutral throughout the questioning, but I could sense the suspicion in their gazes when they looked at me, and it made me deeply uncomfortable. They probably wouldn’t believe a word I said anyway.

By the time we were finished with the police, it was practically 9 o’clock at night, full dark and freezing. Aliyah and I were each escorted home by one of the officers. I spent the car ride in terse silence, staring out the window to avoid looking at the policewoman sitting next to me in the driver’s seat. I spoke only to point out the entry to the housing development I lived in, and ask her to drop me off there. Before I left the vehicle, she handed me a business card and said: “If you have any information that might help us with this case – anything at all – please call and let us know at any time.”

I nodded seriously, taking the business card and sliding it into my pocket. Then, wordlessly, I slipped out the door into the cold night air, heading off down the street towards my home without looking back. I shuddered, half with cold and half with relief, as I heard the cruiser pull away from the curb and rumble back down the road. I was cold as balls, but I was finally alone again under the glow of the streetlights, able to take a breather and try to regain some sense of normalcy amidst this shitstorm in which I’d found myself. I walked at a leisurely pace, calming my mind and gathering my thoughts.

It MUST have been Emi that attacked Aliyah, I thought. In spite of what I had tried to convince myself while sitting in that room with the police – that this was just a paranoid theory, that Emi didn’t have the means to do something like that – I was ninety-nine percent sure that the crazy, pink-haired bitch was somehow behind this. It was just too much of a coincidence, Aliyah being attacked and tied up in a closet the day after Emi had threatened her. Not to mention that Emi had been acting erratically today too… hell, she had been acting erratically since day one, I just hadn’t noticed or paid enough attention to it. What was her endgame, I wondered? What would she have done to Aliyah if I hadn’t found her and let her go? Had Emi only meant to lock her in the closet overnight – not an attempt on Aliyah’s life but just a really mean prank? Or was she planning on coming back to do something… else?

I shook my head, exhausted and scared, as I neared my destination. At least I knew that Aliyah was safe for the night, having been escorted home by the police. Suddenly, I became aware of a low, almost imperceptible buzzing sound, audible only because of the perfect silence surrounding me. It might have been going on for quite a while without me even noticing it. For a moment, I couldn’t place the noise, and stood puzzled trying to pinpoint its location. Then I realized that the sound was coming from my backpack, and it hit me – my phone, on vibrate, buried deeply under my books and gym clothes, was ringing. A feeling of dread formed in the pit of my stomach, and against my better judgment I stopped and withdrew the phone from my pack. BUZZZZ…BUZZZZ… BUZZZZ… The phone vibrated constantly, almost violently in my hand, no longer muffled now but loud and insistent. I stood and stared at it hypnotically for what must have been several minutes as message after message scrolled across the screen:

Calling – Emi

Missed Call – Emi

Calling – Emi

Missed Call – Emi

New Text Message – Emi

New Text Message – Emi

New Text Message – Emi

Eventually I broke my trance for long enough to navigate to the main menu… there were OVER ONE THOUSAND new messages in my inbox, with more coming in every minute. BUZZZZ… BUZZZZ… BUZZZZ… My heart dropped and my stomach heaved with a sudden sense of vertigo, terror, and disgust. Some small part of my mind snapped in that moment, and I chucked the phone as hard as I could away into the underbrush, letting out a small, strangled yelp of helpless frustration and fear. I covered the rest of the distance home as fast as I could without flat-out running, not even bothering to note where the damned phone had likely fallen.

I tried to hit the hay almost as soon as I got home, but even though I felt strung-out and exhausted beyond belief, I just couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned for hours, my mind racing with uncomfortable, worrisome, and downright scary thoughts, yet somehow managing to generate nothing at all productive. I was in way over my head. I felt stuck. I had no idea what I should do.

Eventually, when the sun first started peeking over the horizon, I decided to just get up and drag my ass to school. A big part of me wanted to skip school entirely, but between the transfer and my lackluster class participation lately, I knew that I really couldn’t afford to. Besides, there was a paranoid little part of my mind that wanted to see Aliyah again with my own eyes and make sure she was safe. The thought of seeing Emi, though, was almost enough to give me a panic attack. I figured I could probably spend lunch locked in my English room again if necessary, but what should I do about this morning…? Maybe I could get there before her and just hide out until class started. It was pretty early; my bus wouldn’t be here for another hour, and the buses wouldn’t start arriving at the school for at least another hour and a half. If I left now I should be able to beat them.

With that in mind I got up, quickly changed into a new set of clothes, and headed for the school. The temperature was brisk but thankfully warmer than it had been over the past several days. I traversed the distance between my place and the school in record time, arriving to find the parking lot mostly empty and the building dark. No sign of Emi, thank God. I was a little worried that the front door might not be unlocked yet, but it was.

Upon entering, I deliberated briefly on where I could find a good place to hide for the morning, then decided to head for the men’s room. No chance of being found in there. I took a seat in one of the small, graffiti-covered stalls, locking the door behind me, and withdrew my old GBA from my backpack. Ah, video games, how many uncomfortable situations have you helped me suffer through in my life? I spent the next hour and a half or so immersed in a world in which small elemental monsters obeyed my every command, I was powerful enough to destroy a large criminal organization, and the closest thing I had to a deranged girlfriend was my cheery rival. When the bell finally rang to send everyone to class, I felt a certain sense of sadness and resentment at being dragged back into the real world.

Not worrying about being late, I waited until the halls had cleared and class had begun before darting out of the men’s room and making a beeline for my locker. As I approached, I noticed a strange smell hanging in the air, becoming stronger the closer I got to the locker. It smelled like some kind of perfume or air freshener or something, a cloyingly sweet aroma of artificial strawberries. Just the sort of thing Emi would wear, I thought with a grimace. Had she been hanging out around my locker all morning? Was that what this was? God, if this was the scent she left behind, the girl herself must smell like a perfume shop exploded. Now glancing around me warily, I spun the tumbler of my combination lock right, then left, then right again, resulting in a gratifying click as the lock snapped open. I grinned a little – this was the first time I had gotten it open in less than five tries, and I felt pretty pleased with myself – but my smile wilted the second I opened up the door.

Even before the locker door swung fully open, the fake strawberry smell was instantly overpowered by another scent – the peculiar, half-savory, half-sweet smell of rotting meat. There was also a sharp metallic edge to the scent, undeniably signaling blood. I drew back in surprise, but was unable to react quickly enough to prevent myself from pulling the locker door all the way open. There was a soft sliding sound and a sickening *plop* as several large, slippery reddish masses fell out of the locker onto the tile floor. The three-foot-tall space was stacked almost half full with similar objects, lumpy and shining with blood. For several moments I stared into the locker in abject confusion and shock, heart pounding. My palms grew sweaty, and I felt myself begin to salivate. The smell was so strong now, so strong that it almost made me dizzy. How had that strawberry perfume ever covered it up?

Against my better judgment, I leaned in closer, examining the slabs of raw meat (for I was now certain that this was what they were) stacked up inside my locker more carefully. In the cramped and shadowy space, I could make out what looked like several livers, constituting the bulk of the ghoulish pile. Among them were interspersed a few small, bean-shaped kidneys and… holy shit… hearts, real hearts, dark red and dripping with blood. A small, rational part of my mind noted with some measure of relief that they were too small to be human hearts – at least, I thought so – but that didn’t do a great deal to calm me down. I looked down at the pieces that had fallen to the floor: same thing, hearts, kidneys and livers, lying in a pool of blood and other unidentified juices.

An icy spike of fear drilled down my spine. I withdrew slowly from the bloody, viscera-filled locker, backing into the opposite wall before I’d even realized how far I’d gone. Hearts, livers, kidneys… oh, no… I looked back into the locker, raising my eyes above the pile of raw giblets for the first time to notice a message scrawled in blood on the back wall:

FOR YOU <3

Those two words, their sickeningly familiar loopy script dripping inside a large, crudely-drawn heart shape, told me all that I needed to know about the culprit. I bit my lip, trying vainly to puzzle out what this meant and what I needed to do next, when suddenly a hysterical shriek echoed down the hallway to my left. I snapped my head around to face the noise and saw a blond girl (no doubt another latecomer to class) standing petrified at the end of the hall, her books scattered about her feet, staring at the bloody locker in terror.

Things happened pretty quickly after that. Concerned teachers emerged from classrooms all along the hall. Curious students jostled for position at the windows and in the doorways. There was a lot of awkward, hurried stuttering as I tried to explain to three teachers at once what was going on, being consistently interrupted by one or the other. Eventually I was carted off to the principal’s office for the second time in 24 hours, where I endured repeated questioning from both him and the school guidance counselor. I tried to pay attention to their questions and advice, but my mind kept wandering back to that viscera-filled locker. Hearts, livers, kidneys… hearts, livers, kidneys… No. No way. It had to be a coincidence. If (as I was nearly certain) Emi had indeed put those organs into my locker as some kind of twisted prank or gift, she probably just chose hearts because she thought it was romantic. Livers because they were easy to buy at the grocery. Kidneys because… oh, hell, some reason. Nothing to freak out about beyond the fact that some crazy chick had shoved organ meat in my locker, and honestly, wasn’t that bad enough?

I didn’t accuse her, though. Even when the administrators asked me if I knew who did it. I’m not entirely sure why I refrained – I certainly had no idea how to deal with this on my own – but somehow it felt like getting them involved would create more problems than it would solve. I guess I’ve always had issues with trusting authority. After my long chat with the principal and counselor, the police were summoned to deal with the viscera (and, I suppose, to make sure there were no human remains mixed in), and I was sent back to class.

About halfway down the hall from the office, I realized with a sudden jolt of horror that it was currently third period. Science class. With Emi. I briefly considered going back to the office and telling the counselor I needed the rest of the day off, claiming mental trauma from the locker incident. She’d probably buy it. However, my reasons for wanting to be here hadn’t changed since this morning: I was on thin ice in most of my classes already, and I hadn’t seen Aliyah yet today either. My stomach lurched as I was struck with the unpleasant, paranoid idea that her remains might have been mixed in with the meat in my locker. I shook my head sharply, trying to dispel the thoughts as if they were a fog in my mind. Nope, I was definitely staying. I was going to have to confront Emi at some point anyway; might as well be in a safe, structured environment.

Steeling myself, I approached the science classroom and slid in as quietly as I could through the back door, hoping not to draw any ire from Mr. Michaelson. Of course, the only open seat left was next to Emi. I walked stiffly over to the desk and sat down, pointedly avoiding looking at her. I stared straight ahead, pretending to pay strict attention to the lecture. Emi poked me in the shoulder, obviously trying to get my attention, but I acted as if she wasn’t there. She poked me again, and again, harder. She poked me with her pencil so hard that it hurt. “Psst, Zachy!” she whispered, leaning in as closely as she could to my ear without attracting attention from our classmates. I continued to ignore her, even when she slid a folded-up note in front of me, then another.

We sat there like that for several minutes, the awkward tension between us almost painful in the air. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her raise her hand.

“Yes, Miss Jackson?” Mr. Michaelson called on her, sounding a bit exasperated.

“I need to go to the restroom!” Emi chirped with her usual inappropriately perky attitude.

“Go ahead,” he acceded, waving her off wearily. I allowed myself a quick, surreptitious glance over at her as she stood and flounced out the door, voluminous skirts trailing behind her. As I turned my gaze back to the front of the room, however, my eyes fell across her science notebook, lying open on her desk. I couldn’t exactly read it from where I sat, but I saw something that looked like my name scrawled in the top corner of one page, along with several tiny heart-shapes. Struck by a sudden, morbid curiosity, I glanced around warily, verifying that no one in the classroom was looking in my direction, then quickly swiped the notebook off of her desktop. I placed it in my lap, hiding it carefully in the shadow of my desk, and re-opened it to a random page.

I had to stifle an exclamation of unnerved surprise as I stared down at the pages. There were a few science notes there, surely enough, but most of the thin, college-ruled paper was covered with repeated scrawlings of “Mrs. Zachary Thompson” in various sizes and styles. That, and a lot of little hearts. I flipped through several more pages incredulously, finding only more of the same, interspersed with a few disturbing, full-page drawings of what I could only assume was supposed to be me, often in highly compromising positions. “MINE FOREVER” was scrawled in large, uncharacteristically spiky letters across several of the drawings and pages of text.

My heart pounded wildly in my chest as I attempted to quiet my increasingly fast and heavy breathing. I felt like I was about to have a panic attack. I closed my eyes and counted to ten, focusing on my breathing. Quietly, I closed the notebook, and was about to slide it back into its place on Emi’s desk when I caught sight of the illustration on the back cover… and felt my blood turn to ice.

Sketched in exquisite detail on the yellowish paperboard, looking like something out of a horror magazine, was a drawing of a monster. The creature stood amidst a cluster of bare, spindly trees, staring out at the viewer. It was vaguely humanoid in form, but severely hunchbacked, its vertebrae protruding like small spikes from its spine. Its body was almost entirely hairless, skin grayish and rough. Wicked-looking claws protruded from its disproportionately long fingers, its lanky arms hanging down so that the tips of the claws brushed the ground. Its legs, arched like a wolf’s, were wiry and well-muscled, but the creature looked desperately emaciated, its ribcage protruding exaggeratedly over a scrawny abdomen. Its mouth was enormous, lower jaw hanging loosely down past the middle of its chest, and the gaping maw was filled with long, sharp, jagged teeth. It had no nose to speak of, just a pair of rough holes in the middle of its face, and its eyes were sunken black pits that stared soullessly, hungrily ahead out of the paper.

For a moment, I couldn’t think. I couldn’t breathe. I just froze, a feeling of unreality surrounding me like a numbing cocoon. My hands began to tremble, hard enough to cause the drawing I held to shake wildly. This seemed to snap me out of my hypnosis, and I drew in a sharp, ragged gasp, heart now racing as if I had just run a marathon. I looked up to find several students now staring at me quizzically, but I was beyond caring. I raised my hand shakily, mentally pleading to be noticed quickly.

“…Mr. Thompson?” the teacher called on me, concern crossing his face as he noticed my obvious distress.

“May I, ah, go use the restroom?” I managed to stammer out, my mouth dry as cotton.

Mr. Michaelson looked at me seriously for a moment, as though he was considering saying something, then just nodded and said curtly, “Go ahead.”

I was up and heading for the door before the words were even out of his mouth. I managed to hold myself to a walk until I exited the classroom, but as soon as I got out that door, I flat-out bolted, feet slapping the tile heavily. I ran down the hallway, through the cafeteria, and straight out the front door, continuing across the crowded parking lot and down the sidewalk towards home, all without slowing. The whole time, one single thought was running on an endless loop in my head:

SHE KNEW. Somehow, that fucking bitch KNEW.

Eventually I grew tired and slowed to a walk, chest heaving, thoughts still swirling uselessly in my head. It was at this point that I noticed the fucking notebook was still in my hands, and I chucked it disgustedly into the ditch by the sidewalk as if it were some sort of venomous animal. I walked the rest of the way home in tense silence, trying futilely to find answers to the half-formed questions burning in my mind. How? How did she know? How could she possibly have found out? Did others know? What was she planning to do? What was I planning to do? What could I do?

I reached my place in a little under half an hour, but almost automatically I kept walking, deeper into the woods, leaves crunching and twigs snapping under my feet. I don’t know if it was just nervous energy or what that compelled me to keep moving, but I just couldn’t bring myself to stop. I walked for nearly an hour, forging straight ahead through the cold and the mud, before finally pulling myself to a halt in a small clearing amidst a stand of pine trees.

This was stupid. What was I doing? I just kept walking and walking, thinking and thinking, and not getting anywhere on either front. I was burnt out. I needed a release. More than that, I suppose, I needed to EAT something. It had been far too long since the last time, I knew that. I hadn’t hunted since I left Atlanta. Fuck, Atlanta. Ever since that incident I had been afraid to even try it. Damn, what a shitstorm that had been. It’s not like it was even my fault, those hikers had been trespassing on government property. It was a fucking nature preserve for God’s sake, nobody was supposed to be there! I shook my head as if to ward off the memory, running my hands through my hair anxiously. Well, I was going to have to get back out there eventually, and I really needed it now.

I turned my head left and right, surveying my surroundings and scenting the air carefully. Nothing but the smell of the forest extending away in every direction. I had walked for an hour to get here, after all, I should be far enough away from civilization for this to be okay. Summoning my resolve, I took a deep breath, stared up into the tree-ringed circle of clouds above me and… let go.

Slowly, I felt my back arch and elongate, curving into a hunched conformation. My arms and fingers also stretched and grew, knuckles popping satisfyingly as they reached closer to the ground. Claws sprouted from each fingertip with a sharp *snick* sound. My legs arched into a wolfish posture, balancing my weight on what would have moments ago been my toes. I moaned softly with satisfaction as my jaw popped and sank, opening my mouth wider than any human’s could go. I felt amazing. Stress and tension I didn’t even know I’d been carrying seemed to bleed out of my body as I transformed, stretching muscles that hadn’t been stretched in ages. I felt like that genie from Aladdin, emerging from his lamp for the first time in eons. “Ten thousaaaand years can give you such a crick in the neck!” or whatever it was. I realized that I now felt fully relaxed for the first time in weeks.

Just as relaxing as the bodily changes were the mental ones. When I transformed, my mind regressed to a more instinctive, animal state. I lived purely in the moment, untroubled by guilt about the past or worry about the future. This was a great feeling, but it was also highly problematic since I couldn’t exactly exercise good judgment in this state – especially when it came to deciding what to hunt. What to kill. Hence, the incident in Atlanta. Oftentimes I’d considered just staying like this, running off into the woods and living wild like an animal for the rest of my life. But I really did like being a human, for the most part, and I didn’t want to give that up. So, I kept on convincing myself that someday I really would be able to settle down somewhere, get into a safe, functional routine and live without having to worry about any… unfortunate malfunctions… occurring. Though sometimes I couldn’t help but feel like I was just deluding myself.

None of that mattered now, however. Now there was just the wind and the woods, the feel of the dirt and leaves between my toes, the scents of soil and plants and fresh prey in my nostrils. I ran with a loping gait through the barren trees, free and focused, body buzzing with the feeling of being alive. After a while, I came across a deer and chased it for what felt like nearly a mile, finally running it down and raking my claws across its throat. As it lay twitching and bleeding out on the forest floor, I gutted it expertly and devoured first its liver, then its kidneys, and finally its heart. The soft meat and fresh blood slid rapturously across my tongue, filling my empty, rumbling stomach with a warm, satisfied feeling… but not nearly enough. As always, I left the rest of the carcass for the scavengers and set off in search of more prey.

I ate from two more deer, a raccoon, and finally what I believe was an enormous black dog before my hunger was quelled and I resumed my human shape. I walked home at a leisurely pace, guided by my nose and by the stars, for night had fallen while I was hunting. Luckily, my exploits had brought me back closer to my place than I had been when I transformed, so it was a short walk.

The large drainage pipe in which I had made my home was located right behind a nice new housing development, just a few yards into the woods off of some couple’s backyard. (Luckily they didn’t have any little kids to come nosing around “exploring”). It wasn’t the nicest place I’d ever found to stay in, but the pipe seemed to have run dry some time ago, and it was at least four and a half feet in diameter, offering shelter from the elements and prying eyes. I had room for a nice, soft sleeping bag, my trunk full of clothes, my bookbag, and (thank goodness) a battery-powered space heater. All obtained through less-than-ethical means, but hey, it’s not as though Wal-Mart was going to be driven out of business by one needy shoplifter.

I collapsed into the sleeping bag, exhausted but happy, thinking more clearly now than I had been in days. If Emi knew what I really was – and that now seemed certain – there was only one thing to do. I felt a guilty little flutter of anticipation deep in my stomach and tried for a moment to suppress it, then sighed and decided to just let it be, licking my lips contemplatively.

This wasn’t going to turn into Atlanta all over again, I told myself. That was the important thing. This time there was going to be planning. This time I wouldn’t be caught red-handed. I was NOT going to have to move again. I would take care of this carefully and quietly, and after a while everything would go back to normal. I hoped.

I fell asleep composing my plan for the next day, reaching a level of forethought which I felt was sufficient before finally drifting off. I woke up late the next morning, but that was alright, I only felt the need to be on time for one class – third period science. I walked to school slowly, going over the details of my (admittedly rather simplistic) plan repeatedly in my mind. I arrived at the school building just a few minutes before third period and picked up my late slip from the office, waving off the staff’s concerned inquiries regarding my health and mental status after my panicked exit yesterday. I told them that I’d just been a bit overwhelmed and needed some time off, apologizing for not going through the proper channels, and luckily they didn’t pursue the matter any further.

I went straight to the science room after that, not even bothering to check and see whether my locker was clean yet. About half the class, including Emi, was already there, and I took the seat directly in front of her. Quickly, I scrawled a short note in large, legible letters on the back page of my science notebook:

Dear Emi: These past few days have been a bit rough, but I think I’ve finally realized my true feelings for you. I love you, and I want to be with you forever. If you feel the same way, please meet me tonight at 10pm on the back woods trail in Valley Park. There is something I need to show you. Come alone, and don’t tell anyone where you’re going – they won’t understand our love. It must be a secret between just us two. Forever yours, Zach.

The blatant dishonesty of it was nearly enough to make me gag. It was completely childish and asinine, disgustingly lovey-dovey, and obviously suspicious – but I had no doubt that Emi was crazy and infatuated enough to believe every sketchy word. Taking a deep breath, I turned and tapped Emi on the hand to get her attention (as if that were necessary – she was already staring at me eerily), then surreptitiously showed her the notebook page, taking care that nobody else in the classroom would be able to see it. I watched her eyes light up as she read, lips moving to mouth the words, then stretching into an elated grin as she looked back up at me. She nodded her agreement to the terms of the note enthusiastically. Her expression was one of pure joy, and for a moment I felt a pang of guilt resonate in my heart. Then I reminded myself that she was a psychotic stalker with a monster fetish who had stuffed my locker with raw meat and left Aliyah tied up in a closet…

Aliyah. I hadn’t thought about her since discovering Emi’s drawing yesterday. How could I have forgotten? I had been really worried about her. I hoped that I would get to see her today, make sure she was okay. Now that I thought about it: Emi had left Aliyah bound and helpless in the band room on the exact same day that she had intentionally gotten me sent to after-school detention… had she meant for me to find Aliyah? If Emi knew what I was… she had left those organs in my locker as a gift… then Aliyah was… oh God, had Emi meant for me to…?

I shook my head, cutting off that thought before I even completed it. With a forced grin in Emi’s direction, I withdrew the notebook, closed it, and slid it into my backpack. I planned to burn the page with my note on it later. The rest of the science class was relatively uneventful. Mr. Michaelson gave some kind of lecture about the atom, which I absorbed exactly none of. Emi passed me several notes during the lecture, mostly flowery declarations of love which I read with a fake smile plastered on my face in order to keep up the illusion that I liked her. When class ended, I was out the door as quickly as possible, ignoring Emi’s attempts to communicate. Lying in a note was one thing, doing it to her face was a whole other matter, one that I wasn’t quite certain I could handle. I was honestly a horrible actor. Hopefully my hurried exit came off as mysterious and hard-to-get, rather than cold and uncaring.

The rest of the day was a blur of ordinary school B.S., all completely overshadowed by my worry and anticipation over tonight. I hid out in the English room during lunch again, desperate to avoid having to face Emi before… well, before 10pm. This time she didn’t come looking for me, for which I was deeply grateful.

I did see Aliyah in the hallway between two of my afternoon classes, to my great relief. I started to approach her, but stopped when I noticed that she was crying into the shoulder of one of her friends. From across the hall, I eavesdropped a little bit on their conversation: apparently, Aliyah’s beloved family dog, a six-year-old Newfoundland, had been found dead last night in the woods behind their house, eviscerated by some sort of wild animal. My heart sank as I made the connection. Great. Just great. As if I didn’t feel like enough of a douchebag already. Oh well, I suppose she’d never have to know it was me…

Finally, finally, the school day ended, and I left the building quickly through the back door, once again managing to avoid Emi. I headed straight to the park, taking the long way around. Valley Park had a two-mile hiking trail stretching out into the woods behind the park proper, and at this time of the year, it was practically deserted. By the time the sun had set (around 7 pm), it would be completely vacant. I took up position at the back end of the trail, as far into the forest and away from the park as the trail got, and began pacing nervously. Even with hours to go until our appointed meeting, I was too anxious and excited to do anything else.

Yes, excited, I admit it. I had never actually intended to do something like this before, though I knew of others who did. It was different… invigorating. I certainly didn’t plan to make a habit out of it, but under these extenuating circumstances… I had to protect my secret, after all. No reason I shouldn’t let myself enjoy it. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself during those hours I spent pacing through the trees.

In the crisp, clean forest air, I scented Emi’s arrival before I saw her. She smelled of sweat and strawberry perfume. Feeling my mouth begin to water, I froze and waited in the dark, standing amongst the trees a few feet off of the trail. Soon, I saw the beam of a flashlight waving back and forth across the dirt trail, and Emi crested the hill walking towards me. She was dressed in the same outfit as she had been when we first met, with the addition of her long, black trenchcoat. I waited for her to reach the spot on the trail directly in front of me, then called out to her quietly: “Emi! Over here!”

She turned in my direction, scanning the treeline with her flashlight, then beamed happily as light fell on me. “Zachy! Hey there! You’ve been avoiding me, you silly guy! What did you need us to meet all the way out here for? Are we running away together?” she asked with a coy smile.

“You know, don’t you?” I responded, bluntly and without preface.

“Know what?” she asked innocently, resting her index finger on her lower lip. I could tell from her tone, though, that she knew exactly what I was talking about.

“About me. About what I am.”

“I had a huuuuunch!” she responded in a singsong voice, “Guess I was right, huh? You’ve been holding out on me, you dummy; you really are an interesting guy! A real monster. I love guys like you, I just love them! I guess you could probably tell that, haha. It’s really cool to have one of you love me back, though! You do love me, don’t you, Zachy?”

I sighed heavily and took a step closer towards her. Now that I had confirmed my suspicions, there was only one thing left to do. “Yeah, about that… look, I’m sorry about this, Emi, I really am, but you haven’t exactly left me much choice…”

Saying this, I let my inhibitions go and began to transform: back stretching, jaw widening, claws clicking out along my fingers. I began to salivate more heavily as my sense of smell sharpened and I took in her exotic, savory scent. Strangely, she looked largely unfazed by my transformation, still grinning appreciatively at me. As I began to advance, my rational mind being replaced by animal bloodlust, she reached into her trenchcoat and pulled out something small and round… then threw it to the ground in front of me.

The object instantly exploded into a cloud of white smoke. As the smell of the smoke reached my nose, my animalistic mind recognized it distantly as the same stink of the purple-flowered herb in Emi’s room. Then I was on the ground, the stench consuming all of my senses, my throat closing up involuntarily. I writhed, choking, unable to get even a wisp of the tainted air down my windpipe. My vision slowly began to darken. The last thing I saw before losing consciousness completely was Emi’s dark form moving towards me through the mist, holding what looked like a short, silvery blade…

Emi Jackson whistled happily as she skipped home from the butcher’s shop with her purchase. Fresh beef livers and kidneys, just what she needed for her new guest. She had also bought herself a few microwave meals at the grocery: usually she liked to cook, but she was always really busy when she got a new housemate, and throwing something in the microwave for dinner was quick and easy. It was at times like these that she missed having her parents around to make meals for her… but if they were still around, she supposed, there wouldn’t really BE any times like these.

Her parents didn’t approve of her houseguests, you see. They thought of monsters simply as enemies to be destroyed. Hateful abominations to be killed without hesitation, just as their ancestors had been doing for hundreds of years. They had even formed an organization dedicated to the craft. Emi, however, thought differently. She alone saw the beauty inherent in the terrible, the frightening. She alone knew how to love that which everyone else despised, that which was called disgusting and evil – and she loved with great passion. How was it that no one else saw how wonderful these creatures were, how fascinating, how amazing? How could they kill them so wastefully, aiming even to drive them into extinction? Philistines! Neither her parents nor their close-minded friends could ever understand her feelings, so she supposed that their schism had been inevitable.

It really shouldn’t have been that way, though. Disowning her, excommunicating her from the guild… there was no need for all that! She was still doing her job, after all: preventing innocent people from being killed by monsters. She just didn’t feel the need to destroy the monsters in the process. As long as she could sequester them where they wouldn’t hurt anybody, what on Earth was the harm in keeping them? Those old fuddy-duddies just couldn’t handle any sort of change at all, she thought. Even if it was difficult sometimes, striking out on her own had been for the best.

Caught up in her musings on the past, Emi arrived at her house almost before she realized it. She grinned brightly as she trotted up the front steps and stepped into the house, her thoughts now turning to the present and her dear Zachy. She had seen the signs almost as soon as she set eyes on him – changelings weren’t too difficult to spot if you knew what to look for – but sometimes there were false positives, so she’d needed to make sure. Okay, so maybe trying to do it by feeding that Aliyah girl to him wasn’t exactly in line with her parents’ organizations’ values, but the poor guy had deserved a last meal if he’d wanted it! And besides, that dumb bimbo had tried to steal her man; nobody would have really missed her much, anyway.

She was sort of surprised Zachy had turned down that golden opportunity, but she supposed that was just the way he was. Honestly, the guy was a bit too much of a “sparkly emo monster” for her liking: Going out hunting animals instead of people, putting on that whole “I just want to be a normal teenager” shtick… how boring was that? I mean, who the hell actually WANTED to be a normal teenager? Lame-o! Nobody was perfect, though, and she totally loved him anyway. He might even be her new favorite.

Emi thought these things happily as she went about preparing her new favorite’s evening meal, not that much preparation was required, since he took his meat raw. Humming cheerily to herself, she grabbed the platter of liver and kidney meat and headed for the basement door. The door swung open with a gratifying *creeeaaak,* and Emi snapped on the lightbulb above the cement staircase. Her high-heeled boots clicked loudly on the stairs as she descended, alerting all those held below of her arrival.

She sighed blissfully as she turned the corner into the basement room: her guest room, her menagerie, her little slice of perfection. “Hello, my darlings!” she announced loudly as she entered. The dark stone room was lit only by a single, swinging light bulb, casting deep shadows into the corners. Thick iron chains hung from several places on the walls, and there were a dozen cages of varying sizes scattered across the room. Many of these were empty, but there were several current occupants of the basement room’s restraining devices, and they all reacted strongly to Emi’s entrance.

A creature that looked like a furry soccer ball with a mouth full of sharp fangs, chained to the back wall, let out a pitiful squeal and pressed frantically against the wall, trying to make itself as small as possible. A catlike animal about the size of a Labrador retriever, with webbed feet and small, bony horns, started clawing desperately at the lock to its cage, mewling like a kitten. A shadowy figure, visible only in the antique mirror hanging on the west wall, silently pressed itself so closely against the frame that it became only a dark black line along the left side of the reflected image. A ten inch tall imp-like creature hanging from the ceiling in a small, square cage shook its fists and began shouting rapid obscenities at Emi in a squeaky, high-pitched voice. Emi grinned. He was feisty today. She liked that.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there was Zachy. He sat, naked, along the east wall of the basement, both arms shacked and chained to the wall behind him, both legs shackled to the floor. He seemed to be in a half-transformed state: parts of his skin bore a pinkish, human hue, others were rough and gray; one eye was sunken in much more deeply than the other; his nose was flattened and misshapen; his fingers were elongated, but bore no claws; his back was hunched, but his legs were mostly human-shaped. He sat with his eyes half-closed, staring catatonically, head lolling down so that his chin rested on his chest. A steady stream of drool flowed, unnoticed, from the corner of his mouth. He offered no reaction to Emi’s cheerful cry of, “Hey there, Zachy, how are you today!” as she approached with the meat platter.

Emi sighed. She always had trouble getting the drug doses just right when working with a new species. Apparently she had overdone it. Had to be careful not to over-correct and give too little, though, or he might get loose. Oh well, she’d get it ironed out given a few weeks. She tried for a little bit to feed Zachy his liver, but to no avail: she could barely get him to open his mouth, and chewing seemed completely beyond him. Emi set the platter aside in frustration, muttering faux-exhaustedly, “Oh, Zachy dear, what am I going to do with you?” Of course, there was no response.

Even in this state, he was still soooo cute, though! Emi wiped the drool from his mouth with the back of her hand, then ran her fingers along his cheek, down his neck, and onto his chest. He didn’t even seem to notice. She leaned closer, pecking him on the cheek and whispering in his ear, “Dear Zachy, we are going to have SO MUCH fun together once I get you sober.” As she said this, she slowly withdrew a small, silver knife from her pocket and held its edge against his chest. She pressed lightly against the taut skin, then drew the blade sideways, leaving a shallow red line slowly oozing blood. Smiling, Emi turned to look at the large, elaborate tool rack fastened to the basement wall behind her: knives of all shapes and sizes, some smooth-edged, some serrated, hung glimmering darkly from the rack, along with several thumbscrews, pliers, nails, a saw, and a fireplace poker. Her smile widened. “SO MUCH fun…”

Her murmuring was interrupted by an unusually loud burst of profanity from the imp in the cage. Emi frowned. She liked that the little guy still had spirit, but that was no way to behave in front of a new guest! Seemed like some discipline was in order… Pocketing the knife, Emi rose and slowly approached the tool rack, eyes suddenly sparkling, upper lip twitching manically as her wide grin started to return. The brazen imp’s rant trailed off fearfully and he drew back against the back of his cage. Emi ran her fingers lovingly along the collection of weapons hanging from her wall.

Yesssss, today was definitely a good day.

Credit To – InfernalNightmare333

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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!
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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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