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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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Ricardo’s Ghost

July 13, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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“Play with me,” it said. I stirred in my bed, my eyes drowsy and heavy. A yawn blew out of my mouth. I was seconds away from falling deep into my dreams, but the voice shook me back to reality.

“Play with me,” it repeated, a child’s voice. One that I came to recognize early in my childhood. I laid with my eyes still closed, denying the fact that I woke up. I still felt exhausted and at the verge of passing out. If I just relaxed a little longer…

Play with me,” it muttered, but his tone somehow changed. It didn’t come out with anger or hostility, but somehow it snatched my attention immediately. It sounded hopeless and lost, and it felt as if those same feelings provoked me at that moment. I imagined my bed forming lips right below where I laid. For some reason this image stuck to my brain.

Play with me. Play with me. The words continued to barrage my mind, leaving me restless and frantic. Now I wanted to open my eyes, but some mystical force kept them from splitting open. The lips on my bed moved and hummed. I felt a chilling vibration under where I laid. A tongue stretched out of its lips, and licked my entire back. I tried moving my limbs, but just like my eyes, they remained paralyzed.

Play. With. Me. The lips opened wide, and released a hot steam of breath. The air below scorched my entire body. My body sank deeper inside my bed, the sheets and comforts swallowing me whole. At this point breathing became an impossible task. The oxygen surrounding me grew thin. Darkness consumed my sight.

I opened my eyes.

Everything remained still. Nothing seemed disturbed. Well…except for me, of course. From the window above my head, the moon shone its silver light through my blinds.

My heart raced a million miles per second. With the help of the moon, I managed to scan my entire room for anything suspicious. Everything appeared normal and intact, thankfully.

Sweat drenched my entire body, making my pajamas and bed sheets stick to my skin like superglue. I thought about pulling away my blanket in order to cool myself down, but something told me it’d be better if I laid underneath my sheets. Maybe it was my childish mind pretending that my blankets can actually protect me from any monster or demon. Oh, how I miss the innocence of my mind as a kid.

The creepiness of what I just experienced settled on my mind. I shivered deeper into my bed, despite how hot my body felt. Some traces of my memory told me that everything was just some sick and bizarre nightmare. But I knew better than that. At that point in my childhood, I dealt with my fair share of paranormal experiences.

Play with me,” I heard the child’s tenuous voice loud and clear. As calm and as gentle as the child’s tone sounded, it somehow pierced the silence inside my room like a sharp knife slicing through human flesh. Worst of all, it stimulated whatever emotion I felt the most at the moment.

And currently, anxiety took hostage of my conscious.

I peeked at the closet door that stood across from me. The moonlight provided full clarity of the entire wooden surface. Both doors remained closed, just how I left them right before I slept.

A noise came from behind the closet doors. It sounded like someone or something shuffling in between my clothes. The first levels of trepidation kept my body at bay. I wanted nothing more than to run away, but the child’s voice already drew me in with its mystical hands, and they refused to let me go.

The door creaked opened, the rusty hinges releasing a sour hiss, and the bottom of the closet door grinding against the hardwood floor. I rattled in my bed as if I was having a seizure.

Each second that passed by stretched farther and farther. More movement occurred behind the shadows the closet door created. I struggled hard to gather my thoughts, but they scattered themselves and blew far away from my mind like pieces of paper against an autumn wind.

Play with me,” I heard the child better, now that the closet door didn’t restrict the full volume of his voice. That was worse for me, however. I tried bottling in all of my terrified emotions, but the bastard broke the glass free, and let my feelings spill out of my skin and bones like blood from an open wound. At this point I thought I’d drown in my sweat.

The child stepped forward. I heard the sound of his soft and delicate foot tap against the floor. I strained my eyes harder at the closet door, trying to catch a quick glimpse at the boy who had been disturbing my sleep for over a year now. Every time I try, however, I always failed. The child always hid himself amongst the shadows.

He took his time approaching me, as if hesitant and fearful of my own presence. When this happened, I began feeling sympathetic towards the poor child. I reminded myself that every night he paid me a visit, he never tried to hurt or harass me. Sure he sometimes scared the crap out of me, but this seemed unintentional. It was only my own head worried and paranoid about the unknown, nothing more.

The child swayed closer to where I laid. What more can I had done but just lay there and let the boy do as he pleased. Some of the nights the child crept out of my closet door, he spent most of his time gazing at my direction. Even though I couldn’t tell if he even had eyes to look at me, I still sensed his glare on my face. At first this really freaked me out. I mean who would enjoy being stared at as you try to sleep? But it almost felt as if he was guarding me from my own nightmares.

But always, no matter what, he asked the same question over and over again.

Play with me.”

I never responded back. I always just fell back to sleep, or waited until the sun rose and the boy returned back to my closet or wherever the hell he came from.

That night, however, I finally spoke back.

“Okay,” I whispered, my words leaving my lips like syrup drooling out of my mouth. “What do you want to play?”

The boy stopped walking. I knew I surprised it somehow. The nervous energy that transpired between us almost felt like something tangible. I waited with patience to see what would happen next.

The child shrilled, and let out a loud shriek. I joined in on the screaming, as if trying to compete who can shout the loudest. Immediately after this, the boy’s entire presence vanished from where he remained.

But before the boy disappeared, I spotted something weird about him. See, the moment he left, a small flash of light emerged from where he stood. This granted my eyes just one split second to finally see what the child looked like.

What I saw was far from what I expected.

The first thing that caught my eyes was the boy’s face. He looked pale as snow, and his lips appeared numb and blue. A small helmet of blonde hair rested on top of the boy’s head. Dirt and grass was smeared all over the child’s cheeks and forehead. The most distinctive feature, however, were the boy’s hollow, demented eye sockets. They looked like two endless dark tunnels. The longer you gazed at the child’s empty eyes, the more the shadows inside sucked you in.

Right in the middle of the boy’s body, just inside his intestines, remained a big blob of red and yellow light. A maze of veins glowed inside the boy’s naked stomach. It almost seemed as if the child was pregnant.

It took me a while to recognize the child. Right when I realized who he was, I yelled until my throat began bleeding from the inside.

It was Ricardo, my best-friend who died when I was only five years old.

This incident occurred when I was six years old. A lot has changed over the past eleven years, but to some extent nothing has changed at all.

Sometimes the thing you least expect end up happening after all. For instance, I never would have predicted that I would befriend the ghost that had been haunting my nights since I was five years old, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

To explain the full story, I guess I need to begin when my family and I moved to Union City around the turn of the twenty-first century. I was two at the time, still very young and naïve to the many dangers that possess this earth. The reason my family left New York, and entered New Jersey instead, was because of the death of their still-born child. I was supposed to have an older sibling, but the child died during birth. It happens often, and nobody’s to blame, really.

My parents, however, couldn’t properly deal with the shame and guilt of their first child dying. They became very unstable and reckless because of it. A month or so after the infant died, they immediately tried once more to make another child—I guess out of pure desperation. This is how I was brought into this world. I’m the result of two emotionally broken adults who relied on my birth to restore their hope in this world. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing for me, but either way I managed to survive this time.

Even after my birth, however, my folks still carried the weight of their deceased baby on their shoulders. They quickly left New York as soon as possible. They stated that the city and house they lived in constantly reminded them of their dead baby. All of my parent’s neighbors and friends looked forward to the upcoming child at the time. When my folks informed everyone that the child never made it out of the womb alive, the disappointment that crossed their lives escalated to something morbid and pitiful.

I claim myself a New Yorker even though I lived most of my life in New Jersey. My parents often took me there since my father still worked at his job in the big city. They used to always take me near where they once live, and introduce me to all of their previous neighbors. I remember very distinctively how most of them glared and studied me. They thought of me as a child from heaven itself. They always littered me with gifts and provided special privileges for whatever I desired. I was always shy around them, so I never begged for anything. And at times the attention became overwhelming.

During some of our trips, however, I began noticing the hidden depression in my parents’ hearts once they spent a little too much time around their old house. I once caught my mother crying inside one of her best-friend’s room when I was four. When I approached her and asked her what was wrong, she simply shook her head, a waterfall of tears rushing down her red eyes, and took hold of my back and shoulders with her bare arms.

My mother embraced me with a gracious hug, and whispered in my ear how much she loves me, and how lucky I am to be a part of her life. Her moist and warm face rubbed against my own cheeks. At some occasions I would’ve found this annoying, but I sensed and empathized with my mother’s pain even at such a young age. Even though I had no idea what the hell was going on, I still knew that I needed to hug my mother strongly in order to make her feel better.

Despite the setbacks my parents faced, they somehow found a way to move forward. At such a young age, I learned to be grateful at the circumstances that passed through my life. Some parents might have fought and divorce each other if something this tragic ever shot at their lives. Some parents might’ve relied on drugs and alcohol in order to mellow out the agony dwelling deep in their hearts and soul.

My parents decided to act differently. They looked at me as inspiration, and chose to dedicate their life into raising me right. They thanked God that I had survived, and took it as a sign to make the best life for me. For this, I owe them all of my regards, and I can’t be any more appreciative for what they’ve done.

But nothing could’ve prepare the three of us for what hit me when I turned five.

My close friend from kindergarten passed way around that time. His name was Ricardo Hernandez. I knew this kid since I started school at the age of four in pre-k. We met there, and that same first day we instantly became best pals. I remember we couldn’t remember our names the first few weeks, so we just called each other amigo. It was adorable.

As bashful as I was, I somehow managed to be comfortable with him only. We just clicked. I can’t seem to explain it any other way.

Ricardo died from breathing problems. I didn’t quite know the specifics back then. I just knew that he needed to remove his tonsils. Ricardo’s folks scheduled the appointment to proceed with the treatment as soon as they found out. I think a day or so before the surgery was supposed to happen, Ricardo died in his own bed while watching cartoons. The hospital told his parents that the dysfunction on his lungs wasn’t anything that serious, but I guess they must’ve overlooked something important. Fucking bastards.

Death has a way of messing with my parents. If the Grim Reaper does exist, then that son of a bitch must have some grudge against my mother and father. They reacted with devastation at the news of my best-friend’s sudden death. They knew how close Ricardo and I became, and because of this friendship, my parents ended up befriending Ricardo’s folks. Like any decent adult would do, my mother and father comforted and mourned with my best-friend’s parents together.

I guess they also understood how it felt to lose a child at such a young age. This was just what my parents freaking needed. Right when they finally overcame all odds, and learned to live with the death of their infant son, life or god or whoever the hell finds some fucked-up way to remind my parents of their most stressful and dismaying point of their lives.

When I first found about the news, the principle from my school visited our class, and delivered the awful story. The day before this happened, the other students and I caught our teacher, Ms. Ventra, crying and moping near the hallways. Out of all of her children, she cared and respected Ricardo the most. He always charmed our teacher in a way that amazed me as a young kid. His death really impacted us all.

I mostly handled the situation with apathy…and I don’t know if that makes me some emotionless monster or not. Children understand a lot despite their age, and I was fully aware of what happened to Ricardo. All of my classmates were. He died, and he was never coming back. This fact stuck to our brains, and nothing would be able to take it away.

Don’t get me wrong, I felt like shit on the inside. I lost my only friend who brought something out of me. I really didn’t get along with all of the other kids. It’s not like they bullied me or anything (that came later) but I just chose to isolate myself from them.

What got to me the most was witnessing my parents circle around a difficult depression once again. For the next month or so, the environment inside my house consisted of nothing but gloom and hopelessness. Every time I walked inside I just sensed the sadness seeping into my head and emotions. My mom and dad tried encouraging everyone to feel better, and sometimes I actually believed that we were healing from this tragic point in our lives. But at the end these futile attempts were met with everyone giving up. I felt disgusted with my parents and myself.

A year or so after Ricardo’s death, I began experiencing these unexplainable paranormal interactions.

They began around the time I was six. Late one night, I think it was Saturday, I was snuggled in my bed with the lights off. I was playing my Nintendo Gameboy Advance at the moment. I don’t remember what time it was exactly, but I’m more than certain it was past midnight. I made sure to stay quiet since at this time my parents were already sleeping.

I started to feel tired after an hour or so playing Pokémon Sapphire. My eyes kept on opening and closing, and I took this as a sign to go to sleep. Right before I could even turn off my device, I heard the faintest of sounds coming from my closet.

This aroused me instantly, and whatever sleepiness I felt before vanished. Bewilderment took over that exhaustion.

I waited for the noise to come again. After a minute or so in suspense, I didn’t realize I was holding my damn breath. I held my Gameboy above my face, the screen flashing its colorful lights on my eyes. I pressed start and saved my file, but I didn’t turn off my device—I needed it as a source of light. I aimed the device towards my closet door, and waited for something to happen, anything.

A loud bump sounded off behind the doors.

I dropped my Gameboy right on my face.

Ouch!” I winced, and rubbed my nose. A jolt of pain spread all over my face.

Play with me,” I finally heard for the first time.

I laid paralyzed with apprehension. The sting on my nose suddenly seemed less important.

For the first few seconds, I remained confused and a bit unnerved. Then that confusion evolved into frustration for not understanding what just happened. From frustration, I grew distressed and paranoid. Suddenly the shadows inside my room seemed too dark. The walls appeared too thick. My blankets choked me a little bit too much. The pillows below my face felt as if they were suffocating me. The whole world was going against me.

That paranoia fused with the worst of my fears.

I went to scream, but my throat locked in itself. The inside of my mouth grew dry. I thought about jumping out of my bed, but dismissed that idea. Like any normal child, I resorted to my blankets for comfort and safety.

I remember burying my body deep inside my sheets, and refusing to open my eyes. Nothing else happened after that, however. I stood awake most of my time there, and when I woke up I suffered from a tremendous headache. But other than that, I remained undamaged and sane.

I prevented myself from confronting my parents about this. They were already dealing with enough, and if I just told them about my weird and creepy experience, I would just bring them even more things to worry about. And besides, nothing bad happened to me. That was what mattered the most.

The next week came, and the same thing happened once more. This time, however, I maintained a bit more of my composure. I still felt my terrified thoughts crawling into my mind, but it wasn’t as unbearable as before. I mostly felt speculation. A part of me wanted to say it was a ghost, but being that young, I still knew how ridiculous that sounded. Strange things like that only happened in movies or in novels.

For the next week and on, I spent most of my time pondering about what I was dealing with. I analyzed everything, from the time the apparent “ghost” decided to sneak into my room, to the movement and sounds it made. I came to several conclusions after three months of thinking everything through.

The first thing I came up with was that it was indeed some form of a ghost, spirit, whatever you want to call it. The second thing was that it wasn’t an ‘it”, but a “he”. It took some time coming to this conclusion, but it was obvious. The voice said it all. It sounded light and ethereal, yes, but it contained a bit of roughness that only boys can pull off.

One of the most important factors I put into consideration was that it never once tried to inflict damage upon me. That stopped me from making it a problem. Not only that, but this fact alone slowly made me adapt and accept the presence of this young child. My mind still wrestled with the fear of being stalked, but this was only natural for anyone—especially a young boy like myself. No matter what, I was still talking to the dead. If that doesn’t bring chills down your spine, then you’re not a goddamn human.

The more knowledge I gained about the apparition, however, the more questions bombarded my mind. I told myself it would be a horrible idea to take physical notes about my experience. If someone were to take hold of that notebook, and read everything through, they would assume I was either a child with an amazing imagination, or some type of enigmatic maniac. And seeing how my reputation in school came to being the quiet, awkward, and slow kid, I didn’t think people would guess the former.

So at the end, I was force to remember and repeat everything I learned over and over in my head. It became arduous and onerous at first, but this helped form my expansive memory. That came in handy during school, but during that time school was the last thing I worried about.

The night finally came that after over three years of hearing but ignoring the ghost, I finally responded back. And to my amazement and shock, I ended up finding out it was my best friend Ricardo this whole time. It all made perfect sense.

This changed everything.

That night I stood up until early dawn. It wasn’t out of sheer terror, however, but out of an overwhelming sense of happiness. For once this world didn’t seem like a place where you shoved along as more shit piled up in your life, but it became something beautiful and rewarding. Somehow I reunited with my first and ever only friend, and that’s all I cared for.

The shift in my mood and attitude was unbelievable. Even my parents were astonished. I ignored the fact that my best-friend looked like he crawled right out of his grave. I mean I knew that I saw him, and I knew he looked in terrible condition, but I didn’t care. I never realized how much I missed and cared for him until he returned back into my life.

From that point on, I began contacting the ghost more often. He started visiting me in the night several times a week instead of once every weekend. We both talked, and the longer this happened, the more it seemed as if he really was Ricardo. The way he acted, and everything he said, just seemed like it fitted Ricardo’s personality. I couldn’t fucking believe it.

I never saw him in his physical form ever again, however. Every time we grouped up, he was always invisible. I couldn’t ever touch or see him like before when we were kids in preschool, but I was able to feel him. I think that was what made him special to me. It didn’t matter that we would never be able to play like before. The warm and tender presence he offered was enough to satisfy me.

I remember one night when we were together, I broke down in front of him. I just released all of my frustration and sorrow into my tears, and I couldn’t stop crying. But it was also a weird mix of happiness and sadness. For one thing, getting Ricardo back was something I appreciated every day. I don’t know what purposed it served, but I never took my friend for granted from that point on.

But at the same time, I faced the horrors of school and my social life. Nobody liked me, and I faced bullies every time I entered that damn building. I just couldn’t associate myself well with those other kids. I saw nothing in common with everyone else, and every time I attempted to speak to one of them, they glared at me with disgust and dissatisfaction. The hate on their faces was just so damn obvious. I did everything wrong in school, and for that reason everyone called me a failure and a mistake

And I kept on thinking that if Ricardo was with me, he could’ve been the person who I could’ve depended on for kindness. I wished those other kids died instead of my own best-friend. Why did Ricardo die? Why did my family and I always had to endure the grief of death, while everyone else remained untouched by the reaper’s menacing hands? It wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t get along with those other damn kids. So much had happened to me that I felt the need to isolate myself. Right when I wanted to crawl out of my shell, and become one with my school, they rejected me and treated me like shit.

The best thing about Ricardo’s ghost was that he understood. That night as I drowned in my own tears, he wrapped me around a therapeutic aura, and suddenly everything felt better. My deepest sorrows washed away, and was replaced by an ocean of tranquility. All of my muscles eased up, the sting on my eyes mitigated, and my head felt relaxed.

He kept me locked around his comfortable aura even as the first rays of morning light slipped through my open curtains. This startled me. Ricardo has never stood up this late with me, and I knew he felt aversive towards any type of light. I tried wiggling away from his presence, and told him to leave now before anything bad happens to him. But he kept me secured, and whispered to my ear that he was going to be alright. Even then I wanted him to leave. My greatest fear was losing Ricardo again…

But he told me to trust him, and that trust is the true foundation to any stable relationship. Ricardo said that true love is giving someone the key to your destruction, and trusting them to not abuse you with that sacred knowledge.

So I listened and followed what he said. For the first time, I trusted someone outside of my family.

And when dawn rose up, and I saw how Ricardo remained the same, I knew then and there I didn’t need anyone else in my life. As long as I had Ricardo, my one and only true best friend, I could survive in this world.

That’s why when he abandoned me the moment I entered high school, I almost killed myself.

It never made sense to me. He just left without a hint of where he would be. I told Ricardo everything, from my darkest secrets to how I truly felt about this world. And he departed off with my trust within his grasp. He disappeared, and when he left, Ricardo took a part of me with him. I felt so disconnected with myself.

We raised each other together. Throughout my whole life as a young child growing up into a teenager, he has been there for me every step of the way. Every bully I fought, every girl that denied my love, every person that refused to be my friend, Ricardo was there to witness it all.

I knew the consequence I would face if Ricardo and I tried stabilizing our friendship in this world. Nobody would believe me that I was talking to the kid who died out of lung failure in kindergarten. People would just see me as a goddamn weirdo, and to be honest I wouldn’t blame them. I mean it was pretty fucking weird. Sometimes I needed to pause from my distorted reality, and really take in the fact that the person I love the most was a goddamn ghost. It felt natural to me, but I knew that from an outside perspective, it must be the craziest shit ever.

But I thought it would be worth it, you know, separating myself from everyone else. I’d come to like the fact that I was unique, and that I had something—or better yet someone —that nobody else had. This helped rebuild my confidence, and made me a more assertive person when I entered middle-school. I still kept to myself, but I no longer felt inferior among my classmates. In fact I settled into this hubris personality that I found everyone to be pieces of shit that didn’t deserve my goddamn companionship. The only people who mattered to me was my family and Ricardo. Everyone else could rot in hell for all I care.

Ricardo helped create some of the best moments in my life. He was always the imaginary best friend who I jumped along the couch with. Ricardo and I played with our variety of toys, and we always used to act out these wild ideas in our heads. It was always a fun time with him.

My parents grew a bit worried about my mental state around the time I was eleven or twelve, and I was still “may pretending” I was talking with an imaginary best friend. They thought I was a bit too old for that. Not only that, but it didn’t help that I had no other friends, and that they never saw me with any one of my classmates. I never invited anyone over, so they knew the type of reputation I gained from school. Placing all of these factors together, I can’t blame them for thinking that I was, in some type of way, psychotic.

One time the three of us talked about it, and I gave them some of the honest truth of my situation. Of course I didn’t mention the fact that my old friend Ricardo was living with us, but I informed them that I really hated everyone in school, and that I had no friends. But I told them I didn’t mind, and that I found a way to have fun all by myself. I explained that I relied on my imagination in order to cope with the fact that nobody liked me, and that sometimes I went overboard and actually thought my characters came to life.

I made a deal that I would stop “talking to myself” if it really freaked them out. My parents agreed, and in the end they were very understanding. They had an idea that my childhood really messed me up, so it was okay if I behaved the way I did. They accepted my weirdness, and for this I loved them even more.

But they didn’t need to worry about anything. Later on, as I stated before, Ricardo left me.

In a way, this was worse than when he actually died in kindergarten. I had this idea in mind that I would enter high school, and that I would dread those god-awful four years there. I knew that I needed to prepare myself for all the harassment, all the fights, all the unwanted attention, and everything else that made my life a difficult pain in the ass. But I knew that at the end of the day, I would have Ricardo to pick me up whenever someone knocked me down.

So when that bastard left me to deal with everyone’s shit in that goddamn school, I died inside. I felt so betrayed and alone. This resulted in my worst behavior. I started the fights with the other kids, and I made sure I never backed down. Even when I almost punched a kid to death, I felt no remorse. The rational switch inside me flicked off, and I unleashed all of my frustration and pain towards anyone who had the audacity to try to ruin my day.

Ricardo leaving really fucked me over. Jesus, my brain felt as if someone completely changed every function of it. I couldn’t think right, and forget about sleeping. I became a chronic insomniac. My world became a mess yet again.

So that was my life the first three years in high school. Entering my senior year, I didn’t give a shit anymore. I didn’t know what direction my life was heading towards, but I just couldn’t care. I became this placid and dull adolescent. I wasn’t scrambling fights with bullies, but at the same time I stopped myself from starting new friendships with other people. I trusted nobody because of Ricardo.

So when that bastard introduced himself to me once again last week, it turned my entire world upside down.

What great fucking timing. Out of all the times he could’ve reenter my life, he chose now? Right when I stop giving a shit about my own existence? Right when I completely forced him out of my thoughts and emotions? He decides to whisper his signature fucking catch-phrase, and act as if he hadn’t left me for three goddamn years filled with nothing but despair and suicidal thoughts?

Why couldn’t he have come when I behaved like an asshole in high school? Where was he when I returned home from the outside world with tears flooding down my eyes, wishing that I could just change the way my life turned out? Why couldn’t he have come to help me when I had the tip of the knife just an inch away from the vein on my wrist, ready to slice my flesh open and drown in my own blood as I bathe in my tub? Where the hell was he then?!

No. He doesn’t deserve a warm-hearted homecoming. I know he plans on visiting me this upcoming weekend. As much as I should be happy, he needs to know how much I suffered. I at least deserve a goddamn apology.

I still love Ricardo, but he and I know that we need to talk this through. A lot has changed since then. I’m more than prepare for this.

All I can do now is wait and be patient. He better hope I’m in a good mood that night

Saturday night arrives. I lay on my bed with a book beside me. The small lamp next to me blares a faint and white light. I’ve spent the past three hours reading this damn novel, and wasting time on my phone. I’ve kept on checking the time, and as the hour clock moved from nine in the night to ten, then to elven, and finally to twelve, I grew anxious. It feels as if parasites infested my stomach, and are now crawling in and out of my organs. As nervous as my head and body gets, however, I know I must demonstrate nothing but temerity. I can’t shy away now. That part of my life ended a long time ago.

My parents chose the perfect weekend to leave the house for a quick get-away. That way if things start to get hectic between Ricardo and me, there are no restrictions as to how loud and aggressive I can get. I plan to handle this with maturity, but that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t make him feel guilty for what he’s done to me.

I place my novel on top of my night stand, and flick the lamp off. Darkness envelopes my bedroom like a pool of shadows. The moon shoots a tiny glimmer of light right at the center of my bed. This should be enough for me to feel comfortable.

“Come out,” I command. I started sensing him the moment it hit eleven thirty. For a while I fought with my nerves and fears pulsing out of my mind like a horde of bees trying to escape their hive. I knew I needed to end his influence over my feelings. I couldn’t allow him to manipulate me any longer.

I’m giving silence and nothing more. I focus my eyes better on the closet door. I feel him behind those barriers, so why does he hesitate? He must be aware of how disappointed I am towards him. I don’t blame him. If I was in his position, I would think twice about confronting me right now.

I open my mouth, but before I could say more, the closet door slides open. I choke on my distasteful words, and swallow them. They taste bitter.

I sit upright, and place my pillow against the wall behind me in order to be more comfortable. I feel his opposing force of emotions trying to break through the defensive wall I built against him. His efforts prove futile, however. All this tension passing between us actually makes me sweat. My back begins to drench itself, and the corners of my mouth grow so dry they form tiny blisters. I don’t know how long I can maintain myself.

Ricardo takes him time approaching me, his soft and almost quiet footsteps taunting me each time they land on the floor. As some people might assume, I may be a little gay for my best friend. I mean I’ve only spent my entire life with him alone, and I never went on a date before with any girl. I find both genders attractive in a way, but Ricardo obviously catches my attention the most. The way he’s always treated me with love is what finally made realize everything. If me loving a dead five year old doesn’t convince you how fucked up I am, I don’t know what will.

My ghost friend finally reaches the edge of my bed. Although I can’t see him, I feel him near. He stands still. The silence overcoming my ears becomes unbearable. I’m able to hear the quiet sound of my impulsive heartbeat, and then I start to hear a small ringing noise deep inside my eardrums. I tap on the wall behind me in order to repel against the quietness. Jesus, if I took that shit any longer, I would’ve shot my damn brains out.

Ricardo begins to climb on top of my bed. I want to say something, anything. I want to stop him, and start talking to him about what the hell he did. But the idea of the both of us sitting down face-to-face intrigues me more. There he could witness the anguish in my eyes.

The sheets on top of my bed rustle as he crawls closer to where I remain. I start to shiver. My breathing increases, and the pressure on my chest feels like a ton of bricks slammed down on my lungs. I’m sweating bullets at this point. The world surrounding me blurs, and all that remains clear is the image stretching larger and larger as the seconds drift by. I almost start to feel hypnotize by my own mind and its hallucinations.

Ricardo stops right where the moonlight hits my bed. That little line of light shines directly on his face.

Death is written all over his expression. It’s the same image that I saw back then as a kid, but this time he’s seem to have aged, oddly. Pieces of his once pale and soft flesh now dangle from his cheekbones. Some parts of his face appears rotten and deteriorated by time, the skin ruddy and infected. Black slime swirls inside his mouth, Ricardo’s devilish grin colored with waste and worms. Parts of his hair has fallen off, and I’m able to see his bony and disfigured skull. Several bumps and warts decorate the area around his forehead and chin.

And of course the worst of all, his eyes. Ricardo’s hollow and lifeless eyes that sucks the youth right out of your soul.

“What the hell happened to you?” I ask, horror-stricken. The longer I gaze at his current physical state, the more in dawns upon me how I never had my best-friend back in the first place. Or better yet, this wasn’t Ricardo at all. What the hell is going on?

“You fucking idiot,” Ricardo whispers, but this time his voice sooths out of his brusque throat with a deep and monstrous tone. Black and demonic tentacles begin to sprout out of his corpse. They drip with black blood and seem as sharp and deadly as a goddamn dagger.

Something else emerges from behind Ricardo’s dead body. Before I can pay attention to what it is, I’m distracted when those black whips slither closer to where I sit. They tangle around my limbs, neck, and body. A silent cry escapes out of my trembling lips, and before I could shout for help—for anybody to please fucking help me!—one of the vines closes around my mouth. I try yelling through the thick and moist tentacles, but all I managed to produce is a low muffling sound.

Ricardo pulls me closer to where he sits. I shove and wiggle my shoulders and legs, but the more I try to fight, the more the vines tighten. I feel the blood circulation on my bear arms and legs end. The tight knot tied around my neck begins to crush my throat. I figure I would be panicking, but at the moment I feel nothing but a loss of hope.

I won,” the ghost child says, although he no longer sounds like a little boy. His voice makes the bed and walls shake for god’s sake. “I won, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” All I can do is glare as his empty eyes, and wonder whether a piece of my friend dwells inside this demonic specie or not.

“I can’t believe I was able to out-play you like this,” the spirit screeches, and then emits a low and gurgling laughter. “You’re such an idiot. I’d thought you would notice later on, but no. I made a fool outta you.” Just what the hell is he talking about?

“Even now you have no idea what’s going on,” the demon mocks me. “But I can’t blame you. After all, you forgot about me. Just like mommy and daddy forgot about me right when they had you.”

No. No. No fucking way. This cannot be…

Ah, you realize now, huh? I see it in your eyes. You’re getting an idea of who I truly am.” Ricardo’s stomach begins to glow a tenuous, yellow and white light.

“I’m what could’ve been. I’m a rejected soul that not even God wished to bring back into heaven. Nobody cares about me, and my life means little to nothing compared to all the other fucking babies who lived. Sounds familiar, don’t it? Do you know who I am now, huh? Do you, brother?”

No. I knew it, but I didn’t wish to believe it. I don’t even know what to think right now. All I can do now is feel. I feel my dead baby-brother’s emotions, and his rage that erupts out of his heart like lava from an active volcano. The determination to hurt me burns though my skin, and I see the passion in his eyes despite there being just hollowness inside.

“Right when mommy and daddy had you, they already thought about forgetting about me,” he grumbles. “At first they still mourned my death, and that at least kept me content. But the older you grew, the more they left me out of their thoughts. You became the child they always wanted, and you stole their attention away from me. Soon they completely abandoned me, and only chose to think about you. Did my life mean nothing to them? Was I just a failure to them that they wanted to forget about? Why couldn’t I have lived? Why did it have to be you, and not me?!

I wish to speak. I want to tell him that they never forgot about him, that they use his death as inspiration to make me a better child. I need to tell him that without him, I wouldn’t be who I am now. My parents—excuse me, our parents—loves us both equally, but just that thinking about him resurrected too many dark and agonizing memories.

But I couldn’t say any of that. All I could do is listen, and feel my brother’s anger.

“I knew I couldn’t leave without making the three of you suffer. I needed my revenge. This was when I began plotting my vengeance. I wanted you all to perish. So I began visiting you little by little. I gave off subtle signs of my presence, but it wasn’t enough. As a baby, you didn’t care about me at all. I needed to wait for the perfect time to execute my plan.

“Then you entered school, and you became friends with that Ricardo kid…” The demon in front of me chuckles. “Ah! I knew I won after that. I had it all planned out.

“The doctors were right, you know… His lung condition wasn’t all that serious. He just needed minor surgery, that’s all. But you know…I have a way of interfering with other people’s lives. I guess you can say I paid Ricardo a visit while he was watching cartoons…and did what I had to do.”

This sick fucking bastard! I never felt so furious in my life before. I kick and thrash around, giving every punch and swing all of my strength, not caring if my bones begin to snap, and my muscles start to tear. Even as blood leaks out from my wounds the tighter his grip becomes, I don’t give a shit. This piece of scum murdered a child, my best fucking friend! He caused one of the greatest depressions in my life! He deserves to rot.

“Stop your efforts now, Steven,” he commands. “It’s useless. I’ve won, and you can’t overpower me. You’re weak. You’ve grown strong and confident, yes, but compared to me, you’re still a pathetic child who can’t stand up for himself. You freak, liking your own brother for god’s sake. You make me sick.”

I manage to raise my hand, and flip the fucker off.

“Childish, as always,” the demon complains. “Just like Ricardo. Anyways, I knew in order for my plan to work, I needed to gain your trust. And what better person you could trust and love than your only friend ever in your entire life. Jesus, you’re such a loser. At least I would’ve made more friends.

“I knew you’d trust me, and that you’d be so infatuated with me. I knew that you would suffer in school, and that you’d rely on me to comfort you. And I did. I made sure you fell in love with me, and that I guided you towards a better life. I fucking played you, kid. You should be humiliated by how badly I messed up your life.

“And I knew, I knew, it would be perfect to just leave you right when you enter high school. Don’t like being left alone, huh Steven? Hurts like one mean bitch, doesn’t it? Now you know my pain. It felt so great watching as you broke down, and as your life turned to shit. I kept on laughing and laughing at your own demise. Even our parent’s depression brought much amusement. I made you bitches suffer. And now, I return…”

Ricardo’s corpse begins to levitate. The blob of light inside his stomach grows brighter, and little by little the skin on his abdomen starts becoming transparent. I’m able to see the inside of his stomach, and I see-

Oh god. Oh my fucking god I’m going to be sick.

It’s a fucking fetus camped inside Ricardo’s intestines.

“I come back to finish what I started,” the demon-child informs me, and now I realize that this whole time the voice has been coming from the corpse’s stomach. The belly of the goddamn beast. “It’s been fun watching you grow up, but now your life must end here. How does it feel to just realize now that your whole life has been one giant lie? How does it feel knowing that after your death, our parents come next? How does this pain feel, Steven? Does it burn?

“Well you better get used to it. Imma send you exactly where our parents sent me.

“Straight into nothingness.”

Ricardo’s corpse floats above me. More vines crawl out of his body. They all attach to my skin, and begin to push my body deep into my mattress. I keep on fighting to free myself, but my brother is able to produce more and more of those damn tentacles. Soon my entire figure from head to toe is webbed around his colony of whips.

The figure behind Ricardo’s ghost that I saw before grows larger. I don’t know what the hell that is, but whatever it may be, it feels strong and intimidating.

Right at the center of my bed, a black hole rips open. I feel a sudden drop. My eyes open wide as I descend farther and farther away from Ricardo’s corpse. A wall of darkness surrounds me, and begins to close around my eyesight. A gush of air forces me deeper inside whatever place I’m being sent to.

I feel several hands reach up from below, and grip my shirt and pants. Those thousands of hands dig their nails deep inside my skin, past the cloth of my clothing, and drag me deeper inside this prison of shadows and calamity. More and more of those invisible arms stack on top of my body, and place more pressure on my muscles and skin. I feel like the victim of a king cobra.

At the end, I don’t feel anything anymore—well, I mean on the inside I don’t. No emotions, no fears, nothing. Just pity. I pity the fact that I had to live this life. Since birth, my life has been filled with nothing but depression and wickedness. I guess I’ve always been destine to live this way, and have it end like this. Even when I thought I had some type of profound hope to hold on to and call it my own, I end up finding out it’s all been a lie that lead to my eventual fatality.

But I’m fine if my life continues on after death, and I end up living with nothing but darkness and nothingness —as my brother stated. Hell, that’s all I know at this point. I won’t have to make that big of an adjustment.

If only my brother could’ve let me talked, however. Maybe I could’ve saved the both of us. I could’ve told him how much I love and care for him, and how I’ve always understood his pain. I could’ve told him that we can work this out, and find our own way to overcome whatever anger dwells inside the both of us. But he didn’t let me talk. And because of that, he ended up screwing himself over.

Because I could’ve told him that Ricardo’s real ghost was standing behind him the entire time, waiting for the perfect moment to attack him.

Go get em’, amigo.

Credit: TheSplitPersonality

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Willow Creek

May 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 9.2/10 (368 votes cast)

This pasta was the first place winner of our Gaming Creepypasta Challenge. Congratulations to moonlit_cove!

The second and third placed winners will have their stories uploaded on the 20th and 21st. Thanks to everyone who participated!

A small orb of orange light quickly illuminated then faded back into the darkness as Paul Donovan took a draw from his cigarette. He sat slouched in a plush chair in his living room, the hand that held the cigarette now dangling over the armrest. When he exhaled, the smoke rose and hovered near the ceiling, though it was impossible to see it in the darkness.

After a brief moment of questioning his willingness to continue, he picked up the TV remote in his free hand and pressed the power button. The solid blue screen initially caused his dilated pupils to ache – so much so that he winced and glanced away from the screen for a few seconds.

Once his eyes adjusted, Paul swapped the TV remote for his wireless game controller. He pressed and held the start button until the system booted up. After taking one final draw of his cigarette, he snuffed it out in an ash tray that was resting on a nearby end table. The disc reader inside his console whirred as it spun up to load the game data.

Continue to Level 3? The dialogue box gave him one last chance to change his mind. He initially used the controller stick to highlight the “No” response, and lingered there while contemplating the possible consequences of playing on. But he had to finish what he’d started, and he hoped that by completing the game he could put an end to this madness. More importantly, he wanted his son back, and he was prepared to do whatever was necessary in order to get him home safely. He returned the cursor to the “Yes” option and confirmed his choice.

– – – – –

Being an avid lover of horror and survival games, it was only natural that Paul would accept the challenge to play this game. He had learned of it quite by accident two weeks ago as he was browsing the discussion forum of his favorite gaming site. Someone had posted a topic requesting recommendations for the scariest games. Paul opened the thread with the intention of providing a long list of his favorites, but as he read through the responses he saw how the conversation had turned in a much different direction, beginning with a reply from a user he’d never seen before:

Chameleon01: If you guys are looking for a scary game, I’ve got one for you. I’ll bet no one on this board could even finish it.

GamerGabe: PFFFFFT!! Yeah right! We’ve played everything there is. What’s the name of it then, newbie?

Dark-Shadow957: Low post count + outrageous claim = troll.

00Raven00: Well, what game is it?

RevengeofSephiroth: Let me guess, a Pokemon game?

GamerGabe: (@RevengeofSephiroth) BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Dark-Shadows957: TROLL! Come on guys, don’t feed the troll!

Chameleon01: It’s called Willow Creek.

GamerGabe: Sounds lame.

00Raven00: I googled your little game. It doesn’t exist. Nice try though. Buh-bye now.

Chameleon01: It’s a pre-production bootleg. It’s not supposed to be out until next year.

00Raven00: We still would’ve heard of it as an upcoming release. Besides that, how would you even get a hold of such a thing? Geez, some people!

Chameleon01: I work for the developer. That’s all I can say. Do you want to play it or not?

00Raven00: What system?

Chameleon01: PM me. I’ll get you the version for whatever system you need.

The more Paul read into the depth of the thread, the more his interest was piqued. He wondered whether or not 00Raven00 had gone on to request the game from this stranger. He hovered his mouse over the link to Chameleon01’s profile, then clicked it and began composing his own private message to the unknown user. He was hesitant at first to give out his home address, but he rationalized it away by telling himself it wasn’t any different than the hundreds of random strangers using eBay that had already obtained his personal information over the years.

A yellow padded envelope with no return address arrived in Paul’s mailbox four days after he sent the private message. Inside was the game disc in a paper sleeve. On the disc, crudely written in ink, was: Willow Creek: beta v. 1.0.

“Ah, so this Chameleon guy is in charge of beta testing. That makes a little more sense,” Paul mumbled to himself. His mouth then broadened into a partial smile. “Well, he didn’t have to be so cryptic about it.”

A young boy came running into the kitchen where Paul stood looking over the rest of the day’s mail.

“Who you talkin’ to, dad?” the boy asked.

“Oh, no one, Scotty. Just myself.” He shuffled through the bills and junk mail.

Scotty was ten years old, an above average student, but a typical boy all around. He loved playing the seemingly endless stream of video games that his father was constantly bringing home. They had partnered up for many adventures on most of the multiplayer games (unless Paul deemed the game to be too mature for Scotty), and even when games were single player, Scotty loved to watch as his father solved all the puzzles and defeated the toughest bosses. Paul knew that Scotty’s mother would probably not approve of all of the games that they’d played together, but she hadn’t had a say in the matter for nearly a year now.

“We got a new game,” Paul announced to his son, holding the disc out toward Scotty.

Scotty took it from him. “It looks fake,” he said.

“Well, it’s a beta test. We’ll be among the first players.”

Scotty’s eyes lit up. “Cool! Can we play it tonight?”

“Sure, if we have time. You make sure you get all your homework done first though. Okay?”

Scotty hung his head as he placed the game disc on the kitchen table. “Alright,” he replied in a resigned voice, remembering how much homework awaited him that evening.

It was getting late when Scotty finally finished his school work and came barreling into the living room, begging his father to play the new game.

“It’s already 9:30, bud. You need to be getting to bed soon.”

“Can we at least start it?”

Paul hesitated for a moment. “Okay. But you’re not staying up past ten.”

Scotty’s excitement boiled over as he grabbed the game disc and booted up the console. He handed his father the first player controller. After a brief title screen, there were three level options listed from top to bottom. The only option that was active was “Level One”. The remaining two levels were grayed-out. In the background, behind the text, was the still image of a closed door depicted from inside a dark room with light radiating from the gaps at its edges.

“What’s this about?” Scotty asked.

“I don’t know exactly. But it’s supposed to be scary so I may be sending you to bed if it gets too bad.”

Scotty groaned. Paul confirmed the selection of level one and sat back as the game loaded. “It looks like it’s only one player so you’ll just have to watch me play for a while.”

“That’s okay.”

After a few seconds of load time, a cut scene appeared. Paul and his son watched the animated footage – a first-person perspective as the protagonist entered a door with a frosted glass window into an antiquated office environment. On the window, decaled in thick black lettering, was “Detective Charleston”. Somber ambient music droned in the background. The scene reminded Paul of the way many of the classic film noirs he’d seen over the years had begun. Right away he realized that this would be more of a puzzle solving game. An intellectual’s game.

Paul caught on to the gist of the game relatively quickly. He played as Detective Charleston, traveling all around the virtual town of Willow Creek and finding clues that could be pieced together to advance the storyline. In level one’s mystery he was introduced to the story of James Braxton, a man that worked the third shift at the Willow Creek Steel Mill. One night while having an argument with a coworker, James was pushed into the blast furnace. The perpetrator left the scene and there were no other witnesses. It was up to Paul to find all of the evidence and have the murderer convicted.

During one particularly realistic cut scene of the murder, Paul had ordered Scotty off to bed. Scotty protested at first, but soon relented. Paul finished solving the case by himself, and was pleased with his work when the police finally slapped the handcuffs on the murderer in the final cut scene of level one. The game automatically saved his progress.

Paul’s phone rang. He looked at his watch – 12:37.

“C’mon, you’re going to wake up Scotty,” he whispered as he reached for the phone. He answered it.

“Hello?”

“Thank you for setting me free.”

Paul pulled the phone away from his ear to glance at the screen – unknown caller. “Who is this?” he demanded.

“James Braxton.”

“Who?”

“James. From Willow Creek. You solved my case.”

Paul was taken aback. He glanced at the television screen which now displayed a dialogue box, beaconing: Continue to Level 2?

“Who is this really? And where did you get my number?”

“I told you – I’m James from Willow Creek. I just wanted to thank you for solving my case. Now I’m free. I only had about six weeks left before reaching the dreaded one year mark. Thank God you came along. No one else had solved my case yet. I even-”

“Where did you get my number?” Paul interrupted.

“From Chameleon, of course.”

“What the…” Paul trailed off as the phone slipped from his hand and landed with a thud on the carpet. His mouth slacked open in disbelief. He looked down at the phone. The illuminated screen stared back up at him. He could still hear the muffled voice at the other end. He grabbed the phone and shut it off as quickly as he could.

Paul’s heart was racing and drops of sweat began to form on his brow as he switched off the game console and the TV set. He was bathed in silence and in the darkness of his living room. After a long moment to gather his thoughts and to allow his pulse to settle, he quietly snuck into Scotty’s room where he watched his son sleep peacefully for several minutes. Paul was not able to fall asleep himself until nearly 4:00AM. He could not shake the uneasy feeling of the phone call. His last thought before finally drifting off into slumber was how useless he was going to be at work later that day.

– – – – –

Paul awoke in a fog at first, but then jolted upright when he saw the time on his bedside clock – 10:23. The room was washed in dim shades of gray as a heavy rain beat steadily at the roof and windows. Apparently Paul had forgotten to set his alarm amidst the chaos that followed his completion of level one. After the utterance of a few choice profanities and throwing off the bed sheets, he darted into Scotty’s room. His empty bed was neatly made. In the kitchen Paul found a note:

You were sleeping so well, I made my own breakfast. I have to catch the bus soon. Love, Scotty

Paul sighed and felt like such a failure as a father. It was in moments like these that he wished Laura were still there. He missed her in so many ways, and her penchant for organization, though annoying at times, was something he undeniably needed in his life. Paul stared into blank space as he relived in his mind the accident that took her. Once he snapped out of the vision he decided to call in sick to work. Afraid to turn on his cell phone, he made the call from his land line.

After a quick breakfast, Paul debated with himself about whether or not to continue the game. He finished off a cigarette as he rehashed the events of the previous night. As unnerving as it had been for him at the time, it now seemed like nothing more than a strange coincidence with a wrong number. A very strange coincidence, but how else could it be explained? Besides, Paul was never one to back away from a challenge. He had to finish the game.

The console booted up, the disc spun, and the title screen gave way to the dialogue box: Continue to Level 2? Paul confirmed the “Yes” selection.

The second case for Detective Charleston was that of a housing developer who had dug up human remains while leveling a lot for construction. The site of the discovery was roped off and it was the objective of the player to properly collect all of the evidence and determine who the remains belonged to and what had happened to them. Paul was meticulous in his actions and was careful to think of every possible piece of evidence. He collected samples for DNA testing. He interviewed the former landowner, the construction foreman, and the equipment operator who had made the discovery. He pored over photographs of the crime scene.

Little by little he pieced together the story of a woman that had been kidnapped and murdered. She had been carjacked and a fiery accident was staged to cover up the disappearance. She was then held captive by her abductor until he finally did away with her and buried the remains. The case was solved in its entirety when the DNA test results came back. There were two DNA profiles in the samples – one for the perpetrator, who turned out to be a known troublemaker in Willow Creek – and the other for the victim, Laura Donovan.

Paul threw the controller aside. His pulse immediately increased to the point that he could feel his neck throbbing. His ears rang and he began shaking.

“There’s….no way.” He choked on the words. Tears welled up in his eyes as he recalled the circumstances surrounding Laura’s death. The car had burned beyond recognition. The funeral was closed casket. Had something more happened to her? Had she not died at the scene as this game was suggesting?

“What are you?” he screamed at the television, his face dark red. There was no answer, just the ever-increasing throbbing of his pulse, now audible in his ears, and the prompt on the screen: Continue to Level 3?

Paul rushed over and unplugged the game system. The TV screen shone solid blue. With the exception of the pounding rain outside, silence enveloped the house. He paced around the living room, wrestling in his own mind for answers. How was this possible? There’s no way it was all a coincidence!

The wall phone rang.

The sound of the mechanical bell was jolting, threatening to split Paul’s head in two. He agonized at the thought of the caller’s identity. Most people did not have his home phone number.

“No! Please, no! Don’t do this to me!” His initial reaction was one of terror, but what if it really was Laura calling? What if he’d somehow released her from the clutches of the game just as James claimed that he’d done in his case? Ridiculous! Paul thought, She’s dead! He made his way over to the phone mounted on the kitchen wall.

“Hello?” Paul said this with great caution, the way an intimidated child would approach an angry parent.

“Paul Donovan?” It was a woman’s voice.

“Yes.”

“This is Janice Pendleton from Roosevelt Elementary School. We were just calling to check on your son, Scotty, since he was absent today.”

Paul was at a loss for words.

Janice continued, “We couldn’t reach you on your cell phone, but we found this alternate number in Scotty’s file.”

“You’re telling me he didn’t show up today?”

There was a pause of confusion before Janice delicately replied, “Yes sir, we found it odd since he rarely misses a day. So we wanted to check…” She trailed off.

“He left for school as usual this morning,” Paul said, “I mean, I was sleeping, but…” He realized that no matter what he said next it would make him sound like a negligent parent. He began to weep and tried his best to hide this from Janice, but she was able to pick up on it.

“Mr. Donovan, if you’re saying you don’t know where he is either… Do you want us to notify the authorities?”

No longer attempting to hide his sobbing he managed to blurt out, “Yes. Please!” then wept uncontrollably, dropping the phone receiver. It hit the kitchen wall with a hard thud and swung there by its cord as Paul sank to the floor.

– – – – –

Paul spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening at the police station. He answered a barrage of questions from multiple officers and detectives. He filled out endless amounts of paperwork. He pleaded with everyone he encountered to stop wasting time and find his son. The officers convinced Paul that they would do everything in their power and then persuaded him to go home in case Scotty returned. “That’s how many of these cases resolve themselves in the early stages,” one officer had told him.

The rain had subsided by the time Paul returned home, leaving wet streets and walkways. He unlocked his front door and entered the darkness. The house was silent.

“Scotty?” he called, standing in the doorway. “Are you here?” But there was no response.

Paul knew that if he were to simply sit around the house waiting he would go insane, so he booted up his computer to revisit the message board thread about the game – and to give this Chameleon guy a piece of his mind. As the computer was starting up he gazed at a framed photo on the desktop. The picture was of himself, Laura and Scotty taken at a family reunion during a much happier time in their lives. He fought tears again and then turned the photo face down on the desk. The computer was ready.

He navigated to the message board and found the thread. He noticed two things that had happened since he had last been there. First, the user Chameleon01 was no longer listed. Everywhere he had posted, his username was replaced by an icon with the text No Longer A Registered User. The other item of interest was that the tread had been locked by moderators after the argument about the mysterious game grew much more intense. As Paul was reading the heated exchange he heard the front door open. A sigh of relief washed over him and an impossibly large smile crossed his face.

“Scotty!” he yelled. He ran down the hallway. “Scotty, you’re home! Thank God! You had me so worr-”

Paul stopped dead in his tracks when he turned the corner to face the front door. Scotty had not come home. But Laura had.

– – – – –

Even though she had lost weight and appeared sickly, Laura’s embrace felt like home. It was comfortable and familiar, although it had been almost a year since Paul had experienced it. They lingered in the doorway in that position before either of them spoke.

Finally, Paul pulled back, his hands remaining on her shoulders, and asked, “Laura, is it really you? How is this possible?”

“It’s really me! You freed me! It’s so good to be home.” Paul was awestruck as they resumed the embrace. They kissed passionately for several minutes. Once the disbelief of her presence lessened, Paul led Laura over to the couch to question her about all that had happened.

“I don’t even know where to start, Laura. I was playing this video game and I-”

“I know, Paul. I know. Let me tell you everything that happened to me.”

Paul nodded and listened intently.

“I didn’t die in the car crash,” Laura began. “He took me.”

“Who took you?”

“This ‘thing’ that calls himself The Chameleon.”

Paul’s stomach sank and his brow creased as he tried to make sense of this.

“Took you where, exactly?”

“After he abducted me and burned my car, I woke up in a holding cell. There were hundreds of us in there, stacked in cages lining the walls. I don’t think the place is even in this realm. He told us that if someone solved our case in the game he would send us back to ‘the real world’. And when I was released, I passed through some sort of portal and wound up in the sewer tunnels under Hamilton Square.”

“What in the world? That sounds crazy, Laura!”

“I know it does, Paul. But you’ve got to believe me. It’s happening.”

“But what is he getting out of this? I mean, why not just make a game without the human collateral?”

“I think the human collateral is the point. It’s some kind of a sick game to him. The cages are stacked around the perimeter of a very large warehouse-like room. In the center of the room is a stage where people whose cases aren’t solved within one year are creatively…” she began crying, “…dispatched in gruesome ways.” Laura leaned over to embrace Paul again, her tears dampening his shoulder. “I saw terrible things, Paul. And my time on the stage was only two weeks away.”

The gravity of this hit Paul like a ton of bricks. He rubbed her back.

“You saved me, Paul. Thank you.”

“I have to tell you something, Laura,” he said after a contemplative pause, “Scotty is missing.”

“I know,” Laura replied somberly, “he’s in the game.”

– – – – –

Paul sat in the dark living room and stared at the prompt on the screen. Continue to Level 3? After selecting “Yes” and while waiting for the case to load, he closed his eyes and hoped beyond measure that the case he would be presented with was Scotty’s. Laura watched silently from the couch. The familiar cut scene played showing the entrance into Detective Charleston’s office. Once Paul had control of the game, he opened the last case file and began reading.

He nearly burst into tears of joy when he read about a missing ten year old boy. His objective was to find the boy and have the kidnapper brought to justice.

“It must update through the internet connection,” Paul said to Laura. “The disc is just a gateway into the game. I’ll bet if I went back to level one again it would not be James’ case, but something new – one of Chameleon’s latest victims.” As Paul was saying this, he had the sudden realization that this would never end. He would be compelled from then on to spend every waking moment of his life playing this game, lest someone experience a gruesome death that he might have prevented. His conscience would never let him put it down.

Paul refocused on the task at hand. He worked the level three case as diligently as he knew how, talking to possible witnesses in Willow Creek and collecting evidence from the playground where the boy was last seen. Soon, he was at an impasse. He did not have enough evidence to figure out what had happened and he had no further ideas on how to proceed.

“What’s that store next to the playground?” Laura asked.

“I think it’s like a convenience store,” Paul replied.

“Can you go talk to them? Maybe there’s a security camera or something.”

“Brilliant!” Paul navigated Detective Charleston into the store and spoke with the manager. Moments later he was able to obtain the security camera footage from the time of the disappearance which showed the boy being stuffed into a car with a clear license number. Back at his office Detective Charleston ran the plate number and located the kidnapper. After the handcuffing scene, Paul was treated to a congratulatory message for having solved the case in level 3.

And they waited.

The house remained quiet, and it did not take long for Paul to become frustrated. He paced nervously in the living room.

“Where is he? I solved his case.”

“Give it more time, Paul. Remember, it took me several hours to make it back here after being released.”

Paul nodded, but it did not calm him. He stepped out onto the front porch for another cigarette and to watch for a boy to come running toward him in the distance. When this did not happen, he darted out into the middle of the front yard, gazed out into the darkness with his arms outstretched and yelled, “Give me my son back! Take me instead! You hear me? You come take me instead!”

Dogs barked in the distance. Paul collapsed onto the lawn. When he finally looked up, he saw Scotty moving toward him. He wasn’t running, but walking slowly. He was reaching up with his left hand as if being led by a much taller adult, but Paul did not see anyone walking next to him. As Scotty approached, Paul could barely make out the vague outline of a tall cloaked figure holding Scotty’s hand.

In a moment, Scotty was in Paul’s arms. The outlined figure stood over them. It was not translucent, but entirely solid, yet it took on the perfect semblance of the surroundings behind it. If Paul were to reach out and touch it, his hand would not pass through it, but meet resistance as real as any other body. It stood motionless and silent – and waited.

Laura burst from the front door and off the porch into the yard.

“Scotty!” she called to him.

“Momma?”

“It’s me, baby! It’s really me!”

As they hugged and wept together, Paul turned his attention toward the nearly indiscernible cloaked figure. It was at least eight feet tall by his best estimation. Paul was still kneeling when the figure’s cloak parted at the bottom, revealing a blackness that could only be rivaled by the deepest, darkest cave. The entity stepped forward and absorbed Paul. The edges of the cloak reunited and all was silent.

“No!” Laura’s scream was drawn out and ended with hysterical wailing as she realized that only she and Scotty remained in the front yard.

– – – – –

Somewhere in an inaccessible nether world Paul slowly awoke in his fourth-storey cage. He heard the wailing of all the other occupants in their cells, though he could not see them. On the wall in his small dark cage was a placard with two dates written on it. The first was the date of his imprisonment, and the second was the date exactly one year from then. Suddenly there was commotion below as a slightly overweight man was led by the cloaked figure onto the spot-lit stage in the center of the arena below. The man was manacled to a post with a sinister-looking mechanical device positioned behind him. Paul had already closed his eyes by the time the machine was started up. He did not want to see what it was or what was going to happen to the man. However, the screams he heard would never leave his mind.

– – – – –

Seven hundred fifty miles away from Paul Donovan’s earthly home, a middle-aged man known in certain internet gaming circles as 00Raven00 opened a padded envelope that had been sitting on his kitchen counter for several days. He inserted the plain disc into his gaming system and watched the opening sequence. Once he had control of the game he opened the file folder on Detective Charleston’s desk. Apparently a man named Paul had been pushed in front of a subway train by another person who then fled the station, according to witness statements in the file.

Being primarily an action-based gamer 00Raven00’s patience wore thin quickly, and he spent only fifteen minutes exploring for clues before giving up.

“Psssshh. This isn’t even scary,” he declared, and switched the system off.

Credit: moonlit_cove

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Creepypasta Contest: Gaming Pasta Challenge [Entries Closed, Winners Announced]

April 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Thanks for all of your entries! Here are our top three:

1. Willow Creek (Congrats to moonlit_cove on your flask!)
2. The Shame
3. Razor Games

Some entries were deemed very close-but-no-cigar and as such will be posted to Crappypasta for further refinement. It’s our hope that they will be reworked enough to eventually end up on the main site! Please keep an eye on the Crappypasta Round-Up category if you are interested in giving feedback to the stories in question, or simply check in with Crappypasta regularly.

As mentioned in the April Discussion post, this month we are having a writing contest!

I’m going to just go ahead and copy/paste what I wrote before:

If you’ve been active in the creepypasta community for a decent amount of time, it’s highly likely that you’ve encountered gaming pasta. Such stories are often referred to as “Haunted Cartridge” pastas due to how many of them involve protagonists who, for some reason, are willing to pay for obviously counterfeit versions of old NES games and then have to deal with the consequences of whatever weird angry gaming spirits they’ve invited into their console of choice.

The genre gets a (largely deserved, let’s be honest) bad rap mostly due to how many gaming pastas are nothing more than retellings of the original, more novel haunted game stories. For example: while Pokemon Black was novel at first and did creep some people out, the countless “Pokemon Blood Orange” or “Pokemon Burnt Sienna” spin-offs that sprung from its loins got really tiresome, really fast. Likewise with the “Ben Drowned” rip-offs – people started churning out variants that essentially were just mad libs, replacing just the game and Ben’s name. There’s really no faster way to kill a creepypasta subgenre than overloading readers with a glut of indiscernable copycat stories – even when a decent and/or original entry appears, readers seem to be too jaded from the ” crappypasta overload to give anything in the genre a chance.

With all that said, I do believe there is hope for gaming pasta. Even if it doesn’t receive many additions, I do retain the Haunted Games tag for a reason – there are those of you out there who truly do enjoy your creepy video game stories, and when they’re done well, I fully agree that they can be enjoyable.

So this month, I have a challenge for all you writers out there: write and submit a good gaming pasta.

From April 19th until May 5th, I will open up a special submission form where people can submit gaming pastas only; anything unrelated that gets sent in via this form will be deleted. The moderation team and I will read through all of the submissions and pick three winners that we feel best accomplished the goal of writing a good gaming pasta. The top three submissions will have their story hosted here, of course, and the top-ranked eligible author will also receive a Legend of Drink Gaming Cartridge Flask:

The Legend of Drink

  • The mods and I will be reading and discussing the submissions amongst ourselves as time allows. Please allow up to a week after contest submissions close for us to choose our winners.
  • Only ONE winner will receive the flask. In order to receive the flask, you must have a shipping address in the US/Canada and be 18 years of age or older. If this doesn’t apply to you but you still wish to submit a story to the contest, that’s fine, just know that you won’t be eligible for the physical prize – it will be given to the next placed author that fulfills the eligibility requirements. However, your story will still be eligible to be declared the overall winner of the contest.
  • TO BE CLEAR: DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR CONTEST ENTRY VIA THE NORMAL SUBMISSION FORM. USE THE FORM ATTACHED TO THIS POST. Submitting your story to the wrong form is likely to result in your story not being read until after the contest is over, as it won’t go into the priority contest queue.
  • Just because I know some of you will read that last sentence and think you have a clever plan to get your non-contest story read quickly: if you submit a non-contest story using this form, it will just be deleted. Don’t try to game the system, it won’t work.

The form is attached to this post under a cut and can be accessed by clicking here (or simply by clicking the post title). Submissions for this contest are now closed! Thank you to everyone who participated.

I look forward to seeing what you guys can produce!

*There is an affiliate code present in the link to the flask on Amazon. This means that if you buy anything on Amazon after using that link, the site will get a small kickback – which goes back into the pot to fund more giveaways like this one. If you use our affiliate link, thank you!

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Him

June 25, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I’ve kept this story from most people I know, as the ones I have told have deemed me absolutely insane. I’m seeking refuge here because most of you have seemed to have similar issues.

This happened about 2 years ago.

My mother died when I was 5 years old. She had been a frequent drug abuser and alcoholic. She verbally and physically abused my father, who was about as feminine and frail as a man could be. After 7 years of a broken relationship and constant abuse, she finally passed. My dad then came out to the public as a victim of abuse, and sought group therapy – which he took very well. After only a year and a half of therapy, my father was back on his feet, and to be honest (despite cliché) was the best parent I could’ve dreamt of. He raised me to be someone that none of my friends could be. He fulfilled his role as a father, and still maintained the motherly objective, nurturing me in that field as well. He was my go-to for breakups, bullies, confidence issues. My father was my role-model and my best friend.

The ‘incident’, as my father and I refer to it as, happened 3 years ago on the 6th of July 2012.

I was seventeen at the time, and went through a critical gaming phase which still pops up every now and again (I still love smashing n00bs on calladoots). I lay awake at 12midnight that night, and lay playing Angry Birds on my Samsung Galaxy S3 – I’m a nerd, I know – when the door to my room swung open.*

My father and I lived in a small, 2 bedroom apartment, which was more than enough to house the both of us. We kept up rent and sustained nutrition with my dad’s reasonable paying job, and went about our lives very happily. I had saved up enough money doing small jobs to afford a reasonable laptop and a desk to accompany it. My dad, equipped with the laptop his job provided for him, would often join me in a game of Age of Empires II, which we would spend hours on together. In the time that we weren’t playing (often 2 – 5am) I would sit alone and drink gallons of coffee, and of course, being a teenager, I never took my mugs to the kitchen.

*Through the door came, of course, my father. I quickly hid my phone and pretended to be asleep. He walked over to my desk, clumsily grabbed the few mugs, and slugged out of there. I sighed with relief and went on with my game for a few hours before getting hungry (yeah: I was playing temple run too). I quietly slipped out of my room, careful not to wake my resting father and moved along to the kitchen. The room was tremendously cold. I felt a horrible, sluggish feeling in my stomach. All of the windows to our apartment were wide open. This was a massive abnormality, not only was it the middle of winter, but the windows were hardly ever open any way. I set the kettle on and placed my hotdog in the microwave. Arms wrapped round my chest, I ninjad over to the windows and closed them all. I turned to get my food, when I noticed Him.

He stood at least 7 feet tall. His skin was as white as a sheet, and his figure was bony and malnourished. He was naked, yet, apart from his bodily shape, he resembled anything but a living creature. His head was tilted back, although his eyes were fixed upon me. They stood out, even in the dark as blood red. He held them as wide as I’ve ever seen a man open his eyes. He pinched his mouth to the bottom of his face, only seeming to elongate it. He showed no body language. His arms hung by his sides and he simply stared at me with this shocked (well… I assume it was shock) face.

We locked eyes for what seemed like forever before he turned and strode out the door – which I had personally locked – which stood wide open. I didn’t think much, letting the adrenaline drive me. I ran for the door, closing and locking it before heading back to the window to see if he would exit the building (we lived on the third floor).

Sure enough, there he was.

He leaped out of the apartment complex and strode over the street and simply hopped over the neighbor’s wall – a three meter tall wall. He gave nothing a second though, soon disappearing behind the houses and supposedly off into the night.

I burst through my father’s door and rampantly woke him. He awoke groggily, but he was quickly snapped ‘sober’ by my description of the events. No sleep was had that night. We sat talking about the night’s events until 9 when my dad had to be off for work.

“Did you lock the door?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“YES.”

We could come up with no logical way this man could’ve entered the apartment. I decided to come up with an idea through trial and error.

“Okay, okay. What did you do after you got the dishes from my room?”

“What?”

I was obviously frustrated.

“You know! Around twelve you came in and got my coffee mugs!”

“I fell asleep at 10:30.”

My stomach fell to my feet and my heart rose to my throat. Nothing was said. We simply looked at each other. That man. That THING had been in our house since at least 11. We closed the case from there. Obviously we were dealing with something way out of our league. We decided not to tell the police, and tried living normally from then on.

It worked.

Despite the occasional nightmare, nothing changed. I finished high school, started college, and now I’m living by myself a whole country away from my father – this all took place in Scotland, I now live in Ireland. Everything was completely fine until a few hours ago. My girlfriend called me about a strange man she encountered in her house. After frantically questioning her on whether she was alright or not, she finally decided to come over. When she arrived, she told me about the man that was in her apartment. He matched the description of Him perfectly.

I don’t know what’s going on, my girlfriend is asleep on my couch, and honestly, I really don’t know how to deal with anything.

I’m hoping one of you do.

Update 1

So it’s been a day and my puzzle is already getting thousands more tiny pieces which I need to fit together. Before I continue, I’d like to note that I really appreciate the support coming through from the viewer’s side. My girlfriend is in an absolute state, yet somehow reading through some of the comments was enough to cheer her up, albeit a little bit.

Alright – back to business.

My girlfriend lay asleep for a few hours last night before being woken by terrible nightmares of Him. She was covered in a cold sweat and her heart rate flew for about 60 seconds before coming to a rest. Once she had finally calmed down, I explained what happened the night of ‘The Incident’. While I could literally see and feel the terror flowing through her, she nodded shakily and managed a tiny, “A-alright. What are we gonna do about it?”

We sat silent on my couch for a good ten minutes before my phone rang.
Dad: “Hello?” Me: “Dad?” Dad: “Oh my god. Henry, are you alright?”
His voice was speedy and discontent, as if he was focusing on something else completely.
Me: “Yeah. I guess you could say that…” Dad: “Well, I know this might dig up a body we decided to keep buried a long time ago. But do you remember ‘The Incident?’”
There was a long pause. I knew EXACTLY what had happened.
Me: “Are you sure you saw him?” Dad: “He matched every detail.”
Another pause.
Me: “Winter saw him too.” Dad: “Oh my god…”

My father went on to describe how the creature wasn’t as passive as I had described it. It seemed to approach him with the same long strides I saw that night, only more hesitant, before turning and dancing through the door again.

Me: “We’ve gotta meet up. Come to my apartment tomorrow. You remember where it is, right?” Dad: “Of course I do. I’ll be there ASAP.”

He hung up. Questions bounced throughout my head. Questions I still cannot answer. It’s about 10am here right now. If my father doesn’t take his time, he should arrive at around 7pm. Right now, on the other hand. I need to describe exactly what happened to Winter – I’ll present it first person so it’s slightly easier to follow.

“ The night was off to the same old boring routine. I sat on the couch and surfed the internet like any other night. The apartment was dark, as usual, and the TV was on in the background as usual. My cat, Mocking Bird, sat on my lap, and occasionally got up for a stroll. Nothing was out of the ordinary. It was around midnight that I got hungry.

I got up, put the TV off, and decided I would be off to bed after I got a snack. Mocking Bird left my lap and lay in his bed which was placed in the corner of the living room. I went round to the kitchen and started making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The kitchen was lit only by the light of the stove situated in the corner above my head, barely producing enough light to see beyond the counter, let alone throughout the apartment. After sloppily and tiredly finishing my midnight meal, I made my way to the bedroom. I could hear Mocking Bird playing with his bell in the living room as I passed. This was the comforting sound I heard every night before bed, it never failed to calm me down, even in the harshest of moods. I stood for a moment or two, just listening, smiling.

I opened the door to my bedroom and was greeted by a chilling wind and a disgusting smell. Oh my god. Had the cat gotten hold of another mouse and left it under my bed? My first move was for the windows which stood wide open. Closing them tightly, I dismissed the fact that they were open, blaming it on the strong draft and my negligence to check their complete sealing. Already annoyed, I made my way to the bed. Mocking Bird would often bring in his huntings from the nearby alleyway in and store them beneath my bed, the smell wasn’t something new. The sight however…
I reached out and ripped the carcass from underneath my bed. Mocking Bird’s dead body, mangled and mauled flew out and landed about a foot in front of me. The light coming in from the nearby street lamps was enough to illuminate the corpse. The first thing I noticed was that he no longer had his collar on. I lived alone with Mocking Bird. He was my only companion on the cold nights I couldn’t make it to Henry’s. Shortly after I got him, I bought a collar that would match my bracelet which I wear everywhere – a gift from my deceased mother. I sobbed at Mocking Bird’s side, still not pondering who or what could’ve done this.

When I heard the jingling of Mocking Bird’s bell at my bedroom door. There He stood, almost perfectly in line with the door.

I suppose it was because of adrenalin, but it almost appeared as my general field of view increased. I got him entirely in my sights. He stood slightly ajar and leaned over, keeping his head tilted backward, and his eyes locked on me. He held his posture like a mannequin frozen behind a store window – except for the gentle jingle of Mocking Bird’s bells in his left hand.

He held 2 things other that the bells. Along with them, was Mocking Bird’s collar. My tears only ran faster at this sight. This was enough for me to confirm he was the one who killed Mocking Bird. Feelings of dread, anger and sorrow flooded my body simultaneously, rendering me motionless. The other item He held was a plate, part of a dining set Henry got me for my birthday.

He strode toward me.

My natural reaction was to fall backwards and scurry, only to meet a wall blocking the way. As he reached a certain distance, suddenly, his entire body became animated, as if the gravity was withdrawn from him. He came within inches of my face, but never touched it, staying within range for me to see into his eyes.

The majority was a deep red. Yet in the centre of each eye, a black dot, about the size of the rear of a matchstick, stood idly. They seemed to lead on, as if pure space stood behind them. He then turned and ‘walked’ over to the door, once again turning when he reached it, staring in my general direction. After a moment of his staring, he leaned forward and locked eyes with me, releasing a gut wrenching yell, which sounded like a symphony of detuned harps and bells, accompanied by the screeches of burning men. He then backed up and strode off out my front door, which I distinctively remember shutting and locking (as I do every night), as if he was never there. “
Right.

So.

We have some similarities.

-The ridiculous china theft, still unexplained. -His ability to hide in plain sight. -The open windows. -And his actions which seem to have no ultimate goal.
One thing that is odd, however, is the fact that he acted aggressively (the yelling; slaughter of Mocking Bird) is new. He barely even came close to me in my encounter. Has he grown aggressive over the few years that have passed? Or is this a new being all together?

I’m ridiculously confused, riddled with questions, and need answers now.

Please. If anyone has an idea.

Help.

Update 2

My father arrived tired. I understand that he had been diving for more than 8 hours straight, but he seemed physically fatigued. His movements were slurred and slow. He kept repeating the phrase, “I’m tired. I’m tired.” After a while, I started getting annoyed. I led him to my bed and let him lay down while I took down what he had experienced.

**Again, I’ve used first person to tell his story**

“ Last year some really loud neighbors moved in. Really loud as in ‘blast Job For A Cowboy loud’. I’d had consistent issues since they moved in, even calling the police at one point (I’m a 50 year old man, cut me some slack). I remember lying awake sometimes until the young hours of the morning before calling the police.

This one night was particularly quiet. Almost eerily so. I can’t explain it, but there was just this feeling that something wasn’t right. I rose from my bed and entered your old room, then the bathroom, kitchen and generally inspected the living area to which the kitchen was attached. Nothing. Upon further inspection, though, I found that the two pillows you had left behind had vanished.

I shrugged everything off. Then around 12 o’clock, after reading a bit, I was off to bed. I lay down and closed my eyes. Merely seconds later, I was rudely awoken by a LOUD noise in my ears. I almost fell out of bed. It sounded like it was right next to me. I opened my eyes and quickly jumped from my bed, scrambling to the corner of the room. I scanned the area carefully.

Groggy at first, my eyes didn’t pick much up, but when they were clear, I noticed something that made my stomach turn.

The windows and my bedroom door were wide open. I reached over and retrieved any object I could think to use as a weapon, which ended up being a shoe – wow. I got up and walked toward the window, keeping my eyes locked on the door. It was around this time that I realized the sound was coming from next door. After securing the windows I thought for a moment. Rage built inside of me. I threw the shoe to the ground, and stormed out of my apartment, turning the lights on and closing the door behind me.

I banged furiously on the neighbor’s door. I had really had enough of this ridiculous bullshit. I waited for what seemed like forever, and when I was finally answered, it was by a half-asleep junkie. The apartment was dark and no sound was playing. I didn’t even say anything; I just looked at him in shock.

‘What do you want, old man?’

I apologized and headed back to my room.

My heart was racing at this point, and I was unsure of what to do. Heading back into my apartment, I was greeted by a sight that shook me like no other event that night. The lights were off and the windows were open. I walked into the apartment and sealed all of the windows. This was around the time I remembered ‘The Incident’. I sat on the couch, thinking for a few minutes, my head in my hands. Finally I decided to call you. I headed for my cell phone in my room and rang your number up.

‘Sorry. But the person you are trying to call does not exist.’

What?

This was my son’s phone number. There is no way in hell I could forget that. I turned to try the landline, when I saw Him. He stood by the kitchen, facing me. His eyes were almost glowing. We stared at each other for almost 3 minutes, when I looked away to hide. I stopped when I noticed him move.

He lunged in my direction, those same strides you described to me that night. As he reached the doorway, he stopped, staring again. I fell backwards, scrambling to find my shoe, which I had left in the living room. He leaned in closer and he froze completely. He released a scream which is still engraved in my mind. It was the sound of a million families losing their loved ones; the sound of an orchestra of darkness.

He finished screaming and then turned, striding off out my door.

Then I called you. “

Again we have the similarities.

He seems to just move as if he’s a ghost. He moves around people as if he isn’t even there. He stole things again, although it wasn’t plates or mugs. I’m growing increasingly suspicious of what he wants. Some people have suggested it may be the spirit of my deceased mother? Others suggest it may be some demon that just happens to follow me around.

No matter what he is: he’s proven that he has hostile intentions, and I do not plan on standing idly for much longer.

—————————————————-*The Following is by Winter*————————————————

Henry sat typing his dad’s story as his dad lay on his bed wheezing softly. At the time he didn’t think it was serious, after all he’d been driving for almost 8 hours straight and he is an older dude. All that changed when Mark (Henry’s dad) started clutching his chest and rolled off the bed.

Henry’s dad had had a heart attack.

It was at this point that I walked into the bedroom.

“Henry?”

“Winter, I-it’s dad, he’s had a stroke or something. Call an ambulance and bring the laptop!”

15 minutes later, the ambulance arrived. We hopped in Henry’s car and followed the ambulance to the hospital. The car ride had us discuss his dad for a bit. He kept mentioning ‘The Incident’ and ‘The Mugs’. Arriving at the hospital, we sat outside Mark’s room for hours, waiting in complete silence. Henry just stared at the wall. Not saying anything. I’m worried.

A few minutes ago the doctors let us in, one introduced himself as doctor Allen and explained that Mark’s condition doesn’t look good. “He’s in God’s hands now” he said as he left. Henry’s just sitting next to his Dad, he’s in complete despair. He blames everything on himself.

Henry’s role model… his hero is on his way to death

Final Update
This is my final update to this story.

I sat by the bed of my dying father, clutching his hand and praying that whatever might be dictating his death might have mercy. He was barely in his 50’s. He was my lasting role model; my best friend. All I could do is sit idly and watch as the most important person in my life dwindled away into nothing. The steady beeping of the cardiac monitor brought my sobbing to a halt. Maybe if I held onto his hand for long enough he wouldn’t die. Maybe if I hoped hard enough he wouldn’t die.

The realization that there was nothing I could do came along with the decrease in speed of the beeping. My sobbing turned into crying and my holding squeezing. Soon I was yelling for my dad not to leave me. My girlfriend was out getting snacks at this point. She’s so amazing. Always there for me in the worst of times. The doctors came in and asked me to leave, but I couldn’t; I had to be present whilst my father, the father that raised me single handedly, slipped away from life. I was standing at this point, yelling over at my father. My phone rang, but I ignored it. I hunched over my father’s body as the Cardiac Monitor flat lined.

He was gone.

I stormed out of the hospital room and sat on the benches. I curled up in the fetal position and continued crying. I blamed Him. I blamed that monster for the loss of my dad. I blamed him for giving my dad a heart attack. I blamed him for – the nurse came out with my phone, she said it wouldn’t stop ringing. I looked at the number. It was Winter. I answered.

“Hello?”

“Henry! I’m stuck in a car accident right outside your apartment! The car’s on fire and I can’t get out! My phone can’t reach the hospital, I don’t know why. Please! Send help!”

My stomach dropped. I informed the nurse and an ambulance quickly set off to her rescue. Rushing out toward the scene, I managed to slam my foot into the car’s window, breaking it open and enabling me to unlock and open the door. I pulled my singed girlfriend from the fire. She was coughing hysterically, but trying to say something. All I could make out was, “I love you” “It’s not your fault”. I shed no tears this time. The medics carried her onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. They took me along with to the hospital, where she died on arrival.

I got in my car outside and started driving. At first, I was unsure of where I was driving to, but it soon became apparent. I started the drive to my father’s apartment. My sorrow had been replaced with rage. My mind was set on finding out exactly what this thing was, and what it wanted. I made the eight hour drive with my eyes on the road. I didn’t budge from my objective.

I arrived soon after dark. I sat in the car and stared at the apartment complex. Memories flooded into my mind. Memories of Age of Empires with my father, staying up late, watching TV, just talking. My first girlfriend popped back into my head. Her name was Lizzy. I was twelve. We planned exactly where to meet so we could hug every day. We would sit around the back of the bathrooms and play Pokémon. Then one day she left me for my best friend Pete. Fuckin’ Lizzy. I remembered angrily storming into my room and sitting on my bed, folding my arms and staring at the ground, frowning. My dad walked in and sat beside me, sighing deeply, “Girls?” He went on to tell me his stories of girlfriends and how he got by without caving. He always made me feel better.

I sat for at least an hour just thinking of all these past events when I finally got up and entered the apartment complex. The front door wasn’t locked, it never was. I trod through the lounge and up the stairs, still remembering where every creek was. I walked down the hall until I arrived at number 14: my old apartment. The door was unlocked. I chuckled to myself. My dad was always reckless when it came to this. I quickly wiped the smile from my face and entered the apartment. I looked around and to my shock…

… The apartment was in ruins. Couches were turned, bedding was thrown about the floor, the fridge lay on the floor, the blinds were shredded, lamps lay on the ground, and even the ceiling light was broken from its position. I stared at the wreckage for a few seconds. There was no way this could’ve happened to my childhood home. I walked into my old room. It was spotless. Not because things weren’t thrown around, but because there was nothing to throw around. All of the things I left behind were gone. My shock grew greater and I quickly fell out of the room to check my father’s. Everything was a mess. The bed sheets were torn and lay on the floor, the bedside cupboard door was broken off and looked like it had been used to break through the window. I turned and re-entered the main area of the apartment.

I cried. I cried harder than when my father died. I cried harder than when Winter died. I cried harder than when I broke my leg for the first time. I curled up and cried on the floor like a five year old who can’t find their mum in the supermarket. I cried for maybe half an hour before I was reduced to sobbing. Then I heard something. I rose to my feet and listened. *scratch scratch. scratch scratch* I looked around for the source of the scratching and moved toward the kitchen. The scratching got louder, and then I realized it was coming from the wall. I listened along the wall until the scratching became it’s loudest. I thought about what I *could* do and made my decision. I moved back and thrust my foot through the wall. It came to pieces. I continued kicking and tearing at the door until I had made enough room to fit into what lay behind it. After doing so, I got my phone from my pocket and lit the area ahead of me as best I could. I couldn’t make out what was there at first, but I soon realized, and I can’t even explain what I felt.

In the corner of the small room stood a table. A small, wooden table. Atop it was a propped up photograph of me from when I was about 15 years old. Below the table, Was a large stained white cardboard sheet, on which my name was scribbled. Around the corner, all the pictures I had ever taken of myself, whether it be solo or with my friends, was pasted on the walls. I began crying again. In another corner of the room, another picture of my face was stuck to the wall. Around it, red lines were drawn to my closest friends, college mates, my girlfriend and of course, my father. 3 faces were crossed out, including my friend John, who committed suicide the year before, my girlfriend and my father. I couldn’t bear looking at this for very long and soon turned to see a small basket. I looked in the basket to find toys and other things I thought had just gone missing over time. Things that were small enough to have just lost.

I ran out of the room and fell to my knees, trying to hold back whatever food was trying to come out of my stomach, when the door opened. I looked up, and there he was. He stood exactly the same way I had first seen him.

He stood at least 7 feet tall. His skin was as white as a sheet, and his figure was bony and malnourished. He was naked, yet, apart from his bodily shape, he resembled anything but a living creature. His head was tilted back, although his eyes were fixed upon me. They stood out, even in the dark as blood red. He held them as wide as I’ve ever seen a man open his eyes. He pinched his mouth to the bottom of his face, only seeming to elongate it. He showed no body language. His arms hung by his sides and he simply stared at me with this shocked (well… I assume it was shock) face.

He turned to walk when I stood up and yelled at him. Words flowed from my mouth, I can’t even remember what I said. He stopped for a few seconds and then ran off, with those long, animated strides. I fell to my knees once more. Shortly after, I went down to my car and retrieved my laptop, bringing it upstairs.

I’m typing this message now, to anyone who may receive it. I’ve tied my bed sheets into a noose and soon I’ll be away from everything. No-one else has to die. One last life for the salvation of many.

Thank you all for accompanying me throughout thisjhaudhbhalushd

asdhkfluhubekbvsj—-ashieb

behind you

Credit To – Reddit: He_Coontbuster

This story was originally posted on /nosleep/ – it has been reposted here with explicit permission from the OP. You can see the original posts here, here, here and here if you so desire.

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The Shredder Monkey – Part 1

June 17, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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This is Part One of a three-part series. The next two installments will be posted over the next couple of days; alternatively, you can track The Shredder Monkey Series tag for new updates.

E-mail from: Ian Koros, Contributor, Scientific Fringe Magazine
To: Michael Wyzeki, Editor-in-Chief

Mike,

Several weeks ago, I was presented with a bizarre account I believe you’ll find worthwhile.

A friend of mine first found it. You know those spam e-mails, the ones that sometimes make their way into your inbox? For erectile dysfunction pills, diet supplements, et cetera? Anyways, this friend of mine clicked on the link attached to one of those by accident.

But instead of an advertisement for an erectile dysfunction pill or diet supplement, this one lead to a personal blog kept by a young woman. A girl named Ariana Gomez, apparently. I’ve tried to find this Ariana Gomez on Facebook and Instagram, but so far have had no luck.

My friend forwarded it to me, and I printed out the blog entries. It was a good thing I did, because the link no longer works. I got an error message the second time I clicked on it. And a pretty nasty virus, I should add.
Neither of us could find the picture of the monkey that Ariana Gomez refers to.

Below is the account in its entirety, which I retyped word-for-word from my printout. As to authenticity, you are free to judge for yourself.

Sincerely,
– Ian

*****

Blog entry: September 1st, 2014

Okay. Hi. I’m the girl who put up the picture of the stuffed monkey. You know the one. Squat, squarish torso. Long thin arms; skinny little legs that would never support that bulky, squarish body. Round head with two little ears on top. Purple, with puke-green details and a big pink circle on what’s supposed to be its belly. Red eyes and nose, no mouth. Not sure what’s up with the mouth.

Here’s how it is: this monkey is haunting me. This little cartoon character – the Shredder Monkey, he’s called – has appeared in my life on two completely different incidents, yet has absolutely no presence in pop culture. And then there was that singularly disturbing incident at work with the old man with dementia, and what he said …

Anyways. Lemme start at the beginning.

It was fourteen years ago. I was eight. My aunt and uncle had a timeshare by Lake Tahoe. Every summer, my whole extended family would drive out there for a couple weeks to swim, water ski, barbecue – you know, escape the commute and the suburbs, fun in the sun.

Since other people used the house as well, my dad liked getting an extra day off work and driving out early, just to make sure the place was livable – nothing broken or rotting, no beer bottles or used condoms or dead hookers lying around.

That year, to ease my middle-of-summer boredom, I decided to tag along with him.

So we took off in my dad’s Civic for the eight-hour drive, through an early-summer storm. At some point, I fell asleep in the back seat, lulled by the sound of rain against the window. When I woke up, we were parked outside of a dilapidated gas station.

I opened the door and climbed out. I didn’t recognize the area at all. The rain had stopped; it was warm, and the sky was bright blue and cloudless. The gas station had four pumps and one tiny shack that functioned as a snack shop. There was nothing but fields of tall, yellow grass on all sides.

The snack shop (or whatever it was) looked as though it had been standing since World War II. It was a little place, with walls of rusted sheet metal and one wood and mesh door. No windows. Just three blackened, indecipherable neon signs. My dad stood outside the car, pumping gas. He gave me five dollars to buy food.

The inside of the sheet metal shop was scarcely in better condition than the outside. The fluorescent lights were dim, and dust hung in the air. The white-tile floor was stained and peeling. Two old refrigerators rested against the back wall, stocked with soda and beer. A variety of cigarettes and tins of chewing tobacco were displayed behind the front counter. And there were several shelves dedicated to snack food. Candy, chips, beef jerky, plus more substantial stuff – cans of beans, string cheese (I stayed away), tuna, condensed milk, cereal. All coated in a healthy cover of dust.

I looked around, and realized that I didn’t recognize any of the brands.

A couple examples: CHALK chocolate (at least, I assumed it was chocolate). Something resembling a Snickers bar in a pastel purple wrapper with bright blue lettering. I had no idea what was in it, because the nutrition facts and description of the product were all written in a strange language that resembled Chinese characters mixed with Egyptian Hieroglyphs.
Then, there was some brownish substance in long, skinny plastic packaging. I guessed you tore open one end and squeezed the contents into your mouth, sort of like go-gurt. I didn’t know for sure, however, because the label was in another bizarre written language. Though not the same one. The CHALK characters featured straight lines and triangles, while this writing was squiggly.

Okay.

A little freaked out, I was about to leave. Then I glanced at the cereal display, and noticed one box had English writing on it. SHREDDER SHOCKS. The box was yellow, and the words were red comic-sans. Kid’s cereal. The picture on the front was of a bowl filled with milk and what looked like shredded wheat squares and pastel marshmallows. The marshmallows were in the shape of purple monkeys. On the back were the obligatory kids’ cereal box games, hosted by a large picture of a cartoon monkey in a bamboo (huh?) tree.

You guessed it. Purple, with puke-green paws and circles around its red eyes, big pink circle on its belly. Square body, long arms, proportionately-incorrect legs. No mouth.

There was a circle-shaped maze, and text telling you to “help the shredder monkey find his way to the oasis.” At the upper right corner of the box, the other end of the maze, was a picture of a little cartoon pond, complete with happy-looking fish poking their heads out. Also, there was a word search, with words like “monkey,” “jungle,” “adventure”… you can guess at the rest.

As I examined the colorful box of cereal, I heard a shuffling that could have been footsteps in the next aisle over. Thinking it was my dad, I went to look. But no one was there. Then, there was a “whoosh” and a SLAM!

The mesh door was swinging. There didn’t appear to be anyone behind it, and I was alone. Weird. The wind, I guessed. I took it as a hint that I needed to get out of there as soon as possible.

I was hungry, and extremely untrusting of the inexplicably-labeled foodstuffs I’d seen, so I decided to take my chance with the Shredder Shocks. I grabbed the box, went up to the counter, and paid the cashier. I don’t exactly remember what the guy looked like. I think the cash register he used was a manual one. I exited the store with my snack, climbed back in the car, and a minute later my dad and I were back on the road to Tahoe.

The cereal was pretty good. Kinda like Lucky Charms and Shredded Wheat Thins mixed together. I ate handfuls until I was bored of it, then amused myself with the games on the back. Which were uncharacteristically hard.

I mean, you guys all remember the word searches and mazes on the back of cereal when you were a kid. They’re made for kindergarteners. Kindergarteners with IQ’s approaching two digits. But this maze I couldn’t solve. I must have tried for half an hour. It was weird; I could see the entrance, I could see the exit. There was a clear path leading to and from each, but the paths didn’t connect.

And the word search was utterly impossible. I decided it must be a misprint. I tried to work it out on a blank sheet of paper in the back of the Goosebumps book I was reading, but all I found was the same patterns of letters, repeated over and over again.

GARD
NWODR
EH

Confused and frustrated, I tossed the box and my book aside and curled up for a nap. When I awoke, we were in Tahoe. At some point while I was asleep, the blue sky had clouded over. Distracted by the bustle of moving stuff through the puddles into the house, cleaning up, and picking out my room, I forgot all about the cereal box. Nor did I think about it at all once my mom and my brother Jose and my cousins showed up, nor while we were swimming or barbecuing or camping. And, two weeks later, when we drove home, the box was no longer in my dad’s car.

On the way home, we didn’t pass the strange, dilapidated gas station.

Fast forward nine years.

It’s 2009, I’m seventeen. A senior in high school. I’m at a toy store in the mall, looking for a first birthday present for my cousin’s baby.

As any parent (or aunt or older sister) knows, walking through the stuffed animal aisle in of a chain toy store is a little bit like walking through Disneyland while tripping on acid. Lots of colors, lots of cute, a little terrifying. I was between Pokemon and Pillow Pets when I saw it fall and land right in my path.

It was a stuffed monkey. A purple and pink and green stuffed monkey, with a bulky square body and dangly little legs. Red eyes, red nose, no mouth.

I picked the little guy up. I had no idea where he’d fallen from, and I couldn’t find any others that looked like him. Confused, I flagged down an employee.

“That’s strange,” she said. “I’ve never this stuffed animal before. I don’t think he’s one of the ones we carry, maybe some kid left him behind.”

She ended up letting me have him for free. I don’t know how she would have charged me otherwise; he didn’t have any tags. So I took the stuffed monkey home and kept him in my room. The Shredder Monkey, it had to be. The same monkey as on that bizarre box of cereal I’d bought from that bizarre gas station nine years before. That bizarre cereal I’d never found again.

I’d looked for Shredder Shocks every week at the local Vons, where I shopped with my mom. They never had it in stock, and none of the clerks I asked had ever heard of the product. And when I Google’d Shredder Shocks, I came up with nothing but dune buggies, RC cars, and some episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

No big loss. The cereal hadn’t been that good. I’d looked for some of the other products I’d seen at that convenience store as well, and found similarly useless results. I’d come to assume that dilapidated gas station only sold poorly-made local merchandise, or brands that had been discontinued.

But, all of a sudden, the Shredder Monkey was back in my life.

I wasn’t scared of it, at least not yet. I showed the stuffed monkey to some of my friends, and then to my little cousins’ friends. No one had ever seen a toy like it, nor witnessed any version of the Shredder Monkey on cereal boxes or cartoon shows or anywhere on the internet. As far as pop culture was concerned, he didn’t exist.

Now, fast forward five more years. To this year. Three days ago.

I work for a small ambulance company out of Glendora. I graduated from Citrus College with my AA, but wanted to take some time off in order to earn money and focus on getting into a good BSN program. Life as an EMT with an inter-facility transport company is pretty easy; 90% of the job is driving bed-ridden, confused old people to and from dialysis.

That night, at around 19:00, my partner Ben Cisneros and I were dispatched to San Gabriel Kidney Center to pick up Henry Gaffigan and take him home to Sunshine Convalescent, a delightful little one-star facility where there’s regularly human feces smeared on the floor. We’d been on since 8:00 that morning and were both starting to drag, but you can’t argue with overtime. So we got there, got the guy on the gurney, and loaded him into the rig when Cisneros realized he’d left our oxygen bag inside. He ran back to get it, leaving me alone in the passenger compartment with Produce Aisle Henry.

A little about Henry Gaffigan.

Henry’s 96 years old and weighs around 90 pounds. He’s got a laundry list of chronic diseases, ranging from anemia to CHF to Parkinson’s disease. Mentally, he’s what we call a/o times 0, which means he can’t tell you his name, where he is, what day of the week it is, or what’s going on. Actually, he can’t talk at all; mostly he just stares at you. His atrophied legs are contracted, his right arm is contracted, and his left arm is ragdoll-limp thanks to his second stroke two years ago. His back is so stiff you can’t even prop him up in a wheelchair. He’s on continuous oxygen and, after dialysis, his BP drops so low that twice we’ve had to call 911 from the Kidney Center.

“Hey, Hank,” I said to him cheerfully. “I’m gonna take your blood pressure real quick, okay?”

He stared at me.

I wrapped our manual blood pressure cuff around his left arm. The dialysis machine had given me a fairly healthy 112/54, but those things love reading high. I put on my stethoscope and distracted myself fiddling with the earpieces. Then I heard the whispering.

“New… od…”

I dropped the stethoscope. No way. But his lips were moving again.

“New… Odor… Eigh..”

The utterance was a gravelly whisper, drawn from atrophied vocal chords unused for God knows how long.

“New…Odor…Eigh…Guard…”

I stared at him, mouth gaping. Henry Gaffigan was non-verbal. We’d taken him to dialysis for three years, he hadn’t uttered a word in all that time.

“Mr. Gaffigan!” I said excitedly. “Can you tell me what your name is?”

Then he sat up.

I wouldn’t even call it “sitting.” It’s more like his body folded at the hips like a hinge. He didn’t support himself with his hands, and his back didn’t arch at all. He just sat straight up, like Dracula out of his coffin in the old black-and-white movies. The nasal cannula attached to his face grew taut, then was pulled from the house nozzle.

Like a puppet’s, his head twisted towards me.

“NEW! ODOR! EIGH! GUARD!” he roared.

His voice was mechanical. Metallic. Like the voice your friend’s voice morphs into when she yells into a steel pipe. And the scariest part was that the jibberish words didn’t seem to be coming from Mr. Gaffigan’s mouth, but from all around me, down from the sky and up from the ground and right in front of my face, all at the same time.

I screamed. In one desperate motion I opened the back door and jumped out of the ambulance, stumbling as I hit the asphalt and nearly falling onto my partner. He was back with the oxygen. As I steadied myself, he frowned at me.

“You okay, Gomez?”

“Mr. Gaffigan… he… he said stuff!” I panted. “Did you… did you hear?”

He gave me a strange look, then climbed into the rig to secure the oxygen bag. He stayed in there a minute, and I heard him repeating Mr. Gaffigan’s name, trying to get his attention. Then, he leaned out the door.

“You sure?” he asked suspiciously. “He looks about normal to me. But you forgot to put him on O2.”

Bracing myself, I climbed into the back with him. Mr. Gaffigan lay motionless on the gurney, exactly how we’d positioned him. The blood pressure cuff still dangled from his left arm. His nasal cannula hung at his side, detached.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared shitless at that point. I let my partner tend to Henry Gaffigan while I drove to the convalescent home, and the old man didn’t do anything else out of the ordinary. He was confused, silent, and quadriplegic, just like every transport before. Was I going crazy? I knew what I’d heard. What I’d seen.

And those words… that jibberish. It wasn’t completely unfamiliar.

As soon as I got home, I wrote down phonetically the syllables Mr. Gaffigan had uttered. (Chanted? Screamed?) It was easy; the terrifying sound was unforgettable.

New, odor, eigh, guard.

I puzzled over it. I repeated the words in my mind, then out loud, over and over again. I allowed them to blend together, gain meaning, lose all meaning. And then I got it.

I still live with my parents. Convenience, mostly; work’s close and they don’t charge me rent. And my parents have a frustrating habit of keeping everything – all my elementary school projects, high school textbooks, and childhood playthings live in moldy cardboard boxes in the attic. Which is where I spent that night, digging through said moldy boxes, until I found the one in which my brother Jose’s and my old books were stacked. Bunnicula, Baby Sitter’s Club, Harry Potter, Beverly Cleary… Goosebumps. Goosebumps number 3, 15, 23, 12, 7, 36…

Bingo. Goosebumps number 9. The book I’d been reading on that long drive to Tahoe, 14 years before. I pawed through the sticky pages until I found the blank one on which I’d written:

GARD NWODR EH

I took the book back to my bedroom, rearranged the words on a sheet of notebook paper, and compared them to the word salad Mr. Gaffigan had spouted.

Nwodr Eh Gard
New. Odor. Eigh. Guard.

What the fuck.

Maybe I am going crazy. Because I’m thinking a confused dialysis patient – a nearly-comatose dialysis patient who doesn’t know his own name – recited to me the meaningless syllables I found in a word search on the back of an obscure cereal box fourteen years ago. A box containing cereal that has, apparently, never existed anywhere except for that dilapidated gas station snack shop.

And that voice. That hollow, metallic voice. Booming from all around me, yet inaudible to my partner, no more than 20 feet away.

I looked up. My eyes rested on the stuffed animal that sat, amongst old dolls and beanie babies, atop my bookcase. The squarish, purple stuffed monkey with green paws and a pink belly. Long thin arms, skinny little legs. Round head, red eyes and nose.

And, even though it had no mouth, I could swear the thing was laughing at me.

Credit To – NickyXX

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