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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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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Be Careful What You Wish For

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still nothing.

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

“There we go” Kaya whispered under his breath.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Somebody ask it something else” Alex coaxed.

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

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

“Are you good or evil?”

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

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

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

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

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

“How old are you?’

The pointer moved again. 15

“When was your birthday?”

10 27 99

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

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

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

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

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

B l o n d e

B l u e l i k e y o u

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

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

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

“How did you die?” Kaya asked.

N O T Y E T

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

The pointer raced.

N O T D E A D

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

The pointer spelled out a response.
S O O N

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YES

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

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

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

Y A.

It stopped.

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

Screw this, I ‘m going to bed.

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

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

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

M I R R O R

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

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

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

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

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

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

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

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

N O N O N O N O N O N O N O N O N O….

Credit To – Misty Brown and Kaya Brugmann

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The Stalker – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah. Lucky freakin’ me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calling – Emi

Missed Call – Emi

Calling – Emi

Missed Call – Emi

New Text Message – Emi

New Text Message – Emi

New Text Message – Emi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOR YOU <3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHE KNEW. Somehow, that fucking bitch KNEW.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“About me. About what I am.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yesssss, today was definitely a good day.

Credit To – InfernalNightmare333

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

August 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

August 2014 Book Club: The Mothman Prophecies

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

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

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

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

So how does this work?

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

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

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