Knock Knock

February 6, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I bolted upright in the bed not sure what I expected to see, but knowing that something had startled me awake. Moonlight filtered in through the window and I shivered despite the unseasonably warm temperature. After a few moments I heard it; a soft tapping of fingers against glass. Slowly I turned my head to the window expecting to see some horrible creature lurking there with sharp fangs and terrible claws — but there was nothing. There wasn’t even wind to knock the branches against the window. Cautiously I slid out of the bed and looked out the window, feeling relieved to see there was nothing outside.

“Just hearing things.” I murmured coming back to the bed. I wasn’t used to sleeping alone but my partner was away on business. Surely it was just the change in routine startling me. Moments before getting into the bed I heard the tapping again, slightly louder this time; less hesitant. I spun around, sandy blond curls sticking to my suddenly sweaty brow. The window was clear. A still and empty sky allowed the full moon to illuminate the ground below revealing no one or thing outside.

This time a loud banging, behind me; llike fists pounding on glass trying to escape. Against my better judgement I crossed the bedroom to the bathroom, resting my hand against the warm wooden door before pushing gently. A bit of moonlight spilled into the room. Nothing different or odd, nothing jumping out but… I shivered again and leaned over to light the candle I knew would be to my left. The warm glow seemed much brighter then normal and I jumped when I caught my reflection.

“It’s just me…” I trailed off as the ‘me’ in the mirror raised it’s hand before flashing white fangs and shattering the glass.

Credit To – TinyBear

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Express

January 8, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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By the time Kevin made his way down into the subway station, there was no one else there but a solitary old man, sitting on a bench, using his cane to help him sit up straight. Kevin squinted at the schedule on the wall. From behind, he heard a grizzled voice say, “Whichever one you’re waiting for, you’re at the right station. They all stop here.”

Kevin turned to see the old man watching him. “Even the A6?” he asked.

“They ALL stop here,” repeated the stranger, who appeared to be dressed far too warmly for the season.

“I can’t believe the A6 stops here this late on a Tuesday.”

“Young man, this station is a major transfer point, and I’ve been taking these trains for many years. Believe me when I tell you, all the trains stop here.”

As if in answer, the sound of an approaching train came from deep within the tunnel. It sounded like it was coming too fast to stop. In fact, it sounded like it was running faster than subways usually do. It was only a moment before it went rushing past. But that wasn’t the shocking part. All the cars were jet black, but it didn’t look like they were painted, just…made that way. Every car was covered in the most indescribably horrific graffiti. Wild splashes of red paint decorated the windows. It was paint, wasn’t it? The lighting inside was very dim. All the passengers were shadowy figures who stood, unmoving. None of them were seated. Kevin couldn’t make out any of their features. So why did he feel like they were watching him?

“What the hell was that?” Kevin demanded as the mysterious black train disappeared into the opposite tunnel.

The old man hung his head, almost in shame. “I’m sorry I wasn’t completely honest with you. There is actually one train that doesn’t stop here. Only one.”

“Where does it go?”

“Pray you never find out.”

Kevin stood in stunned silence before the old man added, “By the way, if you’re taking the A6 you need to be on Platform 3.”

Kevin could barely gasp the word, “Thanks,” before walking quickly away.

As he was leaving, he heard the man call after him, “Also…”

He turned to see the man fixing him with a steely gaze that let Kevin know the stranger was about to give him the most important warning he would ever hear in his life.

“The next time you see that train. It WILL stop. Don’t get on.”

Credit To: E. Alan Rahn

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Crimson Fangs

December 31, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“I’m so cold.”

This was the first thought that entered into Amber’s dazed consciousness. Her eyelids flickered open to see nothing but hazy darkness around her. Moaning softly, she struggled to raise her body from the prone position she lay in, wrapping her bare arms around herself in response to the strange chill that permeated the air. She blinked several times and brushed a wisp of dark hair from her face as her eyes began to adjust to the ethereal aura that filled the cold, empty room.

“What… Where am I? How did I get here?”

She pushed herself up on one knee and shuddered. The room was cold… so cold. She had no memory of how she had gotten here; no memory of the past few hours.

Slowly, Amber stood and looked around. “He-hello? Where am I? Is anyone here?” she called out, her tremulous voice echoing slightly in the bare room. Her normally active mind was in a blur she attempted to discern what was happening to her, and in her confusion, an icy fear began to grip her. “What’s going on?” She shuddered and wrapped her arms around herself again. “Come on Amber, think; what’s the last thing you remember?” She rubbed her eyes. “Eric… A bookstore… No, I can’t remember!”

Amber peered around again. A strange, faintly luminescent mist writhed about her, giving off just barely enough light to see the shapes of her surroundings. It was by this cold light that she noticed the door and a chill ran down her spine, although whether for excitement or dread she did not know. Amber walked cautiously over to the door and reached out to grasp the cold doorknob. Her mind burned with a strange fear that absorbed her thoughts as she held the handle. “What’s behind this door? What if it’s locked and I’m trapped here? Why am I even here? This room is so cold.”

Her heart pounding, Amber braced herself and gripped the doorknob tighter, slowly twisting it and pushing the door open. To her relief, it gave way; and yet, to her surprise, it made no sound. No squeaking of the hinges, no soft jingle as the doorknob turned in its socket. Just silence.
She swallowed the lump of anxiety in her throat and bit her lip as she pushed the silent door wide open and peered outside. She stepped out of the doorway and looked around. It was a hallway, stretching for many yards on both ends. It reminded her of the halls in those old Victorian mansions, except this one was totally bare. No pictures, no statues, no houseplants, not even wallpaper; just dark, cold walls and doors. Dozens of doors lined either side of the hallway, each one identical and each one as dark and silent as the one she had just stepped through.

Amber shuddered and ventured again, her voice still shaky, “Um… hello? Is… is anyone there?”

There was no answer except her voice reverberating along the dank walls. She clutched at her arms and hugged herself tighter, her heart racing. “Should I try to open one of those doors?”

Taking a cautious step further out, she reached towards the doorknob opposite her. However before she could grab hold of the handle, she froze, and a chill of pure terror rippled down her spine.

A sound had emanated from behind her in the room that she had just exited: a low, sibilant hiss.

A small whine of apprehension trickled from her throat and she turned, her eyes widening and her face turning pale. She began to shiver uncontrollably as she stared into the dark room. At first she saw nothing, nothing but the same cold blackness that had surrounded her. She continued to stare ahead, not daring to turn her eyes away as she waited.

Then it was there.

A tall, lithe form stood, almost as dark as the room it occupied, vaguely humanoid in shape, but otherwise indiscernible in the darkness. Amber slowly backed away from the door, every instinct in her body telling her to flee, and yet she could not. She stood transfixed, gazing back at the shadowy creature in the room.

The low, hissing breath wreathed out from the murky chamber… and it smiled. The darkness smiled, with two rows of long, glistening, crimson fangs.

Amber’s senses were suddenly awakened as a scream tore from her throat and she ran. Her mind became numb with fright, her body bent on survival as she raced down the hollow passageway. She could feel it behind her; it was so cold. Rows upon rows of doors flew by her as she ran, not caring or thinking about anything but flight… and the fangs. Her vision began to blur as her mind raced frantically. “There’s got to be a way out, there has to be some way to escape…”

She could hear the serpentine hiss echo around the halls. It was following her.

The hallway ended abruptly, bending sharply to her right. With no time to slow her acceleration, Amber slammed into the wall and staggered back, not even daring to look behind her as she turned down the other passageway.

Still the hissing followed.

Sweat had begun to drip down her forehead, mingling with tears of terror as she felt the overwhelming sensation of hope and energy draining from her. Her run slowed to a stagger, her mind blazing with a strange, hazy pain. Still she continued on, driven by fear. As she rounded another corner, she saw the unexpected.

A single, desperate ounce of hope sprung up within her at the sight of the small but bright light at the end of the dark hallway; she felt as though it were the first light she had seen in ages. Amber didn’t care where it led, as long as it took her away from here; away from the cold hissing, and from those glistening crimson fangs. With renewed energy Amber began to sprint towards the light.

The hissing continued.

Before she knew it the window of light stood before her, glowing brightly and proving a stark contrast to the dank, gray walls around it. Mustering every last bit of energy within her, Amber leaped, hoping to pass through the light and into freedom… but her hands slammed into a wall of glass.

She gasped and hit the window again, but it did not budge.

The hissing drew nearer.

She pounded at the window, murmuring frantically under her breath. “What’s going on? What is this?!”

It was so cold.

Her brain cleared long enough to notice something behind the window. It was a man, and he was looking at her. Her heart leaped for joy when she recognized him.

“Eric!” she screamed. “Eric, it’s me! Please open the window! Help me!”

But there came no response. Her fiancé simply sat staring at her, his expression one of grief, his eyes slightly misted with tears.
Amber smashed her fists against the window, pleading desperately, “Please, Eric, help me! It’s coming! Please… please help me!”
Still he made no reply.

The hissing…

Amber slumped to the floor, her fingernails scraping against the glass as she slid down the window. Tears streamed down her face and her heart raced like a locomotive as she curled up and wept. “Please, Eric… Save me…”

The hissing drew nearer.

~~~

….beep……beep……beep……

Eric sat in the bright hospital room, listening to the never-ending heart monitor and staring solemnly at the still and quiet body of his fiancée Amber. She lay on the bed, her once beautiful and intelligent blue eyes glazed over in a state of comatose.

It had been nearly four hours since they had found her lying unconscious on the floor in the back room of the old Eldridge Bookshop, her eyes wide open in shock, and a small book resting in her hand. No one had any idea of what had happened to her. The shopkeeper said that she seemed perfectly all right when she had entered, and that she had been perusing through a collection of antique books that they had just received before she suddenly just dropped without a sound.

Of course, there was that book that she had been clutching; that small, strange book simply titled “Crimson Fangs”. What was so strange was that no author or publishing year was listed anywhere on it, not to mention the fact that the pages were totally blank. But then again, Amber liked those kinds of oddities. She was always collecting those rare misprints and old books that were only published for one month back in the 18th century. She was funny in that way. Eric sighed and once again grasped her hand. It was so cold.

For all of the past four hours he had sat patiently by her bedside, staring into her blank eyes and often talking to her, reminiscing about their times together or about her favorite stories; anything to wake her from her state. But nothing helped. The doctors were puzzled about the fact that, other than being in a coma, her body was healthy. Her breathing and heart-rate were normal and there were no signs of a concussion, cardiac arrest, a stroke; anything.

Eric reached out and tenderly brushed a strand of dark, silky hair from her face. She was so beautiful, even with her face frozen in a still, emotionless stare. He wanted to see her smile again.

His thoughts were interrupted when the door opened. The doctor walked over and placed a gentle hand on Eric’s shoulder. “You’ve been in here for a long time. Perhaps you would like a break?”

Eric swallowed back the dryness in his throat and stroked Amber’s cold hand. “Y-yes, of course. I just can’t stand for her to be like this, all pale and…” He closed his eyes and shuddered before standing up. “You’ll let me know if anything happens to her, right?”

The doctor smiled warmly. “Certainly; now go get some rest.”

Eric nodded and turned, with one last long gaze at the motionless form of his beloved Amber before walking out the door.

~~~

Amber sat by the window, staring up into the despondent face of her fiancé. She sobbed and reached up to weakly grasp at the sheet of glass that separated her from the one person that she loved and trusted most. So near, and yet so far.

“This has to be a dream. Wake up, Amber… Please wake up!”

Then he moved. She whipped her head up and stared with wide, desperate eyes as Eric stood and looked at her sadly before-

“No. No, it can’t be! He’s leaving me! He’s walking away!” She leaped up and screamed frantically, slamming her fists against the window, trying to get his attention, for him to finally notice her and save her. “No… No, please! Eric, don’t leave me! Please, don’t leave me!”

But he was gone. The window was empty.

Her breath heavy and her eyes hazy with tears, Amber once again slumped to the floor. Eric, her closest and dearest friend, the one person she could always count on to keep her safe, had abandoned her. Every last bit of hope had deserted her. She was alone; all alone in this cold, dark hallway. It was then that she noticed something was different about her surroundings. The hissing was gone. That horrible, chilling sound… there was nothing. Nothing but cold silence.

Amber held her breath, slowly turned her head…

And stared into the crimson-fanged grin.

~~~

A calm silence filled the bright hospital room, only broken by the steady beat of the heart monitor.

….beep……beep……beep……

Amber’s body lay, staring ahead blankly just as she had for the past four hours.

….beep……beep……beep…..

She blinked. Her eyes slowly shifted to look at the monitor.

….beep……beep……beep…………beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

She sat up, her black silky hair draping around her head like a nest of dead snakes. With one quick, stilted motion, she pried the oxygen mask from her face before her gaze turned to the door. There were the sounds of voices and footsteps outside. The light in the room flickered as a dark, ethereal mist began to writhe up from the floor. The doorknob rattled as it opened.

A low, sibilant hiss rasped out from Amber’s throat… and she smiled, with two rows of long, glistening, crimson fangs.

Credit To – Josh

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The Advent Calendar

December 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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It was the Christmas of 1965, before man had landed on the moon, before the wall had fallen, before many things good and bad. For me it was the last time that I knew innocence, before the creeping shadow which engulfed my family, before the madness, before death; before. It was the advent calendar, that damned thing which I had to have. Each door a promise of Christmas, and each window a misted reminder of the warmth and kindness of the festive season.

I was nine years old, and while the parents in my neighbourhood would have had no fears for their children in the past, allowing them to play freely in the icy December streets, those days were lost like breath on a mirror. If snow had fallen, there would have been no joy; no snowball fights in the darkened evenings, no sledges sliding carefree down the fields nearby – children could not be children. Though the young may have felt apprehension in the dark, it was the parents who were the most fearful; terrified of the ultimate loss, a pain they could never extinguish.

For the previous three Christmases, without fail, the worst had happened: a child had went missing. While I was very young, I remember it all as though it were yesterday. The suburb where we lived had become the most sombre of places. Such a tragedy can do that, slowly draining away any hope or happiness from a community like blood from an open wound. No Christmas tree nor carol sang could stem the flow.

The first to disappear was Tommy Graham. He was 11 years old and although I had seen him around, I didn’t really know him personally. I remember my mother crying about it. Just the thought of something terrible happening to a child distressed her greatly, and the pain that the parents must have been going through was often on her lips. That Christmas my dad held on to me tighter than he had ever done before, and I could tell that they were affected terribly by the disappearance just as the rest of the community had been. The following year, another Christmas came and another child was taken. Her name was Cheryl, and she was only four years old; tiny and fragile. Tears were shed, misplaced rage vented towards the police who were unable to find her, and by New Year it was the commonly held view that, like Tommy the year before, little Cheryl would never be found.

I, like many of my friends, had been scared by the vanishing children. It was the first time that I became aware that adults could do harm, even to the most vulnerable of us – that children were not always safe, and that those bigger and stronger than us could have unspeakable things on their minds. Yes, I had heard the fairy tales and frightening stories of the pied piper and the bogeyman, but what was going on in our suburb was far more gut wrenching, far more real, than any tall tale.

Despite this impact, it was not until the third child disappeared that I was truly heartbroken. His name was Fin, and he was one of my friends, a close one at that. We lived on the same street, playing football in a field by his house and walking to and from school together each day. My dad used to take us to the cinema most Sundays, buying us each a hotdog, and, when we got home, mum would serve us a beautiful Sunday roast. Fin was like part of the family, and I still think about him to this day. Where would he have been now? What would he have done with his life? How diminished have we been not knowing that boy or the adult he would have become. No laughs, no tears together, just an empty seat in the cinema, a vacant desk in the classroom. I remember his blue eyes and blond hair more than anything for some reason, that and his happy-go-lucky nature. I missed him then, and even now I wish that it were not true.

Like the others, Fin had been snatched from his bed as he slept on that most peaceful of nights – Christmas Eve. His parents had tucked him in, hanging his stocking over the fireplace, kissing his forehead, whispering a Merry Christmas as he fell asleep. They woke expecting to hear the excited scampering footsteps of their son rushing down the stairs to see what Santa had brought, what wrapped secret boxes he had left by the tree; and instead were confronted with an empty bed, the loss of their only child, and an open window sucking in the biting frost of Christmas day.

The parents of all three children would not let go – could not – nor would they assume the worst. Search parties were organised, flyers were continually posted through letterboxes, pasted onto bulletin boards and shop windows across the city, and the hope was always there that somehow, somewhere, the three children would be found, unharmed, and ready to come home. That year, on the 28th of November 1965, all hope was extinguished. In an old sewage pipe across town, the crumpled fragile bodies of Tommy, Cheryl, and dear Fin, were found stuffed unceremoniously into a corroded pipe in an old sewer, rotting in the waters below. The pain was palpable, the families inconsolable, and for all of us who new any of the victims, it was to be a bleak and shadow-ridden Christmas.

Three days later the month turned. Eyes moved towards Christmas and the shaking fear that something cruel and callous lived amongst us all. Three children in three years, now into the fourth. What would happen that Christmas Eve? Which family would be broken? Which child torn from its comfy warm bed, dreaming of Santa, only to be killed and discarded like a piece of fetid waste?

My parents were nervous, and who could blame them. I sensed the change in atmosphere around the streets where I usually played; families pulling their children in earlier and earlier before the dark came. At night, on more than one occasion, I heard hammering echoing out from an unseen source; no doubt windows being nailed shut to prevent any more children being snatched as they slept.

On the 1st of December my dad hung our Christmas lights outside along the gutter of our roof; little beads of glowing colour piercing through each cold winter night. We tried to continue on as normal and think of happier times. As always, he asked me to help.

‘You’re my wingman, kiddo’, he’d say from behind his bright red scarf, clambering up a set of wooden ladders to the roof above. He had flown for the air-force before I was born and still used the lexicon of those days in the military, but I didn’t mind, it made me feel special.

In previous years I had been too small, too young to be of any real use in decorating the outside of our home. But my dad always included me. I think he just liked to do things with me, to have some father son time. Standing at the bottom of the ladders looking up at him whistling Christmas songs out loud made me feel part of the accomplishment, part of the yearly celebrations. That December was different, however; it was the first time I was big enough to go up the ladders with him, to look out at the old street below and see the occasional blink from a weathered set of lights clinging to a neighbour’s fence or home.

My mum was terrified – she had visions of us both falling to our death – but my dad always seemed sure of himself. Not arrogant, just confident, and cheerfully reminding us all that things would be okay. Looking back, I think that’s what I loved about him the most when I was a kid, the fact that he had it all in hand, and did everything to reassure his family and friends. I never felt in danger up those ladders, always loved, always safe; always. Before we came down I remember looking at the rooftops poking out in regimented lines from the streets around. I noticed that the world seemed different from up there, and that to me, there appeared to be fewer Christmas lights than ever before.

That night, I knew what was coming. My mum tucked me into my bed, as my dad finished hanging some paper ring decorations from my bedroom ceiling. I always felt that those decorations protected me somehow. I’d stir in the night, scared of the dark, and yet at Christmas time I believed that somehow those pieces of coloured paper, that blinking Christmas tree in the other room; that those symbols, those pieces of good will would keep whatever monstrosities hid in the dark at bay. My mum kissed me on the forehead and left the room, and there was my dad, standing in the corner with his hands behind his back, smiling.

‘Well, wingman, you know what time it is?’ he said as we both began to chuckle.

‘Let me see, dad, please!’ I yelled, excited.

From behind his back he produced an advent calendar. I leapt for joy across the room and hugged him before snatching it from his hands and diving back under the covers. Sitting down on the bed, dad ruffled my hair with his fingers, watching me curiously. He knew I loved getting an advent calendar each Christmas, and I had worried that I wouldn’t get one that year as he’d told me that most of the shops were sold out of them. But, dad being dad, he’d spent hours driving around until he found one, and made sure that on the night of December the 1st, the first night of advent, there it was.

The calendar was beautiful, handmade with carefully crafted drawings on its front and back. The lines and sketched colours lovingly showed a Christmas street full of lights, with houses covered in snow, and the windows beaming with a warm yellow glow waiting for the night Santa would arrive. What I loved about each year’s advent calendar, the good ones at least, was that they told a story. They showed something wonderful happening. Each door or window would be opened night upon night revealing a picture, building until that magical climax of Christmas. I loved the anticipation of the holidays, and the advent calendar symbolised the hopes that Christmas held; not just presents, although as a child that was a big part of it, but spending time with my family, seeing my grandparents who usually lived in another part of the country, and getting to eat all the chocolates and turkey I could cram into my mouth. Getting to be away from the boredom of school, getting to play with new toys, getting to have fun with my friends…
It was the thought of friends which brought me down for a moment. There I was holding an advent calendar, each cardboard door numbered from 1-24; from the 1st of December until Christmas Eve. The same night that one year previous, my dear friend Fin had been taken, murdered, and left to rot down a sewer.

I began to cry, and almost instinctively my dad seemed to know what was upsetting me. He asked about Fin, and when he mentioned his name I sobbed deeper than I had since his death. My poor friend who would never again go on those carefree days out with me and dad, or walk alongside me to school laughing and playing. It was then that my father explained to me something about death, words which have always stayed with me:

‘You know something,kiddo? As long as you keep the memory of the people you’ve lost in your mind and in your heart, they’ll always be alive. They’ll always be with you; so Fin is right here’, he said, pointing to my chest gently.

With those words I felt a soothing comfort wash over me, and, all cried out, my dad tucked me into bed, kissed me on the head and said goodnight – knowing to leave my bedroom door open slightly, to let some light from the hall keep my room from the dark.

He had left the advent calendar sitting nearby, its closed windows facing me from my nightstand. And yet I was exhausted, and so my thoughts drifted from what lay behind those cardboard doors to sleep, and hopefully to a more rested state of mind; but that did not occur. I woke in the night from an horrendous dream about my friend Fin, little four year old Cheryl, and 11 year old Tommy Graham, crushed down a sewer pipe; the water running over their bodies into mouths which once spoke and laughed and smiled, only then to be rendered silent by an unseen brutal hand. In the darkness Fin’s voice cried out, garbled and drowned. A word came forth and clung to me like no other: ‘run’.
I leapt out from my bed, soaked in sweat, ready to cry out for my mum and dad, but then something strange caught my attention, shaking me to the core. I looked to the advent calendar, to the drawings of cosy houses covered in snow, their windows beaming out into the cold December night; sitting there waiting almost as I had left it. Yet something was amiss, something which I had no memory of – the first advent door had been opened, the cardboard left ajar like the one to my room. Stepping forward, the sweat dripped from my hand as I pulled the door back to reveal what secrets the calendar had in store for me.

In what little light there was, I squinted, my mind slowly piecing together the picture behind door number one. As my eyes adjusted, I recoiled in horror at the sight, and screamed for my family. Within seconds the light was on and my dad appeared, picking me up, consoling me as he put me back into bed. I pointed feverishly over to the calendar, telling him that something awful hid behind the door. Of course he looked, then smiled reassuringly: ‘It’s just a happy Christmas scene, kiddo’, he said handing it to me.

Looking closely I could see that the picture had changed slightly. It depicted an old stone bridge covered in snow. Children played on top of it happily. Yes, it appeared quite harmless, quite serene. My father left and soon I was drifting back to sleep. Yet my mind hazed over with two thoughts: of Fin screaming ‘run’ in my dream, and of what I could have sworn I’d seen in that first little calendar door. The bridge was there, but underneath in the dark, eyes looked out to the children playing gleefully above; eyes which seemed wracked with rage and hate.

The next day at school went quickly, but on my way home I dragged my feet over the bitter frozen concrete paths and pavements, thinking of Fin and how he had always walked with me. As my house came into view, I smiled for a moment at the lights dad and I had hung on the roof. They warmed my spirits, but when I entered my room, my soul was chilled stagnant once more – the next advent calendar door had been opened. This time I knew, I hadn’t been there to do such a thing in my sleep as I had assumed must have happened the night before. No, someone had opened it. I touched the yellow number 2 of the cardboard door, a number which should have promised a treat or a happy picture reminding me that Christmas was near. I hesitated and then looked behind it. Another street scene played out before me. This time a small boy pulled a red sledge behind him as other children threw snowballs at each other, grinning wide and happy. At first I sighed with relief that the picture had no hidden intruder, no eyes staring out of the darkness in contempt; but just as I sat the calendar back down onto my nightstand, I saw it. The faint outline of a person looking out towards me, almost invisible, yet hiding within that Christmas scene in plain view, sitting there on the boy’s red sledge.

I closed my eyes and rubbed them, fearful that they might reaffirm the figure’s presence once more when opened. But just as the darkened eyes had disappeared from under the bridge on the 1st of December, the faint outline of the unseen pretender had moved on from the picture. I knew that no one would believe me, and even worse I barely believed it myself. My nine year old mind could not comprehend such strange and ominous occurrences, yet I was not so removed from the idea of horrid things scuttling around in the dark; creatures which even parents could not protect you from. The figure had moved on, I was certain of it, and I knew that it must have travelled and hid behind the door for the 3rd of December.

The next morning, I told myself that I would not open any of the closed doors from the advent calendar. I promised myself. Yet someone, something, was doing it for me. That night I awoke in the darkness once more. The same dream playing out, poor Fin muffled and drowned by the putrid sewage water. Crying out in the dark. Crying out, and yet warning, pleading. ‘Run’, he said. ‘Run’. Again, I leapt from my bed, and once more the calendar door for that day had been opened by an unseen force. There in the dark I looked, compelled by the fear of not looking. The terror of not knowing what was to come. For in that 3rd picture it became clear to me, something was on its way. Something unspeakable was plotting and slowly but surely drawing closer. Behind that door lay another Christmas scene, families skating on a beautiful iced lake, and under that transparent barrier between the cold air and the icy water, there was a shape. Darkened, indefinite, but malevolent, a blurred form under the ice, eyes staring up in disgust at the families who happily skated above.

I screamed again, and yet the results were all too familiar. My mum and dad arrived tired, yet never annoyed at their child for waking them in the night. Mum put me into bed, and as she did so I explained frantically to them both that something was appearing in the advent calendar, that each door held proof of something which meant to do me harm. Yet there was no evidence of it, only three open doors showing happiness and fun at Christmas. Dad said I was having bad dreams, and that he and mum would sit with me for a while until I fell asleep. I heard them whispering about work in the morning, but they were more concerned about me than losing a few hours of rest.

The next day, again, I tried to ignore the advent calendar; tried desperately to avoid its doors. And again, I failed. In the night I awoke from the same hideous dream, and yet this time, the calendar was not open. The door with a yellow number four remained closed. I hoped that whatever strange thing was in those pictures had left, that I could forget the hateful haunting eyes, and that I could return to simply enjoying the anticipation of Christmas; but just as I nodded pack to sleep, happier than I had been since they had first found Fin’s body, I heard something – the sound of a thumb or finger pulling at cardboard. I opened my eyes and stared in utter disbelief as the fourth door was pulled open by an invisible hand in the dark.

It is strange that I did not scream, but since then I have heard people say that when you are as scared as you can possibly be, that you cannot move, nor can you cry out for help. I opened my mouth, and no noise came, a paralysis of fear which was overpowering. There I lay in the night, staring wide-eyed at the fourth door, wondering what disturbing depiction it would reveal, and even more so, terrified that whatever had opened it still lurked nearby.

I wish I could say that it stopped, that the horrid revelations ceased, but I cannot. Some nights the dreams of Fin yelling at me to run came, but on others they did not. The only constant was that at some point a calendar door would be opened, whether in the morning or at night. Each door would show a happy scene, and each time something hideous, which only I could see, would be momentarily present. One door showed a group of carolers cheerfully singing at night, warmed by the glow of an open window, and at the rear there stood an outline, something watching, something waiting, something moving on relentlessly to Christmas Eve – the last door. Another picture showed a small girl, no older than poor Cheryl who had been killed, placing presents into a stocking, and yet for a moment there was the faintest impression of a hand, reaching out from the stocking towards the girl.

By the 20th the horrific pictures had intensified, as too had the dreams. Fin now screamed my name, his voice echoing up through a drain, pleading with me to ‘get away’. And as those nightly terrors revealed themselves, the pictures had taken on more weight, more immediacy, for I was certain that they now showed the street where I lived. My dad found me crying that night and when asked what was wrong, I told him. I believed that there was something evil coming. Something horrendous which had snatched a child each of the previous three Christmas Eves. The same evil which had taken my friend. That hidden horror which on Christmas Eve would come for me.

Dad reassured me that this was not the case, that I was imagining things. When he looked at the pictures on the calendar he just saw nondescript streets, anonymous faces, nothing which suggested the place where we lived. But I saw differently; the drawings clearly showed house by house, inch-by-inch, that something was drawing nearer each day, fleeting glimpses of a faint figure waiting to gorge itself once more. My dad offered to throw the advent calendar away if it was upsetting me so much, but I pleaded with him not to. I needed to know. I had to see what was coming, what was on its way to snatch me from my family as it had done the other children.

The 21st, 22nd, and 23rd of December were torturous. While I should have been excited for Christmas day, I was not – I was terrified, for I knew that I would never live to see it. The calendar door on the 21st, opened by something unseen while I slept, showed a house come into view, one with glowing lights hung around the roof gutter, and the faint outline of something terrible approaching nearby. I was certain that the house was mine, and that the light which beamed outward onto the snowy landscape was from my family. Though as I peered out into the night from my window, there was no snow in reality, just a biting wind and a frost which covered everything like a shroud. I could not see a figure out there, but I felt it, somewhere close, just waiting for Christmas Eve.

On the 22nd, the figure drew closer to our home as the snow fell around it in the advent calendar, and on the 23rd the prowler had reached the gate to our garden. That night I had such a terrible vision. In my dream I found myself lying in the dark. I could not see, and all that surrounded me was the empty coldness of winter. Pain coursed through my body and the sound of running water pushed over it, forcing me deeper into an abandoned drain. Putting out my hand instinctively, my fingers touched the frozen mouth of another child. Slowly it moved against my hand, and its stagnant lips whispered as if weakened. ‘Run. Get away.’

I did not wake screaming, nor did I leap from my bed as I had the other nights like an animal fleeing from a predator. There I lay in the silence of the night, and in that stillness, I cried. The paper chains and decorations my family had hung from my room’s ceiling proved no protection from the pain or from the thoughts of the three children, how they had been taken, and how I would be next.

And then the day had come: Christmas Eve. I was frightened, but a distance took me, one which slowed my words and left me dispassionate about the festive season, about my family. I wish I had not been that way and had savoured every moment I had left, but I was drained, numbed by the lurking fear which had haunted me for weeks. Tired of it all. A strain which no nine year old should have had to bear.

My dad knew that I wasn’t my usual self, as I normally relished Christmas Eve like most children, excited and completely enthused for what would come. But there I was outside in the cold, helping him fix part of the lights which had come unhooked in the wind. I watched my dad on the ladders once more, the wind rattling everything around – the slates on the roof, the trees, the gutter. I thought about how Fin’s family, or little Cheryl’s or even Tommy Graham’s, would have been preparing for Christmas day like we were, happily unaware of the loss they were about to undergo. At least I knew, I had foresight, each hideous picture hinting at that faint figure coming closer and closer to my home; to open my window as I slept waiting for Christmas morning. To snatch me from my bed, to slaughter me, discarding my body down a sewer pipe, used and forgotten. As the wind howled and the lights chinked and jingled together, I looked back at the gate to our garden, to where I had last seen my future attacker. I could see nothing, just an empty street on the quietest night of the year, but in that absence I could feel eyes bearing into me.

My dad climbed down the ladder whistling merrily to himself, and as I looked up at him I simply asked, matter-of-factly, if he would nail my window shut. He didn’t ask why, he knew many parents had done the same, and so we went inside as the evening rolled in, carried by the promise of frost from the outskirts of the city. Dad got his toolbox out and drove a large series of nails into the frame of the window. Once I was confident that there was no way to open it, I thanked him and asked if he would do one more thing for m; only one – to sit next to my bed all night and look over me until morning. Unlike the other nights, he did not tell me that there was no monstrosity out there, nor did he say that the world was a safe place, for that would have been a lie. He placed his hand gently on my shoulder and said: ‘If you need me, I’ll sit right here until it’s time to open the presents.’

And sit there he did. My mother came in to kiss me on the head before returning back to the kitchen where she was preparing things for the dinner next day. I so wanted to see it. Presents meant nothing to me by that night, all I cared about was being there at the family table, laughing with Gramps and Gran, and knowing that the nightmare of December, 1965, was over. I fell asleep as my dad sat by the bed, reading his book.

It must have been two or three in the morning when I woke. I was unsure of the precise time, but what I knew was that my dad was standing at my window, looking down, out to the street below. I whispered to him and asked what was wrong, but his reply was hesitant: ‘Nothing, kiddo. Go back to sleep’.

Then I heard it, certain and laboured. The sound of footsteps slowly walking up our garden path outside, shambling forward towards our home. The sound frightened me, and my thoughts immediately turned to the advent calendar, to the faint outlined figure which had haunted me. From what little light there was I could see that the door for Christmas Eve was sealed shut, yet to be opened.

The footsteps continued, one after the other, slowly, steadily. My dad stared intently outside as I asked if he could see anyone there, but he just shook his head in disbelief. The footsteps ceased and silence covered everything like the frost outside. Suddenly it was broken by three loud booming knocks. It was at our door. I cried out in terror and started sobbing.

‘It’s come to take me dad, like Fin and the others!’ I howled in utter despair as the tears slid down my cheek.

‘Nonsense. It must just be a neighbour or something’, my dad said unconvincingly.

‘No dad, it’s here to take me away!’ I screamed as I handed the calendar to him. ‘Open the last door, open it and you’ll see. Christmas Eve, each Christmas Eve it takes a child and if you open that you’ll see it, I promise, you’ll see it!’

Three more loud knocks echoed out, and for the first time in my life I saw fear flicker across my dad’s face as I could hear my mum stirring from her room, shouting through asking what was going on.
Three knocks once more, this time more pronounced.

‘Please dad, look at the door, open it and you’ll believe me. It’s here for me.’

My father’s hand trembled as it held the calendar tightly. Slowly, he opened the last door to see what was shown. ‘God no!’ he yelled out, and with that we heard the most hideous of sounds. One which was laced with dread. A click of a lock. The turning of a handle. And the front door opening to the cold. Then, footsteps climbing stairs, looking, seeking, and then slowly coming down the hall towards my room.
‘Dad please, help me!’ I pleaded as the nightmarish thing in our house drew closer.

He looked at me, trying his best to hide his fear, but I could see it etched into his face, into his soul.

‘Listen to me son, as soon as I go out there I need you to grab all your things, anything heavy, and barricade your door. Don’t let anyone in this room unless it’s me or your mother’.

I believe in that moment he saw the utter despair in my eyes, and before he left the room as the footsteps reached the room next to mine, he spoke gently, patting me on the head. ‘It’ll be okay’, he said. Then he was gone.

I did as he said, and as soon as he had left the room I moved my nightstand, my chair, my books, anything I could against the door, sobbing my eyes out, praying that my parents were safe. At first I heard nothing throughout our house. Then suddenly violent shouting erupted, a struggle quickly followed with what sounded like furniture being thrown and glass smashed, and then the worst of it – my mother screaming. She cried and yelled and agonised. And finally, I could not bear it anymore. I could not leave her alone. Clearing the things away from my door, I opened it, and wandered down the darkened hall. A cold icy air blew through the house. The front door lay open, decorations swung in the frozen breeze, and outside knelt my mother, alone, terrified, screaming into the night.

Losing a parent is hard for a child, and to do so on Christmas Eve harder still. Yet the torture of that night cuts deeper than most. Few can know my true pain. Over the years I have tried to understand it more clearly, understand what my life was before and what it is now, to little avail. I cannot give solid explanations, nor can I say that my anger will ever truly diminish. I’ve tried to live as best I can, putting the mystery out of my mind each year, each year that is, until Christmas. When the memories flood back like a comforting blanket, soon torn away by a silent hand from the dark. My own children, now grown up, have asked me why I become a little distant at this time of year, and to that I have given no real answer. All I can say is this: I do know two things, both of which haunt me to this day. The first is that no one ever saw or heard from my dad again, my mother remained tight-lipped until she died about what had come into our house that night – what took her husband – and who can blame her. I also know what the last door of the advent calendar contained, and what had frightened my dad so badly. It was a drawing like the others, a happy Christmas scene, with one horrid addition. It showed a boy sleeping soundly in his bed on Christmas Eve; a child who looked uncannily like my poor friend Fin, unaware that his life would soon be over, and that he was being watched through the frosted window by his killer – whose face looked remarkably like that of my father’s.

***
If you enjoyed this story, please consider checking out my books on Amazon. Sorry for the self-promotion but it can be difficult to get the word out there. Thanks as always, everyone.

Credit To – Michael Whitehouse

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A Gift for the One Who Has Everything

December 23, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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A Gift for the One Who Has Everything

This is a video pasta. If the embedded video is not loading for you, please click the link above to go directly to the video’s YouTube page and try watching it there.

Credit To – Martin Yates & Calum MacPhail

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Mirrors

December 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Mirrors, a window in which one’s true self can be viewed. But something has always been off about mirrors, you can’t deny it. Deep down in your brain there is always some bad feeling that you can’t quite put your finger on when you stare into a mirror. That, my friends, is your brain trying to warn you. Your subconscious notices it long before you ever do. Something off, something that just isn’t quite right. It’s never something too obvious, though it is never impossible to spot. It’s not like the mirrors constantly want to feed, but doesn’t everyone and everything get hungry? Let me rephrase, mirrors aren’t “alive” and they don’t want to eat you. In fact, I’m not sure how any of this got started in the first place; all I know is that if you have a poor self image then you are in for a really bad time.

Anyway, it may start with something as small as a slightly darker shade of paint on the wall, or something just a few centimeters away from where it really is, all the way down to random actions that are barely even visible to the human eye. They almost always go unnoticed, almost always. I will touch on what happens when you notice them later, but this isn’t the time for you being scared; for all I know you could have noticed it by now, so I’ll do you a favor and save the gruesome part for the end. If you have already noticed it then you may be looking for help. The only good news I can give you is that you won’t be needing a coffin because there won’t be anything to bury, but if you really want to
prolong the life you have left then what you need is to get away from all mirrors! You need to distance yourself from all reflective surfaces, and you definitely need to shatter the mirror you first noticed the anomaly in.

While I can’t say how long that will stop anything bad from happening, it will increase your chances, and hopefully help you sleep better at night. After that, it may be a good move to scuff up any shiny surfaces; even slightly reflective surfaces, the less reflective the better. I’ve known people who lasted a few years just with this, but keep in mind you can’t stop all reflections. Other peoples vanity items? Hell, your own eyes have reflections; do you have enough guts to rip out your own eyes? Yeah, there isn’t much you can do. Especially since after a while, you don’t even need to be looking into the reflection, things just kinda start to happen. Then the next time you look in a mirror, BAM!! You’ve already been fucked over.

So lets get down to it. Right now you are probably thinking “How do I know if I have noticed an Anomaly?”. Well you won’t be able to at first. It’s not like the mirror just swallows you suddenly. You’ll most likely just think that it’s strange that this one hair is here when its actually there, but after you see it once you start to notice it more. Not just little changes either, they can become massive. The worst part is: the more you notice it, the more it happens. It is a downward slope; after these events have started there is no way to get back out. See, it doesn’t seem so bad at first, nothing but slight mishaps. Pretty soon though, it gets bigger: someone off in the distance that isn’t there, little blemishes or pimples on you that aren’t, but it doesn’t stop there either.

Before you know it, major changes start happening to you. Wounds appearing on you, but unlike the other things, that never leaves. Once the wounds are on you they stay in every mirror. Various contortions and bodily mutations start to show up, not in real life; you look at yourself and you’re fine, but these mirrors just keep showing you what you don’t want to see. Just when you think it can’t get any worse suddenly, it stops. Yep, just like that. You look in the mirror and there is no reflection, poof, gone. There is a big relief when that happens. Well, until you try to leave the room and remember that there used to be a door here. Oh, and when you look down and notice that those mutations and wounds you saw are now actually on you. That’s right folks, you are now that disgusting, demented, and tortured person you saw in that mirror! Oh, and you are locked in the mirror. Yeah, those little “blemishes” aren’t very insignificant now, huh?

I’m just glad I got trapped in a room with a computer.

Credit To – Captain Stubbs

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