Support Call ID: 100156-03

July 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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SUPPORT DESK TRANSCRIPT

ID: 100156-03 Supp User: Jim_D
Call Date/Time: 08-16-201X Cust Acc: 212254674

Supervisor Notes: Customer account identified at intro – passed thru to support. FLSH case No. 83447

======================================

JIM: Hi. I’m Jim, your mobile phone support contact. This conversation may be recorded for training purposes. How can I help you today?

CUSTOMER: Hiya. Having some trouble with the speech recognition. It doesn’t seem to understand what I’m asking.

JIM: Okay. I just need to get a few additional details first before we go any further. Are the contact and billing details on your account up to date?

CUSTOMER: Yes.

JIM: And I see here your contract began a month ago.

CUSTOMER: Yes. I connected to the 3G network last week and it flashed up something about a software upgrade and that’s when the problems started.

JIM: Thanks, but I just need to confirm a few more things before we can start trying to identify the issue and resolve it for you. Your mobile is a Samsung Galaxy S2 and you have 3G internet access, is that correct?

CUSTOMER: Yes. I mentioned the 3G already…

JIM: I just needed to confirm the facts before going any further. So, what appears to be the problem.

CUSTOMER: As I mentioned BEFORE, the speech recognition is playing up.

JIM: In what way, and with as much detail as possible please.

CUSTOMER: When I try to search using Google, it keeps mishearing what I’m saying and brings back what I don’t want.

JIM: Well Sir, no voice recognition software is 100% accurate. Have you tried speaking slower and/or louder, preferably somewhere with little or no background noise?

CUSTOMER: Why didn’t I think of that! I’m being sarcastic by the way.

JIM: I have to cover all the suggested options, even the obvious ones Sir. Could you give me an example?

CUSTOMER: Yeah, sorry. Yesterday I tried a search for ‘Restaurants near where I live’, and the results were local graveyards and mortuaries! I’m not planning on booking a table for one at a location like that for another 50 years or so.

JIM: Understandable. Anything else?

CUSTOMER: A couple of days before that I tried a search for some family pictures so I could change my background, and it returned, well, a whole lot of sick images I can tell you!

JIM: What do you mean by ‘sick’?

CUSTOMER: Dead bodies. Some mutilated. Lots of blood and gore. What looked like cannibalistic rituals or something. Really sick shit. What if my kids had been using the phone!?

JIM: Could you refrain from swearing please Sir.

CUSTOMER: Sorry. What about the pictures though?

JIM: You can put parental controls on what your phone can access on the internet, which I can take you through next if you have the time, but this sounds like something we may have to escalate if these pictures break certain decency criteria.

CUSTOMER: Okay.

JIM: I believe you mentioned these problems only started occurring following a recent update to your phone?

CUSTOMER: Yeah. No idea what it was. The window just popped up and I clicked ‘Install Now’. Took about 5 minutes including the reboot.

JIM: Do you know what version of Android your phone is running?

CUSTOMER: What, you mean one of those funny food related names? Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich. That kind of thing?

JIM: There are specific numeric versions, but the codename should do as a starting point.

CUSTOMER: OK. I wrote it down somewhere, hold on.

CUSTOMER: …

CUSTOMER: …

CUSTOMER: Back. It says ‘Android 2.2.3 Flesh’

JIM: So that’s version 2.2.3 Froyo, short for Frozen Yogurt by the way.

CUSTOMER: No, no…it definitely says ‘Flesh’ here.

JIM: …

JIM: Could you hold on whilst I speak to my supervisor please.

JIM: …

JIM: …

JIM: Sorry for the wait Sir. Having spoken to my supervisor and reviewed your firmware download history, there does appear to be a problem with your recent installation. Please open the Settings on your phone and select Software Update to download the most recent version. That should resolve all your problems.

CUSTOMER: OK. Thanks for that. I’ll give it a go.

JIM: Could you try it now Sir and let me know when it’s done.

CUSTOMER: I can’t right now but I’ll contact the support desk again if it doesn’t work. Thanks for the help.

JIM: Please try it now whilst you’re on the line Sir.

CUSTOMER: As I said, I can’t. I’m calling on the land line. My daughter’s using the mobile right now, talking to her sister. The credit ran out on hers. She might be a while – you know how these teenagers are…

JIM: Please ask your daughter to end the call NOW Sir. With your recent update there is a known issue in the firmware that can also affect both incoming and outgoing calls. Some users have complained of headaches, nausea, and other unexplained side effects.

CUSTOMER: What? I thought that scare about mobiles giving you brain tumours or whatever was just that…a scare?

JIM: I am neither confirming nor denying anything Sir, and our Terms and Conditions plus liabilities are available on our web site. However, due to a recent bypass of our firewalls, an unknown update to the Android operating system was released without our knowledge over our network. We claim no liability for this software upgrade and are investigating the breach in our security. In line with the requirements of your contract and for your own safety and that of your family, please upgrade your software NOW and refrain from using your mobile for any and all calls.

CUSTOMER: Is this a joke?

JIM: Sir, please take the mobile off your daughter and end any current calls. Our company will not accept responsibility for any harm that may come to your family following this warning.

CUSTOMER: You’ve got to be kidding me! Damn small-print assholes. Hold on….Lauren….finish talking to your sister Hannah and give me the phone. I said, give me the goddamn phone! What the…….shit, are your eyes bleeding honey!?

JIM: Exit the house now please Sir.

CUSTOMER: Lauren….wha…speak to me. Put the phone down and speak to me.

JIM: Lock all doors behind you and vacate the premises.

CUSTOMER: Just…just come over here and let me take a look at…at your eyes… There’s….there’s blood coming from your ear as well. Here, let me take the phone off you….

JIM: Please refrain from interacting with your daughter and exit the building now Sir.

CUSTOMER: [yelling]….Goddamn it Lauren, you bit me! What the hell is wrong with you! Back off now! I mean it. [screaming] Jesus! My fingers….my fucking fingers! No, no, no, no……stay….stay back. [sobbing] Lauren please…..

[sounds of physical struggle and furniture damage]

JIM: Sir? Sir?

[sounds of wet coughing and of a pet, possibly a large dog, feeding]

JIM: ……..If you can still hear me Sir, thank you for calling your mobile phone help support. A specialist contractor and clean up crew has been dispatched to your address to deal with your ongoing issue. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

[call terminated]

Credit To – Charmingly Shallow

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Echiridion Aetheri

July 4, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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This may seem a little strange for a story, however I assure you what I am about to describe to you happened to us. There were five people present when it happened, although they may have their own separate and independent accounts of the event. Apart from them, I seem to be the more analytical type. I took the liberty of cataloging the event in every detail; that I am able to recall anyway, and to the best of my ability.

Of the four friends present at the time the important parts took place, there was: Rachel, my finance, although we never intended on marrying traditionally. Cody, my best friend since middle-school. Teressa, Cody’s girlfriend, whom nobody in my close circle of friends particularly enjoyed the company off. Alex, a film student, although he did not personally own a camera at the time. Then finally, myself making five people in total.

In the weeks passing immediately after the time we came across it, the only notable event that would have “made a lasting effect” on anyone outside the five of us would have been the death of Alex’s great-uncle. This death was expected as he was in his late 70′s, and has suffered a stroke only weeks ago. We could not logically connect his death with our experiences, so we best assumed them unrelated.

Discussion about this event between us has since stopped. As this topic tends to bring about us a feeling of dread, trauma. Probably a form of post-traumatic stress. I don’t know. What I do know is information relating what we found, and that I am going to pass this information directly onto you. So that you may either seek it, or avoid it as you will.

Quite simply, what we found was a book. It was bound in what an inexperienced eye would call “leather”. However, it did not have the classic, leather smell that even the oldest books tend to keep over time. Much like the feel of a heavy rubber, but with the distinctive smell of freshly used gym-shoes. The book was in an archival condition, but was discolored with age. The spine had seven distinct raised ridges, an intended aesthetic feature of the binding process. The color of the book, was that of a fine chocolate. There were windowed divots pressed into the front cover that only reinforces such comparison.

On the top of the book was a double-linked chain,\ which appeared to be made of brass, and at the end of that chain a heavy weight, I would say to be “several ounces”. This ensured that the chain was always dangling from the book pointing toward the ground. The “pendulum” was small for its weight, pointed, much like a rifle round, with the flat end having a tapered neck, where a thick brass wire was coiled around the head of it and feed through a hole where the chain was attached. The weight itself was elaborately engraved with seemingly random ornamental spirals, lines, and circles. The kind you would see normally painted fine pottery.

Trust me, we tried to remove it. It was very sturdy in its construction. Cody wanted to wear it as a necklace, and as all young-adults, we could care less about what parts an old book was missing. It wouldn’t come off. It was a very strong little tassel. We decided that we would take then entire book instead. We didn’t find this book in an old trunk, in an abandoned house or anything like that. It was laying on a shelf, with no cataloging markings, in the small genealogy section of our hometown library in [Classified-12], Michigan.

The book was honestly not that difficult to steal, as it seemed the book has not been cataloged. If it were cataloged, that would not have changed anything. Books in our library have easily identifiable and removable security strips in them. Not that they would risk damaging a book of this age with the addition of these security strips. I myself simply walked out of the front doors of this library with the book in my messenger bag. The agreement, in risk of getting cause stealing this book, was that I was able to keep it. Fair for me to have such an old and beautiful addition to my already decent home library.

It was titled “Enchiridion in Lux Aetherial”, meaning “Handbook of the Light Ethereal”, at least that is what online translation told me. However, the words “in Lux” and the “al” at the end of “Aetherial” were discolored. Not from old age, but more interestingly as the title on the binding was brushed with silver leaf. Those few letters appeared to be painted in a glossy walnut colored paint. However, did not detract from the overall style of the text. This seemed deliberate to us after short discussion. We, from that point, referred to the book as “Echiridion Aetheri” or “Ether Handbook”. Depending on the amount of latin we wanted to work into our lives on a given day.

It might seem strange to you, but we did not actually open the book until we returned to my place. In the heat of finding the book, we opened it up only to the front page, where the title was reinstated to look for stamps or stickers marking it as library property. Other than that we did not actually search through the book’s contents. The title on this front page was clear and the letters “in Lux” as well as the “al” were again, whitewashed and ultimately illegible. To the point you would only know the book’s title by looking at its binding.

While the book seemed to be well-kept, the pages told a different story. Thumbing through them, one could see varying sized dark brown splotches every couple of pages. Obviously stains from a liquid. At the time we presumed this to be blood, although now in hindsight, I realize it was too light to be blood. We never did get around to test it.

Now, the weird part. The book was not written in Latin or English. In fact, there were no recognizable roman characters in this book whatsoever. The text in this book was written in vertical columns from left to right. There was “whitespace” in between every few characters which may have been indicating the end of a word. There was no indicator for the end of a line or of a thought it seemed, and just went on for page after page. It included exactly 97 unique commonly recurring characters. Similar enough for us to draw a table for them, however there were countless other characters which may have represented words or concepts, similar to the Japanese kanji. Although the style of the writing was most likely not of oriental origin. The text was written in 51 columns on each page, with a spacer between every 17 columns, and was written on both the front and back sides of the paper. There was some space between the last vertical of text, and the edge of the paper, about and inch. This area on every page, with the exception of 28 full page art pieces. Within the text at intervals were many well lined, black and white diagrams of what I gathered to be minerals and gemstones in one part of the book. Plants and animals in another, and somewhere near the middle, a very precisely drawn and inked astrological diagram depicting seasons, and others representing the precession of the equinox and [Classified-12].

Also, the book contained quite a few “full page” lined and painted art pieces. The style was different from that of the book’s many diagrams in the sense that it was best described as flamboyant and brightly colored. Even in its age, the quality of the watercolor paints used, it had to be watercolor, were testament to the creator’s intentions of having this book survive for a very very long time. The text in the book seemed to be separated into 17 distinct sections, each made up of 19 – 34 pages, the book was 428 pages long, including the title page. This does count both sides of the paper used, meaning it was a book bound from 214 individual sheets. The book with binding was roughly 2 and a half inches thick, 10 and a half in height, and 6 and a half inches in width.

After a while, a few of us realized that what we had found might be just a legitimate “priceless artifact”. We eventually came upon doing the right thing, and went immediately to the only person we knew that could deal with a situation such as this. We called a history professor of mine at 10pm that night on November 17th of 2013, a Sunday. He told told us that he was already in bed reading, and that he was preparing his next week’s lesson plan. After giving him the details, the same I have just given you, thieving of the book included. He suggested that the book may have been a hoax, dropped off at the library for someone like us to pick up and make a media frenzy about.

He agreed to, at 6am early the next day, pick us up and would go to the paleobiology department of the college to radiometrically date the book as a group. After we didn’t sleep that night, we gathered up enough energy to head out with him to the college. When we arrived we were surprised to come upon a couple of his colleagues, other professors whom he informed and joined him to date the book properly. Using a small file, some of the “brassy” material of the chain weight was put into a small vial with liquid, and separately as well as a 1cm square of the paper used to write the book. Using an atomic mass spectrometer available at the institution, we dated the book to be roughly between 600 and 800 years old by the paper used, and 800 to 1400 years old by the brass pendulum. However, this did tell us the book was not in its original binding. Also while the paper was authentic, the printed Latin text on the titlepage was added much later in the book’s lifetime. Presumed the same time the binding was added.

We wanted the college to hold the book for us, so that no harm came to it. The professor insisted that we take it back home with us, as he said “I cannot guarantee its safety while it is on campus.”. The professor then added that he did not want to cause an uproar so soon, and would need to do some research, as well as us on where the book may have come from, sometime between the 10th and 14th centuries. Trust me, the 4 of us; Cody, Alex, my fiance and myself searched many encyclopedias, the society archives, and even the [Classified-12] records held by the [Classified-12 - - - - - -] for more than a week.

This was fine all, but it was no longer fun. It became real work, some of us became bored. Rachel stopped searching after a few days. I was started to lose interest as well. Cody however, decided that attempting to read the book was the best method of finding the originator. This made much more sense to me that what we had been doing. We both knew enough to grasp the concepts depicted in the diagrams of the handbook. We knew this would be a good place to start, as the names of astrological bodies haven’t changed all that much over the last 2000 years. Eventually, the professor joined in with us in an attempt decipher the book’s contents. Not long after that is when it happened.

It was 2am, December 4th, the 4 of us had been working late, Alex had already drifted off to sleep. I was also getting to that point, I decided to use the restroom, take a shower, and then head off to bed. Cody, at the time was my roommate, and he headed on after me. The book was laying on our research table, along with clips from old papers, and any other clues we could find. However, when I came out of the shower, he was still working on the decoding. I walked up and told him “Hey, we can get to this tomorrow. I’ve only gotten an hour of sleep a day for the last week working on this. I’m sure Teressa’s starting to worry about you.”. He looked up at me, in an reaction, half sorrow, and half amazement. I can’t quite say. He just keep beading into my eyes and then calmly smirked and said. “Your girl going in there or is it free?” referring to the shower.

He came back out, grabbed a bowl of cereal like he normally did before he went to bed. Lucky charms I do believe. I went to sleep, my room is nextdoor to his. We have always kept the doors to our rooms open. This was some sort of sick joke the two of us played where each couple would try to get the other hearing them fucking. Anyhow, this night, he closed his door. I kept mine open as usual, and Rachel came in wrapped in two towels like she did every time after she showered, one of them in her hair. We feel asleep rather quickly.

I woke up at about 4:30 am to the sound of a door closing. Our house was two story 3 bedroom, with half the living-room converted into another bedroom haphazardly barricaded by bedsheets strung up between the overhang. He left out the front door of the house, but he was attempting to be quiet about leaving. I had assumed that he was leaving with his girlfriend over to her place, like I had earlier vaguely suggested. 4 hours later I was woken up by Rachel waking up and getting dressed. Figuring that everyone else was gone, and that we had the house to ourselves, we ended up having sex, and didn’t really start our day until about 11am.

First thing after that, she went to use the restroom and then ended up making a pot of coffee for the both of us. She sat in the living room, and as I was coming downstairs she murmured the worse words I have ever heard a human being speak. “Where did you guys put the book last night?”. I naively responded by walking up to the table, pointing to it without looking at, saying “Right there.”. As I looked down coffee in hand, to my dismay, the book was not there. I didn’t panic immediately. I figured that Cody may have put it into its usual spot, an honest lectern with a lock. That was sitting within the same research table. I unlocked the desk to the table to open the lectern, which had a small hole in it to open the lid to the closed lectern drawer. It wasn’t in there either. I then pulled out my cellphone to call Cody, now with the assumption that he had taken the book with him to do research at Teressa’s house, in the afternoon. Not a big deal. That was until I had realized the ringing coming from the kitchen counter next to a half eaten bowl of lucky charms.

I went outside, his car was still parked across the street, and now the situation was starting to look a little urgent. Me an Rachel drove down to Teressa’s house to see if he was there. Teressa’s was not necessarily a far from where we were, about 10 or so blocks. Something Cody could have walked, but at 4 in the morning unlikely. We knocked on her door, and she told us that she had not hear from him in almost 4 days. I knew this already, but I thought he went there last night.

On the 21st of December, just a few days before Christmas, after looking for at least two weeks we found him. The state and local police, got involved after we filled a missing persons report. Shortly after, federal agents and [Classified-12] after he was found. The professor was the person we went to after Teressa. He helped us in filing the case. We don’t know if the book was ever found. For all we know it could be in a [Classified-12 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -].

When we found him, we were all in a state of shock. The police were confused, as were we. My fiance had to leave, and Teressa was crying. Alex ended up writing a report for the police and the federal agents who showed up not long after. He was found, still alive thankfully, in a storage unit not far outside of the city. Cody was a medical student, but he was an unsuccessful dropout. I can’t blame him for that. Cody had pumped blood into a bag, rather crudely, from supplies of questionable origin. He had made a duplicate of the book, the entire book, on heavy weight canvas, written in his own blood. He had lost so much blood that he was not able to respond when he was found. After a short while [an] [Classified-12] ambulance picked him up taking him to some kind of [Wellness] [Classified-12] Center not far from [Classified-12 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -]. The federal agents confiscated all of the photocopied pages of the book, as well as most of the manuscripts that he had written in relation to [Classified-12 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -].

The media did not cover this story, and the “Enchiridion in Lux Aetherial” is now lost to us. The only part of the book we have that remains, are the notes that were confiscated and then returned to us after [Classified-12 - - - -] searched our house. Cody, is now in a [Wellness] [Classified-12] Center for his condition. The last time we spoke to him, the only coherent things we could muster from his garbled speech was, “She stands at the edge of space, solidity congealing blood, a formless star, nothing begat her, motionless, still, she stands… she stands at the edge of space… she stands… she stands at the edge of space.”. With that, we [Classified-12 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -]. hope that you don’t come across these same horrors. I don’t know if there was already something wrong with him or what, but if it could trigger him like that, then… I just don’t know.

Credit To – Xyeunliatbhs

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The Leather Cape

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

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

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

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

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

“You’ll be fine. Go!”

“Do I have to?”

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

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

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

“Well?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“To grind your skin…”

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

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

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

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

Calliope music.

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

“…GO INSIDE!” it was saying.

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – saqua23

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Chronicles of the Mark – The Snake In the Sun

April 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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View the original story here: The Mark of Canus.

Two concepts exist in our world, the natural, and the supernatural. Humanity actively sees and understands the natural, as we progress in science and mathematics, but most of us refuse to observe the existence of the supernatural, as we usually cannot perceive it. Many outright deny the possibility of supernatural occurrences, artifacts, or entities entirely, on the grounds that these things cannot be logically explained. The supernatural cannot be explained logically because it is not based in logic, as logic itself is a natural principle.

The human mind, or at least the part our basic consciousness resides in, is another natural thing, an article of logic. This is why we are not able to accept the supernatural as real, because it goes against the very basis of our understanding. Many argue the supernatural is in a part of our minds, the usually dormant part from where psychosis comes from, the crazy part, and that our minds have the capability for the supernatural, but that portion is almost always locked for some reason. Either way, the supernatural most certainly exists, and there is a lot of power in it even today.  One such case of supernatural power in the world is the Mark of Canus, a manifestation of evil in the universe, and a driving force for violent insanity and even deeper darkness in the confines of the mind.

The Mark of Canus has had a profound impact on certain individuals throughout time. James Dodd, an outlaw turned lawman in the American West during the time of expansion and greed recalls his experience with the Mark:

The year was 1876, a full one hundred years after this country was founded. During that time we have seen many wars with the natives, continued fighting with the British, and a full blown Civil War, but all those horrors pale in comparison to the man known as The Snake in the Sun, Darrel Shrimer, the gold tycoon.

Shrimer was an ambitious man, known for his drive and ability to get things done, but there’s more to him than that, alright. He was sadistic, ultimately evil, and it all had something to do with this symbol he always had on him, on a belt buckle or boot. They say you could see it in his eyes, pure evil in that symbol. I shiver to think of when I looked on it. My story with him begins with my return to Albright, Arizona.
I rode into Albright in the late evening, had taken me all day to get here from Tucson. Things felt different going into the town this time, could be because I wore a badge now, instead of a bandana. I was born in Montana, but Albright had been my home for a while, when I was with a gang. Things are different now, I protect people. I cleaned up myself and became one of the best, an Arizona Ranger. Yep, I wore a bright badge and a lot of responsibility with it. The last time I’d been in Albright I had been a criminal, so naturally I knew things would feel different riding in with that weighty title.

Maybe it wasn’t the badge at all, I couldn’t really explain it, but something had come over the town, a heavy feeling. I thought nothing of it, maybe it was just me, after all I’d killed men here years ago. I rode up to the bar for a drink and some food when I noticed a strange marking on one of the posts, it was some kind of symbol, a symbol I would later come to abhor for the rest of my life, but back then it seemed like just an odd little scratch in the post, so I went on in and sat down at the bar.

I looked around to exactly what I expected, people staring. They had a scared look in their eyes, they knew me from before. I used to be a stone cold killer, a criminal who’d rob and steal and shoot men for a living. It’s no wonder they all looked frightened to see me. I’d been brought to justice by a lawman, but not all justice in the West ended in blood. He took me to Tucson to be tried, and they stuck me in prison for many years, many turned to few as I was let off for good behavior. I was completely reformed, cast off my old life in crime, to seek a new one in the law.
I ordered a steak and some Dawson brew, and was waiting for my food, thinking about my new life here when a young man came up to the bar and sat next to me. “You that Jim Dodd they talked about, the outlaw gone put on a badge?” I looked over and saw his face. He looked young, his face not yet rough. He looked innocent enough, and yet there was something off about him, an odd feeling I got. I said nothing, only turned out my badge and nodded. The boy said, “So it is true then. You’re gonna keep the law round here?” I nodded again, eyes still on the boy. “That mean you gonna take Russell Lewis and the Snake in the Sun?” He asked. I cocked my head in curiosity, partly as to who these people are, as well as that the boy was so frank with me about the nature of the law. Sensing my puzzlement, he explained, “The Snake in the Sun is Darrel Shrimer, that gold boss who’s been sweepin’ cross Arizona lookin’ for gold and fortune. They call him the Snake in the Sun on a count of he will kill a man in broad daylight, as much as the dark night. He’s had the whole town in his hands for comin’ on two years now, and I reckon he won’t let us go till someone puts him down or he gets bored. Russell Lewis is his right hand man, he’s just as scary. This guy is like the Devil ate a scorpion and spit him back out into the desert to mock the Lord by puttin’ him in the image of a man.”

I was intrigued at these man he talked about. I’d heard once of Darrel Shrimer, apparently he had gone out on a mining expedition with a whole company of men, went up into the mountains, and returned alone, with a large fortune of gold and a ruthless ambition to get more, but that sounds like most all other gold tycoons around the West. This is the first I’ve heard of murder and settlement extortion, and who was this Russell Lewis? If these claims were true, I’d have to do something, being a man of the law.

Just as I decided to open my mouth and tell the boy I’d look into it, his stare changed. He now looked pale, almost grey, and those eyes, they were empty. The eyes were as empty as the night sky in the Mojave, and just as deep. My blood ran cold, I was frozen stiff. I could not look away. Then the boy said, in a raspy voice unlike what I had just heard from him, “You can’t stop the Mark, it lives everywhere, inside you, inside your mind. The Snake in the Sun will make you submit, submit to the warming insanity of the Mark. We have given in, all of us, Albright belongs to the Mark, to the Snake in the Sun. Can you feel it, man of the law, can you feel the Mark in your mind? It’s there, waiting for you to see its glory, and love it eternally in darkness as the Snake in the Sun, and all of us.”

I looked at the boy for a moment longer, trying to figure out if what I heard was even real, I was very tired. I blinked a few times, and to my surprise he was still there, with that grey look about him, but now the symbol from the post was there, inside both his eyes, this time terrifying, its silent glare penetrating my mind. It was like looking into the essence of the symbol itself, which I now knew as the Mark. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, that Mark. It’s the face of terror, the face of sin and greed and corruption, it’s the origin of all evils. I turned away, towards the rest of the bar, only to see them all the same, silently staring with the Mark in their eyes, silent, unmoving. All of them. I got up without my food and left the bar.

I ran out into the street, unhitched my horse and saddled up as fast as I could and spurred the old bronco out of town at full speed. The Sun was down but I didn’t care, I was so mortally terrified, and every part of my being was screaming at me to leave, leave while I can. Think of it now what I did was pretty dumb, but I was just so scared I couldn’t think of anything else but to turn tail and run like a child. I rode and rode into darkness until I the horse was so exhausted she just collapsed in full gallop. I flew off her and hit the ground hard, then I blacked out. The last thing I saw as I flew through the chilly desert air was my horse, eyes gaping, the Mark in those eyes.

I came to when a hand tugged at me. In a daze I realized my own hands were tied up, and I was sitting atop my horse, walking along behind another man on a horse. He held the rope. I could tell I wasn’t speaking complete sentences, but I tried to ask what was going on, said I was an Arizona ranger and I demanded to know why I was tied up. The man ahead of me wore a black coat and brown hide hat, all dusty. He didn’t turn back, only laughed, the kind of laugh you hear in a looney bin. He then spoke, still facing forward, with a voice that could cut stone, “That’s a good one, friend, but the law don’t make it round these parts, law dog. And that shiny badge of yours, well it just got you in a world of hurt!”

He continued to laugh, and by this point I was all cleared up. “You trying to be funny?” I said, “Sounds to me like you’re the one about to be in a world of hurt when I get loose here friend.” He was silent for a second, then replied, “Who you think you are anyway, Dodd? The only reason you’re still alive is because It wants you somethin’ bad, and the Snake in the Sun wants to watch you suffer It’s madness. That’s the world of hurt I was talkin’ about earlier.”

I was surprised he knew my name, the Arizona rangers are officially anonymous, I had no ID. I finally asked “How’d you know my name anyways, slick?” “Oh It always knows, Jim.” he replied quickly, “It told me ‘fore I laid eyes on you yesterday. Besides, I heard about you, been an outlaw in Albright stirrin’ up trouble daily, caught by Manny Gargas with that six-shot .44, and put in jail. Then out of the blue they let you out early and you change colors, swappin’ your red sash for a white hat, and go on slaughterin’ outlaws like you’re some patron saint of Arizona. I hate lawmen like you, who use violence as means of ending violence.”

He made a point, but I was still baffled he knew so much of me. “And just who are you then?” I asked. He finally looked back at me, his face was rough as sun-bleached leather, all cut up and dusty. He looked like he’d been dragged through Hell by the spurs and pulled back to Earth again. “Why little old me? Name’s Russell, Russell Lewis, friend. I work for the Snake in the Sun, and I’m an outlaw through and through. I hope that hurts you inside, Jim, seein’ an outlaw you can’t kill? And, I serve It, our master, the Evil of Humanity. I serve the Mark. That’s all you really need to know there, Jimmy boy.” “Pleased to meet you.” I said, as we came upon the town. I looked ahead and saw him.

From a distance he looked like anyone else, a man on a horse, in a hat and coat. As we got closer and closer I began to make out features, He was older, snowy hair and mustache. He had a rough, stern face which was ever the norm in the West. He wore a tan coat, a hide hat and a nice shirt. On his boots was sewn an image of the Mark, and on his shirt and hat.

Then, as we got really close, I saw something different in him. His face was like an animal, he looked borderline insane, like he could snap at any minute. He looked evil. “So this is the James Dodd I was so compelled to have brought here.” He started, “you know something boy? You should have stayed in that jail cell, cause it ain’t half as bad as what you’re about to go through. You’re in Hell now boy, God can’t save you now.” I was thoroughly convinced of his words, but I wouldn’t show it. “You got a pair of balls holding an Arizona ranger like this. I’ll see you tried and hung, but that’s if I don’t put a hole in you first.” He chuckled, the kind of chuckle that made it clear he was confident of himself. “Well boy,” he said, “that sure sounds nice, but the Mark has different plans for you.” He reached in his shirt and pulled out a necklace, looked silver, with that unholy Mark on it. “Do you even know what this is, boy?” he got off his horse and I was pulled off mine.

He came up real close, held up the necklace. I could hear whispers in some odd language, saw lines coming off it, like sometimes in the middle of the desert, under the hot sun, when you’ve been out there too long and things get to your mind. He looked closely at me, I saw the ferocity in his eyes, after a long moment he spoke again, “This, boy, is the Mark of Canus. It’s as old as time itself, and it’s as evil as it is powerful. It can make men do terrible things, to others, to themselves. I feeds off us, our sheer horror satiates its terrific hunger. Men have lived and died wearing this Mark. I found it on a Spaniard some time ago when were on a mining trip. Said he got it from Spain, and it had great power. It haunted me from the moment I laid eyes upon it. So one night, in the mines while everyone was sleeping, I took the Mark, and I killed everyone there. I ate their rich hearts, and cut off their sad faces. It was ecstasy, the Mark had me from then on, and I’ve served it in madness to acquire my fortune. But now, now the Mark wants you too boy. And it’ll have you. You’ve seen it, I know you have, there’s no going back now. The insanity will come over you, then to serve the Mark, you’ll cut out your own heart for me, so I can taste it.”

I was not going to do that, but he spoke so confidently, as if it was inevitable. Suddenly, my head started spinning, I saw the Mark everywhere, on the walls, in his eyes, on the ground. I took a step back, tripped and fell. My hands were still tied, I sat there in horror as the Mark permeated into my mind. “Where are my manners?” Shrimer snorted, “Russell cut him loose.” Russell did as he was told, and I was free, or I thought I was. I then tried to run, but the whole town crept out onto the street and blocked me, they all looked grey, soulless. The Mark was in their eyes, all of them.
They started closing in, cornering me. All the while I could hear a thrum of some odd sounding drums getting louder, and whispers. The Mark was taking me, my own evils from long ago coming back out to claim what was theirs. There, back in my head the faces of the men I killed, the nightmares I’d woke from in my prison cell, all I worked so hard to erase back again. The sins I thought I had absolved, dropped on by as if they never really left. I screamed, fell down again and writhed on the ground, I could feel a slithering inside.

“You feel that boy?” called Shrimer, “That’s the Mark inside you, that’s me inside you. Do you know why they call me the Snake in the Sun? Because I slither through the desert and eat any rats I find. You’re no exception, boy, you’ll succumb just like all the others!” I fought it, I fought it hard, but it didn’t matter, the Mark was quickly taking me.

As the darkness closed in, I had a thought, something that sheriff Gargas had told me when get finally took me. He said ‘Evil is everywhere, friend, it is even inside you. Fighting that evil is all we can do, all we can live for, because it is the only way we can redeem ourselves. We do bad things, no one is perfect, but it is how hard we fight it that makes the most difference, because in the end, we are all judged by our efforts. Even if we never really win, what other choice do we have?’ That thought inspired me, I fought back the Mark, not completely but only for now, accepted it, and pushed it from controlling me.

My hands free, I reached for my hip, and pulled up my .44 Magnum handgun. I was surprised they left it on me, Shrimer was really convinced that I’d be taken. Things happened fast after that, Russell reached for his rifle, but I was too quick, and I nailed him twice. Two of the other henchmen tried after that, each went down with only one round, ranger training is extensive. There was blood on the ground, and Shrimer reached for his gun, but I shot him in the leg. He dropped it and went to his knees, I had him now.

The man dragged himself back as I came to him. “What are you gonna do now?” He puffed out a few more mad chuckles, “You’re out of bullets, you gonna cuff me, boy?” He seemed confident still, even wounded and outmatched. “Not today, Shrimer. Look again, and count my bullets before your blessings. Normally they have only five, but I had this one made special like Gargas’. There’s one round left, friend.” He stopped lurching backward, but I kept towards him.

He just continued to laugh, “Killing me won’t help you, Jim. The Mark still has you, though you managed to beat it back. We all go sooner or later, and the Mark is always there. You haven’t won, boy, not by a long shot. Evil will always be with us, and you can’t escape your wicked past! You can’t change!” I put the gun to his forehead, and looked down on him. “That doesn’t matter anymore. I am the law now, and I’m gonna bring you to justice. And you’re right, I can’t change. I killed back then, and I kill now, but the difference is I kill the killers, and not the innocent. Condemn me if you will, but if killin’ you saves someone else, well I’ll be damned if I let you go. You made this personal, you brought the hawk down on you, snake. Now I’m gonna cut you down, just like I promised.”

I pulled the trigger, and he fell down. The Snake in the sun was dead, and already I felt a weight lift off the town, suddenly the townspeople weren’t looking grey anymore, though they were confused. I plucked the necklace off Shrimer, and put it in my pocket. I would return it to Spain where it was found, and evil like that needs to stay buried.

Dodd’s story is only one of many like it. Throughout time, the Mark has always been there, tormenting souls and enforcing its evil on the world. However Dodd, unlike many, has been able to keep the Mark from taking him, it would always be there, and every once in a while a chill would creep down his spine, and he knew the Mark was present. He battled with the evil in him until his death in 1919, when the fever got him in his sleep. It is said he rambled in his last days, talk of something coming for him, and he mentioned the Mark over and over again. He passed away in the late night, a look of fear on his face, fear of the Mark and its madness, that same madness he had beat, if only temporarily, on that day in Albright, Arizona.

Credit To – Greg P

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The Puzzle Ball

April 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I’m writing this not for sure exactly why I am, but I’m going to just because my mind is trying to think back on the past several months. It hasn’t been a good several months, not at all, but I guess I might as well start from the beginning. Sorry if I ramble I usually do and my medication is making it hard for me to focus.

I went to flea markets, pawn shops, and yard sales a lot. Mostly in search of comics or anything that looked cool. I know that sounds stupid, but that’s what I did in my free time. One day in my exploration for comics I came across a yard sale. The yard sale was at a small one floor home that was quite old. I did my usual search through, when I found an odd looking ball.

It weighed several pounds and was made of brass. It’s diameter was about six inches. On both sides of it, it had nine square buttons in a square; the buttons had many different symbols. Such as a Scorpion, an eye, a triangle, a bird, and a key. I was intrigued by it. So, I went up to the man running the yard sale.

I asked him “Hey, what is this?”
He replied “Oh, yes the Puzzle Ball. It was a family heirloom.”
“Why are you selling it? It’s not curse is it?” I said laughing.
“No, no! Well, my uncle thought it was, but he was a drunk. I’m selling it, because my business hasn’t been doing good.”
“Oh, well I’m sorry to hear about your business, but what does this Puzzle Ball do exactly?”
“Well it’s a puzzle my grandfather had gotten from Egypt. He was an archaeologist and went their around the big burst in ruins found in Egypt. He and my dad obsessed over trying to open it. They thought it had riches in it but, they were both pretty crazy.”
He laughed
“Here I’ll show you how far my dad used to get with it.”

He grabbed a little cheat sheet and got pretty far along until he hit the wrong button. After that it’s a bit of a blur we talked awhile afterwards. He was a nice guy. Can’t remember his name and the Morphine isn’t helping. I’ll try to describe how it worked.

You had to hit the buttons in a correct order to make a part of the ball turn like a Rubix cube. It was split three times so if you got a sequence right you could rotate so that side would switch over to the other. It was extremely hard. The order was random with no basis so after you followed the cheat sheet you had to just guess. And if you messed up it wouldn’t move anymore, until you moved the pieces back to the correct position.

The guy showed me it all and told me he was happy that not some of the trash around here wasn’t buying his family’s heirlooms. I was glad I could help him with some money to help his business. So for about a month… Yeah, I think a month, I messed with the ball trying to figure it out. I would even say I, became obsessed with figuring it out. It was affecting my sleep as I became obsessed with it. Several times I would try not to play, but I just could not stand the thought of not playing it. It was driving me mad.

One time…The time… The only one I remember very well of my late night playing of the puzzle. I had been playing for a very long time. A very long time. Ugh… I don’t know how long, but long. I had this feeling that I was close, really close to getting the riches in there. Irony I guess, but I felt it. That it was going to be something amazing. I knew that this was the last one. I knew; I don’t know how, but I was one hundred percent sure.

Not knowing I clicked “The Eye” symbol. No luck! I reset it angry nearing tears. I got up and went towards the window. I was about to throw it out the window, but my arm buckled and the ball hit the hardwood with a large thud. It rolled across the hardwood and stopped at the base of my chair.

I didn’t question it. I saw this as a chance to get the prize whatever it was. The ball had forgiven me. I played again until I got the feeling that I was on the last one again. This time I knew the answer, just like I knew this was the last one. The cross. It was the middle one on the final one. A small cross with a mark centered on it. It was a grave marker. I may have not known it then, but now I know. I clicked and a sharp click sounded from it. The ball spit down the middle.

Inside there was a small three inch box. I opened the box to find a small dark black Scorpion crawled out of the box. It had some symbols of sorts on it’s back. In a blind rage from there being no ultimate prize for all my hard work I stepped on the little piece of shit. I gotta feeling like the one you get after doing something stupid.

While my brain was thinking about how it did not make any sense how that scorpion was alive; I was too tired and pissed off to care about logic. After about a day…or two. I’m not for sure. I came home to find another pure black scorpion crawling across my floor. I stepped on it, picked it up with a Kleenex, and threw it in the trash. You would think this would have sent off red flags, but no! I was too focused; I had just got my dream promotion. Everything was going really good, but as life has taught me extreme highs come with extreme lows.

For about a week, this time I’m for sure. I came home would stomp the little guys and move on. It hit me after the third day of smashing them that I had an infestation. I called an exterminator, but it was bedbug season and they were filled for another month. I wasn’t too upset about it, but I was going to be soon. After a couple more days of smashing bugs, I started getting a really bad rash. It burned and itched. It was terrible; I always scratched at it non stop. One time I scratched until before my skin became red. I went to see a doctor, but he couldn’t find any reason for it. I even told him about the scorpions; While that did confused him he said,

“A scorpions sting wouldn’t cause a rash like this. If it gets worse just call.”

And that’s what I did. I moved on. I smashed the scorpions when I woke up, when I came home, and when I went to bed. The rash slowly got worse. Spreading from my arm all over my body. I went to the doctor again and no results. Blood test, X-Ray, and even a Physical showed nothing. Squat! One morning I woke up and my skin felt like it was crawling. Something under it.
I went into a scratching frenzy. As I scratched blood started forming on my arms. I had to stop it. I cleaned the wounds put gauze on them. Took some Tylenol and went to work like normal.

It was terrible painful. For a couple weeks after that I scratched and pained over the new symptom. I went to the doctor; of course there was nothing wrong with me. He asked me if I was on any drugs. I told him
“Fuck no!”
I guess I did look kinda like a meth addict. They even gave me an MRI with no results. Though they were nice enough to give some low pain relieving medicine. More and more fucking scorpions every day I had to smash. I started losing sleep. Hell, most nights I couldn’t sleep.

On the final day or I thought it was going to be. The next day the exterminators were coming. I had, had a pretty shitty day already, but those motherfuckers had to have the grand final of shitness. I opened my door, walked and saw air pockets in the wallpaper.

“Great!” I thought

I went over and hit one of the air pockets. But instead of no noise I heard a “Squish”. I look at a big cluster of the air pockets. The wallpaper started ripping and thousands of Scorpions, spilled out onto the floor. I ran right out of there, locked the door, and left a note for the exterminators. I called a friend and he said I could stay at his house until the exterminators cleared the house.

I went to his house, took my series of pills, fell into his guest bedroom, and slept. My skin actually had stopped feeling so bad and I was actually getting some sleep. Until I woke up, I saw the alarm clock said 3:34. I don’t know why, but that number was so clear to me. I felt a burst of pain. I looked at my swollen red arms. I saw some blood roll down my arm and hit the white bed sheet. A little pincer poked through my skin. Then another broke through, and another, and another. The scorpion crawled out of my skin painted with crimson. It was now a mix of crimson and black which made the symbol on their backs more clear. A cross.

Then more pincers broke my skin. The scorpions crawling out. I started screaming for my friend. As they crawled it, it…it was fuck, I can’t describe it. It was torture. I just froze. I started trying to smack them, but tons of blood was rolling down my arm. I felt my skin breaking all over my body. The sheets were pure crimson. As soon as my friend burst through the door I passed out.

I was told my friend had stopped me from bleeding to death. That my apartment had, had no scorpions in it or Puzzle Ball. That the man who sold me the ball had committed suicide. The doctors are still baffled about how the scorpions got in under my skin, but I don’t give a fuck about any of that. The morphine has made not care about any of it. I don’t know how long I have been in the hospital. I know that I just got my final skin graph a day or two or three days ago.

I don’t know why, but after writing this I feel so much better. Maybe it’s because the nurse just refilled the morphine, but I would like it to be me writing this down that made me feel better. Now my hand is hurting so I’m going to stop… My new skin has a rash.

 The Puzzle Ball

Credit To – Written by: tytiger10 Illustration by: Jake Lissone

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A Childhood Dream Destroyed

April 1, 2014 at 5:00 PM
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A Childhood Dream Destroyed

There is no God. There is no Heaven. There is no Hell. There is only this fucking Dorito disguised as a GODDAMN Greasy lookin chicken nugget from McDonald’s Hell, where it was banished for all entirety. What the fuck is this? Who would do this? What has this world come to? Thanks Obama.

Ever since I was a little boy all I ever wanted, was to buy my own bag of Doritos. My mom would never let me eat them. Oh how I longed for my own bag of Doritos. I would sometimes imagine the smell of opening the bag, that sweet, sweet smell invading my nostrils, SMELLIN like a fresh home cooked ham in December. How I forever wanted to slowly lick my fingers off and taste the dust and shit that gets left over from them after you hold it. My mouth would be in heaven after I crunched down on them, chewed, laughed and cried as I devoured them. But that all would change tonight. I walked into cvs with much, so much anticipation, it would finally happen, I would finally buy my own bag of Doritos. I finally made my way to the chip aisle and grabbed the first Doritos bag I found. I payed for them quickly and got the fuck out.

My mind, body, soul were all ready and prepared for this moment. It was 19 years in the making, it was everything I’ve ever dreamed for. As I took a deep breath and opened the bag, I couldn’t hold myself from letting out a little scream of joy as I knew this was it, the moment that I had waited a lifetime for. The nightmare of never eating doritos was at a end. Eating this beautiful bag of chips would be my escape from madness. My life long dream would come true. As I ate the first small Dorito, a small, single, wet tear fell down my rugged face. At the moment I was in heaven, just like John Coffee at the end of the green mile when he was in the execution chair crying. This was nirvana, pure harmony at its finest. I felt like Luke Skywalker after he destroyed the deathstar and so carefree and light like Miley Cryus on the wrecking ball.

As I reached into the bag, I felt something round and large. At first I thought I hit the FUCKIN JACKPOT and it was a huge one, the kind of dorito that comes around once in a 1000 years like a Lebron James in the NBA or a Wayne Gretzky in the NHL. But as I slowly and carefully pulled it out, my world… shattered & crumbled right before my very eyes.

There is a moment in everyone’s life where there are no words. You are just stuck in the moment. Time has slowed down. You can’t think, feel, or move. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak, my life flashed before my eyes. A lifelong dream shattered in seconds. I started to shake furiously, my mouth agaped in horror as I stared at the very thing that I had dreamed of but this wasn’t a dream. This was real life, and sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. I held up the dorito, no chicken nugget and let out a blood curdling scream that shook the house to its core and would have made a banshee proud. This not what I had dreamed for, this not what MLK had dreamed for. There is no light in this world, only darkness, and as the Winter Storm of the Century nears closer to Metro Detroit, where I live and I can only think this it, my time is up. By standing outside in the storm I can end it all, the nightmares, the childhood dream, everything. I will leave this earth as a man who is broken and shattered beyond repair. There is no hope left for me. Death is my only option. As my life slowly fades from my dark, cold brown eyes, as the cold winter storm and snow tears away at my naked body, freezing me to death, I will get down on my knees, throw up my arms & look up to the heavens and scream, “God why have you forsaken me!!?” And all I will be able to think about, as I die, is that fucking chicken nugget dorito from hell, and how the very thing I dreamt about and swore to eat, was the death of me. God is dead. There are no dreams, only nightmares.

There is no hope in this world…

No Hope.

Credit To – Cameron K

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