Wood Grain

July 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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We had found the dresser at a yard sale, beaten and broken, but it was an artifact of the 1920s and my husband insisted we bring it home and fix it up. I thought nothing of this aside from the fact to be noted that the dresser was not for sale – it had practically been forced upon us at the mentioning of our interest when the words left my husband’s lips that day, “How much do you want for this?” Pretty shortly after the previous owner was frantically helping us load the goliath into our van and stammered a hasty, “Thank you!” as he turned and retreated back to his yard sale stand. We found this a bit odd, but we weren’t completely taken by the incident. He was just a strange young man.

My husband furiously set to work and had completed a beautiful restoration of our new bedroom object in less than a week’s time, working especially quickly on the weekend and luring me into the garage, blindfolded as usual, and taking the cloth off of my eyes to present its glorious new body to me. It curved in all the right places, its wood was now clean, pristine, and shiny, and the new handles on its drawers fit lovely. I gave him a kiss and told him there was nothing that he wasn’t able to fix up, and he blushed and said, “Aw, maw” and laughed. That night he was more than excited to enlist in my help for getting it upstairs to our bedroom, where we placed it almost right next to our bed. It looked perfect, we could see as we stood in the doorway and took in the new freshness that it brought to our room. Just perfect.

That night before I closed my eyes to go to sleep and switched off my light, I lay my head down next to my husband’s on our pillow and met his snoring face, giving him one last kiss on the tip of his nose as I usually did. I was about to close my eyes when I squinted and realized there was a shape in the wood grain on the side of the dresser. I almost let out a slight chuckle at myself but it was unmistakable, there was a shape of a footprint stamped into the wood. I hadn’t noticed it before but now it was clear as day. I shrugged it off as nothing, closed my eyes, and fell into a deep and wonderful slumber.

I was awoken in the morning by a bloodcurdling scream. It was the first of its kind that I had heard since an incident that took place when I was a little girl, where my brother had fallen out of a tree out in the front yard and dislocated his shoulder. He had called out in such agony that I thought he had been near death, but our parents assured me that he was going to be fine. This bloodcurdling scream woke me to life and my eyes darted back and forth across the room until I met eyes with my husband, who was now lurched forward in pain and horror. I flung myself out of my bed and ran to his side where my arms embraced him and I asked him what was going on, and he motioned to his foot with tears in his eyes. There was a huge nail sticking out of the wooden floorboards in which I had never seen before, and it was completely through his foot.

We spent the day in the hospital and his foot was wrapped as to keep the puncture wound from infection. He was told to keep off of it for a few days and allow it to heal as best as possible, which was near-impossible because after retirement my husband had taken on opening up his own saw sharpening service and so he always had constant customers coming in and dropping off their items for him to care for. He sadly accepted the news and said he would make some calls that afternoon to ‘let people down and give them the news.’ I just nestled my hands into his hair and told him it wouldn’t be long before he was back on his feet.

That first night home after his incident, we fell asleep in bed together but I was woken abruptly by an oncoming thunderstorm in the middle of the night. My eyes opened directly over my husband’s shoulder to notice the wood grain on the side of the dresser for the second time now. Where the shape of the foot had been marked in the grain, there now appeared to be a different shape – that of a tooth. I assumed that my eyes were playing tricks on me and I fell back to sleep with not a worry in my mind.

The next day I was tending to my husband frequently. In between doing wash and dishes and other house chores, I made him meals and rubbed his ‘good’ foot and brought him the newspaper when prompted. He really appreciated it. I cooked him up a fantastic lunch – chicken Alfredo and cooked spinach, one of his favorites. I placed the tray in his lap and turned the television to one of his favorite shows and he thanked me as I walked into the bathroom to start scrubbing the toilets as the next chore.

His loud yells could have been heard across the entire neighborhood. My heart was in a complete flutter as I bolted out of the bathroom and down the hall which seemed even longer than it really was in such a panicked situation. “John! John!” I called out, and burst through the bedroom door, to find a mess of blood in his lap and his tray laying scattered on the floor, a mess of food everywhere. Now, given, John was getting older, but he was still in great shape. He was 55 with the mind of a 30-year-old, something we joked about often. He was still holding the fork in his hand but he was now glaring down at himself and raised his eyes to me to show me his mouth. There, in his other hand, were three teeth. They had all fallen out of the very front of his mouth. “I’ve NEVER lost a tooth in my age,” he murmured, shaking his head. “I need to go to the dentist, Paula.” He was shaking and he sat the teeth next to his bed on that dresser. That same dresser.

I had trouble getting through the rest of the day. John asked around evening-time if I could escort him downstairs and onto the front porch where he sat frequently and watched the sunset. He asked if I wanted to sit with him but I just smiled and told him, “No, you need to enjoy the rest of your day in solitude, you’ve been having a lot of bad luck and I have things to take care of in the house.” He insisted that I take a break for once but there was work to be done. When I left him out there I worked quickly, running up the steps to the bedroom and over to the dresser. There was no insignificant designs in the wood grain and I checked it up and down for any unordinary signs but there was nothing ‘off’ about this dresser from what I was seeing. I had so many questions but the point being, it made me incredibly uneasy. And so I dismantled it with a hammer. And I didn’t stop beating it apart until it was in so many pieces that there would be an incredible mess to clean up.

When John called upon me to take him back upstairs for bed, I did so, but on the way up I stopped him, lips trembling a bit for affect. “John, there was an accident with the dresser.”

He scratched his head and let out a short chuckle, asking, “What do you mean? What could have possibly happened?”

I told him a beautifully-crafted, long drawn-out story of how a bat had entered through the window when I was cleaning the bedroom, and so I grabbed the hammer off of the shelf and beat it to the ground, but first smashing the dresser to smithereens. He didn’t question me, though he gave me a few looks and one of them was the fact that this story had made him quite sad and uneasy. He had worked great lengths on the dresser and did not want this to be the truth, but sadly this is how it had to go.

When we made it to the bedroom, he asked to see it and so I whipped the door open – and let out a huge gasp. There was the dresser, perfectly assembled next to our bed, once again. He burst into laughter and turned to me and said, “Why would you play a joke like that on me?! I really fancy our dresser, Paula.” And then I took him to bed, and I one-overed the dresser once more before I changed into my pajamas and hopped into bed with him.

I never wanted to worry my John; since we had been teenagers getting married at 19 years old, he had been my entire life. I had plenty questions about this dresser but I refused to allow him to see me get distraught over such a thing. We fell asleep talking about something in-depth but to this day I don’t remember the conversation. It was important at the time and to this day I wish that I could remember it because it was the last conversation I ever had with my John. As he talked and I peered over his shoulder, I could make out a new shape that night somewhere within the depths of the wood grain. It was a heart. I knew that the next day he would be having a heart attack, the first and last one of its kind to hit him. And this became true.

Credit To – Maggie Louise

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We Lie

May 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Adam entered the living room and sat down with a glass of red wine, careful not to spill. He needed to have another talk with his wife. Things could get difficult. The wine helped him keep a level head.

“Clara.”

“Yes, dear?”

“I’m glad you’re here. We have to talk.”

“Okay,” she said. “About?”

“Can you help me to understand why you did it? Why you hurt me like that?”

Clara was silent for a long while. Adam took a sip from the glass, remaining patient.

“I was hurting too. And confused. Please…forgive me.”

“It’s hard, Clara.”

“I know. But I don’t want to talk about it now.”

Adam stood up, paced around the room a few times, and sat back down. “Well, are you happy? Can you at least tell me that much?”

“Yes, so long as you’re with me. I won’t leave you, Adam. You have to know that.”

“I know. And I love you, Clara.”

“I love you too.” There was another long pause. “Do you know I sometimes watch you while you sleep?”

“Really?” Adam idly swirled the dark liquid, observing how the glass refracted the room’s light. “I’ve been having bad dreams lately, so just knowing someone’s there watching over me really helps. Thank you, honey.”

“I have to leave now.”

“Already?” he asked, surprised.

“Hey, I know. You should come with me.”

His brow furrowed. “I…I can do that?”

“Sure. You already know how.”

“How?” he asked, sensing he wouldn’t like the answer.

“Same as me, silly.”

The room seemed to dim at the corners, as if its huddled shadows were conspiring to eavesdrop. “What? How could you say that, Clara?”

Another pause. “Clara’s not here,” came the reply.

Adam felt his stomach bottom out. “What…you mean…you’re not..?”

“No. Never was. But I did speak to her once.”

The deceit stung at his eyes. “Oh yeah? And what did you say?”

“Jump.”

He shot up from his chair, rubbing his temples. “No. No, goddammit. H-how? How is this possible? All those things she said…I was talking to Clara, dammit. I was talking to her!” At this point Adam was not so much talking with another as he was pleading with himself. But he forced himself to sit back down.

The planchette beneath his fingertips raced across the board, spelling out a simple message.

“We lie.”

Tears began to splash over random letters, blurring the ornate typeface. But Adam dared not remove his hands as the planchette continued to move.

“One more thing.” He did not respond, so it resumed without a prompt.

“Those aren’t dreams.”

Adam could recall only fragments of his nightmares – a dark alley, a dripping tunnel…the thrill of darting from shadow to shadow…a scream cut short…hands wrapped tight around something soft and yielding…and the reflection of the moon in a cold river, its black waters rushing at his bare waist.

He found his voice again, growling, “what do you mean?”

“I borrow you.”

At this, Adam withdrew his trembling hands and stared at them in disbelief. He choked out a single word: “Why?”

The planchette moved freely now, without need of human touch, and answered with a single word of its own:

“F-U-N.”

Credit To – alapanamo

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Gran’s Box

May 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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It was always a treat for the three Levine children when they got to visit Gran’s house. Gran’s house was big, with plenty of rooms for hide-and-seek, and a pond in the garden filled with fish and frogs. For the Levines, who crammed together in a four-bedroom apartment, Gran’s house was a fairytale castle. It was also a veritable treasure-trove of toys; bags of shiny marbles, ebony dominoes stacked neatly in their boxes, striped hoola-hoops and skipping-ropes, boxes of coloured chalk that the children could use to draw on the flagstones around the pond, teddy-bears in all shapes and sizes, and a plethora of dolls with curly hair and frilly dresses.
Then there was the box.
Some days it was in the front room, proudly displayed on the mantel above the fireplace, other days it was in the dining room, hiding among myriad framed photographs, and other days still it was upstairs in Gran’s bedroom. Sometimes it wasn’t on display at all but just sitting on the floor or halfway up the stairs.
The youngest child, Vivian, once asked, “Why do you always move the box, Gran?”
Something dark flitted across Gran’s face like a storm-cloud blocking out the sun. “I don’t. That box has a mind of its own.”
“You mean it moves by itself?” This wasn’t incomprehensible to a six-year-old.
“The box does what it feels like and I don’t interfere,” Gran said.
Vivian’s sisters were more interested in the dolls. They’d spend hours brushing their hair or rearranging their clothes, but nothing peaked Vivian’s curiosity like that box. She was never allowed to touch it, no matter where it moved itself to. Every time they went round, Vivian would look at the box and wonder. What was its secret? Why wasn’t she allowed to touch it?
Years passed and visits to Gran’s house became less and less frequent. The girls were growing up; they had their own lives to live. When Vivian was twenty-two she moved to the heart of London and that was the last she saw of Gran for a while. She’d stopped thinking about the box a long time ago.

Until Gran died.

The wake was held in Gran’s house – it was the only one big enough to fit everyone in. Gran had made a lot of friends in her lifetime.
Vivian felt a sharp pang in her chest when she stepped over the threshold. It had been years since she’d been in this house yet everything looked the same. Older, perhaps, more faded, but still igniting the potent memories of childhood.
Everyone wanted to offer platitudes and condolences but all Vivian wanted was some time alone. It would probably be the last time she was in the house she’d loved as a child, and she wanted to indulge in a memory-lane trip. While the guests congregated at the buffet table, Vivian quietly slipped upstairs. Everything was as she remembered it, the carpet patterned in various purples, the off-white wallpaper and the paintings of Gran’s old dogs that lined each and every wall.
Somehow she found herself in Gran’s bedroom. The shelves on the walls were still lined with glassy-eyed dolls but their curls were limp now, covered with a grey film of dust. And on the dressing table, surrounded by pots of powder and lipstick tubes, was the box.
Vivian froze when she saw it. All her childhood curiosity came flooding back. Gran’s mysterious box that no one had ever been allowed to touch. Looking at it now, Vivian didn’t even know it had fascinated her. It was a plain wooden box, thirteen by six inches, the brass catch fastened by a padlock. It was nothing pretty, nothing special but Vivian could swear it was calling to her. It wasn’t a voice as such, more like a tugging sensation as if invisible hands were trying to pull her towards it.
She took a tentative step forwards and picked up the box. Suddenly she felt six years old again, breaking Gran’s most stringent rule. She half-expected Gran to come into the room and start scolding her. But Gran wasn’t here anymore.
Vivian made up her mind there and then. She was taking the box. She slipped it into her handbag and didn’t think about it again until she got home.
It was ten o’clock by the time Vivian arrived back in London. Her flat was located above a butcher’s on the corner. She hated walking past the butcher’s during the day when all the slabs of meat were on display, sitting in pools of blood. At least at night the windows were dark, the meat stored away.
Up in the flat, Vivian took the box from her handbag and placed it on the freestanding bookshelf by the side of her bed. She didn’t plan to keep it there permanently but she was too tired to find a proper home for it now. Kicking off her shoes she flopped into bed. Sleep crept over her in minutes.
Vivian dreamed she was standing in a field, waist-deep in grass. There was nothing around her but green, an endless countryside. The sun was setting; it looked like spilled blood on the horizon. Dread prickled up her spine. There was something wrong with this place. She couldn’t see it but she could feel it, some bone-deep sense of self-preservation that kicked in when danger was close.
She started to run. Somehow she had to get out of this field. She hadn’t run more than a few metres when a hand broke through the ground, scrabbling blindly at her ankles. It was grey-skinned, the yellow finger-nails gnarled and broken. Vivian screamed and kicked the hand away but another punched through the earth. It caught her foot and she pitched forward onto the ground. More decaying hands broke through the ground, fumbling over her body, pinning her down. She fought and kicked and writhed but the hands were too strong. A pair closed round her throat. Vivian tried to scream but she couldn’t even breathe.

She snapped awake, clutching at her throat, gasping. Her lungs ached as if something really had been trying to choke the life out of her.
Gran’s box was sitting on the nightstand next to the bed. Vivian frowned. She was sure she had left it on the bookshelf. Gran had told her the box had a mind of its own but that seemed like such nonsense to Vivian now. Besides, that had just been some story for Gran to tell the children. She hadn’t actually believed it…had she?
By the time the sun was up, Vivian felt thoroughly silly for allowing a dream to frighten her so much. Dreams were nothing but the workings of the unconscious mind. True, she hadn’t had a nightmare in years but on the night following her Gran’s funeral, she was hardly going to be dreaming about rainbows and candy-canes. And she must have moved the box to her nightstand without realising it. It was the only explanation.
Still, Vivian felt a twinge of unease when night fell. The shadows shifting through her flat seemed more menacing now, as if grey-skinned hands might burst forth at any second. Her nightstand was empty now except for the lamp; she’d moved the box into the kitchen. It didn’t look quite right there either.
The nightmares were worse this time. Instead of grasping hands, whole skeletons climbed out of the lonely field, their eyes empty and blind but all turned in Vivian’s direction. The air was heavy with the stench of blood and meat. The skeletons opened their mouths to speak but all Vivian could hear was creaking bone.
This was a dream. She had to wake up
Vivian lurched awake gasping. The blood stench still clung to her nostrils, so strong she could taste it. It was like someone had slaughtered a pig in her flat and she could smell everything spilling out of its body.

Take me back

The sibilant hiss slithered through her mind. Vivian bit back a scream. Gran’s box was sitting on the nightstand, angled towards her. The wood-whorls looked like eyes glaring out at her.
This time Vivian knew she wasn’t imagining things. She had left that box in the kitchen. There was no way it could have got in here unless…what if Gran had been right? What if the box did have a mind of its own? All those years Vivian had visited Gran’s house and been forbidden to touch the box. What if Gran had a good reason for keeping it away from people?
The next morning Vivian took the box and threw it in the bin. It was silly to be frightened by a piece of wood but every time she looked at it, she got the feeling there was something sinister luring just at the corner of her vision. She was never fast enough to see it but it was there, a presence.
She hoped that with the box out of the house that would be the last nightmare she’d have, but that third night they were worse than ever.
It was raining in the lonely field, fat red blood-drops falling from black clouds. The creaking sound of skeletons trying to talk scraped against Vivian’s ears. In the distance she could see a house and she started running towards it. As she drew nearer she recognised the front door with the lion’s head knocker, and the flowers overflowing from their window-boxes. It was Gran’s house.

Take me back

The voice lashed the air, deeper and angrier than it had been the night before.

Take me back to my house

Vivian gasped and clutched her chest. It felt like something had just hit her with a baseball bat. She fell to her knees as her lungs constricted. There was a dead weight on her chest, like something was slowly suffocating her.
When she opened her eyes Gran’s box was sitting on her chest. Vivian screamed and threw the box across the room. The lid rattled as it hit the floor and that terrible voice came spilling out.

Take me baaaaaaack

Gran’s house had been in the nightmare. That was where the box wanted to be.
Vivian grabbed her car-keys. She didn’t want to touch the box and wrapped it in an old towel. As soon as she was in her car, the smell of blood and meat filled the air. Vivian opened all the windows but it didn’t make any difference. Gran’s house was three hours away from London but Vivian made it there in less than two, violating every speeding law known to mankind.
Gran’s house stood dark and empty, the windows like sad eyes. When Vivian lifted the box from the backseat, it seemed to tremble in her hands. Like it knew it was coming home.
Vivian didn’t have a key and the box wouldn’t fit through the letter-box, but she couldn’t explain that to it. So she did the only thing she could think of – she threw the box through the window. Amid the noise of shattering glass she thought she heard a deeply satisfied sigh as the box thudded on the carpet.
Vivian got in her car and drove away. She didn’t look back.

It was years before she was in the area again. Despite everything she couldn’t resist walking past Gran’s house again. The flower-boxes and the lion’s head knocker were gone. The door had been painted red. Vivian’s steps slowed as she tried to peer through the window.
On a coffee table in the living room was the box. It didn’t have a face but Vivian sensed that it was deeply content. It was back where it belonged.
Vivian never visited Gran’s house again.

Credit To – Bella Higgin

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Why Exercise is Bad For You

May 13, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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It all started when I got fat.
I had been wanting to lose weight for a while, but being a not-exactly-starving-starving artist, I didn’t have the money to join a gym or buy equipment of my own. Yeah I could have gone running, but who want’s to do that? Not me! Never could run as a kid so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to as an adult.
That was when I decided to check out Craigslist to see if there was any free equipment that wasn’t too ancient. I didn’t want to end up with one of those “shake the fat away” machines. You know, the one with the belt? Yeah. No thanks.
Anyway, I was lucky enough to find an elliptical that someone was giving away for free! What luck! Right? From what I saw in the pictures it looked to be a few years old. One of the speakers on it was busted but I didn’t have an MP3 player to hook into it anyway. I decided to give the “seller” a call.
After talking on the phone to a woman named Jeanette, a time was set for me to go to her home and pick up the elliptical. She sounded strangely relieved to be getting rid of the equipment but I was too excited to be getting it for free that it really didn’t phase me at the time.
So, that Friday, I borrowed my dad’s truck and some rope and headed out to get my new treasure. On the way I thought of how in a few short weeks I would be on my way to a swimsuit season bod. I already had my mind set that I would buy a cute bikini.
After driving for around a half hour, flipping a couple u-ees and stopping at stop signs long enough to be honked at, I made it to Jeanette’s. Surprisingly, she was waiting outside. I thought it was a little odd, but again, I didn’t pay much attention.
Jeanette looked to be in her mid fifties and about 5ft 6in. Her skin was a bit pale and she had dark circles under her eyes. Her hair was a little unkempt and it sort of looked as if she had just then thrown on whatever clothes she could find.
“Hi! Jeanette?” I held out my hand to shake hers.
“Yes, hello.” She said quietly.
Her handshake was soft and reserved, and she had a bit of a worried look in her eye. “Please come in.”
I followed her into the house and then into the living room. There it stood in all it’s free glory.
“Niiice.” I said, eying up the elliptical.
“Okay then. Would you like me to help you out with it?” She asked quickly and nervously.
“Oh, uh, yeah sure thanks.” I was a little surprised that she hadn’t offered any kind of reason why she would be getting rid of the machine for free, so I asked.
“Oh.” She said nervously. “It just takes up too much space and I don’t really need the money. I can’t see getting much for it anyway.”
She kind of half smiled and began to try and lift the back end of the machine. I rushed over to assist.
After a few minutes and a lot of heave hoeing we eventually got the elliptical into the bed of the truck. I thanked her once again and headed home.

The machine sat in the bed of the truck until my boyfriend made it over to my apartment. It took a few tries and some remembering of high school geometry but we successfully got it through the door and into the living room. I looked it over and, like I saw in the pictures online, the only thing wrong with it was the one broken speaker. Other than that it was absolutely perfect! Here I come beach body!
I jumped on and started pressing buttons. “Oh ok! This one tracks your heartbeat, this one shows how many calories you burn…”
My boyfriend laughed at me and told me I looked like a kid at Christmas. After a little while, he left for work and I was left to play with my new toy. I had apparently worked out a little too hard because by 9:00 pm I was pooped and collapsed on my bed. The next thing I remember was waking up to a strange noise.
In a daze, my brain tried it’s damnedest to figure out what the sound was. Was the faucet on? Was it raining outside? I opened one eye and looked at my window. I could see the moon. No clouds.
The more I came out of my slumber, the clearer the whooshing sound got, and I realized what it was. The elliptical.
“Uhhgggg! John what the hell!? I am trying to sleep!” I said, assuming my boyfriend had come back over and decided to fool around on the machine.
The whirring didn’t stop. “JOHN!” I yelled.
It still didn’t stop.
I decided, groggily, to get up and throw something at him. JOH…” I stopped mid name as I turned the corner into the living room.
No one was there. The machine wasn’t moving at all and the whirring had stopped.
“John?” I said quietly and confused.
No one answered.
I decided it must have been some kind of goofy dream. I went to my front door to make sure the lock was still on, it was, and then went back into my room. The rest of the night was quiet.

The next morning I woke up with the sun on my face. I instantly remembered the night before but decided to shrug it off. I stood up and moaned. I was so sore but I needed to keep a tight exercise schedule if I wanted buns of steel by May.
I changed out of my pajamas and into my workout clothes, blasted some music and hopped on the machine.
As I went to press the button to turn on the machine, I noticed that there were steps logged in the system. I knew I had cleared it out the night before and shut it down. I figured it was probably a glitch; one of the reasons it was free. But in the back of my mind I still held onto what had happened the night before.
After my workout I once again cleared the screen and turned off the machine. I went into the bathroom and was about to step into the shower when I, again, heard the familiar whooshing sound.
In a towel, I ran into the living room and came around the corner just in time to see the machine moving. I froze. “What the hell did I just see!?” I thought to myself.
I gathered my courage and walked toward the machine. It was still.
I looked at the screen and it was lit up with a log of 10 steps. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. Was there some kind of speed setting or something? I checked the screen, still in my towel, and tried to find anything that would be an auto setting. As I figured, there was no setting other than resistance. No speed. It was all manually powered.
I turned the machine off, and a bit shaken, went back into the bathroom and took my shower.

Later that evening, my boyfriend, John, came over after work. We had a nice meal and decided to sit down in the living room and watch a movie. I believe it was called “The Shrine”. As I recall it was a pretty freaky movie, but that could be because I was on edge all evening from my mishap with the machine earlier that day.
As we sat, cuddled up on the couch, I started to smell something. I kept sniffing to the point my boyfriend asked if I needed a tissue. I said no, of course, and told him I smelled something. He sniffed to and made a face.
“Jeeze! I know you have been working out and that is great but you really need to take showers afterword.” John laughed.
“It isn’t me!” I paused the movie.
“Well it isn’t me either!” John said.
I sniffed around the couch. It didn’t seem to be coming from that area so I got up and as Toucan Sam would say, I followed my nose. The stench brought me to the elliptical.
“What the hell?” I said softly.
“What is it?” John said from across the room.
“It is coming from the elliptical!” I said.
Just as fast as the smell came on, it was gone. I sniffed and sniffed and couldn’t find a trace. The incident from earlier and this phantom smell got me to thinking of Jeanette. She seemed so shifty. Maybe there was another reason she wanted to get this cursed gym equipment out of her house.

The next day I decided to pay an unexpected visit to Jeanette. She answered the door with a smile. She looked well rested and much less frazzled than before. As soon as she saw me, however, the happy, rested look turned into a look of worry. “Oh, hi. Can I help you?”
“Hello again,” I said smiling politely, “I was just wondering if you had a moment. I just have a couple of questions about the machine that I picked up the other day. May I come in?”
She hesitated, then reluctantly welcomed me in. “Is the machine not working? If not just take it to the junkyard. I don’t want it back.” She said quickly.
“Oh no no no.” I said, still trying to be as polite as possible, “It isn’t that at all.”
The worried look on her face turned to dread and a knot began to form in my stomach. Something wasn’t right. “Would you mind if we sit for just a moment. I really don’t mean to intrude.”
Jeanette seemed to partially snap out of her funk and said, “Of course! Let’s sit in the dining room. I’ll put on a pot of tea.”
She showed me into the dining room and told me to have a seat while she put the tea on. I sat for a few moments and then my attention was grabbed by a photo on the wall. It was Jeanette and a man about the same age. I assumed it was her husband.
A few minutes later, Jeanette shuffled into the dining room with two cups of hot tea. “Good to have on a cold day like this.” She said, trying to hide her nervousness.
I smiled and took a sip. “Is that your husband?”
It almost seemed like she jumped at the question. “I’m sorry?”
I pointed to the photo on the wall. “Oh! Oh Yes. Sadly, he passed away a few months ago.” She began to look even more nervous.
“Oh, I am so sorry to hear that.” I said, trying my best to look sympathetic. “How did he pass, if you don’t mind me asking.”
She closed her eyes, I thought she was going to start crying. I was about to say never mind when she let out a sigh. “Well,” she said. “He had gained some weight and the doctor said it would be a good idea to start getting some exercise into his schedule. You see his weight was effecting his blood pressure.” She sighed again and paused for a moment.
“He actually had a heart attack and died while on that elliptical.”
I dropped my tea.

Credit To – J.L. Kempen

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The White Face In The Window

April 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Last winter I was walking through a park near my apartment when I came across five young boys attempting to smash an object with a hammer. Granted, Chicago children are probably more violent than most, but I am not used to seeing such things in my particular neighborhood. I jogged over to them mostly out of curiosity, but also to make sure they weren’t torturing some poor squirrel or a pigeon or something. If I had known the sort of thing I was about to come in contact with I would have probably went home and bolted the door.

One of the boys was clutching some sort of dark wooden board covered with black paint, and holding it at arms length with his face turned away and his eyes closed. A second boy (I remember one of his friends calling him either Peter or Paul) was aggressively prying the hammer out of the hands of the boy who had been swinging at the wooden board moments earlier while the other two kids watched without saying a word. In spite of all the hammering and arguing, the surface of the board looked perfectly smooth and intact from the angle I was approaching. I put on my toughest adult voice and got the kids to quit yelling and fighting over the hammer just long enough to ask them what in the hell they were trying to do.

The boy holding the hammer (Peter or Paul) looked me straight in the face and said, “we’re gonna break the devil into six pieces and bury him in the woods.”

I was stunned but also amused. I figured he had seen something like this on television and sort of laughed it off as I asked, “so you kids thing this plank is the devil?”

Peter or Paul was clearly not pleased by this question and said something along the lines of “Are you stupid or what? That thing aint a plank!”
As I took my first look at the wooden board up close I was surprised to see that the entire surface had not been painted with black paint as I had at first thought. It was actually hand painted to the point that it was nearly covered with a language I wasn’t familiar with. It looked vaguely Asian or middle-eastern. It was entirely alien to me aside from the upper left and right corners, which displayed very detailed paintings of the sun and moon. In the center of both the sun and moon were unnerving faces with blank expressions. As I thought about this last detail it became clear to me that this board was some sort of antique hand-made Ouija.

Peter or Paul explained to me that his grandfather owned an antique store and was on his deathbed. He had requested that the boy’s mother take this board from his store safe and break it into six pieces and dispose of it immediately, burying each piece in the woods not less than a mile apart from each other. He would not say why this had to be done, but continuously referred to the board as “that wooden devil.” When the boy’s mother had refused, thinking it ludicrous as any rational person would, the grandfather had enlisted the boy and his friends, given them the store key, and told them the safe combination. I remember he kid telling me he was disappointed; he had always thought the safe held his grandfather’s stash of ancient pirate treasure.

Upon grabbing the wooden board from the safe, however, the boys had run into two problems. Firstly, the board was hard as stone and the best way to break the thing was turning into a point of argument now that the hammer had failed. The second issue was that woods in Chicago are scarce, and woods large enough for burying things miles apart from each other are even scarcer. Realizing it was most likely not the best idea to get in the way of a group of kids’ family issues when a hammer and a wooden slab are involved, I figured my best option was to break the thing myself to make sure the kids didn’t get themselves hurt, then be on my way.

This proved to be extremely difficult. I remember thinking that the board had to be reinforced with a steel plate or something. I was beating on the thing with the hammer for the hundredth time when I remembered that I had a hacksaw I had bought to remove a broken tree limb two years earlier, and had never touched it since. I told the kids to sit tight and jogged down the block to my apartment. By the time I got back it was snowing and the boys were picking up the snow and throwing it at each other in clumps rather than snowballs. It was an unusually mild winter for us last year and I think this may have been the beginning of the only snowstorm we had all year if I remember correctly. The five of them continued to play with the snow as I hacked into the board with my saw.

It took an unusually long time but it worked. When the first piece snapped off I picked it up and saw that the grain where it had been cut was unlike anything I had ever seen before, spiraling in a very distinct pattern that I can still picture in my head. The unstained wood was a deep reddish-brown.

When the board was in six pieces Peter or Paul grabbed the corner with the picture of the sun, then he and one of his friends ran a short distance into a wooded area on the edge of the park and buried it about a foot down. As this was going on the other boys explained to me that they were planning on spending the day riding the elevated train and taking the pieces to the various wooded areas they had come up with. They just needed one more place to bury the sixth piece and hadn’t come up with anything yet. As it happened to be a Sunday, if I recall, I offered to do it on the way to work the next day and they agreed that it was a good plan. As the five of them walked away toward the north I saw them enter a station for the Blue Line train and I never saw them again.

Later that night as the snowstorm started to get really bad I remember thinking that I hoped I hadn’t made a mistake by letting them go off on their own, but a strange adult hanging around with five neighborhood kids tends to give people the wrong idea, regardless of whether he’s looking out for their safety. I hoped they had gotten their task finished before the storm had really hit.

The White Face In The Window - Ouija Piece

The corner of the board I had wound up with was the corner with the painting of the moon with the blank expression. I had really planned to bury it, I swear I did, but we all wound up snowed in the following morning and it ended up in the drawer of an end table. I don’t know if you’ve ever been snowed in during a Chicago winter, but when this happens they tend to send out these huge monolithic snow plows that push all of the snow into mountains on top of all the parked cars, none of which will be capable of moving an inch for at least two days.

The day was rather uneventful, but as nightfall approached I was taken by the eerie notion that someone was watching me through my living room window. I kept glancing toward it expecting to see someone peering in at me, despite the fact that I live on the third floor and my living room window faces the street. After a while I shook off the notion, and I believe I went to sleep around eleven.

Around one a.m. I was awoken by what sounded like a mechanical device humming loudly and assumed it to be my heater, possibly being overworked due to the snowstorm. I stood up and put my ear next to the vent, but the sound wasn’t coming from there. I walked into the living room to check the settings on my thermostat, and immediately every hair on my body stood at full attention. The sound was coming from the direction of my living room window, and as I turned to look I caught the ghastly image of a solid white face with a wide mouth and dark eye sockets on the other side of the glass. I quickly turned on a light and the face disappeared. The mechanical droning noise seemed to recede.

The White Face In The Window – Noise

Had it all been my imagination I wondered? When I was younger I once had an episode of sleep paralysis where I witnessed a tree devouring my neighbor’s dog through a bedroom window, but when I came out of it the tree was back to normal and the dog was perfectly fine. Had this been something similar? Nevertheless I hardly slept the rest of the night. I kept thinking I was hearing that deep mechanical drone somewhere in the distance.

By the next night I had regained my wits and fell asleep in my bed some time around midnight. I awoke once again, terrified, to the sound of the same mechanical drone as the previous night, but this time much louder. As I sat up in bed I saw the ghastly white face with sunken eyes on the other side of the window near the foot of my bed, no more than three feet from where I lay sleeping. It had no neck, arms, torso, nothing. It seemed to just float there above the streetlights below, emanating that horrible humming sound. I instinctively grabbed the drapes and pulled them closed, but the sound continued. Remembering what had happened the night before, I ran to the lights and flipped the switch. The noise slowly faded but I was too afraid to open the drapes for the rest of the night.

The next morning I was still unable to get to work due to my car being frozen beneath a seven-foot pile of ice, but I absolutely had to get out of that apartment. I thought that if the face was going to come back that I would have to be ready for it somehow. I went to a sporting goods store in the neighborhood and purchased a box of ammo for the .22 range pistol I hadn’t used in years. It wasn’t much but it was better than nothing. I also bought some caffeine tablets and a bag of coffee.

Before nightfall I set up camp in my living room with the pistol and a coffee pot, took one of the caffeine tablets, and rigged up a portable audio recorder that I sometimes use for work. I don’t own a camera and my cell phone’s video function had not been working for months, so the best I could do was attempt to snap some photos in the dark with the cell if the face appeared again.

It showed itself around three in the morning. I was beginning to crash from all of the caffeine when I began to hear the droning sound approaching from the distance. I readied my gun in one hand and my cell phone in the other but the face didn’t appear at the window. I began to wonder if perhaps the face was outside my bedroom window, and as I snuck through the dark toward the door the sound seemed to get louder. However, as I entered the room, the door slammed and locked behind me and I heard glass shattering in the living room. Suddenly the apartment was filled with the noises of things being smashed, thrown, and torn to pieces. The droning noise was deafeningly loud and I covered one ear and turned my head away as I clawed at the doorknob with my other hand, but it simply would not open. It was as if the lock had been welded shut. After about thirty seconds of this I raised my foot and smashed the door open with two kicks. Immediately the crashing in the living room stopped, but the room itself had been completely torn to pieces . And as I looked up above the debris at the shattered window I saw the face one last time staring at me from the other side of my demolished venetian blinds. It opened its mouth exposing a wide dark cavern the likes of which I hope to never see again, and the horrible sound got louder and louder as I snapped a single photograph with my camera and the flash went off.

The White Face In The Window

Then in an instant the face was gone. All I have to prove my story is a single blurry photograph and the audio taken by my portable recorder in those last few minutes. But the thing about it that disturbed me the most is the corner of the wooden board with the painting of the moon was sitting atop the debris in the exact center of the room, and the face had been altered so that the expression was identical to what I had just seen in the windowpane with the wide, gaping, cavernous mouth.

I buried it in the woods the following morning.

Credit To – Nick Ledesma

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DAN

April 1, 2013 at 8:00 AM
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One day, I was walking home from school. I only lived about a block away, so that was easy. But as I was walking home one day, I saw something peaking out of the sand. It was a little grey videogame cart. It had to be for the old gameboys, or maybe the gameboy colors. This was on, like, the last day of middleschool, in 2005. Shows you how old I am, right? I took it home, and put it in my Gameboy Advance (which I swore I was going to get rid of, any day now, really. No, really! I’m gonna get a DS… Eventually.)

It didn’t have a label. That should have given me a clue something was up. But I put it in the Gameboy, and it was Tetris DX. Awesome! I looked through it, and I found them. The highscores table. And at the top of the highscores table was someone named DAN, with a highscore of 683,092.

I started playing. Trying to beat that highscore. But I had homework to do, so I didn’t get very far. I went to school and told my friends about it the next day. They found it cool, and we all got together and started speculating about who DAN was, and whether he missed his game, and how he got so good at Tetris.

I came home, and stayed up… Honestly, way too late, trying to beat it. That night,t hough, I only got 49,594 as the highest. But something weird happened. When I left for school, there was a note on my front porch.

“Don’t beat my score – DAN”

There was a little picture of a stick man with a knife in his chest.

I figured one of the guys from school had put it there. Maybe Ben. Eh, whatever. Pranks aren’t very funny if you just come out IMMEDIATELY and say you did it.

It happened the next day.

“Don’t beat my score – DAN”

This time the stick figure was decapitated. I put it in my pocket and went to school. I didn’t even mention it, ‘cause I figured that they knew I’d found it. And that night, I went home, and played Tetris.

And that morning, I got a note from DAN.

“Don’t beat my score – DAN”

The stick figure was being shot in the groin by another one.

I was getting annoyed, but my friends were smart guys. They know comedy. Rule of 3s. After three times, it stops being funny. At lunch, I kind of tried to lead the conversation that way. See if I could get them to tell me about it. Tell me it was all a joke, just fun and games. But they seriously had no idea.

Eh.

Okay. That’s how they wanted to play it? Fine.

I kept playing. Every night, I went home, and played Tetris.

Every day, I got another note.

“Don’t beat my score – DAN”

And a stick figure who’d been murdered in a new, creative, gruesome way.

And then one night, finally, after a month of this, I was doing it. I was getting really, really good. Seriously, I was starting to kick ass and take names. I was up in the 100,000s regularly. Even the 200,000s sometimes.

And then, this night, I was getting in the groove. You know how there’s the right level of tired, the right level of drunk, where you’re REALLY GOOD at things?

Well I hit it. I’d been up all night, and I was getting good.

Icould tell this was it. This was going to be my high score. No, this was going to be THE high scre. I was so excited. It was going to happen. I was going to beat Dan. The Tetris tower was getting bigger. And bigger. I was in the zone, racking up points like it was my last day on earth.

And that was the night. My best night. My highest scoring Tetris night. I was playing up until the sun rose. And I went out on the porch to see if DAN was coming.

And you know what happened?

Nothing.

Monsters aren’t real. There aren’t killers stalking you, waiting for you to break some arbitrary rule, some made-up thing that only they know about. Fall into some arcane trap or push the wrong button and have your world destroyed. Have your life torn apart because of some weird videogame. That only happens in horror movies and creepypastas.

Although, to be fair, I only got 128,859

So maybe I just suck at Tetris.

Credit To: Redhat

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