The Little People

August 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.2/10 (30 votes cast)

For as long as I can remember, strange things have happened to me. When I was young, my mother and I lived in my grandmother’s house; a big, drafty Victorian beast of a thing squatting in the middle of acres and acres of hilly country land. My grandmother was old and couldn’t take care of herself, and I often heard my mom whispering to her friends about how crazy she was and how she couldn’t wait to put her in a home and get on with her own life.

Me, being only three or four at the time, didn’t understand. I thought my grandmother was the most wonderful person on the planet, as little children do. She told me stories about “the little people” that lived in the hills around the house, and how long ago, when she was only a girl, she’d made a pact with the little people that allowed her to live on their land. My mother once overheard her telling me one of these stories and forbade Grandma from ever telling me anything like that again, claiming she’d just scare me. I wasn’t scared – I loved fairy stories. That’s what I thought they were – Fairy stories, and I didn’t understand why Mom was so upset. She’d grown up in that same house listening to Grandma’s same stories, right? But every time I tried to ask her about them, she’d shush me and tell me I’d get in trouble if she heard me and Grandma talking about the little people ever again.

Mine and Grandma’s closeness never set well with Mom, and as a child, I never understood the reason. I knew Mom and Grandma didn’t get along, and never had, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t press the subject; I loved my Grandma and I loved her stories. My mother, who was serious and dark-featured, took after my Greek grandfather more than anyone, while I looked like my grandmother. We shared the same awkwardly big ears, fair freckled skin, and thick red hair. I remember she would often stroke my hair and sigh, saying my mother would never have been prepared for the responsibility of having red hair, so it was passed down to me. I always thought she was making some sort of joke, but her face was a little sad when she said it, so I never further questioned what exactly she meant.

When I was six, Grandma died. She’d been sick all my life, always fragile in health, and one night she went to bed and never woke up. Though I was only a child, I usually helped Grandma get ready for bed – Brushing her long, still vibrantly red hair and braiding it, helping her into her nightgown and tucking her in. Mom always got angry, saying a boy my age shouldn’t have to do those things, but I enjoyed any time spent with my Grandma. The night she died was like any other, but as I tucked her in, her thin hand suddenly grasped mine in a vice grip.

“The pact is up, Gearoid.”

My name is Garrett, but Grandma always said it the traditional Irish way, Gar-roid, her lilting accent making my name seem special to me instead of the name of three other boys in my class.

“The pact is up.” She repeated herself, her voice sounding more intense than I’d ever heard it. “I’m sorry, Gearoid. There is nothing I can do. You must go from here, so they cannot find you.”

I was confused, and a little scared then, being only six. I held her hand close.

“Who will find me, Grandma? What’s wrong?”

She only clung my hand tighter, her voice a steadfast whisper. “The little people, Gearoid. The denizens of the hollow hills. The sidheóg. You must go from here.”

I wanted to ask her more, but her hand relaxed in mine, suddenly, and she was asleep. She looked peaceful, and I felt like I almost imagined the strange conversation we’d just had. I figured I would ask her more about it the next morning, but the next morning she was dead.

Grandma had left all her money to Mom in her will, but the house and surrounding land to me. Since I was too young to even think about owning a house, Mom decided we’d live there until we found better prospects. As a single mother with hectic hours at her job, a free house was too good to pass up.

I went to school, Mom went to work as a nurse, life went on. I continued to play in the hills and woods surrounding the house as I always did, despite Mom’s insistent warnings I did not. I thought she was afraid I’d fall in a ditch or accidentally get shot by hunters during hunting seasons, and my six-year-old bravado thought I was above this.

One day, on a warm August afternoon just before school started again (I must have only been eight or nine) I came back from the hills covered in scratches and bruises. She thought I’d fallen down the biggest hill leading down to the woods in our backyard until I told her “the little people had hurt me”. She didn’t believe me at first, who would? But I continued to tell her about the little people, how they came out to play with me ever since Grandma died, but they were never nice. They pinched me and scratched me and told me to leave, or else.

My mother turned white as a sheet and put down a lease on an apartment in town the very next day. Within a week we were moved out of Grandma’s house in the hills, surrounded by asphalt and car horns.
When I ask Mom about the strange things that happened to me in childhood such as this, she claims not to remember. But she always changes the subject, and her mouth gets in a tight little line. I know she remembers.

Moving into the city didn’t stop the strange things from happening to me. On the playground, I saw eyes in the bushes, watching me; I would blink only for nothing to be there. Walking home from school I would hear strange music on the breeze, music that jolted me to my bones and made my head hurt. It always sounded wrong, as if it was out of tune or played on broken instruments. Once I asked a friend if he heard the music, and he called me a freak and never walked home from school with me again. As I lay asleep in our small apartment, I would see lights bobbing just outside my window, lights that were definitely not from any of the neon signs of the inter-city. When I was ten, I wrapped myself up in my blankets and followed the lights, which seemed to whisper my name the way I remember Grandma saying it, Gearoid. My mother found me a five-minutes walk away from our apartment, about to take another step over the edge of a steep ditch. She never saw any lights, and made me an appointment with a psychiatrist the next day. I learned to keep what I saw hidden after that, and not to follow any strange lights that whispered my name.

Keeping the weird things that happened to myself didn’t stop them from happening, unfortunately. They still did, even into high school. By then I had learned to ignore them, to convince myself it was all in my head, just like my psychiatrist told me when I was a child. I never tried to figure out what was happening to me or who the “little people” were. Would you really want to know?

I was seventeen and an early senior, falling asleep in my literature class as my teacher droned on about speculative fiction. It was only when she said a word, sidheóg, that snapped me back into awareness with the force of a kick to the stomach.

“The sidheóg, in Irish folklore, are what we common people would call faeries. They have plenty of names, the Fair Folk, the Fey, the Shee, the little people. They’re not as we think of faeries today, small women made of flowers that grant wishes, but something between an angel and a demon that isn’t entirely of this world. They are cruel and delight in trickery, and can be vindictive and sadistic, particularly when their land is threatened. Most mortals, that is, you and me, can’t see them unless they’re born with the Sight. Ways to have the sight naturally were considered being the seventh child of a seventh child, or being born with red hair.”
She said more after that, but I wasn’t listening.

Little people. Between an angel and a demon. Their land. the Sight. Born with red hair.

The bell rang, and I almost fell out of my seat. I was breathing so hard and must have looked so pale that my best friend, Sarah, put her hand on my forehead to check for fever when she came to stand by my desk.

“Jesus, Garrett, are you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

No. Much worse, I wanted to say, but didn’t. I just shook my head instead. “Fell asleep. Bad dream. You know how lectures get.”

She laughed, and we walked off to our lockers, with Sarah asking if I was still going to spend the night at her house that night. I said sure, and left for my car feeling like a husk with everything sucked out of me. I felt watched.

When I got home, I cursed myself for saying yes to Sarah’s offer. We hung out almost every weekend, but always at my house – A larger apartment my mother had bought further inner-city when she got a promotion a few years back. Sarah lived in a big farmhouse on the edge of the hills, and it reminded me too much of Grandma’s house for my comfort. I always made excuses on why I couldn’t come, but I’d been too distracted today to say no.

I finally knew now what had been stalking me all my life – little people, Fair Folk, whatever you wanted to call them. My grandmother’s stories suddenly made sense to me. Her father had built their house, unknowingly, on fey land. The faeries had probably tortured them and pestered them until Grandma, the only one able to see them, somehow made a pact with them to let her family live on their land unharmed for as long as she lived. When she died, it left my mother and I at their mercy. I had no clue what sort of pact Grandma had made, as she’d never said. I remembered her asking about it, but she would always pat my hand and say it was a story for another time. Now I almost didn’t want to know.

As I was waiting for Sarah to come pick me up, I heard the tapping.

At first it was faint, and I thought it had begun to rain and hit against the windows. I checked my phone, but there was only light rain scheduled for much later in the evening. I brushed it off, but it continued. It sounded as if someone were standing outside my window and slowly, rhythmically, tapping on the glass with one finger. I turned around to look at the window the tapping was coming from, and it stopped – Only to sound as if it were coming from further into the apartment. I must have spent five minutes running all over my house like a crazy person trying to find the source of the tapping, only to have it come from a different window each time I investigated. I was near angry tears when Sarah beeped her horn outside, jerking me out of my frenzy. Never had I been so happy to leave my house as I scooped my overnight bag off the floor and locked the front door behind me.

As I jogged to Sarah’s car, I chanced a glance into the bushes outside the window where I first heard the tapping and froze. There was a shadow in the bushes – The shadow of something huge and looming, gnarled and twisted. I felt the breath go out of my lungs as the shadow began to move – Away from me, further into the few trees planted around my complex. I don’t know how long I just stood there, staring into the darkness between the trees, until Sarah laid on her horn and stuck her head out the window.

“Gar-rett! Come on, you lazy-ass!” The sound of her laughter broke my trance, and I turned and ran headlong to her car, almost slipping on the pavement as I lurched into the passenger seat.

“Whoa. Are you okay? Are you sure you want to do tonight? Cause you looked pretty sick at school, and you look pretty sick now.” Her voice was almost worried, which was uncommon for loud, brash, unafraid Sarah.

“I’m fine. I just thought I saw something in the bushes – A dog, probably. The shadow freaked me out.” You’ll never know how much it freaked me out, I thought.

She shook her head as she put the car into gear. “You watch way too many horror movies, Garrett Carter. Now let’s go. I stole my dad’s Netflix password so the internet is our oyster.”

I forced myself to grin back as we pulled into traffic. I chanced a glance over my shoulder at the trees – Nothing. No shadow. I still kept my eyes on the spot until we turned a corner, and I could see it no more.

By the time we’d driven out to Sarah’s old farmhouse, the rain had begun. Sarah was annoyed, claiming her internet shorted out every time so much as a drop of rain fell from the sky.

“I guess that’s what I get for living out here with my family in the middle of nowhere,” She sighed as we unloaded the frozen pizza and french fries we’d picked up to make for dinner later.

I checked my phone to see what the weather predicted for later, but I had no signal or WiFi. Figures, as it was like she said, we were in the middle of nowhere. Her nearest neighbors were at least half a mile away.

We put dinner in the oven and set up her Xbox so we could watch Netflix, but as she said, the internet wouldn’t connect. She about threw her controller through a window but I suggested we just play video games instead, which calmed her down. We were trying to find a vampire in Skyrim when Sarah went to check on dinner, and I heard it again. The tapping. It sounded louder this time, but I figured it was just the rain until I remembered it had been raining for almost half an hour and it hadn’t tapped on the window like that once. I swallowed the panic in my throat and tried to ignore it as I fought off wolves and bandits in the game, but the tapping continued, and I realized Sarah hadn’t come back from the kitchen yet.

I called her name, no answer. But that wasn’t too odd, Sarah had a large house and if she’d gone upstairs or towards the back of the house she probably wouldn’t be able to hear me. I paused the game and stood up, intending to go look for her, when the tapping suddenly stopped. I’d been hearing it for so long now that the absence of its sound was almost louder than the sound itself, and I froze in my tracks. I was trying to psych myself up for taking another step when thunder suddenly rumbled deafeningly, shaking the glass in the windows. I’m ashamed to say I yelled, startled, as the power suddenly clicked off.

I was suddenly alone in Sarah’s dark living room when I heard my name being called. Not in Sarah’s cheerful voice, but in a hoarse whisper that sounded like a bow being sawed across violin strings that were drawn too tight. Gearoid, it whispered. Gearoid.

I managed to talk around the lump in my throat as I fumbled my phone out of my pocket, clicking the built in flashlight on. “Sarah? Sarah!”

There was no answer but the continuous whisper of my name, and I knew I had to find the source. I somehow willed my legs to move and navigated towards the voice, my flashlight illuminating the dark halls. The whisper became louder as I neared her parents’ bedroom, which I remembered too late had the largest window in the house; A big picture window with a window seat we used to sit on and read when we were in middle school. As I slowly opened the door, thunder rumbled again and my flashlight winked out. I thought I might have hit the off button with my shaking hand, but as I raised my phone to my face I saw it had died, even though the battery had been at 92% when I arrived at Sarah’s. As I stood on the threshhold of the master bedroom, my eyes squeezed shut against the darkness, the whisper became almost deafening, and I felt a cold, stale wind blow around me.

I had to go in, and as I stepped forward into the room, the door slammed shut.

As I opened my eyes, I fought the urge to run back through the door and leave, but I knew I had to find Sarah. There, at the picture window (which was open, despite the fact that it only opened from the inside and I knew her parents would not have left it unlocked) was a creature out of my nightmares.

Its shape was large, towering almost to the top of the eight foot high window, and it was crouched in the side garden like some monstrous toad. I had expected my first sighting of the shadow from the bushes to look like some sort of Eldritch monster, but this creature looked more natural than I could imagine. Its hide looked like bark, its long, wizened arms like tree branches, the hair hanging lankly around its head like moss. It would have almost looked like an enormous stump if not for the face, which was huge and pointed with a long, witch-like nose, and a mouth full of broken, green, grinning teeth.

“At last,” the creature said in a voice like groaning trees and snapped violin strings. “We meet.”

I had been frozen solid upon first sight of the creature, but I somehow found my voice upon hearing it speak. “What the hell did you do with Sarah? Why are you here? What are you?”

The creature looked at me, simply, as if it were appraising me, then laughed. Its laugh sounded like wind shrieking through the slats of an unkempt house, and its voice was slow, as if it had all the time in the world.

“Some call me the Old Man of the Crossroads. Some call me the One Who Answers. Some call me troll.” It grinned, as if this was amusing to him. “We have come for payment. The land, the land, the land. Caoime made the pact. The land, the land, the land was hers. But no longer. It is yours, and we have come for payment.”

I stared at the thing, uncomprehending, until it dawned on me. My grandmother’s name was Caoime, and she had made her pact for the land when she was seventeen – My age. After she died, the fey waited until I was of age, and came for me. For payment. For the pact.

I kept my distance from the window. “That doesn’t answer all my questions. Where is Sarah?!” I yelled over the howling wind, but the creature just chuckled its shrieking wind laugh.

“The girl, the girl, the girl. Perhaps she is under the hill. Perhaps we shall keep her there until the payment is made. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.”
I felt my blood turn to ice. These things had Sarah, my best friend, and they seemed to have no intention of giving her back.

“What do you want? I don’t care about the land, take it. Just give Sarah back and leave me alone!”

The creature sighed, as if it were thinking. Its earthen, hulking body shivered as it scratched its chin with one long, gnarled, tree-branch finger.

“You are a strong one. So was Caoime.”It chuckled, heaving another sigh as it settled its body further into the side garden, releasing a smell of overturned earth and damp moss.

“I will extend to you the same challenge I extended Caoime. For the land, the land, the land. And for the girl, the girl, the girl. Should you beat me at my own game, the land, the land, the land, and the girl, the girl, the girl, are yours. Should you fail…” The creature trailed off and grinned, its leathery face splitting in two as it showed all its broken teeth. “You are mine.”

I felt unable to speak, unable to move, unable to breathe. The thing – the troll was going to take me, my best friend, and most likely my mom to god knows where to do god knows what to us if I didn’t accept his challenge. I didn’t know what to do.

“Well, boy, boy, boy? Is your silence a refusal?” The creature ran one gnarled hand over the windowsill, and something dawned on me.

“If you want me so bad, why don’t you just come in here and take me?” It was a foolhardy thing to say, but I figured I could run from it – It moved slower than Christmas.

My question seemed to anger it, and its mossy eyebrows met in a snarl. “I cannot come inside unless you invite me, boy, boy, boy. Your friend was kind enough to come outside to me.” It grinned then, and chuckled. My anger reignited. I needed to get Sarah back.

“Fine. I accept your challenge, whatever it is.” At that exact moment, lightning cracked across the sky and for a split second I saw the creature in its entirety, which nearly made my heart stop. It was bigger than I imagined, its back humped and covered in fungi and moss, reaching nearly to the roof of the house. I swallowed.

“Delightful. I shall ask you three questions, boy, boy, boy. If you answer all correctly, the land, the land, the land, and the girl, the girl, the girl, is yours. We shall leave you alone.” It’s cracked smile didn’t falter. “But if you answer a single question wrong…” It trailed off, one wizened hand sweeping a grand gesture. I didn’t need it to elaborate.

I nodded, not sure I trusted my voice to speak as I sat on the edge of Sarah’s parents’ bed, staring at the creature, backlit by the storm. It rubbed its gnarled hands together in pleasure.

“Wonderful. It has been so long, long, long since one of your kind accepted my challenge. Now.” It paused, as if deep in thought before beginning, its voice a low, almost melodic rumble.

“My tines are long, my tines are short. My tines end ere my first report. What am I?”

I almost felt like laughing with relief when I heard the riddle. Grandma and I would spend hours telling each other riddles back and forth when I was a child, and I had gotten so good at them I would even leave her stumped and come up with answers to her hardest mind-benders. Whenever I asked her why she was so interested in riddles, she would just stroke my hair and say, You never know when they’ll come in handy, Gearoid. You never know.

I knew now. I wondered if Grandma had told me all the riddles trying to prepare me for the troll to come and ask for payment, or simply to keep her mind sharp. There was no time to think about it now as I mulled over the troll’s question.

“Well, boy, boy, boy? Do you give up?” It sounded pleased, thinking I was so easy to break. I glared at it.

“No. I was just thinking.” I glanced past the troll, just as a bright flash of lightning forked and hit a tree not far from Sarah’s horse pasture, and my eyes widened.

“Lightning. You’re lightning.”

The troll’s eyes narrowed, and I could tell he was surprised at my answer. “Very well.” He readjusted his bulk, his contorted fingers resting on the windowsill.

“Never ahead, ever behind, yet flying swiftly past; For a babe I last forever, for adults I’m gone too fast. What am I?”

I swallowed, my eyes glued to the floor to keep away from looking at the creature in front of me. I thought of how it must have waited all this years, watching, and how the rest of the fey hated me for being on their land; for being able to see them. I thought of the strange shadows I’d seen melting across my bedroom floor at night, only to disappear when I turned on the bedside lamp. The strange laughter and broken music I heard on winter nights, always out of reach when it swirled in on the freezing wind. How many other children had made fun of me for screaming that I saw squat, froglike creatures with sharp teeth grinning at me from the woods around the edge of the playground. How I nearly drowned one summer swimming in the lake on Sarah’s property when we were barely in sixth grade, because I felt webbed fingers latch onto my ankle and try to drag me down into the darkness.

“Childhood.”

The troll’s semblance of a smile twisted into a scowl, and I allowed myself the faintest of grins. I thought of my grandmother standing in front of this same beast at my age, terrified, but willing to go to any lengths to protect her family and friends. It made my smile wider.

“You are a clever boy, boy, boy, I see. Not clever enough for my final riddle, I know you are not, not, not.” Its deformed hand raised, and though it couldn’t get into the house, its shadow stretched across the floor and sent a bolt of panic through my chest.

“The thing that all things devours; Birds, beast, tree, flower. Gnaws iron, bites steel; Grinds hard stones down to meal. Slays kings and ruins towns, and beats the highest mountain down. What am I?”

I took a deep breath, my fists clenched against the quilt on Sarah’s parent’s bed. My smile had faded as the troll told the riddle, it was one not even my grandmother had alluded to. I refused to let the anxiety show on my face, but as I sat there staring at the ground, trying to think, the troll laughed. I had been silent for several minutes, and the storm was getting worse. Every second I delayed Sarah was stuck under the hill, and I had no idea what they were doing to her. They could already have my mom for all I knew, and I wondered how my grandmother did this. How did she live her life knowing there was a secret world all around her, and everything in it hated her? That she had to risk her and everyone she loved’s life just to keep them from mortal harm? She was stronger than me. I didn’t know how I was going to handle day-to-day life if I got out of here alive.

“Do you give up, boy, boy, boy? It is a difficult riddle. Do not be ashamed to admit defeat.” His green teeth showed as he grinned, and I could hear the violin strings snapping and branches creaking in his voice.

“No. I don’t give up. I just need more time.” I tried my hardest to keep my voice subdued as the troll shifted to its full height, fingers unfurling.

“Time was not in the bargain, boy, boy, boy. Either you answer or you do not.”

My teeth gritted as I opened my mouth to say god knows what, but I stopped. It was as if Grandma was sitting next to me, stroking my hair and shaking her head. The answer was right in front of you, Gearoid, you’re just too impatient to see it! She’d always say that in the earlier days of our game when I’d give up in a snit after taking too long to answer a riddle.

I knew the answer.

“Time. Time is the answer!” I stood up off the bed and grinned.

The troll scowled harder than I’d seen it, opened its mouth, and howled. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before in my life, a cacophony of broken, screaming instruments and wailing animals and crying women; As well as wind ripping through trees and ocean waves crashing against rock. The window slammed shut with a crack, a few panes of glass shattering and falling onto the window seat. The power flickered on and off crazily, the lights dimming and brightening as the troll howled.

Then, as soon as it started, it was over.

I opened my eyes from where I’d taken cover behind the bathroom door, and the troll was gone. The only proof of its existence was the faint smell of moss and lichen blowing in from the cracked window, and what I knew had happened. Sarah’s parents arrived home not long after, and found me sitting under their window clutching an iron poker from the fireplace, and their daughter missing. I think I passed out when Sarah’s mom started screaming. I don’t remember much after that.

They found Sarah later the next morning, about three miles away from her house. She wandered into a neighboring farmer’s barn, claiming she’d been abducted by strange women with deer forelegs and hooves and men with ribcages for torsos. She told the police they forced her to answer riddles to avoid them feeding her strange food and hurting her, but wasn’t able to answer all of them – The bruises all over her body attested to that. But the police didn’t believe her story. I didn’t think they would, but I knew better. She didn’t. She was new to this, she told people.

Her parents sent her to a psych ward for three months. I visited her almost every day I could, and I told her I believed her. She cried, usually, and told me about how food had no taste and she was hungry all the time, and she couldn’t sleep because of the strange music and voices calling her name. The day she was released, she looked terrible. She was skinnier than ever, with dark shadows under her eyes and hollow cheekbones. She hugged me tight, though, and told me she was sorry with tears in her eyes.

I wasn’t sure what she meant until she vanished out of her bedroom that night.

When her parents let me in her room to see if I wanted any of her things, it smelled like moss and lichen. When I left, I saw a hulking shadow under her window, and I thought I heard laughter like creaky branches and storm wind on the breeze.

Sarah never came back. I’m not sure if I should be happy or horrified that she didn’t. Her time spent under the hill changed her, made her a different person. Maybe she was happier there, now that she was one of them. I didn’t know. I’d never know, thank God, though I felt terrible for thinking it.

I had Grandma’s house torn down, even the foundation. I refused to sell the land even though I had everyone from farmers to developers begging me for it, offering me a king’s ransom for the rich soil. I wouldn’t put anybody through that. I wouldn’t will it to my children, as if I would have any. When I died, whenever that was, the pact would die with me.

I still hear the voices, the music, the whispering. I still see shadows out of the corner of my eye and I still won’t swim in natural bodies of water because water fey are notorious for trying to drown people. I still hear them calling, though I’ve gotten better at ignoring it. I won’t go to them, and I won’t listen to them.

On late winter nights, when I’m up in the wee hours trying to write another chunk of whatever it is I’m working on before my publisher’s deadline, the call is the hardest to resist. Sometimes I find myself out of my chair with my hand on the doorknob before I remember Grandma, telling me to be strong, calling me Gearoid. I remember the troll, thinking he’d won. I remember Sarah, how vibrant and full of life she had been before the hill took her. It’s enough for me to lock my doors tighter, put my headphones on and drown out whatever it is I hear.

I know they won’t ever go away, won’t ever stop trying and reaching for me, and I know no one will ever believe me. But for as long as I can remember, strange things have happened to me. And they’ve probably happened to you too. So next time you hear an unexplained noise in the middle of the night, or see a mysterious light just beyond the hill, don’t go searching for it. Don’t follow it.

Close your eyes, walk the other direction and be glad you can’t see the things that I can see.

Credit To – herchansen @ twitter

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.2/10 (30 votes cast)

Skip This Creepypasta

August 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.4/10 (121 votes cast)

I don’t have much time to explain. You have to hear me out urgently, it’s very important that you do so. I have, for the past couple of weeks, heard of something being passed around on the internet. A simple message that you will stumble upon when you least expect it. According to the people that have been passing around the rumours, when you receive this message you will die soon after reading. Frozen with an intense look of horror upon your face, staring with clouded eyes at whatever attacked you. As any sane person would I believed all this to be nonsense, as you do.

According to rumours the message is similar to a virus. Unlike its more devious counterparts the message spreads one thing, death. Apparently it’s quite structured and concise, seemingly innocent. Some have even hypothesised that the message has a consciousness, as odd as that sounds. That it is an entity roaming about the internet looking for human prey. It can take many forms, a post on a social forum, perhaps being read out in a video. It may even be posing as an innocent story intended to entertain or scare readers.

What’s so brilliant about this message is the fact that you rarely realise when you’ve stumbled upon it. It lures you in like prey, tricking you by conveying a feeling of trust. Creating this immediate partnership with the narrator, that they are looking out for you. This is not the case. You may be a quarter of the way through the message already and not even realise it. And even when you do finally catch on to what’s happening you won’t leave. You can’t leave, because there is some fundamental belief in humans that these things can’t be real. That these ‘demonic entities’ only exist in the imagination, in movies and horror films. Even those more switched on than the rest, those who catch on quickly will still remain regardless, despite the warning signs.

The ‘entity’ has adapted itself to the human world you see. It has listened, watched and taken in everything around it. Regarding the behaviour of its prey, what do they fear? What do they seek? What are their weaknesses? An attempt to form the greatest means of killing humans it can muster. And it succeeded. The internet. What better place? Millions of people tune in everyday, on their phones, computers, laptops. And humans are stupid as well. Stupid because they won’t believe in such things, they have be raised in such a way to regard anything paranormal as make believe. Like fools they will pass around the demonic message to each other, showing their friends how ‘weird’ or ‘cool’ it is. After all, why should you fear something if you do not believe in it?

It would blend in perfectly as well. Think of it, a message that has comments like all the rest, perhaps even a rating. A post that has likes from humans expressing their enthusiasm for it. A video that perhaps seems like any other, with a narrator that is unwittingly dooming listeners and themselves. The prey will idiotically create the perfect disguise in this way, aiding the demonic entity in its efforts.

The message itself even uses language devices to attract the prey. Similar to how a carnivorous plant may draw a fly to its death. Devices such as reverse psychology are used in the title. The fact that the narrator feigns fear or panic in the first opening sentences to intrigue. As the message continues the humans will realise that the narrator is in fact the malicious entity they had heard about.

You must have realised by now that this is the message. Will you leave the page? No, you won’t. That’s what’s so fiendishly brilliant about it. A little bit more to go and you’re all powerless to leave, powerless to stop your eyes passing from word to word. You see there’s no way humans can resist the urge to find out how this message will conclude. Even afterwards you may still refuse to believe, will still cast away any fearful thoughts. This can’t be real. These things are never real. It’s just designed to frighten me…

You’ve been occupied now for approximately three minutes. During that time you have licked your lips subconsciously once. Wiped your brow, even scratched an itch on the back of your neck. You didn’t notice you had done all this. But I did. How? Because I have left out one big gap in the story. What is it that kills you? The message itself? Oh no. The message is a distraction. You don’t notice things when you are so captivated by something. Your scratches and itches are one thing, but did you not see your door open briefly? Did you not hear that rustle as something slid into your room? It has already moved into position, just out of sight, and has been watching your movements for a while. You have until you turn off your computer, then it will attack.

Oh, and feel free to warn others about this. Not that they’ll listen. Seeing a warning that reads ‘leave the page now!’ will just spark further curiosity.

Credit To – Meek

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.4/10 (121 votes cast)

When Gods Blink

August 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.1/10 (188 votes cast)

On the 25th March, at 14:57GMT, the world stopped for 27 minutes and 54 seconds. No-one noticed at first. Those that eventually did were ordered to keep quiet.

——————————————————————————————–

There was no sudden jolt, no collapsing into unconsciousness, no transition into utter darkness and back again. Nothing.

For everyone, time had appeared to pass as normal, one second moving uneventfully into the next. Birds flew, people talked, the wind and the rain blew and fell respectively – nothing had occurred to indicate that anything untoward or unexpected had happened to the inhabitants of the Earth.
Only those who looked beyond our planet and its ring of constantly chattering satellites now found that the rest of the universe told a different story.

NASA and related space agencies noticed first. Signals to ongoing missions beyond those in orbit around the Earth were all off by almost 30 minutes. Frantic investigation revealed that the same time discrepancy was occurring for all incoming signals. Naturally they came to the conclusion that the problem must therefore lay not with these external elements, but with the computers on Earth. But this led to a bigger question – one computer glitch was possible, but all of the various space agency’s computers across the globe showing the same failure at exactly the same time? Naturally, a virus or a sophisticated global hacking attack was the next obvious answer. An international team to investigate such a large, well-coordinated cyber-attack was being discussed when the first calls of alarm came in from confused and concerned astronomers, and the true significance of what had actually happened became known.

Using data retrieved from telescopic arrays at Jodrell Bank, Palo Alto, Mount Pleasant and others across the world, confirmed against existing stellar records and computational models of the local galaxy and beyond, it became apparent that for twenty seven minutes and fifty four seconds the Earth had somehow been out of sync with the rest of known time and space. In essence, the world as we knew it had winked out of existence during this period, and then returned as if nothing had happened.

For all intents and purposes during that short window of time, we had ceased to be.

The international investigation team was repurposed, a blank cheque written giving it it’s pick of resources and the best minds in their fields, all to investigate this one event and all sworn to the utmost secrecy. None of them needed to be told the panic that would ensue if this information
became public before a suitable, and hopefully reassuring, reason could be given for the event. Those that couldn’t keep silent were quickly and quietly silenced themselves.

Despite the various project names assigned to the sub teams, those involved began referring to the event in a half joking manner as ‘…the day God blinked’. In casual conversation between project members this was eventually shortened even further to just ‘the blink’.

——————————————————————————————–

After six rings, Ben finally answered the door.

“Mark! What are you doing here?”

“You invited me remember?”

“Did I?! How odd? Well, I probably had a reason at the time. It’s still good to see you anyway. Come on in!”

I’d known Ben since childhood. We attended the same schools for a while, before his crazily high IQ led him onto a fast track of higher education and beyond. We kept in touch though; his parents were sensible enough to realize he needed some grounding in the real world, and encouraged our friendship with the usual sleepovers and camping trips. Their smarts lay in forcing Ben not to let his social skills atrophy completely like a lot of very intelligent kids were wont to do. As a result, whilst he was frequently side tracked and forgetful, he still functioned in normal society with a degree of
success.

After our respective schooling had finished we both moved into the IT industry, although at vastly different levels. For myself I now worked in tech support, mostly maintaining insurance systems for a range of small independent companies. Boring, but it paid well and allowed me to travel. He on the other hand was self-employed and preferred working from his ‘Apartment of Solitude’ as he called it, referring to himself as a ‘Consulting Technician’ (he’d gotten the idea from watching re-runs of ‘Sherlock’). His work was a lot more varied and advanced, and whilst he never openly admitted to hacking, he certainly had enough technical knowledge and experience to have been employed in the past by such names as Google, Microsoft and IBM when they needed someone to test the all new, unhackable security they’d just put in place, or track down those that had subsequently been able to breach their all new, unhackable security. He preferred the latter work he told me; it added the
‘thrill of the chase’, plus it usually paid better.

What was even less well known was the work he occasionally did ‘off the books’ for such groups as the Department of Defense and the NSA. He admitted his working for them was twofold: one, they wanted his expertise and brilliance, and two; it allowed them to keep tabs on his expertise and
brilliance. He didn’t mind this as he explained:

“Well, it keeps them happy knowing where I am and what I’m doing. Or at least what they THINK I’m doing.”, and then he’d grin and pass me the latest decoded email he’d intercepted. He didn’t do anything with the stuff he found, he just enjoyed the challenge.

To be completely honest, sometimes it was hard to pin down just who Ben was and what his motivations were from one moment to the next. I’d just grown up accepting him and his eccentricities, quickly coming to the conclusion his life was a complex pattern of impulses and ideas, woven together from threads that were as much madness as genius.

There was his belief that every time someone said ‘Abracadabra’, an angel lost its wings, or that the common cold existed as a vast, hive mentality that avoided detection by its elements constantly hopping from body to body. Mad crazy shit like that. Half the time I thought he was joking; for the rest I just hoped he had enough common sense to rein it in when in public.

Then there were the times he did and said things that ended up on the opposite end of that, when what he said made absolute, unnerving sense. On those occasions he spoke with a lucidity that seemed to cut through all the crap humankind had built around its certainties and beliefs, as if he’d
touched on some universal truth we should all by rights know. All I could do at those times was marvel at how someone with such a kaleidoscope for a brain, entertaining such a maelstrom of contradictory thoughts constantly, could suddenly bring all those elements together to produce those single blindingly white lights of truth.

Then he’d suddenly go off on a tangent, accusing his neighbours of being CIA agents trialling neurotoxins on the local cats and we’d be back to normal.

Still, I came at his summons. Despite the crazed theories and odd habits, it was definitely the most entertaining conversation around, plus his library of illegally downloaded films was truly a wonder to behold. That and he was my friend.

It was during a piece of work for NASA, idling through their secure systems looking for proof of Area 51 during his off time, that led him to first discover, and then piece together, all the facts concerning March 25th and the ‘blink’ found by the international team so far.

Being his only close friend he’d decided to fill me in on this ongoing conspiracy, mainly so he could show off his talents once more, hence the invitation. As he spoke he appeared completely oblivious to how my face was gradually growing more and more incredulous. He described what the
world’s space agencies and astronomers had discovered, and how a secret scientific think tank was now investigating what had happened. Physicists, Quantum theorists, Mathematicians…the whole spectrum of sciences, all focused on this one problem and the questions associated with it: what had
happened, why it had happened, and most importantly, was it likely to happen again, and if so, what was the risk of it being permanent.

He told me of the total news blackout and how any amateur astronomers or similar who now came to the same conclusions were to be either brought on board, treated as cranks, or disappeared with extreme prejudice. Their biggest fear was a mass panic he said, or the world’s religions taking
credit on behalf of their respective Gods and several genocidal wars kicking off as a result. As he said:

“There’s nothing more disconcerting I guess then not being able to trust your own reality. We’ve been raised in a world where it’s fine to distrust your government, your employers, even your family, but your own entire existence?! Definitely a recipe for chaos.”

“Places like CERN have been placed on almost permanent hiatus. The governments of the world have no proof experiments like the ones they were doing there are the cause, but then I suppose they had to point the finger somewhere until more evidence showed up. There’s a lot of theoretical
work being done now, but pretty much zero practical. I guess it’s only a matter of time before they get the scriptwriters in from Doctor Who to brainstorm a possible cause.”

He sighed at this, sat back in his swivel chair and span round, gazing at the ceiling seemingly lost in thought, then he slowly came to a stop and returned his gaze to me, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes:

“Then on the other side, you have all the religions…”

At this he paused again, looked around his cluttered desk, and then started building what looked like a tower of various bits and pieces. As it slowly grew in height, he continued speaking:

“Remember our bible classes? I liked the stories, if not the morality. I especially liked the story of Babel….”

The rising structure of books, hard drives, chocolate bars, magazines and other random items his hands could find in reach had risen to a height just below his chin. He added a few more items, adding to the precarious sway it already had. Pausing again, his hands not touching it but spread wide on either side ready to stop any imminent collapse; he attempted the voice of an old English vicar delivering a sermon:

“Man in his hubris decided to build a tower to God, so he may converse with his creator! God though, in his glorious wisdom, decided man should not be allowed to do this and took steps to rectify the situation. So he cursed mankind with the gift of many tongues!”

He smirked at this, his eyes never leaving his tower, and returned to his normal voice.

“Well, many a project, plan or peace has been ruined by the inability of people to understand each other. It might be that humanity is over reaching itself again. With the final proof of the existence of the Higgs-Boson, maybe God’s decided we’re getting too close again, and he’s selfish about his tricks. Time for another lesson perhaps?”

At this he slowly closed his hands into fists on either side of the precarious edifice he had created, then with a single finger gingerly pushed it near the top. With a crash, his metaphorical tower scattered across the table and the floor. He waited until the sound of the books and rubbish
falling had died away before speaking again, this time in a thoughtful voice.

“Maybe the ‘blink’ as they call it was God giving us a heads up, a warning to stop encroaching on his intellectual property, else risk the consequences.”

Then he grinned, his tried and true atheism once more reasserting itself.

“Personally, looking at all the facts so far accumulated, I believe the answer lies even further afield.” he said, a knowing smile on his face.

I took a comfort break at this point, shaking my head at this new conspiracy theory. When I got back, he’d moved on already, his head now buried in the side of a PC tower case now perched on a different desk he reserved for ‘mechanical endeavours’. It was quiet for a while, broken only by
his humming as he fiddled inside the case whilst I looked for somewhere reasonably clean to sit. Then abruptly he spoke again, his voice oddly masked by the case.

“As I was saying, I believe the answers they seek lie further afield. I have statistical proof in fact.”

“Statistics?! You?”

He’d often laughed at statistics in the past, and blamed them for 78.65% of the world’s ills (in his mad pedantry, he had indeed worked out a formula that he said proved this figure). That being said, he told me once he could destroy the world with a single spreadsheet, and in my more fatalistic moments I honestly believed him.

“I accept, statistics in all their perceived infallibility, are the most fallible things in the world.” he mumbled from inside the case, reaching aimlessly for a screwdriver on the desk next to him with a hand coloured orange and black from a mix of grease and Cheetos.

“Take a work of fiction and add numbers to it, and suddenly it becomes non-fiction. Add a pie chart and a graph and it becomes an inviolate truth.”

“Bollocks” said I, only half listening as I lounged on a large dirty bean bag littered with wrappers and the odd wire.

He’d then retracted his head from the case, looked me in the eyes and said with a devilish glint in his own:

“Pass it to the right people in the right places at the right time, and it becomes law.”

“Hmmm” I replied, deciding not to entertain his paranoid fantasies further in favour of a magazine I’d just found on the floor amongst all the other junk haphazardly discarded as part of his less than ordered, less than sanitary, lifestyle.

He grunted at my lack of enthusiasm for continuing one of his favourite topics, and buried his head back in the tower case once more before continuing anyway.

“However, in those cases I am referring to your basic, biased marketing, pressure group and political statistics. Now pattern recognition, that element within the field of otherwise exploitable statistics,
THAT I do have time for.”

Extracting his head again, he looked around the desk the case was on, shifting papers this way and that as he continued, partially lost in thought:

“You’ve heard of SETI of course….”

“Hold on…if we’re heading into alien territory, you can kiss my ass right here and now.”

He fixed me with a glare, and I threw my hands up in the air in resignation, muttering:

“I’m sorry, please continue oh knowledgeable one!”

“Thank you. SETI, the search for extraterrestrial life, one of their jobs being the analysis of signals bouncing in and around our local galaxy.”

“Of which they have never found any conclusive proof of intelligent life.” I reminded him pointedly. He ignored me.

“What if the patterns they’ve been looking for are wrong? What if you could analyze these seemingly random signals another way. What if there is a pattern, but its spread over a longer period so you don’t even see it as a pattern. Ah ha!”

Triumphantly his hand came out of a pile of books clutching a pad of post-it notes, scattering the books across the desk in doing so. Fishing a pen from his trouser pocket, I saw him scribble ‘To Do’ on the top note and slap it on the side of the tower’s case, before turning around to face me with an excited grin on his face.

“Have you been watching the Discovery Channel again? Is there a UFO special on this week?” I asked knowingly.

He looked at me indignantly, though I noticed he quickly closed a TV guide that had been open on his desk amongst the mess.

“What if I told you I had written my own pattern recognition algorithm? What if I told you that I had found a message in those signals?”

“Bullshit.” I said quietly, suddenly a lot less sure of myself, now more than a little shaken by what this meant if he had indeed succeeded in discovering a message from an alien race.

“Well, it wasn’t easy” he continued, feigning an air of false modesty, “…and I do have the NSA to thank. Although if they discover I’ve been running this algorithm in the background on their decryption
supercomputer, then I may have to leave abruptly, or apologize. You never can tell what mood they’ll be in one day to the next…”

“Ben. What about the message?” I said firmly, cutting him short, standing to face him.

“Oh. That.”

He went quiet, looking around evasively. My doubts quickly returned.

“What was the message Ben?”

“Well, it was short, and it is really rather impressive decoding anything like this obviously…”

“Ben!”

He paused, and then said abjectly: “Hello. Are you content?”

There was a few seconds silence, before I started laughing uncontrollably, mostly out of relief. Ben looked indignant.

“Well, I think it’s a very poignant message. Better than ‘Prepare to be annihilated’.”

“Oh god….hold on a sec….I can’t breathe! You had me shitting myself for a moment there!”

“I take it then you don’t believe what I’ve found is a message from an alien race? Would you PLEASE stop laughing!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Ahhhhhhh…..Ben, you’ve got to admit, if you were to imagine contact from another species, I think I’d be looking for something a little more, I don’t know, profound? I mean, we’ve sent out a gold disk giving a snapshot of the human race and our knowledge. Music, mathematics, you name it. And what do the hyper intelligent aliens send back? The equivalent of ‘Have a Nice Day!’ ”

“You don’t think it’s from outer space then?” he reiterated.

I looked at his pained expression and answered in a more reasonable voice:

“Look Ben, I’m sorry. I think your algorithm found a pattern that wasn’t there, and extrapolated meaning from it.”

Turning, I returned to the bean bag and my perusal of the magazine.

He stood there a few moments, and then he turned and flopped down in a large, comfortable swivel chair behind another desk, this one littered with laptops in various states of construction and destruction, connected by an array of cables in what appeared like haphazard fashion. Pressing the on switches of three of them, his face was illuminated in the telltale glow of their screens. His focus flitting between the screens and his fingers dancing across the keyboard in front of him, he had nevertheless decided to continue, and began outlining his newest theory.

“I disagree. I’ll go even further and state that this is an alien species with an interest in the human race. A species directly involved in the evolution of mankind.”

“Here we go. Are we really back on the ‘Engineers’ theory once more? Has Ridley Scott been sending you secret messages in his films again?” I muttered, not looking up from the page I was now reading.

He ignored this and continued:

“Think about it. The human body is an amazing machine. It regulates itself, heals itself, and has the ability to create more of itself through reproduction…”

“I thought you only believed in things you had experienced for yourself?” I asked; peering over the top of the magazine at him, my voice now openly amused. I saw him scowl before he continued with his monologue.

“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, the human body is an amazing machine. And that is exactly what it is. A piece of technology, built using biological parts rather than mechanical ones. It is not however, a perfect machine.”

“What do you mean?” I asked despite myself.

“Well, think about it. It has its own defensive capabilities in the form of white blood cells to ward off illness, the ability to heal wounds, etcetera, etcetera. Occasionally though, this excellent piece of machinery goes wrong; it functions incorrectly. It overreacts to certain stimuli. It has a
faulty piece of code if you will.”

“And what’s that?”

“Why, cancer of course!”

“What?!” I asked, shocked despite myself. It was only another crazy conversation with Ben, but the word ‘cancer’ always sent an involuntary shiver down my spine. I’d seen enough of its effects on friends and family to be adverse to even its mentioning. Ben though, oblivious to my discomfort, had continued:

“Cancer is the body performing incorrect actions, creating cells where it does not need to. It’s not an attack from an external source causing this, but rather an internal failure of the biological system. A
mistake nothing more.”

“We have in essence, a design flaw, and if our God or Gods are supposedly infallible, then logic dictates we were not built by a benign omnipotent being, but rather are constructs of more fallible ones. Action should have been taken to rectify these errors. To complain if you will.”

Despite myself, I took another look over the magazine at him; nervous now for a reason I couldn’t quite put my finger on:

“What. Did. You. Do?”

“Why, I sent a message back telling them this of course!”

——————————————————————————————–

I hadn’t seen Ben in six months. Work had kept me busy in London, and he wasn’t one for texting or casual telephone conversations to catch up. Then one day he called me up suddenly to come visit.

By this time, snippets of information about ‘the blink’ had begun to leak out onto the internet, on even some of the more respected sites and journals. Most normal people saw it as just another mad conspiracy theory. Having spoken to Ben before though when he’d outlined all the data, the fact
that other sources were now relaying the same information sent chills through me. It was one thing for it being just another of his crazy theories, but quite another when a growing number of external bodies were now seeming to confirm the event’s existence.

This time when I rang his doorbell he answered on the first ring, but I wasn’t ready for the sight when he opened the door. He was haggard and tired, like he hadn’t slept in days, and his clothes were rumpled and dirty, even more so than normal. As I stood there I caught a look in his eyes. They were bloodshot and there were large, dark circles under them, but there was a calm I hadn’t seen before, which was echoed in his voice as he welcomed me in. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at first, but then it dawned on me; I had seen and heard this kind of response before in those who were in the
final stages of terminal illness: acceptance. I felt my body prickle with unease; that chill that ripples across your skin when you stop thinking in the past or the future and all your attention is suddenly focused on the NOW because you know the world you’re used to is about to change in some
fundamental way.

I paused in the doorway, and looked him in the eyes. Then without thinking I drew him into a massive bear hug. Ben had never been one for physical contact in all the time I’d know him, but he accepted the hug without question, and I felt some of the tension release from him. We parted after a
short while and I asked him sincerely:

“Are you okay? Nothing wrong with you?”

“No…No…Nothing physically at least.”

“Good. Good, because you look like shit.”

He laughed weakly at that, and then quieted. We stood there silently for a few moments, before the thought that had been nagging at my mind since he’d invited me forced itself out:

“I’ve noticed on the web there’s been a lot of noise about this ‘blink’ thing you mentioned last time. I was wondering…did you get an answer?”

He smiled weakly, ignoring my question, inviting me in and simply pointing me to the large bean bag for me to sit, as I had done so many times before. If anything his apartment was even messier than the last time, but somehow the impression of organized chaos was gone. This was just mess that
had been left to accumulate, like the owner no longer cared.

As I sat down, he went over to a desk and fiddled with a laptop, moved some random items on the desk, almost like he was stalling. Then turning to face me, resting himself against the desk, he asked me in a vague voice:

“Do you remember what I was talking about the last time you visited?”

“You mean the alien thing?” I answered, trying to make my voice sound light, the smirk on my face forced and obviously fake. I’d given in to his suspicions and he knew it. Before he would’ve rubbed this fact in my face, but today he didn’t. Such things didn’t seem to matter to him anymore,
which made my voiceless fears even greater.

“Not just humanity, but all life on Earth, has been engineered. An external source created it, and maintained it. It is my belief…”, at this he uttered a dry, mocking laugh at his use of a word he had previously despised.

“It is my belief now that the Earth has experienced various ‘stages’ of life. There have probably been several of these stages, back from when Earth was first formed, up to and including today. Of these earlier ‘versions’ we have no substantial evidence of. The last one before us though, we do have several indicators lying around.”

He left it hanging, waiting for my mind to catch up. It didn’t take long, although I was surprised at how easily I was accepting what was possibly another one of his eccentric theories.

“You mean the dinosaurs don’t you?” I said quietly; his restraint somehow infecting me as well now.

A small smile arranged itself on his lips again, though the sadness never left his eyes.

“Indeed. Those big stumbling sods before us. For the sake of clarity, I’ve classed them as Version 5.0 of life on Earth. We are Version 6.0 I now have reason to believe.”

“What about your message, did you get an answer?” I asked again, a bit more impatiently.

“Not just my message. The Earth’s been sending radio signals and more out for quite a few years now. If we can find their signals as I’ve proven, they can certainly pick up ours, even the unintended ones.”

“What are you trying to say?”

“That they got our messages, and they took action.”

I tried to swallow now in a dry throat.

“What action?”

“You work in technical support. What is usually your first recommendation when something stops working correctly?”

“I don’t know…usually turning it off and back on again does the trick in the majority of cases…”

At this my voice trailed off as I realized what he was implying, what this said about March 25th and the lost 27 minutes and 54 seconds.

Ben started laughing, trailing off into a sad cough as he saw what he’d said take hold in my mind. Then he suddenly went off at a tangent, just like the old days, and I listened despite the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach at what I was now thinking.

“Chariots of the Gods! Chariots of the frigging Gods! Imagine that. Aliens coming down to teach ancient civilizations new tricks. Or maybe they didn’t. Maybe Version 6.0 was still under warranty at the time and part of that warranty included on-site maintenance. Hell, my money’s on the Greek gods actually being extraterrestrial consultants sent down to fix bug problems. Makes you wonder which fucked up piece of code triggered Pompeii!”

“SHUT UP!” I suddenly raged. Maybe he was in one of his mad phases again, but I knew that he wasn’t. The sane, logical part of me didn’t want any more truth; knew I couldn’t handle any more.

I looked up, and Ben was staring at me, not in anger, but in sympathy. He settled down next to me on the bean bag, passing me a beer he had obviously just fished out of the small fridge he kept behind his desk. I took a long swig, let my breathing settle, and then passed it back. Taking that as a
cue to continue, he did, but quieter this time, less tinged with the hysterical note that had appeared to be emerging in his speech earlier, like he’d reached the peak of his madness and was now trailing off the other side.

“It would explain why so many people believed in pantheons of Gods back in the day. Alien engineers popping down to fix ‘the system’ whilst we were still covered. Just like Microsoft ending support for older versions of Windows though, maybe we just passed the date where Version 6.0 of
life on Earth was covered, so they stopped coming.”

He took a swig and passed it back, his voice now wistful, his eyes unfocused, trying to look across the unfathomable void to where he imagined our progenitors resided:

“And now, in this age of radio and microwave signals, the people of Earth are finally sending messages and emails that can be picked up by their ‘Gods’, bemoaning this and that failure with their bodies, their families and the world around them, demanding answers, and these messages
tumble out across the ether of space, picked up by some backwater tech support desk in some forgotten nebula. The number of messages reaches a critical mass, a statistical point where action must be taken, and some alien equivalent of a high school dropout named Gary checks a scrap of paper on his desk for the instructions to an age old piece of software…”

He downed the rest of his beer.

“…and then turns it off and on again.”

Silence reigned for a few minutes, during which he stood up and made another trip to the fridge, this time bringing back several more bottles. He settled back down on the bean bag and passed me one before he spoke again.

“I got a message back you know.” he said simply.

I looked at him incredulously, and then demanded:

“Jesus Ben! What did it say?!”

His eyes were dark, pausing a long while before reaching into his back pocket and slowly unfolding a piece of paper, mumbling something about ‘decryption software’, ‘language analysis’ and ‘Word auto-formatting’ before passing it to me. It read:

—————————————–

Dear EARTH,

Thank you for replying in regard our recent query as to your ongoing happiness with your software. We passed on your multiple concerns to the relevant technical support helpdesk.

Unfortunately ongoing support for your current version of LIFE 6.0 has ended. The initial reboot of your hardware/software attempted previously appears to have not resolved your issue(s). Therefore we will be refreshing your system to previous stable release LIFE 5.3.

Your contract does not include backup/restoration of existing data, so all current data will be wiped post version LIFE 5.3.

Thank you for using LIFE and please contact us if further issues occur.

Best Regards.

—————————————–

“Refresh?” was all I could mutter, confusion and dread dulling my senses.

“Using the version numbering as a guide, my guess is that would be resetting the Earth back to the late Jurassic period.” he murmured thoughtfully, taking another swig of beer.

“I sent a message back of course, asking them not to do anything. I even couched it in the proper terms: ‘We have decided to continue with our current installation, please do not reboot nor refresh the system. Please ignore all other bug reports unless forwarded by me. Ben Glover, Sysadmin of Earth’. Hopefully they got it in time.”

“Bug reports?”

“Prayers”

“Oh.”

Then I looked at him again, the look of disbelief obvious in my eyes.

“Sysadmin of Earth??”

He didn’t meet my gaze, but rather sheepishly kept his eyes locked to his beer bottle.

“Well, I had to sound like I was in charge didn’t I?”

“Do you think they got your message?” I asked hopefully after a pause.

“I honestly don’t know. We can hope though. By my calculations we’ll know in the next couple of hours or so. It’s why I invited you over I guess. So we can watch the end together. Then again, we might just wink out of existence…” his voice trailed off.

Silence reigned again, broken only by our occasional sips. There wasn’t, in all truth, very much else to say.

After a while he finished his beer, rested it gently down next to him, and then yawned expansively, leaning back on the bean bag with his hands clasped behind his head and said matter-of-factly:

“Well to be perfectly honest, I don’t think the dinosaurs were given a fair enough crack of the whip the first time round. Only right they should be given another go.”

I turned in disbelief to argue with him at this irresponsible attitude, and then saw the barely suppressed laughter in his eyes. When all was said and done, what was there left to do but wait and see what happened, and laugh at the absurdity of it all? He started, and I joined in, till the tears were rolling down our cheeks.

And there we sat, laughing and drinking beer until our world ended… maybe.

Credit To – Charmingly Shallow

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.1/10 (188 votes cast)

What the Wind Blew In

August 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.5/10 (97 votes cast)

“HURRICANE WARNING – A hurricane is expected within 48 hours. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately”.

I never really took those warnings seriously. In the tropics, a little category 2 Hurricane is no big deal. When I first moved here, I made sure to head to higher ground and heed the warnings given to me by the local TV station, but after returning home with minimal damage to the surrounding area, I realized it was just a waste of time. Better to just board up the windows and wait it out.

So Hurricane Gloria rolled in one August afternoon. It started out the typical way, the wind slowly began to pick up and all the last-minute shoppers raided the local supermarkets looking for batteries, generators, water bottles, and food stuffs. I was content with my candles, flashlights and the canned soup that I was usually able to cook up on my gas stove.

The wind picked up a little faster than usual, I guessed that Gloria was going to pack quiet a punch rather quickly, which was fine since those kind of storms had a tendency to roll by faster. I was hoping to get back to work as soon as possible, since all the stores were closing before she came in.

So I stayed home watching the news as it began to get dark and the wind really began to pick up. The quiet whistle slowly started to turn into a roar and the wind whipped by the bending palms. As expected, the power went out after a few hours of this. I was already prepared with flashlight in hand, and began lighting the candles in my living room. It was around 8 o’clock, and still too early to sleep, so I made myself some soup and decided to catch up on some reading via flashlight.

By the time I searched all the boxes for my old books, cooked up my soup and ate, the streets outside were already flooded. Since my home is elevated, I was not too concerned, but to venture out into the night would mean trudging in water up to my knees. Thankfully I had all I needed in this tiny little house.

I decided to sit in my favorite chair and get to reading. I must have fallen asleep because I was awoken, book in lap and flashlight dead on the floor, by the roaring of the wind and an odd sound coming from outside. I was a bit startled, because the wind was beginning to sound dangerously loud, more than I had expected. It also sounded like something was banging into the outer walls. It was circling my house, banging into each wall and then coming around again.

I was worried at this point, thinking that maybe I should have listened to the reports and got to higher ground. If my house takes too much damage, I would have to dredge through the deep flooding to my neighbor Alice’s house, which was nearly 15 yards away. The old lady lived by herself, and has seen her fair share of Hurricanes, so I knew she would be sticking this one out as well.

The banging would continue, stop for a while, and then continue in the same pattern again, always accompanied by a scratching sound. All of a sudden it banged hard against the window. I nearly died from fright it was so loud, and I heard a crack. It did not sound as if the glass shattered, but quite possibly put a crack into it.

Fearful that something was caught in the wind and causing damage, I decided to open the front door to see if I could peer out and see if anything had gotten caught up on my house, likely fallen branches or something similar. Since the flashlight was dead, I just decided to use my cell phone for light until I could find more batteries.

I went to the door and braced myself since I knew the wind was heavy. It blew the door right open, but I was able to get a handle on it. I looked to my left towards the window, and could see a large crack down the center. Though it was cracked, the window was still boarded well enough that I felt it would hold. I went to turn to my right, to see if anything else was damaged, when I see a large, black, hairy thing clinging to the corner of the house on the far side. I was only able to get a quick glimpse of it, because as I turned and looked, it rolled along the side of my house out of view. I wondered if this was what was causing the entire ruckus out there. It was about the size of a small to medium animal, but I thought it could not have weighed very much because it was high above the ground near my roof. The wind had to have carried it to that high of a spot, because there was no way any animal or heavy object could cling to the side of the house like that, at least none that I have ever seen.

I must admit, when I saw it I got a little freaked out, but put it out of my mind because weird things are always flying about in the heavy wind. It could have been old man Seamus’ wigs, all wet and tangled in mud for all I know.

I went and sat back down in my chair. It was almost 1:00am now, but I could not get back to sleep. I just lay there, listening to the roar outside. The banging started up again. I listened as it started at the front of the house, moved around to the side, scratching and banging its way along, and to the back of the house. Then a huge CRASH; something smashed through the back bathroom window. I must have forgotten to board up that window, since it is small and slightly protected by high bushes.

I get up, walking in the direction of the noise, using my cell phone for light. I can hear the whistling of the wind through the open window. The door is open about 6 inches, so I push it open, and see something lying on the floor in the dark. I notice that I am stepping in murky water; the thing is dripping wet and it created a pool of water on the floor. It is half-way behind the shower curtain which had gotten ripped off but I can see dark, feathery and matted looking hair poking out. Is it some kind of animal?

I was afraid to get close to it, and with my cell phone, the only way I could get enough light would be to stand next to it, so I decided I would try to find batteries for the flashlight instead. I run into the living room, pick the flashlight up off the floor, pull the AA batteries out of my TV remote, and stuff it into the back of the flashlight. I turn it on and inch my way back to the bathroom.

I turn my flashlight towards the thing, and see nothing but broken glass, the torn shower curtain lying besides sticks and mud. It was just gone. At this point my heart sinks into my chest and I begin to feel very afraid. It was definitely not old man Seamus’ wigs, because if it moved then it is alive. I try to calm myself by thinking “maybe it was a raccoon or something, and it crawled back out the window”?

I decide that this is all too much for me, so I make the decision to go to my room, lock the door, and do not come out until daybreak—no matter what. The darkness is probably just playing tricks on me, and I will probably find Seamus’ wigs tucked behind the toilet tomorrow, likely carried there by the wind and the puddle of water that filled the bathroom floor.

As I make my way towards my bedroom I notice that my bedroom door was closed. I do not remember closing it, but I suppose I just forgot with all the freight. I open the door and look around the dark room. I don’t see anything out of place, until I see it. A large floor-length mirror stands across from the open door I am standing in, and behind the door I see the figure of…this thing – It was standing in a crouched position looking at me through the crack in the door. I spin around and can see its hideous eye, a huge oversized muddy-red bloodshot eye staring at me, opened wide like a predator that had just spotted its prey.

I immediately ran for the only other room with a door, the bathroom, and I slam it and lock it. Within moments I heard it barreling after me, and it began pounding on the door. I know the door will not hold, and I can hear the wood beginning to crack. I turn, and see the open window. I knew at that moment, my only chance is to make a run for it.

I managed to pull myself up on the window and clumsily fall out, sinking into the water that is nearly up to my hips now. It is muddy and full of debris but I am slowly able to pull myself through it in the direction of my closest neighbor. Alice might be an old woman, but she is tough, and since she lives on her own, I know she keeps a shotgun with her. If I could only get there, I know I would be safe.

I am almost a quarter of the way there when I see my front door fly open. The wind had significantly died down, so I know that it was pushed open from the inside. I do not stop to see what comes out, because I am pulling through the water with all my might. Moments later I hear a splash, and I know it is coming after me.

I am nearly there; the house is only about 12 feet from me when I look back. It is under the water, only a few feet behind. I can see a big black blob through the murky water, and it is gaining on me. I start screaming for Alice, but I am not sure if she could hear me since the wind is still rather noisy.
Then I feel something wrap around my ankle. I don’t have time to think, I just pull away from it, continuing on. As I yank my foot away I feel tremendous pain and a moment later I see blood coming up from the depths. I keep moving, yelling for Alice, when I see her looking out of the small window on her front door.

Soon, I am near her front porch, and she opens the door for me. I am crying and push past her, collapsing inside of her doorway. She looks shocked to see me, wet and covered in mud. I try to tell her what I saw between my sobs, and I could tell she did not know what to make of my story. She looks outside and tells me there is nothing out there. I try to convince her that some THING was chasing me, and though she doesn’t believe me, she goes to get her shotgun at my constant requests.

With the door closed and locked, I look through the little window. The wind is still strong, but I can tell the storm is almost over. “Oh my goodness” Alice says, “what happened to your leg”? I had forgotten all about it. I look down and see a huge tear in my leg, a round row of puncture marks, which is wide but not deep and bleeding badly. It looks almost like a bite. “Let me clean that up for you” she says.

She goes to get her first aid kit and starts to clean it up. “Hmm,” she says “what in the world is this”? Out of my leg she pulls out a large white object, like the size of a penny. She goes to the sink and washes it. “Well, look at that. Looks almost like a shark tooth. These storms really do carry in some strange stuff”.

Credit To – B. Paige

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.5/10 (97 votes cast)

When Death Cheats You

August 21, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.2/10 (131 votes cast)

Everyone knows the term “cheating death”: it’s when you get to escape the ending of your life, or the cruelness of how it will end or just the terror itself it carries. But everyone knows that Death will eventually catch up to you. Some people can evade it for a long period of time while others may not have the best of luck. I cheated Death once, and it hasn’t caught up to me… yet. Before I die; before I’m caught, I want people to know his story. Yes, his story, not mine. This isn’t about me. It’s about the one young man that will live a thousand lifetimes more than me. I will die soon and so will my story. His will just fade away to the point where no one will remember. So to keep his story alive, I will tell you everything he told me. As I said before, I, along with few others, may have cheated Death, but what if Death cheats you? Then what? What happens if Death gets the better of you in the end?

Up in the north of Washington, a young man around the age of 19 named Lyle fell ill to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. A cancer that works at a dangerously fast pace and affects the blood in the body. He did not have long to live. Hearing the constant sorrows of his family, he begged for mercy from God. He pleaded and cried out to at least prolong his life a little longer. He wanted to be able to stay with his family; to relive his life and make every second count. However, that was never to be…

A month or so later, the young man was on the verge of death. Lyle passed in and out of consciousness one night. He tried so hard to stay alive and not breathe his last breath. Losing energy, he fell prey to his killer until a shady man appeared before him in his little hospital room. He wore a black suit, black dress shoes, a dark grey dress shirt with a white neckerchief, and a raven colored fedora that shielded his eyes. He watched the young man as he twirled a fancy cane with a blue jewel on the tip in his hand. An unnerving sneer crept across the man’s face. He walked over swiftly and stood beside the bed.

“What do we have here?” A voice so deep, so raspy and so cold sounded from the man’s thin lips, “It appears your little disease is getting the best of you.”

Lyle opened his eyes slightly to see the figure loomed over him, “Who.. are you?”

“Originally, I came here to kill you–.. pardon me.. What I mean to say is that I am a savior.. of.. sorts. I’ve come here to end the agonizing torment. But after hearing your constant begs and pleas, I couldn’t help but answer to your pathetic prayers,” The mysterious and harsh-toned man explained himself. He had such an uninterested look as if being there was a waste of time. Lyle was confused and bewildered. A nonstop flow of questions circled throughout his mind. Who was this man? What does he want? And how did he get in a room that was locked from the inside?

“I understand that you don’t wish to die, so what if I were to tell you that I could make you live a long time? Eh~ would that suit you? I know you’re dying to see your family again– no pun intended,” He said with a deadpanned face. He didn’t even give a slight chuckle to the dark joke he made. The man leaned down closer to the boy’s ear, “If I gave you a chance to live, would you give me something in return? It’s nothing out of proportion, of course. It’s an eye for an eye per se.”

“You can.. save me? Really!?” Lyle widened his eyes in surprise.

The man could see that Lyle was interested in what he had to say and pursued his target, “I’ll give you your life…if… You give me your soul. Sign your soul away to me and I can grant you this one wish. Make a deal with the devil. Keep in mind, though, you can’t back out of the agreement once you’ve signed.”

With a snap of his fingers, a white scroll with a red ribbon wrapped around it appeared out of blue flames. The man grabbed the scroll and flicked it downward. It unrolled itself and the contract appeared. Next to the paper, a feather of a crow levitated in place. The young male looked over the small cursive writing, but was interrupted.

“You don’t have much time, so I would decide quickly. Your hour glass is down to its last, miserable grain of sand,” The impatient and bored man ushered him to sign. Lyle knew that there was something up with the guy. He was hiding something. However, if he didn’t sign the paper now, he would die. Finally deciding his fate, Lyle took the quill and wrote down half of his signature before the man spoke again.

“Oh, I neglected to mention: by signing your soul away to me, I am granted the right to your physical being. In other words; I own you,” The man smiled slightly as the last of the signature was signed. Flipping up the paper, it disappeared into blue flames.

Before Lyle’s very eyes, the whole room was set ablaze by a vibrant blue. The room shook uncontrollably.

“What’s going on!? What’re you doing?” Fear sunk into the mind of the young adult. He was perplexed, scared, and regretful. A black substance that was too thick to be smoke but too thin to be tar slithered its way up to Lyle and started to burn him. The dark substance encased Lyle’s entire body. He screamed as it dug into his skin with a burning sensation. His screams were muffled as the tar-colored slime slowly poured itself down his throat. It made its way around Lyle’s face and started to seep into his eyes, burning them doing so. Lyle watched the man as he disappeared in blue flames, waving as he left. A paper floated down to his bed and hovered over his face. Still in shock at the sudden turn of events, Lyle was unable to read the paper. The dark substance completely blocked out his vision along with his intake of oxygen. He soon fell unconscious. The flimsy paper floated down to the floor with the words “Rest in Piece” staring straight up at Lyle.

Six months later, Lyle was released from the hospital and went into relapse. As he and his family drove down a busy street and into an intersection, another car sped through a red light. The opposing driver rammed straight into the passenger’s side of the family’s car. The vehicle then spun out of control and smashed into a wall that helped elevate a toll road. Both the driver and the passenger, his mother and father, were killed.

A private funeral was later held in his hometown’s cemetery. At the funeral of his parents, Lyle found a familiar face. He approached the man and took him aside away from the few family members and relatives he had left. When out of earshot of everyone else, the shady man announced he had a job for him to do. Not listening to him, Lyle begged the man for help. Annoyed about the situation, the man explained bluntly that he could do nothing for them since it was necessary for his parents to die. The young adult flared up and lashed out at him. He exclaimed profanity and questioned what there was to gain for killing the innocent.

“You’d be better off without them,” The man said with a firm tone. The cruel words echoed in the grieving boy’s ears.

“W-What… No…” He fell to his feet in perplexity and remorse.

“You should be thanking me,” he snapped his head up toward the cruel, calm person that stood before him, “It will make your next job a whole lot easier. Keep in mind, kid, I’m only trying to help your sorry ass.”

Before he could say much more, the man gave an honest explanation.

“I have a job for you, boy,” The man took on an even more serious demeanor.

“What sort of job? Something you don’t want to get your hands dirty with?”

“Heh! Now you’re catching on. With my old state and how busy I am, I need you to do a few permanent tasks for me. Since your soul belongs to me, there is no way you can back out of this. I am Death. No matter how hard you try you can’t outrun me. You’ll be caught eventually.”

“Is that a challenge?” Lyle raised an eyebrow.

“No, it’s the truth. As for your job, you will be what’s known as the G.-R.-A.-E.: a Ghastly Reaping Archangel of Ethnologies.”

“A.. Grah-eh..?” Lyle tried to pronounce the acronym.

“No, you idiot! It’s pronounced like the word ‘grey’! In other words, you’d be a Grim Reaper. No wait.. I don’t like that term. It’s used too much and it’s lost its terrifying connotation since so many people fantasize about them…

“Anyway, you will collect souls from all those who are about to perish. It won’t matter if they are a stranger or a friend, good or evil, male or female, young or old. Your emotions or ties to people, stranger or known, will be void and meaningless. Each person has a time limit and if you don’t collect the soul within the time frame, they get to cheat death. In other words, they will be granted another day or so until the prefect time is right,” Death clarified as he felt badgered by the young man.

“As morbid as this sounds, why can’t they just die then instead of giving an extension?”

“Coincidence. There needs to be an excuse for their death instead of just an unsolvable case of murder. We can’t just go around collecting souls whenever we want. We’re not like those stupid psychopaths out there killing people with dull knives or those miserable creatures causing disappearances. If we do that, we would be unprofessional and even more chaos would reign. People would believe in a mass murderer on the loose. Again. Which is why Jack the Ripper had to go… Heh, we’re more professional than that. We’re practically a business, ” The man paused for a moment. With a flick of his hand, an antique chain watch appeared dangling from his grasp. As he held it in his hand, a blue flame was lit on both clock hands.

“What, are you gonna pawn it?” Lyle joked without amusement.

“This pocket watch is a person’s lifeline. Once the hand starts moving around the face, it will not stop. You have within the time the hand starts moving to when it makes a full cycle to collect the given person’s soul. If the hour hand makes a full cycle, then the flame will disappear and they’ll get an extension. I do not want that to happen, now. I don’t like to give away free days to live. It’s rather troublesome, so be sure to finish the job within the set time.” Death paused for a moment.

“How am I supposed to know who I need to kill? How the hell would I find them anyway!?”

“Don’t worry about it. You’ll know where to find them, and you’ll know the person before you even lay your eyes on them. Your job begins at nightfall, “Death smirked as if he just heard a stupid joke. He turned and walked away, “I’ll be watching to see how you do. It should be … interesting, heheh~.”

After Death left, Lyle sank to the ground. Overwhelmed by the vast amount of information and the sudden change of plans, he didn’t know what to do. When he gathered his thoughts, he headed home and lied down on the couch. With a long sigh, he threw his arms over his face and drifted off to sleep within a matter of minutes.

The sun was down, and the moon illuminated the night sky with silver light. Tossing and turning on the soft couch, heavy footsteps paraded across the flooring. They headed straight for the couch and stopped in front of the sleeper.

“Wake up, you fool. It’s time.”

Lyle shot straight up and looked where the voice originated, “Who’s there?”

There was nothing there but an empty home, and yet he felt that he was not alone.

Without warning, someone took a hold of Lyle by his messy, dull colored, blonde hair from behind and pulled him back. He grasped the intruder’s arm and tried to break free. It was of no use. Lyle felt something cold and sharp at his throat. A knife, perhaps?

“Stop squirming, stupid brat. You’re making this harder than it needs to be.” Lyle opened his eyes and saw Death standing behind him, pinning his head to the back of the couch.

“You! What the hell are you–”

“Tonight is your first night of reaping. To make sure things run smoothly, I’ve taken it upon myself to see to it that you don’t screw up.”

Within that instant, Death snapped his fingers. Lyle looked around waiting for something to happen. His eyes burned for some strange reason. He wiped his eyes and saw a black slime smeared on his hands. He choked and coughed excessively, letting out clots of dark goop from his lungs.

“What did you do!? This is… This is that stuff from before, isn’t it!?” Lyle muttered his words in panic, but Death yanked his head back and injected his boney fingers into Lyle’s eyes.

“Now, now. Don’t move about. It will only make it worse,” He warned nonchalantly.

The young adult let out a blood curtailing scream as the assaulter dug into the eye sockets deep enough to latch onto the inside of the skull and pulled his head upward. His hand receipted from Lyle’s eyes and he focused on the right eye. Death intricately moved his fingers around to get a firm grasp and yanked the eye out of the socket. Blood and black slime poured profusely out of Lyle’s eyes and mouth, burning his skin as it slithered down his face.

“It’s just a precautionary measure. Stop making such a fuss. You can’t die, you know? I won’t allow it!” Death’s voice sounded uneasy, yet it still had that mellow tone to it. He did not enjoy this horrendous torment, but it was necessary.

Death tossed the right eyeball on the ground and watched Lyle for a moment before going after the other eye. He used his knife to slice two cuts across the left eye. Lyle tried desperately to fight back and get away, but to no avail. There was no possible way he could beat the devil, himself.

Death let go of Lyle and watched him as he fell to the floor and curl up in a ball. The young adult held his face in misery. His scarlet, red blood stained the white carpet and covered every inch of his hands. Just when he thought it was over, Death took his knife and held it against Lyle’s throat. He squeezed his jaw with enough force to open Lyle’s mouth. With the knife in hand, he dug the knife into his mouth and roughly and partially cut off his tongue. Death didn’t remove it entirely, but it was severely damaged and would take a long while for it to heal. Aside from that, he even made several cuts around the mouth including the gums and lips.

Unable to escape, Lyle choked on his own blood along with that black substance that continuously poured from his eyes and mouth. Death stood up and allowed Lyle to roll over onto his stomach. He hacked up even more blood and ooze on the snowy carpet. Death sat down on the couch unimpressed and watched Lyle wither in pain.

Lyle couldn’t stand the torture. His eye sight was nearly gone just like his tongue. His skin and the inside of his throat burned. He couldn’t do anything but lay there and wait for the next round of torment. All he could do was moan and mumble shrieks of distress and horror.

What kind of a precaution was this!? What was the point of this!? Why must he be put under so much torture when promised an actual life? Why did it seem that Death cheated him out of an escape from this torment?

Lyle took his focus away from the questions that circulated through his mind. He then remembered he wasn’t alone. He could feel a cold, unsympathetic gaze on him.

“This isn’t something personal. Be happy that you’ll eventually heal…” Death was silent for a few moments before speaking again, “I had to do this… Now that you cannot see who exactly your target is, you won’t be able to show anyone mercy during your rookie years. It’s logical to spare those you know and love; it’s just human nature. That’s why when I first met you I plagued you with Ruin. You know, the disgusting crap you keep hacking up? It’s just making its way up to your mind to help you make decisions when it’s time to do your job. Maybe when you finally heal, you’ll make the right decisions and not screw up.”

Lyle mumbled and gargled.

“Why did I destroy your eyesight and nearly rip out your tongue, you ask? It’s simple, you have to do the job without thinking of emotions or personal interests. Your mouth and eyes are capable of showing your emotions. I’ve taken away all of your abilities of displaying emotion with the exception of body language since you need your limbs,” Death chuckled slightly at his last statement. Atoning for his crime, he took several bandages and wrapped them around Lyle’s eyes and mouth to stop the bleeding, then turned rather serious, “Now that is over with, finish the job for tonight.”

He left without saying anything else. The young adult laid there on the ground in discomfort and pity. The smell of iron flared up his nostrils and provoked him to vomit all over the floor. He tried to open his left eye and saw red and black. He felt around his face gingerly. It was bound with bandages that were poorly wrapped around his face without much light able to pass through.

Out of nowhere, Lyle had this feeling to stand. Obeying himself, he stood up shakily and raised his hand. He unclenched his fist and found an old, decorative pocket watch with a blue flame on the hands. He couldn’t see it but he knew it was there. As he studied the flames, he got a sense of where he was supposed to find the person he needed to kill. It was as if the watch told him what to do. Although Lyle couldn’t see them, the hands moved slowly so he may have enough time to get to the target. He heard something like fabric shift on the ground next to him. Facing toward it, he picked it up and felt numerous objects. Most of it seemed to be clothes, another felt like a pair of shoes and gloves.

Taking a few minutes to change, Lyle dressed in an attire similar to what Death sported: a long, dark, tattered hooded trench coat, a dark grey dress shirt with a striped vest where his watch is now being held, a vibrant, red tie, dark pants and gloves, and black and white, fancy bowler shoes. He looked as if he were a mafia member with blood stained bangs and bandages. When he was done, he held up the watch again. He didn’t waste too much time getting dressed which was surprising considering he was practically blind and light-headed.

Lyle headed off in the direction of his target. He ran out of his home swiftly, quietly and at an inhumanly fast pace. He did not just run though, he seemed to glide across the ground like wandering ghosts. Along the way, he would take out the watch to check the “time”. Lyle could sense the flame become stronger as he got closer to his destination.

About fifty minutes later, he came across an old apartment complex. He checked the watch again and found that he was close. Instinctively, he jumped into the air toward the second story window and landed on the fire escape. Astonished at his new abilities, he shook his head to regain his focus. He pressed his head up against the window to see if he could hear anyone. Lyle heard the sound of someone cough violently. A middle aged man came around the corner and entered the room. He had a lit cigar propped in his mouth. The man looked up and saw the shadowy, well dressed figure in the window.

“What the hell are you doing? Get your ass out of here before I come out and make you myself, you little fucker!” The man threatened.

Lyle could not retort. His mouth was bound and injured. All he did was lower his head and studied the man’s presence. It was him. It was his soul that needed to be taken.

“Hey! I said get the fuck out of here!” The man shouted as he took heavy steps toward Lyle.

Before the man could do anything, Lyle, without a thought in his mind, rushed inside. He smashed the window to small shards upon impact.

There was a thumping sound coming from the floor, “Hey, keep it down up there! There are people sleeping, asshole!”

Both the man and Lyle ignored the complaint.

“You son of a bitch!” The man ran for the kitchen to get his gun, but Lyle was too quick for him. Lyle reluctantly grabbed the man and turned him the opposite direction. He smashed him into the wall and created a large, gaping hole. Adrenaline flowed through Lyle’s veins, but he had this feeling that he did not want to do this. That it wasn’t right. On the other hand, there was a slight bit of excitement in him. It felt… good… to relieve his anger on this soon-to-be-dead man. The man got up and shook his head.

“Who the hell do you think… You…” The man’s voice faltered when he saw the bloodied, bandaged face staring at him. He never realized how the intruder’s face was so badly injured. Horrified by the site, the man dashed out of his apartment, down to the first floor. Lyle didn’t pursue. Instead, he checked his watch. He had more than enough time to do his job. He didn’t even really want to do it. The man may be a jerk, but it still didn’t seem right…

Lyle walked over to the broken window and saw the man stumble outside, coughing and hacking up a storm. Lyle felt pity for the man. He didn’t wish to do this, but he didn’t have a choice. For some reason a little sting in his mind urged him, gave him the need or want, to do his job. He had a horrible feeling that bringing pain to others would relieve his anger at Death. Maybe it was that Ruin Death was talking about earlier that took an affect on him now. His hands started to tremble and he jumped out the window, landing a few yards in front of the scurrying man.

“What do you want from me!?” The man shouted, alerting a few of his neighbors. He took a few steps back before he decided to take his last moments into his own hands. The man lunged himself at Lyle, but he quickly dodged. The two played a sort of game of chase; the man was “it”. Lyle simply toyed with his target. He was indecisive; he wanted to get the job over with, but then he wanted to give the man more time to live.

Not being able to evade the brute any longer, Lyle received a hard punch to the left side of his face. He stumbled a little before the man swung his left arm around and hit him in the temple on the right side. Lyle lost his footing again and knelt on the ground. The man laughed triumphantly as he thought his opponent was just an freaky, pathetic bastard. This made Lyle clench his fists in even more anger than before. He trembled again, except this time it was both of his arms; from the very tops of his shoulders all the way down to his finger tips. The man’s laugh seemed to falter though as Lyle grew more infuriated by the second. The Ruin took control.

“What.. the hell..!?” The man took a couple steps back as the darkness grew all around him. His opponent remained kneeling on the floor looking downward. As he stared at Lyle, he felt something, or some things, crawl up the side of his leg. He looked down and saw an assortment of cockroaches, centipedes, and beetles scattered around him. Moths flew around him and landed all over his body. Extremely disgusted, he smacked them all off and tried to step on them. But, they just kept coming.

“Hehehe…”

The man heard a small laugh and looked up. Lyle’s shadow grew longer and stretched toward the man. As soon as it touched his feet, the Ruin pooled around him. He stepped out of the shadow, but the slime stuck to his shoes and went along with him like he just stepped in a mixture of chewed gum and mud.

“Hehehah.. hahahaha… Hahahahaha! Ahahahahaha!” Insane, gargled laughter came from the bandaged intruder. Blood seeped through the wrappings. Even more horrified than before, the man realized that his efforts to get away from the bugs, slime and the ever growing darkness were futile. What possessed this guy to start laughing like a maniac choking on blood-he didn’t know. One thing he was certain of was that he needed to get away.

Lyle cupped his hands over his face. He stood up and looked at them. He bled again. His mouth dripped red, staining his clothes as it flowed down his neck. His eyes were no better off either. They never had enough time to heal even a little and they started to bleed in vast amounts. Lyle’s furious demeanor got the best of him. His arms and hands shook even more uncontrollably. He slowly cupped his face again and scratched slightly at his bandages which caused them to slightly come undone.

“What the hell is wrong with you, Freak!?” The man was discombobulated. He was so frightened at Lyle’s actions that he lost all thoughts about the bugs crawling on him.

Immediately, after the man spoke, Lyle ceased his laughter. He slowly brought down his hands to reveal his ruined face. Vibrant teal and black veins ran all over the areas of his body that were visible. The bandages over his left eye moved and a glowing, piercing red showed through. The man turned and ran away in terror. Lyle watched his prey scurry away like a frightened mouse. He was angered beyond belief and he wanted to relieve that fury. He was so furious, his body just shook while he remained set in place until he was finally able to slowly walk toward his target.

As the man continued to run, he looked back and saw his pursuer following at a close distance. But… Lyle only walked the whole time… How could he have caught up so fast?

Darkness shrouded the man’s sight and something grabbed his leg, causing him to trip and fall to the asphalt. He turned over and saw something he would never be able to unsee: a transparent, brightly and faintly colored, teal specter. Its face was distorted and decomposed and had vibrant, red, quarter sized dots for eyes in the sockets. Its boney arms had rotted looking flesh. Its legs weren’t even present. Instead, it had a tattered, cloth-like body. The phantom wheezed and gasped, staring at him. It crawled closer and closer to him. The man looked around and saw multiple other phantoms surround him. Horrified at the grotesque monstrosities, an ear-blasting cry of fear erupted from the man’s vocal chords.

“L-.. Leave.. LEAVE ME ALONE!!!” The man shrieked with tears formed in his eyes.

The poltergeists swarmed around him; bugs crawled all over him. He opened his eyes slowly and saw a figure walk toward him.

“S-Stay back! Stay the fuck back!” He warned.

A slight chuckle came from the figure. Right after, it lunged into the air and came straight down on the middle-aged male. The man jumped up and pushed through the ghosts to get away just in time to escape a large, curved blade with a chain attached land in the spot he was just in.

Lyle was having fun. Too much fun… He summoned the souls to mess around and tease the poor man. He obtained so much pleasure, he didn’t realize how childish and cruel his thoughts were.

Lyle raised his arm straight out to the side and smokey substances enveloped his hand and lower arm. The substances started to form into something long like a staff. The curved blade and chain were dragged back toward Lyle and attached itself to the smokey substance encasing his hand and arm. As the smoke faded away, a solid object that was the same length as its owner was in Lyle’s right hand. Lyle looked at his new weapon, and wondered how he knew that he could do such a thing. He studied it and realized that it was his perfect murder weapon: a scythe, just the thing for a traditional reaping.

He chased the man down on the empty street and cut him off. He was literally inches from his face. The man stared into the red eye that tracked him. The horrendous face haunted him. Lyle took his bloodied hand and touched the jawline and neck of the frightened man. His face started to deteriorate, his muscle mass shrank, his stomach caved in, his eyes sank into the back of his head, his skin rotted, and his bones nearly tore through his thin layer of flesh. He was losing his life and he desperately needed to escape. With the last of his strength, he smacked Lyle’s hand away, and slowly ran from him in exhaustion, yet again. His body returned back to its original state within a few seconds.

Within that moment, two lights lit the both of them up. The darkness and phantoms disappeared and the man was finally able to see that he was back in the middle of the street. There was a sound of an engine headed toward them. A car going at a rather fast speed barreled through the street. Without a warning for the man, the vehicle rammed right into him. The impact was so brutally strong it sent him flying through the air. He landed on the asphalt with tremendous force and skidded across the ground. The impact of the car along with the ground destroyed most of the man’s body. The car sped off as the man groaned in pain and shock. Somehow he was still alive. Probably due to the fact that it was Lyle’s job to finish him…

The lights went on in the apartment complex. Within seconds, people would be flooding the street. This brought Lyle back to his senses. He used this spare moment and stealth of the darkness to finish the job. He walked over to the man who’s body and the area surrounding him was covered in blood, his face was a mutilated mess, his ribs were shattered and one of his legs bent in a way that would be unnatural for a human to do. The pathetic brute was hardly recognizable. Lyle prepared his scythe. He could hear the neighbors, the sirens, and the dying male.

“W-…why…?” The man questioned with his last dying breath.

“It’s just business,” Lyle answered in a voice that was hard to comprehend because of his injuries.

With a sigh, Lyle raised his scythe and struck down fast and swift through the man’s chest, over his heart. He cut straight through him, red crimson spraying in the direction the scythe sliced across the victim. Lyle held his pose for little while longer. His body was trembling, his eyes were wide. He never killed anyone before. It felt… Exhilarating. He hated it. He hated the fact he became a killer. But it’s his job now, and it’s better to accept it then try to fight a fight he will never win in a thousand lifetimes. Yet at the same time… He liked it. He finally had something to take his anger out on. If he could do so, Lyle would be … smiling…

A glow appeared over the man’s chest where his heart would be. A bright, vibrant, teal orb rose from the chest. It was a soul. Lyle took it in his grasp, and clenched it until it was no more.

“What’s going on over there!?”

Lyle turned and found several people started to make their way into the streets. They all headed in his direction. He turned away from the crowd and looked back at the body. The corpse’s large gash in the chest was gone, but the blood was still there. It was as if he only died from the car accident. A perfect cover up.

Lyle ran down the street and into an alley to get away from the crowd. He climbed up the fire escapes to the top of the roof and knelt on the ledge to watch the scene from afar. He could hear the reactions of people as they laid their eyes over the twisted corpse. Screams of disgust and horror could be heard. People frantically called ambulances and police cars to assist the dead man even though a couple police cars were already arriving due to noise complaints. But of course there is nothing they can do for him.

Lyle suddenly heard someone’s footsteps heading towards him from behind.

“Well done,” The figure said whilst clapping slowly, “I expected nothing less of you.”

The figure came into the light and revealed to be none other than Death, himself. He looked over at the site where the crowd gathered.

“Oh lovely… It seems you stirred up quite a bit of trouble. You weren’t really supposed to spark up a scene.” He chided in a scornful manner and turned his cane around in his hands, “Nonetheless, you got your job done. Not bad for your first time. Looks like you had fun, though. … Maybe a little too much fun.”

Lyle flinched at the last sentence. It made him feel cruel and sick. He wanted to say something, but alas his face was not healed enough to speak well.

“I know, you wish to be able to talk right now, but I don’t really want to hear your gargled, irritating voice.” Death paused for a moment to study Lyle, “Heh, I understand you’re angry with me. I was the same way when I had to take over this job. But of course, you aren’t alone. There are several others in the same position as you.”

Death turned and started burning up in flames of blue, “Remember, you aren’t the only person who’s been through this. So long… Grae.”

“It’s Lyle,” Lyle spoke harshly, with his hard-to-understand voice, correcting him with a hint of disgust on each word.

“Not in my book,” The aloof man’s smirk bore into Lyle, “Oh, your next assignment should be up soon. Have fun. Oh, and uh.. Dont’ overdo it.”

Lyle turned back to the crowd and saw the paramedics take the man into the ambulance. He turned away and held his head down. What has he become? What was that sensation he felt before? Was that really pleasure? And where did all those… abilities come from..? They were so strange and disturbing. Lyle grew distraught as he thought about it more and more. Either way, he didn’t like this at all. The new name he was given didn’t help the situation either. But he can’t do anything about it. All he can do is his job: being the Grim Reaper, the G.R.A.E., that steals the souls of lives that are on the brink of death.

….

Hours, days, months, and years passed and Lyle grew more and more engrossed in his job. He took it seriously and an abundance of deaths appeared in either the news headlines or in the newspaper death notices, the obituaries. Each death was claimed to be linked to a sort of brain damage or heart attack if it wasn’t already caused by something else such as a car accident, illness or injury. Each death, however, contained an odd, splattered line of blood over the corpse’s chest where the heart would be. No investigator could link the death to anything in reality. No forensics scientist could understand how the person’s blood could end up on the outside of the body without a single scratch of the skin. No one could identify this as murder, illness, or accident, and possibly, no one ever will. Many believe it’s a serial killer’s doing, while others believe it may be God’s doing. Since no one could identify a motivation to kill, a lot of people came up with the idea that it was the Grim Reaper’s doing.

…Well.. they’re not wrong. In fact, they’re all correct. It is a serial killer’s doing and it is the work of some God-like figure in a sense. It could be the Devil that created the killer. Despite what everyone believes… it is the Grim Reaper harvesting souls. It’s him that’s doing the mass numbers of peculiar deaths. Rumors of meeting the dangerous figure and surviving developed after this notion surfaced to the public. The internet did a good job making sure those rumors spread throughout the world.

Then there was me; the one person who actually did see, meet and escaped the Grim Reaper, himself. Or as he prefers to say, “G.R.A.E.” Unlike everyone else, though, I call him by his given name, Lyle. His name is all he has left. He doesn’t remember his past too well prior to his meeting with Death and he’s starting to forget about that, too. So at least calling him by his real name could bring back his memory a little. Obviously, I feel sorry for him. He never wanted this and never deserved it. But of course, there are thousands who would disagree considering his actions. I don’t care, I sympathize with just about anyone. Of course, that isn’t always a good thing, but no one is perfect.

I’m waiting to meet with him again… I know he will come for me and take my soul. And this time.. I can’t escape him. Haha, it’s funny, I remember everything after cheating him..

For some reason, before he left, he asked me, “You know, I’m curious. If you were about to die by my hand right now, what would your last words be?”

Thinking long and hard since I would never get this opportunity again, I was inquisitive as to who he really was.

“I’m not sure… But… what happened to you, or what did you do, to become this way?”

I stared him in his one good eye. It didn’t seem bored or angry, but sorrowful. Reluctantly, he told me just about everything he knew.

I am pretty much the only person he ever told his story to and will be the only person for a long while. That is why I’m passing the tale to whoever reads this so that they know who the Reaper, Grae, or whatever you want to call him, really is. I know for a fact that he was not always a bad person, or I guess, being. It’s not his choice anymore.

It’s funny. For so long after meeting him, I still remember those, piercing, red eyes, the odd, vibrant, veins all over his body and face, the messy, bloodied hair and his unsightly, pale skin… But the one thing I remember the most is that phrase he said to me before he was about to extinguish my life.

“It’s just business.”

When Death Cheats You

Credit To – Annie Reagan

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.2/10 (131 votes cast)

Why Sarah Never Sleeps

August 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.7/10 (180 votes cast)

There were too many doors in the upstairs hall. Sarah told her parents, but they couldn’t see it. They told her not to worry. They told her there was nothing there. But there was an extra door, at the end of the upstairs hall. An extra yellow door, and it didn’t belong.

It was the color of disease, jaundiced and infected, with spidery black veins across its face. One perfect silver knob gleamed in its center above a shadowy keyhole, and it didn’t look right. The doorknob shone with a mirror’s finish, and caught the light from any angle, begging for Sarah to look its way. Sarah did her best to ignore it, but the door knew her name, and it whispered it when she drew near.

“Saraaaahh . . . ” the door would rasp with a voice like dried leaves as tiny claws scraped against the other side. Tears would well in Sarah’s eyes as she’d hurry past, her arms laden with everything she’d need to get ready for the day.

“Saraaaahh . . .” it would call again before she’d shuffled out of range and closed the bathroom door, cutting off its paper-thin wails. When she’d creep from the bathroom to head downstairs, the door’s voice would follow her with a furious flurry of scraping claws and tormented howls. They lingered and gnawed in the back of her mind as she’d rush through breakfast so she could leave the house a few minutes sooner.

School became a blessing, an excuse to be someone somewhere else. At school she could forget the door. At school she could pretend her house was like everyone else’s, with the right number of doors and no eerie whispers. But at the end of the day it was still waiting for her at the end of the upstairs hall, with it’s mirror-ball knob and yellow face. She hated coming home and knowing it was there, but even more than that, she hated going to sleep, because in her dreams, she opened the door.

Every night, she stood before it, fighting the urge to reach out. Dread knotted her belly in anticipation of pain when her hand rose anyway, to grasp the silver knob. Some nights it burned her like the driest ice. Other nights it seared like a red hot iron. Very occasionally, it did neither, instead turning and turning without ever opening the door, and she couldn’t stop turning it until she woke up.

When the door did open, it revealed a swirling vortex of shadow and sound, with a thousand voices crying in the darkness. The voices curled around her, crawling through her hair like spiders. She thrashed and swatted at their skittering whispers, but the words still tingled across her skin.

She never should have listened.

“He sees . . . ” they said. “He hears . . .” they moaned. “He hungers . . .” they wept, and burrowed in her mind like worms. “The Hollow Man, the Hollow Man,” they echoed in her mind and screamed to her from the gaping vortex. “The Hollow Man . . . he hunts!”

Sarah shot up with a scream, gasping and sweating, but alone in her bed. The clock’s crimson face said midnight had passed, but not by much. Darkness enveloped her room, except where a vestigial nightlight illumined the corner by her desk; it wasn’t a lot, but it made her feel better.

She covered her face with shaking hands, and pushed away the chitinous echoes. “I’m fine,” she swore. “It’s just a dream.”

“Sarah?” Someone whispered.

Sarah froze. Tears welled in her eyes.

“Sarah? Are you Sarah?” It was the voice of a girl, not at all like the voice she usually heard from the door at the end of the hall.

“Who . . . who are you?” Sarah whispered back.

“My name is Lizzie. Are you Sarah?”

Sarah rose from her bed slowly, clutching the sweat-damp shirt she’d worn to sleep, and moved toward her bedroom door, moved to where the yellow door waited. When she stood before it, her stomach lurched, and for a moment she couldn’t tell if she was going to vomit, or faint.

“Please,” the door said in a young girl’s voice. “Please, are you Sarah?”

Sarah opened her mouth to respond, but her voice crackled when she couldn’t find the breath to speak. Shaking all over, she struggled to calm down enough to answer. She pressed her palms to her cheeks and smeared away the tears as she forced herself to take a breath and speak.

“Yes,” she said at length, her voice tremulous and weak. “. . . I’m Sarah.”

“Please, let me in!” The door’s silvery knob shook violently, rattling as if locked, and jostled by someone on the other side. “Let me in, Sarah, please! I can’t stay in here, please help me! Let me in!”

Sarah stared at the door in shock, backing away a moment before her knees buckled and she fell to the floor, where she screamed.

Level with the shadowy keyhole below the rattling knob, she stared directly into a very human eye. Wide and white with fear, it darted around, as if searching through the hall, but seemed not to see her. Tears shimmered in the other eye, as they shimmered and spilled from Sarah’s. Then the silver knob stilled, and the keyhole became shadow, and Lizzie began to cry.

“Please, Sarah,” she pleaded. “He’s almost here.”

“The Hollow Man?” Sarah whispered as a chill slithered up her spine. Lizzie sobbed quietly. Sarah scooted closer to the door, fear allowing room for tentative concern when the girl from the other side failed to respond. “Lizzie?”

Silence came without warning, and concern became sharp fear again.

“Lizzie?!” Sarah sat up on her knees with both hands braced against the door. She trembled under the weight of growing horror as not even a sniffle or a whimper came from the other side. “Lizzie, please answer me!”

Sarah’s head and heart ached, each throbbing painfully through her tension, and the world was a little fuzzy around the edges; it was getting hard to focus.

“He’s here . . .” Lizzie whispered at last. Her words were barely audible, and came as though her lips pressed tight against the keyhole. “Please, let me in . . . .”

Though she still hesitated, her hand was upon the silver knob before she even realized it.

“Please, Sarah . . . .”

Rising from the floor, she turned it.

The door opened noiselessly beneath her hand, gliding open without resistance. As it did, she cautiously peeked around the edge.

A lonely expanse of normal wall inched into view, and she felt sick. She worried at her thumb in confusion, and extended a trembling hand to touch the wall behind the door. It was solid. As solid and as normal as the wall at the end of the upstairs hall should be, but her stomach churned.

Something wasn’t right.

She closed the door, which issued a soft click as the latch sprang into place, and waited. She hardly dared to move or breathe as she listened to the night, waiting for the door to speak again. When her muscles ached, and her eyes were heavy with sleep, she finally relented. Fatigue sucked at her limbs — she hadn’t realized how exhausting fear could be until the last traces of adrenaline had finally bled away–, and though she didn’t look forward to her dreams, she simply had to sleep.

The crimson clock was broken when she rolled herself into bed, its face declaring 12:16 AM to a room that only vaguely felt familiar, but she couldn’t bring herself to care when her eyes and body felt so heavy.

“Sarah . . . ,” Lizzie whispered. But it couldn’t be a whisper.

“Sarah,” Lizzie whispered again. “Sarah, don’t wake up.”

Sarah groaned a little. Don’t wake up? But she hadn’t even fallen asleep.

“Don’t wake up,” Lizzie said, her voice echoing in Sarah’s mind.

Sarah frowned, and rolled on her back. She didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to sleep! Don’t wake up, don’t wake up. Lizzie didn’t need to tell her not to wake! It was the furthest thing from her mind!

For a long time all was silence, and Sarah began to drift toward the strange warmth of sleep.

“He’s here . . .” Lizzie whispered at last. “Please, don’t wake up . . . . ”

Who’s here? Sarah wondered as sleep pulled her further down.

“His hollow face, an eerie mask. With hollow voice at doors will ask. To be invited in to bask. Above his favored midnight task.”

A strange tingling worked its way up her body as Lizzie recited the haunting rhyme in a disconcerting monotone. Clarity inched its way toward Sarah, slowly melting away the fog of sleep. Wasn’t she still dreaming?

Something was wrong.

“He’s waiting inches from your face. To be the first thing your eyes grace. But keep them shut, or else embrace. A hollow shell to take your place.”

Cold dread seized Sarah’s heart with each new stanza, and she trembled with the weight of her mistake. For a moment, she swore she could feel the air stir above her, stale and strangely warm against her cheeks. Don’t wake up! Don’t wake up! She squeezed her eyes closed extra tight to keep them from opening, slowly surfacing from her vivid night terrors at last.

“The yellow door, you always keep. He follows you to where you sleep. Into your room he then will creep. Your life and dreams for him to reap.”

Lizzie’s voice became little more than a breath within Sarah’s mind, and a pressure lifted from her chest when the air cooled around her. What had she done?

“The Hollow Man, above your bed. With hollow eyes, deep slumber fed. His hollow dreams may fill your head. But never peek, or you’ll be dead.”

Everything was wrong.

Distantly, Sarah registered the sound of her parents screaming in their room, and felt tears sliding down her cheeks. Why did they sound so far away?

“. . . Mom,” Sarah whispered, the sound paper-thin. “Dad,” she rasped with a voice like dried leaves. “Lizzie?” She thought, probing for her presence, but Lizzie did not respond.

Silence fell over the house and Sarah knew nothing would ever be right again.

From the hall outside her bedroom door, Sarah heard the soft click as a latch sprang into place, and waited.

Several hours passed before she felt safe enough to open her eyes. Sunlight peeked through the curtains, and the crimson clock said it was 7:45 AM. The yellow door, with it’s mirror-ball knob, stared at her from the wall at the end of the upstairs hall.

And Sarah knew she would never sleep again.

Credit To – Death_by_Proxy

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.7/10 (180 votes cast)

This website contains fictional content that may be too scary for younger readers. Please verify that you are either at least 18 years of age or have parental permission before proceeding.