The Hill Beast

March 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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No one hears much about the little town of Saint Pauls, North Carolina. It’s located in the southern part of North Carolina, literally two hours away from the South Carolina border. It’s a quiet town located right off of the interstate 95. When you get off the Saint Pauls exit the first thing you see in front of you is the ABC liquor store. You turn to your right, there’s a Days Inn Hotel, owned by the Patel family. I graduated with their son; he was Valedictorian of his class. Beside the Days Inn is a McDonalds; it stays busy with visitors that often stop there during long trips. Across the street is the Burger King which has the worst service you’ll ever get. I ordered chicken strips from there and got raw chicken twice; something about their atmosphere just reeks of laziness.

But I’m getting off the point. You turn to your right on a little road called Odom Drive that’s right past the McDonalds. There’s an empty field to your right and a neighborhood to your left. You turn into the neighborhood and there’s a little yellow house that looks in shambles to the left. That’s mine; I live there with my younger brother and our parents. We’ve lived there practically my whole life. But back to that road you’re on, before you turn into my yard, you’ll notice to the right, across from my house, is woods. Those woods have been a source of stress for me all of the time I’ve lived there. They aren’t so bad during the day but I get the feeling in the pit of my stomach that something watches me from them. I’m not so terrified that I’ve never entered. I have actually journeyed through them, but again, only during the day.

My journey usually allows me to clearly see the house through the tree lines or the little treehouse my neighbor built for his kids. I remember once journeying in with that neighbor and his kids when I was perhaps 12. That was the first time I ever saw the swamp. Dirty green colored water that was opaque and mud like. It was the farthest I’d ever journeyed into those woods. I felt as if I’d been invasive or something, like I’d found something not meant to be seen by the human eye. Maybe that makes me sound like I fear nature but in fact I find nature very beautiful. However, something about that swamp seemed bottomless. I believe a deep dark old danger lived in those woods. I was in its natural habitat and invaded its personal space. After this, I never journeyed any farther than the edge of those woods.

I have always believed in supernatural things. Even as a child I had a sense about “not playing with fire,” as one would say. My parents often warned me that the woods had very wild animals. We even supposedly had an alligator come from the swamp and try to cross that busy road between McDonalds and Burger King. I recall bats being popular visitors at dusk and dawn, and snakes were common visitors to our yard. One night my dad and I went out looking at fireflies. It was the first time I had ever seen them in real life and not on television. I thought it was cool, but the fireflies were in the edge of the woods and the sun had sunk quite significantly in the sky. I remember this feeling of something coming from the back of the woods edging towards us. Something was dark and determined. I tugged my dad’s shirt and insisted we go back in. He seemed disappointed that my timid side had shown but he obliged.

My parents seemed to strongly support the belief that I had a very overactive imagination. I am an artist after all, so they weren’t wrong. I remember having a nightmare the night we saw the fireflies. In it, we had stayed watching fireflies and I had ignored that gut wrenching feeling in my chest. Something large that I couldn’t see came running through the trees tearing after my father and I. We ran for the house. We ran for our lives. I collapsed as my foot caught something in its path. I struggled to fight the overwhelmingly heavy defeat when the form collapsed onto me and I heard the sounds of heavy breathing in my ears. The pressure of teeth shot through my ears in a horrid pain. I finally jolted awake.

There were many times I had vivid nightmares. My artistic mind led me to dreams that were just so much more real and detailed than most people. As I aged, though, I simply got used to those types of things. It was rare that I didn’t have nightmares. Maybe my parents were right and I did have a very overactive imagination.

Time passed pretty quickly, and eventually I was in college. I remember very clearly being a college senior, ready to get out of school and start my life. I think most people have that blind excitement of not knowing what is to come, at least I know I did.

It was spring, and the flowers had finally started coming out. I hadn’t actually had a nightmare in a few weeks. This is where things started to get strange though. I remember one night I had gone to bed pretty early, around 10, to get a lengthy good night’s rest. I remember kicking my blanket half off of me because it was hot. I had always been very warm blooded for some reason, so I slept better when it was cooler. But this night I decided that the temperature mattered not a lot because there was a lot to be done the next day. Eventually the exhaustion succumbed to sleep.
I remember running. Running frantically before tripping. I turned to face what looked like a rabid wolf. It was growling, ferocious, and edging closer, slowly and ominously. Its eyes had a film over them, making it appear blind, but yet it looked right into my soul. It was then that its head contorted upside down, still bearing into my soul as the deformed beast edged closer. I jolted awake. I looked at the clock which read 3 a.m. I collapsed back into my pillows and stared at the ceiling.

The next night I anxiously went to bed. I closed my eyes, and dreamless sleep awaited. But relief was short lived when I woke up again at 3 a.m. I sat up having this ominous feeling return to my chest. I gasped in the hot North Carolinian air. I looked at my window. The blinds were closed except one that appeared to be drooping open. This wasn’t abnormal as I occasionally peeked through them. This night, however, I decided it was in my best interest to close them. I had just got to the window when a shadow darted across and the blind closed on its own. Terror arose as I returned to the shelter of my bed. The next morning I grabbed the tape and taped them shut.

I remember the third day was hot and I had been finishing up with my class. My mother called to inform me that my grandfather was ill and she needed me to come get her from the rest home where he was residing. I drove to the rest home and we visited for a little while. I remember sitting in the rest home waiting on my mother to help my grandfather eat. I had pulled up my laptop to work on a paper when a dog entered the room. Its eyes were glazed over just like the beast in my dream, making my heart sink, but its kind presence was undeniable, so I reached down to pet it. The dog gently rested its head in my lap. It looked at me, and I felt as though it actually may be trying to warn me about something. My mother emerged from the room and we left for home.

My driveway in the backyard resides next to a hill. Being as we don’t own that land we have no permission to touch it because it’s owned by the town. Therefore, there are overgrown weeds that make it impossible to see over. On many occasion my dad would grumble that there could be bums right next to us ready to rob us and we’d never know. Nonetheless, it was overgrown and no one could do much so complaining got us nowhere.
My mother was frustrated about the complications with my grandfather’s illness and I recall I letting her drive home. Driving somehow channeled that anger. I won’t say it soothed it, but by the time we got home and got out the car I knew she’d be alright. That’s how it always worked. She had been extremely stressed and I just let her vent.

We finally arrived home. I remember us talking, but not what about. It isn’t very important in the grand scheme of things. Just that we had both exited the car and were continuing the conversation. The car lights were fading slowly out. The conversation was cut abruptly short when the sound of rustling filled my ears. I turned to face its source, the hill. To my surprise my mother too was very attentively staring. I watched as the moonlight hit what appeared to be brown fur. It descended from the hill. It was then that the sounds of heavy breathing raised to our ears. My mother, who had always said I had a very overactive imagination, the same woman who usually said “pay it no mind”, now said, “What is that?” I heard the creature charging toward us and remember only one thing. My voice yelling “RUN MOM!”

We ran into the safety of our house, quickly closing the door behind us. My dad and younger brother greeted us, noticing our obvious terror. They grabbed flashlights, shining them out into the yard while remaining safely behind the glass door we had just run through. My brother muttered, “I think I see a dog… or something… furry…” My dad nodded, “Sounds like it’s just a coyote.” My mother retorted, “Why would it come to the car though? I’ve never seen a coyote come to the car.” My brother shrugged, “Maybe it’s rabid.”

I remember a sense of relief. Relief, that for once, I wasn’t over exaggerating. That maybe if I was right this time, I had been right the other times I sensed an ominous presence. In which case…. was this thing following me long before? Was it what I saw in my dream? I had a lot of unanswered questions and sleep had been much harder to obtain.

The next day I left for the weekend to go on a trip. My return was met with findings of my younger brother and father. They had been cleaning the yard that weekend. When they got to my mother’s car, they found something they had not expected. By the back tire was an animal hind leg, stripped of nearly all its meat to the bone. In fact, the only hint that it was even an animal was the paw. Upon further inspection, the leg appeared to belong to a larger racoon. We decided to see if perhaps there was any trace of this beast on the hill. All we saw were possible racoon tracks, and what looked like a bigger animal’s paw print.

I never saw the beast again after this. My brother came home telling stories about the adjoining neighborhood. A wild animal the size of a great dane had been seen across the neighborhoods and was aimlessly eating squirrels and other small animals. One of my brother’s friends that lived on the street told of his personal encounter. He had taken the trash out after dusk when the beast approached him. He owned a german shepherd who leapt to defend him. The beast easily grabbed the german shepherd and tossed him into a nearby wall, wounding the dog. However, my brother’s friend had already entered the house and avoided conflict.

I’ve never seen the beast again. I don’t know if it still lurks in our swamp. Sometimes I think I may hear it lurking in the swamp, but I’ve never dared to let curiosity get the better of me. I do what I’ve always done, go into the house and never leave after dark. The dark is full fears beyond comprehension. Fear that summoned a beast that terrorizes the little town of Saint Pauls.

Credit To – Elysia Bloom

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The Linen Closet

March 2, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Reading a couple stories here, and something that happened to me came to mind.
You ever have moments that you blip out completely? As if your brain can bother to remember something only so often, so it’s shoved into the depths of your memory? But something always seems to unleash it.

I’d forgotten the house on 12 Dahlia Road, in the little town of Mary Esther, Florida.

Though, “forgotten” isn’t altogether the right word here, because the truth is, I’d never really forget.

The things I’m about to tell you are completely true, in which even my family can attest to. Not one to be fictitious or exaggerating, I will tell you this story in its entirety. Names and places, however, have been changed to protect those that have witnessed it.

My husband passed away when I’d been pregnant with my daughter. On his way home from work one evening, he’d been T-boned by a drunk driver and had slid peacefully into a coma while on site. He’d simply never woken up.

During my mourning, I’d stayed with my parents until our daughter, Callie, was born.
She was, I want to say, nine months old when I’d been feeding her breakfast in the small kitchen one morning.

Her high chair was wedged between the table and the wall as best I could manage while still allowing room for movement in the little dining area.
My father hadn’t been able to squeeze through the gap and, I guess, that had been the snapping point.

“Lori,” he sighed, setting his coffee mug on the table heavily. Coffee sloshed over the rim and stained the table’s scratched and marred surface. “Katherine,” my mom,” and I have been talking for a while now, and we’d like to give you the other house.”

A little backstory here; when I’d been eleven, we’d moved shortly after my grandfather had passed, and into my grandmother’s house two cities over. My father had felt she needed someone to look after her in her age, and we hadn’t bothered to sell the other house.

Instead, we’d rent it out and save the extra money for emergencies. Occasionally, we’d lent it to children of friends, or a college graduate transitioning from school to the real world.

It was slightly damaged from over the years, but it was my childhood home. I was more than happy to raise my daughter in the house that had shaped me as a child.

It wasn’t as if I didn’t enjoy my family or didn’t love them enough. The memories I had after Kevin’s death were full of warm comfort and patience.

My parents were wonderful, and had made a point to make sure I never felt as if I inconvenienced them in anyway.

Looking back on it, I think they were a little sad I was taking their only daughter and granddaughter from their home, but they also understood my need for independence again. I needed my own home, my own space. Something in which I could carve out “MINE!” in the world, in big, bold letters.

And the house in Mary Esther seemed like a perfect opportunity.

It had taken almost a week to ready the house just to move in. Luckily, friends, family, and neighbors seemed to crawl out of the woodwork to help.

They’d installed a new garage door, a working dishwasher, helped fix the leaky roof. They’d even repaired the damages a previous tenant’s dog had wrecked.

The dog must’ve been a massive thing because it had broken a sliding glass bathtub door, shredded through cabinets, and taken huge chunks out of the hallway’s carpet.

In the end, we couldn’t save the floor and ripped it out. We’d placed down linoleum tile that looked like faux wood flooring, but much cheaper.

The linen closet at the end of the hall had been left unscathed, so the carpet in there remained. It poked out a little along the bottom of the door, but it was tolerable.

I wasn’t about to complain, after all. Everybody had put in so much effort to make me right at home; a little fluff under a door was the last thing I was going to gripe about.

I was thankful.

It was a Monday evening when I’d finally gotten settled into my new home. I had taken putting everything where it belonged on pause, so that I could give Callie a bath in the new tub.

We hadn’t had a tub in my grandmother’s home. The house had been fashioned around someone handicapped, so we’d had the big, bulky shower stalls.

In the new house, though, we had a big tub in the hall bathroom and Callie was more than excited to check it out.

Covered in bubbles of lavender-scented baby shampoo, she giggled and played until she was all tuckered out.

I realized I’d accidentally put up all the towels instead of leaving a handful in the bathroom for drying, and let Callie sit in the little remaining water as I went to the linen closet at the end of the hall.

It was only a short ten paces away, at most.

It had been the linen closet when I’d been a child and my mother had taken to putting the excess sheets, towels, and linens along wooden shelves that lined the interior of the spacious room. Having recently acquired the house, I took up the same habit.

Comforted by the familiarity of my childhood home, its familiar smell, I listened to Callie splash and play in the last few drops of water as I stopped short in the hallway.

It was the first time I actually noticed the doorknob. It wasn’t just a smooth, gold knob like the other closets in the hall, or even the bedroom doors, for that matter.

A turn-style lock on the doorknob, on the outside. It didn’t sit well with me.

Had someone been locking someone/something in the linen closet?

Maybe it was the dog that destroyed the house, I thought to myself. Maybe it got out of hand occasionally and they’d locked it in the spacious closet?

It was odd that the door would have a lock on the outside, and I made a mental note to change it.

What had the previous renters been doing here?

What if Callie locked herself in the closet by accident? She was autistic and would panic horribly. It would take hours for her to calm down if that happened.

I swaddled her in the oversized towel, which hung over her feet and pooled on the floor in heavy, maroon shades. Her blonde hair spiked all over her head in all directions and she giggled as I dried and tickled her mercilessly.

Afterwards, I slid her into her Hello Kitty footed pajamas and tucked her into her crib.

I hated that crib, to tell you the truth. It was massive, and being a small woman of only five feet in height, it was a real pain to get her in and out of the thing. It felt as if my abdomen was bruising every time I leaned over the wooden rails to pick her up.

I sat in the large rocking chair my grandmother had given to me as a housewarming present and read her the tale of The Last Basselope.

It was a book my father had read to me almost every night, in that very room, in that very chair.

Truthfully, I was a little homesick. I missed my folks, but more so, I missed Kevin horribly, wishing that he could see us more then than anything else.

I missed his smell, the texture of his clothes, the feel of his breath. It shattered my heart just to think of him.

He’d never even gotten a chance to see Callie, or read to her, or touch her face. He’d never gotten a chance to watch her first steps, hear her first words, or help her on the bus on the first day of school. All because some stupid kid had decided he’d been okay to drink and drive.

I was crying quietly by the time she’d fallen asleep.
Sniffling softly, I placed the book on the chair and headed to the bathroom, leaving her door opened a crack so I could hear her better. Her soft snores floated after me.
Leaving her room, the linen closet was directly on the left; the dead center of the end of the hallway.

That damn lock, I kept thinking. It just does not make sense. Who would put it there? Was it a temp fix for a broken knob, maybe? Why not just switch it out with one of the plain bedroom knobs then?

I dampened the corner of Callie’s bath towel and dabbed my eyes. I hung it over the shower rail and blew my nose in a handful of tissue paper.

No more tears, I told myself. It’s a new start, a new beginning.

The lights in the bathroom flickered briefly, which wasn’t exactly abnormal.

We lived rather close to the Air Force base, so the practiced bombings occasionally caused electrical interference.

Off in the distance, I remember, I could even faintly hear it. The heavy OOMPH noise that sounded like heavy fireworks in the distance.

I settled into the living room, keeping an ear open for the baby as I began to read in the quiet of the new house.

At first, I didn’t notice the sound. A new house, it’s bound to have some random ticks.

The steadily cracking along the top of the walls, a small scraping sound.

I muttered in disgust, “Great,” as I slid the bookmark into a page and set the novel down.

My first thought was, “There’s some kind of animal in the crawl space.”

From the way the scratching, scraping bounced up and down the wall suddenly, I assumed it was a squirrel.

It ran from floor to ceiling, a sound like scurrying and bobbing. Small claws rattled against the wooden posts of the inner wall and sheetrock lining.

I followed the noise, trying to track where it could possibly be.

It went along the top of the living room wall, down the corner, back up the cold air return in the mouth of the hall, and around the top of the door frame of the bathroom.

“Oh, it’s going to wake up Callie,” I grumbled, getting royally pissed off suddenly.
She’d already had a traumatic day with moving and all the people. The last thing she needed was to wake up and have a meltdown.

Like I said, she’s autistic and absolutely hated anything that wrecked with her routine.

Messing with sleep time definitely wrecked her routine.

A heavy thump and something that sounded like a slide, and I’d decided I’ve just about had enough!

I darted in my room, across the hall from Callie’s room, and next to that damn closet, and snatched the phone receiver off its charging base.

I punched in my father’s cellphone number instantly and listened to the ringing.
In the spanse of time it took him to answer, the thing in the crawl space had maneuvered to the ceiling right outside my bedroom door.

“Lori, are you okay?” was the first thing he asked, bless his heart.

“Yeah,” I reassured him instantly, feeling more than a little guilty and foolish for calling so abruptly. “It’s just that there’s something moving around in the crawlspace beneath the attic in the house.”

After a short pause, he laughed in his usual warm, grumbly way and said, “It’s probably a ‘possum or squirrel.”

I agreed with him. “True, but I don’t know who to call about it and I’m afraid it’ll wake up the baby.”

A few grumbling noises and the slam of a pickup truck’s tailgate later, he began, “I can head out in the morning-”

But my mother interrupted him. “Is that Lori? Does she need something?” her voice had begun to go a bit nervous around the edges and raising. “We can be over there in fifteen minutes, honey!”

“It’s just a rodent problem,” he tried to tell her, but being my mom, that was the worst thing he could’ve told her.

“A rodent problem? Dammit, Allen,” she’d gone into full raging by then. “Get the truck loaded up. Our grandbaby doesn’t need that crap!”

The scraping had intensified by then, and slithered around the wall in the corner of my room.

“Is that it?” Dad asked, hearing the sound over the phone.

“Yeah,” I answered, smacking the wall in an attempt to frighten and quiet the wretched thing.

It didn’t work.

Instead, it became more agitated and scraped with frantic claws that sounded as if they were the size of butcher knives.

“Jesus,” he muttered. “Katherine,” to my mother, he shouted, “get the shovel from beside the garage while I get the keys.” To me, “Don’t aggravate it. It might have rabies.”

Hell, I hadn’t even thought about that until then.

“Can it get in the actual house?” I asked, worry for my child seeping into my heart.
I darted across the hall and peeked into her room, but she was still fast asleep in the big crib, with her princess nightlight shining over her.

“Block off the cold air return and the closet,” he informed me. “If it’s in the crawl space, it might be able to get to the ventilation fan in the utility closet.”

A new set of worries plagued me as he promised to be there in no less than fifteen minutes, and if anything else happened, to call his cellphone right away.

I closed the door to Callie’s room as a precaution and kicked into gear as I slid the phone into my back pocket.

While the creature scraped and bounced down the walls, I somehow moved the small recliner in the living room down the linoleum floor of the hall, and positioned it in front of the cold air return below the utility closet. I’d successfully blocked both with one piece of furniture.

Feeling rather proud of myself, I sat in the chair for a moment and waited on Mom and Dad.

Silence abruptly filled the hall. The scuttling drained away as if it had never been.
It was so unnerving, the hairs on the back of my neck raised as gooseflesh marched up and down my arms, climbed my cheeks.

It hadn’t been silent for almost an hour. Nothing but constant scraping, slithering, bouncing, and scratching.

I’d have preferred the movement to the unsettling, deafening quiet. With her bedroom closed, I didn’t even have Callie’s light snore to drown it out.

I sat in that hall, in that chair, and listened to the sound of my own pulse rushing through my ears for I don’t know how long.

Each rhythmic rush of blood seemed louder than the last.

I tried to lick my suddenly dry lips but found my tongue had been equally devoid of moisture. I tried to swallow the lump in my throat.

My thoughts raced. Had it gotten hurt or maybe stuck? Maybe it had found an escape and I was wasting my parents’ time?

I felt like a fool sitting there, with my chair wedged against the wall, waiting for my heartbeat to slow.

But then something shoved the chair from behind and I was moved a good half-foot. Too scared to even scream, I shoved the chair back just as hard.
The only thought, I can honestly say, that filled my head at that precise moment, was of my baby.

Callie was in that house, with that creature that was shoving against my chair, shoving against my back. My baby was in possible mortal danger.

My heart soared as I went into some kind of protective overdrive.

I jumped up and whirled, shoving with all my might to slam that chair right back into that damn wall.

No creature on Earth was going to burst into my home and threaten me and my child!
The utility door tried to open once more, rocking the chair forward before I kicked it shut again.

Scraping, scratching, a kind of odd hiss, and it was back into the ceiling. It scrambled faster now, and I scrambled just as fast after it.

It darted down the hall, bouncing between the door frames of the guest room, the bathroom, my bedroom, Callie’s, before starting all over again.

I was going to kill the thing with my own hands at this point! Let it come down the utility closet. I was going to strangle it to death for doing this crap to me!

Squirrel, ‘possum, rat, whatever. It was dead, I tell you.

My pulse was pounding on the back of my tongue so hard, I could almost taste it.

I’d grabbed the broom from the bathroom and wielded it like a sword as I waited for the creature to seek purchase somewhere.

Hell, at that point, I’d probably slam the broom handle through the ceiling to kill that little devil.

I was snarling, stark-raving mad, trying to keep as quiet as possible. I felt as if I had become an overprotective mama bear and I needed blood to calm down.

Something shifted and the scrapings changed. It went into the ceiling space in the linen closet.

I was so enraged, I nearly ripped the doorknob off the door to open it, but before I could, what sounded as if boards, wooden boards, were being rendered and ripped from inside.

I stopped, the onslaught of fury in me feeding to near panic. It felt as if the fight had gone right out of me, replaced solely with horrifying, chilling terror.

It hadn’t sounded big enough to do that much damage. It hadn’t sounded like it had fingers or teeth that could yank the ceiling right out of the little room.

A heavy thump and a slithery shift before what I could only imagine sounded of heavy towels and sheets falling to the ground within the linen closet.

The growl that crawled from under the door sent shivers up my spine and arms.

Broom in hand, I was preparing to slaughter it while my heart was wedged in my throat and I wondered, for the first time, if I’d actually survive it.

It sounded like a dog. I know that sounds crazy, but it sounded like a dog pacing in the confines of the linen closet and fear, cold and real, iced my body from the inside out.

The doorknob grabbed my attention, and I swear to you, it started to turn.

That lock, that damn lock, and I clicked it home.

The creature howled, livid beyond all belief, and slammed into the door bodily, heavily.

The thick wood physically shook in the frame.

Phone retrieved from my back pocket, I frantically called my father as tears filled my eyes. I honestly did not expect to survive the otherworldly creature I’d locked in my linen closet.

How could I protect my baby if I was dead? I was almost crying.

He answered on the third ring, the sound of my mother laughing in the background.
“Where are you?” I demanded before he had a chance to say hello, my voice watery with unshed tears of horror and fear. I was full-out panicking on how to survive this thing long enough to see to the safety of my child.

“A couple blocks, what’s wrong?” his voice full of worry and concern. I could hear
the traffic moving around them, the flow of shifting tires, honking horns. The sounds of the city, my city.

“It’s some kind of dog,” I told him, all but actually crying now.

The doorknob shifted restlessly before it finally gave up, as if it had hoped to somehow break the lock.

“That’s impossible,” my father informed me, scoffing. “It might sound big in the little space-”

“I’m not making this up!” I hollered, and the door shivered under another onslaught again.

“Holy hell,” he whispered in my phone as the noise carried. To my mother, “Get the shotgun from behind the seat and load it.” To me, “Get Callie and get out of the house, we’ll take care of it. We’re almost there. At a red light right now, but we’re almost there.”

I don’t know if he was comforting me or him at that point.

I watched in horror as the carpet beneath the door moved as if something was yanking heavily on it. As if they were taking big handfuls and pulling.

Not wasting anymore time with that, I flung open the door to the baby’s room, threw the phone to the floor, and slapped the wall switch until brilliant light flooded the room.

She was still resting on her back, one tiny little fist clutched to her pale cheek as her fluffy blonde tufts angled out in every direction.

I wrapped her delicately, calmly in the pink little blanket and draped myself over the crib so that I had enough leverage to pull her out. My abdomen screamed in protest as the bars of the crib pushed into my middle.

The entire time, the creature in the closet was digging, digging at the carpet under the door. It pulled the fabric back far enough, I could see the glue to the floor.

Holding her to my chest, and bouncing her ever so gently, comfortingly, as she nuzzled into me, moodily waking up, I stepped as softly as possible out of her room as to not wake her further.

As I neared the end of the hall it howled, and I was too afraid to look back, too scared to look over my shoulder and double check that the linen closet’s door was still holding.

Instead, I all but crashed into the front door and ran into the driveway in time to see the spill of headlights illuminate my street.

My dad pulled up in his red Ford F150, shotgun clamped tightly in his hand as I rushed to the flinging open door of the cab.

“Are you okay?” my mother was already demanding as she jumped out of her side of the truck to run to me.
Dad was pulling the shovel from the back of the truck and moving it to the front porch as he glanced inside the screen door.

I assumed he meant to kill and bury the thing with the tools, and never once questioned it.

“It’s in the linen closet,” I told him, tears of relief streaming down my face as I clutched to my mom all but sobbing.

“Oh, baby,” she said, and held me close as she shifted Callie from my shoulder to hers. “Go help your father, I’ve got her.”

I kissed both their cheeks, tucked Callie’s little pajama-covered foot back in the pink blanket, and got to the porch.

I took the shovel from its resting place against the brick and stood with Dad beside the door.

He cocked his head, ear pressed to the door and listened. After a moment, he asked, “Is that it?”

After a pause, I could hear it, too.

It was a guttural, low growl, almost too quiet to have heard.

I couldn’t manage an answer. My voice felt dried and hollow in my throat, unable to force its way through my cold lips. I managed a weak nod, eyes wide and scared.

Switching off the safety, he opened the screen door and stepped inside. I mustered courage and followed him, shovel in hand.

The house went quiet and still as we moved through the living room.

He peeked into the den and kitchen for a moment before asking me to move the chair in the hall.

I propped the shovel and managed to shove the recliner to the side, giving him enough room.

He flung open the utility closet first, and studied the little room in the hall lighting.

A muttered obscenity and I realized what he’s swearing at as I grappled the shovel with numb fingers.

Claw marks, deep and wide, riddled the thick, wooden door and the sheetrock lining the room.

There was at least hundreds of them, gashing wide into the wall, around the backing of the AC unit, and down the door.

Chills ran rampant up and down my arms and face as he slowly closed the door and turned to the linen closet.

The lock, that damned lock, was twisted and free.

Had it gotten out?

We agreed he’d aim the gun and I’d open the door in the end.

With me to his right, my breath came in labored puffs, my pulse raced through my veins and pounded into my ears until I thought I might faint.

I grasped the cold, gold doorknob and twisted, resisting the urge to squeeze my eyes shut against the nightmare.

Yanking the door with all my might sent me crashing into Callie’s bedroom door frame.
My dad was as still as a tomb as he stood there. His eyes shifted from all over the linen closet, to me, back to the closet.

I peeked around the edge of the door and stared at the chaos as the shovel dropped from my loose, cold fingers.

Towels, sheets, pillow covers were littering the floor, covered in thick tufts of loose carpet.

Claw marks, matching the utility closet, riddled the walls and doors. The doorknob appeared to display a set of teeth marks.

The ceiling, however, was perfectly intact.

We spent the better part of half an hour tearing through shredded towels, hefting shelves, throwing sheets, but could not find a single hole into the room.

We searched the whole house, gun and shovel in hand, prepared to mutilate any living thing we found, but came up empty.

My mother helped me pack Callie’s things, some clothes, necessities, and we took their truck back to their home, forgoing my little mini-van in the driveway, as my fingers were still too number to drive.

The next day, I packed up as fast as I’d settled in, and, with Callie on my hip, we shoved the For Sale sign home into the dirt of the front yard.

I never spent another night in the home of my childhood.

Credit To – ilothopskaty

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Old Boo Diddley

March 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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It was the year 2000. I was 17 years old, a junior in high school, and I had a shitty, low paying job at a rinky dink discount store that, at the time, was just a step above something like a Dollar General or Family Dollar. My boss was a bitch and I only made $4.15 an hour, the bare minimum wage at the time, if I recall. Needless to say, I needed a better job.

This is what lead me to our local Dairy Queen in town and, in August of the year 2000, I began my tenure there as a cook. I didn’t really like the job and, at the same time, I didn’t really hate it either but, with a spiffy $1 (or therebouts) raise in pay, I couldn’t complain.

The weird stuff didn’t begin until about a month later. I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to look, it disappeared, much like one of those “floater” things that show up in your eyes from time to time. This went on for a while and it seemed like the more I tried to look at it, the more I thought about it, or the more attention I gave it, the more inclined it was to ”appear.”

Now, although it may sound like it, I hadn’t yet realized, or even thought, that whatever I was seeing was an intelligent entity. I guess I thought that it was just one of “those things,” whatever that means…

It wasn’t until a few months later, in the fall, that the whole supernatural element of it all dawned on me. Myself, our shift leader Danny, and Patricia, the drive-thru girl, were getting ready to shut down for the night when the drive thru window opened by itself. To my surprise, neither of them made a big deal out of it.

“What the hell was that?” I said with a chuckle.

“Oh, that’s just old Boo Diddley,” Danny said with a cheeky grin.

“Old Boo Diddley? What’s that all about?” I asked, intrigued.

“Whenever anything weird happens around here, we blame it on him,” he answered.

“You mean this place is haunted?” I continued.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he answered, slightly annoyed. “We just say old Boo Diddley did it when something like that happens.”

“What else happens?” I kept on.

“Sometimes people see stuff out of the corner of their eye. Sometimes they hear their names being called and stuff like that,” Danny didn’t seem to want to talk about it anymore.

“I’ve seen stuff like that. It goes away when I turn to look,” I said.

“Yep. That’s exactly what happens,” he concluded.

“The drive thru window opens by itself all the time. I’m surprised you never noticed before,” Patricia interjected.

“Cool,” I said.

Now, at the time, I couldn’t have been more excited about all this, and I’m sure my co-workers could tell. You have to remember, this was 2000 and it seemed like the supernatural and/or paranormal was flooding pop culture, almost as much or moreso than it is these days. Now, you have stuff like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Conjuring, and all the “ghost hunting” tv shows whereas, back then, The Blair Witch Project had been released a year prior, The Sixth Sense was fresh on everyone’s mind, and MTV’s Fear was popular in my circles. While there maybe wasn’t AS MUCH to wet everyone’s appetite, it was just enough to keep interests peaked; everyone was into ghosts.

It went on like that for many months; Seeing things out of the corner of my eye, the drive-thru window opening on its own, and I even heard my name being called once-in-a-while when no one was in the viscinity. Like I said before, the more attention I paid to it and the more I thought about it, the more it happened, and the ‘clearer’ things seemed to get.

And then something touched Patricia.

It was a particularly busy Spring. I live in a college town and the students had begun to move into their dorms and, with Dairy Queen being the only chain restaurant in our small hick town, they came in droves that day and night. I was finishing up an order when I heard a shriek come from the walk-in refridgerator. I and a few of my co-workers ran back to see what was going on.

We found Patricia on the floor. She was sitting up, but she looked almost like a broken doll in the position she was in… and she was fucking terrified.

“You okay, Trish?” Someone asked. She didn’t answer.

“Patricia?” Someone else said; No answer.

“TRISH!?” I said, louder.

“Hey,” she answered very meekly.

“You okay?” I asked.

“Something knocked me down. I don’t know what it was,” she said trembling.

“What knocked you down? You can’t fit two people in here on a good day and no one was back here with you,” a co-worker said. “Are you sure you didn’t slip?”

“I didn’t slip. Something knocked me down. I dunno…” Trish concluded.

To this day, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as scared as she was at that moment. She quit the next day. I’ve only seen her one time since then, and she was far from the same girl she was before. Her experience really fucked her up and, to this day, I think there’s more to her story than she was willing to share.

We were all sad to see Patricia go. She was a sweet girl and wasn’t hard on the eyes. Many of my co-workers chalked the incident up as “she was just crazy” and other shit like that. Myself, on the other hand, I couldn’t help but think it had something to do with Old Boo Diddley.

The usual weird stuff kept happening more and more; it literally became an every day thing. We all got used to it and would acknowledge whenever something happened and, being young and stupid, we laughed at it sometimes. This is around the time I started feeling a sense of dread whenever I would go out back at night for a cigarrette break or to take the garbage out.

The dumpster was about 20 yards away from the back door of Dairy Queen. Even with the “dusk to dawn” light, it was downright creepy and dark at night. Every time I went to take the garbage out at the end of the night, I felt like something was watching me or was about to jump me from behind. There is absolutely no mistaking that feeling.

All of this culminated one night when myself and Chris, a new trainee, were emptying the garbage at the end of the night. As I was tossing the bags into the dumpster, I saw Chris staring at something beyond the few pine trees that were planted behind Dairy Queen. He had a look on his face that reminded me of a kid whose dog had just been hit by a car.

“What’s wrong, dude?” I asked.

“What the FUCK is that?” He pointed.

I looked in the direction he was pointing and saw a disembodied head floating in the distance between two pine trees. That’s what it was; There’s no mistaking it. A floating fucking head. I could even make out a goatee and a very disturbing scowl or frown; this thing wasn’t happy.

Chris darted back toward Dairy Queen. I couldn’t move. I could only keep looking at it. I will never forget that face… or the look it gave me.
By the time I caught up to Chris, he was banging on the back door and begging for someone, anyone, to let him in. I scrambled in my pocket for the keys (the back door locked behind you). When I got the door open, he took off inside and, in front of a crowd of customers, he exclaimed:
“THERE’S A FUCKING GHOST OUTSIDE!”

He was sent home and, subsequently, fired the next day. Following that, we were all chewed out by our store manager.

“No more talk about ghosts when customers are around. You can talk about it amongst yourselves but I don’t want it getting out that our store is haunted,” she was dead serious. No pun intended.

As usual, the ”normal” stuff happened and, somewhat to my chagrin, there were no more disembodied floating heads behind the store. I won’t lie, and as I told you before, as much as this shit kinda scared me, it intrigued me even more… almost to the point where I encouraged it; I hate to admit it.
And then, 9/11 happened.

On September 11, 2001, I woke up around 2pm to a shit storm. I walked into my kitchen where my Grandma had the TV on. The tragedies of that day are well documented, so I feel no need to elaborate. Tragedy or no, I had to report for work at 5.

When I arrived at Dairy Queen, of course all anyone could talk about were the attacks and how horrible everything was. I recall people lining up in droves at the gas station next door and filling their tanks in fear of a gasoline shortage. There was absolutely no mention of Old Boo Diddley or any of the strange goings-on at Dairy Queen and I don’t recall any spooky activity that night. We were all so caught up in the 9/11 attacks that a ghost (or ghosts) were the least of our worries. In short, we weren’t fueling any activity, so I guess Boo didn’t bother showing up. In fact, after that, I don’t recall ever seeing or hearing anything at Dairy Queen ever again.

But that didn’t stop it from following me home.

I had a bad habit, at the time, of leaving my tv on all night long at a pretty loud volume. So loud, in fact, that my Grandma would come into my room at night and turn the thing off. One night, I woke up and I saw someone standing at the foot of my bed. I paid no mind to it because I thought it was my Grandma coming in to turn the TV off and to check on me. This was also a regular thing because I’ve been a severe asthmatic most of my life and, like any worrying Grandmother, she takes care of me.

I woke up the next morning and my TV was still on. This was weird because I had clearly seen my Grandma in my room last night so why would she leave it on? Especially with as loud as I had it…

“Hey, did you come into my room last night?” I asked my Grandma.

“Nope. I was so tired that I didn’t bother. Why?” She asked.

“I thought I woke up and saw you standing in there. Just asking,” I said.

“Nope. Wasn’t me. Maybe it was the Devil after you,” she joked.

“The Devil, eh?” I chuckled.

While I didn’t think was Satan after me, Old Boo Diddley certainly entered my mind.

Not long after that, my sister and I were sitting on the floor of my room playing a Playstation game. At the time, I had a 32” TV (this was before flat screens) sitting in one of those big plywood entertainment center deals with shelves and a couple of storage compartments on the bottom. We were very engrossed in our game when one of the doors of the storage compartment opened on its own. My sister was a bit startled. I didn’t even notice at first.

“What was that?” She asked.

“Do what?” I said, pausing the game.

“The door opened… by itself,” she pointed.

“Oh really? That’s weird..” I started playing the game again and didn’t really think about it again until I started putting this whole thing together in my head. Old Boo Diddley was just saying hello again, apparently.
By this time, I had moved on from Dairy Queen to a different job. I didn’t think much about Old Boo Diddley for quite some time until one day I had Danny, my former shift leader, over for a visit and, of course, the topic eventually came up.

“So, does Old Boo Diddley still come around?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah, but nowhere near as much as when you were there,” he said with a giggle.

This, admittedly, struck a chord with me. With as much shit that was going on when I worked there, you’re telling me that now all Boo Diddley was is just a minor annoyance? What was the deal?

I mentioned this to a girl I knew at the time who was heavily into the occult and a bit of witchcraft. She informed me of something that I didn’t really know much about at the time and have given a lot of though to since: I was giving this entity, whatever it was, energy by talking about it with my co-workers and encouraging it.

So, I go and do what any dumbass 19 year old would do: I started talking about it and encouraging it even more so than before.

After that, I began hearing little knocks, bangs, and clicks in my bedroom. I started seeing figures out of the corner of my eye again, just like I did at Dairy Queen.

Remember the story where I thought I saw my Grandma in my bedroom standing at the foot of my bed? That happened again, only it was standing by my head this time; That really gave me a start. The doors on the entertainment center continued to open on their own, and more frequently; often with witnesses, my sister once again being one of them. My bedroom was the only room in the house where anyone experienced anything; nothing happened in the rest of the house. All of this seemed very cool to me, at least for a little while.
Yeah, well, it stopped being cool and it started getting really fucking scary… as if it wasn’t fucked up already.

I’ve always been a fan, or enthusiast, of the dark side of things. Whether its movies, music, books, what-have-you, I have always ventured on the ”weird” or “different” side. Hence why I was so enthusiastic about the supernatural and/or paranormal. Having said that, the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis wasn’t unfamiliar to me. While, at the time, I hadn’t yet suffered from this, I had read a little about it. I had heard about how it is one of the most frightening, nerve-wrenching experiences that a person can go through and about how, back in the middle ages and perhaps even further back, they thought it had a lot to do with the supernatural/paranormal/spirit world/etc.

Around the time all of this paranormal activity hit its peak in my home or, to be more precise, my bedroom, I had my first, and most horrific to date, bout with sleep paralysis. (The first time is always the worst, I hear). While I won’t commit 100% to the idea that my sleep paralysis is/was a supernatural happening, I also can’t say that I don’t think its a coincidence that I started having this condition right around the time all of this stuff was at its most active.

My first bout with sleep paralysis was typical of the condition, but that made it no less horrifying. I woke up and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even move my eyes or talk. I felt like someone or someTHING was in my room with me; I could feel its sinister presence in the one corner of the room where I couldn’t see, but I KNEW it was there and, whatever it was, I could feel that it didn’t have good intentions. A deep sense of dread filled me. I tried to scream for someone… for anyone… and all I could muster was the tiniest hum or mumble. Eventually, after a few tense moments that felt like an eternity, I could finally feel that my body was coming to and I let out a very loud yell and my Grandma burst into the room.

“What’s wrong?” She asked, concerned.

“I don’t know… I woke up and I couldn’t move,” I wimpered; very manly for a 19 year old, I know…

“Are you alright?” She asked.

“I am now. That was scary,” I answered, downplaying how horrified I actually was.

After that, I stopped acknowledging anything strange that happened in my room and, slowly, things started to calm down. Since then, I’ve had two more bouts with sleep paralysis, but they were nowhere near as bad as that first time. Like I said before, I can’t help but think that there was something more going on that first time than your typical bout of sleep paraylsis. I guess I’ll never know, but the possibility that something was out to get me lingers in my mind.

In an interesting side note to this whole thing, I was talking with a friend of mine from this area who moved away way back in the early 90s, a few years before that Dairy Queen was built in our town. He recently moved back to the area. We met for lunch one day and caught each other up on what had gone on in our lives in the 20 or more years since we’d seen each other. We talked about how our little town has grown in the time he’d been away.

“I see they built a Dairy Queen on that little spot of land. That’s odd,” he said, taking a bite of his pizza.

“Yeah? Why?” I inquired.

“That area used to be so overgrown that almost nobody knew about the old graveyard that used to be there.”

Credit To – Pat ChoKo

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Lure

February 28, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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It was almost three o’clock in the morning when something woke Leah up. She stayed in bed for a few groggy minutes, warm beneath the familiar blankets. For the last three days, an enormous rain storm had been falling on the island of Kauai, bringing an unusual chill along with it. The rain smacked against the windowpanes relentlessly. Leah had grown used to its noise. So it was something else that had disturbed her, and she knew she’d never get back to sleep until she figured out exactly what it was. With a reluctant sigh, she sat up in bed and looked around.

The light.

Her bedroom was filled with strange shadows and a stark light she hadn’t recognized right away. The new security light Aidan, her brother-in-law, had put in for her just before the storm. Nobody had come by, and Leah had done a thorough job of making sure she had enough supplies to last out the bad weather. She’d never seen it switch on at night before. It was probably the wind pushing something into the garden that had triggered it. The system was supposed to shut itself off after three minutes. She wondered how long she’d been awake, and watched the clock tick one minute after another.

Four, then five.

The light stayed on.

Aidan wasn’t known for his amazing skills at electrical installation. Under normal circumstances, Leah would have insisted on hiring a professional, but she didn’t really see the point of having the security to begin with. She’d only agreed to it to make her sister happy. There weren’t many dangers in rural parts of the island, unless you were afraid of having to listen to hippies talk about carving gourds. Leah’s nearest neighbours were a fifteen minute drive away, and that’s how she liked it. She didn’t even have a paved driveway. Who, she wondered, would bother to go all the way out to her place to commit a crime? It was smarter to head to the coast and wreck up the big town.

She cursed and grumbled as she got out of bed, shivering in her shorts and long-sleeved tee. It was even colder than she thought it would be. The floor was like ice beneath her bare feet. She stepped quick and lightly to the window, hugging herself for warmth, and tried to crane her head to see where the security light was mounted. The rain was making a mess of her view, coming down in thick streaks that made the outside world look like it was twisting around in a crystal decanter.

A shape moved at the corner of her eye. Her heart pounded for a second or two, then calmed as she looked into her driveway. Standing a little ways to the side of her car was a figure. It looked like a girl with bright red hair, pinned up in the style of a surf bunny from the days of Frankie and Annette. She was wearing a long, floral print dress and standing right in the middle of the pouring rain. She was too far away and the weather was too bad for Leah to make out her features. As she watched, the girl in the driveway looked right up at the bedroom window and waved. A slow, robotic hello.

The tiny hairs on Leah’s arms stood up, and she ducked away from the window.
She took a few deep breaths.

Fine. The girl was there because her car had broken down, or she had some other kind of trouble. And she knew that somebody was home because Leah’s car was right there beside her, or maybe she assumed that somebody had manually turned the outside light on. But how could she have known exactly where Leah was? The room was dark, the security light was too bright and distracting, and there were other windows on the second floor. How had she known exactly which one Leah was standing at?

Calming herself, telling herself there was probably an innocent explanation for it all, Leah glanced out the window again. The girl was still there. Waiting. She looked young and delicate, like a teenager. There were all kinds of warnings and emergency procedures being declared because of the storm, and two of the nearby roads were flooded. Leah knew she’d never forgive herself if that girl was in need of help and she left her stranded. Shaking the doubts from her mind, Leah decided to make her way downstairs.

She tried not to think of the girl’s eerie wave. She tried to rationalize the strangeness of the shadows. Both the car and the small palm tree had cast long, deep shadows from the stark white light on top of the lanai. The girl didn’t have any shadow at all. But that could have been something to do with the angle, or a trick of the rain. The weather had blurred so many details, it was hard for Leah to be sure of anything she saw.

Just as her foot touched the bottom stair, the sound of the knock filled the house. A rhythmic slamming against the front door, in no way gentle or persuasive. It was loud, startlingly so, and strangely hollow. An angry demand very unlike the way Leah would have expected the girl she saw to knock. She tried to tell herself that her nerves were skewing things, making her edgy when there was no need to be. Maybe it had been a loud knock because the girl was feeling desperate, wanted to be sure that the people inside heard her. But then, why hadn’t she used the doorbell instead? Maybe there was someone else with her, and Leah simply hadn’t been able to see them from the window.

That changed things. That was a rational concern. What if there was a boyfriend? Someone big, strong and threatening.

Leah hurried into the kitchen and got herself a knife. Nothing big or menacing like one of the butcher’s knives on the posters for horror movies, just a small paring knife. Very sharp. The kind of thing that was guaranteed to hurt a man if you wanted him hurt, or stop him if he needed stopping. For the first time since moving out of the city, she regretted the seclusion she’d chosen. She’d take all the airplane flyovers, traffic noise and petty crime in the world to feel less vulnerable. The knock sounded again, with such urgency that Leah could feel the vibrations of it inside her bones.

She made herself think of flooded roads, stranded people, medical emergencies. With the knife at her side, she went to her front door and stood with her hand resting on the knob. Part of her was screaming to forget it, to go back upstairs and lock herself in her room until morning, but she couldn’t. In a quick, defiant motion, she swung the front door open and looked out into the pouring rain.
No one was there.

“Hello?” Leah called, stepping carefully onto the lanai. “Is somebody out here? Do you need help?”

She made her way forward very carefully, adjusting her grip on the knife handle. The rain was fierce and deafening, cold splashes of it coiling around her naked ankles like ocean spray. Everything smelled drowned and muddy. There was no sign of anyone, not even a set of footprints in the softened earth of the driveway. Leah stepped to the very edge of the outside steps and took one last look around.

“I’m going back inside.” She called, her voice quivering more than she would have liked.

As she turned, the front door slammed shut and shook the floor of the lanai. The security light snapped off so quickly, it was as if the bulb had suddenly burnt out. Leah sprang towards the closed door and twisted frantically at the knob, but it wouldn’t turn. Impossible. The only way to lock the door was from the outside. She hadn’t even had a deadbolt put in.

Finally, the door relented and swung open as though there hadn’t been any resistance at all. Leah dashed inside and slammed it shut behind her.

The house felt empty and full at the same time. The greyness of the rainy night settled on the familiar rooms in front of her like a layer of dust. She knew that the house had to be searched. Somebody could have been hiding close to the wall and ducked in when she was looking at the driveway. It took her a few moments, standing in the empty front room with the soft drumbeat of the rain mingling with the pounding of her heart, before she felt bold enough to do it.

When she found no one, she began to relax. She ended the search in the kitchen, and decided to pour herself a glass of water and check her phone. Just to be safe, she’d send a message to her sister. Nothing to worry her, just something to let her know about the girl in the driveway. She put the paring knife down on the counter and picked up her phone. No bars and no wifi. The storm had been upsetting service on and off for the last few days. Leah tried not think of it as isolation. It was just a nuisance. Her imagination was playing tricks on her. When morning came, she would laugh at herself and spend another cozy day curled up and watching whatever was saved on the DVR.

A razor-thin breeze whistled by her ear when she went to get a glass from the cupboard. There was a sound like nothing she’d heard before. A sharp, reverberating thud. Something had hit the cupboard door while she held it open. Slowly, nervously, she closed it to see what it had been. The paring knife was sticking out of the door, as though it had been thrown.

Leah turned. The kitchen was bright, well-lit, and empty.
She grabbed the phone off the counter, and hurried upstairs to the bedroom. She would throw on some flip-flops and proper clothes, grab her keys, and get the hell out. The goat ranch up the road was owned by two very friendly retirees, she was certain that they would help her. There was no guarantee that the roads would be clear, probably covered in water and debris, maybe even a fallen tree, some parts too muddy to drive on, but she had to try.

Her feet almost slipped on the hardwood stairs as she hurried to change. Nothing dramatic, just enough to feel like she wasn’t driving through a rain storm in her underwear. She grabbed a pair of jeans off the closet floor and pulled them on, her back to the window. As she did, the room filled with the pale white light that had woken her up less than an hour before. The security light, coming to life once more. She didn’t want to turn around and look out the window, but she made her body move to where she could look out and see.

There was no redheaded girl, but the light stayed on.

Calmly, Leah slipped on her flip-flops and headed into the hall. She breathed steadily, stepped carefully. The house was colder than it should have been at the top of the stairs. The smell of rain and boggy, wet earth was pungent and overwhelming. Leah swallowed hard, steadied herself. It would be a difficult drive to the neighbour’s – she wouldn’t make it if she was in a panic. But when she got to the middle of the staircase, she couldn’t control the surge of dread that overtook her.
The front door was wide open.

The security light caught the falling rain, casting patterned shadows on the floor. Leah braced herself and headed straight for the door. She would run right for the car and jump in, without any kind of hesitation. She made for the lanai, but something at the corner of her eye, in the dust grey shadows of the living room, moved.
Leah froze. She couldn’t help herself. She turned to look.

The redheaded girl was standing there, her head tilted to one side. This close, Leah could notice things she hadn’t been able to see from the upstairs window. Like the black dirt under the girl’s fingernails, the disarray of the orderly hairstyle, the rips and stains on the long floral dress.

“I’m sorry,” The girl looked over her shoulder, as though she were expecting someone else to step out of the shadows behind her.

The security light switched off.

Credit To – Susan Eckland

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Dragon’s Fire

February 10, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Tessa stepped onto the stage. Her whole body shook as she walked across it to the podium. She had to hold onto the hard mahogany structure to keep herself from falling. Her hands were slick with sweat. She looked over at the president, “I’m not sure that I can do this Mr. President.” She managed, her voice meek and catching in the back of her throat. He gave her a reassuring smile but she knew his stomach was doing the same jerky somersaults as her own.

“Mrs. Donbahlt, you’re going on air in 5.” Her boss informed her. She smoothed her military uniform and took a deep breath.

The broadcast was going out over the entire world and as such, the translators who would be talking as she did lined up in front of her. At least their presence made her feel slightly less alone. As the room fell into silence she adjusted her cat-eye glasses and took a swig of water before the red light above the camera flicked on. The cameraman gestured for her to begin.

She opened her mouth to speak but for a full minute, despite the report between her perfectly manicured hands, she couldn’t find her voice. The thought of the billions of eyes in the world that were watching her about to announce the atrocity that her and her team had unleashed consumed her. The guilt made her shake more than the fear. It threatened to collapse her knees. One of the translators cleared his throat snapping her attention back to the matter at hand. The president gave her another fake smile and signaled with his hands for her to start.

Finally, she spoke. Her voice seemed to shatter the silence of the room like a hammer, “Please forgive the interruption. This is a public service announcement, please be sure you stay tuned. My name is Tessa Donbhalt.” She stopped to glance at the words written for her and decided to ignore them. The world deserved the truth.

“Before I explain what has happened, I have to tell you all: I am so very sorry for what is about to befall us all. My team and I, truly thought what we were doing would be for the benefit of our country. We thought we could control it.”

She noted the Presidents disapproving glare and continued despite him, “Five years ago a research party returned from the northern most part of Norway. With them, they brought an amazing discovery. A mummified reptile. One that they thought may still carry DNA. The moment they discovered that they were right, I received a call from the Secretary of Defense. After he saw it and was convinced it was real, he hoped we could use it. It was unbelievable. A reptile that we have all been told was a fairy tale and yet, there it was in my lab. The mummified remains of a young dragon. Not only did these remains prove the existence of these creatures but the gold collar around its neck implied that it was tamed. After running more tests, I confirmed what Mr. Hagel hoped to be true. This seemingly tamed creature could, in fact, breath fire. It took several trials and more failures than I can count but eventually we were able to grow a stable, living dragon. As I was doing so, the research team had been excavating the area near the dragons remains for any more information. They eventually found scripture that they believed would help our personnel train and tame our monster. The best scholars in the world were commissioned to translate these scriptures and as my team was bringing this horror to life, the military was training solders to tame it.”

“We called the dragon Nyx and she grew in leaps and bounds. Of all the solders trained, in the end the dragon would only allow one handler to be anywhere near her. That man was my husband, Guy. The countless men and women who died in attempts to train it should have stopped us, it should have been a sign, but we were too fascinated. In too deep I guess you could say. Things were going so well with Nyx and Guy that I was commanded to grow more dragons. In less than a year we had a small army of dragons. We had even developed a strategy to more safely match up handlers and dragons. The mission was a dream becoming a wonderful reality. Or so we thought. It became increasingly obvious that the legends are real, the dragons were indestructible. Unfortunately, the only thing we could focus on, the only outcome we could imagine is how our country would rise with these magnificent beasts backing our every move. It was too late before we realized how wrong we were.”

“The stronger Nyx grew, the more distant Guy became. He spent more and more time with her until they both occupied the same habitat. They slept together and ate together. Eventually he even stopped cooking his portions of meat. We would put a bear in with Nyx for dinner and she would kill it and the two of them ate from the same raw carcass.” Her voice had reached a fever pitch. As she recalled the instances from memory, she could still scarcely believe them. She closed her eyes and shook her head.

“Before we lost him entirely, he told us he could hear her thoughts, feel her fire in the pit of his own stomach. Few believed him. We ignored it as a joke, and those that took it seriously foolishly thought it was a good sign. That they were becoming one. Before we knew it, all the handlers were withdrawing from us, claiming they could hear their dragon’s thoughts. The matter was becoming widely recognized as progress. I was one of the idiots who thought it was a splendid progress for them to connect so deeply. They were able to fly their dragons, with ease, through the most difficult agility courses we could imagine. They could command their dragons to use their fire with pinpoint accuracy. It was so overwhelming to watch the power that flowed between handlers and dragons and, yet, so intimate.” She realized she was getting off topic but allowed her mind to briefly remember her husband, sleeping against Nyx’s beautiful iridescent wings. Tears welled up in her eyes and she struggled to choke out the next part.

“Three days ago, they all went out for their daily fly and never returned. I can not express to you the confusion we felt. The agonizing worry. It shouldn’t have been the first inkling that something was wrong- but to us it was. Hind sight is 20/20 as they say. Two days after their disappearance, the base we were working from was attacked. I was the only member of my team, to make it out alive. In all, only 10 people in the entire base survived the attack. Hours after the attack a message was left for the President and Secretary of Defense. It was then that we realized the dragons weren’t becoming one with the handlers but that the handlers were becoming pawns of the dragons. The message- the warning- was to lay down and allow them to reign over us as they rightfully should have centuries ago. I was put before you all today to ask for a world wide call to arms. They don’t just plan to take over this country, no. They have plans for the entire world. We can not let this happen. I know I have said that they are indestructible but there must be a way. Humans beat them before and as a species we must work together to take them down again.”

As the last words fell from her mouth an ear-shattering screech shot through the building. The walls shook and windows splintered before clattering against the linoleum floor in trillions of pieces. An enormous eye peered through one of the windows. Tessa knew in the pit of her stomach that it was Nyx.

“Open fire!” The President cried to the Secret Service officers that surrounded them. Before the bullets left their guns the eye was gone. Teeth, each the size of a grown man, came into view. Bullets ricocheted off of them, hitting officers, translators and politicians a like. Tessa ducked behind the podium. When the sounds of gunfire and ricocheting bullets subsided, she peeked out. No one was unhurt, save herself. Everyone in the room lay in their own pools of blood. Those that weren’t dead, moaned in pain. When one person tried to move, she realized it was the President.

“Don’t move Mr. President!” Tessa’s voice came out like a hiss. The President froze as Tessa pulled out her phone and dialed 911.

When the operator answered she whispered their location and told her, “The President is down, you need to get the paramedics here now.”

Getting down on her stomach she belly crawled to the edge of the stage. She could still hear Nyx’s heavy breathing just outside the window. She knew it was her responsibility to lure the beast away. The emergency exit was just to the left right of the stage. She quietly slid off the stage and shimmied to the floor. When she opened the door she was driven by pure adrenaline. Nyx was nearly as tall as the building and even more breathtaking than Tessa remembered her. Her head was low enough that, between the beasts shoulders, her husband was visible.

Their eyes met for a moment and Tessa could see no evidence in his face that he recognized her. He notified Nyx of her presence. Had she not needed to run, she would have started crying. She used her grief to push her as he ran. She ran not only from the dragon, but from the mistakes she made. From her own stupidity. From the fact that she alone could be blamed for the monstrosity bounding behind her. The end of the world, it was her doing. She felt fire licking at her heels, it was enough of a distraction to cause her to trip. As she felt the molten flames devouring her, she could her Guy’s hearty laugh. The laugh that had always comforted her now rang out with the triumph of watching her demise.

Credit To – Mrs. Amaya

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Allison

February 9, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I have no idea how much longer I’ll be able to do this. If I can no longer continue my aimless escape from simply running out of money, I could at least count my blessings. It’s too difficult for me to say in confidence why the visions I’ve been having are persistent. Either they’re a way for her to “salt the meat” per se, or a way for her to persuade me to keep my distance. However, they’ve become increasingly more vivid, so the best hypothesis is probably that she’s been toying with me. Calling for help doesn’t necessarily appear to be the smartest choice. Why? I don’t know if there are others like her, and such a claim is too farfetched for the police to believe.

I really should’ve just kept to myself. If only… Yeah, it wouldn’t have ended up like this. Why was I so stupid? It’s probably just that one person though. Otherwise, I may have seen more of them in the visions by now.

My first encounter with her was just earlier in Autumn this year. Of all times, it was during my first semester at Dourmsburg University. Where I first met this person, if that’s even an accurate term, was a place most people like myself would go because of the necessity. Like every other freshman in college, it was mandatory that I’d attend English 100 at some point to obtain a degree. Walking inside the classroom for the first time, it was already filled with people my age who I never met in my life. She was no exception.

Just as I sat down in this room full of strangers, the professor, with an extra dash of enthusiasm in his voice, introduced himself as “Professor Robinson.” Probably as an exercise for the students to begin getting to know one another, we would stand up one by one, tell the class our names, and one thing about ourselves. The teacher grinned, raised one eyebrow at me, and said that since I was late, I’d go first.

Standing up, the small sea of faces turned to me. With a tiny quiver in my jaw, I told the crowd, “Um, hi. My name is Billy Wisenor, and I don’t know anyone here.” Sitting down, my eyes caught several other students smirking and nodding. Other members of the class stood up as well, giving their names, and telling us things like their majors, hobbies, and more irrelevant facts about themselves.

The last of them, just one row in front and two seats to the left of where I sat, was more hesitant to stand than the rest. Where some of them took maybe a second to rise before the class, this ebony-haired student took a few seconds longer. Looking around the room as though she was scanning the room, she told us, “Hello.” She turned her head around the room once more, looking at us all individually. “I guess, um, I’m Allison Baker.” I’ve been noted in the past for my keen sense of hearing, so it’s not certain to me if others caught her murmuring, “I, I think… Allison.”

Usually, the lack of eloquence would’ve made me feel no such thing towards her. However, from the second when she first stood before us, I felt a strange fixation on this person. It was nothing remotely romantic, or even sexual. There was absolutely no desire on my part to even touch. It was her very lack of eloquence that repelled me from the thought. The attraction was more “magnetic,” so to speak. Somehow, she implanted something into my brain. It was unnatural because I’ve never felt this form of magnetism before. There were no urges to do, but only to follow.

At the second, stuttered mention of her name, her face began to redden. Initially, it seemed to be simple shyness. Her behavior sprouted confusion in me, and probably the other students there at what followed. We watched as she clenched her temples, and began to hyperventilate. With her extremely heavy breaths came tears going down her cheeks. Covering her face, she ran out of the room. Giving expressions of awe and confusion, the rest of us turned to one another, as if someone would have an answer to the obvious question.

We briefly debated among ourselves whether or not it was best for someone to check on this person. It was almost involuntarily that I shot up, insisting to go. Typically, someone like me would be slow to interacting with others. Thus, it struck me as especially odd since I had no arguing with myself about it. Somehow, it was like the instinct to search for food to quell hunger. If anything, this kind of response felt even more necessary.

At telling them that I’d go, that’s when my mind let in only a little bit of second thought. I knew not of her personality, so there was no way that could’ve compelled me. Hell, it wasn’t even the stranger’s appearance, as shallow as it would’ve been. If anything, this person appeared pretty plain, dressing in the current fashion of my still-teen age group. The only uncommon features of such were the locks of ebony, and a somewhat pale tone of flesh.

Still, I found myself leaving the classroom despite my waned sense of logic struggling to persuade me not to. Its efforts to persuade me that doing so would only end badly was quickly hushed. Only a moment of roaming through the hallways, and that hungry magnetism took over.

There was no way for me to know her whereabouts with my eyes, even though the whole campus was brightly lit with fluorescence. However, something else kicked in. It was a sense I never knew of before. It’s safe to say that it really wasn’t quite human. This was similar to tracking by smell, where there was somewhat of a given path before me. This track was really more of the feeling of the air. Everything else around that given path was left to be as is. The invisible road before me was that of a low, metallic sound that gave a scratching, electric pulse to the center of my brain. The consistent scraping against my pituitary gland was wearing out any ability to think cognitively. That magnetism was the only, and the closest thing to thought I was experiencing. Where this electric pathway felt colorful in nature, everything else was greying. It was a slow, crawling decay spreading from inside out. All sound was muffled nearly to the point of perfect silence as well, with the exception of a faint ringing.

As I continued to follow this trance-inducing road to the main lobby, my ears picked something up. Over the continuous ringing sound, there was a series of breathing that became louder while I walked. They were deep and sickly, as those of an old man with a terminal illness on his deathbed. The volume of this strange noise stopped increasing once it dominated the ringing. It wasn’t the only, or probably the strangest thing I’ve heard then.

Jesus Christ, I can’t tell if that was her peering from just out the window. If this is the last part of my story I’m able to tell you, please search for my remains at the Motel 6 in Stantron, Ohio. The Motel is on Oak Street, seven miles Northeast from the university. Even if I’ve completely disappeared, and I’m not able to complete this, you might at least find strands of DNA. I don’t see anything out my window now, but I think that was a silhouette looking at me from the distance. It’s too dark out to make anything out, but the shape looked distinctly like her. God, those eyes… Those glowing eyes shining at me… The tiny specs of lime green I saw through my window for just a moment, they were watching me! I’ve only started praying for my life. I don’t know what else I can do, but maybe continue my futile escape. I just hope someone heard me praying. I don’t see that alien figure now, even if it was pitch black outside. I’ll have to check out early, and run in the rain so hopefully, this “journal” of sorts isn’t lost.

At the moment, I’m continuing this from the lonely table of the mostly empty Denny’s I drove to. Other than the night staff, a couple other people eating and keeping to themselves, and me sitting at my booth, it’s pretty much dead in here. The only other sounds consist of clanging and sizzling from the kitchen, and the television broadcast being changed from the news to pure static. The broadcast itself died out from the very instant I sat down, and a pudgy, frizzy-haired waitress seems rather dumbfounded by it. With a frustrated look on her face, she keeps insisting that by changing the channel, the static will stop. Given that I know nothing about weather, I can’t make any educated guesses. However, given that there’s only a stream of heavy rain, it seemed uncanny to me. Where I’ll go after eating to help calm my nerves, I haven’t planned. Although I’m a bit soaked from running to and from my car in the heavy rain, my laptop is at least safe.

I continued down the hallway of the university. Along with the stream of breaths, my ears picked up bits of her voice. It was much like turning a dial to tune in to a radio station, but with no static. There were light, indistinguishable groans of hers going in and out, and then words.

The groans drifted into her saying, “Bake-ker… Servant of the… Its cry calls us.”

About to turn the corner to the next hallway to my left, I saw a shadow lurking against the wall of that hallway. Given how the lights in the school smothered every surface, how this occurred still makes me wonder. My pupils couldn’t catch a decent glimpse at its form though, seeing its dashing speed further down the hall just beyond me.

The strange, electric sensation to the core of my brain came to a sudden cease. A rather small, warm breeze that etched through the first layer of my skin approached me just as she did. How she appeared before me was beyond my expectations though. Even though she left the classroom red in the face with water going down her cheeks, she didn’t look as such in the halls. Her face was as pale as it was when class started. Her face was perfectly expressionless. It was as if she was never upset at all. As she came closer to me, I instinctively asked what happened. There was no reply from her, or even a passing glance.

She was walking at a far quicker pace than I could follow without going into a sort of light trot. I followed her back to class, and while she gained more distance from me, I heard another of those whisperings. Although she was several feet in front of me, it sounded as though she was centimeters from my ears. “Humankind does-sint know…surroundings. I see…all…time.” In between the words I could make out were more unintelligible murmurs, too vague to repeat. “Awaken, my… Awaken, and…demise.”

The inexplicably alluring girl closed the door behind her, allowing it to shut with a startling bang. Going back inside, my body rested back into where it sat before my search. I found myself staring at her more closely that time around, unsure if perhaps others felt that alien magnetism as well. Considering all the other students were seated, I couldn’t tell.

A few other students who were sitting near her asked how she was doing. With an oddly whimsical smirk, she assured them that she was fine. If anything, there seemed to be a hint of confusion in her voice as to why they were asking to begin with.

After so many confirmations, the professor continued with whatever lesson he had planned. I was still unusually fixated by this stranger’s presence. As intense as it was, I still couldn’t figure out why. Somehow, she beckoned me to come closer. It was perhaps a similar attraction a raccoon has to grabbing a shiny object before realizing its hand’s been caught in some painful trap.

Maybe I wasn’t the only one though. Near me, another guy in the class (whose name I’ll refuse to mention for respect of his family) was murmuring back and forth with her. Also trying to hear what the professor was saying was more than likely what hindered me from really picking up what they were saying. To my futile attempts, I could only try to give some of my attention to the lesson. The best I could do was eye contact, and hearing a quarter of the things he was saying. I’m not sure what it was, but I believe it was something regarding a persuasive paper.

The majority of my focus was hearing a proposal by the young man, roughly the same age as me, about dinner after school. She agreed. Be mindful that I never felt an ounce of jealousy. It only struck me as odd because to my recollection, the majority of young women were typically very selective. This one though, was definitely not typical. It also seemed odd that he’d have interest in someone so unstable, but then again, reason doesn’t always stop hormones.

After class was dismissed at roughly noon, everyone rose, Allison being the last. Something about her smile towards the young man she agreed to go with looked artificial. It was only a slight curl, but it wasn’t the way one would really smile. One side of her mouth was curling upward, but the very edge of that side pointed directly down. It even twitched here and there like some sudden spasm. It didn’t strike me until after certain events of their “date” that her agreeing could’ve been for some strange, other motive that no witness would be able to explain well afterwards.

At the entire class leaving the room, the odd magnetism began again. Following her seemingly frail being through the front door of the building, going to other classes I had that day didn’t matter. Attending them didn’t even go through my mind. The only instinct was to simply follow. The similar electric path before me was what lead me to my car. The entire time though, I watched as Allison got into hers without company, in another parking space just a few away from me.

Beginning to follow where she drove, the greyness of the infinite space around me greyed more than before. It darkened and dimmed by the yard. With that, a cease to my stream of thoughts took over, guiding my hands through each turn and such. It became apparent that whatever force did this didn’t quite have the capacity to signal, or even stop if she didn’t do so first.

The whispers from earlier came back, seeping through the radio in my car which I never had playing in the first place. They always spoke to me in riddles. Unlike moments in the past though, they were clearer. They were finally starting to be in complete sentences, only sometimes interrupted by indistinguishable mumbles. “Oh, little, unknowing Wise-seh-nor boy. You find yourself so fascinated. I can tell.”

This odd encounter while I was driving was different in another way as well. With the fading into a lifeless grey, my conscious mind felt as if it was shutting down. It was just like falling asleep, but immediately dreaming. Although I found myself in that sort of paralyzed state, my hands and feet still moved to drive along with her car. I saw something else in front of me. Just a few inches away from me, a translucent image of her face gathered from billions of tiny particles from above my head until they took a complete form. With the vague translucence of her appearance were some details of the highway I was swerving on to. As she resumed speaking, that faint ringing returned. It was a sound that accompanied her voice during this particular kind of encounter from that time forward.

Nearly sideswiping another car while changing to the lane just at my left, my skin tingled at her breath as she told me, “It wasn’t my intent-shin, but it happens almost at least once with eh-ver-y new place I go to. Perhaps it comes with what was given to me by…” The remainder of what she was saying went off into more mumbles, although I could see her lips moving in just the same fashion.

All I was seeing immediately disappeared. It was in a flash of time, but felt like far longer. My field of vision was engulfed by an odd face I couldn’t dare to call human. To my assumption, I didn’t see the entirety of the face. Perhaps I should be thankful I didn’t witness more of its form. It was pale as white paper. Staring directly at me were a pair of scowling, veiny, pure ebony eyes. They glared into my essence, planning something. Just below them was a nose-like appendage, though in shape, it looked to be more a beak. I didn’t see any kind of nostrils, or opening along it anywhere. It still hung down, shaped much like a sort of hook. It glared at me with such disdain, but needing at the same time.

At first, I couldn’t tell if what I’d hear was coming from the ghastly image I was seeing in my pseudo-unconscious state, or somewhere else entirely. To give the terrible image company though, for the first time, I heard a soul-shaking, horrified river of a single man screaming. It sounded like this person was driven completely out of their mind in terror that one could only imagine. I couldn’t pinpoint where it came from at first, but to my shock and misfortune, it would be a sound I’d recognize in the very near future.

Someone in the kitchen’s shouting. It’s a man’s raspy voice. Probably the cook. A loud burst from the kitchen with some kind of enormous splatter. Shit, I can’t see what it is. The waitress, the one with the frizzy hair… She ran back to the kitchen. Oh God, her screams… They’re so frantic. Mortified. Wait, no. What the Hell’s going on? They’ve gone silent, followed by the same sound. That burst with a huge splatter. Still can’t see. I hear her humming. Don’t forget where I’ve been.

Jesus, I don’t know which township I’m in. I know I’m being followed. There’s no way to reasonably deny it anymore. I hauled ass out of there. I’m sitting in some other motel I managed to find. I think it was about an hour’s worth of speeding, but I’m not sure. I think I spotted a couple roaches crawling across the floor, but it’ll have to do. It’s not like I’ll be sleeping here, like I’d be given enough time. I’m probably further from Stantron, Ohio, and a bit closer to Bumblefuck Nowhere. Judging by the significant lack of buildings compared to say Dourmsburg, yeah. Bumblefuck Nowhere sounds right. Would’ve been smarter to ask, but someone in this shit hole’s bound to remember me checking in as long as she only comes for me.

The vision of that hideous, unknown, pale face though… It couldn’t have been one of a man. Thank God though, I at least didn’t have to see it for very long. It vanished into nothing. The only things before me were black. Perfect black, and her piercing eyes staring into me.

Her cryptic murmurs kept moving into my ears like an unwanted guest. “…by The Raven.” She breathed heavily, and shouted at me. It sounded like Allison was clenching her teeth. “You don’t know the consequences of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time, do you?” Speaking to me in a far more pleasant tone, the girl gave me an innocent giggle. “Then again, maybe I kinda wanted you to follow me. I like it when people have an interest.”

The abnormalities of my field of vision flashed into nonexistence. The feeling was that of sleeping in a position that would end up hurting your neck after a full seven hours. It was essentially that, but the sensation smothered my body. There was a bit of difficulty moving about in general from the beating soreness, and a small pool of sweat along my chest. Looking around, I didn’t find myself on the highway, or any road at all. At first, there was a lot of shock merely at realizing my car wasn’t even in motion. However, I found myself in the sun-dressed parking lot of some nearby park, surrounded by lively, green grass.

Layered in my own body odor, it amazed me that I was even alive. Along with changing lanes without scrutiny of my surroundings, my last conscious memory before arriving was seeing my vehicle’s velocity edging on eighty miles per hour. No matter how much time passes though, I can’t seem to recall more of the drive. Even though logically, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, there lingers in a corner of my mind a foolish ounce of hope that I would.

Until then, it didn’t occur to me just how unnatural those sensations really were. One may argue I may have fallen asleep at the wheel, or experienced an episode of some mental illness. Either would suffice as explanations at first. Here’s what such a doubting party should consider though: mental illness has no tendency in my bloodlines, nor do I have any such experience with it, and only after awakening from this peculiar spell did I feel fatigue. Unlike coming out of any sleep, there was hardly any energy left in me to stand up, let alone get out of the car.

I could still look, and see what else my surroundings contained. Before I could take notice to anything really significant, more of her words reached out to me, a bit more faint that time around. “…wasn’t always like this. Un-know-ing Wisenor boy…Raven made…this way. Just…was desperate…came to me after…dying from…” It’s not entirely certain to me, but it sounded like I heard a sniffle before hearing her voice, “It’s so nice…have someone to open up to.” She gave me a dry chuckle. “Can’t…you for too long.”

After that, the voice faded into the gentle winds around my car. More whispers moaned against my car. Although words were even less possible to determine among these than within the previous mumblings, the chance of her being right there compelled me beyond denial. Jerking my eyes in that direction, I saw nothing. Although one may call it the wind, I wondered if it was her trying to send another message through her telepathy?

In that moment, as I began to try to piece together what she meant to tell me, there it was. Her car, and only one more were just a few spaces from mine. Spotting Allison and her unfortunate chaser on the bench a few yards away from me, my curiosity once again got the best of me. When I should’ve driven away, I found myself rolling down my window to listen in. In retrospect, attempting to drive away might not have done any good. If she managed to psychically take me here against my will, I only imagine she wouldn’t have let me go very far.

Remaining silent, and looking away from them, I heard her poor chaser ask, “Why did you want to go here instead?”

She replied, “I just thought somewhere more quiet, and…” She said nothing for a second. “Well, private, I guess.”

“Hmm, well, okay It just seemed a little weird that you texted me right before we left, saying you’d rather come to the park.”

“I guess I just wanted to talk. You know, get to know each other a little better. You’re nice. I can tell.”

“Really?” He sounded pleased, but not without doubt in the girl’s voice. “How?”

“Call it a hunch, or maybe you just have one of those faces.”

I looked over at them for a moment. He was reaching over to kiss her, but it didn’t phase me. I just had too strong of a sense of confidence that there was something she intended on me finding out.

She backed away. Allison told the classmate of ours, “I’m sorry. I’m just not comfortable with that.”

A bit of frustration was mixed into his voice. I couldn’t see the expression on his face very clearly, but I could hear it without any trouble. “Then what did you drag me out here for? You said you wanted privacy, right?”

Another sniffle came from her as she said, “I’m sorry.” Her words became completely devoid of emotion as she asked, “Let me ask you something.”

That was when I gave those two on the park bench my absolute attention. It didn’t matter if they noticed me. That tone, or lack thereof, had me intimidated, but far more fascinated.

Questions raced through my mind, creating a black cesspool of imaginative terror as to what she would do. The telepathic messages that woman projected to me were enough to drive anyone into a horrid panic attack. That growing cesspool from the bottom pit of my imagination could only inquire as to what else she was capable of. Not only that, but the distinct lack of anger in her voice struck me just as much. Perhaps she simply cut off from whatever quality of mercy she had left, and what she did to him would be a true illustration of such.

She asked with that flavorless voice, “Have you ever thought about what it’d be like if Earth lost its gravitational pull on an object?”

Hearing that felt like a legion of tiny, many-legged creatures from beneath the soil crawled through my car, and swarmed along me.

He let her know, “Um, I don’t get what you mean.”

Allison said nothing to him. Getting up from the bench, she went to the parking lot, giving me no passing glance. I still couldn’t help the strange premonition that she was completely aware of my presence, despite our perfect lack of interaction.

I assume her chaser was watching with me as she bend down just in front of his car. Gripping part of the bottom, she tugged against it. My jaw hung instantly. Even though the girl didn’t have much of any visible muscle mass on her, the shining, scarlet sports car was lifted into the air. What was far more ungodly was when she let go of it. Allison walked away from it, and the vehicle was slowly rotating on an axis, rising away from the ground by the inch. Completely unable to look away, I heard him shouting in between gasps. However, I was a bit too perplexed by the car to pay much attention to what he was saying until he quit stammering, and he was yelling louder.

Although I was still facing it, my eyes went back to the two youths. The strange girl’s companion was shouting, “What did you do to my fucking car!?” I watched as he slowly backed away from her with a ghostly white face. He was trying to create more sentences, but failed to do so in his own terror.

She continued speaking in that dead monotone, “Wait. Please.”

“N-No. I…” He stopped. His legs were shaking. The young man seemed as if he couldn’t move back any further. “I’m gonna go…”

Allison stood up, staring at him.

“I’m gonna go call th-th…”

Allison Baker stepped closer to him, still silent.

“I’m gonna call the…”

“Police? I’m sorry. I guess maybe I was wrong about you. Maybe I just thought you were cute.” She shrugged.

I can’t say if what happened to him was more bizarre than what occurred with the car floating continuously upward, but if his family gets a hold of this document, it may answer their questions. Hopefully, they’ll consider what I’m frantically recording.

As she stared at him more, his shape turned completely still. He said nothing, even though there was a look of unimaginable fear across his face. It sounds peculiar, but it honestly looked like he was frozen in time. I say “in time” only because he proved to be alive, but I haven’t doubt that he wished that wasn’t so. His motionless being gradually became a sky blue tint, generating a slight, but continuous buzzing noise. In maybe half a minute, the neon silhouette that was my classmate vanished into God-only-knows-where, sparking a powerful gust of wind. It sent Allison back a couple inches, and went far enough to strike my cheek.

Having absolutely no idea of what to make of such a thing, I attempted to start my car again. In my utter shock, I lost all ability to move my limbs about. They were rendered completely useless, husks of flesh without any nerves.

My expectations told me that not only did she know about my being there, but she intended on me being the next in line. I didn’t need to have evidence to more strongly believe that. Even though she was still facing in the same direction, it felt like she was watching me through the other side of her face. She was in fact doing so, as I found out.

While my tongue grew purely dry, I heard another whisper of hers through the radio. There was even the sensation of her palm stroking my cheek as the whisper of hers told me, “No, Billy. Not yet.”

That touch alone was so alien, and that was the only time she ever called me by my first name. If only it was the last time she’d call my name in general, I’d have a shot at having a piece of mind. It’d be extremely slim, but still some kind of chance.

I regret continuing to watch. Although what came back to the spot I’d been watching was clearly my classmate, it wasn’t remotely close to being the same person. Wind blew in the opposing directions, being intensely attracted to that spot from which he disappeared. Leaves and tiny bits of grass where sucked from every direction, flying towards that point. The silhouette of the same blue tint manifested from the air. The form was indeed still of the young man, but in a much different position. He was kneeling down, his spine arched back, and his hands on his face. Perhaps I could’ve started my car then. It didn’t occur to me to try once more then, but the fainted chance at driving away would’ve left me in far less awe.

The blue shape regained its distinct colors to make every correct detail of my classmate. When he was completely returned though, it didn’t seem like he was aware of it at all. In his own suddenly decayed mind, he was still wherever indescribable dimension she placed him in. He fell to the ground, curling up into the fetal position. The entire time, he was screaming at the top of his lungs. To my own fears, I recognized the sound. It was the very same as the one accompanying my vision of that ghastly, pale face with the veint, ebony eyes. He rolled from side to side, yelling incoherently. Clawing at his own eyes as though wishing to no longer see, he formed no words. There were only non-verbal expressions of mortal horror. As he still screamed, the classmate of mine began to foam at the mouth. I saw him doing so as he stayed on one side, and the bits of white foam dribbled from his mouth to the grass beneath him.

Like it was doing so on its own, my arm instantly shoved the key into the ignition. Effortlessly, I took off from the parking lot, and back on to the highway. At the time, the plan was to simply get away, and then contact the police. Then, it occurred to me. Exactly what would I tell them? How could I possibly describe what happened in a manner that they’d actually believe? The dreadful truth came lurking around the corner – there was no way. Although I saw all of these horrid things take place, this was the kind of tale you’d hear from a man who hadn’t bathed, or maybe even eaten in days from having his only choice of residence being the streets.

Regardless, I was making an aimless escape down a fifty-five miles per hour speed limit, but carelessly going seventy-eight. In a frenzy, I swerved around cars, and heard that horrible murmuring again. It said to me, as if giving an urgent command, “A seek-cret is sacred, unknowing Wisenor.”

That was what distracted me, and caused a bit of a plight. It distracted me from changing lanes on to the exit I needed to take at the time. So, rather than safely turn down the bend towards Dourmsburg, I lost control, finding myself waking up sitting in my halted car. I probably would’ve continued to speed recklessly, I admit, if it weren’t for the fact that my car was stuck in a ditch, and smoking from the engine itself. From then on, that little Chrysler of mine wasn’t useable anymore.

Having found out that walking for me became incredibly difficult, I hobbled out the driver’s side. Ignoring the wreckage and the immense soreness in my back, I took my feeble body down the highway, and managed to get a ride from some stranger passing by who had to be vaguely in her fifties. As one may expect, she asked if I knew anything about the Chrysler only yards from where I was limping. Keeping my self-respect, the answer given was a no.

The stranger agreed to take me home at first, but then insisted on driving me to the Dourmsburg General Hospital. I tried to protest, but the greying woman would hear nothing of the sort. Being taken in, I heard loud cries from a nearby wing of the hospital. Only thinking about how long I’d have to stay in a hospital gown and how long the crippling pain would last, I thought nothing of them.

Periodically though, I’d hear the agonized cries now and again, and it certainly didn’t ease the pains along my spine. They echoed through the dark hallways of that part of the hospital, haunting me like a vengeful banshee as I tried desperately to sleep. They at least did so until two to three nurses and a doctor rushed down that very hall.

Usually, I didn’t hear what they said in their worried tone of voice, but once, I managed to catch something during one of these incidents. It was one of the practitioners saying, “Jesus, another sedative?”

Beginning to recognize whose screaming that probably was, I lost all muscular contraction. Except for my breathing and blinking, everything outside of the brain seemed completely dead, lying still on the hospital bed. Everything around me greyed. It became just as lifeless in color just as the rest of the world around me did when I instinctively searched for Allison on my first encounter.

A faint, playful giggle came down the hall, and towards the room I stayed in. My eyes pivoted to the open door. There she was, leaning against the frame with an even more playful smirk across her face. She was the only remotely colorful thing in sight. It made me think that it was just how badly she may have wanted the attention strictly to herself.

“Come on, Wisenor.” She took a couple steps closer to me. I had no real way of determining if this was a true, physical manifestation, or simply another telepathic vision. “You know it was…” Allison put the tip of her pointer finger against her chin. “Necessary. He was gonna expose me, or try to, anyway. I don’t need people thinking I’m some kind of freak.” She walked over, sitting on the edge of my bed. “Right? You understand.” She gave me a much bigger smile, bigger than I’ve ever imagined seeing her give to anyone. “Of course you do, and that’s why I can trust you not to tell anyone, right?” She gripped the top of my head, and stared into my eyes.

Having no idea what would happen, I found myself speechless. All I was able to do was give a stupid look.

Outside of what wide variety of horrifying things I pictured her doing to me, she simply nodded my head for me. Along with this, she gave a badly-done impression of me. “‘Of course, Allison. I won’t tell anyone, even if they’d believe me anyway. That’s ‘cause you’re my beeeeest friend!’” She chuckled, and smiled even wider. “Aww, that’s so sweet of you! So good to know I picked someone I could trust.”

She let go, turned her back to me, and walked to the exit of the room. Looking back at me, she winked, and left. That wasn’t the end of it though.

Minutes after her being gone, I still layed there, paralyzed only in terror at the thought of her coming back. The only thing that seemed completely safe to do until the color of my surroundings returned was to face away from the door, and be as still as possible. I was too terrified to respond to other people, including the nurse who came in shortly afterwards to check on me. She greeted me, but didn’t take very long to leave me be, assuming my damaged body as asleep. There was a little bit of remorse in me for not even giving her the chance at a hello. From then on, I wondered from time to time what she looked like?

Waiting even more, the ghastly sound of her whispers came to me again. The noises were a stalking lioness. They murmured in a purely calm tone, “San-nih-ty, unknowing Wisenor? What is that, really?” Her voice seemed to be hovering just behind and above me, though I never heard any more footsteps except for my nurse. “I suppose…once like that. It was before I was visited, see.” That was when I at least dared to do something. Even though it wasn’t much, my shaking hands smothered my ears, only failing to block out the sound. She chuckled, devoid of any enthusiasm. “I’m afraid… Yes, afraid it’s time to face… Time to face reality.”

I anticipated more from her, but there was nothing. Despite the color of my atmosphere fading back in, I had very little comfort throughout the night. It wasn’t nearly enough to sleep. By morning, my eyes were hanging to the point where I had no choice. When I finally woke up, I had a different nurse that night, and at least she was kind enough to humor me, and keep my door locked. Well, she at least said she did.

For the next few nights, I waited for another visit from Allison. At that point, it only seemed inevitable. Maybe my paranoia was only growing though. Every night, I’d question as to whether or not the world around me was dimming into that same grey to let me know of her presence. It only became darker with the night, as nature intended.

It later came to my realization that for those past few nights, the crying that echoed down the halls were no more. During a visit from the nurse for that particular night, I asked who it was that cried so much during the previous nights. Confident in the person’s identity, I needed the confirmation. At first, she only said it was one of the patients admitted earlier, and to the psychiatric ward. I used the name of the classmate of mine who formerly pursued Allison. A look of astonishment came to her visage, and she asked how I knew. Although such information is usually confidential (or I assume that it is), perhaps it was the astonishment itself that compelled her to break that rule.

Explaining that I recognized the voice since it was that of my former classmate, it was my inquiry as to whether he was okay. She sighed, telling me he’s as okay as he’ll ever be. She also insisted I promise to keep what she was going to tell me a secret. With my agreeing, she told me that from some unknown cause, he went into a hysterical period of screaming, and was anonymously given an ambulance. He was given more and more sedatives throughout the day, and examined intensely for whatever caused his condition. The cause, unfortunately, was not specified at all. Although she doesn’t have much involvement with the patient herself anymore because of the transfer to the psychiatric ward, she told me that his condition has rendered him to a vegetative state. The nurse gave me her condolences for the classmate she inferred I had an acquaintanceship with.

The remainder of my stay in Dourmsburg General Hospital was that of gradual peace. Although I still had trouble getting to sleep, the periods of time in which I did sleep increased from one to three hours a night. They believed that the sleepless stress was caused by the crash itself, and thus, prescribed me sleeping pills with my muscle relaxants and pain killers. It was only a stay of a week total in that hospital, but the hospital itself wasn’t actually located in the city. Although the name did indeed include “Dourmsburg,” the location of the building itself was really in one of the suburbs just outside of the city. Specifically, it was Jovial Springs, Pennsylvania, and thus, no longer had bus lines.

You see, now is where the car I’ve been driving originates. I had a decent sum of money, but only enough for so much food and gas, not close enough for any kind of vehicle. Released from the hospital at just after one in the afternoon, I decided to spend the remainder of the day around local eateries. After so much eating and window shopping, the beautiful Moon at last made its return. With the nightly dark covering everything, it seemed like the perfect time to take the chance. In my high school years, I suppose my uncle thought that there’d be a time where I just might need such knowledge. It was knowledge I applied in a quiet parking lot to hot wire one of the empty cars.

I’m not certain if the police are anywhere close to catching me for stealing a small, orange Ford, the model of which I’ve no knowledge. There was no manual for it to be found. It got me this far away from danger though, and frankly, that’s all I care about at the moment. It’s a pipe dream, but it may even be possible to start anew at Stantron University.

I don’t know what that sound is. I didn’t hear any other cars pull up here tonight. It’s just been me typing. The staff? No, can’t be. There’s only a couple staff, and they’d only come around this way if I call. Still, there are footsteps just outside my door. Although it’s dark, the glowing screen in front of me is growing dim. It must be her. It has to be Allison. I can hear her playful giggle just outside my bedroom door. The footsteps stopped. Her shadow is still. Oh, God, I can’t… Wait, unless…the window!

Credit To – Dylon Winfield

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