The Tall Man with Yellow Eyes

February 19, 2017 at 12:00 AM

My life is a rather simple one. I sit in front of my computer (some work, some play) most of the day and usually order in when I am hungry. I go out only when I feel I absolutely need to.

I don’t boast of many friends and the only living member of my family is an estranged sister I haven’t spoken to in at least seven years.

A fling here, a fling there, but I am single.

This is how I can identify a lonely person even from a distance without knowing much about them.

I am one.

And then one day, for no particular reason, I started noticing him.

It began when one morning I was sipping coffee and just loitering about my living room window, assessing the day as I examined the road below.

It was a lovely morning, the kind that energizes you and fills you with hope and happiness for no particular reason. There was a light yet intoxicating scent in the air. The sunlight felt like a warm, safe cocoon and I was just glad to be.

This was when I spotted another figure standing in front of the cafe on the opposite side of the road. He was highlighted in a spot of warm sunlight, his face turned up, eyes closed.

I felt an instant connection to this person. I felt as if a bridge had built itself between two islands.

From that day on, every morning I would stand at my window at the same time, expecting to see him.

He never failed me. He was always there.

He never looked up at my window, never acknowledged me…you could almost believe he did not know I was there, except I felt he knew.

Every day we met… him outside the café, his face turned up towards the sun, his eyes closed, and me up in my living room window, a coffee mug in my hand, watching him.

I began to feel like we had just shared a coffee together, like we had held a silent conversation over our drinks which was far more powerful than words.

Then, one day, some two months into our ‘relationship’, I saw him in a completely different mood. He rushed out of the café, frantic, looking this way and that, raking his hair with his fingers, as if trying to locate someone he had lost sight of, as if trying to understand something. He left soon after.

That sight put me off balance. I was so used to seeing the calm side of him. It had become imperative to my balmy mornings.

That day, I felt agitated, as if his agitation had crossed the bridge that existed between us and taken over my being. I could not work. I could not sleep. I could hardly sit still.

That afternoon, as I sat in front of my TV, shuffling through channels and not really watching anything, I heard a terrible screech and crash from the road below. The sirens followed soon.

It was an accident. They happen sometimes on this road. I had been witness to two in my time here. They are unfortunate but they usually don’t rattle me much. However, that day, my already anxious mind felt like it had been jolted out of its place.

It was one of those days.

I saw in the news the next day that a little girl had died while her father had sustained major injuries.

My friend did not visit the café for the next few days.

I resumed my routine soon enough. The memories of that day vanished quickly. In a week, my friend and I got back to our meetings. He was calm again. He looked almost happy and I was content to see that.

Almost three weeks must have passed without incident. Then one morning, he once again rushed out of the café in a panic, looking right and left, running his fingers through his hair.

But this time, he did not leave. He did something he had never done before.

He looked up at my window and saw me. For the first time, he looked right at me for a long, long moment.

I felt frozen to the spot. Then, he left.

That was the day I decided I should go downstairs and meet him.

The next day, I dressed and went to the café, expecting to see him. I spotted him in a corner. He looked up when he saw me. I took the seat opposite him, as if we had done this all the time.

“How are you today?” I asked.

“Better” he said.

“What happened?”

“He came to show me again”

“Who came? And showed you what?”

“You wouldn’t believe it” he said, shaking his head from side to side.

“I wouldn’t?” I asked him incredulously, thinking of how we had become friends.

He considered it for a moment.

“Well, maybe you would” he conceded.

And he told me.

“There is a man. He comes to see me sometimes. He is a tall man, wears a cap with a rather long visor. It almost obliterates his features in shadow, but his eyes… you could not miss his eyes even if you wanted to. The whites are so yellow, they are almost fluorescent. You would imagine he has jaundice or something…” he trailed off, looking through the glass at the road outside.

“And… what does he show you?”

“People” he said after some time.

There was a pause where he sipped his coffee and I waited for more.

“He shows me people”

I nodded, although I wasn’t sure I understood just yet.

“Remember that accident where that little girl died and her father was hospitalized?”

I nodded. I did remember. I also remembered he had been very agitated that morning when he left the café.

“Yellow eyes… that’s what I call the man… he showed me something that morning”

“What?” I was beginning to get impatient.

“I saw him walking around with a child in a pink skirt… such an innocent face… she was giggling at something he said… her hair bouncing on her shoulders as she skipped along… and then, that afternoon, she was dead”

I felt numb. Was he suggesting he had prior knowledge of events? Now, I am not someone who shuns the idea, but even to me, it seemed a little too much. I tried to rationalize it.

“I saw you were in a panic yesterday too. Did you see the man again?” I asked, opening an inquiry.

“I did” he nodded.

“And did he show you something? Or someone?”

“He did. He pointed at someone”

“And did something bad happen to them?”

“No. Not yet…”

“Well, there you have it! Maybe the man isn’t right about everything after all” I smiled.

“Maybe” he said, but did not smile.

“Alright, you’re not convinced. Let me try again. Tell me, who did he point at?”

He paused, considered me intently, and then went on.

“You” he said.

My mouth fluttered open and shut as if I were gasping for air like a fish pulled out of the water.

“He pointed at you. I rushed out to see where he had vanished off to and what he was pointing at. I could not locate him but I saw you, standing in that window with a mug in your hand”

“I see…” that was all I could manage just then.

And even though this entire ‘premonition’ thing sounded like nonsense, I could not shake off that feeling of dread.

He reached for my hand and held it for one long moment, giving me strength. I held it tight, not knowing why.

“All I am saying is… please be careful” he said.

“Of what?” I asked.

“I don’t know” he sighed and shook his head.

I went back home after that and for no reason, I was extra careful about everything. I checked and re-checked the gas knobs, never used my hair dryer in the bathroom fearing an electric shock, started cooking my own meals lest I caught an infection from restaurant food… It was unnerving and exhausting.

Also, I let go of my morning routine. I never stood in the window to watch my friend.

A whole week passed without incident and frankly, by this point, the whole idea of me being in danger was beginning to feel rather silly. I began to relax more and more with each passing day.

By the end of two weeks, I was completely over it.

And here I am today… at my window again. It’s a lovely morning. The sun is warm and there is a scent on the breeze that lightly ruffles my hair. I inhale deeply. I am glad to be alive and well.

I see him walking out of the café, towards the road, tapping his phone screen. I think he will be glad to see me… see that I am still alive and well. Maybe that will ease his hallucinations, his fear of the yellow eyed man.

“Hey there!” I call out to him.

He has reached the edge of the road but is still tapping something on his phone.

“Hello!” I call out again.

He finally hears me and stops walking. He turns around to look at me. I wave. He waves back.

“Alive and well” I say.

He gives me a thumbs up as he begins to turn around to cross the road.

Just then, I hear a terrible thud.

A truck hit him.



Before the Revelation

February 15, 2017 at 12:00 AM

December 15th, 1985
Joram Bernstein

Well, time surely does fly. It’s already been forty years since my wonderful stay in Auschwitz. To my surprise, I’m not horribly tormented by the memories of that putrid hellhole of a prison like most people I have come to know during the time; well, at least not anymore. Probably because in my perspective, it’s best to forget. Well… not exactly forget so to say but rather to just make the best of everything with the life I still have. It will never be the same again but at the very least, I still have one. I mean, for Christ’s sake, I stared right into the malevolent eyes of death itself with calm but cherishing smiles. When you’re faced with an army of Nazi soldiers guarding the camp, pointing MP40s at you with bullets with your name on it, you tend to try to remain calm, do as you are told and hope for the best. To my surprise, it worked. Although, I don’t know what worked more – the fact that I always remained calm or whatever monstrosity that intervened that some claim to be a rogue angel.
After the war ended, I moved to the US hoping to get my mind off of this whole experience. A typical man’s life story short – I was happily married, had two kids, Ellie and Jonathan and then a divorce, lost custody, and now have a whole house to myself while I drown in alcohol. Hell, if you thought what happened during the war traumatized me, well, allow me to be straightforward – it didn’t. Why? Well, it’s quite simple. I never had any attachment to any of my fellow prisoners. I always kept to myself, followed the guard’s instructions and never allowed any emotional connection with anyone. I know that sounds really callous but during the time, you had to keep yourself numb and pray to God that you would survive. As cold as this sounds, I had nothing to lose. Every man for himself I guess.
As I drank a glass of scotch that I have longed for since the time of day, I received a call from someone I wasn’t familiar with. As I finished the last bit of my drink, I answered.
“Hello, Mr. Bernstein?” asked the unknown caller.
“Who is this?”
“My name is Daniel. I just need to ask you something.”
I did not have the energy to ask how he got my number or how he knew my name so I complied. “Alright,” I said in a tired, irritated voice.
“Listen, I am working on a book about survivors like you and I was wondering…” I vaguely interrupted him as I knew what this was about. “Let me guess. You want an interview with me about my story during the Holocaust, am I correct?”
“Why, yes, sir… if that’s okay for me to ask.”
I sighed heavily, rubbing my eyes from bitter annoyance and told him my address. “Go ahead and come in tonight.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“I have nothing else to do. Go ahead.” I hung up.
I could tell he was an anxious young man who aspired to get my story out there. This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked for an interview and it’s certainly not going to be the last. Over the years, I never complied with anyone, not that I was uncomfortable but there was just nothing to tell. I learned to burn those memories away and to simply move on from whatever hells I have witnessed. Besides, whatever I have to say, he probably has heard it before so why not just get this interview over with?
About two hours later, he arrived on my doorstep. I let him in without him knocking. He took his hat off and politely said, “Hello, Mr. Bernstein. I’m Daniel Adams. Pleased to meet you.” He held his hand out for a handshake. “Likewise,” I replied. I welcomed him into my home and led him into my office. He was dressed quite nicely I should add. He had an obvious smile on his face as if this was his first interview for his new book. His smile faded away instantly when he noticed my personal library. He began to shake a little when he hesitantly asked me, “So, you’re studying demonology? The Occult?” I turned around and embarrassingly chuckled. “Yes, just personal research.” Behind my dusty desk sat a massive crimson shelf filled with books, journals and documents about the Occult and the nature of the paranormal. On the wall beside the shelf was pinned a little old sketch of a blurry monster I made several years ago.
He nervously smiled as he pulled out his pen and paper. “I apologize if this makes you uncomfortable,” I said. “We can go in another room if you like.”
“Oh, no judgement here,” he replied as he scratched his head nervously smiling. “It’s just a little unexpected to see that many books about demonology in one room.”
Before I could speak, he stared down to the ground like he was ashamed. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.”
I leaned towards him and said, “I’m normally not a patient man but you’re young and have a lot to learn so I’ll let that slide.” He looked up at me and revealed that nervous smile once more, ready to write. I asked, “So, what do you want to know?”
“How did you feel during the time?” Again, his eyes lingered upon the ground ashamed of his question. I gently placed my hand on his shoulder. “Son, it’s okay. What happened was a long time ago. Feel free to ask me any question you like, okay?” He looked upwards with a distant smile regaining focus.
“Alright, to answer your question – I didn’t know what to feel,” I cleared my throat. “To tell you the truth, I was numb the entire time I was there.”
“The horrible things the Germans did didn’t affect you?” He asked in a voice more concerned than confused.
“At first, they did. Mostly when I was in the departure train on the way there.”
“What was that like?”
“It was treacherous. There were at least thirty of us in one car for five days. Very little rations and water, no bathroom, not even a little porthole sized window to look through. Almost complete darkness every day and night. It was during the winter as well and with the little clothing I had on, I hardly slept at night. During the day, I say I got an hour total because the rest of the hopeless prisoners moaned in disbelief that we were here. I heard a few choke out as their lives slowly faded away from dehydration. I always hid in the corner with my knees tucked against my chest. Hearing all these haunting wails screaming for death to come and take us all, I remained silent as I drifted into the corner. I think that was the first time I cried as well.”
I took a deep breath after I spoke. Mistaking my tone for discomfort, Daniel asked me, “Are you okay, Mr. Bernstein?”
“Yeah, I’m okay, I just need a drink.” I cleared my throat again. “Anyways, it was horrifying but the only reason why I’m still alive is because I always kept to myself. If a guard gave me an order, well, if you were smart, you did what he said or you would be shot or worse.”
Daniel was puzzled. “What do you mean worse?”
I poured another glass of scotch before I spoke. “You see, the Nazis were ruthless. When you’re in the camp as a prisoner, they could not give two shits about you. To them, you’re a waste of skin, God’s mistake, made for disposal. They completely disregard the fact that you were a human being. It didn’t matter who you are. Whether you’re white, black or any other color in the rainbow, male or female or even a child, unless you are proven to be a good use for manual labor, they would kill you in any way they pleased.”
As Daniel wrote everything I stated, he began to shake. “Wait, even children?” He said in a really faint tone.
I took another drink from my glass. “Yes. I’ve seen toddlers and even newborns thrown into pits of fire. Oh, my God, their screams… See, this is where I started to become numb from the whole thing. Even after the mothers witnessed their children burning into a crisp, they would shoot them and burn their corpses in the same pits just because they could.” I can still hear their screams in my sleep. As I filled another glass, I said, “I’m sorry. It’s one of those few things that really haunt me even to this day.”
Daniel puts down his pen and paper anxiously. “Oh, my God, I’m sorry. We can stop now if you want.”
“No, it’s okay. I needed to talk about that. I just need a moment.” I took a deep breath and regained my train of thought. “Alright, where was I? Oh, yes. That was only the beginning. It was like the first circle of Hell itself. Worse was yet to come and even after being emotionally numb, I still wasn’t ready. During my whole experience, for my four years of imprisonment, I’d say I spoke maybe a total of ten words. When they gave me orders, I did exactly that. Most of the time, it was a struggle but I did what I could to stay alive. With the very little rations and water we were given, I nearly strained myself until dawn but I was still alive. They specifically chose me to handle certain tasks as they did with anyone else they saw fit. I wasn’t holding my breath however. They could shoot you for target practice at any time even while you were working at any time. In most cases, they would gather a large group only to be placed in gas chambers. Oh, my God, the screams again. Even behind closed doors, you could still hear their screams as they suffocated to death.”
Daniel began to get angry. “Those sick bastards. How could they do that?” He gripped his pen tightly.
“Because they could. And because they could, I almost died. I was selected for execution because my time was up. I was against a wall with rotting corpses surrounding me. I thought their reeking flesh was the last thing I’d ever smell, the terrified faces of my fellow prisoners, the sinister smiles on the guards faces – I thought that would be the last thing I’d see. They fired killing everyone except me. Somehow, I was still alive. Not a single bullet hit me. I kept my eyes closed and held my breath and pretended I was dead. As awful as this sounds, I could feel blood smothering me and I used it to my advantage. Oh, God, this was when I almost truly died. I would much rather have been shot but since they thought I was dead, they were about to dispose of my body in the pit of fire…”
Daniel suddenly stopped writing and looked at me confused. “Wait. You said you were still alive because you kept to yourself, right?”
“And you’re saying they almost executed you and burned you alive, right? Well, if that was the case, how did you escape? You’re giving me two different stories.”
Ah, shit, I thought to myself. This kid pays attention. “I guess I gave myself away on that one, huh?”
He got his pen and paper ready once again. “What really happened? How are you still alive?”
I hesitated for a brief moment. “I’m going to need another drink for this.” As I poured my last glass, I could feel his anxiety. He knows there’s something I left out on purpose. He knows there is a truth that I didn’t intend to tell. Well, he will know why my truth was hidden. “Look, what I’m about to tell you is completely true and I do not plan on going to a mental institution.”
He looked me as if I was delusional. “What do you mean by that?”
“So, obviously, you see all these Occult books here, right? You will soon come to the realization as to why I do but you have to swear to me that you’ll believe every word I say, okay? I am not crazy.”
Daniel appeared afraid. “This is the part of my story that really fucked me up and I have a good reason why I never talked about it with anyone. You’re the only one I’ll ever tell this to.” I sighed. “Ask any survivor of Auschwitz and they will all give you the same reaction, same expression and same fear. They are all too terrified to tell the tale. So, Daniel, I know how this sounds but you have to believe me, alright?”
He nodded yes while he began to shake. I could see a speck of sweat on his forehead. “So… what happened?”
“Alright, here goes,” I took a deep breath. “So, there was this one prisoner who we all talked about during our time. We didn’t know his name or his number for sure but I believe it was Bruce. He was a really… vengeful character. Rumor had it that he was somehow possessed or something. He occasionally attacked the guards but… the funny thing was that they wouldn’t kill him on the spot. I saw him rip out someone’s throat in front of an officer and all they did was pin him down. I saw him rip out a piece of someone’s ribcage and shoved it down his throat with brute force. I saw him take a man’s gun and empty a clip into his face. Man, he was one strong, angry bastard.”
Daniel stopped me, “Wait, he killed a few guards?”
“That would be an understatement. He brutally mutilated them.”
“Well, if that was the case, why didn’t they kill him, especially if he was a threat to them?”
“I don’t know. It’s like they were expecting it, testing him somehow. I heard one officer say, ‘Perfect.’ Even to this day, I wish they had somehow killed him.” I finished my drink. Daniel grew even more anxious. “One day, he charged up to a guard, tackled him to the ground and brutally beaten him until his head was battered. That’s when they finally decided to execute him. After four murders, they finally decided enough was enough – which was quite odd. I know it sounds strange and abnormal but there was something about him they found… fascinating. It took five guards to restrain him. An officer smiled and shot him in the heart. Even after that, he was still somehow alive. They dragged him to a flaming pit and tossed him in…”
I hesitated to tell him the rest. “And…? What happened after that?” he asked. I stared at him for at least a minute before speaking. “Look, I really don’t like talking about this.”
I took another deep breath. “So before they almost threw my body into the pit, I heard shouting and women’s screams. It was so grotesque; they dropped everything they were doing, including me. As I lay there pretending to be dead with my eyes barely open, I could see five guards restraining the violent prisoner. His face was covered in blood and he had an eager smile as the officer approached him. I could hear what they were saying. The officer said, ‘What a waste. You were so perfect. But it looks like you’re no different. False hope for a flawless creation only to fail like all the rest. No matter, there will always be others of your kind.’ The prisoner gave a sinister laugh and replied, ‘When I get out of here, I will find you, dismember your flesh piece by piece and feed it to your battered face while your family watches.’ He then spat blood in his face. The officer punched him and shot him point blank in the heart. ‘Toss him into the pit,’ he said.” I took a deep breath yet again. Daniel was nervous but very intrigued.
“So, what else happened?”
I sat there for a moment before I finished my story. “They completely forgot I was lying there so I stood up and hid behind a building. I know, that was very reckless and would’ve gotten me killed for sure but what happened next… Oh, dear God…” I paused before continuing on. “As they threw his body into the pit, I could hear him screaming. Such agonizing pain… But there was something peculiar about him… the more he screamed, the more distorted it became. Each scream was an octave lower than the last and the volume progressed until it came to the point where it was monstrous and unbearable to hear. And suddenly, it stopped. It was like he absorbed the flames and he let out a demonic screech gushing blood which looked like a fountain of crimson. Oh, my God… He didn’t appear human anymore. His eyes illuminated pure white, his arms were covered in… scales to best describe it. They were as black as night with fang-like spikes that glowed blood red with claws that took on the same color and shape. He had large angelic wings that looked… mystic. The wings were there but it’s like they made the illusion of mist; black fire. I can’t even describe it. The next thing I knew, he attacked the surrounding guards swiftly. In quick moves, he butchered right through their flesh and… I know this sounds crazy but I saw him… forge a giant scythe out of their blood. It was like he defied the laws of physics and somehow made a solid, sharp weapon. Demonic magic to best describe it. More guards came after him and he took incredibly long and fast steps towards and slashed right through them. At one point when a guard was in a pool of blood trying to run from the creature, the prisoner somehow created a thick spike that rose from the ground impaling him from his anus out of his mouth. I don’t know what he was doing but it was like he could manipulate blood in any way he wanted; like he could control it at will. Clearly, their weapons were useless against him as he forged the scythe into a spiraling longsword. Can you just imagine the dread they felt as the last thing they saw were those glowing malevolent eyes with that demonic laugh mocking their pain as he slaughtered them like helpless animals? It was literally a bloodbath. He brutally mutilated at least fifteen guards before flying away. The oddest thing… he specially targeted the Nazi guards. No prisoner was hurt. Not even a scratch on those who were nearby. It was like he unleashed all of his personal Hell only to hunt down and murder those that caused his pain.”
Daniel was baffled and shook with fear. “So… he just turned into some kind of monster and… killed all those people?” He stared at me like I was a madman.
“I know how it sounds but it’s the truth. What he did to those guards truly traumatized me.”
“I see,” Daniel said softly. He closed his book as he asked me one last question. “So, how did you escape?”
“After the creature fled, the rest of the guards panicked and ran away as well. They burned all evidence of our documents, their whereabouts and left us for dead. It was the Americans that discovered the camp and of course, they came to our aid.” I signed.
Daniel continued to look at me in disbelief. “I’m sorry, Mr. Bernstein… I don’t know… Are you sure you know what you saw?”
I became furious with his question. In anger, I replied, “Listen, kid. You don’t what it was like down there. You don’t know what it was like to watch little children burn right in front of your eyes. I’ve seen the Nazis pile bodies in a truck only to bury them in a trench,” I raised my tone. “I know what I saw! I’ve devoted my life to find out what that creature was. That’s why my family left me. That’s why my kids were scared shitless. They thought I was mad. They thought I was as crazy as my stories when I got all these books trying to find out what the fuck this thing is. Ask any other survivor or any other Bernstein that could tell the same story – they are too fucking terrified to tell the truth. So before you start calling me crazy, you might want to be little more understanding on what I have fucking witnessed! Do you understand me?!”
“Okay! Okay! I understand!”
I got the chance to calm down as I sat on my chair. I poured myself another glass and softly said, “Look, I’m sorry I screamed at you. I know this doesn’t make any logical sense but I know what I saw and it was real. It really screwed me up but I’m not crazy.”
Daniel calmed down as well. “It’s okay, I understand.” He politely asked, “Did you ever find out what this creature was?”
“No. I couldn’t find anything that even closely resembled what I witnessed. Whatever it is however, I have no doubt that it’s still out there and it’s hungry.”
Daniel grew nervous once more. “Mr. Bernstein… I have a confession to make. My grandfather was a Nazi soldier but I strongly disagree with his actions and his views and that’s why I’m writing this book. But… this monster, you said he specially targeted men like him. If I’m related, does that mean I’m next?”
“Well, I highly doubt he’ll try to hunt you down for that reason but just in case he confronts you, just don’t tell him about your grandfather. From what I have seen, he doesn’t kill innocent people. Just don’t piss him off. And above all, whatever happens, do not bleed.”
Daniel had enough and gathered his gear and walked out the door. “Thank you for your time, Mr. Bernstein. I must be going now. Have a good night.” All I did in response was lift my glass and softly said, “Cheers.” I knew he was terrified but at least he listened to my story. I know what you’re thinking: “How could this be real? The textbooks would’ve described this.” Oh, please. Those damn history books never reveal secrets that weren’t meant to be told to the world. However, that’s the problem. Nobody knows who this creature was, where did he come from or why he was there. All I know is that he’s angry, inexplicably powerful and kills any Nazi that crosses his path. With that motivation, I still remain unsure whether he was a brute vigilante or just a beast lusting for blood.
As a storm approached, it began to rain unnaturally hard. Seeing my old sketch of the figure I have made a long time ago hoping I would find anything like it, I approached it with a smile while finishing my drink. As I stared right into those hypnotic white eyes, I asked myself…
“What the fuck are you?”

Credit: Gage Garza

Someone in the House

February 5, 2017 at 12:00 AM

I am awake. I don’t recall falling asleep and am not real sure how I got into bed, but I am awake now. There is a very distant ringing in my ears, sort of like the aftermath of a concussive blast that makes you deaf, only this ringing seems far off inside my head. Must have had a rough night I suppose, although honestly I can’t really recall the previous evening or any evening for that matter. Yep, must have been one hell of a night.

I roll out of bed and my feet hit the cold, hard tile floor of my bedroom. Rubbing my hands over my face I try to shake the cobwebs of sleep – and whatever I may have drank last night – out of my head. Glancing out of the nearby window I see a gloomy, overcast sky and a light rain falling on the leafless forest of trees that surrounds my property. Is it Fall? I honestly cannot remember. Ugh! I swear, God, I will never drink that much again. I have made that same hollow promise a hundred times before I am sure.

Moving off of the bed, I walk down the hall and descend the staircase that leads to the main level of the house, the top three stairs creaking under my weight as they always do. Midway down the stairs, I can see outside through the Amityville Horror-style window over the entryway that the drizzle and clouds have settled in and are likely going to be hanging around a while. I’m not going to go to work today.

Wait. I don’t have to work today, right? It’s the weekend, isn’t it? I shake my head vigorously and make that same hollow promise to God again. This day is going to be far worse than my night must have been.

The kitchen has a digital clock, so I stumble in to check the day and time just to be sure I don’t need to call in – ahem – sick. Clock says 9am – I’m late if it’s a weekday – and it is Sunday. Excellent. Time to crash on the couch and do nothing. My God I am tired. That couch is calling my name right now.

I leave the kitchen and move through the archway into the living room, noticing that the hardwoods are just as cold as the tiled floors upstairs. A small shiver moves up my spine and I make a turn towards the thermostat to crank the heat up before lying down and covering up with the throw blanket hanging over the back of the couch.

The worn, cold leather of the couch creaks under my weight. I hear the familiar click of the thermostat as the heat kicks on and pull the blanket in tighter, close my eyes and try to fall asleep. Maybe this hangover – worst one I ever had and I still can’t remember the party. Hell yeah! – will be gone after a good, late morning nap.

The whispers start immediately. I bolt upright on the couch, throwing the blanket aside as I do, and scan the room. Aside from me, the living room is empty.

The upstairs bathroom fan is running. Did I leave it on? Did I even go in the bathroom this morning?

I sneak quietly from the living room, through the kitchen and peek around the corner. Silent as a church mouse. I had to have been a ninja in a past life or something. I look up the stairs and see that the bathroom light is on and the exhaust fan is definitely running. Maybe I destroyed the toilet last night and left it running to kill the smell before stumbling to bed, I think.

But the whispering starts again and it is coming from the bathroom. No time for subtlety now, so I bolt up the stairs – the top three creak as usual – and burst into the bathroom. If there is someone in here they are about to get their ass kicked. But the bathroom is empty and the whispering has stopped.

Okay, I am far more hung over than I thought. I flip the bathroom wall switch to kill the lights and the fan then realize my bed isn’t far away at all. Sleep. I need sleep. I am so tired. The bed is there, in my room, dark and inviting. I will just sleep this off and wake up feeling much better. Time for that nap.

I lay down on the bed, sinking into the mattress like butter melting on a hot pan, pull the covers up to my chin, close my eyes and sleep.

Or at least I think I went to sleep. I am definitely awake but I don’t recall falling asleep or dreaming. The darkness has crept into the room like a cat burglar, casting shadows on the far wall that look like little demons ready to jump out of their two dimensional wall canvas and attack as full blown three dimensional horrors. Must be night time because I can’t see anything through the window, but I can still hear the faint pattering of the rain on the roof.

I throw the blankets back, sit up and rub my face again. Still tired and groggy. And hung over. I leave the demons behind me on the bedroom wall and head to the bathroom. The light is still off so I flip it on. The light from the molded glass fixture dances all over like miniature crystal ballerinas and the exhaust fan comes on. I sneak a peek into the toilet – Nope. No prayers offered up to the porcelain god in here, I think to myself.

As I turn to the mirror to face myself and dreading the site I will behold in this rough state, sounds from downstairs freeze me in my tracks. It is the unmistakable sound of silverware on plates. Someone is eating dinner in my house.

The top three stairs creak once again as I fly down to the first floor, burst into the kitchen – throwing the door wide as I enter – and head towards the dinner table by the bay window. There are plates here, remnants of a half-eaten meal on each of them. But whoever was here, eating my food, left in a hurry when they heard me coming.

The hardwood floor leading to the front door sounds like a herd of elephants is holding a track meet on it. The bastards are running out the front door. As I quickly head to the entryway, I see the door close and hear the deadbolt click into place.

They have a key? They must have because they just locked the door from the outside. I peer through the stained glass window slits that are on either side of the front door but I cannot see anyone in the blackness of this rain-soaked night. Enjoy the weather you pieces of shit.

The idea that someone was in my house, eating my food and has a key disturbs me. There was clearly more than one and while my past life ninja skills might help me fight them if they return, I don’t want to pin my survivability hopes on reincarnation theory. Besides, I am just so tired. Let the cops do their job.

I grab the phone off of the wall and dial 911. Nothing. I hang up and try again. Still nothing. There is no dial tone. Did they cut the lines? Bastards.

Now I am pissed. They were in my house, eating my food and now they have cut the phone lines? Well, they don’t have a car because I would have heard it fire up and drive off. Their asses are mine.

As I storm out of the kitchen towards the front door, I leave a trail of dinner plates, silverware, half-eaten food and anything else on the counters strewn on the floor. That dull ringing in my ears has intensified a bit, I am tired and groggy, but I don’t care. I am pissed.

I open the front door so fast I don’t even feel the brass handle in my palm. It slams shut behind me. Taking long, determined strides into my fog-covered front yard – seems the rain has let up – I start scanning for assholes and elbows because I am sure those fuckers are running away. I spend the next hour searching the yard along the tree line but don’t find any sign of people. Whoever they were, they are long gone now and dammit I am still tired as hell. I don’t have time for this.

As I head back to the house, I notice that the lights in the entryway are on. They cast a glowing image of that Amityville window above the doorway onto the stone slab porch and front yard.

And the front door is open.

I don’t remember closing it but I know I heard it slam shut behind me. I break into a full run and charge into the house, stirring up a vortex of wet, dead leaves in my wake. I notice that the ringing in my ears has increased in intensity and I can hear the din of whispers over the tone in my head.

As I storm onto the cold, slick floor of the entryway I see three people. The first is clearly a priest of some sort. He is holding up a rosary with one hand and has a small, opened Bible in the other. The second person is a short, sad looking woman with a floor length coat pulled tight around her, its fur-line trim and collar cinched closed with little wooden pegs.

The third person is my daughter.

I almost forgot I have a daughter. How could I forget her? She is beautiful, standing there in front of me. I have a tremendous sense of loss and realize I miss her so much, but cannot figure out why. Didn’t I just see her the other day? Well, didn’t I?

Images of a beach, the warm salty air on a windy day flash through my mind. My little girl is there and we are flying a kite. I can hear the waves crashing onto the sugar-sand shore and my daughter laughing as we run through the surf flying a kite. It was a great day. And she was so young, beautiful and full of life.

She is crying now, mouth covered by her hands as she scans the area of the entryway we are all standing in. She looks at me quickly then her gaze moves on, searching, but for what?

The sad, little woman with the fur-trimmed coat, however, looks right at me. She has a grim look on her face as she pats the priest on the shoulder and shakes her head. The priest stops waving that stupid rosary around, goes silent and then moves to hold my daughter as if to console her.

“He is here,” says the short woman.

My daughter lets out a sob and the ringing in my ears gets loud.

“He is confused and angry. He doesn’t understand yet.”

My daughter uncovers her mouth and her lips quiver. She squints her eyes as if to hold back more tears. “Can he hear me? What’s he saying?” she asks.

The short woman shakes her head. “It doesn’t work like that. He can hear you, yes. But I don’t hear what he says. Just emotions. Feelings. You can speak to him.”

My little girl, little no longer as I realize she is a full grown woman now, wipes tears away from her eyes, sniffles and offers a smile. I sort of laugh because she must think she is looking at me but instead she is looking just off to my left. But why wouldn’t she be able to look right at me? I am standing right in front of her.

“Dad, you can go now. We are going to be okay. Mom and I love you and miss you so much but you have to go. You will be better off.” My daughter laughs a little and smiles that smile I always loved to see. “Don’t worry, I won’t let Mom sell the house. I know you love it.”

The ringing in my ears is nearly deafening now but I do not care. Why is she talking to me like this? Why does she want me to leave? And why is she not the ten year old girl from my memory?

I realize I am screaming these questions at her. The ringing has become full blown pain in my head but I don’t care. I press my hands to my ears trying to block out the noise, shake my head side to side and continue screaming questions at my daughter.

The short woman shakes her head again. She casts a sad look towards my daughter. “He is angry. He is yelling at you – I can’t hear the words – but he doesn’t understand why you are saying these things. He is very, very confused. He doesn’t know it is time to move on from this life.”

Wait. What did she just say? I stop screaming and lower my hands. The ringing in my ears is subsiding and instead begins a slow decent into a single, harmonious tone. What does she mean that it’s time to move on?

My daughter smiles again. I have missed that so much. “Daddy, we love you. It is time for you to move on. You can’t keep scaring the hell out of Mom and I. We appreciate you staying with us to make sure we are okay – and we are – but you need to go.”

Behind my daughter, the kitchen doorway suddenly flares to life with the brightest light I have ever seen – pure, clean and inviting. That harmonious tone grows louder. Not painful, but inviting. I look away and to the three people standing before me. They do not see the light. It beckons me, so I begin to walk towards it.

The short woman pats my daughters hand a nods her head. Her smile tells me she knows what is happening even if I do not. I move closer to the light, its beams of white falling over me like loving arms pulling me into their embrace. The tunnel entrance is so close now but I stop and turn to look at my daughter one last time. I mouth the words I love you knowing that no sound will come from my lips. The short woman whispers to my daughter. She sobs briefly then says “I love you, too, Daddy.”

I step into the tunnel and let the light take me. The tunnel isn’t very long and the light near the end begins to shift. I can smell warm, salty air and I hear the crash of waves on a sugar-sand shore. My little girl giggles.

The Well

February 4, 2017 at 12:00 AM

My grandfather grew up on a chicken farm outside of Krakow, Poland. He passed away a few years ago at the age of 82. A few days before his passing on, due to an aggressive form of stomach cancer, he sat me down next to him in his old rocking chair and said in his familiar polish accent “After I took the boat to New York, I promised to leave this story behind”.

He didn’t look up as he spoke to me, simply staring into his cup of black coffee. “It’s been 70 years….and I must tell someone before I meet God”

“I was born in a small, quaint, empty town, which despite the Nazi occupation, still functioned. We lived in this two-bedroom farmhouse, my father, mother, and my brothers Michal and Igor. I’m sorry, you never got to meet any of them. Anyway, Michal and Igor were twins, identical twins actually, and we had heard rumors of the Nazi fascination with identical twins. This forced us, and we already lived in a secluded part of the countryside, in the last occupied house in the town, to be even more reserved. In order to not go into the occupied towns, we basically ate only chicken, and eggs for every meal, and whatever Mama could gather from the garden. It was lonely, but we survived. “

“The only two things which were really hard on me were the fact I had to sleep in the basement, due to Michel and Igor being toddlers, they required my father and mother’s attention. The basement was cold, with only a small window and moonlight was the only light I got. Because of this, I always delayed going down there until I was absolutely exhausted, so I wouldn’t have to lie there awake. On the nights that I couldn’t manage to sleep, I would look out of the window, which gave me a small view of the garden and the large abandoned water well. This was my daily activity throughout those lonely war-torn nights. In general, it was boring and uneventful, but occasionally I would catch a glimpse of a family, or even just a man, or two lovers, sneaking their way through our garden up to our front door. They always looked rushed and frightened, and sometimes wore tattered uniforms. What would follow were horrible sounds of banging and pleadings for whoever lived here to open up, followed by an argument between my Father and Mother over whether we should let them in.”

He moved in the chair to adjust himself

“You see son, we didn’t know it, well I at least didn’t, that we lived fairly close to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and those people were escapees”

“Well did your father let them in?!” I asked impatiently.

“No” he said “It would have been a death sentence for them as well as for us. The Nazis didn’t like Poles, but they tolerated us, and it was easier to hide Michal or Igor than an entire family. My father did what he had to do in order to keep his family alive. As the war went on, less and less people began showing up in the middle of the night. Only our chicken and vegetables began to disappear. Losing our only supply of food would not have been possible, and at this point my father knew it was probably the escapees, so he built a fence around our property. Despite this, the chickens continued to disappear. They weren’t killed, they were simply, gone. Just vanished from their cages and pens.”

“One night I decided to stay up myself in order to see if I could find out the answer. I battled my tiredness until the wee hours of the morning, and despite the poor lighting and rain, I caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a human figure run across the garden. I rushed upstairs to tell my father and he ran outside with a knife, the best home-defense weapon we could afford, but we found nothing. No one.”

“The next day we did find something though, footprints, leading from the chicken cages, to the water well. They were made in the wet mud from the rain, and they were of bare feet. No shoes. No socks. Just feet. My father had mercy on the man who was trying to find refuge and left him a note, indicating that he had 2 days to leave and then he would begin to seal the well”

I waited impatiently for my grandfather to tell me the fate of the man.

“The following night, I conjured up the idea to take a blanket down the well to the man since winter was creeping in. I waited until my parents were asleep and I snuck outside. I shouted down the well something friendly, indicating to the poor man my intentions were benign, and I began my descent, hands and feet clinging to the pegs which were attached to stones. As I was approached the bottom, I smelled something absolutely horrific, and I pulled my father’s flashlight from my pocket and tried to shine it on the man, coming to the realization of just how large this well was, since it used to supply water for the entire town and its families. Families which no longer remained.”

“But I found no man, only…..a hole. A hole in the stone, where the wall of the well had collapsed, opening up to some type of crevice. Only 2 meters wide, and 3 meters deep and tall, inside sat not a man. Inside was a family, with only a skeleton like creature as the only survivor. The light reflected off of his sunken eyes, and grayish skin. Face covered in blood, with chicken carcasses scattered around. A pile of decomposing chickens, next to a woman, a son, and a daughter, the children who must have been barely 5 years old. And they seemed to have been dead for weeks. The man, if he even could be called that, just stared at the light, and I stared back, incapable of breaking his stare. I did not feel threatened by him for he lacked any sense aggression. He simply sat there crouched over, without a sound, next to the putrefying body of his loved ones, and chickens he could have only been using as his source of water, as their meat was not eaten.”

“He was empty, devoid of whatever in us makes us human. He should have realized his family was dead long ago, but he was still bringing food for their corpses. He couldn’t accept it. He did finally turn his head though, when I shined the light back onto the corpse of his daughter. He stared at her, and sat down closer to her, and continued to stare”

“You can leave now, I’ll open the gate so you can escape. My father will seal the well in the morning ” I said to him. “Please leave now” My young voice and advice didn’t seem to have any effect on him.”

“At this moment I decided it would be better for me to just climb back up the well and leave, hopefully the man would follow and escape. As I began my climb I shined the light on him one final time……”

“What did you see Grandpa?” I shuttered

“A tear fall from his eye, he had become a man once again. He broke free from the delusion, only when he saw the body of his dead daughter, which had been hidden by the darkness. He realized he had been bringing food, not to his family, but to corpses”

“That night it rained again, but I found no footprints leaving the well in the morning when my father sealed it”

The Man In The Window

February 1, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Things had been tough for my mom and I, ever since my dad left us two years ago. At least I was old enough to get myself to and from school and I new my way around a microwave, but I wasn’t old enough to get a job and the bills were piling up. My mom decided to get a second job. A night job. Maybe part time and not something to brag about but it would keep our heads above water.

I remember the first night like it was yesterday. My mom apologizing up and down for having to leave me alone. I told her I’d be fine and honestly I was pretty excited. She wouldn’t be home until late and that meant I could stay up late. There was a monster movie marathon on so who would complain?

It was just around nine-thirty and I was right in the thick of some Japanese gore fest when I swore I heard something outside. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me. Maybe the movie got to me. Either way, I HAD to check it out. I hesitantly peered out of the living room window, looking to the left, then the right, and nothing. Then, I noticed, directly across the way, a man, standing in his window, just staring. I couldn’t really tell what he was staring at but it freaked me out anyway. I stood at the window for at least a minute, as long as my heart could bare it, and he didn’t move. That was it for me that night. I was done with the monster flicks, done with the freaky dude in the window and tried to fall asleep.

The next morning I told my mom about the man. First, she was upset I was up so late and then she asked if I’d been watching scary movies. Needless to say, I got the “it was all in my imagination ” thing and that was that.

That night, after my mom left, I didn’t feel comfortable alone. It was like that feeling of someone watching you and just after nine again I swear I heard something. It was just like the last except there was no horror movie marathon. Against what my brain was screaming at at me I pulled myself again to the window. There he was! The man, just staring out of his window. This time I darted away as quick as I could and ran to my room. It was so weird. It got the hair on my neck standing on end. The next morning I told my mom but she just brushed it off, saying he was probably just a nervous old man and it had nothing to do with me.

I wasn’t so sure but what could I do? My mom left for work that night even though I begged her to stay. I tried to take my mind of the man. I watched t.v., I played music, I even did all of my homework, but still I wondered if he was out there, staring from his window at me or God knows what.

My curiosity got the better of me and I made my way to the window. My fear was realized in that moment because there he was, the man in the window, just staring. I tried to keep my presence a secret and see just how long he would stand there. My heart felt like it was going to leap out of my chest but I stayed there at the window, in some sort of weird staring contest. Then it happened. He moved away from the window and I breathed a sigh of relief. My mom was right. I was worried about nothing.

Suddenly, his front door opened and my comfort changed to dread in an instant. I watched from my window, trying my best not to be seen, watching him walk down his driveway, then across the street, then up my drive way. I choked in fear and ran for the telephone. I dialed 9-1-1 and waited, my heart jackhammering a million miles an hour. Finally, an answer! I explained to the lady that I thought someone was trying to break in my house and she said help would be on the way and asked for my address. I managed to get out the first three numbers when I was grabbed from behind! I dropped the phone and felt these dirty, greasy hands wrap themselves around me. I screamed as loud as I could and shook myself, trying to break free but I was lifted from the ground. I could feel the hot breathe on my neck, smell the stale, rotten stench of my attacker. I couldn’t help but start crying, screaming my lungs out for my mom, for anyone, for help.

Then there was a a thud and I was falling with the man towards the floor. We hit and his grip loosened. I rolled away and scrambled behind the couch. Then I heard a voice say “It’s ok, You’re safe now.”

I looked up, shaking and bewildered. There were two men. One on the floor, who wasn’t moving and another, standing there with a baseball bat.
“You’re ok.” he said again. “I’m your neighbor from across the way.” My jaw dropped in confusion. “I’ve noticed a strange man lurking around your house, every night for the last few days and was concerned you might be in danger. I noticed your mom leaving and knew you were here all by yourself.”

The police arrived shortly afterwards and between our two stories the mysterious assailant was taking into custody. I thanked my neighbor as much as I could and from that day I always felt safer when I looked outside and saw the man in the window across from me.


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