The Story of Time-travelling Dad

April 1, 2015 at 10:00 PM
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This is the story of time-traveling dad. He died in 1997 after buying his son a 2012 mustang and then being killed by the Rake.

My name is Ralph, but most people simply refer to me as “time traveling dad”. It’s quite a long story why. You see, I am a dad. I also time travel. I’m sorry if that was confusing. It all started when I went to a spooky hotel on Halloween.
I was on vacation, and I had rented a room in a hotel in a small town called Dred. My room number was 13 and I would be staying for only one night. When I drove to the top of a hill in the middle of a dark secluded forest built next to an Indian burial ground, the hotel was right in view. It was old-looking and cast a gloomy gloom that shrouded the area very gloomily. I pulled into the seemingly empty parking lot and opened my car door. I went around to my trunk and opened it. I pulled out my suitcase and gun that I call “Pacemaker”. Suddenly I heard a noise.
It was a scary noise.
Looking out into the dark forest, the only source of light a dim streetlamp, I saw a tall figure that looked like a man. The man was very skinny. A synonym for that would be… slender.
The figure approached me. I just stood there and waited. I waited to see what this person would do. Suddenly it became apparent that this was no ordinary person. He/she/it was not walking, but instead just… appearing. I was starting to get the %$#& scared out of me so I quickly picked up my stuff and ran for it. I ran straight through the entrance of the hotel and kept running until I noticed something. It was completely silent. No one was in the hotel at all. I noticed a key card sitting on the desk in the main lobby. It said “room number 13” and looked like a normal hotel key card. There was a red stain on the back.
Looking out the window, I saw the slenderish man-dude waiting right out in the parking lot. I could get a better look at its facial features. There happened to be none. I was getting more creeped out so I decided to look for my room. As I passed by the breakfast buffet area, I saw a CD on a table. Written on the front in sharpie was “Knuckles.exe”. I didn’t bother with the DVD but instead kept moving.
The hotel was rather small. There were only two floors. The main floor had the lobby and all the bedrooms and stuff. The top floor was a dark, unsafe, and deadly maintenance area with a KEEP OUT sign on the front.
I decided I would look in there later.

As I walked down the hallway, I peered into each room. Each door had a small window on it. In one room, I saw a gray cartoon character sitting on a bed, crying silently. In another room, I saw nothing but red.
Finally I got to room 13. Inside, I was surprised to see the living conditions were fairly comfortable. There was a king-sized bed, a sofa, a large HD TV, and a mini bathroom with shower. I unpacked all my stuff and locked the privacy lock. Then I sat down on the sofa. Perhaps some television would calm my nerves.
The hotel only received three channels. The first was static, and the other two, channel 17 and 21 were both very weird. On channel 21 was some poorly filmed show called “Mr. Bear’s cellar” and on channel 17 was a show called “Candle cove”. Neither show particularly interested me. Something seemed quite off about both of them. After about five minutes I heard a knock at the door and a kid’s voice calling,
“Sir, could you please let me in? I don’t know where my parents are.” I peered out the window and saw that the kid’s eyes were completely black. It was very creepy. So, I took out “pacemaker” and shot him dead.
After that, I decided to go to bed. It wasn’t very late, but I was bored. I started to fall asleep, but was suddenly reawaken by yet another knock at the door.
Grudgingly, I got up again and walked to the door. Directly outside was a white-faced man with a knife. He had dark, sunken eyes, long, matted hair, and a large red smile. The knife he held was rather sharp.
“Are you having sleep troubles?” he cackled outside the door. I rolled my eyes and muttered,
“I wouldn’t, if you didn’t interrupt my sleep.” I took out Pacemaker and blew his brains out. Five seconds later, a duplicate of the weird looking person appeared at my door. This one was exactly the same in every way. The knife was the same too. I shot his brains out as well.
Again, the same thing happened. This time, five more appeared.
“Why are there so many of you?!”I screamed.
“We are the Jeff the Killer clones from across the internet and crappypasta,” said one of them. All the Jeffs began to try to break down the door. I backed up and held Pacemaker tightly.

There are many ways this story might end. Here are three.

1. |The “Happy with a twist” ending|

I pulled the trigger back on Pacemaker, squeezing out several shots. Then I turned around and went out the window next to the bed. I ran to my car and put the key in the ignition. Then I drove away as fast as I could. As I sped away, suddenly I realized something was not right.

I had left my suitcase inside the hotel…

2. |The “Stereotypical” Ending|

I pulled the trigger back on Pacemaker, squeezing out several shots. Suddenly I felt lightheaded. I passed out. Later I awoke in a hospital room. I could hear a nurse saying,
“The patient has woken.” A man responded,
“I just know this all could have been prevented had he not taken too many Claritin pills.”
He must have been a doctor. I could tell by the way he spoke. Also, his name tag said he was an M.D. Why was I in a hospital? What about the hotel place? Maybe I had been dreaming about the hotel stuff. The doctor and nurse left. I looked on the bedside table. There was a “get well soon” card on it. It had a picture of a man with a bleach-white face and large smile. In scrawled handwriting were the words “Go to sleep.”

3. |The “Were You Even Trying?!” ending|

I pulled the trigger back on Pacemaker, squeezing out several shots. All of them hit the Jeffs. Within three seconds the fight was over. Yay.

“I am so glad that I didn’t have to work hard to write this ending,” said the author. “I love copouts!”
“Well, now what am I going to do?!” wondered Time-travelling Dad.
“Here, have an all expense paid trip to Tibet with one friend,” said the author, and Time-travelling Dad noticed that he was stepping on two plane tickets.
“But, hold on,” said Time-travelling Dad, “You never explained why I’m called Time-travelling Dad! This story had literally NOTHING to do with time-travel!”
“So?” said the author. “Maybe I made the title a LITTLE misleading, but I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination.”
“Now, hold on a second!” said TD.
“I haven’t got the time,” explained the author. “You see, I’m going to write a story that will be SUPER AWESOME! It will be called ‘Jeff the Killer vs Candlejack.”
“That’s ridiculous,” said Time-travelli

Credit To – Legodan3 (original idea by Yossarian on crappypasta)

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The Muffin Man

April 1, 2015 at 8:00 PM
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You stand in front of the alleyway, slowly stepping into the darkness. You have always hated this part of your walk home from work, but every day you gather up your courage and ignore your instinct to be afraid.

Walking quickly, you keep your eyes fixed on the ground. But as soon as you hear footsteps, your head whips back at the blackness behind you.

Through the darkness, you can barely make out a figure about thirty feet away. It’s huge and round. Looking at its shadow cast on the wall, you could see something coming off of its face, something long and featherlike. You realize it was just a mustache.

You continue down the alley, intent on the idea that it was just a fat man walking the same way as you. But the footsteps grow louder. And faintly in the distance, you can hear the soft sound of… what is that… children singing? No, not just children. The sounds, enveloping you now, resemble that of men and women of many ages. Some are high-pitched, and others are low, but they are all singing the same tune.

The song brings a wave of nostalgia over you. You used to sing this song every day when you were a kid. But your flashback ends when the voices begin to turn sinister. They sounded like they were extremely pained, as if they had fallen off their roof into a pile of garbage three times over, and then were forced to sing a song.

No, it was worse than that. They were wailing and screaming, as if they had been forced to listen to the nyan cat song for five hours straight, locked in a closet with Will Ferrell slowly licking their ear.

Your pace starts to quicken, up until you are running full speed away from this thing. But it is much faster. Within one second, it’s right in front of you.

It is hideous. What you thought was its fat belly is actually an enormous muffin. His arms and legs stick out of it, and it reaches up to its neck. But one detail in particular strikes you as strange. On its side, there was a dent in the muffin, and it looked like someone went up and took a bite out of it. Blood drips from the wound and stains the delicate confection.

You scream at the sight of it, but every sound you made was drowned out by the voices. It walks closer, grabbing you with its chubby little hand. Before you can react, it holds you up three feet in the air.

It smiles menacingly at you before shoving you into the hole on its side. You fall down onto a pile of bodies that scream as you land on them. You try to get up and escape, but something holds you in place. That same something begins to make you sing.

You try to scream, but all that comes out is a wailing noise to the tune you know all too well.

“DO YOU KNOW THE MUFFFFINN MAAAANNNNNNN?????? THE MUFFFFFIFIFIN MANNNNNN……..”

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The Critic

April 1, 2015 at 8:00 AM
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I had a really bad few weeks lately.

I was sincerely terrified to be in my own god damn one-room flat. In fact, I was terrified to be anywhere. The feeling of something following me and the shadows crawling around walls and corners where I wasn’t directly looking at never left me. I started to hear voices, whispers, steps, speech, even distant, eerie music being played somewhere quite not this dimension. I swear that even my image in the mirror began to change in some sinister way. I bathed in my own sweat when I woke up from my short night’s sleep filled with unspoken nightmares. I didn’t feel safe even outside. Something was gathering upon me and there was no escape from it.

All this started to take place some while ago when I decided to write a horror story. A creepypasta, in fact. I have always been a fan of horror but the last time I was being engaged in it in a larger scale things didn’t go too much better. Only then I understood to quit in time. Moving out from my parents’ house about a year ago triggered some unknown processes in my psyche. Now when I’m alone most of the time my imagination summons up horrors I had no idea were waiting in the back of my head. These horrors I now wanted to let out on my computer’s screen. Why not cause nightmares to other people who enjoy them as well?

As I kept writing, the uneasy feeling grew day by day. I listened to every sound coming from the apartment and the other flats around. I was able to write only by day, since the nightfall seriously got on my nerves even without the creepy shit I let my fingers type straight from my subconcsious mind. I constantly looked back over my shoulder and avoided closets and even the bathroom until I absolutely had to go in and turn the painfully flickering light on. It was particurarly scary to take a shower, just standing there in a closed space while anything could be going on outside… Or inside for that matter.

One day, the evening was already coming and I was in such a pathological flow I couldn’t turn my eyes for a second from the petrifying story that was being born before my eyes almost by itself, my heart bumping like a hammer. Suddenly I woke up from my trance. It was already dark outside.

I started to sweat like a sponge. This was the first time in months the night caught me until I realized the darkness was falling. Somehow I had known deep down that if it was to happen, something terrible will occur.

Then, all the lights went off. Actually all the electricity did, creating an unbroken silence. Only the computer stayed on. I sat in the dark almost unconscious because of the shock and fear. I thought I was dying when the freezing coldness took over me, but it was not only the warmth escaping my paralyzed limbs, but the temperature in the room. That’s when I heard it.

The voice behind me.

I swear all my hair stood up on its end.

The voice, which sounded like it came beyond the grave or even some more unknown place, said:

”I… have been… watching you…”

I was so grateful the source of the voice didn’t reflect from the computer screen.

Until a hand was laid on my shoulder. An icy hand of grasping, suffocating nightmare. The voice from another world continued. I was sure to die where I sat.

”I… have… been…”

I shut my eyes in utter, braingrinding, stomach-slashing terror.

”…completely… sickened… by this… shit…”

I opened my eyes.

”Sheesh, seriously… Even my… two-year-old niece… wouldn’t be… afraid… of this… crap…”

Then the hand, the undescribable hand of whatever was the ghoul behind my back, rose, reached for the computer and deleted my story.

I heard dragging steps been taken when the uncreature turned slowly away to leave. Soon the electricity came back and the frozen air sweeped away. Everything was like before. It took a while to recover from this, but finally I dared to look back. Nothing.

See what I was talking about? Good fucking Lord. All that shit I had to bear, and then some bloody night-creep comes and bashes me like this. Luckily it didn’t remember to delete the file from the trash bin.

Credit To – Heeme

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The League of Creepypasta Supervillains

April 1, 2015 at 4:00 AM
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Introduction:

In every major city in the world there is an old abandoned warehouse that is home to the local League of Creepypasta Supervillains. This league varies depending on the location, but today we going to focus on a very special league that makes its home in Burlington, Vermont. This supervillain group is composed of some of the very well-known villains on the internet including Jeff the Killer, Slenderman, Jane The Killer, Black Eyes Kids, and the organization leader, Ben (Drowned).

Today we join our antiheroes as they attend the annual League evaluation. You see, to stay in the LOCS, each member has to prove that they are scary enough to be part of the organization. If they can’t prove their worth, they are moved to the League’s sister organization, the Alliance of Trollpasta Supervillains. Once there they must undergo thorough training in the scary arts until they are creepy enough to be accepted back into the League again.

As the head of the Burlington League, Ben (Drowned) is issuing all of the tests on this fine Halloween Eve. And so another year of evaluations is set to take place.

The Evaluation:

Ben (Drowned) Looked over his recruits with an obvious look of distain. He always hated evaluation day because his group of supervillains always barely made the cut. He shook his head as he paced back and forth in front of them.

“Well it’s that time of year again when I have to put you maggots to the test. Of all the supervillains I could have received from headquarters I got you sorry pathetic excuses for creepypasta terrors. Did you know that the London branch has Jack the Ripper? As in the real guy? And what do I get stuck with? You rejects! You better have improved since the last evaluation or being transferred to the AOTS will be the least of your worries. Do you understand?”

All of the members said, “Sir, yes sir!” in unison except for Slendy who held up a sign that said the same thing as he didn’t have a mouth to speak with. Ben (Drowned) sighed and put a clipboard he was holding to eye-level so he could read the names of the members he had to evaluate first. When he read it he grumbled something to himself and then said louder, “Black Eyed Kids, I need you to step forward now!”

There were many BEKs in the world as they were the unfulfilled souls of children and teenager so naturally each organization had a few. In this particular branch there were four: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde each named after the Pac Man ghosts by headquarters as they had long forgotten their original names. Ben (Drowned) felt this was a mockery of his organization by headquarters as his branch held the bottom of the barrel supervillains. But since it was an order from above, there wasn’t much he could do about it. This added to his annoyance over his position in the organization. He was part of the Zelda franchise for God’s sake. Couldn’t they cut him some slack?

At the moment Ben (Drowned) was thinking of renegotiating his contract with Headquarters the BEKS stepped forward, each staring at him with their soulless black eyes. Ben (Drowned) was unfazed. Their eyes might have been soulless but the way they were placed on the children made them look more like oversized Precious Moments dolls than anything else. He tapped his fingers against the clipboard and gave each one a glance up and down.

“You BEKS are as lame as ever I see,” he began, noting that they had updated their clothing to reflect the latest trends among adolescents, preteens, and teens.

“But I won’t hold your apparent lack of ghost apparel against you as you have other assets to work with like, oh I don’t know, THE THING YOU WERE NAMED AFTER.”

At this he got in the face of each one and yelled, “What the heck is with those cute eyes, huh? You are supposed to be terrors of the night, not some anime Chibi rejects!”

The BEKS immediately changed their eyes to something more fitting their description and then they each said in unison, “Sir, yes sir!”

Ben (Drowned) grunted.

“That’s more like it. Now, each one of you will give me a report of your best scare of the year. I will start with…Inky.”

Inky, a BEK with long black hair and a blue baseball cap gave a salute and stepped forward.

“Sir, yes sir. I will now tell you about my best scare, sir!”

Ben (Drowned) rubbed his temples, mentally preparing himself for what he was about to hear.

“Just get on with it.”

Inky nervously shuffled in place.

“Eh…Yes sir. Well last Tuesday I think I really scared this kid who was at the supermarket with his mom. But then I felt kind of bad so I invited him over to my place to play a game of hide and seek with the other BEKS. His mom was kind of getting worried though so I brought him back without his memories and put him somewhere the mom could find him. But you could tell she was really worried when he was gone. I must have given her the scare of the century! I did good this time boss, didn’t I?”

Inky’s look of enthusiasm was met with a deadpan expression from Ben (Drowned).

“That has to be THE LAMEST excuse for a ghost story I have heard since…well the last time you gave me a report. Get back in formation before I get angry.”

Inky gave a quick salute and scrambled back to the lineup.

Ben (Drowned) let out a heavy sigh and called the next recruit forward.

“Blinky, it’s your turn to report. I hope your story will be more thrilling than the last.”

The BEK wearing a red baseball cap with short, wavy black hair stepped forward.

“Yes sir! I think you will be pleased with my report. A few weeks ago I morphed my body into the shape of a professor and taught a class about parasites! You should have seen how scared the students were when they left. Even I was a bit grossed out by the topic. I think this is my best scare yet!”

Ben (Drowned) glared at the recruit for a few moments in silence, letting his disapproval of Blinky’s antics sink in.

Then he barked, “I am not sure how you managed to beat the complete and utter lack terror present in the last story, but somehow you did. In fact that story was so bad, that I am almost inclined to say it is good out of sheer irony. Now get back in the lineup and reflect on being a better ghost will you?”

Blinky nodded furiously and then got back in formation.

Ben (Drowned) sat looking at the next name on the list for a few moments before continuing on. He considered not calling her name at all as he was certain she had nothing valuable to report but he knew that would be against the rules of headquarter so he called her forward anyway.

“Pinky, get out here and tell me about your progress. I say progress because I know for a fact you haven’t been terrorizing anyone. Well, give a report anyway.”

Pinky, a BEK with shoulder length black hair parted into two braids which sat on each side of her face and wearing a pink baseball cap stepped forward.

“Yay, I love story time!”

Ben (Drowned) rolled his eyes.

“Unfortunately, I know this all too well. Get on with it.”

Pinky grinned.

“A few days ago, I went to the arcade and played DDR with a group of teenagers. It was so much fun! I managed to hide my eyes pretty good too. One guy even said I was pretty. I might have a boyfriend! Of course he will need to get over the whole me being a ghost thing. But anything is possible with true love, wouldn’t you agree? I am so excited to introduce him to the other BEKs. I’m inviting him over for a gaming day at my place next week.”

Ben (Drowned) let out a heavy sigh.

“I would tell you to stop dating the people you are supposed to scare, but I’ve given up on trying to teach you any kind of common sense. It’s not worth the effort. Just…just get back in line before I say things I don’t mean.”

Pinky said, “Okay!” And then giggled as she skipped back into formation.

Ben (Drowned) look down at his clipboard trying to ignore the pinching sensation beginning to form at the sides of his temples which he feared might be another stress induced headache coming on.

“Alright, I saved the best for last. And I use that word in the context of the rest of you of course who have somehow managed to do worse than when you reported to me last year. This is a feat I thought was impossible. But oh how I was proved wrong. Clyde, please tell me that you have at least one thing noteworthy to report. Just one thing.”

The BEK in question, who had short spiky black hair and wore an orange baseball cap, stepped forward.

“I’ve got a good one for you sir!”

Ben (Drowned) remained expressionless.

“Oh how the word ‘good’ has lost its meaning to me over the years of working with you people. In case, do carry on.”

Clyde gave a sideways grin.

“This one is a killer. You see, a few weeks ago, I made myself look like an obese plumber and I stormed into the girl’s dressing room of a high school. To add to the effect I told them that I needed to fix a leaky faucet. I think some plumbers crack was visible in the back of my getup too which added to the overall creepiness. They all screamed upon seeing my fat, harry, sweaty plumber form. Of course I think a lot of it was due to the fact that I was a guy in the girl’s locker room. But let me tell you, they all were running and screaming within minutes of me going in. It was great!”

Ben (Drowned) had to physically keep himself from tossing the clipboard on the floor in front of him and storming away from the group of rejects in defeat.

After taking a few deep healing breaths he thought long and hard about what he was going to tell the BEKs.

Then he leaned in close to each one and shouted, “Somehow each of you has managed to get the lowest scare rankings in the history of our organization. The ONLY reason this surprises me is because I really didn’t think you could do worse than the last time, but your latest adventures have really taken the cake. You’ve all earned yourselves one way passes to the Alliance of Trollpasta Supervillains unless you can think of one good reason why I should torture myself by keeping you here!”

Pinky giggled and twirled the end of one of her braids around her fingers.

“Oh, I know. We recruited more members. Doesn’t that give us an automatic pass no matter what?”

Ben (Drowned) nodded.

“Unfortunately…yes. That is how you sorry excuses for creatures of the night end up passing your test every year and continuing to annoy me with your presences in this organization. As a formality I am going to tell you how to improve, although I doubt any amount of advice I give will be of any help to you.”

“Sir, yes sir!” They said in unison, eager to receive their evaluations.

Ben (Drowned) mumbled some words under his breath and then pointed at Inky.

“I’ll start with You! When you haunt kids and take them away, DON’T BRING THEM BACK. I don’t care how sad or lonely they are. That is ghost lesson number one.”

“Yes sir!” Said Inky, happy to receive her orders from the boss.

Ben (Drowned) put a checkmark next to her name and then pointed at Blinky.

“As for you, giving educational lessons to the youth is NOT IN YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION! Next time, turn into your ghost form and scare kids the way you are supposed to. Do you understand?”

Blinky gave an earnest salute.

“Sir, yes sir!” He said and then wrote down the advice on how he could improve on a small notepad he had brought to the meeting.

Ben (Drowned) put a checkmark next to his name and then pointed to Pinky.

“And as for you…I don’t even know where to begin. There is so much wrong with your approach to scarring people that I wouldn’t have enough time to list everything. But you can start by scaring kids and STOP TRYING TO DATE THEM. Are we clear on this?”

Pinky let out an exasperated sigh.

“Fine. I’ll cancel my date with Travis. He probably wouldn’t understand that I’m a ghost anyway.”

Ben (Drowned) put a mark next to Pinky’s name and then pointed to Clyde.

“Last but certainly not least, is you. Out of this entire group of BEK idiots you have the most potential. But your approach is always wrong. Let me just inform you, that walking into the girl’s locker room disguised as a fat plumber is NOT SCARY IN THE LEAST. Next time, appear in the locker room in your ghost form and I don’t know, add in some wailing sounds or something for effect. Do I need to spell it out for you?”

“No sir! I’ll do better next time sir!” He said, after giving a quick salute.

Ben (Drowned) checked his notes to make sure they would meet the organization’s approval and then turned back to face the members of his branch with a large frown on his face.

“Although I would like to believe that you idiots will follow my advice, I have my doubts. Now I will move onto the next evaluation before my headache gets any worse.”

He looked at the next name on the list and then said, “Jeff The Killer, please step forward and tell me your best scare of the year. Hurry up. I don’t have all day.”

Jeff stepped forward and stared at Ben (Drowned) with his yellow, lidless eyes.

“Sir, yes sir! Jeffy The Killer is reporting in.”

Ben (Drowned) took a good look at Jeff from top to bottom and then rubbed his forehead with his thumb and index finger. His headache was getting worse by the second and he still had a long way to go.

“I have told you this multiple times, Jeff. Stop wearing clown makeup. And stop making your body appear white to add to the effect. If you look like a clown, you character will be too similar to the joker and the organization doesn’t want another lawsuit on their hands.”

Jeff stuck out his lower lip in a pouting motion.

“Aww, why so serious?”

Ben (Drowned) promptly smacked Jeff over the head with his clipboard.

“And that’s another thing; stop using the Joker’s catchphrases. It is going to get us in trouble with DC comics. Do you understand?”

Jeff shrugged and snapped his fingers. No sooner had he done so, all of the clown pain melted away. However, the white ghostly complexion still remained. Ben (Drowned) tapped his foot impatiently.

“You’ve gotten rid of the clown makeup. Now the pasty, white completion has got to go. Come on. Stop wasting all of our time.”

Jeff let out a sigh and snapped his fingers again. His skin turned into a pale blue color with darkened edges.

“I like my white skin though, Benny. I would only do this for you.”

Ben (Drowned) shot Jeff a look.

“Do NOT call me Benny. You know that I hate that. Now, get on with telling me about your best scare of the year.”

Jeff laughed manically and then said, “Oh this is a good one. It will put all of the other reports to shame, I can guarantee that!”

Ben (Drowned) huffed.

“Yes, well I’ll be the judge of that. Go on.”

Jeff rubbed his hands together as if he was plotting something wicked and then said, “Three months ago I snuck into a man’s house and starting making ghostly noises. You know, the door slamming. The floorboards creaking. All of the standard stuff. I did this every night for a month. Then I started letting him hear the unsettling noises during the day, everywhere he went. The guy thought he had lost his mind! Then at the last minute I appeared and told him to Go To Sleep. Unfortunately, he was completely crazy by then so for some reason he thought I was funny. I ended up being his personal jester for a few weeks until they carted him off to the loony bin. But before that, he really was scared. You should have seen the look on his face hearing the same creepy noises night after night. It was classic!”

Ben (Drowned)’s expression remained unchanged.

“So you mean to tell me that your biggest accomplishment this year is helping to push an already mentally disturbed person off the deep end? Oh but it doesn’t end there. Your victim thought you were funny. They even sounded like they enjoyed getting carted away to the funny farm. It isn’t our job to entertain crazy people! Get back in formation right now so I can give you your full evaluation.”

Jeff cocked his head to one side.

He muttered, “Hmm…I thought it was a good one for sure,” before floating back to his space in line next to the other organization members.

Ben (Drowned) stared Jeff down and roared, “You barely passed this year’s evaluation on account of the fact that your approach was creative. But like usual, your execution was WAY OFF. You are a mascot pasta. Your job is to scare your victims; not drive them to the loony bin. And you certainly don’t entertain them for laughs. Do you understand?”

Jeff brought his head up from its sideways pose and gave a lazy salute.

“Whatever you say Benny.”

Ben (Drowned) Smacked Jeff with his clipboard again and then checked Jeff’s name off of the list.

“I told you not to call me that. Anyway, off to the next member. Let’s see here…”

Jeff glanced at the next name and turned pale. It was the first time since the meeting started that he genuinely felt intimidated. He tried not to let his discomfort show as he called the next name.

“Jane The Killer, please step forward.”

Jane slinked forward from the lineup of organization members, giggling insanely as she went.

“I like it when it’s my turn to play.” She said between crazed chuckles.

Ben (Drowned) cleared his throat.

“Well, you aren’t really here to play, are you? Just give me a summary of the best scary thing you’ve done this year so we can get this meeting over with.”

Jane giggled some more and then said, “Before I came to the meeting, I set all of your houses on fire. I liked watching them slowly burn to ash one by one. I felt that it went well with that old kid’s song, so I sung along as the houses burned. Ring around the rosie, Pockets full of poesies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down. See, see how well it goes? It was ever so delightful. Judging by the way all of you are looking at me right now, I think I did a good job of scarring people. That should give me an automatic pass for sure.”

Ben (Drowned) remained silent as he immediately took out his cellphone to dial in a 5-8 emergency. Two men in suits showed up in front of him a few minutes later and waited for further instruction.

Ben pointed toward where the company houses were located with a grim look on his face.

“Jane set the organization housing units on fire. Get all of the personnel gathered and fix the problem as quickly as possible. Use supernatural building techniques if necessary. I expect a complete rebuild by the end of the meeting.”

The two men saluted and ran off to gather more men to complete the task. With the immediate problem solved, Ben (Drowned) instructed Jane to get back in line and await her evaluation. Jane complied, laughing insanely as she went.

Ben (Drowned) shot Jane a look and yelled, “You crazy little pop tart. You are full aware that it is against organization policy to scare or harm fellow LOCS members. That little stunt of yours has surely earned you a one way ticket to the Alliance of Trollpasta Supervillains. That is unless by some miracle you can think of way to redeem yourself.”

Jane was silent for a few minutes, enjoying the extreme fear she had driven into the hearts of her fellow teammates.

Ben (Drowned) impatiently tapped his fingers against the main face of his clipboard.

“I’m waiting.”

Jane gave a creepy smile and said, “I recruited a new member a few days ago. She is my new special friend. According to organization rules, that means I get an automatic pass. Here she is!”

Jane held up the famous haunted Ragedy Anne doll Annabell. Annabell gave a salute with one of her patchwork arms.

Ben (Drowned) shook his head.

“I don’t even want to know how you managed to get your hands on that…thing. Very well. As Annabell will probably up the scary level of our organization, you get a pass by recommendation. But don’t you ever pull a crazy stunt like that on fellow organization members again. Have I made myself clear?”

Jane giggled.

“Oh I won’t cause any more trouble for the organization. Annabell and I will be too busy making new friends.”

The thought of Annabell and Jane causing trouble together sent a chill up Ben’s spine. He shook off the feeling as he placed a check next to Jane’s name and moved on to evaluate the last member on the list.

“Slenderman, it is your turn.”

Slenderman came floating forward from the lineup, his back tentacles moving in all directions as he went.

Ben (Drowned) gave him a look up and down and rolled his eyes.

“You are still wearing that suit, I see. How many times do I have to tell you that dressing like that does not make you look intimidating?”

Slendy held up a sign that read, “It makes me look stylish.”

Ben (Drowned) let out a heavy sigh.

“Well headquarters doesn’t really impose a dress code, so I can’t fault you on wanting to keep up with the latest fashion trends.”

Upon mentioning fashion, the BEKs all giggled in the line.

“Anyways,” Ben (Drowned) continued, “Get on with telling me about your best scare of the year so we can end this meeting and all go home. Well that is provided the organization cleanup team has fixed the company houses by then.”

He shot Jane a look after saying that, who simply chuckled and started to brush Annabell’s hair.

Slendy nodded and held up various signs which together spelled out his story.

All together the signs read, “You are going to love my story. Four months ago, I snuck into the theater four times and watched all the latest releases for free. Last week I double parked my bike on the way back from giving candy to children at the park. On many different occasions I jay walked right in front of the cops. Of course they couldn’t see me as I was in invisible at the time, but I still did it. I even…”

Slendy paused for dramatic effect and then held up some other signs that read, “Didn’t show up for work! You know because I took that office job as a hobby. Isn’t my social disobedience scary?”

Ben (Drowned) pinched the bridge of his nose, deep in thought about what he should say next. His headache was almost reaching a nuclear level at this point. After taking a few calming breaths, he walked up to Slenderman and shouted, “You are a creepypasta mascot like Jeff. Your job isn’t to be a rebel on your days off. It is to scare people. I don’t care how you do it…I don’t even want to know what you are doing until next year’s evaluation. My heart wouldn’t be able to take any more bad scary stories until that time. But however you figure out how to scare people…do it! Now get back in line so I can give you your full report.”

Slenderman held up a sign that said, “K den,” and floated back into line next to his other teammates.

Ben (Drowned) towered over Slendy and barked, “The next time you are at the theater, scare the people watching the movies while you are there! While you are double parking your bike or jaywalking scare any police officer you come across! When you are at the park, strike terror into the hearts of children; DO NOT GIVE THEM CANDY. While you are working at your office job, take some time to intimidate your office mates. It isn’t that hard to figure out but I’ve spelled it out for you. Do you think you can do those simple tasks at the very least? Huh?”

Slenderman nodded furiously and held up a sign that said, “I’ll do my best.”

Ben (Drowned) rubbed his temples and put a check next to Slenderman’s name before continuing on.
“Once again, you barely passed your evaluation. The only reason you passed is on the promise of improvement. You better work hard to scare some people or I am shipping you off to the Alliance of Trollpasta Supervillains for extra training. Do you understand me?”

Slendy held up a sign that said, “Sir, yes sir!”

Ben (Drowned) took out some headache suppressant medication he kept in his pocket and downed a few pills before continuing on.

Once he started the pills to take effect he said, “Your evaluations are over. You are free to take the rest of the day off or oh, I don’t know, actually go out and scare some people.”

Ben (Drowned)’s cell phone vibrated. He answered the call, made some confirmation noises, and then flipped it close, ending the call before turning to face the recruits again.

“It looks like all of the company houses have been rebuilt. You are now also free to return home if you like. So all that being said, this seventh annual evaluation meeting of the League of Creepy Supervillains is officially closed.”

The organization members all gave a final salute and then wandered off to either take the rest of the day off, head home, or work on their various scaring techniques.

Ben (Drowned) watched them all leave, the headache starting to fade if only a little bit. The only highlight of that entire ordeal was that the organization had gained a somewhat credible member in Annabell. He would call her into the office and take care of her paperwork later.

For now he just wanted to forget everything that had just taken place. He returned to his company home, popped in the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and used it to connect with another Zelda player somewhere in the world. As the player made their way to the Happy Mask Salesman, Ben popped up behind him in his ghost form and said, “help me. I…am Ben.” Ben watched as the player dropped his controller and screamed. He smiled. It was the perfect end to any meeting.

Credit To – Emma Lee Downs

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Chameleon

March 31, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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The clock had just struck two in the morning. It was what these two young men thought would be the end of another merry night off from the classes at Dourmsburg University. Leaving the small diner containing a translucent sheet of cigarette smoke, they were hardly aware of what waited for them in the whispering winter.

Hardly avoiding tripping over the last step out of the diner from a growing sense of fatigue, the buzzcut redhead giggled, “Whoops.”

Putting his black, weatherproof, fleece-lined jacket over his baby blue polo shirt, the other young college boy asked, “You okay there, Will?” He brushed off the snow that began to gently fall in his head of short, brown hair.

“Yeah.” The redhead in a matching coat, as if they were subtly members of a small cult, inquired back, “I’m just tired.” Stretching open his eyelids with his fingertips, he went on. “You know, Eddie, no matter how many times I crash, I never seem to learn my lesson.”

Eddie raised an eyebrow as the two of them walked through the three inches of snow along the parking lot, giving a tiny smirk. “From all the energy drinks?” He squinted at the few cars still sitting in the dimly-lit, snowy parking lot. “I’m not sure about the food we had though.”

“Why not? What was wrong with it?”

“I don’t know. The burger I got felt like it had a couple tiny, round, hard things in it.”

Will scoffed. “Dipshit, those are called sesame seeds.”

“No, like in the meat itself.”

“You didn’t say anything about it?”

“Those were probably just spices. I mean, I ordered one of their Atomic Burgers.”

The bricktop’s tone turned somber. “That still doesn’t sound normal to me.”

“I’ve had it in food from time to time, and nothing bad’s ever happened.” Eddie shrugged. “I doubt it’s a big deal.”

“Well, all right. You know your body better than I would.”

The only lighting nearby was from the glowing insides of the small Luke’s Diner. Although the “U” in the sign flickered as they stood on top of the snow, its buzzing, red neon light wasn’t potent enough to catch their attention. As that piece of the sign for the twenty-four hour a day restaurant watched apathetically at their confusion, the freezing wind blew harder. It wasn’t nearly to the point of inhibiting one’s sight, but strong enough to illustrate the harshness of the cold to the two boys.

Will, shoving his hands in his corduroy pant pockets, exclaimed, “Come on, we need to find the damn car already! We’re supposed to make it by morning!”

“We’re fine, all right?” He put his right hand a millimeter in front of his temple, shielding himself from the wind. Looking at the few cars still parked along the white-blanketed pavement, he spotted the one trunk not layered in snow. Although the parking lot hardly had any light to pierce through the angry, ebony sky Eddie noticed a glimmer from the blue paint of what he guessed was his trunk. He deducted that since the other cars looked a bit more like massive, white lumps, it was most likely what he was looking for.

Sprinting over to what he assumed was the new Hyundai his father bought for him, Eddie was followed by Will by proxy. The redhead rushed over to the passenger’s side. He clenched the lever to open the door, as though simply gripping the freezing piece of metal would make it unlock any faster.

The buzzcut redhead shouted as the bitter wind still managed to crawl up his sleeves, “Unlock the door already!” His flesh, although exposed to the winter cold for less than a minute since eating, shivered beyond control.

“Wait a sec, will you?” The ring of keys retrieved from his pocket, the brunet pointed a palm-sized, oval-shaped, electronic device at the car. He pushed one of the buttons on it, making the car cry a high pitched whoop.

Will was the first to climb it, frantically swinging the car door closed upon sitting down. There was a breeze of warm relief floating in his head at hearing his friend turn on the engine. The warmth spread out, melting the icy touch against his bony hands from hearing the heater starting to run. Still shivering, he turned his head to the left to see what would only provoke exasperation. “What the Hell are you doing!?”

Having just lit a cigarette, Eddie turned to his right with a slightly dumbfounded look on his face. The driver’s door still open, bits of white were flying their way in. In the rough wind, the door swayed back and forth by only an inch or two. The coat the brunet had on, however, wasn’t shivering nearly as much, and seemed to be thick enough for Eddie not to feel a thing that might be crawling along his back.

“What?” The driver shoved his lighter and pack of smokes back in his pant pocket. “I just want a cig before we head all the way towards Erie. You’re not exactly a fan of tobacco.”

“Then do it outside!” Facing away from his buddy, Will wrapped his arms around his torso. “Bad enough the weather’s like this. Now you’re bringing it in the car when we should be warming up.”

“Ugh, whatever.” Rubbing the tip of his cancer stick against the snowy ground, Eddie stuck the remainder of it back into the box it came from. He shut the door, and held his right foot against the brake.

Although he saw nothing that could’ve made such a sound, Will faintly heard a low hiss. Gripping his knees, the image of a snake having snuck in came into his mind’s eye. A small, jittering morsel of his brain projected this serpent to be hiding along the floor of the car, between his friend’s snow boots. While this limbless demon tasted the air around its head, it stealthily crawled over Eddie’s right boot. Its lifeless, grey eyes illuminated towards the redhead’s feet. There was a slightly louder hiss as the reptile’s ebony body snuck closer to his dress shoes. Approaching and swirling around his left ankle just once, the creature shook its tongue frequently. Despite the cloth covering Will’s leg, the reptile could taste the particles of salt coating the little hairs on his skin. It was intoxicating. Its dead eyes stared through the corduroy, and its forked tongue was tasting the air just in front of it by the second. The demon opened its mouth to the cold flesh waiting to be bitten into. Long, wet fangs dripped with molecules of venom, capable of dissolving muscle tissue on its own.

At the nanosecond it took for this animal’s venom to reach down to the tips of its upper fangs, the youth frantically shook his leg. With the realization of whether or not something really was crawling up his ankle, he finally managed to look down. Nothing.

Eddie was already looking to his right with his eyes widened. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I just… What’s that hissing?”

“Oh, just the heater. Why?”

“I’ve never heard your car make that sound before.”

“Well, yeah. The car’s bound to sound a little different during the winter.”

“You’re sure that’s it?” Not once during this conversation did he look back at the driver.

“Yeah? Is that why you were shaking your leg like that?”

“Um…” Will swallowed the little saliva remaining in his mouth. It would’ve made less sense to say “yes” than to tell him about the imaginary snake about to bite into his skin. “No. I just… I thought I felt something on my leg. That’s all.”

“Yeah, that’s the heater. I have it set to defrost the windshield, and blow against our legs.”

The buzzcut’s eyes went to Eddie, attempting to appear as normal behavior. “How far is Erie from here again?”

“I don’t know. Maybe a little over two hours?”

“Oh.” He wrapped his arms around his torso even tighter than before.

“You’re not having second thoughts now of all time, are you? We haven’t seen our old roommates from school since they transferred from Dourmsburg. I mean, Brent’s staying at his girlfriend’s house, and that’s a drive away. If you talked me into it though, I’m not letting you back down.” He gave a tiny chuckle.

“I know.”

Shaking his head, Eddie smirked. “I still wonder how you talked me into doing this? Normally, I’d be back home, studying instead.”

“Like we both said though, it’s been a while. It’s Winter Break anyway. We don’t really need to study again until we’re back in class.”

“For someone so tense, you take college pretty lightly.” The driver looked away from his passenger, and to the tranny. Shifting it into reverse, he looked at the rear window, as though he could actually see through it.

“Oh, excuse me for having a B average. I doubt that’ll stop me from getting a good job after graduation.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

As they slowly pulled out from their parking space, the buzzcut looked at the remaining frost on the windshield. The windshield had to have been covered by maybe seventy-five percent. It wasn’t in much of a certain pattern either. The thin ice took on scattered shapes that more more than large and thick enough for the passenger to not be able to see much of anything.

“Um, shouldn’t we wait for the car to heat up a little longer?” He asked, looking at the mostly opaque frost.

“Nah, we’ll be fine.” Eddie, still with a frustrated expression, ducked his head by a couple inches. He squinted, looking through the parts of the windshield not layered in ice. “Besides, it’ll warm up faster while we’re driving anyway.”

“You sure you can see fine?”

“Yes. Relax, will you?” Pulling back a lever next to the steering wheel sprayed a miniature cascade of windshield washer fluid. It melted only a smaller portion of the ice coating the windshield, but enough for the driver not to lower his head anymore while moving down the dark pavement.

Reaching the highway, the speed of the vehicle crept up to a quivering fifty-nine miles per hour. The falling snow hit the glass barrier between the boys and barren black with more wrathful winds. Breathing against the metal harder than a terribly hungered maniac, the frozen wind sounded as if it were screaming muted words of warning.

Will could barely make out the signs himself, but the first green exit of their path sped up to them. It was the only quick exit back towards Dourmsburg, and its university. Upon passing the sign, and then the several buildings scattered in a disorganized circle like a sophisticated village, the buzzcut looked at them the entire time of passing them. He looked at the lights glowing in the black night from the inside of those buildings, pondering what sort of soiree his fellow students were having. He watched as the haven from whatever scornful dread the brutal cold had to offer disappeared into the black as they continued riding.

With the place of the buzzcut redhead’s future, as well as his careless pleasure lost in the ocean of night, he heard the hiss once more. Although he was certain it was the heater blowing along the car floor, a little bit of him thought his ears caught the sound from the back of his friend’s seat. Observing the tiny vicinity to his left, he looked around Eddie’s form. Just as before, he didn’t spot any extra rider with them. Even though his eyes caught no living creature in that spot, he silently swore that was where the noise spawned from. It would plague his thoughts increasingly along the ride. After all, how would the heater suddenly emanate hot air through only the driver’s seat? It was set for merely defrosting the windshield, and blowing heat along the car floor. He looked at the knob and the icons around it to show its settings. Yeah, it was only set for those two parts of the car.

The taste of paranoia only kept Will wide awake for the moment though. After several minutes further down the infinite highway, he began to nod off. Before all around him could transform into a lovely void of relieving sleep, the tires of the Hyundai gave a short, hideous screech. His eyes only really jerked open when the car swerved to right, tossing his body off balance. The force shoving Will onto his side, he looked towards his friend. There were howling images of what he imagined moments ago being true, and it having bitten Eddie.

Briefly ignoring the intense soreness in his left shoulder, he cried, “What the… Eddie!?”

With a startled expression, the driver looked back at him. “Oh, sorry about that. Wasn’t trying to wake you.”

“What was that? You okay?” His eyes frantically shifting around his friend’s form, Will saw no apparent harm done.

“Yeah. Sorry, almost missed the exit to 79 North.”

The redhead’s eyebrows and jaw dropped. “Really?”

“Yep.”

“Jesus, and I thought something was actually wrong.”

“Oh no, we’re fine.”

“Yeah, except the roads are still frozen! Why don’t you make us crash before we get there!?”

Eddie’s voice turned much quieter. “Sorry.” For the next couple minutes, the only sounds were from the engine humming, the tires rolling along the snow, and the windshield wipers swaying at full speed.

“Whatever.” Will sat back up, and looked at the angry snowfall just outside. “Just be more careful.”

“Actually, um…” As he went on, the driver’s tone normalized. “I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”

“Hmm?” The passenger’s eyes shifted back to his friend’s face instantly.

“Have you been watching the news lately?” Eddie gently held his stomach with one hand. He gripped it as if it were falling apart, and his attempts to hold it in one piece were becoming more useless by the second.

“Can’t say I have. I mean, it’s usually all the same. Why?” Although it probably wasn’t going to be too concerning or pleasant, the passenger couldn’t help feeling a seeded curiosity. It wasn’t the sort of subject his companion would bring up often at all.

“Apparently, this breed of snake was just discovered.”

Merely at the word “snake,” Will dragged himself closer to the car door. “Oh?”

“Yeah, it’s called the ‘Chameleon Snake’, and a few people in Pennsylvania were just hospitalized and killed from its bite.”

“Really?” Will’s breathing turned heavy with the thought. “Where in PA?”

“A bit South of Dourmsburg, closer to Philly. The news report was saying that their reproduction rate is nearly that of the common housefly.” Similar to Will’s, the brunet at the wheel’s breaths were becoming heavier. However, they were far slower, as if trying to calm waving tides in his organs.

Raising an eyebrow, the passenger inquired, “You all right?”

A sickly belch forced its way up Eddie’s throat. “Yeah, just don’t feel too good. I’m a little nauseous. I’ll be fine.”

“If you need to puke or something, I won’t get mad if you pull over.”

“Heh, I’d hope not. Anyway, like its name, it can blend in perfectly with the color of its environment, and survive in both warm and cold temperatures.”

“How? Snakes are cold-blooded. It sounds like bullshit to me.”

“Typically, but this animal’s mesothermic. It can use its metabolism to heat up its body. The venom’s kind of unique though.”

It still sounded a bit too wild for the redhead to completely believe. Eddie was the biology major though, and Will noticed through rooming with him, the evidently sickly driver always did his research. “Why’s that?”

“Usually, a snake bite causes feverish symptoms: swelling, pain at the bite, blurry vision, numbness, nausea.”

Hearing “nausea,” the passenger’s paranoia transformed into being far sharper in taste. “Wait, nausea?”

The driver rolled his eyes. “For fuck’s sake, Will, I wasn’t bitten by anything. If I were bitten by something, especially a snake, I think I would’ve noticed. A snake biting you is definitely something you’d feel. I just have an upset stomach. It’s probably just a little food poisoning. Damn burger at Luke’s probably did it. I didn’t notice anything wrong with it at the diner, but I wouldn’t be that surprised. A friend of mine got a little food poisoning from their food a little while back too. It’s the first time it’s happened to me, but it was probably still a bad idea. Frankly, I’m surprised you’re not sick too.”

“No, just… Just a little scared. You sure you’re all right?”

“Yes! Jesus!”

“Okay. Okay. Sorry. What were you saying?”

“It’s fine. The poison is a little unique because it didn’t display any of those symptoms in the victims, except one of them. They just felt nauseated. No vomiting though. Everyone’s blood actually froze up from it though. The venom’s made up of a strange chemical composition. What makes it even scarier is that sometimes, it lays eggs in living flesh”

“Holy Hell… How would it do that?”

“Not sure. Maybe raw meat? I mean, uncooked flesh is still technically alive for a short time. The weirdest thing about the venom though, is how the composition changes.”

“Hold on, it changes?”

“Yeah. Scientists started experimenting with it to try to develop an anti-venom from it. They didn’t manage to do that, but found that the effects change from heat. When they had the venom at room temperature, the composition changed underneath a microscope. When it came into contact with a small, controlled sample of blood, the blood itself started boiling. The petri dish it was on started shattering from it.”

By that point, Will was as backed up into the car door as his body would allow. “Yeah.” He gave an insincere chuckle. “Just had to be goddamn snakes.”

“Sorry, not trying to scare you, but…” A more violent belch spewed from the driver. “I just got concerned, and I’m trying to tell people. I’m just concerned, you kn…” Eddie was panting. Breaths were going in and out of his body at a tempo of desperation. “Oh, Jesus, we need to stop!” Hitting the brakes fast enough to try not to puke in the vehicle, but gently enough not to slide too much, Eddie panted harder.

Although he gave what he thought was good judgment, the car still slid about half a foot while they slowed down to the shoulder of the road. Just barely avoiding hitting the guardrail to their right, the sick student forced his door open, and walked up next to the empty pavement. Bent over, the hot, bubbling contents of his stomach splattered out of his body. From his mouth, the somewhat acidic ooze melted through the ice just in front of him.

The passenger covered his ears at the painful groans from his friend. He waited, saying nothing. Even after Eddie was finished emptying his stomach, and spitting what remainders he could get out of his mouth, the redhead didn’t say anything. At first, he just sat there, startled not only at his friend’s apparent illness, but how Eddie gave it no further reaction.

He waited until Eddie continued driving, sighed, smirked, and said, “That feels better.”

“Christ… You sure about that?”

“Oh yeah. I just…” The confident grin dissipated from his visage. He stayed silent, staring directly forward. With the silence, the confident college student’s mouth gradually lowered, hanging and completely let go.

“Just what?” Will just sat there for a second, expecting his friend to say something back. “Eddie?” He gently shook the brunet’s shoulder. “Eddie? Hey, Eddie, what’s wrong?” He turned his head to face the same direction the driver was staring in, trying to find an object of attention. There was only the windy, snowy road that seemed to go on forever. He pointed his increasingly growing panic at Eddie, noticing that the driver didn’t even blink since the beginning of his silence. “Come on, Eddie, don’t fuck with me. This isn’t funny.” Another few seconds of thinking perhaps the driver was trying to pull some inept joke. Will’s vivid recollection reminded him that throughout the years of knowing one another, Eddie never did such a thing. “Eddie, what’s wrong!?”

Just as the passenger was taking out his cell phone to call for an emergency, he noticed the flux of the road before them. They were quickly approaching a slight turn to the right. The driver’s hands weren’t corresponding though.

“Jesus, Eddie, turn! What are you…” The brunet’s flesh had already grown unusually pale. The whiteness of his skin was nearly that of the snow outside of the Hyundai, speeding at a solid sixty miles per hour.

Just as the panicking student looked back through the windshield, all his eyes picked up was the guardrail. The front of the new car smashed and smoking against the edge of the highway, Will found himself lying against the airbag. His phone was anywhere near his hand, or his sight. A throbbing, crushing pain pulsed through his head and spine. He squirmed about, panting heavier than ever before. He found himself able to move his arms, neck, and head, but not without the sharp sting of pain. His legs were immobile though. As far as the passenger could tell, they had no feeling whatsoever.

That was only the concern for the moment though. He looked again to Eddie’s motionless form. Thinking that perhaps his friend simply went unconscious somehow, he grabbed the driver’s wrist. The feeling was cold, far more so than the touch of any human flesh his fingers have touched before. Nonetheless, Will pushed his thumb on his friend’s wrist. No pulse. Maybe his thumb was simply in the wrong spot. Several more attempts at finding a pulse, and there was still none.

The frozen husk was gazing into Will’s eyes. The corpses eyes and jaw were still open, as though trying to shriek in pain, or fear. Although he was dead, the passenger could hear something airy seeping from his mouth. It wasn’t the sound of a man’s breath though. The sound wasn’t nearly heavy enough. Tears starting to rise to the survivor’s eyes, he suspected that the sound was nothing more than a product of denial. He completely came to the conclusion that it wasn’t simply wishing that Eddie really was still breathing.

The focal point of his attention changed with the sound of the apparent breathing. It was indeed not that of a man. It was in fact a low hiss. As the passenger listened for a moment in disbelief, it only grew louder.

A narrow mass approached the edge of Eddie’s mouth, and began to poke out. A smack of hard confusion struck Will as to how his friend’s tongue was suddenly beginning to hang out. “E… Eddie?”

There was no response. The narrow heap of flesh pointed at the only survivor. Two dark, circular shapes, one at both sides of what was presumed to be the driver’s tongue, appeared. The dead-colored grey of them glared at Will, a small, forked tongue shaking in the air before it.

The clearly living mass showed much more length as it sunk from the corpse’s frozen jaw. At seeing the serpent, Will desperately whimpered against to the door. Unlocking the car door, he finally witnessed the end of the serpent drop from Eddie’s jaw as the creature drew nearer to him. Slithering to the crippled student’s seat, the serpent proved to have been a good three and a half feet in length. As the demon more frequently tasted the air before it, its color immediately changed from that of the corpse’s tongue to that of the car seats.

Opening the way back into the angry, frozen outside, something else sunk from the edge of Eddie’s mouth. Much smaller devils of the very same shape and changing hue of the snake approaching Will crawled onto the floor. Without a second’s hesitation, they followed their leader.

Well aware he wasn’t able to run or even walked, he dropped from the car to the highway shoulder. The wind was at its most furious. The velocity of the falling snow was nearly blinding the survivor. Moving at an unbearably slow pace, he put one hand in front of his face, blocking a fraction of the ice crystals. The other was only struggling to drag his limp body.

There were occasional headlights that made themselves visible at the black horizon. Will waved his arms about, but he didn’t see any of the cars stop. They didn’t even slow down, and the wind from them sliced into his face.

Between every rare chance at being picked up, he continued to drag himself down the highway. There were no exit signs anywhere near him though. Nevertheless, he squirmed along the frozen pavement as the group of snakes crawled up his legs.

Credit To – Dylon Winfield

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And Mira

March 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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And Mira

And Mira, Part 1: The Chalky Child

I am telling you this story not by my memory, but in my memory. I must ask you to try to hear my thoughts, take whatever cues, and fill in the blanks. Like a dream you wake up and remember only part-way, and my whole life is like that. Because I cannot talk, at least not in the way you would understand. I do have language, but my spoken language doesn’t make sense yet to most people. While I don’t speak many words, I hear them and understand what many of them mean. I have a good sense of what has happened, but simply cannot tell you my story with the spoken word.

Because, you see, I am 18 months old.

The world turns and its happenings occur around me over and over. I process what the adults say. I interpret what the other children do. Yet I am unable to speak about what has happened to a child I knew not long ago. I can only remember, and hope that you too can find sense in my thoughts and my memories.

My very first memory is of a crying child. Not the child in my story. Another. The sobbing baby might even be me, but I’m not sure. I’m certainly quite unpleasant, if it is in fact me. This child is pale, chalky white, marred and miserable. I’ve never heard such a cry. Not from myself, or from any of my friends.

Well, I don’t suppose I have friends, but the other children in the nursery school. The truth is I do not like them very much, since they spend their days and mine stealing my favorite toys, and finding new ways to brutalize each other. They can’t talk either, and their thoughts, whimpers and memories are all focused on food, their mothers, and pulling hair. Often mine.

But I never have heard a cry from any of those little beasts that is the same as the child in that brief early memory. It is the cry of a trapped animal, sweet yet sad. It is angered, frightened, and frightening. It evokes pity, yet implies flight. An anguished, horrifying cry. While you desire to extinguish the poor child’s pain, there is also a foreboding to it. Attempting any sort of comfort to this little one would certainly lead to death. It is a fleeting memory of a chalky child in the process of having soiled pants removed and changed by an adult, who clearly hates and fears it.

Nothing in the chalky child’s features is any clue. In fact, there are no prominent facial features at all. But, memories are like that, and the fog is thick. The grey-white skin is barely visible through the thick fog of my memory. The skin underneath the diaper is the only to have any color, red and bleeding from the apparent digestive incompetence of this pitiful child. Miserable…and that cry! Part of me perceives that it isn’t the pain of the bleeding skin or rash that causes this child’s pain. It is the pain of having been born at all. An abomination born into a life of pity, and hatred by all in view. This child, will never have comfort, and never know love. Not even from its own mother.

That is all from my first memory.

I no longer see that child when my eyes close, and rarely believe it to be myself. Left to my quietest thoughts, sometimes, alone in a crib, I hear the cry still, while even awake. Or sometimes, I hear it faintly in alone times with Mother, when she sings to me. Mother seemingly never hears, never responds. Wait, did I see her eyebrow twitch in that moment? No. No. Perhaps not.

My father is, or was, a hero. I’m not sure what that means. I believe his job was to kill, but that he died while doing his job. I’m not sure he is actually dead, but I don’t remember seeing him or ever meeting him. My mother says he wept uncontrollably the day I was born. And she says he adored me above all things. And then he was gone. I remember feeling that love, even though I have no actual memory or picture of him in my life.

There is a photo among our few personals in the library. It sits on the highest shelf, bookended by Christie and Mitchell, and a beautiful album adorned with two large “M’s”, the first beginning to wear on the right side. The photo is of mother, wearing a beautiful white dress next to a hopelessly handsome man in a suit. I imagine that beautiful man in the photo, adoring my mother, must be my father.

That’s most of what I know and remember about my family. There is so much more to my story.

As much as I’ve absorbed over my little time on the planet, there is little I’ve been able to organize into what makes sense. Most of my memories are from the nursery school. Disorganized, those memories are rich and plenty. They make more sense to a child my age. The children at the nursery do bizarre, unusual things, but they are the bizarre, unusual things that children do so well. And the behaviors of the adults caring for us are all the things a caring adult will do. Intuitive to me. When adults talk to each other, it’s about guns and cinema and nasties and nations. But when adults at nursery talk to children, they say “Ellie, would you like your meal”, or “Bing, do not bite the other children” or “Andrew, give the toy back to Mira”, or “Good morning Mira”…

Oh. I suppose I’ve neglected to “Introduce” myself. My name is Mira.

It seems. Most people call me Mira, though I’m not sure what it means or whether it is my first or my last name. Some other people refer to Mother by that name, calling her “Ms. Mira” or “Mother Mira”, or some such. Hard to say. Harder to remember. The adults at nursery just say “Mira” while looking at me and attempting to give me direction. So my name must be Mira. The other children, well, they do not call me anything.

Ellie is always hungry. She only eats. She is a sweet, pretty girl, who rarely causes a fuss. But she stays in place much of the time, and waits for the world to interact with her. This of course rarely happens unless one of the other children runs by and pulls her hair. That, sadly, happens a lot. The adults seem to forget about her much of the time. I stop by her at least once in a while, to give her a quick smile or a hug. I would never want to be forgotten by all of humanity for hours each day.

Andrew is a funny little boy that only wants to do whatever I’m doing. He is the closest to a friend I think I have here. More factually, I suppose, is that Andrew likes to take whatever I am playing with. He doesn’t hurt me, and he isn’t mean. He just takes things from me. He often smiles at me, and will even give me a small hug, all while he’s absconding with my playthings. I do think he likes me because he tries to say my name. Or, it’s possible that he’s lazy and is just saying “mama”. He is the youngest in his family, with three older siblings, all girls. Maybe that’s why he likes me. He says something which sounds like Mira and smiles and hugs me. That’s why I like Andrew.

There is also a set of twins. I don’t know their names. They confuse me.

Then there’s Bing.

Bing, I do not like. The adults call him “Beautiful Baby Bing” or “Baby Boy Bing” but they should call him “Biting Bing”. That is all Bing does, is bite all of the children in nursery school, every day. The adults get angry with him when he bites one of us, but not for very long. Bing is in fact a beautiful blond boy with a cute name, and no adult can stay mad at him. So he simply never stops biting the rest of us children. He waddles around with a little hop, with his little grin, and never says a word. He just waddles, hops into their arms, and grins. And he bites. Us.

There is another reason Bing the Bastard won’t stop biting, I think. (I heard Mother call him that once. It made all the adults laugh. I don’t know what that word means, actually). I think another reason Bastard Bing won’t stop biting is that his mother is the mean, angry type. Mother uses another word for her that also starts with “B”. It might be her name.

This woman hates life, hates us children, hates our parents, hates the adults in nursery, and in all likelihood hates Bing too. When the adults in nursery ask her for help with his behavior, she only yells at them, embarrasses and criticizes them in very personal ways. She hates us all. I’m pretty certain it makes her happy when he bites one of us. She certainly thought I deserved it when he bit my face a few weeks ago. She said so out loud. She said something about Mother, and me, and then laughed a laugh that wasn’t at all a human laugh but sick. Her laugh was miserable like the chalky child’s cry.

She laughed that day. I went home that night and cried. I don’t usually cry after something happens. I’m just not that type of toddler. Bing and his horrid mother hurt parts of me that I cannot see with their words and that laugh. Bing had bitten my cheek, and it bled, leaving a thin line of open skin close to my eye. Mother was angry. With me! She said that I should never allow this to happen to me. She was certain I would never be able to perform some function in front of a camera, whatever that meant. I was bad, and I would never be beautiful. Bing caused Mother to be angry with me and that hurt in a way that made me cry, all night, in my little bed.

Bing made me bad, so I thought. I was a disappointment already in my young life. Bing and his B-mother must be evil. I wanted them to die, which I also didn’t truly understand. When I’m older I will understand that that isn’t a nice thing to wish on people. I didn’t wish them to die out of hate or fate, but out of fairness. My father, the man in the photo, died. And he was good. Why should he die, but they get to live, biting and spreading filth in the nursery and in the world. I would never have really wished my father’s fate on another if I truly understood. I just knew he was good, death was bad, and Bing and his mother were bad. Fairness. Not fate.

I finally found sleep with those thoughts, deeply and firmly planted in my memory, along with the cry of that horrible child. You may be surprised to learn that here my story truly begins. It’s about Bing, and what happened to him. Because that was the last day Bing bit anyone. Ever. And I’m not sure if fate or fairness was the cause. What happened to Bing, the very next day, and each day forward for nearly a month was…

He became…good!

He never bit or tried to harm any of the children in nursery again. He never again victimized poor stationary Ellie. He stopped attempting to consume the confusing twins. He smiled at Andrew and me and didn’t try to hurt us. He still wobbled and hopped and grinned. Now even the children could love sweet Beautiful Bing. And it wasn’t just what he stopped doing, but what he began from that day forward. He actually started being nice to the other children.

He would bring Ellie bits of food when she was hungry, even sharing his own when there wasn’t enough. He learned how to open the pantry to get biscuits and an occasional snack cake for her! Ellie was happy every day and smiled more than ever I saw her. And not only at meals, but all the time. She would get up and chase him all through the day, laughing, catching him and hugging him.

He wouldn’t let Andrew take my toys away either. He wouldn’t hurt Andrew, but just took the toys back. He would smile, and give me hugs and kisses. It always made me nervous when he’d try to kiss my cheek, because I was afraid he would bite. But he never would. And Bing learned to say “Mira”. I secretly knew he loved Ellie though.

I am thinking of a B-word for lazy old Andrew…

Bing never bit the twins again. He didn’t really play with them either. None of us did very much I’m afraid. I think they confused him too. They’re a little creepy.

Bing, Sweet Bing was suddenly a good boy! And everyone, including the adults in nursery, and all of our parents, just loved Bing that much more! They would all tell his mother about what a good boy he was, how nice he was to the children, and how wonderful we all thought he was. Sadly, Bing’s mother did not change. As always, she would just laugh and defile our ancestors yet again. She didn’t see any difference and she didn’t care to.

Nearly a month.

Then, after those few wonderful weeks, Bing’s miserable mother seemed to care. One morning she came into nursery in tears. She came without threats. She came without insults, and without her miserable laugh. She howled, a much less bestial version of her miserable laugh. I’m sorry to say I liked it better. It was easier not to hate her, or want her dead, acting so human. I had no idea.

What confused us is when the adults at nursery started to cry. What a sight! The children in nursery calm and quiet, while every adult carried on like someone took their favorite toy! They said strange things, like “but he was never weak” or “he had no cough” and “he couldn’t have had a fever I would have noticed”. They were all confused, all sobbing, all looking to each other, and sometimes to us, for comfort and an answer to an unsolvable puzzle.

Without any warning, any symptoms, something called pneumonia had taken sweet Bing in his crib. Fate. Fairness. Perhaps both. Ellie, seeing Bing’s mother, looked around for him to play. Somehow, she understood, seeing the adults cry and Bing missing, that she would not see him again. So she sat down where she was, staring ahead, eventually shedding tears she could not explain. I don’t remember when she finally moved again.

I didn’t cry in my crib that night. True, I would miss Bing, and the wonderful boy he had become. I would miss hearing him say my name. But I remembered my father, who also died unfairly. He too was wonderful and he too adored me. That’s fair, and that’s how it goes.

Bing had been nice, a friend to all, suddenly becoming a giving person to everyone in his world. Then he was lost. But Bing, sweet Bing received his just reward for his behavior up to that point. Fate, or fairness. Hard to say. Bing’s mom changed however. She finally became human. She properly began hating herself more than the world and everyone who had seen fit to love her child through his short life, both bad and good. Fate had replaced her hate for us. What a thing to have to happen, in order for one so foul to become human.

At that, actually, I cried a little, saddened at the thought that some adults needed such a motivation to become decent members of humanity. I hoped I would never become that way. And as I quietly sobbed, I heard the pitiful cry of the chalky child, for a moment, then drifted away to sleep.

And Mira, Part 2: Smoke

“Mira?”

“Hello Smoke,” Mira giggled.

“Don’t call me that. That isn’t my name…”

“Well then, what is your real name? I very well must call you something!” she asserts.

“Oh…well…sorry…I..I just can’t…”

“Mm-hmmm”

“But I don’t understand why you need to call me Smoke! It makes no sense, and it cannot be anything like my real name.”

He said this without being irritated, because she was right. He was unable to share his real name with her at this time. Her nickname for him made little sense, but was a mantle of mystery he had to admit he enjoyed.

It had been seven years since Mira had heard the cry of the chalky child. She still remembered the image of the pale child in pain, but no longer heard the terrible suffering in the back of her memory, or in her dreams. He had remained silent for many years after the passing of Sweet Bing. Almost as if both children had suffered and died simultaneously, the chalky child no longer found a voice after the unexpected passing of Mira’s childhood friend from pneumonia. The cry was palpable that night, almost as if mourning with her, then went away with as little warning as he came. For seven years the piteous child and the agonizing cry was absent. Until recently.

Earlier this month, in the twilight between awareness and sleep, he began speaking to her. At first she was frightened, of course. But it did not take Mira long to realize that this voice must be the miserable baby now grown, and able to speak. He too had replaced his cry with words she could hear, and respond to. She was certain that this was the chalky child of her infancy. They were known and unknown, strangers and friends, yet unseen to each. He seemed unaware of who he was, and did not know who Mira was, other than the one soul that could hear him.

Mira, as a baby, thought the chalky child was even a part of her own mind. But, this was a boy so she dismissed that fully. She thought, too, that it may be the spirit of sweet Bing back to haunt her, or bite her, or just lost in the next life. She wasn’t so quick to dismiss that, even though it was unlikely. The chalky child had been in her thoughts before death had taken Bing. So, impossibly, it seemed that Mira had friended a phantom in her quietest moments, most likely the auditory incarnation of a tormented baby from her memory! A lonely lost soul she called “Smoke”.

“You see, Smoke, you can’t tell me your name. Or you won’t! But I must call you something when I address you, when we speak. And, you see, I remember you from when you were just a baby. We never met, of course, but I knew you, and saw you, and…” She pauses here, not wanting to bring up the constant cries of agony she remembered. He doesn’t seem to know much about himself, and she didn’t want to upset him. If she made Smoke angry, he may leave her for another seven years or more! Though she had many friends, she enjoyed having this secret friend, and didn’t want him to go away. Particularly if by some chance it was indeed Bing. What fun!

“I don’t remember much of course, as I too was just a baby. But every time I saw you, it was as if through the fog of the deepest memory. In some ways I felt as though I was seeing you then, while at the same time as a distant thought. Which is silly, because of course babies don’t have deep memories and distant thoughts. But the constant was the dim fog separating us from existing at the same time, in the same room, or together in the same dream.

“So I call you Smoke! Would you prefer I call you Fog? Cloud, perhaps? Gassy?”

“No, gosh no. No. Fine. Smoke it is. I…actually like it. Well, what shall we play today?”

“Oh, Smoke, you silly, I have to go to school now. I wish you could go with but that never works. I’d love to talk more, but, I’m quite sure it’s time to wake up now.”

And, it was. As every morning, I awake, alone, in daze and haze. Unlike a dream, though, it isn’t just a vivid memory I have of speaking with Smoke. It is as though it just occurred while I was awake. As though it were real. I’m sure Smoke is some kind of spirit, perhaps of a child that died during war, or of pneumonia like Bing, or simply another child spared of another day as the child of Bing’s mother. Thankfully this ghost or whatever doesn’t seem to mean any harm to me. So, like most mornings I awake, very refreshed despite having spent much of my night in otherworldly conversation, and prepare for school.

I love school. I love to read, and learn about things of the world. At the beginning of class each day we pledge allegiance to our flag. “One nation, indivisible.” Teacher calls attendance in order, finally getting to my name. “Mira Mirras!” I say “present”.

So you see my confusion when I was young. Mira. Mira Mirras. That’s my name. Mira was both my first and last name. What a stupid thing for my parents to do. And I had to go to school to figure that out. My first year out of nursery school I thought all of the adults had a stutter! It explains the big book in our library adorned with two “M’s”, though. The first M has worn ever more each year at its farthest right leg. It’s my book of photos.

We study mathematics philosophies for a little while each day, reading, and handwriting. In Social Studies, we are learning about World War II and the split of Germany. This is probably my favorite class! I remember mom telling me we had some distant cousins in Germany. At one point, there were a number of people that needed food and such airlifted to them. What an adventure! I’m sure it was very difficult for them though. The German people are not always seen in a very favorable light, often considered gruff and harsh.

I’m still friends with both Andrew and Ellie. He prefers ‘Andy’. She prefers ‘Eleanor’. Despite that, I’m still friends with them. Andrew (yes, I still call him Andrew), is still my best friend. He was before, even when Bing was being so nice. But let’s face it, Bing was nice, Andrew stole my toys, and I liked the attention from both of them. Andrew didn’t seem to miss Bing very much at the time. Now, we both remember Bing. Fondly. Sadly.

You may remember the twins. They grew up with us, and became a little less confusing. There is a boy and a girl, named Frank and Kelly. They are still funny, as they seem to know what the other is thinking and feeling all the time. Weird. I understand that it’s normal for twins to be very sensitive to each other’s feelings and experiences. They have a lot of jokes and the like that only they laugh at. It’s a little annoying, but I see why they enjoy having that understanding with each other. I might enjoy that, having a sister that knew everything I was feeling! It would be nice if Andrew would occasionally guess what I’m thinking too.

Sorry, that’s another topic.

Kelly and Frank are very good friends to us, but they aren’t always good people.

Kelly is very energetic, perhaps a little hyper. She is pretty in the way that you could make a boy pretty, since she still looks like Frank. He is also pretty, though I would never say that to him. Kelly is very social and will be the one to invite others into a conversation. She works hard to get everyone to like her, but is easily wounded. She likes a lot of attention, but only when it’s positive attention. Her grand personality sometimes makes others feel small, and they let her know it. When that happens, she won’t talk to you for weeks. And when Kelly doesn’t talk to you, Frank does not talk to you either.

Frank is a bully. I’m not saying that it’s entirely unprovoked, but he is. Outside of Kelly’s influence, he is quiet, helpful, and very kind. He is in many ways Kelly’s opposite. Yet they’re twins. And because of that sensitivity, Frank disappears whenever she is upset, and “Angry Boy Kelly” appears. It’s true! Suddenly the kind, quiet Frank becomes as the direct mouthpiece to Kelly’s emotions, and he will lash out on her behalf.

One of the younger boys in school pulled his sister’s hair earlier in the year. I think the young guy actually liked Kelly, and just didn’t know how to talk to her. So he pulled her hair then ran away. Boys do that. Except Andrew. I’d kill him. He knows it.

Sorry, I did it again…

About a month later, Frank started beating the younger kid up, every day, before school. He would punch him in the stomach, and bruise his upper arms and legs, where adults wouldn’t see. He would shake him and threaten him. Some days he wouldn’t even hurt him, but would gaze at him with such menace that the little boy would wet his pants. One day he bloodied the poor kid’s nose and I thought for sure Frank would get in trouble. But the smaller kid told a story protecting Frank because he was scared. And he never spoke with Kelly either, because he was afraid of Frank. That part makes me angry, because otherwise Frank is a mild, friendly guy. I don’t like that she puts him up to that. The little guy learned his lesson. Let it go!

You may remember Ellie. I saved her for last. She is absolutely my best girlfriend, every day since nursery. She has grown to be very smart, and pretty. But she still has a large appetite, and she no longer chases boys. They chase her! I love Ellie, and frankly so does everyone else. She took Bing’s kindness to her, and shares it regularly with everyone else in her world. But Ellie, every day since Bing was taken from her, is sad. She doesn’t look sad, but I can see the missing piece of her soul, that only a friend can see. She shares the very best of herself with others. She saves her tears for me. In many ways I’m grateful to be that person for her. Almost like a twin.

Each day, Andrew walks me home. He doesn’t carry my books or anything. We just walk together because he lives so close. We are very good friends, though, and we talk about everything. He talks about a lot of things I could care less about, but I listen. It’s the least I can do, since he seems to sincerely care about everything I have to say.

Sometimes we talk about Frank, and whether we should make him stop beating up the smaller boy. We both agree that it’s probably Kelly putting him up to it. We both like the twins, especially Frank, when he isn’t acting that way. It’s very difficult to keep associating with him when he is harming a smaller boy though. Sometimes I’m even embarrassed to admit that I know him. Every day Andrew and I agree that the very next day we will make him stop. And every next day comes and we are too chicken to do actually do anything or say anything. I’m ashamed. I’m a coward when it comes to these things.

Most days, I make soup, wait for Mother to get home from work, and watch TV. It’s a little set showing the programs of the day in black and white. Not impressive. I think we will be able to get one in color someday though! Mom and I enjoy the quiz shows. The one where the host tugs his ear and the contestants play charades is our favorite! Mom and I act out the charades and try to guess along with the show. We both stink at it and laugh at each other a lot. These moments let me know that I have a very good life, for which I’m grateful.

Mother and I are very close. I’m all she has. Father is dead, so I’ve heard. It turns out though, that the photo of the man on the bookshelf is not my father. She doesn’t have a photo of Father. She feels bad about that.

The man in the photo is another man she married after she found out my father had died. He was the handsome one in the photo next to my album of baby pictures. Mother says that she loved him almost as much as Father, and that he was very good to her and me for a while. She says he loved me almost as much as Father did. Despite that, he left. What’s funny is that I never met either Father, or my step-father, and have only a photo of the latter. Something must have gone terribly wrong for him to leave the wonderful woman that is Mother. I have a hard time loving him back.

On this particular day, Andrew and I resolve to end Frank’s bullying of the little boy the next morning. For good. His terrorizing of the poor kid was just too much to bear. The child sat for an hour, under a tree, just shaking and shaking, afraid to enter the school that day. His teacher finally went out and collected him before lunch, and he said he fell asleep. As scared as I am, I think it’s just too much to witness day after day. And for once, Andrew was angry enough to fight Frank himself if needed. We’ll talk to Frank first, of course, but if that doesn’t work…

We never had to. The very next morning, out of nowhere, Frank went up to the little boy, and apologized to him. Profusely, and with tears. Weird. He was truly ashamed of his actions. Not only that, but he promised to protect him from anyone else that would ever try to hurt him the rest of the school year. And, he apologized on behalf of Kelly. They all became very good friends. In fact, the younger boy struck an especially close friendship with Kelly, who he liked. She, in turn, started being very nice to him, walking home with him from school every day. Just like Andrew and me, though I think she started, uh, liking the boy. And he carried her books for her. Lucky girl!

Sorry. I really need to stop that. How embarrassing…

I had always found Kelly to be a little unforgiving, so this was a surprise. She wasn’t a bully like Frank, but without her influence, Frank was more likely to be a close friend to someone than she. She was less likely to forgive a past slight. He, quietly, continued to be the young boy’s protector, as well as a good friend to everyone else. She was the same ebullient girl she always was, but without the easy wounding and vengeful tactics. They were a strange pair, each with two different sides, not quite complementary. Now, they were both showing their very best sides, great students and even better people, for nearly a month.

One day, Andrew and I decided to ask Frank what was responsible for the big change. Something had definitely happened, but what? We asked him to walk with us after school. Since his sister spent so much time with the other boy, he was happy for the company, and agreed. We walked a few blocks, keeping the conversation very casual. Then, at the right time, I asked Frank directly what had made him decide to stop bullying the little boy, and to befriend him. What was responsible for this wonderful change that made us all love him, and Kelly? Frank stopped, and looked at his feet, as if deciding between two different answers. He finally decided, and his mouth began to form the word “Kelly”.

But before he could utter that or any other word, he sunk to his knees. Tears began to well, slowly at first. Then, with a sudden frightening twist to his features, the tears fell freely, and he wept. He had gone completely mad, crying and whimpering out of control, his face a mixture of torment and fear. We tried to comfort him, but he couldn’t stop. Any approach brought ever louder screams. Other times his eyes would glaze and he appeared to forget we were even there with him.

After nearly ten minutes of persistent, even despair, he lifted his head and howled. This was a miserable cry, as though an animal were caught in a trap, breathing its last. We were afraid that Frank would die before our very eyes. But, Frank did not die. Immediately following the horrible scream, he was finally able to mouth the word, “Kelly” as he intended before, but this time he was certain of which word to utter. Then, he stood, and ran from us, as if from a fire.

We followed him. Frank isn’t normally a sure runner, but he seemed to know precisely where he was going this time. He turned quick corners and ran back toward our school. Just before reaching the storehouse of education we all shared, he rapidly bent his path, choosing a quiet block, with only a few houses to boast. It was the block that the little boy lived on; the same poor kid that he used to brutalize on a daily basis. And there, in the middle of the street was that boy, huddled down over a body, himself a mess of tears. Kelly’s body. She was dead.

Frank froze, viewing Kelly’s broken body. After empty moments had passed, the boy was able to ramble a few words. Kelly had apparently been hit by an automobile. She never had a chance, dead even before being flung in the air. It was clearly an accident, as no small boy could cause that kind of damage. Neighbors finally started to pour out to help and bring order to the situation. No one, including the boy had seen any car speeding down that road. In fact, very few cars ever traveled this road. One must have this day though. And at the very moment of the accident, and each second leading up to it, Frank had felt her fear, her pain and her death.

The little boy went into shock. He didn’t speak the rest of the school year, until his parents just kept him home. He would be absent from school entirely until many years later. That night, in my bed, I didn’t cry. I couldn’t cry for Kelly. I could feel sad for Frank, and for the little boy, I suppose. It was true that Kelly had turned around, becoming a good friend, and a good person. But, as you know, fate and fairness and all. Kelly, I’m sure, received her ultimate reward for her behavior the many months prior.

You know, even as I say that, and even believe it; it rings hollower than with Bing. I decide to talk with Smoke about it when next we speak.

“Smoke, why do bad things happen to good people?”

A pause

“You mean like Kelly?” he asked.

“Yes.”

Another pause.

“They don’t. Kelly was not a good person. She made Frank mean.”

I didn’t know how he could possibly know that.

“Smoke, how do you know that?”

“Bing. He wasn’t a good person either. He was mean.”

Oh…

I now know that Smoke was NOT Bing. I was suddenly afraid to know any more. I wanted to wake up.

“Mira, I’m going to try to tell you my name. Soon. You will help me. Then you will call me by my real name.”

“Smoke?”

This pause felt very uncomfortable.

“Yes?”

“Do you know how Kelly died?”

And with that, it was time to wake again. I suddenly shivered before opening my eyes to the new day. It was because I was already awake, and morning had not yet come. My eyes had never closed. I had the whole night yet before me.

“I will tell you my name.”

And Mira, Part 3: Andrew Lost

I decided today to look through my photo album. It’s been a while. Every time I open the book, the “M” on the cover, the first one, wears down more of its dangling right leg. There are two large “M’s” on the cover, signifying my name, Mira Mirras.

Yes, that’s my name. Redundant, I know.

I don’t want to damage the cover any further, so I rarely pull it from the bookshelf where it sits next to a photo of Mother and my former step-father. When I do take down the album, I’m quite careful. For twelve years I’ve managed to fill this book with brief glimpses of my life’s endeavors, keeping careful to protect my nameplate. Today, I am as cautious as ever, but intent on viewing each photo in detail for clues to the ghost that haunts me.

My ghost is “Smoke”, or so I call him as he hasn’t told me his real name. He started as a foggy memory from my infancy, so initially when he began speaking to me at age nine, I simply called him Smoke. It sounded better than “Smog”. I didn’t realize at the time that he was a ghost, as truthfully I could very well have been mad, hearing voices, attributing them to lost friends long gone. But, I was quite certain that the unhappy chalky child from my early memories was now grown, and speaking to me as a grown boy. He no longer demonstrated the agony of his difficult young childhood, and presented as a secret friend.

Now, I’m not so sure. True, there haven’t been any further deaths, and Smoke has been nothing but kind, even funny on occasion. But I cannot forget the night that Kelly died, and how much he seemed to know about her, inferring that her death was justified. And yet, he seemed unwilling to share about how much he knew about her actual death. Chilling!

Two children I have known have died in the time that I’ve known Smoke, or at least known of him. There is little to prove that Smoke was responsible, really. The one child, Bing, died of pneumonia – quite common in our day. And Kelly was an unfortunate victim of an automobile accident. Both deaths were very sad and untimely, but not at all unusual or unheard of.

But here’s the thing. Bing showed no symptoms of pneumonia of any kind. He simply died in his crib after a life of total health, so it seemed. And Kelly’s accident was even more bizarre, since there was only evidence of an automobile accident, but no evidence of an automobile. No automobile! The one witness to the accident, Kelly’s young boyfriend, went into shock and is now completely mute, at home, removed from society. All of these were completely normal deaths, under entirely abnormal circumstances.

Adding to the mystery of it, both had a complete personality change, for the better, for nearly a month up until their deaths. And Smoke…he seemed to know all about it, or enough to make me very nervous. He told me they were not good people, which he should not know. And why would he even say that? So I’m looking through my own history to see if I can find a clue about myself, Smoke, and why he would choose me to talk to, or haunt, or whatever it is that he’s doing.

My baby pictures are wonderful. Of course I have the bearskin cheesecake shot. Thanks, Mother. That of course will never be shown outside of this house to anyone not related by blood! There are photos of me eating, cake I think, on my first birthday. I giggle, because it’s all over my face, and because the sad fact is that I still eat cake this way. I see a more recent photo of myself with one of the young children in the neighborhood. He and I are playing with a potato-like toy, and I’m making him laugh with the funny faces I create. I like caring for children very much, like the adults from my nursery school cared for me. Like Mother.

There is a beautiful photo of me sleeping, covered in a homemade blanket, dark with lighter cross-stitches on it. I am sleeping on my stomach with my bottom up in the air and my cheek scrunched up against the bed. It’s funny because I see children sleeping that way now, so it must be how children sleep. But what makes the photo beautiful is the peaceful look on my face above all the scrunching. Whenever I am feeling depressed or down-trodden, I think about how calm and happy I am in this photo, and I feel immediately better.

There are a number of other photos of me at various ages and stages, playing with toys, swimming, running, chasing a ball or a dog, or a dog chasing a ball, and generally enjoying a wonderful life. My careful inspection of each photo brings warmth to my cheeks as I smile and remember happy times. None, however, offers a single clue to my ghost. In many ways, that’s a relief. At this point, Mother enters the room and turns on the television in order to watch “Today”.

Mother and I watch television together a lot. We laugh at the characters, play the game shows with the contestants, eating supper, or occasionally fast food while watching. Mother hates that she allows me to do that, but we both enjoy wonderful time together. We are very close. Since I’ve begun digging up my past, I decide to push a little further.

“Mother, what can you tell me about Father?”

“What would you like to know?”

“Well, everything, of course. What did he look like? Was he handsome? What was your favorite thing about him? How long were you married?”

“Mira, my goodness, slow down! Of course your father was very handsome. He wasn’t terribly tall, but had light hair, dark eyes, and a hopelessly infectious laugh. He and I laughed together a lot, like you and I do. We weren’t married for very long…he died shortly after you were born. Spending time with you reminds me of the fun he and I had, which is such a joy. It also is very sad. What I miss most about him is how much he loved you…”

It sounded as though she had more to say, so I pressed.

“How did he die? I’ve heard people say he was a hero. But what does that mean?”

“Your father was a soldier in the war. He killed a lot of enemy soldiers, and died protecting some of his own men. I don’t know all of the details, but yes he was very brave. His death allowed others to live, which is why you will hear our family often call him a hero.”

OK. One more.

“What was his name?”

A pause.

“Nathaniel. It was Nathaniel. I’m surprised I’ve never told you that…”

“Nathaniel the Brave,” I dreamed out loud.

“Yes”, said Mother, “Nathaniel the Brave, who loved me, and loved you, and his fellow soldiers and countrymen and…loved his family.”

Mother gets a very sad, quiet expression at this, as though she were losing Father yet again. Hearing those things about the father I never met gave me the warm, flushed, happy feeling that I felt looking at my sleeping photo with the dark cross-stitched blanket. I turned to it again to complete the feeling, but what I found left me cold. When I turned to it, the photo showed instead, in full color, a cherry-red box with a gold cross.

No! A coffin! I quickly skimmed through all of the other photos to find that in each I was no longer visible. It was as if my whole life had in fact happened without me! My absence was repeated through each photo on every page, all the way until the very first photo. There, on the bearskin rug, where previously I had had my very first photo, was instead a pasty white baby looking forward. That is, if you could call it a human baby. This child was an abomination! At the realization that my baby picture had been mystically replaced by the true visage, the disgusting features and mangled body of the chalky child, I screamed and lost consciousness. That is all I remember.

I woke up later that evening, the album still lying next to me, open, and apparently back to normal. Mother was quite concerned, but I couldn’t let her know what I saw. I couldn’t let her know that my photographs were being haunted by a creature from my earliest memory, or that this creature even existed. Even I would think I was mad if I heard my own story! Thinking quickly, I told her I must simply have been famished, and must have passed out from near-starvation, and would she be willing to get me the Colonel’s chicken for dinner? Yes, yes I feel fine. Of course I would be just fine to go to school tomorrow!

I am now twelve years of age, and in Junior High. I don’t love school quite as much as I did when I was younger. I don’t mind my classes, and I love learning, of course. But I’m afraid. You see, I make friends easily, which isn’t as good as it sounds. Because I have a ghost. And ever since I’ve had a ghost, my friends seem to have unexplainable, mortal accidents. So while I enjoy school, math, reading Anne Frank’s Diary, and pledging “one nation, indivisible” each day, it is always in the back of my mind that one of my friends may simply die!

It is always in my mind that it will be, somehow, my fault.

I am most concerned for Andrew. I will say that the best part of Junior High is the boys! They are many, and they enjoy talking to me. But my favorite boy, my favorite friend, is Andrew. He continues to walk me home every day, and while he’s never kissed me, he’s begun carrying my books for me. I can certainly carry my books myself, but I sure do enjoy when he does it for me! We talk every day about important things, like television, schoolwork, our friends, the President, Queen Elizabeth, the bomb, and the world such as it is. I enjoy our conversations, but I have to admit that it is Andrew’s presence, his words and his eyes, that make them the highlight of my day.

And then there is Frank. Frank is beautiful in his own right. He also has never kissed me, but I doubt he will ever kiss anyone. Frank lost his sister, Kelly, the girl that I referenced earlier. They were twins, and I have to believe that type of loss is different than losing a sibling in any other way. Frank is very cordial at school and even smiles at me sometimes. But Frank, unlike Andrew, doesn’t give me the time of day when classes are out. That isn’t fair, perhaps, as he doesn’t give anyone the time of day. He spends all of his afternoon hours, after school, standing outside of the little boy’s house that he used to bully. The one that was there when his sister was…when she died. Cooper.

Just before Kelly’s accident, Frank had befriended Cooper. He protected him at school, which was ironic considering that Frank was the one that had been bullying Cooper. Cooper and Kelly became very close friends largely due to Frank’s change of heart on the matter. Or, so it seemed. Our group of friends always felt that it was Kelly’s influence that made her brother bully the smaller boy. Then, suddenly, Frank apologized for having terrorized him, and pledged his friendship. After that Cooper began to spend a lot of time with Kelly, and they became close. Until she died.

Now, Frank would spend every moment after school, until suppertime, standing outside of Cooper’s home, just staring. Two young men on opposite sides of a glass, feeling the same inconsolable loss, unable to create any positive momentum toward healing. Both rushing toward death by standing still.

I would follow him on occasion, with Andrew, mostly out of concern. Most often, we would observe Frank staring at the home of the now mute child, with a very strange look on his face. I still don’t know if it was anger, or something else. Part of me believed that Frank needed to continue to protect Cooper, even more so now that his sister was gone. The more rational part of me knew that he was waiting for the chance to exact revenge on Cooper. For what? Surviving, I think, while his sister did not.

Andrew and I spoke of this at length. He felt we should leave it be. It wasn’t our concern. I felt that we needed to reach out and help Frank, at the very least, and possibly even Cooper. Andrew became increasingly irritated with me, which frankly I did not like. He was acting almost jealous of Frank! I wasn’t terribly impressed that he would leave our friend to such misery, and it wasn’t like Frank was carrying my books home every day.

Oh, Andrew, just kiss me you idiot!

But he did not. And our arguments continued to the point that he was becoming impossible to deal with, and I was not willing to let poor Frank go on like this. Eventually Andrew threw up his hands and just told me to go my own way. This made me sad, because Andrew was my friend, no, my partner, and I was disappointed that he wasn’t willing to help another friend with me. He stopped walking me home. He stopped carrying my books. And he…well, never mind that.

Lucky for me, there was Eleanor. Ellie. She continues to be my best friend to this day, and she loves more than anything else to talk about boys! True, she still loves to eat, and is maybe a little bigger than she should be, but she is the most loving, wonderful human being that walks the planet. She is very beautiful in her own way, and often captivates the boys herself with her wit and her sweetness. Actually, she has already been kissed! She knows that I love Andrew, and is disappointed every time he disappoints me. But she’ll never tell him. Because Ellie is loyal first to me, then to the boys, then to the world. My Ellie.

We would talk about how cute they were, how they made us laugh, and the many ways they would infuriate us! Andrew and Frank were so very different. Andrew was not a stout fellow at all, very slim, but with beautiful eyes and very light hair. He’s also had my heart since nursery school. Frank, on the other hand, was a very impactful fellow, big and dark, with even darker eyes. I wouldn’t call them beautiful, like Andrew’s eyes, but they were certainly mysterious and exciting! His stare was both terrifying, and captivating.

Ellie agrees that Andrew is being a fool, and that it is right for us to help our old friend Frank, despite his history. I think Ellie may have liked him at some point. Perhaps even now. The loss of Bing hit her so hard. How wonderful it would be to bring Frank back from his malaise, as the solution to Ellie’s broken heart. Now, we will work together to bring him back.

The strategy is simple. For one week we will follow him from school, and simply stand with him. The next week, we would talk with him. This all worked great, except that Frank would never acknowledge that he had been spoken to, except to me. It was as though Ellie wasn’t even there, and she did not like that. It hurt her that he would only listen, and speak, to me. I am sure now my Ellie loved Frank, enough to let me get through to him if I could. Even without her.

So, by the third week, it was just Frank and me, standing outside Cooper’s silent home. Standing and staring. Over time, his stare would become softer, and he would gaze around, or down at his feet. I would ask him his thoughts about things, like school and the world, and slowly he would answer. I asked him many times about Ellie, but he refused to talk about her. I never shared that with Ellie, since I knew it would hurt her. Sometimes, I would lie and say he asked about her, which made her blush.

By the fourth week, Frank was a different kid. He would talk and laugh as though nothing else mattered, and more importantly he seemed to forget about silent Cooper, and standing outside of the house, gazing his death-gaze at the unseen Cooper. Andrew was still upset with me, and I at him, so Frank began walking me home, carrying my books. We would laugh and talk until reaching my home. Then, believe it or not, Frank would hand me my books, say a cordial goodbye, and go home. He would never even go back by Cooper’s neighborhood. It was as though he had forgotten his mania altogether.

At the end of the fourth week, Frank was holding my hand as we walked home. Oh damn. I didn’t want this. I do care deeply about Frank, but I love Andrew, and Ellie will kill me, and this was very very bad!

At the beginning of the fifth week, Monday, Frank noticed Mother wasn’t home, and wanted to extend his visit. Fool that I was, I let him. We entered our home, into the living area which was beginning to get dim from the darkness outside. My intent was to light the room immediately, but Frank stopped me, wanting instead to play a new game. I’d not heard of it before, but like everything else about Frank, it was dark and exciting! While standing by my photo album, and the photo of Mother and my step-father, he explained the rules.

“Mira, take a candle, and walk upstairs backward. I will be waiting for you at the top, by the giant mirror. When you get to the top of the stairs, turn, and quickly look in the mirror. You should then catch a glimpse of your future husband standing next to you in the mirror. But here’s the thing, if you see a skeleton or a phantom, well, that means that you will die before you marry!”

I should never have participated in this exercise. I know. Given my history of the past few years it was certain that I would see the ghost, chalky white in the mirror, and die on the spot. Perhaps the ghost would come through the mirror and take my life in front of Frank’s unbelieving eyes! But, here I was, with dark Frank, exciting, a wonderful game and a role to play. So, as only a fool would do, I lit a candle, waited for Frank to take his place upstairs, and began my ascent.

There was nothing to the game, the candle, or climbing the stairs. I stumbled briefly on the way up, nervous and not able to see where I was going, but quickly caught myself. Boys seem to like when girls are embarrassed, and Frank, no exception, kept encouraging me all the way up the stairs, before the large mirror where he was waiting. I took the last few steps, backward, into the hall, waiting for my doom to occur. At the precise moment that I looked into the mirror, I was certain that I caught a brief glimpse of Andrew, as my candle blew out, leaving Frank and me in total darkness.

But at the moment the candle blew out, I felt something grab at me. I was certain that this was the moment of my demise, and the chalky child had come; ready to take me to my well-deserved fate. I thought of all of the children I had known. Bing, sweet Bing the biter, with the wicked mother. I relished her pain! And Kelly, of course. I wasn’t pleased at her death, but she was wicked as well. And this was what brought Frank and me together! Certainly, it was my turn to receive my reward for all of the horrid thoughts I had had for those poor souls!

Hate, fate and fairness. I deserved this. I leaned back and waited for my final breath. And justice immediately stopped my lungs, and my airways, covering my mouth fully. And death felt like warm, wet lips on mine. What a curious way to die! I finally did realize that Frank, in the darkness, had decided in this moment to procure his first kiss and mine, in lieu of the visit of a specter and the reaper’s scythe. It was a short moment that lasted forever, and I almost laughed at myself for thinking Andrew would have been the one.

But, I had seen Andrew’s face in the mirror, hadn’t I?

I swore that Andrew should have been my first, evidenced by his appearance, on cue, in the mirror, and the guilt now tugging at my heart. Guilt for Andrew. And guilt for Ellie. The kiss ended, naturally, on its own. Frank had performed the perfect first kiss and made me swoon. There were no good choices to be made at this point. I pulled back to look upon Frank, who had me in his arms and in his control, his dark eyes evident more in the blackness. I relit the candle, coveting the darkness, but endeavoring to look into the dark eyes of this boy that had stirred first romantic feelings in me. My heart beating, I stole a second glance in the mirror, to see if the reflection of my true love had evolved.

It had.

As if in a nightmare, the boy holding me close, holding me tight, was not Frank. Frank somehow had disappeared, replaced by a pale monstrosity, recognizable from my early memories, now grown! Looking in the mirror, I saw my infatuation to be not Frank, and not Andrew, but a chalky, unclothed beast, with eyes closed, breathing short, heavy, foul breaths.

The creature was bald, gaunt, with one ear barely protruding from the side of his head, and the other missing. He had no hair, no nose, no teeth, and his leathery face seemed to continue into his pain-writhing mouth, as though sewn from a sack cloth. His fingers appeared attached to each other, stumpy and thick, almost webbed, but strong. The body, skeletal at best, gave no evidence as to its true gender, but I knew. This was the chalky child from my earliest memories. This was Smoke!

Smoke had somehow replaced Frank as the object of my first romantic encounter. As much as I needed to, I couldn’t scream. Instead, I lurched, and lost the day’s meals. I closed my eyes and fell forward, heaving, filling all before me with my bile. I cried. I shook. I threw off the last of my sickness and bore up to face Smoke, to scold him, and to accept the fate I had expected all along.

But Smoke, the chalk-monster, as well as Frank, was now gone.

Peering in the mirror, I saw Andrew again, but not as a reflection. I was standing in a field, with Andrew staring at me, face sad and head down. I put my hands up to the glass, to try to touch him, to bring him to me. I had no idea until this moment how badly I needed Andrew. He would briefly look up, shake his head, then turn away. I took a deep breath, desperate to scream for Andrew to come to me, to save me from this nightmare. And it was then I saw the light. It was then I looked down. Railroad tracks!

I wanted to scream for Andrew to jump out of the way, but no sound would escape my lips. Harder and harder I cried, with no result. Andrew kept looking down, sad, shaking his head. I was sure that the ugly chalky child, my Smoke, was going to kill the true love of my life, and I could do nothing to change that, as the lights behind me got brighter and brighter.

Wait. Behind me?

I looked down. Tracks, illuminated ever more by the increasing beam made it certain that there would be death tonight, where only moments before had been sweet romance. And as the tracks shone brighter in the glowing beam, I realized that it was not Andrew facing the power of the oncoming locomotive. It was me! I was stuck to the tracks while Andrew simply looked on, sad and shaking. I quickly whirled around to face my fate, staring deep into the spot of the oncoming locomotive. I braced for death.

Then my eyes opened to a new light, the light of morning. I awoke, in tears and in the sweat of having stared down the certain death of myself and the other most important to me. And then, I knew. I knew that I had not died, nor had I witnessed the death of Andrew. I had been the eyes and the emotions of Frank, as Smoke, my ghost, had placed him in the very center of harm’s way. I had just witnessed, and experienced, Frank’s death, with the fear and hopelessness that Frank must have felt.

I knew. I knew he was gone. The next day’s newspapers and the gossiping community would prove that to be true. Oh dear Ellie! She will be crushed.

“How…how could you?”

“Mira. I want to thank you.”

“Don’t you dare thank me you chalky bastard. How. Could. You. Kill. Frank? Tell me why!”

“Mira you have shown me my true name. I now know who I am. You searched and you questioned, and you found the answers to all of our questions, and you found my name.”

Silence. He is too calm. This is not good. I’m suddenly frightened of my secret friend, more than ever. What did he mean ‘our questions’?

“Yes. I am the chalky child. I am Smoke. But I also have a name. Others have called me…Nathaniel. That is my name.”

No.

My father was a hero. He saved lives. He couldn’t be this chalky bastard, this monster. He killed only in war, and was first a protector. How could this ghoul be Nathaniel Mirras? How? I needed to calm down quickly. It would not do to anger this ghost, so much more connected to me than I first realized. I walked downstairs. I was clearly awake, and able to speak with him while conscious. I needed answers. The rest of my life would depend on them.

“Smoke. Nathaniel…tell me why you killed Frank. Tell me why. Why?” But even as I demanded through tears his account of himself, I already knew the answer, and the consequence to me, to Frank, and to anyone I might ever love. I understood.

“Mira. Be patient. There is plenty of time for all of your friends. You don’t even realize how close you came to taking a different path altogether. You were supposed to play the game with Andrew, after all.” Though no longer visible, I could feel the evil smile spreading over his toothless face, eyes still closed as though still the infant he once was.

I understood that I would never be able to be with my partner, my best friend, and my true love since childhood. Ever. And as I looked over to my album I saw that the right leg of the first “M” was completely gone, now forming, in fact, the letter “N”. My life and the lives of those around me are in the hands of Nathaniel Mirras.

And he is a killer.

Credit To – MeGoMike/MeGoMirras

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