The Boy From Posey Chapel

March 7, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Going back, I remember it all vividly; my first time at Posey Chapel with a couple of my friends. Nobody was really scared; after all, the sightings were hoaxes and never supported with actual evidence. But, being Halloween, something was bound to happen—and something happened indeed, because that night was the start of a string of the most horrifying ones in my existence.

We arrived at the chapel, cracking jokes about the myths that were told about it while walking around aimlessly, not in search of anything specific. After about five minutes in our journey, I saw in the midst of the churchyard, an all-white figure. From what I could tell, he was near the age of 10, and had no eyes…just black pits where his eyes should’ve been. I looked at my friends for reassurance that this wasn’t just my imagination, this was real. They told me they could see him too, but just vaguely. As he was about a football field away, it was hard to tell what we were looking at. So, naturally, we strained to get a better look at him.

The four of us started to walk slowly toward him, not particularly looking to hurt him in away sort of way. Once we reached a certain point, I instantly felt a sort of connection with him. I was the only one he “looked” at, considering he had black pits for eyes. The others could see him looking at me intently, and we decided to leave; afraid.

We got back in the car and waited about five minutes before leaving, just to see if anything would happen. Nothing did, but the minute my head hit the pillow that night is when things did started to happen.

That first night, Halloween 2014, I had a dream about him—the boy from the chapel. It was all a recap from that night, except everyone’s teeth were rotted out and/or had cavities. These dreams occurred each night for eight days. Within each dream he would get about 10 yards closer, and the dream would always cut off just as I closed the car door. After eight nights, the dream had occurred eight times consecutively and he was about 20 yards away from me, so we went back to Posey Chapel. The dreams stopped after that visit.

January 8th, 2015.

I’d been staying at my grandma’s that week, as my bathroom was being renovated. I was on the couch, where I had been sleeping. This night had started as an otherwise normal one. I was casually browsing my Facebook and listening to a podcast with one earbud in. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but then the lights and TV went out and I heard scratching from the basement. It started coming up the stairs and gradually got louder and louder until I thought I was going to lose it. Then, abruptly, silence. I looked up toward the stairway door to see what it was, but saw nothing. Questioning it, I turned back, and I got a glance down the main hallway where I saw a streak of white. Terrified, I was hesitant to look back, but I seemed drawn to it. So I looked, despite my gut feeling, and there he was: the boy without eyes. He stood there with intent but lack of emotion for at least twenty minutes, and then he disappeared. Or so I’d thought.

I looked outside my window and there he was, hanging from the barren tree. I thought I was going insane; hallucinating. My brother claimed to not be able to see him, so why could I? I snapped a picture of the tree from inside, sending it to the group chat I was in. Nobody saw anything except what they thought was snow, but I knew it was him.

Gathering up my courage, and going against my own gut, I went outside to take a different picture, this time with the flash on. I only cracked open the door to do so, as I didn’t want to leave the comfort of the house, no matter if he could get inside. This time, he was sitting in the tree rather than hanging from a noose. That was what struck me as extremely odd. I took the picture despite his changed position and rushed inside, sending it to my group chat again. This time they could see him. He stood out against the snow as a lighter, blurrier white.

After this, I felt compelled to go back outside and face him; ask him what he wanted from me. So, once again, I gathered up my courage and went back into the freezing winter night. I looked up at him in the tree and yelled, “What do you want from me?”

Ten seconds of silence filled the chilly air.

And then, “Please, come back.”

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The Hill Beast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – Elysia Bloom

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The Linen Closet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was thankful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What had the previous renters been doing here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Messing with sleep time definitely wrecked her routine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It didn’t work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Each rhythmic rush of blood seemed louder than the last.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The thick wood physically shook in the frame.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After a pause, I could hear it, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Had it gotten out?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ceiling, however, was perfectly intact.

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – ilothopskaty

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Old Boo Diddley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What else happens?” I kept on.

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

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

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

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

“Cool,” I said.

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

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

And then something touched Patricia.

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

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

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

“Patricia?” Someone else said; No answer.

“TRISH!?” I said, louder.

“Hey,” she answered very meekly.

“You okay?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s wrong, dude?” I asked.

“What the FUCK is that?” He pointed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Devil, eh?” I chuckled.

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

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

“What was that?” She asked.

“Do what?” I said, pausing the game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s wrong?” She asked, concerned.

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

“Are you alright?” She asked.

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

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

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

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

“Yeah? Why?” I inquired.

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

Credit To – Pat ChoKo

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Lure

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

The light.

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

Four, then five.

The light stayed on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The security light switched off.

Credit To – Susan Eckland

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Dragon’s Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – Mrs. Amaya

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