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Kingdom of Suffering

November 23, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 7.1/10 (211 votes cast)

Hidden deep within the rural countryside of mainland China sits a rotting edifice of failed consumerism: the decrepit remnants of Disneyland China. Half of a Western-style castle, bits of girders and wires and planks jutting out of moldy particleboard like shattered bones from gangrenous skin, looms over a wide swath of flat swampland. Tourists and backpackers have happened upon it from time to time but the intense feeling of inhuman wrongness urged them to ignore the queer structures and fragments of civilization in favor of escape. Half-completed spires, collapsed trailers, rusted red metal, and the scent of rot drift out of the dense fog like a bizarre fairy tale mockery. Shadows and animals roam the location although everyone in the surrounding area knows that nothing living frequents the uneven cobblestone streets and half-constructed cottages. It is a city of ghosts.

The Disney bosses were hesitant to buy at first, shrewd as they were, but the price was too good to pass up and the area perfect for a sprawling theme park complete with exemptions from the ruling party members – palms greased as needed from nearly unlimited coffers. It was a perfect location they enthused, the area ripe for their corporate thievery and corrupt guile, why they could build a private airfield and corner the market entirely! Why they believed that thousands of Chinese would flock to the fake cobblestone streets and put down their hard earned pittance for a chance at Western capitalist nonsense was anyone’s guess. But then again those were simpler times when the bottom line mattered more than how you managed to get there…

Deals were made, contracts were signed, and massive amounts of money began pouring into the project. A veritable town grew up in a wide circle around the construction area. Administrative offices were built for comfort, worker lodgings were built for utility, and the land was readied for the great transformation from rice paddy to imaginationland. All supplies were kept under lock and key, guards roamed the perimeter of a tall chain-link fence, and workers were subject to random identification checks to ensure Disney didn’t spent a single penny more than expected.

The first death was a cement worker; he fell into a mixing vat and was chopped to pieces by the stirring blades. The accident, if you could call it that, occurred late in the day and it wasn’t until they began pouring the next morning that his grisly fate was discovered. Disneyland executives were cleared of any wrongdoing after a smear campaign discrediting the man as a ‘worthless drunk’. So they poured the bloody cement in the base of the Magic Kingdom and hoped to forget.

Next, four electricians were killed when a transformer blew in an enclosed room. ‘Poor standards and lack of safety measures’ the press release went but already there were whispers and shivers among the workers. They were from the urban outskirts, businesses contracted because they were cheap and didn’t care that Disney was willing to overlook their safety. And why should they cause a fuss? They were each getting paid more for the year of construction than most of their families made in ten.

The small hamlets around the construction area remained tightly closed. Shuttered against the invaders they shared nothing, no food, no water, no supplies. Everything needed to be shipped in from afar. However, local tales of ghostly vapor and vengeful soldiers dragging unfortunates down to the underworld filtered their way into the ears of the workers and day laborers. The area was known for war – too much blood had been spilled on the land for anything more than horror to grow. The workmen grew restless, they refused to work, but that mattered little to the oncoming steamroller of corporate greed. They were fired, their contracts broken, and others either poorer or stupider were brought in to replace the suddenly hemorrhaging construction force.

And so it continued apace but certainly not as quickly as expected. Forty-seven more deaths followed, all accidents caused by personal negligence or carelessness, but there was only so far Disneyland executives could hold that lie….

The Magic Kingdom, half completed, became the focal point of the project – for in the eyes of greedy investors and embezzlers and the like if they could only raise that symbol the project would fall into place. Work was doubled, the timetable shortened, and more deaths followed. The areas around the forsaken theme park refused to serve workers, refused to sell food, refused the cheap comforts of the flesh such projects inevitably spawn in the loins of rough men and uneducated laborers. For stupid they were to continue working when everything in their bones cried out the wrongness and terror of their work.

Workers were killed, their mutilated bodies (bereft of head, limbs, and genitals) discovered cast into the boggy marshland at the borders of the construction site. Later, pieces of them were discovered in all manner of locations throughout the theme park. A head was found inside a generator, hands were plucked from painting buckets, and ten penises were skewered atop the flagpole in the center of the Village Square. Workers stopped arriving, construction firms pulled out, and everything seemed doomed for the project…

Until Disneyland executive Steven Oroko flew in to personally put the project to rights. Word came two weeks before his arrival and the local planning commission dismissed all their current work in preparation for Oroko’s legendary iron-fisted approach. The death toll came to an end as workers were fired, the equipment was polished and oiled, and all was in readiness for a whirlwind of work that would finally see Disneyland rise tall in the Chinese countryside.

Outside the construction zone, to the west, lay a tiny collection of huts and simple buildings. Teng Kai Rui was an old man, a farmer, who had weathered the storms of war and famine. His ancestors lived in Beijing before hard times and debts conspired to oust them to the fringes of society. He lived far afield from the construction because he knew exactly what lay in the soft lands. Ghouls and ghosts stalked the lands; murdered people rose up and sought vengeance, broken lovers desperately searched for their lost partners in the foggy mists. He never went to the area, cautioned his entire family not to go, and steadfastly refused to listen to anyone hoping to make something of the loose assemblage of hate and horror where Disneyland China would stand. His great-great-great-great grandfather settled in the ‘Mogui Wan’ or ‘Devil Bowl’ where Disneyland seethed in the middle of open farmland and frequently told of the night he left Mogui Wan.

Teng Fa Lai was Kai Rui’s ancestor’s name and, like the Disneyland Committee, settled in Mogui Wan due to the cheap living and lack of competition (in those days). Also like Disney he was unaware of the danger he placed himself and his family in until it was almost too late. For three summers Fa Lai toiled until his harvest, although modest, became enough to feed his growing family. With two sons and another child on the way he could not justify leaving the area even if the land and air felt wrong. His wife refused to talk of it – Fa Lai believed she felt the same – but his sons had told stories of shadows and shapes moving in the mist since they settled. He dismissed them thinking it was agitation from being displaced but the longer they stayed the more frequent their observations came until even he began seeing dark forms skulking in the fog.

Fa Lai convinced himself it was just his imagination.

Then, one midsummer eve a mysterious knock was heard upon their door. The night was humid and still but the omnipresent mist curled around their hovel in a gauzy grip. The air smelled of putrefaction, like rotting water plants or clay, and drifted into the house through every crack in the walls and ceiling. The night was deathly silent. Fa Lai rose to the door and listened but could hear no one on the other side – no breathing, no movement. Relief pushed the tension from his body and he began to return to the dinner table when the knock came again. Instantly the hairs on the back of his neck rose and a prickling sensation leaked from his head all the way down to the soles of his feet.

Opening the door revealed an upright corpse, skin putrefying and pus oozing from open stab wounds down its front and legs. The head was almost completely severed under the chin and it dribbled crawling insects from the wound like a writhing beard. At first he thought it a sick joke, that someone propped the thing up in order to scare them away from his profitable farm, until the limp head swiveled in his direction with the sound of grinding glass.

“Leave this place.” It spoke without opening its fetid mouth. “Leave us this place for the living have no power here. Leave us and save yourself.”

Fa Lai shut the door and the family ran that very night. They settled with Fa Lai’s brother’s family in the homestead where so many years later Kai Rui would be born.

An omen, an orange with thirty-six seeds, and a lightning strike on the tree his father planted on the day he was born told Teng Kai that the time was right. He held no love for the government or for Disney but he would not see innocent people die. Kissing the remaining family he held dear goodbye he set out for the skeletal ghostly spire of The Magic Kingdom in the distance.

Oroko arrived and immediately began work. He began by bringing in outside construction firms and firing all local contractors. His reasoning was that you didn’t trust people you never worked with before. The local Committee told him nothing of the deaths or strange phenomena, no hint of the rumors or the mutilations; they simply smiled at him eager to start rolling in their profit margins. Day became night as it was wont to do and a deathly silence fell upon the site. Despite the frantic banging and drilling and sawing the darkness swallowed all sound – workmen left machinery running and stepped away to grab another bit or a tool only to become deaf to the sounds of their own industry once outside a foot. Two men left a table saw running and stepped away to lift new planks – they did not hear the machine running and unwisely decided they had turned it off – only to saw their own fingers as they lay the new wood down. An electrician working in the upper levels of the Magic Kingdom, after twenty minutes of dead silence, jumped from the rigging to the pink concrete below.

Fog began rolling in from the lower areas of the uneven terrain and people began seeing shadows dart to and fro between unfinished foundations and bare girders. Oroko was roused from his trailer outside the castle gate by thunderous blows against the walls and door. He rose from his late nap and opened his door. No one knows what was on the other side but pieces of him were all that were found the next morning. Fragments really, nothing of any substance, most of him was blasted and pureed against the walls of his trailer. Bits of skull and his ocular nerves were all that were recoverable.

Panic set in after Oroko’s agonized screams filled the air, the first pure sound heard since the final wrath of Mogui Wan began, and workers raced around the construction site looking for any way out.

There was no escape. By the time Teng Kai Rui arrived all 1206 members of the night crew were splashed against every surface in the incomplete park. The outlying farmland was literally dyed red and nothing grew there ever after. Kai Rui shuffled through the gate of the Magic Kingdom sick with revulsion and anger at the foolishness of men.

He sat upon a worn stone on the packed dirt path and looked towards the cresting sun. Could he have convinced the greedy white man to abandon the site? No, in truth he knew that he would never had been able to convince them. What power could an illiterate farmer wield against such base avarice? He turned back to the west and home but as he stood the rising sun seared over the edges of the mountains far in the distance. In that muddy illumination, in that murky period between darkness and light, a terrifying tableau manifested in the Devil Bowl.

All around him in the low plain were standing shadows. Solid black people disappearing in the rising sun but each one of thousands staring at him…into him. Rising with the drying dew a nightmarish image arose of twisted towers and blackened steel, sheets of human skin and rivers of infected blood, and everywhere multitudinous dark eyes. The quivering mirage of horrible agonies dimmed in the rising light and the shadows dispersed but Teng Kai Rui knew what he had seen.

A Kingdom of Suffering. Perhaps it was all meant to be, he mused, perhaps the evil wanted the Magic Kingdom built in contrast to its Empire of Agony. Perhaps the dead simply wanted an amusement park of their own…

And so it stands to this very day shrouded in mist and silence.

Credit To – ThePhantomLibrarian

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Skyrim’s Secret 2

November 21, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 7.7/10 (892 votes cast)

This is a sequel to Skyrim’s Secret.

Sometimes in life, you have certain experiences that completely twist your perspective of reality. Things that you think could only happen in pure fantasy turn out to be the most sobering truths ever to hit you. This is what happened to me, hell, to everyone. The events recounted in these paragraphs would be among the most trying that the human race had ever experienced, and I was caught smack dab in the middle.

I guess I should start from the beginning. I was in my senior year of high school and had just finished a lengthy research paper for my AP physics class (yeah, it was about as fun as it sounds) and was mentally drained for the night, so I decided to unwind by visiting one of my regular online haunts: a YouTube channel called Egg Beaters. Egg Beaters featured an eccentric video game nerd named Jeff Crum who would look for Easter eggs in games, and also debunk popular video game myths. A lot of the things he found were actually pretty cool! Tonight’s episode looked especially interesting, it was entitled: “The Curse of Skyrim: True or False?”

Being a huge Elder Scrolls fan, the title alone captivated me. I clicked the video and the usual flash intro played with loud rock music and various action clips from a bunch of different games. You know, typical theatrics for this type of thing. Then, Crum came on, seemingly wired on caffeine as always, and wearing his rather large glasses and tacky bowtie, his horribly unkempt blonde hair almost blending in with the tie-dye background.

Jeff Crum was quite the character all right. He used to be a pretty radical environmental activist, once protesting a company in New York for not using all fluorescent light bulbs in their offices. Another time he even tried (unsuccessfully, of course) to get a petition signed banning the use of gasoline in cars, in favor of “clean” ethanol fuel. To be honest, his antics just served to hurt his cause; I think he actually just got on people’s nerves more than he made any real progress. Then, out of nowhere, he dropped his eco-craze and started taking an interest in video games, which led to his creation of Egg Beaters.

“The Curse of Skyrim: True or False?” Crum began by repeating the title. “Undoubtedly most of you have read the recent Creepypasta Skyrim’s Secret, detailing a supposedly cursed Easter egg hidden in the game’s outer reaches. This secret location, known as Husfortap Manor, is alleged to house a mysterious woman in a blue gown, who delivers a harrowing fate to the player upon visitation. According to the story, the fate she hands down in the game will occur in real life shortly after.”

“The curse seems to get progressively worse with each visit and appears to follow a pattern, each doling out a more meaningful loss: Loss of Wealth, Loss of Work, Loss of Home, Loss of Love (or a Loved One), and finally Loss of Life. Now, to this date, no one has actually proven Husfortap’s existence, though many claim that on the overhead map, you can see a rectangular white structure on the side of a mountain directly south of Markarth, which some believe to be the manor. And of course, there are rumors flying around the Internet about how the manor has actually killed people, but so far Husfortap remains just an urban legend.”

“Well I’ve decided to finally put this myth to rest.” Crum continued. “Over the next day or so, I’m going to explore the alleged site of this mysterious mansion and see if there’s any truth to the tales after all. I’ll let you all know what I find in my next video. For Egg Beaters, this is Jeff Crum signing off.”

I’d heard of this one before: in the original story, some poor guy discovered the mansion and it slowly began to eat away at his life until he ended up homeless and welcoming of the final curse. Now, I’m pretty sure that this was just a made-up tale, though I would have no way to prove it myself because apparently you need a console command to reach the mansion and I only have Skyrim for Playstation 3 (yes, I have suffered the infamous Rim Lag). Besides, most of these urban legends and Creepypastas are just fictional stories. Why would this one be any different?

In class the next day, my AP physics teacher completely busted my balls. He failed my paper for “not citing my sources properly”. I had all the information, but I didn’t indent the second line of each source, like that was a big fucking deal. Of course, being the kind soul that my teacher was, instead of just marking off a few points, he flunked me for the whole thing! Suffice to say, I hated AP physics with every fiber of my being.

After class, I knew I needed to cool down. I decided to pull out my phone and check Egg Beaters once again, and immediately saw that Crum had a new video up: “Skyrim’s Secret Found!” The new video was only posted just this morning yet had already amassed over 1,000 viewers. Intrigued, I clicked the video to see Crum a bit more ecstatic than he usually was (if that was at all possible).

“Hello everyone, Jeff Crum here for Egg Beaters with some exciting news! In my last video, I said I would debunk the urban legend of Husfortap Manor in Skyrim. Well just last night, I found out that the mysterious mansion actually exists, just like its origin story says it does!”

Crum showed footage of himself climbing over the mountain and dropping into the courtyard of Husfortap Manor, its bare, low-res facade staring down intimidatingly at the camera as its wooden sign waved gently in the breeze.

“So as you can see, here’s the mansion exactly the way it’s described in the story.” Crum carried on. “Let me just step inside here…sorry about the long load screen, my system was acting funky yesterday for some reason. Damn thing crashed twice right before I got to the mountain. Okay, here we go! Now, you can see that the mansion is completely bare on the inside except for that ominous black book. Let’s jaunt up here and read it, shall we?” He opened the book and, sure enough, there was only a small number 1 in the top left corner. However if the real Easter egg followed the story, this would soon change.

“Alright, there’s our mysterious book.” Crum continued. “Now I bet if I turn around…bam! There she is!”

There, in the center of the room, stood the infamous Woman in Blue, the deliverer of the supposed curses that plagued the mansion. Yet, I can see why the guy in the Creepypasta was smitten with her: she was quite beautiful, with her smooth pale skin and flowing black hair. Crum directed his avatar to walk past the woman, whose head turned to follow him. As he came level to her, she uttered her famous line.

“Wealth is temporary, what is here today will be gone tomorrow.” The woman stated, though I thought I saw her mutter something else inaudibly, but I couldn’t make out what it was. She looked slightly angry, though.

“Uh-oh! Hear that, everyone? Guess we all better watch our wallets!” Crum joked, clearly skeptical about Husfortap’s powers. “I’ll keep coming back to the manor to see if anything within changes, and I’ll post what I find in future videos For Egg Beaters, this is Jeff Crum signing off!”

So, this Easter egg was real after all, now this was cool! As for its mystical powers of misfortune, however, I was as skeptical as Crum; I never believed in all that “oogie boogie” stuff. But still, it was a pretty big deal that the mansion actually did exist after all the buzz passed around about it. Excited, I decided to share the video on Facebook to my friends, who were all a bunch of Elder Scrolls nuts just like me. In the near future, I would come to regret that action.

When I got home, my parents and sister were huddled around the television, all of them bearing a look of concern on their faces. Curious, I dropped my backpack and came to take a look, and what I saw shocked me.

“For those of you just tuning in, the United States Department of Defense has uncovered what they describe as one of the most devastating economic crimes in the nation’s history.” The news anchor reported. “Earlier today, hundreds of thousands of bank accounts were hacked into, their contents completely purged. Investigators are unsure of the identity of the culprits or the means they used to pull off this cyber heist, but they do know that this was done with absolute precision by a professional or team of professionals, and is not specific to any one bank chain.”

My heart nearly stopped. Was there a connection to Husfortap Manor after all? Granted, only a few thousand people watched the original Youtube video, but what about everyone who shared it on social media to their friends? I started to have second thoughts about my skeptical outlook, this was just too sudden to just be a coincidence. I thought my parents were going to have a heart attack when they checked their accounts only to find them completely empty, along with mine and my sister Emily’s. Of course, they all have me on Facebook, and I just shared that video like an idiot, so I basically fucked my family out of all our money.

Heart pounding, I darted up to my room, pulled up Facebook, and hurriedly deleted the video to stop it from spreading. Then, I went to Youtube to look up Crum’s email: he always posts his contact info in the description tab as a conceited attempt to receive personal complements. I sent Crum an email explaining the bank hack that had just occurred and that I thought it was linked to Husfortap. I also warned him not to post any more videos or visit the manor again. Okay, I thought, hopefully he’ll get the message and this is as far as it will go.

That night, I was unable to get to sleep; what if Crum didn’t heed my warning, or even if he did, what if one of my friends discovers the Manor on their own and posts the footage? I knew enough now to never watch it and surely not to repost it, but not everyone did. Not to mention, sometimes videos on Facebook auto-play, meaning they’ll play whether you click on them or not! I was afraid that, one way or another, this was going to get out. Then, as I was lying there pondering, I saw a familiar face on the other side of my bedroom window (which was on the second floor, by the way). Peering in at me with one hand placed firmly on the glass, was the Woman in Blue.

I jumped up in a fraction of a second, grabbed my flashlight and shone it at the window, but by the time I did, she was gone. I wasn’t imagining this; she was there, staring right at me! I opened the window and looked out, but still saw nothing, except one of the neighbor’s dogs giving me a weird look. Shaken, I closed the window, put the flashlight up and collapsed into bed. This experience didn’t help my insomnia much.

The next day, I just sort of vegetated through my classes, having not gotten any sleep last night. I barely remembered any of it, just sort of a blur of science, calculus, and history. Oh, and I think there was a fight in the hall, but two guys may have just tripped and fell. That’s how out of it I was. That afternoon when I got home, I found my sister in the kitchen attempting to comfort my parents, who had a look of utter despair on their faces.

“Guys, what happened?” I asked.

“We lost our jobs.” Dad stated. “My company filed bankruptcy and had to lay everyone off.”

“Same thing happened to me.” Mom said with the same disparity.

No, no, it couldn’t be, could it? I switched on the television, turned to the local news and sure enough, there it was on the bottom of the screen: “Rampant Job Layoffs Sweep the Country”. That son of a bitch, I told Crum to stop posting those videos, but he didn’t listen! Now someone close to my parents’ bosses must’ve shared the video to them, causing the company to go bankrupt and everyone who worked there to lose their jobs. These videos are beginning to affect people who didn’t even WATCH them!

I stayed downstairs to support my folks, though I was just as worried as they were now about our well-being. We now had NO money coming in: first all of our bank accounts get hacked, then mom and dad lose their jobs, we were screwed! Later that night, I dialed up Crum to give him a piece of my mind. I was seething with anger, this guy fucked up our lives due to his sheer negligence. I punched his number so hard into my phone I half expected the screen to crack. The phone rang once, then twice, three times….then voicemail, as expected.

“Crum!” I shouted into the phone. “You HAVE to stop posting those videos of Husfortap Manor, do you hear me? The curse is real, I swear to God I’m not making this up! All of my family’s bank accounts got hacked and my parents lost their jobs because of the videos. I sent you an email yesterday, which you obviously didn’t read, so now I’m telling you where you can’t ignore me: stop posting those videos!!!!” Then, I hung up, slammed my phone on my desk and collapsed in my chair.

I didn’t know what to do now. I could tell my family about the curse, but honestly, would they believe me? Even if so, what good would it do? If other people watching the videos now affected what happened to us, and Crum was ignoring my pleas, there wasn’t much I could do. I had to think of something though, I couldn’t just let my family’s lives fall apart right before my eyes! Emotionally exhausted from yet another devastating day, I drifted into an uncomfortable sleep right there in my computer chair.

When I opened my eyes, something was immediately different. I couldn’t see the light on my computer desk, or any light for that matter, except for the gleam from the moons outside the window. Wait, moons? As in plural? That couldn’t be right, yet there was no mistaking the white and red orbs staring back at me through the large window. But how could this be? The only place I knew of that had two moons was Tamriel, more specifically, Skyrim. I held my breath and prayed I wasn’t where I thought I was. Let me be in Jorrvaskr with the Companions, I thought, or the College of Winterhold. Please, just let me be anywhere except…where I realized I was when I turned around: Husfortap Manor.

Even in the dim lighting, there was no mistaking Husfortap’s interior. Its bare wood frame, its wide featureless single room, and its plain black book in the back of the room that recorded what ill fates befell those who visit this place. Yet as I looked around the room, I saw no sign of her. Good, as long as I didn’t speak to her, I wouldn’t be cursed. I hurried towards the large wooden door at the front of the manor and attempted to pull it open, but to no avail. I twisted the doorknob frantically, trying to get the door to open, but it was unfortunately locked. Then, a flash of lightning lit up the door’s window, and I saw a reflection behind me that made me freeze solid.

It was her, the Woman in Blue in her young form. I turned around to see her in her position in the center of the room. She stared through me with a look of horror and appeared visibly shaken. Her mouth trembled as if she was trying to say something, but no words came out. She stood there muttering for about five seconds and then reached a hand towards me.

“JOSEPHINE!!!!!!!” The Woman screamed in a shrill tone that sounded like death itself, aging each second of the cry until finally she decayed into a rotted corpse, not unlike the one described at the end of Skyrim’s Secret. As her body fell to the ground, her skull snapped off and rolled towards me, her empty eyesockets looking up at me and staring through my soul. The mansion then shook and fell down all around me, and a large beam of wood fell right on top of me.

I shot awake, almost out of breath, and looked around to see only my bedroom, warmly illuminated by my desk lamp. Of course it was all a dream, but it felt so real. For some reason, I couldn’t help thinking: what was the significance of that name the woman shouted, “Josephine”? Curious, I booted up my computer and ran a search for the name, along with various other paranormal keywords. I scrolled for a while through various irrelevant links until I came across an article that caught my eye.

The article included a photograph of a woman who looked exactly like the Woman in Blue. Pulling it up, I found that the woman’s name was Josephine Palmer. According to the article, Josephine was born in 1896 and was a third generation citizen of the United States, her family having immigrated from Norway. She was known by the townspeople as “the Blue Lady” for her tendency to always wear a deep royal blue gown. It was believed by her house servants that Josephine was a member of a small cult that worshipped a deity named Uheldig, patron of misfortune and strife. Uheldig was infamous for cursing nonbelievers, for no other reason than his personal amusement.

In 1921, on the night of her 25th birthday, Josephine committed suicide in her bedroom by drinking poison. Clutched in her hand was a note to her family detailing her motives. She had killed herself in order to appeal to Uheldig, who she claimed had promised to cure her infant daughter’s tuberculosis if Josephine took her own life and pledged her servitude to him in the hereafter. Mysteriously, the servant who tended to the baby noticed that her symptoms had vanished later that day. This was all starting to make sense now.

Suddenly, the signature ping of my email interrupted my train of thought. Odd, who was emailing me so late into the night? Pulling up my account, I was surprised to see that the message came from Jeff Crum’s address. Hmm, I guess my heated voicemail got through to him! I opened the email and immediately my screen was engulfed in a video player. The video that popped up scared me out of my skin.

It showed footage of Crum’s avatar entering Husfortap Manor and speaking to Josephine, who was late middle aged by this point. This was the sign of the third curse: Loss of Home. The scary part was, before the video opened, I got a glimpse of the message’s details: it was allegedly sent to “multiple recipients”. I desperately attempted to close the video, but to no avail. The email must’ve contained a virus preventing me from controlling the computer, or shutting it off for that matter.

“Your home is your sanctuary,” Josephine spoke at full-volume as I had a near panic-attack. “And you do all you can to preserve it, but what happens when others aren’t as responsible?” After the message was delivered, my computer completely shut off.

“What the hell are you doing in here?” Emily opened my door, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

“We have to get out of here now!” I told her in a panic.

“What are you talking about?” She responded.

“I don’t have time to explain, just go wake Mom and Dad up and tell them we have to get out!”

Emily sauntered downstairs to mom and dad’s bedroom while I waited anxiously; I wasn’t leaving without my family. What was going to happen to us though? According to the curse, we will lose our home due to someone’s irresponsibility, but none of us did anything to endanger our homes, did we? Unlike the kid in the Creepypasta, there’s no one else living here, so what could it be? As I ran through the scenarios in my head, Mom and Dad came around the corner, looking irritated and groggy.

“You want to explain to me why you’re having your sister wake us up at six o’ clock in the morning on a Saturday?” Dad demanded.

“I can’t right now, we just have to get out of the house before-” My sentence was interrupted by a loud boom from outside, followed by a low, intense rumbling. I ran to the window and looked outside just in time to see a mass of water slam into our house, which crashed through the windows and knocked me backwards. Disoriented, I attempted to regain my bearings, but could barely see in front of my face in the murky brown depths. Following my instinct, I swam upward, pushing past debris and furniture, until I surfaced at about the level my room would be.

Grabbing hold of a large piece of drywall, I called for my family. I found them holding onto various chunks of the house further down and regrouped with them. As we floated, we noticed other survivors had managed to escape the wreckage; from them we learned that the nearby dam had burst, causing the entire river to flood our neighborhood. One of the maintenance crew must have neglected to notice a crack in the dam, and that’s what caused it to burst.

Eventually, the National Guard flew in and airlifted us to a sanctuary, where we learned that several disasters like this had happened around the entire world, each a different case of catastrophe due to human negligence: house fires started by lit cigarettes, bombs accidentally detonated by one country or another’s military, faulty construction sites toppling and taking out nearby homes, you name it. Basically anywhere in the world you looked, it was one thing or another.

I couldn’t believe Crum, how could he do this to innocent people? Of course, as I thought about it, the possibility crossed my mind that he wasn’t even responsible at all. For all I knew, he received the final curse a long time ago and now Uheldig was using his account to spread the recorded videos. Whoever was responsible for this, I knew I had to put a stop to it, though I didn’t know how. Crum’s address was the one piece of personal information that he didn’t irresponsibly disclose to billions of people on the Internet, so I had no idea how to find him. I had to do something though, and I was running out of time.

“One thing I don’t understand,” Dad suddenly spoke up, breaking my train of thought. “How did you know that this was going to happen?”

“That’s what I’ve been wondering.” Concurred Emily.

“Alright you know what? Fuck it, you all deserve the truth.” I didn’t have the energy to think up a lie, I didn’t even care if they believed me or not. I told my family everything about Husfortap Manor, from the curses to Crum to Josephine Palmer, I laid it all out for them, and how if someone didn’t stop this soon, people were going to start dying, fast. To my surprise, none of them rolled their eyes or looked at me like I was nuts, they just…listened.

“You all probably think I’m crazy.” I stated at the end of my story.

“Sweetie, after all the weird things that’ve happened the past couple days,” My mom answered. “I’d believe just about anything.” Dad and Emily nodded in agreement.

Despite the urgency to stop the curses, I knew that none of us could do it in our current state of exhaustion, so we each grabbed a cot and settled in for a much-needed (if uncomfortable) sleep. As I drifted off, I suddenly felt a cold breeze lash my body. Opening my eyes, I saw I was now on a tall mountain, overlooking a vast winterland, with snow blowing past me in a sharp wind. Turning around, I was met by a great ancient structure built into the peak of the mountain, staring down at me. I recognized where I was immediately: I was on High Hrothgar, Skyrim’s highest peak. As I stared up in awe at the structure, I heard a familiar female voice off to my right.

“Even though it’s been my prison for so long,” Josephine said, trudging through the snow towards me, smiling. “I must admit this game is quite impressive.”

“Is this real?” I asked.

“It depends on what your definition of ‘real’ is.” She replied. The Woman in Blue always did speak in riddles.

“How are you able to talk to me here?” I asked. “Aren’t you bound to Husfortap Manor?”

“The passage of time has allowed me to build up my strength.” Josephine replied. “I’ve managed to escape Uheldig’s custody, and now I realize I made a horrible mistake by selling my soul to him. I want to try to make things right, if I can.”

She extended her arms, and words appeared in the snow, much like the glyphs do when the Greybeards teach you a Shout, only this time they spelled out an address: 1743 Oak Drive, Topeka, Kansas. This could only be Jeff Crum’s address.

“I’m choosing to help you because I believe you can do what must be done.” Josephine spoke. “Don’t prove me wrong.”

“But what do I do when I-” I started, though my sentence was interrupted by the most horrible noise I’d ever heard echoing across the winds. It sounded almost like a human shout combined with the roar of a lion.

“Uheldig!” Josephine exclaimed. “He’s noticed I’ve escaped and he’s coming! You have to go now, don’t waste a single second. Go!”

I sat up in my cot, heart pounding. Looking out of the shelter’s many windows, I noticed the sun was already up. Immediately waking my parents and Emily, I told them of the dream I had, and of the address revealed within it. The four of us left the sanctuary, lying that we had relatives we could stay with, and wandered into the nearby town. My God, the place literally looked as though a twister hit it. Buildings were ripped to shreds, debris and abandoned vehicles littered the streets, and stray dogs were seen scouring the wreckage, looking for any scraps of food they could find. It was like something out of an disaster movie.

Before long, we came across an abandoned SUV with the keys still in the ignition. The engine worked and it had half a tank of gas, so we took it. My father entered 1743 Oak Drive into the vehicle’s GPS and we were off. We drove for quite a long time through the great plains of the Midwest. Every once in a while, I would catch glimpses of distant towns devastated by various disasters, and on occasion an army transport carrying survivors would pass us.

“So this Crum guy,” my Dad said after a while. “You think he’s doing this, you know, on purpose?”

“I don’t know.” I answered. “I’m not even sure if he’s still alive.”

“Well if he is, he won’t be once I’m through with him.” My Dad half-joked, making the rest of us chuckle.

We drove in silence for a little while, before the skyline of Topeka revealed itself to us in the distance. Of course there was some obvious damage, but the city still looked reasonably intact.

“About time.” My Mom breathed in relief. Right as we started to celebrate, however, the GPS began to sputter and lose its image.

“What the hell’s wrong with this thing?” Dad asked, tapping the screen. The image continued to flicker and distort, until it displayed a new image. Immediately recognizing Husfortap Manor, I sprang out of my seat and tried to turn the GPS off, to no avail.

“Cover your ears, now!” I shouted. My dad slammed on the brakes and we all shielded our ears. Through my hands, I heard Josephine’s fourth message, Loss of Love, very muffled. However I could still make out the words: “Love is a powerful feeling, but it is so fragile in this chaotic world, which shows no mercy to even the closest of lovers”. I attempted to hum a song to drown it out, maybe that would negate the effect.

Finally, there was silence. We all removed our hands from our ears, and noticed that the GPS was back to normal. Dad immediately put the car back in drive and continued down the road; we started off at a normal speed, but I began to notice that we were gradually speeding up.

“Uh, Lewis, slow down a bit honey.” Mom said. Dad didn’t respond, the car continued to accelerate.

“Dad, slow down, we don’t need to get there that fast!” Emily said, a little scared. Again, Dad said nothing.

“Lewis, stop the damn car!” Mom shouted, the vehicle now going so fast that the outside world now simply looked like unrecognizable blurs of color.

“Dad, stop!” I yelled, though looking in the rearview mirror, I saw the lifeless, empty expression on my father’s face and knew he wasn’t at fault: it got us. Knowing better than to remove my seatbelt, I attempted to pull Dad’s leg off the gas pedal from the back seat, while Mom tried to wrestle the steering wheel from him. Dad pushed us off and then floored it, jerking the rest of us back in our seats.

“Look out!” Mom shrieked. I only caught a glimpse of the tree before our car slammed into it full-force, and I blacked out.

After some time, I opened my eyes and raised my head up. My forehead was wet with what I knew to be blood. Looking into the front of the car, I did not need to guess the fate of my parents: the front end of the car was completely crushed in and blood was seeping through the seats. I gasped in shock and devastation, barely able to breathe, and began shouting through tears. Then, I heard a low moaning in the seat next to me, and Emily began to move.

“Emily!” I gasped. Using a chunk of broken glass to cut off her seatbelt and mine, I dragged my sister from the wreckage of the car and onto the grass. She slowly came to and sat up, then noticed the car.

“Mom? Dad?” she muttered. Standing up, Emily darted towards the car, though I caught her before she could get close.

“MOMMY! DADDY!” Emily cried, bawling uncontrollably.

“Emily…they…they’re gone.” I said, holding onto her as tightly as I could. We both stood there in an embrace for several minutes. We couldn’t believe it, we couldn’t believe something like this just happened. Standing there, I wished more than anything that this whole experience was just a horrible nightmare that I would wake up from, but I knew better. After a few minutes, I said the most difficult sentence of my life.

“We have to go.” I said through sobs, to which my sister shook her head in defiance. “Emily, we can’t stay, we have to keep moving!”

“I can’t.” she responded.

“Emily, listen to me: if we don’t get to that address, everyone is going to die. Do you understand me?” I affirmed. Emily finally relented and agreed to keep pressing on with me, and the two of us made the long hike to Topeka.

After what seemed like hours, we made it, but the sight of the city was truly nothing to celebrate. Topeka had clearly been hit hard by the fourth curse. Left and right, bodies dangled from streetlights, burn victims littered the streets, as did those who’d obviously died from falling. Meanwhile surrounding them, loved ones mourned those they had lost. National guardsmen could be seen cutting people down off streetlights and clearing the bodies out of the streets. Emily and I were almost afraid to walk through the city, but somehow found the strength to push through.

“Excuse me,” I stopped a soldier passing through. “We’re looking for 1743 Oak Drive. Our, uh, cousin lives there and we want to make sure he’s alright.”

“Oak Drive? That’s all the way on the other side of the city, on the very outskirts.” The soldier said. “I can give you a lift there if you’d like.” We obliged, and the soldier took us to his jeep, which we rode through the nightmare. It seemed like half the city was dead by one means or another, and their relatives’ expressions of grief were unbearable to see. After a while I just tried to avoid looking at the streets, I’d seen enough death and sadness for one day.

“Never seen anything like this before,” the soldier remarked. “Mass suicides springing up all over the damn world in literally a few hours. Don’t know what’d cause something like that. At first we thought it was some kind of behavior-altering virus, but this has just spread too quickly, it almost seemed like it hit everywhere in the world at the same time. This is definitely a weird one.”

That’s an understatement. Eventually, we exited Topeka and drove until the jeep came to a stop in front of a small dirt road with a rusty street sign in front of it that read “Oak Drive”.

“Well, here we are.” The soldier said. “I hope you guys find this cousin of yours!”

We thanked the soldier and got out, then started walking down the long dirt road. Oak Drive didn’t have much to it, just a few rusted trailers that looked like they hadn’t been inhabited for years. The only life we saw on that road was a sluggish looking Rottweiler laying on the porch of a small shack while an equally sluggish looking old man dozed in a rocking chair.

The two of us walked for some time until finally we saw a mailbox with “1743” on it. The adjacent house was a white mobile home with a silver Prius parked outside of it. There was a large satellite dish around back, which appeared to have been recently installed.

“Wait here, I shouldn’t be long.” I ordered Emily as I made my way up the stairs. I knocked on the door, no answer; then I rang the doorbell, again to no response. Finally, I tried to turn the doorknob, but the door was locked. Coming back down off the steps, I grabbed the garden gnome at the foot of the stairs and approached the left-hand window. Using the gnome, I busted the glass, reached my hand through to undo the latch, and opened the window.

Climbing into the dark interior, I pulled out my cell phone and shone its flashlight around the living room, which looked abandoned. Every piece of furniture was covered in a fine layer of dust, and the carpet was decorated with empty beer cans, the remnants of food, and the occasional dead mouse. Spider webs were strewn along the walls, some still supporting their eight-legged craftsmen. This place looked like it hadn’t seen life for quite a while. It didn’t take me long, though, to find where I needed to go. Above the main hallway was Skyrim’s signature dragon symbol, drawn in something red I was hoping was permanent marker.

Going down the hallway, I saw on either side of the walls all the symbols the protagonist in the story saw in the black book, each signifying his fate: the Thieves’ Guild emblem, the beggar, the burning house, and the broken heart. Finally, I came to a closed door at the end of the hallway, which bore another symbol, but this one very large: a cloaked figure holding a scythe. It was a symbol of Death.

I reached down and slowly turned the knob, then very cautiously pushed the door open. It revealed a large room with several television monitors on the walls. In the center was a desk with a laptop and two computer monitors resting upon it. All of them were linked to a large, blinking server in the back of the room. This was clearly where the videos were coming from, and how they were being spread through the Internet and satellites. As I stepped inside, the laptop and all of the monitors suddenly clicked on, and an image appeared upon them.

I instinctively looked, and what I saw filled me with horror; it was the note that delivered the fifth curse: Loss of Life. I attempted to look away, but the image was everywhere. I closed my eyes but it was too late, I had already seen it. The words upon the note burned in my mind like a hot coal: Life is fleeting, and before we know it, it will be plucked suddenly from us. Truly the one thing no man can escape is the cold touch of Death. Filled with terror, I fell to my knees and shook my head in denial. How could I have come so far and let myself fail so easily? Then, I heard a voice to my left.

“It’s about time.” The voice uttered in a solemn tone. “I knew someone would come sooner or later.” Out of the shadows stepped Jeff Crum, looking worse for the ware. His clothes were torn to shreds, his glasses were missing a lens, he had a crazed look in his eyes and his face was caked in dirt, as if he hadn’t bathed for some time. He was definitely a sight for sore eyes. Though the one thing that worried me the most was the pistol tucked into his jeans.

“Who are you?” Crum demanded.

I told him my name and asked, “What is all this?”

“This is the end.” Crum responded. “Of you, of me, of everyone.”

“What are you talking about?”

“This planet is sick.” Crum said. “And mankind is the disease that’s killing it, with our pollution, our littering, and our squandering of natural resources. But this Manor, oh yes, this Manor is the cure. Finally Earth will be rightfully returned to the hands of Mother Nature where it belongs.”

“So you knew all along that the Husfortap curse was real!?” I accused, outraged. “You knew what you were doing to all those people?”

“Of course I knew! I’ve known for some time about things like this.” Crum said. “See, spirits and deities have been hiding cursed messages in art since the beginning of time, starting with cave drawings, then moving to stone tablets, then books, then movies. I knew it was only a matter of time before one made the jump to video games, that’s why I started that stupid Egg Beaters show, so I could try to weed out one of those messages and use it to finally cleanse the Earth of our parasitic species! At first all I found were dumb inside-jokes and weird random shit left by developers, but then I started hearing about this ‘Husfortap Manor’, and knew I had found my pot of gold.”

“You son of a bitch.” I said, my rage overflowing. “My parents are dead because of you!”

“Don’t worry.” Crum replied. “You’ll see them again soon. But now the both of us will bear witness to the greatest mass extinction since that of the dinosaurs: the extinction of man!” He turned to the laptop and began clacking at the keys. The monitors around the room showed that he was attaching the cursed note to a file, and uploading it to what looked like every web page on the Internet! He pressed enter, and the file began to upload.

“No!” I shouted, rushing forward, though Crum stopped me in my tracks by drawing his pistol and aiming it at my face.

“Stay back!” he ordered. “After all the trouble I’ve gone through, I’m not gonna let it fall to shit now!”

Suddenly, the monitors on either side of the laptop began to flicker and hiss static, startling Crum. Then, Josephine’s face appeared on the screens and she let out an ear-splitting scream. The glass on the monitors shattered and blew outward, sending shards flying into Crum’s body and knocking him off his feet.

“Hurry, the laptop!” I heard Josephine’s voice say in my head. I ran for the computer, but not before I was almost knocked over myself by a violent trembling. The entire house shook back and forth, and it sounded like a train was rumbling by outside. Finally the roof of the mobile home tore off and flew into the air, the rest of the house slowly following suit. We were in the middle of a cyclone!

“You’re too late!” Crum shouted, lifting his head up. “Our fates are sealed, along with the rest of humanity!”

I pushed forward, inching towards the laptop against the violent winds, and shielding my head from flying debris with my arms. Momentarily peeking out, I saw that the email upload was now at 35%. Then, before I had time to react, I was knocked to the ground by a wooden nightstand that flew right at my body. The wood shattered as it hit my arm, sending splinters deep into it; the sting of the impact blurred my vision and almost caused me to lose consciousness.

As my vision returned and I sat up, I was just in time to catch Crum crawling towards me. He grabbed me by the throat and forced me back to the ground; even through his bloodied face I could see a look of pure insanity in his eyes. Clutched in Crum’s fist was a shard of broken glass, which was clearly cutting into his hand. He raised the shard into the air and went to bring it down on me, gritting his teeth as he did so. Acting fast, I grabbed hold of a piece sticking out of his shoulder and twisted it as hard as I could. Crum yelled in agony and fell backwards, giving me time to scramble to my feet and head for the computer, which was now 85% finished. I had to hurry.

Finally reaching the laptop, I hammered the “Cancel Send” button, which prompted for a username and password. I tried shutting off the computer next, but got the same prompt. This computer was locked down tight with security. I finally decided that the only thing to do was destroy the laptop. Picking it up, I raised the computer above my head and prepared to slam it down on the desk, but something caught my eye. Through the winds, I could make out a large, shadowy profile looking in my direction, its glowing yellow eyes piercing the gusts like brights on a car. It was Uheldig, and he was angry.

The entity opened its mouth, revealing rows of razor-sharp teeth, and then lunged at me faster than any natural thing could. Instinctively, I shielded my face with the laptop just as Uheldig struck; the force of the attack tore the computer in half and knocked me hard onto my back. Looking up, I saw Uheldig flying away, carrying a struggling Josephine over his shoulder. As the tornado continued to rip the house apart, I crawled towards a piece of intact wall and leaned against it. Looking to my left, I saw Crum glaring up at me with a look of rage and contempt, before the floor below him was ripped away, and he was gone.

I sat back and let out a heavy exhale, knowing full and well my time was also upon me. Yet my thoughts were not about me in that moment, but about Emily. She’d lost the house, Mom and Dad, and now me. What would happen to her in the future? Where would she go? Just as I was thinking this, I noticed my sister through the cyclone, crouching in a nearby ditch. Her eyes and mine met for a brief second, before a chunk of roof flew towards me, and I saw no more.

I gave my life so that humankind could live. During the years that followed, I silently observed their progress: humanity would recover and thrive again, but it would never be the same as it was before. I’ve made sure to keep a close eye on Emily through all this. She’s come a long way, by helping others recover from the disasters, starting a charity organization for those who’d lost everything, and even finding love in the process. She’s grown into a woman I’m proud to call my sister.

As for Josephine, I can’t say what’s become of her. I’d like to think that if she escaped Uheldig’s clutches once, she can do it again, though realistically I don’t think he’s stupid enough to let that happen. Now every once in a while, I can almost swear I see her out of the corner of my eye, but every time I turn to look, she’s gone.

Humanity dodged a bullet this time, but we all must be more careful in the future. That is why I’m here now, guiding Emily’s hands as she types this. My message must be heard. Uheldig is still out there, and it is unknown what he has in store for the human race; he may return to Husfortap Manor, or he may plant a completely new curse entirely. This is why if you happen upon anything strange or out of the ordinary while playing the newest video games, approach it with caution. It may just be a harmless Easter egg and if so, enjoy it. However, if you notice anything peculiar in your real life shortly after its discovery, leave the thing alone. This message must be adhered to so that Uheldig will never again pose as great of a threat to mankind. The world need never again see anything like Skyrim’s Secret.

Credit To – Sean Blevins

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Elegy for Devil’s Lake

November 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Sit tight, my friends, as I weave a tale of magic and night. Let the fire burn low and let the wind howl through the ridges of this lake as the muses sign unto me, and the night speaks with my voice…
There was once a young man, who lived, worked, slept, and ate along the ridge of a great, dark lake; Devil’s Lake, in which he fished and drank. He was a wild man, in harmony with nature, loving all things in nature, alive or otherwise. But nature was not in harmony with him.
The man lived in peace with the world for many years, each day and night the same as the last. But one night was different. The day was normal for the man, and the sun set, just as it had for millennia before. The night settled in, and the wind whispered through the trees. All was at peace, for a time. And the moon rose, a bright eye high above the earth. But the moon, this night, was different. It glowed orange. The young man sat high on the cliff above Devil’s Lake, and watched with trepidation as this new moon rose.
He knew the orange moon was a natural occurrence, but this was not a natural day. This day was Hallow’s Eve, when the veil between this world and the next was thinnest. The ominous moon bearing down on him did not ease his fear. The moon appeared to have as face, and it watched, and waited.
The tall ridge of stone over the lake seemed to glow with the light of the moon, sparkling like a sheet of frosted glass. The ground below the man trembled slightly. Something was coming, he knew. But he did not know what. And for the first time in his life, he was truly afraid of the dark.
The lake below shimmered, still as the sky above, and placidly reflected the trees around it. But there was a ripple in still water, and something below the lake moved. The reflections of the trees and the moon far overhead broke into shards of glass, and the wind stopped humming. Everything was silent as the water broke.
Impossibly slowly, something appeared to be rising out of the water. The lake rippled as this new apparition, slow as ice, stretched its way higher and higher into this world.
What undulated out of the water was, at first, nothing but a single tentacle, sharpened into a spear at its tip. It was red like fire, and spotted with dark blotches of night. It wiggled slowly, quietly, almost unnoticeably as it slid between worlds. It shimmered in the moonlight. But there was some unmistakably off-set quality about it, something not of this world. And it most certainly wasn’t.
The man quaked, watching this monstrosity carefully. He had never seen anything like this before, but this was Hallow’s Eve. He prepared himself for what else might appear above the water, fastening himself in a protective leather suit and wielding a heavy stone axe. But even with his weapon, a feeling of deep dread settled in the pit of his stomach, and he waited…
Eventually, after what felt like weeks, the young man saw something more substantial than a tentacle float out of the water. It was, at first, nothing more than a red lump, as it was the base of the tentacle. The base, too, was covered in patches of nothing. Then the mass grew, and space itself seemed to spread apart to create a void for the beast to pass through. The young man saw that creature rising out of the water had ten thousand eyes.
The eyes were intelligent, large, and a deep yellow. They had slits like those of cats, but these slits were deeper, and showed a way into unimaginable horror. They darted around, watching everything, especially the young man. The ten thousand eyes circled the monster’s great head, and observed all, learning best how it could be destroyed.
Then came the smell, a scent like rotting fruit and decaying flesh that reached down into his throat, causing him to gag and taste something awful, something sulfuric and evil. The appearance of the devilish creature stopped the man cold in his tracks. He could feel a very real pressure in the air, like something building and growing…
And suddenly, there was a cacophony like metal scraping on metal poured from the spot broken in space within the lake, a sound like one hundred billion screams of torment and anguish. It was if Hell itself outpoured the very noise within it.
The beast climbed higher and higher into the air underneath the light of the orange moon, hauling more of its horrendous body out of that other world and into this plane, and now the man could see all of it, not just a tentacle. The rest of its body appeared to be decaying, and rotted flesh fell off its bones, if they could even be called that. But what was on the skin was worse still.
The man thought he could see faces, human faces, shift and form on the beast’s skin, and then disappear into nothing. What appeared to be mouths, mouths ringed with sharp, poisonous teeth, also moved freely on the abomination’s skin. The man also thought he could see other, more horrible things, but he was not sure. The man felt a crushing fear in his chest, the kind of terror that only comes with a brush with death.
Finally, after what the young man felt must have been years, the fiend reached the apex of its flight, and shuddered, and the air, the very fabric of reality seemed to shudder with it. The moon was at the very tip of its climb as well, and now began to descend. And the monster lowered with it, as if tied to the celestial body. The young man watched, and breathed a sigh of relief, seeing that he was not in any danger now. The worst was over, he thought.
The single tentacle of the brute, the one that had first broken the surface like shattered a mirror, felt the man’s change of heart. Taking this last opportunity, for the split second the man let his guard down, the creature struck. It lashed out like a whip, stabbing the man through the chest with the expertise of a master marksman.
The young man choked on blood as his eyes grew wide with horror, looking down to see a lava red tentacle impaled through his chest. The man’s blood splashed carelessly onto the rock cliff, poisoned by the creature’s filthy skin. The tentacle relaxed, and pulled out of the man’s body.
The young man fell to his knees as his life seeped away slowly, saturating the stones he sat upon. His gasped through the blood in his throat, and his eyes watched the demonic atrocity as it slid, silent now, beneath the still waves of the lake. One of its great eyes flicked around one last time, terrible fury reflected within, but also a great mirth. It did not have the opportunity to get fully into this world, but it was able to send… something else in. The man died quietly, his last breaths gurgling in his own blood.
Quietly, quieter than the grave, the beast sunk back into its lair. But, in its last moments in the world above, it watched its handiwork come to life. And it laughed a deep, evil laugh. The blood of its victim slowly began to gather in one spot, like a ghastly bubble. The gory mass of poisoned blood grew and swelled until it finally burst with a single, definitive blast. The forceful pop released hundreds, perhaps thousands, of small droplets of tainted blood into the night.
A droplet landed near the man’s glazed eyes, and began to change. It was no longer blood, but now the same color as the leviathan that had birthed it. It swirled and spun on its axis, until it became solid, and opened, revealing a single, yellow eye. And this happened over and over again, each and every droplet forming an eye.
As the man’s body finally ran cold, drained of blood, the droplets blinked as one, and slunk off into the darkness to find their next prey, and to wait. And nature watched, impassively, as the man’s body slowly decomposed over many days, and the rocks and trees grew around him. He became part of the earth that he loved. But the same cannot be said about his blood. That is a different story.
It is said that, sometimes, on some nights when the moon is full, if one stands in just the right spot on the cliff at Devil’s Lake, one can see a ripple when no wind has blown. The lake quivers, as if something massive beneath its surface is waiting, watching, for an opportunity to surface. And on some Hollow’s Eves, when the orange moon coincides with that dreaded night, it is spoken that one can see a red tentacle rise from the water to this very day, patiently awaiting a new chance to stretch into this world. The times haven’t been right yet. But someday they will. It’s only a matter of waiting.
And it is always a matter of waiting. The blood and the beast are patient. The eyes are growing in number as they find more sources of nourishment. Just how many there are today is impossible to tell. And they’re too small to ever be noticed; the size of a drop of blood, but more dangerous than any weapon. They may be in your house and you will never even know. They are out there, in the darkness.
The young man died alone on the ridge, and the earth reclaimed his body as its own. No one has spoken of him since, but all this has been recorded faithfully by the omnipresent night, the watchers in the darkness. And all this I can tell you, but let it be a warning; the night does you no harm. Do not be afraid of the dark. Be afraid of what lurks within it.

Credit To – Andrew Sova

This story is a Crappypasta Success Story – it was generally well-liked over at Crappypasta, and I feel that the author used the feedback that he received there to successfully rewrite the pasta. You may read the original Crappypasta post and comments here. Congratulations to the author!

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Who is Mary Weatherworth and What is She Doing in Your Mirror?

November 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“This is breaking and entering,” said Delores.

“Not,” said one of her friends. “The older kids party here all the time.”

“So it’s only breaking and entering for the first person to do it?”

“If you’re too scared go home. Baby”

Delores opened the door, its brass handle gleaming like some sole survivor of decay. Diseased breath seeped out. Flowers carved above the fireplace bloomed in the moonlight. The beam of their flashlight conjured bottles and cans strewn about the floor, ghosts from parties past. They walked down a corridor past tall doors and peeling wallpaper. A clock kept time to the secret pulse of all things, ticking slower than it had the week before. As they were told, there was a mattress in one of the rooms. And a mirror.

“What are those things in the corner?”

“That’s the skin from little snakes. Go pick one up.”

“Condoms, gross!”

“Let’s not do this,” said Delores. “What if it’s true? Why do we even want to know? How can she see us if she has knives in her eyes?”

“I knew she’d chicken out.”

“Why can’t we do this at one of our houses?” said Delores.

“Because your mom would walk in with PBJs.”

The cruel derision of her friends silenced all protests. Death before displeasing your peers. Their reflection in an oval mirror vanished when they shut off the flashlight. “Mary Weatherworth come forth,” they said, quietly the first time, louder the next. The third time it fled their mouths and took on a life of its own like some blank check tossed into the abyss. A pinprick of light appeared and expanded. Delores’ friends fled.

What looked back. Three of them. White leather skin. Saucer eyes black and glossy. Featureless faces like the pupa stage of some malevolent becoming. Each clasped two daggers with stone handles, holding them with the blades pointed up.

Delores tried to scream but the muscles in her throat must have conspired against her, unless they were no longer under her control. She said the name again. About extra incantations the legend was silent.

The frame of the mirror glimmered from a sepia strobe within. The smell of pavement after a summer rain filled the room. The reflections’ hair blew from a breeze Delores could not feel. One of them cried. One laughed. Another extended a hand to the glass like an ape at the zoo, as though puzzled by its whereabouts, outraged by the ex nihilo curse of its existence in the way most humans are not.

Slowly they looked less blank, more like animate outlines. More like Delores.

A cacophony of voices told her she was the reflection, not them. Told her they would prove it, that the proof would make it so. They raised the daggers to shoulder level and pointed them at their eyes. With muscles suddenly freed Delores turned to run.

Calibrated to the dying clock, her frantic pounding on the door slowed down to primal beats. Her friends wouldn’t have locked it. She crouched and covered her face and the voices commanded her to observe the proof.


Years later, Delores keeps a blog:

The meme researcher is a paleontologist, digging through the soil of history and literature and art for common fossils, looking for connections between the earliest forms and their living descendants. Just because most people do this poorly and in pursuit of frivolous artifacts doesn’t call the whole enterprise into disrepute.

This is also a way of keeping my feet wet in Philosophy. I’m NOT interested in Mary Weatherworth as a supernatural phenomena but as a meme, a compact chunk of information. I’m studying how it gets passed on, how it competes in the meme pool (the pool of ideas or units of culture) and how it mutates and evolves. Please send me occult lore involving mirror-inhabiting entities who are blind.

I discovered the following on an Ana blog, a site devoted to unhealthy tips for losing weight. The meme was the least creepy thing I found there. Ana, as best I can tell, is the animistic force of anorexia. According to the hostess of this site it’s a positive lifestyle choice rather than an illness. I’ve emailed Zelda for more details about the following story (posted without permission).

“there was a aynshent rituel 2 defeet evil beings. a princess named Nica had her eyes gowjed out by hi preests. 1 wore a cote of black fethers. 1 wore a giant fish head. they chanted Ave de Pico Ancho, Ave de Pico Ancho, Ave de Pico Ancho. BY REEDING THIS SPELL U JUST OPENED THE WINDOW TO THE OTHER SIDE! ITS UR MIRROR!! the only way 2 close it is by sending this email to 97 people. if U dont Nica will appeer in ur mirror all covred with rotting skin and glowng eyes and PULL U THRU 2 B with her 4 EVER!!”

Notice how the summons “ave de pico ancho” has to be repeated three times just like “Mary Weatherworth come forth.” This meme spreads itself virus-like by using the same mechanism as mainstream religions and cults. 1) You are cursed. 2) To break the curse you have to spread the meme. My evidence that this story evolved from the Weatherworth meme as opposed to sharing a common ancestor is based on three considerations. The first involves the transformation of Nica’s eyes. Similar to the legend of Mary Weatherworth, the mutilation of her eyes had supernatural consequences. Hopefully Zelda will respond to my email and clarify the scope of Nica’s powers.

The name “Mary Weatherworth” wasn’t contained in the earliest versions of the story. It comes from a traveler persecuted in Oaxaca for powers of divination and unnatural acts with the local girls. Before a trial could proceed, an angry mob abducted her, blinded her, and threw her down a well. Then the town suffered a series of droughts until it was abandoned. The legend, spread by recipients of Mary Weatherworth’s affection, was that she appeared in the mirrors of her persecutors, haunting them, eventually driving them to suicide. The inhabitants of neighboring villages began fending off the apparition with strange rituals and even human sacrifices. (In case of emergency, kill a virgin.)

So what’s the deal with mirrors? In the ancient world it was widely believed they were passageways to other realms. The most famous example is Detritus, a Gnostic philosopher, self-styled “prophet of the reflections,” possible author of the Gospel of Detritus, which was condemned by the early church fathers. He allegedly summoned an evil priestess in a mirror who told him the first one to blind him/herself would force the other to become the reflection. Perhaps it was a trick, but on which side should you err? He taught that owning a mirror was like opening a window during a pestilence. He wrote a tragedy about a kingdom invaded and vanquished by mirror warriors, its citizens too vain to dispense with them.

The simplest explanation for these tales is that scary stories conjoined with mirror stories. As they became more intriguing and outrageous they were repeated more often, making them the fittest in the meme pool, ensuring their survival. Let’s stick with that until something better comes along. Why are people so resistant to explanations in terms of chance mutation and layers of happenstance?

The diligent meme researcher must resist the ever-present temptation of assuming that legends have a factual basis. Interesting stories get passed on and mix with other interesting stories. It really is that simple.

My favorite version, if I had to pick only one, is the blank entity who absorbs the personality of the summoner, enslaving her in a parallel dimension in the mirror then taking her place in our world. The reflection proceeds to spread the lie that Mary Weatherworth is just a story, thereby enticing more to summon her. I’ve cataloged over sixty versions on this blog. The meme researcher’s work is never done.

Credit To – Petronius Jablonski

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Hymn of Valor Cove

November 16, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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When my father passed away; I received a journal given to us by our family attorney; stating that I was to receive this upon his death as stated in the will. Typical, I’m the only family member he has left and stayed in Valor Cove despite my desire to leave only because of dad and… Certain things that are out of my control; I opened up the journal to see that it had only one entry, and it was just this past month. I thought it was strange that my dad would be giving this to me, especially for one that barely even has a tenth of the notebook filled; but family is family, and according to the attorney, he explains that this journal was a way for my father to explain the things he was never able to explain while alive, and why I can never leave Valor Cove. As I opened the book and started to read; I started hearing the hymn that always played throughout the town, and always given sorrow to the townsfolk.

June 8th, 2009
My town has a very storied history that would certainly make a lot of historians beam with excitement; an important town in South Carolina during the days our country was collection of thirteen colonies, a battle site during the civil war in which the Unions drove out the Confederate forces with their tales between their legs, hell, it was even believed that pirates during the 17th century used the area that became Valor Cove as a hideout from authority. With that said, it often baffled my growing up here that the townspeople always given off the aura of uneasiness and sorry; like they wanted to leave this place but couldn’t.

As a 12 year old kid, I often took it as grown-ups being grown-ups so I never really bothered to ask why they were so gloomy. More often than not I would be playing at the local beach with the other kids and my younger brothers Reggie, age 10, and Warren, age 8, as there wasn’t much form of local entertainment that would keep us entertained outside of TV which our parents profoundly disapprove of. It was the sixties, so what constitutes fun was pretty limited. Reggie would often try to act all macho by being the star player whenever we play soccer with a few of the kids on the beach, always winning due to being bigger than the other kids, while Warren would simply just build sand castles. “Come on Clayton,” Reggie yelled at a distance, as I was sitting at a nearby table reading a book. “Put down that book and come play with us! We need one more man to play soccer!”

“Why don’t you ask Warren,” I responded with a sigh. “In case you haven’t noticed I am busy with something.”

“Fine bookworm; hey little bro, we need one more person, so come place with us.”

Warren doesn’t talk much since he’s always had bad social skills, but I heard the sounds of the children laughing and shouting goal a lot so I took the guess that Warren agreed to play with them. “Aw crap,” one of the neighborhood children cried out. “The ball is in the water!”

I looked over to the water and headed over to see what was up; apparently one of the neighborhood kids Olive had kicked it badly and it ended up a hundred feet away from the shoreline. “Sorry guys,” she said with a pout on her face. “I mishandled it.”

“No sweat,” Reggie responded. “We can just simply swim over to it.”

“Wait a minute Reggie,” another one of the kids said nervously. “Our parents never told us to go into the water, especially if we heard a certain sound.” I know what he was talking about; there’s an odd rule that the adults would always give the children when it comes to playing at the beach. Never go into the water when the hymn is heard, or you will be dragged to the bottom by nature stirred.

The hymn it refers to is something of a mystery to us kids but is known in the region; there will always be a soothing melody that is heard throughout the entire town as if the sound was being carried by the wind at random times, but nobody, not even the adults had any idea what it was… No, that’s not right; I always get the feeling that they know what it is, but they just simply refuse to tell us for whatever reason. “Oh come on you actually don’t believe in that do you?” Reggie laughed; he, Olive and two other kids jumped into the waters to get the ball, though I think they only used that as an excuse to go into the water. “Shit it is freezing! Let’s just get the ball before I chatter my teeth into dust!”

It looks as though Olive and Reggie were the only ones swimming towards the ball while Tara and John were relaxing in the wave. Suddenly, we heard something that sent a shiver through my entire body. It was a song of sorts, but I couldn’t make out the words because the waves drown them out, but I can definitely hear its pitches. It was very soothing, yet at the same time filled with such sorrow; like the singers were filled with no hope. It mesmerized me to the point that I wasn’t even paying attention to the surrounding around me, and I think everybody was in the same boat. All of the sudden, I heard this scream piercing through my eardrums which snapped me out of the trance; it was Olive who made the scream. I darted my head in the general direction. Out of the four who went into the water, only Reggie and Olive were visible above the water. “What happened; where’s John and Tara?!” I yelled at the two.

“We don’t know; something pulled them under and now there is blood everywhere!” Reggie responded. I couldn’t see it, but I did notice that the water being washed on shore has a dark red hue to it now; my god, did a group of sharks wonder into the cove? Everything was all at a haze as I tried to make sense of what was happening. “Oh god I felt something rubbing against my leg!”

“We need to swim out of here before—“Just like that Olive was pulled under by something that we can’t see.

“Olive;” Reggie yelped, even though he was only fifty feet away from us, I won’t forget the look of sheer terror Reggie’s eyes were illuminating. I wouldn’t even begin imagining myself in his situation. “I’m going after her.”

“Are you crazy?!” I yelled at Reggie, amidst the chorus of the other children begging Reggie to not stick around and swim to shore. “If you try and play hero now you’ll fucking die!” Of course my words fell on deaf ears as he just simply dived. God damn it, that idiot. Why does he do this crap all the time, trying to act all macho and be the center of attention? We all kept screaming for Reggie to swim to shore; but no one volunteered to go after him as they didn’t want to find out what is hiding in the waters and be potentially eaten. Warren was completely panicking as the minutes basically ticked by; I was forced to restrain him, kicking and screaming to let him go as Reggie is still under there. I really didn’t want to believe Reggie could possibly be dead; but there is no way I would be risking Warren’s life, not now, not ever. I was able to calm him down for a brief moment, but then Warren gasped when he spotted something washing on shore. When I saw what it was, I can already feel my heart trying to burst out of my chest from agony.

It was a couple of sneakers, both completely soaked in seawater and having a lot of red splotches of blood on them. From the looks of it they came from two people… Oh god no; one of them was Reggie’s, I recognize that mustard stain anywhere and those doodles he did on his own pair. There was simply no point in denying it now; Reggie is gone. Whatever was lurking beneath the water killed my little brother and the other kids; I was so stunned that I completely lost my grip on Warren, he ran towards the sneaker crying and screaming. All the other kids came rushing to him; some of them crying with him, others looking like deer in headlights. I just stood there; everything around me was in a complete blur, I heard adults coming towards the beach from downtown, trying their best to console the kids. My parents came over; my father hugging me tightly while mother went to go get Warren. All the while I heard the same hymn that was being sung, but this time I can hear the words more clearly.

O praise the graceful lord by blood
For then our souls be clean of sin
We brought its wrath and drowned in flood
Our sins pulled us down with a thud
Forgive us great lord and our kin
Your soldiers can take our warm skin.
I wasn’t able to sleep for a second after the incident, but for some reason I don’t think it was due to the loss of my brother; there was something… Ominous, and scary about the words in that hymn; what does it mean by the phrase ‘by blood’, what was this wrath that caused a flood. But the most troubling question thing I kept thinking about was that last verse.

Your soldiers can take our warm skin.

What were these soldiers; and what did it mean by taking our warm skin? I didn’t even want to think about it as I tried my best to close my eyes, my skin still crawling now that the hymn is playing in my head repeatedly like a broken record player. The whole town held a memorial for Reggie, Olive, John, and Tara at the beach, in which the parents talked about how much the kids were special and how losing them was such a blow not only to themselves by to the community. The Police Chief then got his turn to speak; like everybody else, he explained how much he’ll miss the kids, saying a special thing about each of the kids, but what caught my attention is that he said the kids were attacked by a Bull Shark, and that the local coast guard were able to hunt down the shark and kill it.

I had a lot of problems with that idea; there were no warnings about shark sightings on the radio, this town is nowhere near the known hotspot for shark activity Myrtle Beach, and how did they figure it was a shark attack anyhow? The police never recovered the bodies, so there is no way to tell how my little brother died. I would figure that my father would raise an objection, seeing as how he works as a local fisherman and knows a lot about these waters, so I looked at him. Not a single word escaped his mouth; he was even nodding in agreement with the chief. I didn’t understood it back then; why he was keeping silence about the obvious flaw with the Chief’s statements, but I was a kid back then so I really didn’t have much of a voice to object to.

For the next few years or so, Valor Cove tried its best to return to its form of normalcy; but I wasn’t being fooled, I can sense that the adults were hiding something about that incident but every time I brought it up they shot me down saying I should move on, even the now grown-up kids who were there with me on that day shot me down multiple times. Due to my sense of distrust with the community I started to become an outsider to them; they still talk to me and I do have friends but I know that my bond with the town was severely strained. Warren had it worse though; after the incident, it was like his state of mind had deteriorated, he never talked to anyone but me and our parents, he needed to get a lot of psychological therapy, and I thought he was going to go insane. He also had repeated nightmares that we would often talk to me about, saying they were real, of course I didn’t believe him but I really couldn’t blame him for thinking that way.

His nightmares would always involve beings that he called ‘Fish Men’, watching over him while he lay in bed. He told me he couldn’t see much since it was always dark; but he did explain that he always heard some sort of mumbling, like they were trying to communicate with him or with each other. I basically just took it as his mind slowly going over the cliff; he was there at the incident and saw them disappear with his own eyes, and he took it much harder than everyone else, even me. One day, five years after the accident while Warren and I were talking about the dreams at Hospitality, the local diner; a very clean cut guy who looked like came out of Ivy League basically butted into our conversation. “Uhm, can I help you sir?” I asked him annoyingly.

“Oh goodness me I’m sorry,” he said while adjusting his glasses. I can already tell that this guy annoys me. “Where are my manners, my name is Claus Butler, I am currently doing research on urban legends and folklore in the Southeast, and I couldn’t help but hearing in on your story.”

“Uh yeah, it’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Butler.” I responded. “I’m Clayton Roads and this is my little brother Warren; now if you don’t mind me asking, why does our conversation warrant your attention?”

“Your fish men story, I’ve heard a lot of rumors around the state about these creatures being seen along the coastline, but nobody seems to be able to bring forth much information about them, not even what they look like. A few people I met in Charleston suggested I should go here for my research; it’s a shame that so far I have come up with dead ends though, your dreams about these fish men are in fact the only clue I had.”

For someone who looks cut out for medical school, he sure does have an interest in boogeyman tales. Though I think he could be of some use in finding out some information about the hymn. I explained to him about the weird rule this town has and the hymn itself; though I purposely neglected to inform him about that attack on the beach, the last thing I want to do is to have my brother’s name be plastered in books about some urban legends. Of course he positively beamed about this new mystery. “Fascinating, very fascinating indeed,” he said while making notes. “I’ll definitely be staying here for a while to find out more about Valor Cove’s mystery.”

He thanked me as he left the diner, he explained to me shortly before he left that he’ll be staying at the local inn while he digs up for any info regarding this mystery, so if I ever wanted to make any inquiries I would know where he be. Of course; I never really took up on his offer as I didn’t consider the hymn to be that important, and more importantly, I didn’t think it had to do with what happened five years ago. Strangely though, despite him saying that he’ll be staying in town; not once have I ever seen him anywhere in Valor Cove; not at the café, not at the library, not even at the beach. I just took it as him being extremely busy and invested in his research, so I wasn’t bothered by it in the slightest. In hindsight that was a mistake.

Seven months after I first met Mr. Butler I arrived at the beach to pay my respects after I finished cleaning my dad’s fishing vessel; it was night time so I had to use my flashlight to illuminate the beach and see where I’m going. The memories of that day never leaving my mind for a second, not the attacks, not the blood soaked shoes, not that mysterious hymn. I was standing in front of the makeshift memorial statue that commemorates the lost lives of Reggie and the other three; it was a simple looking thing, the shoes being bolted to a large slab of rock and having a plaque. The slab was buried up to the top so only shoes would be visible –don’t ask me why they did that as I wasn’t involved with the construction of it-, unfortunately it resulted in a lot of rocks and pebbles covering the surface and the plaque, so I brushed them off to read it:

May the lord watch these blessed souls in the afterlife; and let them live on in our memories.

Reginald F. Roads: April 1. 1952- September 9. 1962

Johnathan I. Andrews: November 12. 1951- September 9. 1962

Olive S. Park: May 19. 1953- September 9. 1962

Tara H. Willow- October 4. 1952- September 9. 1962
Ugh, again with the lord stuff. I know it’s referencing Jesus Christ, but thanks to that damn hymn I now associate the lord with something that wants my skin; in any case I headed my way back to downtown, the sounding of rocks scraping together beneath every step I took was permeating throughout the cove as if I were in an echo chamber. When I passed by the inn Mr. Butler was staying in, I noticed something rather peculiar: one of the upper floor rooms was lit up and the window was wide open… Wait, it doesn’t look like its wide open, it looks like it was broken into; was somebody trying to break into the inn? Against my better judgment I thought I should go take a look and see if something happened to Mr. Butler, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Doven; the couple had owned the inn ever since they moved down here from Virginia after Mr. Doven returned from the Second World War according to my dad, they were very nice people and always treated my little brother and I like we were their own grandkids.

When I went inside I noticed that nobody appeared to have been home; Mr. and Mrs. Doven are completely absent and the only sounds I can hear are coming from upstairs, so headed my way up there. There was this strange odor permeating the hallways, to best describe it was like a mixture of sea water and rotten fish, a smell that for those who never been on a fishing vessel would easily feel nauseated by. One of the doors at the end of the hallway is basically wide open; I really hope that isn’t Mr. Butler’s room, because it would mean that there really is some thief in here. Never the less, curiosity got the better of me and I slowly walked my way into the room. But before I even made a single step; a familiar sound came from outside:

O praise the graceful lord by blood
For then our souls be clean of sin
We brought its wrath and drowned in flood
Our sins pulled us down with a thud
Forgive us great lord and our kin
Your soldiers can take our warm skin.
God damn it not that hymn again, I tried my best to ignore it as I made my way in. The room looked like it had a major fight ravaging through the place; furniture thrown everywhere, broken glass on the floor, bed turned on its side, even scratch marks on the wall. That was the strangest thing about what happened in this room, if it was a simple thief, the state of the room would make me believe that some giant animal beast was in here. “Holy crap,” I silently whispered to myself as I inspected the main room to find any trace of life, “what the hell happened here?” As I finished looking around I heard sounds coming from behind the bathroom door; to best describe it sounded like loud chewing, gurgling, and twigs being snapped. My gut immediately told me that this was bad, something definitely ominous was lurking in there; I don’t know why I let my curiosity got the better of me, but I went to the bathroom and pulled the door wide open, hoping to surprise this bad guy and take care of him; what I saw in there immediately made all the blood drained from my body and made me frozen in place.

In the bathtub, there was a body that was completely opened up with its insides almost cleaned out, but I didn’t need to see the face to know who the corpse was laying in the bathtub: It was Mr. Butler, and he had the expression of seeing a terrifying monster, which was exactly what I was looking at now. It was something I will never forget. The thing standing in the bathtub with the body was this thing that can only be best described as a fish man; standing what looked to be over six feet tall, covered in scales that illuminated shades of blue and deep green in the bathroom light, webbed fingers with claws that would easily rip open my body if it wanted to, but it’s head… Oh god; its head. Going up from the upper arm, the scales gave way to exposed human skin, and its head looked like human being, but its mouth was replaced with wide fish lips that bared shark-like fangs, and its eyes were slightly misaligned. But that wasn’t the thing that made me horrified, what did was the face. I know that face from anywhere, even after all these years; I can never forget the face of my little brother.

Jesus fucking Christ; why does this thing have Reggie’s face? That question kept running around my head while I just stood there like a frozen idiot, its fish eyes staring right back at me, cocking its head left and right. It just stood there like it was scanning me or something, not even moving a muscle; I finally mustered up enough courage to have some word come tumbling out of my mouth. “R-Reg… Reggie?”

In an instant the thing immediately let out a bone rattling scream; without thought or reason I just bolted out of the room and down the hallway, all the while I can hear the thing chasing me; “Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit,” I cussed like a sailor having a heart attack. I nearly tripped on the stairwell and made a bee dash towards the door, bolting out and running towards my house without even glancing back to see if that thing was chasing. I was still cussing when I reached my house and immediately barged inside, slamming the door shut behind me and locking the doors. I collapsed onto the floor and vomited; of course all that sound I made woken up my parents and Warren, who basically came rushing downstairs wondering what the hell was going on?

“What’s going on,” my father asked sternly. “Did you cause some sort of trouble?”

“Dad,” I lost control of my volume at that point. “There’s a monster at the Doven in that ate a visitor from Charleston; we have to warn the sheriff about this!”

“What are you talking about,” my mother asked. “There’s no such thing as monsters. Wait a minute, Clayton, are you taking drugs?”

“I’m not taking any god damn drugs! There is this thing that has Reggie’s face and tried to kill me, we have to warn the sheriff about this before-.” Before I could finish, that thing burst through the doorways. I crawled backwards into the family so that I would not take my eyes off it. “That’s the creature with Reggie’s face! We have to go now!”

But I began to notice something’s deeply wrong here; mom, dad and Warren aren’t running away from the creature, in fact they were petting it like it was some sort of pet. “I’m sorry son,” Dad sighed. “I didn’t mean for Clayton to scare you.”

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; why the hell is mom and dad treating that thing like it is Reggie? “What are you doing?!” I yelled. “That thing killed Mr. Butler!”

“We know,” Warren silently said. “He was killed as food for Reggie and the other soldiers.”

Soldiers; what did he mean by that? There is no army base anywhere near Valor Cove unless… Are they referring to the soldiers in the hymn? Oh good god, now I understood what it meant by taking our warm skin. “W-what are these things?”

“Hush boy,” my father silently scolded me, “these are our punishments from the lord for bringing destruction upon the seas centuries ago, and now we must stay here and protect them from escaping and being unleashed on the world.”

“You mean were basically prisoners to these creatures?”

“These are not creatures,” Mom said with a sunken look. “They are your brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, lovers and friends that have lived in Valor Cove.”

That thing really is Reggie? No… I refuse to believe it, I just can’t accept it. But then the hymn started with my parents and brother singing that damn hymn, showing that they have accepted their fates of being prisoners to this town till they reach the grave; but I heard more of the hymn this time, as I only just realize there is a second verse.

O praise the graceful lord by blood
For then our souls be clean of sin
We brought its wrath and drowned in flood
Our sins pulled us down with a thud
Forgive us great lord and our kin
Your soldiers can take our warm skin.
Soldiers born from human and sea
Only knowing the lords deep rage
Feeding them man to hear our plea
If they come to land, end we’ll see
Now we are the soldier’s great cage
Forever more; on the lords’ stage.

I closed the book and let out a deep sigh; I never knew my dad had gone through this hell when he first experienced this. I always thought that he was just simply jaded without any good reason; but being raised with the customs in Valor Cove like I have at such an early age, I guess after what happened they decided to be more truthful with future generations about the soldiers we are bound to hold. I put the book down and looked behind me to see the corpse of some poor hitchhiker who unfortunately picked a ride whose destination was for this town. Ah well; better for the food to be foreigners then the townsfolk. The hymn was still playing from god knows where; meaning that it is feeding time, no doubt the other townsfolk grabbing the corpses of other people that are not from here. I grabbed the body and headed down the stairs and out the house towards the beach; thank god this corpse isn’t heavy, otherwise I would throw out my back. Once I reached the beach there was a lot of people huddling together to see the corpses line up, about twelve in total; it looks like this will be able to least our soldiers for at least a year. I placed the corpse down and joined with the other townsfolk, waiting and watching as the fish men, carrying the faces of those they ate, started to come out of the water with their webbed feet splashing against the rocks and headed towards the corpses where they started to eat. Looking back on my dad’s journal entry, I have accepted that my fate is to remain here in this town till the end of my days, making sure to be the great cage as I watch Uncle Reggie and Uncle Warren eating the corpse I offered, knowing that if they were to leave and spread, humanity would end.

Credit To – Andrew Eden-Balfour

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What Was Underneath

November 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Salem, Massachusetts; Police Department – Public Records

CASE: Jason Duluth, Resident of Salem, Suspected victim of occult murder
STATUS: Case Closed
RULING: Accidental death due to rotted floorboards and delusions. No foul play involved.

SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE: Victim’s body. Crime scene and related evidence. Six (6) handwritten pages by victim dated just prior to death. Typed narrative by victim, publicly released by Chief of Police. Narrative is transcribed below.

“Well, Mr. Duluth, you should have your whole bathroom gutted, I’d say,” said the plumber. “But, that’s not my job.”
The plumber hiked up his pants as he stood. He had been peering at the pipes in my bathroom, and thought everything looked fine. Which was weird, because that didn’t help explain my water problem at all.
I paid him his fee, and he left, having been a waste of time and money. Well, except for suggesting I have my entire bathroom redone. That wasn’t a waste; that could prove to be useful advice later. It has been three days since the problems in my bathroom had started.
Three days ago, I was cleaning out my shower when I noticed that some of the tiles on the wall had cracked. I knew my house was old, but I thought the bathroom had been a fairly new renovation. According to my realtor, there was no reason for anything to be broken or old, at least in the bathroom. And yet, here I was, and my whole shower was literally rotting.
My shower has a shelf that is positioned about stomach height, and goes down to the floor. It’s more like a niche or an indent in the wall than a shelf, but it works just as well, and that was where I set my shampoo and soap and whatnot. That was where I had noticed the tiled wall cracking.
I had cleaned away some of the broken tiles, and found that the wooden shelf that supported the tiles was itself rotting. After some more exploration, I found out soon after that my bathroom’s framework was entirely made of wood, and it was all rotting. Especially the shelf.
That same day I tore the wooden the shelf away to see what wAs underneath. Beneath it I found, to my surprise, that there was a large, hollow space inside the walls of my bathroom, like a secret passageway. I poked a flashlight inside and looked around, but saw nothing more than insulation and more rotten wood; exactly what I expected to find in what I thought was a crawlspace. There was, however, something that caught my eye just inside the shelf. Right at the top, near where I had broken the board off, strange symbols were carved into the wood. They were fading with the rot, and most of them just looked like carved smudges, but a few stood out as being surprisingly well preserved.
I checked the board I had ripped out of the shelf and found that the underside, the part facing the empty area in the wall, also had these same syMbols. It occurred to me again that the bathroom had indeed been a recent addition to the house, but how long had this crawl space in the wall been there? I would have to ask the people I was renting it from, I thought to myself.
That was when the water troubles started. The same evening as when I pulled the old boards up, the water from the tap in the bathroom began to run brown with rust. At least, I assumed it was rust. I wondered if perhaps I had knocked a pipe or something during my explorations, but the visit from the plumber a couple days later showed these beliefs to be unfounded. And now here I was.
I wasn’t sure what to do now. All the problems were confined to my bathroom, which, unfortunately, had the only toilet in the house. I could still drink water and wash my hands in the kitchen sink, which wasn’t having any problems, but any attempt to shower proved futile, as the water still ran brown and stank of… something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It wasn’t quite an iron smell, though that was there, too, but smelled more of… old. Rot.
Sometimes the toilet wouldn’t flush, either. Or it would get backed up for no reason. I had the plumber check that out, too, but he said there was nothing blocking it. Calling the local utility service didn’t do any help, either, as they had received no complaints about rusty water or stopped toilets, other than my own. They suggested I call a plumber, which of course I had already tried.
Things got worse, though. Sometimes I would get this awful stench rising up from the hole in the wall I had busted open. One of my friends, when I told him about the crawl space, suggested I stick a fan and a light inside of the space to dry it out, clear out any mold. That same friend, when confronted with the stench, said I should take bleach and spray it around inside. So I did.
That only made the smell worse, though. It wafted up, through the shower, despite the multiple fans I had inside of it. It got so bad that occasionally I had to leave my house entirely. It was the stink of something DEAD decaying, almost. But so much worse. The bleach did nothing.
I suspected that there might have been a raccoon trapped in the wall at some point, and it had died there, but another check by flashlight proved nothing of the sort; at least, nothing I could see. I did, however, find more symBols carved into the wall. I hadn’t noticed them before.
Two days later, a total of five days after I opened the wall, I began to think the smell was making me hallucinate. Sometimes, when I was looking in the mirror to comb my hair or brush my teeth, I would see something move out of the corner of my eye. Or there would be something off about my reflection that I couldn’t quite place. My eyes were too dark, or a freckle was in a different spot. One time I could have sworn I saw something dark, like a gas, coming out of the hole in the shower (which I hadn’t closed yet), but when I turned to face it, there was nothing. But the most real hallucination, though, was the thumping. I heard it sometimes, coming from beneath my feet. It was as if someone was stuck below me, trying to get out, banging on my bathroom floor. It shook me up a little bit, and I tried to stay out of my bathroom. But, having only one, I had to go back occasionally.
At that point, though, I had been a good five days without a shower, and my friends agreed to let me use theirs. They even talked me in to calling a renovation company to check out my bathroom. When I called the company, they said they’d look at it and give me an estimate on what it would cost to completely rebuild it. And of course, I let the plumber know he might need to install some pipes for me.
I was in my kitchen during most of the estimation process. At one point, though, the workers called me in to show me something. They had accidentally knocked a chunk out of the wall because it had been so rotted, but it wasn’t the rot that frightened them. They showed me the piece of wood they broke, and I saw, to my horror, that the backside was entirely covered in the same symboLs as the inside of the bathroom shelf. They left soon after that. One of the workers said there wasn’t a price I could pay to make him tear down the walls all the way. He said he was scared by wHAt was unDernEATH, whatever that was supposed to mean.
I wasn’t sure what to do after that. I called the people I was renting from, and they told me that they’d lower my cost until I got the bathroom fixed. It was an enticing deal, but I got the feeling that the bathroom would take a long time to fix, unless I did it myself, and I couldn’t do that to the people who were so nice to offer such a discount to me. So, I decided to do just that, and began fixing the bathroom myself.
I started by taking a sledgehammer to the walls, and knocked a huge chunk out of it. I needed to see what, exactly, was in there. There had to be something.
I finally put a hole in the wall that was big enough for me to crawl through, and I stepped inside the crawlspace. With my flashlight, I took a look around. The empty space wrapped all around my bathroom, and even went behind some of my other rooms, like a border to my house. It was surprisingly spacious, but it stunk of rotted wood and… something else. The stench of dEcay was there, strong as ever, but there was more to it than that. There was a chemical, salty smell, too. Sulfur, maybe?
I shot my flashlight around, looking at the walls of the craawl space, and noticed there were more symbosl, hundreds of them, lining the walls and floor on all sides. Many of them had been erased by rot ROT at this point, but they were there. I also suddenly realized what the workers might have meant by “What was IS undERn3ath.” The wooden boards that made up the floor of the crawlspace were a good foot or so below the floor level of the bathroom, meaning that my house was set above something else. And there was sometimes a gap in the wall, between some floorboards, that led to another empty space beneath the bathroom. Almost like a basement. But I didn’t have a basement DO TOO.
I got out of there as quickly as I could, stopping only once in the bathroom to look in the mirror. And what I saw terrrrified me.
In the mirror was a reflection of me, but it wasn’t me. The hair was too long, too greasy to be mine. My face was cut up and bruised BLACK AND BLUE. My eyes were sunken and glazed, and my arm was slashed in multiple places. I looked like a walking corpse YES in the reflection. But what was worse was the reflection of the hole in the bathroom wall.
The hole in the reflection was much, much darker than in real life, and if I looked hard enough, I thought I could see something standing in the shadows. It looked like a man, but he was so covered in shADows that I couldn’t make out any feetures besides his silhouette. Except his eyes. They were a bright crimson, but empty-looking. There was a hunger in them I didn’t like. He opened his mouth, then, and bared his teeth at me. They were long and sharp, like a vampire’s, and r3d with blood. My blood, YES I somehow knew. I got out of there as fast as I could.
I ran from my house, outside, and was surprised to see how dark it had gotten. The sun had been high in the sky when I entered the space between the walls. Now, it was beginning to set. Darkness would descend soon, and I didn’t want to be anywhere in my house when it did.
I ran, unthinking, not knowing where to go. I decided that maybe it was high time to look into what those symbOls were. It was time to go to the library, I figured. Maybe there would be something there about my house, too.
The streets were empty on the way to the library, and there was no one in the library, either ALONE. I could hear someone talking on a phone in the back, but that was it. I ran to the cultural section of the nonfiction books, thinking maybe the sYMbols were some sort of pagan practice or something.
It took me a while, but I finally found some of the SymbolS in a book about classic witchcraft and hoodoo. The smylobs depicted in the book were much crisper than that of the crawlspace walls, but they were fundamentally the same. That was when I figured out just what they were used for. They were protection charms.
It didn’t take long for me a get a grasp of what that meant. Reading further into it, I found that for hundreds of years, CHARMS symBOLs like the ones I had fouNd were used for keeping away or locking in evil spirits and monsters. And the more that were used, the more powerful the creature was supposed to be. And they all had to be perfect UNBROKEN, too, or the monster could escape… THE BINDS
Seven days ago (was it really that long? I couldn’t be sure), I had torn up a piece of wood that had been inexplicably rotten. It had sYMBols on it, symBOLs that I now knew were meant to lock something in. I had broken the chain. I had let something out. But that’s ridiculous, right?
It was impossible, I concluded! Monsters don’t exist, ghosts don’t exist, demons certainly don’t exist. And why would something be under my bathroom, of all places? It hadn’t always been a bathroom, though. But, still, I had seen it. The water, the smells, the distorted reflection, the bumping, the thing in the shadows YES YES YES. And the renovators had seen it, too. Or heard it. But the question remained, WHat was uNDerneath YES WHAT? I needed to know, and yet, I wanted to be as far away from it as possible.
I walked towards the library desk, hoping to ask someone about finding house records or records of strange events. The librarian loOKed up as I walked over, and she screamed.
“What? What’s wrong?” EVERYTHING I asked, trying to see my reflection in some glass behind her. The librarian moved backwards, edging towards her phone in the back room.
“Sir, your face. I need to call help for you. You’re… You’re all beaten up,” she responded, terrified SCARED STIFF. Responding to my blank look of confusion, she handed me a pocket mirror. I looked into it. I gasped when I saw what I looked like.
My face was exactly as it had looked in the mirror at home, horrible disfigured. In the mirror, my arms were sTill scratched up. But, lo0king at them without the miror, just looking, I couldn’t see a thing. I felt no pain that would go with the cuts and bruises I had sustained. But then came the kicker for dread… In the mirror, over my sHOulder, I could see the silhouette of a man, completely covered in shadows, save for his eyes and teeth. I dropped the mirror and spun around, fully realizing that nothing would be there. Of course, nothing was SOMETHING WAS.
I had lost time DID YOU. What had happened in those hours I had somehow spent in the wall? It had felt like minutes when I was there. But, nonetheless LESSTHENONE, I had lost time. And I was covered in scars that only others could see OR COULD YOU SEE THEM. I wasn’t sure what to do.
I ran home, hoping to find something in the walls to put an end to this YOU DID. When I got to the b=BAThroom, I looked in the mirror REFLECT YOURSELF, again seeing the silhouette in the shadows, watching me ALWAYS WATCHING. This time, there was a new bruise in my reflection. A bruise around my neck, like a noose. HANGMEN I turned around away from the mirror, and seeing no silhouette, I climbed into the wall, picking up the sledgehammer I dropped earlier. It was time to see what WHAT was WAS underneath UNDERNEATH. I climbed back out into my bATHroom
It wasn’t long before I broke through the floorboards and rotted wood, working my way into the space beneath my bathroom, smashing down through the floor. It was dark, and my flashlight flickered unpredictably as I first looked inside. It was a small space, smaller than I imagined, SAW but had an ominous feeling, like a great weight of DEAD dread was on my chest. I karefully dropped down into the small space, knowing it would be difficult to get out again. I looked around RED EYES.
There were no symbols MYBOLSS on the walls here, but, as I looked at the floor, DIRT FLOOR there was one, massive symbol DAMN PAGANS scrawled on the ground. I looked around, and noticed there was absolutely nothing elllllllse. No decaying body, no silhouette, nothing. It was dark SO DARK all around, and I looked up, into my btahroom. I had broken through the floor WHAT WAS UNDERNEATH, and the light above me faltered ominously. I thought for a second I saw the silhouette, IT WAS THERE smiling above me in the bathroom, but it was gone. What was I going to do now? WHERE WAS IT
I grabbed the leeeedge that was just above me, pulled myself up, into the bathroom. I looked around, eyeing the hole in the wall. Perhaps I really had been crazy the whole time, or there had been some sort of hallucinogenic gas in the space that I accidentally released. But, I looked in the mirror, and my face was HORRIBLE HORRIBLE normal. My chaotic experience was over. And it was dawn. DARKNESS OF NIGHT
How had I lost so much time, though? TIME IS RELATIVE When I went back to see the librarian later, sehe KNOWLEDGE CAN KILL claimed I had scratches, but there were none. YOU DIDN’T SEE HER Why were the symb0ls there, or were they there at all? Was I hallucinating? Was she hallucinating? What was that stench? Soo0o many questions unanswered, but I would hopefully put this all behind me now. I glanced in the mirror one more time, smiling TEETH LIKE DAGGERS to myself. Everything would be just fine. …—…
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO N N N N N ——-………………………… 3VeryTTTHinGGG W0ulD bE ju5T FFIne …—… …—…


POST-CASE REPORT: Filed by Chief of Police
They found the body two days after his death. The search began when he hadn’t shown up for work two days in a row and his boss complained. Jason Duluth had fallen into a crawlspace beneath his bathroom and suffered a broken neck, killing him instantly. We were quick to dismiss the case, saying that the strange symbols around the bathroom had nothing to do with the accidental death of Mr. Duluth. There was nothing occult about his death, not even the enormous symbol placed directly in the middle of the space Jason had fallen in to. I personally went into the crawlspace, something only I and Jason have done. It seemed completely normal, disregarding the symbols.
The official cause of death, as filed in the local court system by myself, was accidental death due to rotten floorboards and delusions. The doctors blamed some sort of paranoia or schizophrenia when Jason told his friends about strange bathroom troubles and seeing things in the mirror. His friends encouraged him to get help, but he never had the chance, even with the various companies he called to renovate the bathroom.
A few days before he died, he apparently would have bouts of insanity, huddling in his house and screaming at nothing. He would cut his arms and bang his head against the wall. He once attempted to hang himself, but the rope broke. When he was lucid, it seemed he tried to actively figure out what was in his house. Ultimately, of course, what was underneath turned out to be rotten floorboards.
Exploring the house, we found a letter written by Jason, showing strong signs of delusions and mental illness. It was written a day before he died. There was a lot about death hiding in the shadows of his crawlspace in the walls and below him, waiting. There was a lot about things seen in the mirror, and how he had to defend himself. He showed signs of having hallucinated strongly, even when he was lucid (if you want to call it that). He also wrote the above story on his computer before he died.
Though the events as he tells them do not directly correlate with the actual events leading up to his demise, there is some truth in what he says. The chaos of his final days is well reflected in the narrative he wrote, but there is one major difference. Jason never made it out of the space below his bathroom. His body was found there, sprawled on the ground, with pieces of the floor scattered around. He never broke through the floor with a sledgehammer. He tripped and fell, splintering the weakened floorboards, falling into what was underneath.
His visit to the library was the last reported sighting of him lucid before he died. The librarian said he was covered in cuts and bruises, and his eyes had a glazed look to them. She neglected to call the police after he left, assuming he went to a hospital. She claimed he was mostly rational.
Much about his final days is not known, or when or how he wrote the story above. There is one catch, though, that makes this otherwise depressing story of a man gone insane, possibly by gas poisoning, more interesting. When the librarian got her mirror back, a symbol was scratched into it. A symbol exactly like the one that Jason fell into, beneath his floor. The librarian also mentioned occasionally seeing a shadow with scarlet eyes and red teeth in the mirror Jason held, but she told us it disappeared after a while. She hasn’t called since. It is suspected Jason had some connection with the symbol in the mirror, possibly scratching it in while he had the mirror in his possession.
Even with all of this, something nags at my mind. The renovators that Jason called filed only one sentence about the house in their reports. “We cannot know what was underneath.” There is something about this cryptic sentence that bothers me. Is it impossible for us to know what was underneath, because we cannot grasp it, or because if we knew, it would destroy us? As in, opening it at all would release something…? How much of Jason’s tale is truth? What really happened in those days? No, I must be day-dreaming. That basement was filled to the brim with mind-altering gasses. These questions are preposterous.
Ah, anyway, it is a terrible story of a collectively shared, gas-induced delusion. But something still remains. Of the hundreds of thousands of symbols carved into the wall, some were broken, and, if it were a chain, this means the chain itself was broken. It would release something, then… Something that is now among us. What is -was- underneath, would no longer be underneath. It would be free. But that is, of course, ridiculous. The gas and this bizarre case are getting to me.
My condolences go out to the family and friends of Jason Duluth.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to call a plumber. There’s something wrong with my pipes.

Credit To – Andrew Sova

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