Hat Man

June 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.1/10 (194 votes cast)

The night was dark. The only light emitted into the tiny bedroom was from the door that stood slightly ajar. The room was clean for a four year old little boy. There weren’t any toys covering the floor and no clothes thrown about the room.

The little boy slept soundly; light snores could be heard coming deep from within his chest. His arm twitched fervently, but became still after a few seconds. The sound of his breathing rang out across the silent room.

Seeing the child deep in his slumber, the tiny little man clambered out from under the boy’s bed. He was a short fellow with a quirky mustache set above his crooked lips. His eyes, which were enlarged, set close to his forehead. He had no nose, but his ears made up for that. On top of his head, sat a velvet black top hat with fifteen little red cards sticking out of the band wrapped around it. He stood up on the haunches of his feet and stretched his tiny body out, a sigh leaving his parched lips.

The little boy stirred, but didn’t wake. The tiny man giggled lightly and stepped back from the bed a bit. His eyes glanced around the small room, but slid back onto the little boy after mere seconds. He smiled a crooked smile and allowed his fingers to glide across the soft down comforter. The boy’s eyes jerked open at that motion and he nearly screamed if not for the calming manner of the man standing before him.

“H-hello. What’s y-your name?” the little boy stuttered out, gazing at the awkward little man.

The man merely smiled and clutched at his hat. “My name is Hat Man Williams, but you can call me Hat Man,” he paused a second and the boy continued to stare at him in wonder. “I’ve never seen you before. What’s your name, my dear boy?”

“My name’s Jake. We just moved here.”

Hat Man smiled crookedly and sat down on the edge of the bed.

“Ah, that would explain why I’ve never seen the likes of you before.” His mouth twitched a little as he said this.

Jake sat up in his bed and rubbed at his eyes. His light brown hair stuck up in odd angles around his head. He curiously moved closer to the odd man sitting on the edge of his bed.

“Why were you under my bed?” he asked, his curiosity getting the best of him.

Hat Man stood up soundlessly and paced around the room. His expression stayed happy, but his mood turned somber. They always had ways of getting to him. This one, with his innocence.

“I was hiding. If your parents saw me, we couldn’t be friends and I really like you, Jake. Don’t you want to be friends?” He turned and looked at Jake’s innocent face as he beamed with happiness.

“Of course I want to be friends with you, Hat Man.” His cheeks turned a rosy red when he smiled.

A noise in the hallway startled the two and Hat Man clambered back under the bed. Jake’s eyebrows rose in confusion, but lay back down in his bed. He closed his eyes just as his mother peeked her head in the doorway. Her blonde hair fell like a curtain across her face as she leaned a bit farther into the room, and satisfied that her child was fast asleep, retreated from the room, leaving the door cracked just a little.

Jake picked his head up from the pillow and whispered for Hat Man, but he never showed up again, that night anyway.

The next morning after Jake had woken; Hat Man stepped out from under his bed and smiled that crooked smile of his. Jake smiled warmly up at him.

“Do you want to play with me today, Jake?” Hat Man asked, his dark eyes sparkling morosely. His top hat sat askew on his head, the red cards flashing dully in the morning light that shown through the windows facing to his left.

“You bet I do!” Jake exclaimed heartily. He jumped up and down with joy.

Hat Man smirked and ran his lithe tongue across his crooked lips. He’d play a game, alright. A game that only he had won.

“Let’s play hide and seek. If you win, I’ll go away. But if I win, you get to be my friend forever.” At that he started counting.

Jake smiled and ran from the room. His parents were downstairs, and he remembered what Hat Man had said about his parents finding out, so he hid in the bathroom underneath the sink.

Hat Man stopped counting and spun around, making sure to check every spot in the room before heading out of it and down the hallway. He cautiously made his way from the boy’s room to the spare room, where he found no one, but a bed and a dresser. He crept out of that room and into the bathroom. He smiled knowingly as he put a tiny hand on the cabinet door under the sink. Slowly, he opened it and found Jake cowering in the corner. His time was up.

Hat Man descended on him and pulled him from the cabinet. His nails slowly came out further and he ripped the boy’s throat out. The blood splashed across the mirror and walls and Hat Man licked it up. His tongue lapped at Jake’s throat as he cleaned the wound and then he ripped Jake’s skin off of his body and compressed it into a little red card; of which he stuck up into the band of his top hat, sixteen now.

Jake was found later that day, skinned in his bathtub. And Hat Man was never seen in that vicinity again.

Credit To – Ashley Goldsmith

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.1/10 (194 votes cast)

How The Girl Almost Stole My Voices

June 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.8/10 (213 votes cast)

It was a warm summer night. There was a refreshing breeze entering through my bedroom window, blowing away the still humidity and warmth that stuck to my body like a wet blanket. Despite the cooling breeze, it was far too hot to sleep properly.
It was 2:13 AM, I stared at the ceiling as my heat driven insomnia got worse. It’s times like these where the incessant voices and chatters of my “characters” became restless. I had developed my various “characters” years ago. I’d like to think of them as my council. Each of them are different and ultimately come from a single source, Me. Despite the intimate connections we all share, they are independent from me yet they are ultimately dependent on me. They’re a little hard to describe.
I was kind of a crazy introverted little kid. And so I discovered at a young age that I can willfully dissociate my thoughts and ideas from myself. And soon, I began to dissociate entire personalities, entire characters. Feeding them and watching them develop within my consciousness. I became them and they became me, influencing my every decision as I influenced them.
I never told anyone about them. They probably think I had schizophrenia, and for a while I thought I did. It was something a bit different, it never detracted from my life; it just made it more interesting. I could never imagine living my life without them, I was a part of them as much as they were a part of me.
The girl was on my mind today. Despite, the party going on in my head, I somehow steered my consciousness towards her. It’s not the first time we thought of her.
The girl sat in front of me in a few of my classes back in high school. She was slim, tall and pale. She had long dark hair and had these large abyss-like eyes. She wasn't the hottest girl in school or anything like that, but I thought she was really attractive. I can remember sitting behind her just starring at the back of her head, lost in my creepy guy fantasies. Everything about her just intrigued and made me fall for her.
Growing tired of starring at the back of her head; I mustered the courage to ask her on a date. I approached her and the first thing I noticed were her eyes. Two black holes that sucked all light near it, hell it sucked me in too. So, I stared into her eyes and what I saw startled me. A reflection of every one of my characters stared back at me through the abyss. I continued starring, feeling uneasy by what I saw. A sudden twinge of fear gripped me.
And she said “hi” in a sweet and soft spoken voice, and the fear evaporated as quickly as it came. I quickly broke out of my trance-like state and mumbled something along the lines of “go, you, movie, me”. She enthusiastically said yes and I was like score!
Going to my next class, I couldn’t help but think how I felt when I was looking into her eyes. There’s something wrong with her I thought to myself. Some of them told me that I was overreacting and others agreed with me. Seriously, we all saw that didn’t we. Didn’t you see her eyes, wasn’t that totally creepy. Your mind was playing tricks on you and you barely stared at her eyes. What on earth do you mean, you are my mind. You saw it; you saw all of us in those eyes. I don’t know man; this is what you wanted right. Think about it, it doesn’t really make sense that she can see us all. Logically speaking, how can her eyes reflect all of us? You don’t even know how we look. We’re just you after all. I’m telling, I saw all of you. It was some kind of abstract reflection of all of us, of me. Anyway, it doesn’t matter; we can’t skimp out on the date now.

***

We watched some random movie. Then we headed out for some pizza. I got to know her a little better. She was extremely nice and such an amazing girl. She made me feel awesome and always laughed at my jokes even if some of them were corny. Despite her bubbly personality, she had a bit of a dark and mysterious side to her. It was totally weird but it just made her so much hotter.
We went out more often together and one thing led to another and next thing I knew, I was knee deep in a relationship. I didn’t mind it at all. I absolutely loved this girl. All my strange and fearful doubts about her were completely forgotten.
Everything seemed so well and one day it just went awry. I was driving her home on our way back from the bowling alley. She suggested that we take the back road. At first, I disagreed and said it was already late and I needed to get you home. In the end, she convinced me. It was a much longer route but I wanted to spend more time with her.
Now, the “back road” cut through some random forest. It wasn’t an actual forest; it was more like a large circular radius of trees in the middle of a busy city. Nonetheless, it was really quiet and just a bit scary at night. Plus the road that cut through it wasn’t well lit.
We were driving through and suddenly the girl asked me to stop randomly on the side of the road so she could go pee. I felt slightly apprehensive at first but I caved in. She went out to do her business. And I was in the car starring at her. She ran towards to edge of the “forest”, turned around and saw me looking and gestured me to turn around as I saw her vaguely mouth the word “pervert”.
I turned away for like 30 seconds, but I turned back, not because I was pervert but it was more or less a dimly lit area and I just wanted to keep an eye on her. She was gone. I got a bit worried but I was quickly comforted when we agreed that she probably went just deep enough into the forest so that random passersby on the road wouldn’t see her. Normal sentiment I suppose.
I sat in the car for 10 minutes and I began to get worried. Girls need some time in the bathroom we said, but still we were restless. Another 10 minutes had passed and we all decided that action should be taken. I came out of the car and began moving in the direction she had gone in 20 minutes ago.
The forest floor was wet so I could see the footsteps her flats made as she waded through the mud. I followed them. And followed them. And followed them. Jesus, she went pretty deep in the forest just to take a piss.
I continued walking in the dark forest. It was so weird; there wasn’t even a single sign of life. It was just silence. Silence as far as the ears can hear. I could see the far and feeble light source emitted from my car as I walked through the forest. It continued to get dimmer as I walked away from it.
I walked deeper into the forest, following these footsteps. Why did she walk so deep inside of the forest, one of them told me?
All of a sudden, her footsteps became much deeper in the front than they were in the back. Was she running away? She couldn’t have been chased? Looks like she just broke into a run but running from what?
A chill ran down my spine as I realized how daunting this situation was. This quiet lifeless forest began to evoke a deep fear. The darkness ahead reminded of me of the girl’s eyes during our first encounter. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
As much as I really didn’t want too, I followed the footsteps and finally arrived into a clearing in the middle of the forest. At the very centre of the clearing, there was a single eerie looking cabin.
We can’t act like an idiot at a time like this I told them. Think of all those scary movies, we need to be tactful. We can’t just rush in. So, I slowly and quietly walked into the clearing. Instead of following the girl’s footsteps towards the door of the cabin, I decided to sneak around the cabin, in hopes that there might be a window that I can spy through. Who knows what dangers lurk within?
I was in luck; the window was on the wall adjacent to the side with the door. I crouch walked towards it. I cautiously stared into it, fearing for my life as I slowly lifted my head up until my eyes were right at the base of the window.
It was dark inside, I squinted my eyes as I struggled to see what was going on. There were candles lit on the floor. They illuminated the pentagram on the wall. And in the very corner of the room, I saw her. It was the girl. Her back was towards me as she stood facing the corner of the room. Her long dark hair stood still as it seemed to suck in the very light coming from the candles. Her pale skin which had always somehow attracted me now seemed deathly in the dim candle lit room.
That girl, it couldn’t be the same person I was with a while ago.
What’s going on in there? It was those eyes one of them said in my head. Don’t you remember those eyes; there was something wrong with them, something wrong with her.
As I watched in fear, I heard chanting from the same corner of the room. An unearthly sound came out of her mouth. A deep growling noise from some ungodly beast spoke in an ancient tongue, chanting and reciting.
I continued to stare inside the cabin, specifically at the pentagram, as the candles around the pentagram began to glow ever brighter. And then the chanting stopped. The candles instantaneously went out.
The silence that followed was so deafening, so fearful. A sudden chill permeated my body, one which emanated from the corner of the cabin. My heart stopped as I slowly moved my eyes from the pentagram towards the corner of the room. There she was. In the corner of the wall, her back no longer facing me. Her face had become deathly pale in the darkness of the room and her dark hair hung limp at the side of her face and her body. The fear prevented my body from moving. She slowly moved her eyes towards the window and looked at me.

***

I woke up, my vision slightly blurry. That was one hell of a dream.
I closed my eyes and reached for the light switch on the wall. My hand simply fell through an area of space where I expected a wall and light switch. And hit the cold grassy ground. Grassy?
YOU’RE STILL IN THE FOREST! I looked up and saw the girl. She was a few arm lengths away. She stood still and simply stared at me as I was paralyzed with fear. Her pale expressionless face gazing into my very being.
RUN, GET OUT OF HERE! Every single one of them screamed in my head. The girl slowly rose one of her arms up.
The fear was so powerful, that I no longer had any control over my own muscles. I found myself running away from her. Perhaps it was the characters, maybe it was me. What difference did it make; I needed to run as far away as possible.
We need to go. Hurry let’s get out. Keep going. What do you think I’m doing? What was that? I don’t want to think of that right now. We need to get as far as possible from her. Just keep going. The trees cleared away as the road came into view.
I quickly jumped into my car, turned the ignition and hit the accelerator as hard as I could. I was so fucking scared. I was probably going 50 km over the speed limit, but I didn’t care, I just needed to escape as far away as possible.
I arrived at my house and crept into my bedroom quietly. The fear clung to me like the sweat against my shirt. What was going on? This is insane. I agree. Maybe if we just close our eyes and sleep we’ll forget all about it.
I couldn’t forget.
I got up, took a deep breath. I walked towards the bathroom. The fear threatened to consume me as I took another step forward in my dark house. Why is the light switch for the corridor on the other side of the room!? I reached the end of the corridor and turned on the light. The bathroom door at the end of the corridor was open and the sudden flood of light illuminated its interior.
I saw her, in the bathroom mirror. The hideous thing followed me. I turned around and did not see her and looked back and saw that she was approaching my reflection closer and closer. Those eyes continued to stare at me.
In sheer panic, I closed the bathroom door and looked behind me. There was no one there.
What’s wrong with you? Why would you look into the mirror? Hasn’t it ever occurred to you how creepy mirrors are? I’m sorry, I didn’t know.
I lay against the bathroom door, breathing heavily as I gasped in air. Then in the corner of my eye, I saw movement.
Something was scrapping the floor. I stared in fear as the scrapes began to take on the shape of letters. It was writing something.
The abyss has no reflection, it is within.
I blinked, and slowly felt part of me die. The writing was gone.
One by one the voices became dormant as my vision went black.

***

I woke up. There were people around me; people with faces I could not recognize nor remember. Get up they told me. We need to get you out of here. We were inside a room. The door was tightly locked with furniture piled high against it. There was heavy pounding on the door. It shook the very foundation of the room. I starred at the shaking door, frightened at whatever was on the other side.
She’s trying to get in. We lost many of them but it’s not too late. They can come back. You need to think of something. In the meantime hide down here. The deeper you go, the harder it is to find you. If you’re caught, it’s all over. Do something; we’ll buy you time.
They opened up some kind of trap door in the centre of the room. Without even realizing it I was pushed down and fell, deeper and deeper until I hit the ground with a loud thud.

***

I woke up in my bed. I had a jarring headache; it was as if someone was pounding on the inside of my head.
The voices were gone, I realized in a panic.
Then, the memories came rushing back like flood. The forest, the mirror, the writing, the room and the girl.
I needed to do something quickly. She’s trying to claw her way towards me. I needed to hear the voices again. They were vital to me. How could I live without them?
I began freaking out and then the idea came to me.
I don’t need to do anything at all; I can just have myself do all the hard work. Dissociate thoughts, ideas and entire personalities.
It’s not too late. I booted up my desktop and decided to research whatever it was that I was experiencing. I googled “how to exorcise demons and malevolent spirits” and I immediately got over 200 million hits. I began to pick the most relevant links. To be quite honest, I wasn’t too sure as too what kinds of people have authority on such phenomena, however, the first hit that wasn’t a youtube video was bound to be something useful.
After hours of doing research, the pounding in my head seemed to get louder and somehow closer. The headache became much worse until the point where each pulse of pain temporarily blacked out my vision.
In the end, I think I figured out what was going on. The insight of paranormal investigators, priests, psychics, mediums and random people who seemed quite knowledgeable about the subject suggested that I was possessed. However, my case of possession was special. It appeared my split yet stable consciousness was preventing the possession from happening quickly. That was my theory anyway.
I sat there, closed my eyes and I thought about everything I just read. I continued thinking until it was no longer my own thought.
A deep voice broke the silence, a voice from within, one much closer than the continuous knocking and pain.
“You have called for me in your time of need. What is it that you require?”
“I need your help to get rid of whatever is inside me.”
“Come join me in the inner sanctum of your mind, your soul”
My vision began blurring as a sudden weakness gripped my body. I began falling towards the desk. Goddamnit, haven’t I passed out enough!

***

I woke up in a dimly lit room. There was a table with two chairs at the very centre of the room and locked door in a corner. A man sat in one of the chairs. He wore clothes identical to mine and he had a face that constantly changed every time I blinked. It was like walking through a crowd of people without really looking at their faces. Each image slowly disappeared to an irretrievable part of my mind as a new one replaced where his previous face was.
It spoke, with an unforgettably deep voice, a sharp contrast to his fluid image.
“It appears that your soul is being plagued by an evil spirit. For reasons unknown to me, your soul appears to be fragmented in many smaller pieces which is proving difficult for her to fully control and corrupt your being. You are probably aware, but, I am one of those fragments. There are many others, however, they have been suppressed by the spirit in an attempt to reach you, the core.”
“What do I do to get rid of it?”
“We must send the entity back to where it came from. We will be opening a gate right here, one which connects this world to hell. You will lure her towards the gate and I’ll force her into it.”
“Okay, what do I do then?”
“Prepare the gate, draw these following symbols on the floor” he said as he handed an old piece of paper with small drawings on them.
A sinister soft knock came from the back corner of the room. I turned to see a door, the handle was turning slowly. It did not open. The door remained locked.
“Hurry, prepare the gate, I’ll hold her off.”
I materialized the image of the paper on the wall in front of me, after all this is my consciousness. The ominous symbol appeared to gaze at me. It was a ringed planet and at its centre there was an eye.
“The symbols are up, what do I do now?”
“The gate should be opening soon. Don’t look inside the gate, turn your back on it, and remember whatever you do, don’t look inside the gate”
His words were entrenched in fear. Don’t look inside…
I quickly turned away from the symbols and I saw that the man was gone. The door opened slowly. Her face was now in state of decay and her skin has become the colour of curdled milk. Her eyes starred straight into me. She slowly walked towards me and the feeling of fright had robbed me of the ability to move.
Where did the man go, I was completely alone.
I begin hearing voices from behind me, dark whispers which called out to me in ancient language. I was unsure which one was scarier. Death was in front of me and a fate worse the death was behind me.
I stood there, knowing that this was the end. She slowly walked towards me, reached out with her pale arms and wrapped her hands around my neck and she opened her mouth. Her cold hands on my neck made me shiver in my skin and the stench of decay poured out of her mouth. Her eyes continued to stare into me and…
The man burst through a random door from the ground (was that there) and lunged at the entity. He ripped her off of me and dove into the gate behind me.
Everything was in slow motion; I starred at the man as he grabbed her by the back of her neck and pulled her into the gate in one swift diving motion. I turned around as I followed his path into the gate and he looked me in the eye. His face no longer unrecognizable, I was staring at myself.
“I told you not to look inside,” he said with a sinister smile and a wink. A blinding flash of light shone from the single light source in the room, probably an unconscious safety mechanism preventing me from seeing what was inside the gate.
Nevertheless, I had caught the shortest of shortest glimpses. An image which would remain seared in my memory for the rest of my life.

***

A few days later, some police officers showed up at my place. The girl had been missing for a few days. I was one of the prime suspects; however, I was cleared because of the lack of evidence against me. They never found her body. That’s because she materialized in our minds, they told me.

As the voices calmed down in my head, I realized that I was lucky to have gotten away alive. However, there was one loose end. A part of my consciousness, my soul was trapped in the other world, in hell.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.8/10 (213 votes cast)

Darkness

June 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.9/10 (527 votes cast)

I think it was several weeks ago when it started. The electronics in my house started flickering on and off. At first, it was just a minor annoyance. I’d be on the internet, and my computer would shut down. Or I’d be cooking something in the oven, and it’d turn off halfway through. I called an electrician, who said that the wiring in my house was in tip-top shape. Not believing him, I called several more electricians, all of whom said the same thing. I tried using less electricity in the house, thinking I was overloading it. Eventually, I learned to live with it.

What sparked my attention was when my co-workers began to complain of the same thing. The woman in the cubicle over from mine confided in me that her iPod had died, with a full battery, then resumed working minutes later. Soon, we were hearing bits and pieces about it on the news. They told us that the problem would be fixed soon, and nothing more. I soon found out that it wasn’t just our area afflicted. Many areas across the country- and, later on I’d find out, across the world- were being affected.

Things began to get worse. By now, many were used to just one or two of their electronic devices not working at once. But when they began to all shut off at once, and then not work for hours on end, the panic grew. There was no explanation. The media couldn’t tell us why, the electricians couldn’t tell us why. Then the generators started failing. Most schools and office buildings, and even some private homes, have generators for when the electricity goes out. The generators were working just fine, and then, like their electronic relatives, they began to not work. Children had to go to school in complete darkness on some days. I even remember having to navigate my way through my office building with a flashlight; before the flashlight stopped working, of course.

When the lights stopped turning back on, people began to panic. No matter what was done, some homes were completely left in the dark. Panic set in. Without any media access, people were quite literally in the dark about things. Then the madness started. People screaming that they were hearing or seeing things. The woman in the cubicle over from mine had a manic episode. I assume that it was fairly bad, because she stapled her own eyelids. Or so I heard, since by then our building had completely lost power.

Society began to break. Electronics keep our species in touch, in the light, and entertained. Without these things we weren’t seeing what was happening in the world. I stopped going to work. No one was really going anywhere anymore; people were staying at home, stockpiling food and survival necessities, and taking care of their loved ones who were suffering from delusions. During the day- the only time where there was light, now- I saw a man collapse on my lawn. I rushed out to help him, but as soon as I got near him, he started screaming and clawing at the air.
“Oh god, the lights! We need the lights! Turn them back on, please!”
I was afraid to approach him. I took a few steps closer, until what he said stunned me.
“They’ll come if we don’t have the lights! Come for us all! Man, woman, child!”
I felt my hair stand up on end. I’m a rational, church going man, but the way this man was screaming, the way his eyes looked, I felt that he may not be just suffering from a delusion.
I would have asked the man more, but he collapsed, his heart giving out to another attack. He lay on his face in the light of my lawn. I didn’t want to leave him there, but I couldn’t call the police, and I’d never seen his face in this neighborhood. I ended up dragging him to the police station across town, even though I knew the cops wouldn’t be there. By the time I made my way back, the sun was setting, its yellow and orange penumbra stretching over the horizon as night approached. I felt my hair stand on end again as I rushed to my house, slamming the door shut behind me.

An hour later, I was almost drifting off to sleep- I didn’t do much else, these days- when a godless shriek of pure agony ripped the air like a cleaver through steam. A bloodcurdling scream, coming from a few houses over. I shot up in bed, and bolted to the house. A few others joined me as we waited to see what was wrong. However, no one came to the door, no one cried for help. One of the men who had come to help decided to check it out. He busted down the door, and disappeared into the darkness inside. A few moments later, we heard his scream, too. But, as we were closer this time, we also heard brand new noises.

The sickening suction and then tearing sound of flesh being torn from bone, of two-toned inhuman laughter, of blood splattering the walls like the canvas of a modern artist.

My next memory is arriving back home. If I think deeply on it, I remember seeing one of them, through one of the house’s windows. Just it’s bright golden eyes, of course. The being itself was black, matching the darkness it lives in. Of course, it did have those teeth. Oh God, those teeth. When it smiled at me through that window, I saw them. Shiny and white and sharp, the entrails of innards of its victims hanging from them like streamers.
And now here I am. I’ve locked myself in my room, only the moonlight from my yellowed circular window to guide my pen as I write this.The panic outside is audible; they’re trying to fight whatever that monster was, but failing. I hear more and more screams as those who were too brave or too stupid (One part brave, two parts fool) to run attack the beast. I’m almost certain that if I looked I would dry heave, the scent of blood was almost pungent in the air, even at this height. Could they really take pleasure in killing these humans? What kind of monster would enjoy that? More crunching of bones, more blood staining the streets. It’s all I’ve had the pleasure of listening to for the past few hours. I’m surprised I haven’t completely lost my goat, yet.
I’ve had time to think, too. This is why we’re afraid of the dark. These things ARE the dark, the worst of it. They’re the reason that children have to sleep with a nightlight on. Light kills them. That’s why they don’t attack during the daylight. Or whenever there’s even the smallest amount of light, even coming from a computer screen. They’re careful about appearing to humans- When it’s not mealtime, of course- but now I know why everyone’s afraid of the dark when they’re a kid. I remember, now, seeing one of them out of the corner of my eye when I was five years old. My mother told me I was just seeing things, that it wasn’t real, that it didn’t exist.

If I can hold out for a few more hours, daylight will come. Maybe help will come. But they won’t be able to attack me. I’ll be safe. But that probably won’t happen, since I can hear them downstairs, now. I can hear them as they run through the rooms searching for their next game. Next kill. Next feast. They’re knocking over tables and chairs, tearing up the walls. They’re coming for me, and that deadbolt locked door isn’t going to hold them off. I’m going to suffer the same fate as those people in the streets.

The quiet thud of my pen dropping onto my bed jolts me upright. I toss the padded paper aside, grabbing onto the Chefs knife that I had taken upstairs with me I wait.

I can hear their claws scraping at the door, tapping the knob and receiving a pleasant clinging noise. Like when you hit a spoon and a pan together. I hear another two toned giggle, one tone as pleasant and innocent as that of a child, the other as dark and as sinister as the devil himself.
I grip the knife that I had stolen from the kitchen on my way up, clutching it with a sense of false courage. I know that this won’t do anything more than the guns did in the street. Absolutely nothing.

My knuckles are white, and I know I should be focused on survival, but all I can think about is why? Why did this have to happen? What turned the lights out? Was it just our time as humans to go? Was it just time for our species to end?

My thoughts were traveling at a speed I could barely comprehend, and then they all stopped as the horrific creaking noise of my door opening slowly tears through my pseudo confidence, my eyes meeting one of theirs. I drop the knife, fingers losing their ability to hold on any longer.

They’re approaching me, moving slowly, their teeth curled in hideous grins. I fumble for the knife, swinging it wildly as they approach. It moves through their bodies like air.

It’s funny, the last thing I remember is my mother telling me that they aren’t real. That they don’t exist.

And you can’t kill what doesn’t exist.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.9/10 (527 votes cast)

The Man in the Road

June 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.0/10 (377 votes cast)

I sat quietly, sipping my glass of wine and wishing desperately that the evening would come to an end. Two of my friends, Brad and Laurie, had been invited to a get together with another friend of ours. He lived across the river in St. Louis and we hardly got to see him, so when he invited us to a wine tasting he was hosting we jumped at the chance, Brad being kind enough to give us a lift. The guests were mostly old friends of the host and as such shared many of his old war stories; stories of his drunken youth filled with all manner of crazy stunts and funny events. I was sitting apart from the crowd because I had very little to offer in the conversation; my childhood, by contrast, was very tame and I always felt a little embarrassed trying to compete.

Something about these kind gatherings always made me very self-conscious, but I was here to visit a friend so I put on a brave face and tried to mingle with little success. Every conversation I tried to take part in was alien to me, tours of duty in the military or one night stands and drunken revelry. I mostly just stood amongst the group and listened, occasionally trying to add to the merriment but only proving, if only in my own mind, how very much I didn’t belong. I eventually ended up sitting by the glass sliding doors that led to the back porch, all around me people where laughing and talking about old times and good friends now far away, and even though I longed to be a part of it I couldn’t work up the nerve. I sat quietly sipping my wine and waiting for the others to decide to go when the lights suddenly flickered and went out. A few people cursed at the sudden darkness while our host fumbled for a flashlight, As I stood up to help him my gaze turned to the sliding door and to a dark figure just outside the fence. I lingered for a moment just staring at him; he was standing just out of the light of the street lamps, which were flickering themselves. I couldn’t make him out in the darkness but I could tell that he was very tall and he was facing the house. The figure stood perfectly still as I watched him and even though I knew I was just as hidden in the dark as he was, I felt like he was watching me. This entire event only lasted a few breaths and as I turned to help find some form of light the power kicked back on; I turned to look back toward the tall figure but he was gone.

Eventually the party wound down and the guests began to leave; Brad, Laurie and I lingered a little and thanked our friend for a lovely evening before departing, I never did mention the strange figure to anyone that night, in hindsight I wish desperately that I had. I sat in the back and talked to my friends as we started through the thick woods that lead us to the highway. The road that passed through these woods had no street lights and the road itself was very narrow, it was a wonder there weren’t more accidents on it. I was sitting in the back talking to Brad, who was driving, and Laure in the passenger seat when Brad suddenly yelled. The car swerved sharply as Brad tried to avoid the tall man that had appeared from nothing in the road and as we screeched past him he was illuminated for a brief moment. All I could make out as the car sped past was that he was tall and wore a black suite but could make out no further details as the car started to roll.

I can’t recall how many times we rolled, I had slammed my head hard against the roof after our first roll and things became very fuzzy after that; I do remember wishing I had buckled my seat belt and the sudden landing. The car made a sickening sound as it hit, the screaming sound of metal on pavement and a thud as one the occupants landed outside, thrown out during our violent accident. Sight returned to me slowly and I found I was half out the window of the overturned car, but I could hear a quite sobbing somewhere in the dark. I looked around and saw the car, mostly whole but many chunks had been torn free almost like it had been gnawed by some terrible creature. I saw Brad lying on his back toward the front, his head was bleeding heavily and his right arm was bent in an impossible angle, I couldn’t tell if he was breathing or not. The dark woods hid everything beyond the wreck in an inky sheet of night, it may as well been the void of space outside the dimming glow of the headlights. I tried to pull myself up to check on my friends but the moment I tried to move I saw pain, not felt it mind you, saw it flash before my eyes in a spectrum of pale colors as I tried to move; even the thought of movement hurt.

I lay in the road by the car for who knows how long, I was still half in the window trying to muster the strength to crawl out when I saw Brad move. At first I was relived, he had to still be alive if he was moving, but the way he moved wasn’t right. He moved in short jerks, his body slowly turning until his feet where out of the beam of the headlights and pointing at the inky dark beyond. I lifted myself up as best I could to try and make sense of what was happening; Brad’s limp form jerk once, then twice, and then like a bullet rocketed off into the darkness. The movement was so sudden I questioned if I had seen it at all. I tried to move again but was rewarded with those flashes of pain; I only managed to get out of the window and into the street, that’s when I heard the crying grow louder and more urgent. At first the crying was a tired kind of sob not the balling of a child, like a person who had been through too much suffering in too short a time, now it sounded frantic and panicked. I heard a brief scuffling out of sight on the other side of the car then a silence. I held my breath waiting for what I don’t know and after a few short seconds that stretched forever, the night air was pierced by a shrill cry.

To call the stillness that followed silence would not have done it justice, this silence had weight to it and I felt it on my chest as I looked around me and saw the light of the headlights growing dimmer. I noticed then that there was no sound at all, not even the sound of insects or the nocturnal animals of the woods, something was near the wreck, hiding just out of the shrinking circle of light, some unnatural thing that even the beasts of these dark woods feared.

Forgetting my pain I started dragging my body closer to the front of the car, I had the insane notion I would be safe if I stayed in the light. Just as I reached the front of the car a sudden and sharp pain shot through my head, it was so abrupt and intense that my vision blurred into one solid color. My vision cleared quickly but the intense pain remained, as I looked around me I noticed the headlights had dimmed even more in the short time, they were slowly going out, the dark void of the woods slowly moving in on me. It was then that I noticed a faint figure in the dim light, It was just enough in the shadows that I couldn’t see it clearly but it had the shape of a tall man; he stood perfectly still just staring at me. At first I had hoped he was there to help, some kind passerby that saw the wreck, but the longer I looked at him the more wrong he seemed. I could tell he was tall, unnaturally tall in fact and his limbs seemed stretched and oddly proportioned for any normal man. I tried to call out for help, to him or anyone who may hear me I can’t remember, but the only sound that I could manage was a raspy croak; in response to which he only tilted his head to one side. As soon as he tilted his head, the vision blurring pain returned, now more intense than before. My vision didn’t clear completely this time, but still I noticed the man had gotten closer only I couldn’t recall him moving at all, he just seemed to appear closer to me in the brief moment I lost my sight. As he stood in the ever failing light of the car I could see him clearly now, he was clad in a dark suite with a white shirt and red tie, which seemed even more surreal with his inhuman proportions, but as I was soon to learn these where his tamest features. My gaze slowly rose to his face and at first I couldn’t take it all in, my mind reeled at the sight of its face, or lack thereof. Where a face should be was a blank mass of flesh in the vague shape of a human head which was tilted slightly to one side almost quizzically as he looked down on me.

Having seen the whole of him I tried to scream but couldn’t even muster the croak, just then the pain grew even more intense and once again my vision blurred. As before, the tall man appeared closer to me but never moved, he was right over me at this point; my vision stayed fuzzy around the edges clearing at random now. As he stood over me he began to twitch slightly, his faceless gaze never leaving me as the headlights flickered; wispy dark shapes began to form around him and I thought vaguely of smoke as the shapes turned into writhing tendrils. The tall man quickly moved toward me and the tendrils reached out as the head lights finally flickered out; as the inky black enveloped me another sharp cry filled the dark woods, I finally found my voice to scream.

Credit To – Elijah M

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.0/10 (377 votes cast)

The Autopsy of Cole Ryder

June 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.9/10 (215 votes cast)

“Cole Ryder. Age 23. Death by multiple lacerations to chest, reaching as deep as his lungs. Poor bastard looks like someone cut him open multiple times with a damned sword. No visible signs of struggle, indicating that he was either drugged before hand, or was hit unexpected.” the coroner recorded, working together with the officers to try to piece together the final moments of Cole’s moderately short life.

Cole’s lifeless, blood-drained corpse lay flat on the autopsy table, with the ribbons of flesh hanging loosely – even before the coroner began his work. He was approximately 5’11″ tall, short brown hair, average build, with no tattoos or piercings. The average kind of guy you could walk past every day on the street and never take a second glance at. To society, he was just like everyone else – an invisible person, with an unimportant life.

“How can people do this to each other?” the coroner questioned aloud while removing Cole’s ribcage. As he was about to make an incision to remove the lungs for closer examination something caught his eye. He placed a hand just under Cole’s shredded left lung, and produced a bloody, airtight plastic bag. Removing the bag and emptying its contents onto a nearby sterilized desk produced a USB stick, simply labeled: PLAY ME. Breaking from the procedure, the coroner ran out of the room to the two officers working on the case, handing them this strange new piece of evidence.

“Continue the autopsy, we’ll find out what this is about.” instructed one of the officers. They turned to leave, rushing to the nearby police station to check the contents of the USB. “We’ll be back shortly.”

The coroner re-sterilized and once again entered the room to continue working on Cole’s corpse. Picking up the scalpel, he continued where he had left off, about to remove the lungs.

At the police station, the two officers loaded up the USB and checked the files. There was one single audio file, entitled ‘Current Number’. Opening the file, they could hear a voice, though it sounded slightly different than a human voice. It sounded more raspy and cruel, almost animalistic; though still in English. “Eleven thousand, eight hundred and forty-two.” the voice kept repeating, as if trying to memorise the number.

“What the hell is this?” asked the first officer. The second simply shrugged and they closed the file down. Strangely, however, there was now a second audio file on the USB titled ‘Update’.

“By the time you return, the number will be eleven thousand, eight hundred and forty-three.” It was the same inhuman voice, scratching through the speakers.

“Have you ever seen anything like this before?” the second officer asked the first. The first shook his head violently and a chill air passed through the room. “I think, perhaps we should return to the coroners office.” suggested the second.

Upon re-entering the coroners office, the metallic sickly smell of blood wafted through the air and a strange laugh could be heard from the autopsy room. Drawing their handguns from their holsters, the two men kicked open the autopsy room door to a scene straight out of anyone’s worst nightmare. There was more blood than paint on the walls and the coroner was completely missing, except for the pair of eyes, slowly rolling across the floor. Cole Ryder still lay motionless on the autopsy table, chest cavity still open and face still lifeless, though he was now caked in the coroners blood. Walking slowly around the room, the two officers stopped either side of Cole’s body, surveying everything and drawing their guns, ready to unload upon the next thing that moved. Some sick fuck had obviously done this… and the officers did not care to be the next two victims.

A spine chilling animalistic laugh filled the room, reverberating off all the walls, making it impossible to tell where the sound came from originally. “More fresh meat!” the voice exclaimed, and both men were impaled by large, sword-like claws.

Cole sat up, withdrawing his bladed hands from the officers chests. Then using his razor phalanges with utmost precision, neatly cut out the sets of eyes from the now lifeless men. Changing the scalpel like protrusions from his fingers to blades like large hacksaws, he then tore at the bodies, ripping them to pieces and splattering even more crimson stains over the walls.

Picking up the pieces of flesh that were now scattered around the room, he started placing them into his own chest cavity and lungs, which while still exposed and cut open, seemed to take on a life of their own. Thrashing around like wild animals, they consumed the raw human meat. Once he was done completely consuming the bodies, he retrieved his ribcage and pushed his chest back together with the sickening crunch of bone on bone, deleted the recording of the autopsy from the audio recorder, picked it up and casually walked back out into the world, speaking over and over into the recorder “Eleven thousand, eight hundred and forty-five.”

Credit To – Uforia

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.9/10 (215 votes cast)

The Sandman

June 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.3/10 (948 votes cast)

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.”
-Edgar Allen Poe, “Eleanora”

***

“Go to bed and wait for the Sandman.”

Even as it came out of James’ mouth it seemed to him a strange thing to say, and he was not sure why he had, but for some reason it worked: Daniel went to bed.

The next morning, though, he asked: “What does the Sandman look like?”

James was making breakfast. Daniel sat at the table, short legs swinging under his chair. “Nothing, really,” James said. “It’s just an expression.”

“What does it mean?”

“Just something people say.” He put a plate of eggs in front of Daniel and kissed him on the top of his head. He thought that would be the end of it.

Until he saw the Sandman for himself.

He was getting ready for bed and stopped by Daniel’s room to check on him while he slept, as he often did. It was such a routine precaution that when he saw a pale, naked man sitting on the edge of Daniel’s bed, rocking back and forth, it took a moment for him to process what he was seeing.

He reacted the way any father would, of course: He ran into the room screaming, and for a moment he thought about attacking the intruder, but then the man on the bed turned, and that’s when James saw that it wasn’t really a man: It was a pale, slithery thing, hairless and warped, its joints turned the wrong way and its body out of shape with itself. When it moved it was like an insane marionette dancing on a stage.

James froze. The skittering thing watched him. He felt spreading warmth, and he realized he’d pissed his pants. Only when he remembered that Daniel was still there in bed, staring at the broken-shaped thing sitting a foot away, did he regain the courage to move. He grabbed Daniel and ran. In the hall he turned to see if the thing would follow them, but it didn’t. For a moment it watched and then, moving like a stop-motion nightmare, it crawled to the window and jumped out, leaving only the billowing curtains to mark its passing.

James had trouble talking to the police. He reported a break-in, but when asked to describe the intruder he didn’t know what to say. How could he make the ordinary man in the blue uniform sitting at his kitchen table while two of his colleagues searched the house understand a thing like he’d seen? He couldn’t even understand it himself.

To make it worse, Daniel’s memory did not correspond to James’: He described an ordinary looking burglar. “A man in a mask,” he said. James thought about it: Had it been a mask? No, it would had to have been a full costume, and an elaborate one, something like they would use for a movie. And that would not explain the way it moved…

But in the end he simply echoed his son’s testimony: “A man in a mask,” he said. “A burglar.” The lie unsettled him almost as much as what had happened.

The doctors said Daniel wasn’t hurt and showed no signs of molestation. James was relieved. They stayed at a motel for a couple nights until they felt ready to come home, and then James had a new security system installed, along with bars on the windows. He didn’t like the sight of them in Daniel’s room, but it seemed like the only thing to do.

James was frightened that first night back in the house, but Daniel, strangely, was not. When asked if he felt okay sleeping alone, he just said yes. In the end it was James who found himself wishing he were not sleeping alone. He was up all night listening for the sound of anything moving in the house. Although he had convinced himself that his memory was faulty and that it had been a normal (albeit probably deeply disturbed) man in his son’s room, when he closed his eyes even for a moment he pictured bloodless skin and a twisted, inhuman face. He found himself wondering, why my house? Why my family? He knew, of course, that there didn’t have to be a reason. But still, he wondered.

Two weeks later Daniel stopped talking. James didn’t notice at first; kids went through quiet phases sometimes. But eventually he tried to get Daniel to talk, and he wouldn’t. Eventually, it became clear that he couldn’t.

Back to the doctor they went. Nothing wrong with him that we can see, was the diagnosis. Was it the trauma, James asked? Could be, they said. Sometimes these things come on late. Children can be a mystery even to those who know them best. They recommended a child psychologist, whom James couldn’t afford. He could not, for that matter, even afford the bill they were giving him now.

Nothing seemed to help. Daniel would write out answers to questions sometimes, but never more than a yes or no. When James would ask him what was wrong, or if he’d seen or heard anything that frightened him, Daniel would only stare. He seemed furtive and bemused. James found himself missing the sound of his son’s voice. Sometimes he wanted to hear it so bad that he ached. But it seemed that Daniel would not talk again until he was ready.

James had other things to worry about, too. He was convinced, beyond reason, that the intruder was not really gone. Though the alarm never went off and the locks and bars remained undisturbed, he was sure that he heard movement in the night. Not normal movement: It was a sound like a huge snake slithering through the house. When he heard it, he imagined horrible things. Nothing was ever there when he went to investigate, though he often thought he glimpsed something just out the corner of his eye, a pale foot or a misshapen shadow that would slink away as soon as he turned.

He rarely slept, and when he did he had haunted dreams.

Soon he realized he had not left the house in weeks except to go to the bank and buy groceries. He felt hemmed in. With Daniel acting mute he hadn’t had an actual conversation with anyone in weeks, so he called his mother. The connection was bad and her voice sounded faint, on the verge of being not there at all. “I guess I’m okay, Ma,” he said, pausing to wipe the sweat from his palms and then make sure he could hear Daniel playing in the next room. “But things have been a little rough. We had a break-in.”

“Oh how awful!” Mom said. “Did they take anything?”

“Nah. Just ran off. It was weird though. I haven’t really felt comfortable since then.”

“Are you still working at that hospital?”

“No Ma, I left last year, you know that.”

“Oh. Well, have you been getting out? What about that nice woman you were seeing last year, the one who played the piano?”

James scowled. She was always asking that kind of thing. Didn’t she know how hard it was being a single father? That he didn’t have the time? He was about to say so when something made him pause.

“Ma, is there anyone else on the line?”

“I don’t think so?”

James was sure he heard it, though: the short, gasping sound of someone trying to hold their breath and failing. A cold feeling crept across the back of his neck. “You’re sure nobody is listening on your other phone?”

“Dear, there is no other phone, I’m on the cell, that’s why the service is so bad.”

“Then what is—” James stopped. If the sound wasn’t coming from her end, then…

He dropped the phone and raced to the hall. The extension hung on its hook, undisturbed. Heart pounding, he hurdled into the garage; the spare phone sat on the workbench. No one was in sight. But could they have been? Could someone have been here all along, listening to his phone call, and then slithered away? Might they be here even now?

The next day he took out the extra phone extensions. He even filled in the jacks with rubber cement. Daniel watched him work, eyes curious, but James offered no explanation.

He began giving Daniel a light physical exam every week. His CNA training was a little rusty after a year on disability, but you never really forget. It was an absurd thing to do, of course; even if there was a physical cause for Daniel’s behavior, it would be nothing he could discover this way. And he was aware on some level that it was compulsive behavior. Nevertheless, it made him feel better.

One morning James set the diaphragm of the stethoscope against Daniel’s chest, but he could not locate a heartbeat. He moved his hand in search of the right spot, to no avail. Then, to test it, he listened to his own heartbeat; it came through steady and clear. But when he checked Daniel again he didn’t hear anything. A thought came unbidden to him of the Tin Man in “The Wizards of Oz,” whose chest was empty as a kettle.

A sick feeling roiled his stomach. He threw the stethoscope down and grabbed Daniel by the shoulders, looking into his face. Daniel stared back with bright eyes. He even smiled a little, with the corners of his mouth. James felt the tingle of tears. He swept his son up in his arms and hugged him, and Daniel hugged back. Then James put his shirt back on him and sent him to play. The stethoscope, he decided, was broken. He threw it in the trash.

Things got worse. James’ terrors were no longer relegated to the long hours of the night. Now it seemed that some creeping, some skittering and scuttling, some unknowable noise in some dark corner or another, filled every second of his day. The thought of how big the house really was started to weigh on him: There were so many rooms he wasn’t in at any given time, so many places someone—or something—else could be. He imagined strange figures occupying the rest of his home when he wasn’t around, melting into the walls or merging with the shadows whenever he turned on a light or opened a door. How would he know if they were there? How would he ever know?

Soon he didn’t even have to be outside of a room to imagine it. When he walked up the stairs he pictured pale figures lurking beneath them. When he went down the hall he pictured a crawling thing slithering behind the walls, shadowing his every step. If he sat too long in the same chair he imagined that it was right behind him. And he was never comforted when he turned around and found nothing there, as he could only guess that meant it had moved, swiftly and silently, behind him once again. Wherever he was not looking right now, that was where he imagined it to be.

He was losing his mind, he knew. The only thing that helped him cling to sanity was that Daniel seemed undisturbed. Other than his muteness, his behavior was perfectly normal. And whenever he seemed to sense that his father was troubled he would hug him, or squeeze his hand, or even smile. Sometimes, when he left the room, James cried.

One night he found himself creeping around the house with no lights on at two o’clock in the morning. If the intruding thing had taken to violating his daytime activities then he would get revenge by confronting it on its own terms: the night. And really, night was no more frightening to him now than day. They were almost interchangeable.

He padded barefoot down the halls, up the stairs, in and out of disused rooms. Sometimes he stopped to listen, hoping to locate it by sound; it was a stealthy, creeping thing, he knew, but it was awkward at times, and it couldn’t always keep its strangely shaped limbs from making their distinct, irregular footsteps. The smallest noise would give it away…

There was one room he suspected it spent most of its time in: the spare bedroom. Not a bedroom at all, really, more like a closet just large enough to accommodate a bed if one were so inclined. It was unpainted and uncarpeted and drafty; he’d always meant to fix it up. He didn’t come in here very often because he disliked the bare, unused look of it. It made him think of a partially dissected corpse.

He came in now, though. If the thing made its nest any one place in the house, this would be it. Of course, there was nothing there now…but that didn’t mean there was nothing there.

He cursed, running a hand through his sweat-damp hair. What was he missing? How did it hide from him? What was its secret? He peered into the room’s empty corners one by one, getting his face a few inches from the plaster and floorboards so that he could be certain—certain!—that there was no space for it to conceal itself.

The light bulb flickered. He froze. My God, he thought….it’s on the ceiling! He pictured it crawling above him like a huge, pale lizard. That’s how it gets around, he thought, that’s how it escapes anytime I should have it cornered, it just scuttles up the wall and hides right over my head! He imagined it dangling down behind him like a spider. If I turn around, he thought, it will be there, hanging with its face right next to mine. He held his breath. He did not want to turn around, but he had no choice; it was between him and the door.

With a quiet sob, he rounded on his heels.

Of course, he was alone. There was no man on the ceiling; he checked twice. Maybe it crawled out and was waiting for him in the hall…but when he checked there the coast was once again clear. It should have been a relief, but it was not. After all, it had to be in here somewhere. If the ceiling was not its trick that just meant it was something else, something even more strange, even more clever…

He went to Daniel’s room. He had had not stopped checking on him at night, like he always had. This time, though, rather than open the door he listened at it first, pressing his ear against the grain of the cheap wood and holding his breath, terrified that he would hear a skittering sound on the other side of the barrier. What he heard instead shocked him more:

Daniel was talking to someone.

James recoiled for a second and then, when he’d caught his breath, he all but kicked the door in. Daniel was already awake, indeed, sitting up in bed, but he was not saying anything now. The light flashed on and James stalked halfway into the room before stopping, suddenly torn: What did he want more, to confirm that his son could speak again or to find whomever he was speaking to?

The creak of a door hinge settled the matter for him. He ran to the closet and threw it open: There was nothing inside, or at least, nothing that shouldn’t be there. He swept aside clothes on their hangars, but nothing was hiding between them. Then he dragged the toy box out and emptied it into the floor: Nothing. He combed along the bare walls and floor and, yes, the ceiling, pushing aside every last bit of rubbish and stray knick-knack so that he could be sure, absolutely sure, that nothing was hiding.

All the while Daniel watched him.

After a few minutes James was panting and covered in sweat and the closet was bare, and there were neither intruders nor answers inside. It struck him as funny, somehow, and he started to laugh, very quietly. He kicked his son’s toys out of the way as he went to sit down on the bed, dazed. He became aware, all at once, of several things, first being that he had not slept in days and was nowhere near his right mind. The second was how close he’d come to really losing it, for good.

Tomorrow, he decided, they would both sleep until the afternoon, and when they did wake up he and Daniel would get out of this creaky old house. No more staying cooped up like prisoners, and no more checkups, and no more dreams about monsters. He would even take the bars off the windows. It was time to get back to living like real people again. It was time to—

James saw it when he brushed a hand through Daniel’s hair. He pulled Daniel (a little too roughly) closer. His son acquiesced to the examination without fidgeting or complaint as James pawed the side of his head, hoping that what he was seeing would somehow stop being apparent. He stared and stared until he ached from not blinking, but there was no denying what was right in front of his eyes:

Daniel was missing an ear.

No, he realized with mounting nausea: both ears. There was no injury, no incision, no mark where they should have been, simply smooth, blank flesh. As blank as Daniel’s quiet, unperturbed demeanor.

James swept him up in his arms and ran into the hall. He was not sure where he was going or what he meant to do when he got there, he just knew that there was now nothing more important than getting his son out of that house. But their path was cut off: A naked man sat in the hallway with his back to them. No, not a man: James recognized its stretched limbs and stooped shoulders. The pale thing squatted on its haunches, rocking back and forth like it was palsied. It almost seemed to be in pain. James hugged his son closer and backed away. Then he heard Daniel’s voice: “dad-ee.”

James turned to Daniel, and he heard the voice again:

“dad-ee.”

But Daniel’s lips hadn’t moved.

James looked back at the hunched figure. Its head jerked when it talked, like a tic:

“hello. dad-ee.”

James’ mouth went dry. It took several tries before he could speak. “Don’t call me that.”

“it is. this voice’s name. for you.”

“Go away. Leave my family alone.”

“but i am. your family.”

The longer it talked the more the voice became distorted and blurred. An icy feeling nestled in James’ stomach. “Who are you?”

“someone. who came to visit.”

“Why here?”

“you. invited me.”

James’ heart thudded against the inside of his chest. “Why?”

“i had. something you wanted.”

James licked his dry lips. “You’re lying. You don’t have anything I want. I want you to leave. Leave, and never come back.”

“who. is. daniel’s. mother?”

James blinked. “What?”

“who. is. daniel’s. mother?”

“What the hell kind of question is that?”

“how. old. is. daniel?”

James blinked again. The thing’s voice caused a pinching pain in the center of his forehead. “Stop asking me these things.”

“when. is. daniel’s. birthday?”

“…I don’t know.”

“what. is. his. middle. name?”

“Shut up.”

“what. was. his. first word?”

“I said shut up!” James wanted to tear the thing apart with his bare hands. Only the heaviness of Daniel in his arms kept him where he was.

“you were. alone. you wanted. a son. so i. made one. for you.”

James’ hands began to shake. “That doesn’t make sense. Made out of what?”

“out of. myself.”

James’ stomach turned over.

“but now. i need those parts. back.”

Daniel picked at James’ shoulder to get his attention. Something was strange about Daniel’s face. “Danny? Open your eyes.”

Daniel scrunched his eyes shut tighter.

“Open your eyes. Danny? Danny. Open your eyes. Open your eyes!”

Daniel shook his head, trying to refuse, but he couldn’t hold it forever. Eventually his eyelids flicked up and James saw the truth.

Daniel’s eyes were gone.

James almost dropped him. For a second he wanted to throw his son down so that he could stop looking into those empty holes in his face. Daniel opened his mouth, as if to speak, but of course, he had no voice.

“he is coming back. to be part of me. again.”

“No. No, no, no, give him back, give him back!”

“i. cannot. it has been. too long. i warned you. this. would happen.”

“You’re lying! You’re lying, you’re a fucking liar, give me my son back, give him back!”

“i. do not lie. i. warned you. he could not exist forever. but you. do not remember. you. can only remember. what i want you to. you forget. all the times. we have talked.”

Daniel felt like a doll, or an empty bag. His hair was falling out, disappearing before it touched the ground. His hands vanished into his sleeves and his feet rolled up inside his pants cuffs. James cradled the tiny, shapeless thing. Tears streamed down his face. Soon he held a pile of empty clothes, and then those too were gone.

He looked around the house; toys disappeared, photos vanished from their frames, Daniel’s little shoes were no longer by the door. James turned toward Daniel’s room and confronted a wall where the door should be. He groped the blank surface, fingertips scrambling. He hit his head against the wall. The pain didn’t feel real. “Why did you do this?”

“it was. what you wanted. and i learned. so much.”

“This is impossible. People will ask, people will wonder: the police, the hospitals, the people in the neighborhood!”

“they. have already. forgotten him. they only. remembered. what i wanted them to. like you.”

James pressed his hands to his aching skull. “Will I at least remember him after this?”

“you. can try. but your mind. will fail you. now that everything. he was. is part of me. again.”

James sat on the floor, looking at the blank wall. Out the corner of his eye he saw the thing creep toward him and even felt its wet hand on his shoulder, but he did not look at it.

“If I won’t remember any of this,” he said, “then why tell me?”

“because. a father. should know.”

And then James was alone.

***

Abigail worried about James sometimes.

When they met a year ago, he said that he’d never been married and he’d never had kids, but there was a certain pained expression he assumed when he said the last part. Abigail knew that look: She’d met parents who lost children before. You learned to recognize it.

And there were other things about him that worried her too. Sometimes she would find him staring at a particular spot on the wall, brow furrowed in concentration. He did not seem to realize he was doing it. And of course there was the insomnia, and the sleepwalking to consider too. Yes, there was lots to worry about. But she loved him all the same.

James still said he’d never had kids, and neither had she. She’d long wanted one, but it was impossible, and she worried that James wouldn’t stay with a woman who couldn’t be a mother (though he constantly assured her that it was not so). There were times—and more and more often of late they were the nights when James took to sleepwalking, and even Abigail imagined that she heard strange, scuttling noises in the house and saw impossible shapes in dark corners—when she thought she would do anything, absolutely anything, if it meant having a little daughter for she and James to raise.

And at those moments, she became truly afraid. But she never knew why.

Credit To – Tam Lin

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.3/10 (948 votes cast)

This website contains fictional content that may be too scary for younger readers. Please verify that you are either at least 18 years of age or have parental permission before proceeding.