Deepest Fear

October 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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It took me a month to figure out the pattern- the pattern It was using to kill us off.

At first it was Jack, who was found dead, lying face-down and submerged in his own bathtub. His mother had been the one that found him, the poor woman. Her lifeless body was discovered a week later, after countless complaints from her apartment neighbors about a pungent odor from her apartment. After breaking into the home, the police found her hanging from a rope from the rafters of her bedroom.

It went after Diane next. Diane, who had been a victim of dog mauling when she was just 5-years old, was discovered just a week after Jack’s mother was found. Her body, lying by the side of the forest surrounding the town, was practically ripped to shreds. There were countless bite and claw marks, courtesy of a pack of stray dogs that had been roaming the neighborhood for weeks.

It went after Kyle a week back. I could tell that Kyle had suspected that something was wrong- his text messages to me grew increasingly frantic as he begun telling me about a strange figure, a clown, he said, climbing out of his closet, night after night, and standing at the foot of his bed. At first I had thought nothing of it- Kyle had always been a pretty high-strung kid since young and was prone to panic attacks, so this was probably just one of his ‘outbreaks’.

Calm down, I recalled telling him, it’s probably a serial killer, Just keep your doors and windows shut and locked. Just calm down, and your hallucinations would go away.

Boy, was I wrong.

Kyle’s body was found just 2 days ago, after he failed to show up to breakfast on time that morning. His mother had gone up to his bedroom to wake him up when she found him, cold and rigid, his eyes glassy and opened wide, staring straight ahead at the foot of the bed. There were no wounds or bruises of any sort. The coroner later on declared Kyle’s cause of death to be a heart attack.

That’s when I realized that something was really wrong. It couldn’t have been the work of a serial killer. It just doesn’t add up. It had to be something supernatural, something that could target and attack our deepest, darkest fears, something that could pit our fears against us.

You see, Jack, who had drowned, was always terrified of water. Jack’s mother, who doted dearly on her son, had always been overly protective over Jack. His death would have been the ultimate blow to her. Next was Diane, who had always been extremely fearful of dogs ever since her childhood incident. And Kyle, who always had an irrational fear of clowns… well, you get the idea.

And as for me, I have always been afraid of the dark.

I can tell It’s coming for me. I’ve recently begun seeing crazy hallucinations, shadows morphing into indistinguishable shapes of monsters and demons, things that no normal human being should be seeing. I’m no fool, I know my time is coming. Even as I am writing this, I can hear It, moaning my name over and over again from the darkest corner of my room. I’ve given up keeping the lights on, I’ve given up fighting. It’s no use anymore. I’m just so exhausted.

Goodbye.

Credit To – Angelica Ng; Author also has a Twitter if you wish to follow her!

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This Man

October 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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On one of two big hills sandwiching the sleepy little town of Maldoona, twins Sasha and Tasha, aged nine, sat gazing at the stars. In the throes of boredom, Sasha bit and chewed at her nails, tearing them off in thin strips before spitting them out through her teeth. Tasha looked over, disgusted. “Stop slobbering all over your fingers! Why do you have to do that?”

“Better than staring at the moon while we wait for father to get better,” replied Sasha. Tasha eyed the silver crescent hanging in the sky and frowned. All she could think of was how much it resembled one of her sister’s peeled nails, frayed edge and all. “You’re ruining the mood,” she muttered. Sasha spit at the ground. “What mood?”

The air was crisp as a juicy green apple from their neighbor Mrs. Grubble’s tree; it was a rare kind of autumn cold that clung on and soaked through to the core. No matter, the twins were bundled in so many layers of puffy fabric, they might well roll away down the hill if footing was lost. Tasha’s gray eyes suddenly widened. Among the stars appeared a bright indigo blaze with long streaking tail, arcing its way across the heavens. “Look!” she shouted, elbowing her sister. “A falling star!” They watched in wonder as the object continued its descent, glowing brighter, and brighter…and brighter still. “I’ve never seen one last this long,” remarked Sasha.

Down at Maldoona Tavern, patrons were throwing darts and chucking dice, playing bored games while tossing back strong drafts. A massive glass goblet, empty but for a few amber drops at the bottom, sat on the counter in front of Zeke. He was slumped at his stool, holding a half-eaten green apple in one hand. Mrs. Grubble gave him three of these each day, two for his daughters and one for himself. This was more an act of placation than kindness. “They’re sweet girls,” she’d told him, “but really, Zeke, they needn’t steal my apples. I can spare a few every day, if they’ll stop hauling them away in their bloomin’ dresses!” Zeke could only look down, embarrassed.

He crunched into the apple, hating the way its flesh dug at his gums, but figured they were good for his health. And being too lazy to carve them into slices, this was the easiest way to eat them. “Hey Barstool, you want another one or what?” The bartender’s question interrupted Zeke’s thoughts. He had a habit of calling Zeke “Barstool” — or “Table,” or “Chair,” or some other random piece of furniture — because Zeke so closely resembled such things, always sitting and mulling night after night, hardly moving or talking. Zeke wasn’t sure if this was a sign of affection or mean-spirited teasing. He raised his free hand and shook his head. He needed to sober up a bit, “get better,” before picking up his daughters. He’d dropped them off at the hill to play for the evening while he ran his errands in town. They would be ready to come home soon.

The bartender wiped the dirty counter with a dirtier rag. “Fine. So now you sit there while I watch that apple rot in your hand, eh?” He sighed. “Aw, go on then. Be furniture in my mind.”

Zeke was leaning toward mean-spirited teasing. He shrugged.

The star had finally burned itself out, but its path through the sky could still be traced as it crossed other celestial lights, briefly occulting their glow — a black husk cruising silent on a sea of night. Wonder turned to fear when the girls realized its trajectory would land it dangerously close to the very spot where they now stood. It all happened so suddenly: one instant it was a tiny speck, the next, a hulking harbinger of death screaming earthward. The girls had little time to do anything but embrace one another. The object bore down on them with relentless fury before slamming into the hillside, sending the earth into violent convulsions as plumes of soil erupted. A spray of hot dirt rained down at their feet. When all was settled and quiet, they dug their fingers out of each others’ backs — for once, Tasha could appreciate her sister’s nail-biting — and cautiously advanced downward.

Embedded in the smoldering crater lay a perfectly rectangular slab of stone. It was a deep black in color, dappled with glittering flecks of green. The surface was smooth and shiny as water. Indeed, when Sasha removed a mitten and reached out to touch it, her fingers actually felt wet. She quickly withdrew them, for the stone was freezing cold.

The most interesting aspect of this object, though, was the man inside.

Through a seamless glass top they gazed upon his features. He was racially indefinable. In fact, traces of all races seemed to show on his face, without any one trait taking dominance. His skin was darkly tanned (maybe by the stars, thought Tasha). Despite a bald head, he did not look very old, no more than perhaps fifty, although his cheeks were cut with wrinkles deep enough to channel tears — assuming, of course, he’d ever had reason to cry (being dead seemed like a pretty good reason, thought Sasha). Crow’s-feet crept at the corners of his eyes. They were closed peacefully, and he lay as still as the stone that entombed him. He was a tall man, at least half a head taller than anyone else in town, and wrapped in a black shroud from shoulder to feet.

Puffs of air poured from the gaping mouths of the twins. “Is…is this what a star is?” asked Tasha to no one in particular.

Scores of boots came scurrying up the hill. Those townsfolk who had seen the fire in the sky, and heard the ensuing thunder, went off to indulge their curiosity. Some took it upon themselves to act as criers, running from home to home or shop to shop with the announcement that “something has fallen from the skies!” One such crier burst into Maldoona Tavern just as Zeke was raising a spoonful of soup to his mouth. “Zeke,” he panted, “your daughters…something’s crashed! They were there. They’re okay, a little shaken, but come quick! Take that fancy auto you got!” Starving but sobered, Zeke threw down the spoon and bolted outside. “Hey Barstool! Don’t forget to pay for that!” shouted the bartender after him.

Zeke ran to his car and hit the firing switch after pumping a good amount of fuel pressure. He opened the throttle, and the big steam engine hurtled him down the road.

There was a crowd on the hill when Zeke arrived. He picked his way through it, finding his daughters near the center of the crater. Getting no response after hugging them, he saw that they were staring transfixed at a black object in the hole. Everyone was. Zeke got closer. “What is that?” he asked.

Heads were scratched, brows wiped, dusty suspenders anxiously tugged at. “I don’t know, but he looks…familiar,” said a woman.

“He does!” agreed another. “I swear I’ve seen him before. But where?”

Following many minutes of excited chatter, it became evident that the man in the stone was recognized by all who saw him, including Zeke. Yet nobody could remember where they had seen him. That is, not until Tasha spoke up.

“He’s from my dream,” she announced. Sasha’s eyes lit up. “No, no, he’s from my dream!” Another voice in the crowd yelled out, “They’re right! I’ve seen this man in my dreams too!”

“So have I,” said Zeke, with growing realization. “And more than once.” The mere sight of the man, with the revelation of his pervasive dream presence, was like a key unlocking a memory the brain had long ago sought to hide, but forgotten why.

More chatter. Most could remember the man from at least one dream. Some had dreamed of him recently, others many years ago, with dim recollection. But nobody could remember the man ever doing anything apart from simply being there, watching the dreamer. Nor was anyone sure what this all meant, or what they should now do with him. “Let us get him out of there,” suggested a man, “and make certain he’s really dead.” A few of the townspeople left to fetch tools, and when they returned, set about to the task of extraction.

But it was no use. The glass lid was not glass at all. No manner of saw, axe, or hammer would leave so much as a scratch on its strange iridescent surface. It was getting late, so the crowd reluctantly dispersed.

Back at home, Tasha asked Zeke an odd question as he tucked her into bed: “Father, do the dead dream?” He planted a kiss on her forehead. Zeke’s mother had been a self-professed medium, engendering in him a deep reverence for the things that lurk behind death’s veil. She was hanged by a mob when he was fourteen. “Oh yes, the dead can dream,” he answered, echoing his mother’s words. “They dream of the living each time we dream of them.”

He dreamt of his mother that night.

By morning, there was disturbing news: a little girl had gone blind overnight, and awoken with a message. She’d seen the man in her dream, only this time he’d spoken to her, and urged her to relay his every word. The message?

“Sweep your stern gaze across mine and tremble.”

Some people went to see the man again, and came back with reports that a faint smile now showed at the corners of his mouth.

The next day brought similar news: this time a girl had woken up without the ability to hear or speak. She wrote down a message from the man in her dream:

“Five days, five windows to the world lost.”

Everyone in Maldoona was abuzz with speculation. Some of the questions were obvious: where had the man come from, why was he here, what did his messages mean? Yet the fascination turned to fixation, and soon the townspeople were squabbling over every detail concerning the man, even things so trivial as his hypothetical hobbies, native language, or diet. Sasha and Tasha, for their part, decided he would enjoy Mrs. Grubble’s apples, and began leaving them piled at his coffin.

Against the backdrop of this irrational obsession, young girls continued to wake having lost one of their sensory faculties, and carrying with them a message. On Monday, little Mallory down the street woke to find her nose quite useless:

“After the fifth, I make judgment by month’s end.”

On Tuesday, Sasha herself informed her father she could not taste her breakfast. Zeke knelt and grabbed her by the shoulders, looking her straight in the eye. “Did you see the man, Sasha? What did he tell you?” She beamed, holding her chin high. “Yes! I remembered every word! He told me that…” Looking down at the floor, squinting with concentration, she slowly recited the words. “That ‘those who listen for my calling see rich reward.’” Sasha turned to her sister. “See? He came to me again, not you! I told you he liked me more!” Tasha stuck her tongue out in response.

But on Wednesday, it was Tasha who beamed as she came bounding down the stairs with news that she could not feel a thing with her fingers. “See! He does like me!” she taunted her sister, even as her hands flopped about. “Father, the man said ‘and the light of my eyes will burn to oblivion those souls unworthy.’ He said it over and over, until he knew I could repeat it. What does it mean?” This was almost too much for Zeke to bear.

Word quickly spread that Zeke’s daughters were the latest affected. There was some doubt as to whether they would be the last. There had been reports of anarchic behavior throughout town in recent days. Ned Hammond drove his tractor through the front doors of the public library, injuring two. And Wilson Brown smashed every window in Maldoona Tavern before setting it ablaze. When asked why, both men could only say they thought it’s what the “dream man” wanted.

There were also reports that with each passing night, the smile on his face grew wider.

Zeke needed to see this for himself, and drove to the hill. To get there by car or carriage required bending around a large lake at the edge of town. The late sun threw a creeping sheen across its surface that reminded him of the coffin’s top, and he could see throngs of people walking along the bank on their way to the hill. Upon arriving he parked at the bottom and started the climb up. The ground was cold and firm, making for an easy trek. As Zeke neared the crater, he saw a man already there, kneeling at the coffin. The man was alone but whispering to himself, and when Zeke called out, he got no reply. He came closer, seeing the man’s eyes closed, hands clasped, and lips feverishly moving. He was praying. Praying to the smiling man in the coffin.

The sight made Zeke’s stomach churn. It felt like there were eels swimming through his intestines, and he thought he would be sick. He could not explain this sudden wave of intense repulsion, but knew he needed to go at once. The man began rocking to and fro as Zeke scrambled down.

Mrs. Grubble was waiting for him on his front porch. It was dark now, and crickets’ chirps filled the air. “They burnt it down, Zeke,” she said as he pulled into the driveway. “There are rumors he leaves his coffin at night, you see. That’s what your girls told me. But the apples they left were rotting. Supposed there was something wrong with them. So they burnt my tree down.” She smiled. “I watched them set the fire in the moonlight. The one — there’s something wrong with her…” Her voice trailed off. Zeke, still sitting in his car, could only look down.

The end of the month was drawing near, so a town meeting was called. Conversation centered on the man in the coffin, and how best to deal with his messages. The townsfolk were essentially split into two camps. “So he’s smiling. Don’t mean nothing. I’ve seen dead muscles do weird things,” said one man. “On the other hand, some folks think it’s a sign of great things to come for this town, if we’re worthy.” He spit at the ground. “Well I say we are. I say leave him and see what happens.”

“Leave him? Nonsense! Send it back!” declared another. “Send it back whence it came in–in…in a great balloon! You’ve heard his warnings. This cold little coffin stinks of age and doom!”

“A bit dramatic, aren’t we Thomas?” replied the first man. Thomas grumbled something inaudible and sat back down.

Nevertheless, a vote was taken, and the balloon idea won out by a small margin. Maldoona would rid itself of its mystery.

On the eve of “the desperate launch,” as it came to be known, a heavy fog rolled into town. An overnight frost laid a sparkling blanket of icy diamonds atop Zeke’s yard, and the full force of winter would be on its way before long. Zeke was in bed when a bright light roused him. Half awake, he thought it a figment of dream and buried his head in the pillow, but it refused to leave. He propped himself up on a sleep-numbed arm. The light persisted through a bedroom window, so he put on his coat, slipped into his shoes, and went outside to investigate.

The soupy haze obscured all but the closest objects. Straying only a few feet from the house risked total disorientation. Zeke edged his way toward the light, calling out, “Hullo there in the fog!” He saw that the light was actually two separate beams side by side, and thought perhaps they were the headlights of his car. “If you’re fixing to steal my automobile, I’ve got a gun!” he lied.

The lights turned toward him, forcing Zeke to shield his eyes. As soon as they struck his face, he felt a deep chill and shivered. Then footsteps came crunching over the frosted grass. Spider legs crawled across his skin as they approached. It felt as if the beams were eating away at him, and he longed to be back in bed beneath the comfort of a thick blanket. It was too cold.

When the footsteps stopped, Zeke, blinded, discerned the presence of another standing before him in the light. “Wh–who is that?” An intrusive noise entered his head in response. It seemed less a voice than pure thought, and conveyed in an instant a complex message to him, which if roughly translated into words was as follows:

“Behold an archetype standing, scourge of a thousand lifetimes. Through five stolen windows, small as they are, do I know the waking world and enter into it. I hold hands with those who yearn to court the cosmic chaos, but do not realize it. It is a beautiful and natural thing. By gradual action it releases you from illusion, transforms you from beast to god. It bores through the very fabric of time and dimension to mind’s core, carrying away the higher self through resulting tunnel. Still, some resist. When a people unknown to your annals gained the proper means, they sent me away. Intolerant. Fearful. You understand. Yet patient orbits have conspired to return me. I am not cruel. I am selective. I am bored. And I seek new vistas. We will meet again, you and I.”

After a pause, the lights turned away. Zeke fell to his knees with a throbbing at his temples. He glanced up to just make out the form of a tall, thin figure with beams emanating from the head where the eyes should be. Like a shadow cast from long-forgotten dream, the dark shape faded back into the mist, and the lights dimmed.

The balloon was borrowed from the nearest neighboring town of Sarnath, eighteen miles to the south. On the day of the launch, a frigid day fraught with anticipation, it was secured to the coffin and inflated. Zeke held his daughters close as they watched it rise into the sky. What a strange sight, to see that black stone dangling from the giant teardrop shape, glinting different colors of the rainbow as it twisted and turned. Their gray eyes watered, and the girls looked at each other with wistful expressions. Nobody said a word.

Looming storm clouds made a phantom mountain range on the horizon, to which the balloon sailed on bellowing winds. The casket shrank from view until it became an indistinct speck. It was never seen in Maldoona again, and no doom befell the town. In the coming weeks, those senses would return to each girl who’d lost them.

Life continued as it had.

In Sarnath, two young boys found a collapsed balloon on the outskirts of town. Peeling away heavy folds of fabric, they uncovered a slab of black stone whose glass lid had been shattered to a million shards. They’d heard the tales from Maldoona, and raced into town with news of their discovery.

Some were afraid, and with trembling hands drew signs of protection against their chests. But others gladdened at the news of the coffin, and dreamed entrancing dreams of all the wonderful things the man might bring. “This man comes our way!” they shouted to one another. “Glories that be, he comes our way free of bonds! Watch for him, watch for him in your dreams!”

And Sarnath waited.

Credit To – alapanamo

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The Devil Game

October 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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NOTE: Due to the extra attention this story has received lately, the author asked that I include this statement before the actual story.

“”I have recently been alerted to the tragic events that transpired in Waukesha, Wisconsin on May 31, 2014. This tragedy saddens me deeply, and my heart goes out to the victim and to the families of all involved; I cannot even begin to imagine what they must be going through. I do not wish to make an in-depth statement regarding the crime – this site’s administrator has already done so with so much thought, sincerity, and grace that I have nothing to add; suffice to say that I agree completely with the site’s June 3rd “Statement on the Wisconsin Stabbing.” However, as a piece of my work seems to have come under fire in the wake of the Wisconsin tragedy, I feel it is my responsibility to personally make the following statement:

I would like to make it entirely, 100%, UNEQUIVOCALLY CLEAR that “The Devil Game,” along with every other creepypasta story I have ever written or will ever write, is COMPLETELY FICTIONAL. They are purely products of my imagination, written for the purpose of spooking and entertaining the reader – NOT to be acted off of!

When I first wrote “The Devil Game,” I did not think it necessary to include such a disclaimer for a story posted on Creepypasta.com. However, the recent tragedy’s alleged relation to the Slenderman mythos has caused me to re-evaluate this position. I now believe that I should have included a disclaimer from the beginning, and apologize for not doing so. I completely respect other authors’ rights to maintain in their posts (ritual pasta, creepypasta, or otherwise) the sense of pseudo-authenticity that lends so many urban legends and campfire tales an extra-creepy edge. It is a matter of creative license, and I believe that the vast, vast majority of creepypasta fans are completely able to deal with this. However, I personally have begun to feel uncomfortable with how far I pushed the “fourth wall” in this story without a disclaimer, especially since (unlike in, say, “Midnight Game” or “How to Play Hide and Seek Alone”) carrying out the described ritual in real life might entail a crime, i.e. trespassing or breaking and entering. That is why I’ll be attempting to track down and post disclaimers on reproductions of my work on other sites, as well as instructing admins to keep the disclaimer here.

The one thing I will say in my work’s defense is that I have NEVER, in ANY story, instructed or advocated violence against another living being, and I never will. (Although I’m certain that if I had, the admins of this site would have at least slapped a disclaimer on the thing – more likely shot it down like a clay pigeon!).

Just two more closing points:

1) If you are in a financial position to do so, please consider contributing to the Narrators uNIGHTed charity drive to benefit SafeHorizon and the Family of the Waukesha Tragedy. I plan to make a small contribution myself, and though I’m not in a position to make a large donation, I believe that every little bit counts, and we should all do what we can!
2) Ironically, I’d like to end this post with a creepypasta cliché that I specifically tried to avoid when writing “The Devil Game:” In all seriousness and sincerity, PLEASE DO NOT ACTUALLY TRY THIS. It’s made up, it doesn’t work, and honestly it’s a little bit silly.”

Pray, for devils have no reason
Satan waits to curse your ways
Have you seen it in his eyes in the sunset?
Have you wondered if he’s laughing when he plays?

– Kansas, “The Devil Game”

This is a set of instructions for how to speak with the Devil.

Which, as those of you with any sort of brains at all might note, is a patently moronic proposition on the face of it; one likely to culminate in any number of thoroughly unpleasant fates. Honestly, it would probably be smarter to publish your credit card number on Facebook, or take up a career in crocodile-wrestling.

But then, that isn’t going to stop you, is it? Not if you’re sincerely interested, at least. Technically, if you do everything just right, there’s a fair chance you’ll walk away scot-free; and that seems to be reason enough for some people to decide that it’s a good idea. Especially if you’re the fate-tempting, thrill-seeking, scare-junkie type. Or the desperate type.

Which brings me to a point of clarification I ought to make. This is NOT a manual for making any kind of Faustian bargain – you know, the whole sell-your-soul type of deal. Although if you happened to bring it up in conversation, he certainly wouldn’t be one to refuse. Following through with such a foolhardy bargain, however, would necessitate removing some the protections which you will put in place for your conversation, and I don’t think I need to spell out for you why that would be a BAD idea. If you’re really mathematically impaired enough to want to trade something that will last an infinite number of years for something that might last about 90 (tops), there are plenty of other rituals out there for you to follow. This one, if performed correctly, should only allow the two of you to talk.

This, perhaps, begs the question of WHY exactly you would want to speak with the Devil in the first place. (Maybe some of you just like the idea of making small talk with extremely dangerous occult entities, but for the sake of the human race I hope most of you aren’t quite that stupid.) Short answer is – he KNOWS things. Things that some of you may have a deep, vested interest in finding out. I mean, he’s not omniscient or anything – much as he might like to pretend otherwise, he’s not God – but he’s definitely got a supernatural advantage over the kind of knowledge any human would be able to obtain. For example, he probably wouldn’t be able to predict when the next World War will happen, or tell you the cure for cancer… but he could very well be able to predict the winning numbers of tomorrow’s $500 million Powerball drawing, or tell you what deadly, undiagnosed condition might be afflicting one of your loved ones.

Of course, the Prince of Darkness doesn’t just go around giving out winning lottery numbers to anybody who asks. And trusting any sort of information obtained from a being commonly described as “the father of all lies” is liable to land you in a worse situation than you were in when you started. However, if you’re really dead set on finding something out, and you’ve exhausted all other options, there IS a way to try to get accurate information out of the guy.

You see, like so many of the more urbane villains in popular culture, the Devil has a bit of a penchant for games and gambling. Of course, the reason he likes them so much is that he almost always wins. Unless you happen to be a fiddler named Johnny or are being represented by Daniel Webster, you’re probably going to get your ass handed to you. But, if you’re determined enough to want to face the risks and the long odds, there’s a certain game the two of you could play to try to win the information you need.

First things first, though. We’ll start off with a description of the summoning process, then get into the rules of the game, some tips for how to play, and finally, of course, the inevitable litany of arcane shit that might go horribly wrong.

In order to contact your conversational partner, you’ll need to go to a church at midnight. It doesn’t matter what kind of church – large or small, old or new, liberal or conservative – just as long as you’re sure it will be empty. The last thing you want is for some preacher to walk in on you while you’re in the middle of this (for the sake of the preacher’s well-being, as much as your own). The process will probably work best if you try it on a new moon, or a full moon, or Friday the 13th, or Halloween… the actual day is less important that the psychological effect it has on you (as long as you don’t try it on Christmas Eve or something stupid like that, you should be fine).

The time IS important, though. You don’t have to start or end your ritual at exactly 12:00:00am Greenwich Atomic time or anything, but as a general rule of thumb you ought to show up a bit before midnight and have everything set up by no later than ten or fifteen after. Show up a LOT before midnight if you don’t know how you’re going to get in. Shockingly enough, most Houses of God do tend to lock their doors at night, at least if no one’s there to watch over them (and remember, we want EMPTY, got it?)

There are, of course, certain things you need to bring, and certain things you can’t bring. For this ritual, you will NEED:
• A full can of salt – you won’t need to use all of it, but it’s always better to have more than you need than to have less.
• Seven candles, red or white being preferable.
• Something to light the candles with. You would be shocked how often people forget this. Occult ritual or not, they aren’t going to magically light themselves!
• A length of red string, rope, yarn, or thread.
• A full-length floor or wall mirror. Ideally, you’ll want to find one of these already present in the church (they’re a bit unwieldy to be lugging around with you during a break-in). However, if there really aren’t any there, you’ll have to bring your own.

You might also find it useful to bring some markers, pencils, paper, a flashlight, and any sort of tools that might be necessary to secure your entrance into the church.

You will NOT be permitted to bring in any electronic or timekeeping devices. THIS INCLUDES all cell phones, smartphones, tablets, E-Readers, mp3 players, PDAs, calculators, wristwatches, pocket watches, kitchen timers, hourglasses, etc, etc, etc. (Seriously, it’s worse than the SAT.) If you’re one of those people that has your smartphone practically wired into your brain, don’t worry – you can bring those things with you to the church as long as you leave them OUTSIDE the room in which you will be doing the ritual. If you brought a flashlight (helpful for finding your way around without attracting unwanted attention), leave that outside too.

Also, don’t bring in any sort of religious paraphernalia to protect you, especially if it pertains to the Abrahamic religions. (And yes, if those goth-y black cross earrings you’re wearing are hanging right-side up, they count.) If you have any kind of holy symbols like that with you, the Devil will simply refuse to show up.

Don’t worry, you’re not going in totally unprotected. In fact, most of the supplies with you are not for any sort of Devil-summoning ritual, but for your own protection – old superstitions and folk magic remedies to guard oneself from evil. From what I know of it, the effect’s mostly based on the power of belief, so there are probably numerous other objects, artifacts, and procedures that would work just as well. If you’d like to risk being left helpless at the mercy of the Devil in order to test that theory, feel free to experiment! However, for anyone without a psychotic death wish, I’d recommend sticking to the ritual as follows:

Once you’re sure you have all the right supplies with you, make your way into the church and find someplace to set up. It can be anywhere from the main sanctuary where services are held, to a Sunday school classroom, to a walk-in supply closet – as long as you have a sufficient amount of open floor space and are certain not to be disturbed. Set up your mirror first – this is where the Devil will appear when you summon him. As such, you mustn’t complete the summoning until you’ve laid down certain wards around it.

First, surround the mirror with an unbroken circle of salt. If the mirror is hanging on a wall or door, lay down a semicircle around it instead, making sure that the salt touches the wall at both ends. Then, wrap your red string around the mirror several times. The color red, especially red string, is symbolic of protection in the folklore of many cultures and religions. This is also why red candles are a good idea.

Speaking of the candles, set them up around the outside of your circle (or semicircle) of salt, spaced at relatively even intervals. No, you do not have to get out measuring tape and make it exactly perfect, but do at least try to make it look as though it was set up by someone old enough to be trusted with matches. Light the candles in a clockwise fashion, being careful not to disturb the salt – if you break the circle, you’ll have to start all over again. Once all of the candles are lit and burning strongly, your protective wards are complete. You are now ready to proceed to the actual summoning.

To do so, you first must get the Devil’s attention and demonstrate your resolve by performing some sort of sacrilegious act in the holy space. Turning a crucifix or cross upside-down is fairly conventional, but it’s not the only option. For example, I know of a kid who once fulfilled this requirement by scribbling obnoxious graffiti all over a painting of Jesus hanging in his Sunday school classroom.

(The nice thing about turning a cross upside-down is that once you’ve finished your encounter – assuming you’ve survived it in one piece – you can just flip it right-side-up again and no one’s the wiser… sidestepping the relatively minor but still irritating risk of having your Sunday school turn into a reenactment of the Spanish Inquisition for the next month and a half.)

After you’ve finished doing whatever offensive thing you decide on, shut all doors to the room and turn off all of the lights, so that the space is lit only by the candles. Face the mirror and stare deeply into it, concentrating on your desired outcome. There are no incantations, no arcane strings of Latin you have to recite. Just look into the mirror and wish as hard as you can for the Devil to appear there. After a few moments of this, when you feel ready, close your eyes and count to ten. Then open them.

If all has gone correctly, you will no longer see your own reflection. You will be looking at the Devil… or at least, looking at the way the Devil has chosen to appear to you. Chances are, he won’t look like your conventional red, horned demon with goat legs and a pitchfork, nor any other sort of terrible apparition. No point in scaring you off now… better to lure you in, make you feel safe. To that end, he generally takes on the appearance of a fairly average, nondescript human being. If anything, he’s prone to vanity and will lean towards the more attractive end of the spectrum.

The only really frightening part of him will be his eyes. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t hide the sinister gleam smoldering deep within them, the malevolent amusement and hunger, like the eyes of a spider contemplating a fly struggling in its web. They’re supremely confident, those eyes… confident, and without pity. Don’t look into them too deeply, or you’ll begin to feel helpless and paralyzed with dread, losing your hope and your will to fight.

Since you’ll probably be just standing there staring at him in shock for a few moments (having on some level expected for the ritual to fail), he’ll initiate the conversation by asking you what it is you desire from him. If you can gather your wits enough to string together a coherent sentence, you should respond with something like: “I wish to challenge you in a game of question-and-response.”

Even if you don’t get the words exactly right, he’ll know what you mean, and he’ll accept your request with a wide, predatory grin of anticipation. He’s been playing this game for a long time, you see, and he’s very good at it. Most humans, on the other hand, are very bad at it. This gives him a chance to, at the very least, thoroughly mess with your mind, and at most… well, we’ll save that for the “litany of shit that could go wrong.” You’ll have to play it very smart to avoid justifying his expectations.

The general rules to the game are very simple, with a few caveats that can make things more complicated. He’ll begin by asking you a question (he always initiates the game). It can be anything from a piece of obscure trivia, to a riddle, to an extremely personal inquiry. Don’t worry, you won’t be immediately plunged into Hell if you get the wrong answer or anything like that. As a matter of fact, he won’t even tell you whether you got the answer right or wrong.

After you’ve answered his question, you get to ask him one in return. Now, here’s where the consequences of your response come in. If you answered his last question correctly, he will respond to your question as honestly and accurately as he is able. However, if you answered it incorrectly, he is free to lie to you as he sees fit. Perhaps if you’ve asked him something you’re better off not knowing, he’ll tell you the truth about it anyway. More likely, he’ll feed you the most insidious, damaging lie he can come up with. Either way, after he’s responded, he’ll ask you another question, and the process will repeat over and over again until you decide to call it quits.

Now, you may be sitting there thinking that it sounds fairly easy to get the information you need… all you have to do is wait for a question you can answer correctly, and then take that opportunity to ask him what you really want to know, ignoring everything else he’s said. Well, it’s not that simple. The Devil will never give you an easy question, one that you can be completely sure of the answer to.

He may instead give you questions that you have some vague knowledge of, that you think MAYBE you know the answer to but aren’t really confident… thus forcing you to endlessly second-guess yourself, obsessing over whether or not you can trust the information that he gave you next. Perhaps you’ll think that what he said was a lie, WISH it was a lie, but be eternally consumed by doubt, unable to fully convince yourself that you were wrong. Or perhaps you’ll have to make a huge choice based on the information that he gave you, and be tormented by fear and indecisiveness as you realize that your fate (and perhaps that of others, as well) rests entirely upon whether or not you were able to correctly recall some arcane piece of trivia that you don’t even remember now.

(You’ll never remember the exact questions the Devil asked you, by the way; that would make it too easy for you to go back and check on your responses).

Or maybe, instead of testing your knowledge, he’ll ask you something personal, something you even lie to yourself about. You’ll answer back to him, thinking you’ve gotten the question correct (“No, I don’t resent my sister”… “Yes, I would turn the money in to the police!”) – but he’ll know better. He’ll know better than you do that you’re lying, and he’ll lie to you in return. And you’ll believe him. You’ll believe him until you are no longer able to deceive yourself, and by then it might be too late…

Or maybe… maybe he won’t even give you a chance to get an accurate response at all. Maybe he’ll just ask you endless strings of completely impossible questions, making you more and more frustrated and disheartened as you realize you’ll never be able to force him to tell you the truth. Questions like:

“What was the exact height of Mount Everest in centimeters in the year 1666?”

Or “What is the air-speed-velocity of an un-laden swallow?”

(Although, knowing his sense of humor, if he ever asked the latter he might consider “African or European?” a correct response.)

There ARE a couple of ways to short-circuit this particular strategy, however – additional rules and courses of action that make the game more interesting and prevent you from being stonewalled completely. Although in all honesty, he probably wants for you to try one of those options anyway.

The first option is to ask him a riddle instead of a question. If you somehow manage to stump him and he answers the riddle wrong or gives up, he’ll be obligated to give you a truthful response to your next question. If he answers the riddle correctly – once again, don’t worry, he won’t pounce on you like a sphinx or drag you into Hell. What WILL happen is that he will get a “pass,” allowing him to lie in response to one question he would otherwise be obligated to answer truthfully.

Honestly, if he gets a pass, you might as well just give up and quit the game right there. It’s nearly impossible to determine when he’s telling you the truth under the best of conditions. Adding another layer of complexity by constantly trying to figure out when and if he’s used his pass… it’s about enough to make any normal person’s brain explode. There’s no way. Just forget it.

The second option is for you to take a “dare” from him. If you accept it and vow to follow through, then once again he’ll have to answer your next question truthfully. If you choose instead to reject it, he’ll get another “pass.”

Now before you freak out and reject that whole idea completely, you should know that he won’t ask you to do anything overly dramatic or unspeakably evil, like blow up a hospital or murder somebody. As a rule of thumb, most dares won’t involve direct loss of life or any major felonies. However, they certainly won’t be easy. Inflicting severe pain on yourself, doing something that terrifies the shit out of you… cutting off a treasured relationship, publicly humiliating yourself or someone you love… all of these things and more, things you might not even be able to imagine, are completely on the table.

If you’re willing to go that far, to put yourself in that kind of position… you’ll get your answer. However, if he manages to come up with the one thing you know you simply can’t or won’t do… well, then once again you might as well just quit.

One last thing – DON’T think you can just tell him you’re going to do something and then not do it. If you accept a dare and then don’t follow through with it… well, let’s just say there will be consequences. Just suck it up and keep your promise, no matter WHAT it was. Trust me, you’re better off that way.

Finally, when you’ve either gotten the information you wanted or given up on it completely, you may end the ritual by simply thanking the Devil for accepting your request, bowing politely at the waist, and bidding him farewell. The surface of the mirror will seem to swim and flicker for a moment, and then you will be looking at your own reflection again. Only when you are absolutely certain that you’re looking into your own two eyes again may you turn away from the mirror, flick the lights back on, and begin dismantling your protections.

Now – and this is important – even if you haven’t gotten the information that you wanted, you MUST end the ritual in this manner before 66 minutes have elapsed. Well, I suppose that technically you have 66 minutes and 6 seconds (subtle, right?), but if you’re seriously going to try to cut it that close without any kind of timekeeping device, you’re probably screwed anyway. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you keep to this time limit. I’ll save the reason behind that for the end, but don’t skip ahead… I’ve still got a few important tips on how to play:

1. Be very careful what sort of personal information you give out. Try not to talk about yourself, especially your emotions and problems, any more than absolutely necessary. This guy knows human psychology like the back of his hand, and he WILL get inside of your head. It’s like talking to Hannibal Lecter. Give him enough to work with and, even if you don’t believe a single word he says, he will still find ways to fuck with your mind like nobody’s business. If anything he asks makes you even remotely uncomfortable, do not hesitate to lie through your teeth. There will be plenty of other questions.

2. On a similar note, try to keep the game on track and moving briskly. Unstructured interactions of any kind are to be avoided. Chances are that at some point he will try to draw you off on a tangent – discussing something that fascinates you, analyzing a response you’ve given him, or finding some other excuse to speak at length without moving the game forward. This is not only a waste of valuable time but also another excellent opportunity to mess with your mind.

3. If you choose to give him a riddle, use one you’ve made up yourself. If your riddle has ever been written down anywhere at all, from the pages of “The Hobbit” to some long-lost tome of ancient magic, he will already know the answer. That said, it still has to be a LEGITIMATE riddle, with an answer that makes logical sense from some angle. You can’t just ask something like “What’s green, has ten legs, and hops?” then claim for some inexplicable reason that the answer was “marshmallows.” Nor can you ask him a straight question like “What have I got in my pocket?” (he probably knows that, anyway). There are no hard-and-fast rules to determine whether a riddle makes sense or not, but you’re a reasonable human being. Your ancestors ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Please, for the love of crap, use common sense.

4. If you choose to take a dare, there is a slight chance that the Devil will ask you to do something seemingly easy… deliver a letter, for instance, or scribble a ten-digit number in a public restroom stall. If he does ask you for something like this, and you have even a shred of common decency in you, do NOT accept. Chances are that he’s using you to further some sinister plot, one liable to ruin a lot of lives and harm a lot of people. Who knows, maybe you’re the type of person who really doesn’t mind throwing an unknown number of total strangers under a bus to find out what you want to know… but at least be aware that that IS what you’re doing.

5. Last, but not least, be very aware of the time. It might be helpful to do some practicing beforehand and get a feel for how long an hour is without a watch. The Devil will probably put off discussing the things you’re most keen to find out for as long as he can; and as you near the 66 minute deadline, he’ll start trying harder and harder to distract you, captivate you, and otherwise keep you playing until it’s too late. He’ll string you along, feed you little glimmers of false hope, keep you thinking: “Just a few more minutes… I’m almost there!” Don’t fall for it. Don’t go over the time limit. No matter what.

Now, you might be thinking that this game really doesn’t sound all that dangerous so far… threats of psychological damage rarely seem to carry the same weight as threats of physical damage, even though their costs are often just as great. Hate to burst your bubble, but the game is FAR from safe. There are plenty of ways for you to seriously screw yourself over both physically and mentally (not to mention spiritually). And it is with these that I will conclude, in the vain hope that they may make some sort of impression…

First, while you are speaking with the Devil, do NOT let him out of your sight. Keep staring into the mirror no matter what happens. He will undoubtedly try various tricks to make you look away… You will hear noises behind you, feel eyes on the back of your neck, see shadowy phantoms writhing in the depths of the mirror. A cold breath will blow upon you from behind, smelling like the crypt. A deep silence will settle, only to be interrupted by a loud SMACK directly behind your head, giving you about the worst jump-scare you’ve ever had. Hell, the Devil may even abandon a measure of his own dignified façade and give a sudden jump of feigned shock, shouting loudly and pointing behind you with a very convincing look of terror on his face. Whatever he might test you with, you must not look away from him. If you look away, if you lose sight of him completely – even for one second – you will look back at the mirror to find him gone.

Well, not gone. Out of the mirror. In the room.

With you.

Exactly how much of your body the police will find the next morning, and what state it’s in, will depend entirely on the sort of mood he’s in.

The same thing goes if you break any of the protections you laid down before beginning the ritual. Interrupting the circle of salt, letting the red string unwind, knocking over a candle or letting one go out… any of these things will free him from the mirror, and then – well, you’re all a bunch of creative horror junkies. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.

On a different topic, you may reach a point in the game (probably after a long series of maddeningly impossible questions) where the Devil asks you the deceptively simple question “What is your full name?” You MUST NOT give it to him. Names can be things of great power. Although the Devil will, of course, already know your name, telling it to him yourself is akin to inviting a vampire into your home. Your name is deeply synonymous with your own, inner self; thus, giving him your name is powerfully symbolic of giving him your self. If you are foolish enough to make this mistake, all of your protections will be for naught, and he will seize upon your unwitting offer with malicious glee, stealing away your soul and dragging it back with him into Hell.

At least this way the police will find a complete, identifiable body. As a matter of fact, your vacant shell will be totally unblemished, seemingly having dropped dead of sheer terror.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the matter of what happens if you go over the time limit. This is arguably the worst thing you can do. You won’t think so at first… the Devil will give you no indication that you have in fact exceeded the time limit and you will conclude the ritual as if nothing had gone wrong. Perhaps, as the Devil’s image in the mirror trembles and gives way, you’ll see a particularly nasty, triumphant smirk flash across his face, but this will be easily dismissed as your imagination. You’ll turn the lights back on, gather your belongings, and go to leave the room. But, when you open the door, you will see… nothing.

That’s right, nothing. Just a flat, white void extending infinitely in all directions. Only the room which was reflected in the mirror will now exist.

Incidentally, if you turn back around to face the mirror again, you may catch a last glimpse of your own reflection. Perhaps it will even turn and favor you with a smirk and a cheeky wave before sweeping out the door into the perfectly normal church hallway outside.

As you may have already figured out, you yourself are no longer in the church. Your soul is now trapped in the mirror, and the Devil has taken the liberty of possessing your body, now that you are no longer using it.

Pound on the glass and scream all you like, you’ll never get out on your own, and no exorcist can help you. But don’t worry, it’s not like you’re in Hell, right? At least, not necessarily…

What you have to understand, see, is that a human soul stripped bare of its flesh is a deeply volatile and vulnerable thing, especially when trapped in the land of the living. You are now an entity of purely mental properties, and as such, the barriers between what is real to you and what is imaginary have been completely dissolved. As you fill that reflected room with your anger, your sorrow, your fear at being trapped, these emotions will begin to coalesce, given form by your mind. If you’re not particularly imaginative, these creatures may not be too terrible, may not be able to inflict too much horror and pain. With time, you may even be able to teach yourself to get rid of them.

If, however, yours is a mind haunted by monsters…a mind that is vibrantly creative and imaginative and more than usually twisted… well, there’s no telling what horrors might come clawing their way out of the maelstrom, tasting sweet release from the confines of your subconscious, hungering for your terror and suffering. They will refuse to be banished, dragging you kicking and screaming into an endless positive feedback loop of pain and fear.

Needless to say, if you’re a regular patron of websites like this one, you’re probably pretty well fucked.

There’s only one way to find release from the mirror and the world that you’ve created therein. They say that if you call to the Devil once more and ask him to free you from the mirror, he’ll be willing to take you out.

For the usual fee, of course.

Who knows, maybe if your imagination is twisted and powerful enough to create a personal Hell that leaves you begging for the real thing, those talents might be put to good use. There are over seven billion people in the world, after all; even the Devil himself can’t be messing with all of their minds at once. Talented help is always appreciated.

Of course, the corollary to your being trapped inside the mirror is that the Devil now gets to do whatever he wants in your body until sunrise. At around that time, your body will mercifully drop dead from the strain of the possession; autopsy will probably identify the cause as some kind of coronary event. Don’t get too relieved, though, he’s perfectly capable of stirring up plenty of trouble in those few hours.

For instance, he may decide to do something big and dramatic, like purchase a large meat cleaver and go on a murder spree, starting with the names in your address book and working his way out to complete strangers if he has time. Or perhaps he’ll focus on only one person, someone who trusts you completely, using your persona to get him or her alone and vulnerable, and then… well, no need to describe it here. Once again, I’m sure you can think of a few things.

Starting to see why I called this the worst outcome yet?

Of course, there’s also a chance he won’t lay a finger on any of your loved ones, instead deciding to do something a little more subtle… more insidious. Like drop off a few nondescript, unmarked packages on certain doorsteps in the dangerous part of town. Or locate a particular dusty, age-yellowed text in the storeroom of your local library and intentionally misfile it in the Young Adult Literature section. Or whisper seven very choice words into the ear of the distracted-looking young redhead waiting for the 3am subway train.

Or maybe he’ll decide that, in this age of waning superstition, not enough people are getting interested in his games, and the knowledge of them is in danger of being lost. Maybe he’ll decide he needs to get the word out a bit more, do a bit of networking, attract some new suckers… ahem, “challengers.” Maybe he’ll take a quick peek at your browser history, see where the impressionable, curious minds are hanging out these days. Maybe he’ll even write a quick tutorial, in modern parlance rather than some inscrutable, obsolete demonological text… post it on the Internet and see how many bites he gets…

Haha, maybe I really shouldn’t have gone there. But if you’ve made it this far without shying, a little twist at the end isn’t going to put you off, is it, dear Reader? I’m sure there are plenty of intrepid adventurers among you with burning questions you’d like answered. And you’re all a smart bunch. You know the pitfalls, you know the conventions, you live and breathe this sort of thing, do you not? There’s no way YOU’D fall into any of the obvious traps, right? You’re not some Dick or Jane off the street, after all; you’d be bringing a whole new level of competition. You would…

Oh, excuse me just a moment, I think I hear someone calling for me…

What? You want out that badly ALREADY? Must be one Hell of an imagination you’ve got on you.

Perfect.

Credit To – InfernalNightmare333

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Twist and Shout

October 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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It was late October in Brookhurst Wyoming in the year 1965. I was eighteen, and I lived with my sister in an older barn house, on the edge of town. I loved that little town- especially in the fall. The deep oranges, bold yellows, and dense reds of the season would take over the huge blanket of once green trees that would cover almost all of Brookhurst. My sister and I both especially loved Halloween because of the simple fact is that we loved a scare every now and then. People of Brookhurst were seemingly more alive during that time. Even the trees would rejoice in the turn of the season and emotion of the people. I loved everything about autumn reconnecting with Brookhurst and the simple euphoria the town seemed to float in.

Except that one cornfield- and that one scarecrow that sat in the middle of it. The poor little thing, so pitifully made, so sullenly placed. It wasn’t exactly terrifying at first glance- but come to think of it, the thing aroused a disturbing feeling in my stomach every time I saw it. It had a faded gray sack that was tied with a rotting rope as its head. On the sack were two little black dots, far apart from each other, as eyes. It didn’t exactly have a mouth except for a tear that veered a little to the left that looked like it was on the sack before it was made to be the head of a scarecrow. It didn’t have much of a nose either- but more like a tiny raised bump that was right in the center of the face. For its clothes it wore a ripped blue and gray flannel under a pair of tattered overalls, with one misplaced patch lazily sewn on its hip. I remember that one its hands were a pair of faded dark blue field gloves whose fingers hung down sloppily. Every fall- this scarecrow would appear in the same spot, with the same spaced out look on its face. Ever year, the same question arose of who put it there, when it got there, or how it gets there. Hallowed’s field, where the scarecrow sits, has been abandoned for twenty years ever since farmer Hallowed died. This had been our little town mystery.

It’s kind of funny, but also a bit sad, that the scarecrow just sits there. There is no corn to be protected and there are no crows to be ridden. The townsfolk had always blamed it on the kids, but the kids blamed it on the adults. No one ever owned up to putting the scarecrow there… and I don’t think anyone would have wanted to. I started to pay more attention to it as I rode my horse down the main road into town. I stopped at the edge of the field and looked at it. The wind blew through the dead husks surrounding the scarecrow. They rustled- but the scarecrow sat unnerved by the wind movement. It began to bother me. I guess it was the horrifying simplicity of its face, but it scared me so much after that moment. I continued and went into to town, satisfied with a newly discovered idea.

Ignoring everyone, I finished my errand and started back home. As I rode up the main street, the field came into sight- and so did that dumb scarecrow. When I arrived at the border of the street and where the field began, I got off my horse and marched into the field towards sad creature on the wooden stake. As soon as I was a foot away, it smelled a strange scent of sweat and salt. The smell was unruly to my nose, so I covered it with my shirt as I began to untie the arms and legs from the stake. I put the thing under my arm and walked to the rotting barn beside the field. Carrying the scarecrow felt unnatural- it had the weight of a dead dog, almost heavy but not too much. I opened the door to the barn as it revealed the same aroma of the scarecrow’s. My eyes searched for something useful I could hide away the scarecrow with. They eventually found a loft and a beam that supported a broken part of the roof. I went up the ladder, hoisting the scarecrow on my shoulder, and slammed it down at the base of the pillar. I took out the rope that I bought at the store as my little errand, and tied the thing to the column. Satisfied, I started my way down the ladder and to the field. I locked the barn door with chain that I had also brought. As I mounted my horse, a feeling of relief overcame me. It’s not so much as that I was scared of the scarecrow, but it was the fact that it bothered me so much- and I probably wasn’t the only one glad that it was gone for the time. Two days came and went, and every time I passed Hallowed’s field, I smiled warmly to myself.

“April- what happened to that ugly thing over there?” My sister asked as we pasted the field one day. I told her that I didn’t know…and I was glad it was gone- and she agreed. After an hour at the Halloween store, we began to drive home. I turned on the radio, enjoying some Beatles as I contently kept my eyes on the rode.

“Aww, that scarecrow is back!” I slammed the brakes and turned my head to the field. My eyes soon met the familiar black dots of the scarecrow’s. My sister, smilingly and staring out the window, was completely oblivious to my conflict with that creature. I sighed and laughed, suggesting that someone had made another one just for Halloween that was in two days- and I really wanted to believe that too. When we arrived home, I told my sister to start decorating the living room as I couldn’t because at the time I told her I needed to go to the grocery store…but in the back on my head I saw the empty stare of the scarecrow sitting on the wooden pole. I drove over to the field, an axe in my back seat, my mind being strangely calm and seemingly unaware of what I was planning.

I arrived at the field and stormed into the field, the corn husks slapping at my side. I approached the scarecrow and swung the axe, cutting the “head” clean off. I hacked off the base of the wooden stake and the body fell to the ground as I struck it over and over and over. Completely enraged, I even destroyed a few husks around it. After my episode, my adrenaline stopped and I started towards my car, not even looking back at what I had done. I drove home, flushed of any emotion and went into my house with a painted on smile.

“Okay Lucy, let’s start decorating.” I stormed into the house and clapped my hand, slightly scaring my sister, then I started to play the Beatles as we hurried around the house hanging ornaments on everything there was. As my sister went to fix up the stairs, the night had set in. After that, we started to clean the house. Around ten or eleven, we started to play a board game, still enjoying the repetition of John Lennon’s voice in the song Help. As I rolled the dice, a shrill neigh escaped the barn house. Lucy looked at me with a worried brow and I got up to go see.

“Turn down the music…” I whispered and she ran, turning the knob of the record player until the sound mellowed. I stood, staring out the screen door that was pitch black from the night outside. I grabbed a flashlight and the first aide kit and went out the screen door. I ran to the barn, opening the door slowly, trying not to startle my horses. Everything was silent and calm. I ran the light over their legs and faces to check for injury. After a moment of surveying, I started to hear a miniscule suckling coming from behind me. I turned around and flashed the light in the direction of the sound. I heard a little rustle, and I raised the light a bit higher….it revealed a ripped flannel shirt and tattered overalls. Almost involuntarily, my flash light rose to the thing’s face. A faded gray sack….

It all happened so fast- but its eyes weren’t the painted black dots they used to be. They were different. Instead, they were like black inky beads that rested on top of the surface of the sack. They glistened in the white light of the flash light. I remember the mouth- instead of the harmless little tear, there was a perfect small circle with little blade like teeth with small drops of blood pooling at the corners. I screamed and it leapt. I dropped my flashlight as I heard scurrying all around as I fumbled in the dark to retrieve my light. Instead of finding my light, I found the butt of my shotgun that I had from two years ago when I had to put down my calf. Grabbing that and soon finding my flashlight, I searched for the scarecrow again. I moved the light all around the barn until I came to the window at the very top of the barn. There it was- hooked to the wall, head upside down, with those beady eyes staring at me. From its perfect circular mouth dropped a little tongue that was that of a bat. It twisted its head at gave me a slow, deep throated, rolling click before dashing out the window like a spider. I shot at it, thanking God it was still loaded- but no prevail. I began to run to my house before it could get to my sister.

Suddenly, John Lennon’s voice sang loudly “WELL SHAKE IT UP BABY NOW!” just as Lucy screamed and the light in the kitchen flickered off. I kicked my screen door open and stood quietly as Mr. Lennon hollered “Come on, come on, come on baby now!” My fingers eventually found the light switch and the room illuminated a scene of a very frightened Lucy. The lamp swung harshly back forth as I scanned the room for that thing. From behind me arose the clicking- as I swung around it landed on the ground next to me and I shot at it- barely skimming the side of its head. It tried to stand up- looking like a knotted up marionette, it hulked towards me. Lucy continued to scream as the Beatles played on and I fumbled to reload. It reached for my foot with clumsy fingers and started to pull me, but before it could I joust it with the butt of my gun. It screeched and fumbled backwards in a pain, as I rushed over to my sister. I told her to run upstairs but she wanted to stay. Not in the mood for arguing, I allowed it and gave her directions as I scanned the counter for anything that was pain inflicting. The butcher knife looked like gold as I grabbed it and threw it at the scarecrow. It missed completely. I got up and ran for the stairs, followed by the scarecrow. My sister screamed and headed for the door, catching the scarecrow’s attention. The creature loped after her- taking aim, I sloppily shot it. It whined like an injured horse as I fired again…completely stopping the whining.

My sister stood behind the door and looked at me with joy. I motioned for her to stay quiet as I raced down the stairs to pick the scarecrow up. I dragged it into the back yard and ordered Lucy to bring me a match as I piled up wood and dry grasses around it. I lit the pile on fire and watched the “dead” scarecrow become engulfed in the flames. I held my sister close as we watched the flame die down. Throwing water on the parched area, the sun began to rise creating a mellow pink and orange sky that quickly calmed our nerves. We went into the house and passed out on the couch.

In the morning, I awoke and dressed for school. A completely normal morning- with no mentions of the night before, I made my sister breakfast and we headed to the car. We approached the main road into town, my sister asleep- the field came into focus. Right in the center, so pitifully made, so sullenly place, completely unscathed…was that scarecrow.

Credit To – K.R aka Kitty Kat

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The Reaper in the Tree

October 21, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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There may be strange details in this story. Not all of them will seem to add up and appear to be significant, but it’s all true. That sort of statement is common with these types of stories, but this time it is meant in absolute earnest.

My grandfather was a mortician and about a year after he retired he himself passed on. He and I shared the exact same name and it was slightly unsettling to hear my own name in the eulogy. To witness firsthand the lowering of a casket, revealing one’s own name on the headstone. It gave the whole event a sort of dreamlike quality. I suppose such things got me thinking of my own mortality more than a funeral normally should.

After the burial we drove passed the old funeral home. The business had been handed over to a new guy who did an alright job I guess. Grandpa looked okay. Though that wasn’t on my mind. There was a large tree in the front yard of the old funeral home. Near the peak of the tree, amongst its naked branches, was a wicked grim reaper halloween decoration. Seven feet in height its dark robes fluttered ominously in the wind like a flag of morbid purpose. Characteristically, its face wasn’t visible, but nor was its blade. It was already early November, so I guess the new undertaker was just putting off taking him down. Still though, it was a bit ghastly for a funeral home.

As we returned to grandmas house everyone was talking about how much they were going to miss grandpa. How sorry they were he was gone. “What a great guy he was.” “A real funny bloke.” “Gonna miss his smile.” Except they never called him grandpa, instead always opting to use my name. It felt like I was looking into the future, glimpsing my own passing, and it conjured up resonating images of the reaper again. Pointing at me. Staring through me behind his hood. Enveloping me in his darkness.

After an evening of uncomfortable mourning, I’d had enough. I said I needed to take a walk and clear my head. The nice thing about small towns is the absolute isolation and quiet that comes with nightfall. During my wanderings I gazed into a fenced backyard. The skull of a buffalo hung on a fencepost. I wasn’t sure if that was also a leftover halloween decoration, I wasn’t sure if it was anything. A squeaky mini windmill gave off an endless cycle of tiny screams to the garden gnomes quietly gazing at nothing.

I adjusted my coat’s collar and stepped across the street, towards my grandfather’s old place of work. I figured that sick decoration from earlier would look even better at night. I tilted my head upwards and was surprised to find nothing clutched in the leafless branches of the overgrown maple. Either he was finally taken down or its black robes cloaked the reaper in the darkness of night. I somehow felt it was the latter, as his deathly presence was actually made more real by lack of physical manifestation.

That was my whimsical thought as I walked back across the street from the funeral home when all of sudden a gust of wind kicked up the sand and I heard a loud scraping noise on the concrete behind me. Had I not been on edge from the funeral I would have figured it was the wind blowing a tree branch across the road, but as of that moment it sounded so much like a scythe being grazed upon the concrete that my legs sent me sprinting back to grandmas like prey from a predator.

When I returned I saw my grandmother and family playing pinochle. My heart was hammering a hole through my chest. They asked my why I looked so frightened. I rubbed my forehead of sweat, closed my eyes, and smiled. It was so stupid. I told them everything chuckling as I did. How the day affected my mindset, the grim reaper in the tree, and the grazing on the road. They laughed and said the day was stressful on all of us. They asked me to join them. I happily complied. I took off my jacket and put it on the chair. I was about to sit down but suddenly I paused…my uncle asked me what was wrong and my grandmother asked me why I look so pale. I couldn’t hear them. They might as well have spoken in tongues. For upon my coat, there lay a single diagonal gash upon the back!

Credit To – Johnny V

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The Passenger

October 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Several months ago a friend of mine alerted me to a puzzling incident on an inner-city bus. Being a bus driver himself, he had heard many of the usual generic stories that would be exchanged around the depot – muggings, broken windows, the occasional couple attempting drunken sex; some drivers even spoke of ghostly passengers who would pay their fare, take a seat on the upper deck, and then vanish without a trace.

Those latter stories were of a kind which my friend enjoyed hearing but never took seriously, considering them to be merely fictitious entertainment shared amongst co-workers, alleviating the tediousness of an empty depot at night. That was, until a fellow driver told him about Ruby. So intrigued by the account was I, that I took the time to contact all involved, piecing together what occurred as best I could.

*

Ruby was a pleasant woman, even though she had reason not to be. In her early 40s, life was much harder than it should have been; each day a struggle. Burdened by relative poverty since a child, she was compelled to spend most of her time scrimping and saving via two endless jobs, both of which she found neither well paid nor enjoyable, but her current financial situation dictated the need.

During the day she worked as many hours as possible at a supermarket, stocking shelves and occasionally bagging groceries at the checkout for customers. At night she would attend her second job as a cleaner at a factory manufacturing, of all things, cleaning products; the irony was not lost on her, and neither was the tediousness of it all.

At the end of each drawn out, tiresome day, Ruby would return home at night via a long and vapid bus journey, with just enough time to kiss her 13 year old daughter Angela on the head, whispering ‘sweet dreams’ to her as she slept, before herself turning in. This short, private moment of affection was what carried Ruby through her day, as it was for her daughter that she struggled.

Angela’s father had abandoned her when she was just two years old, and with no other family to speak of – at least none who could be relied upon – Ruby was left to work her fingers to the bone each day, clothing and feeding her daughter while paying for a series of crippling medical bills brought about by the child’s severe asthma. She of course did not grudge the situation, for her daughter’s condition had improved markedly and that sentiment meant more to her than any amount of work or hardship ever could.

One night, Ruby was asked to work a few extra hours at the factory. While she was perpetually exhausted and yearned even for the most meagre of rests, she accepted the offer gratefully as more hours meant less debt; she simply could not afford to decline the opportunity.

At 11:37 P.M. following the end of her shift, she stood at the nearest bus stop, illuminated by an overhead street lamp in the darkness, waiting with heavy eyelids for the last bus of the night to arrive. Thankfully, the wait was not long and soon the elongated vehicle cumbersomely inched up the road, slowing before stopping, opening its hydraulic doors with a hiss, welcoming her into its embrace.

The driver, a balding and irritable man who appeared equally as tired as she did, grumbled for Ruby to pay her fare – which she did after rifling through her handbag for what seemed an age, finally producing the desired amount of loose change, much to the driver’s annoyance.

In a dazed lethargy she wandered down the aisle, taking a seat next to a window at the back. As she prepared herself for the long boring route home, the vehicle shuddered back into life, pulling away from the pavement as the doors sealed shut, stumbling with unsure progress on the last leg of its journey for the night.

The engine growled, the vibrations climbing up the frame of the bus, rattling the windows slightly and causing the seat, which Ruby now slumped in, to quiver in response. The vehicle had seen better days and was clearly reaching the end of its life; the grime on the windows and floor was a congealed reminder of the countless thousands who had sat in each of the seats, weary and thinking of home – discarded gum stuck to a shoe, the murmured grievances of its passengers vented daily – yet at night the enclosed frame of rusting and neglected metal seemed almost serene in its apparent emptiness.

With each turn of a corner the bus juddered from side to side, and while the bright fluorescent lights, which beamed down from sterile fittings in the ceiling above, were enough to keep anyone awake, Ruby found that sleep still lay at the forefront of her mind.

But for the driver, the bus lay empty – as best she could tell without climbing the coiled stairs to the upper deck, which remained obscured. As is quite common of weary commuters, Ruby lay her head against the vibrating window to her side and persuaded herself that it would be acceptable to rest her eyes for a moment; just for a few minutes, enough to find some solace from the tiredness which forever haunted her. As the bus turned yet another corner, the soothing shaking movements rocked its lonely passenger slowly, gently, and finally to sleep.

How long her eyes had been closed for Ruby did not know, but as her conscious mind came back sharply into focus from its slumber, the concern of having missed her stop presented itself – she detested leaving her daughter alone at home in the first place, never mind for any longer than was necessary.

This worry, however, was soon replaced by something else. An uncomfortable sensation; of personal boundary and social convention broken; of the air displaced by the form of something close. For as Ruby’s eyes adjusted to the jagged fluorescent lighting once more, and the bus itself shook and grunted along the darkened concrete below, she stared at her reflection in the window: A mirror image now altered from what it had been before. A chill crept up her spine as she viewed the appearance of her own overworked, sleep-deprived and worried features, alongside the strange impression of the person now sitting in the seat next to her.

As the city lights flashed by from outside, Ruby stared at the window momentarily. Then, nonchalantly turned her head to look around, deliberately avoiding staring at the individual beside her, but this only added to the sense of unease; for other than herself, the driver, and the passenger, there was no one else present. This was not unusual as public transport was never that busy at night except during the weekends; the city quite happily asleep, or readying itself for bed only to wake in the morning for work; but what concerned her was that a person would choose to sit next to a perfect stranger on an empty bus, at night, when they were surrounded by vacant seats.

Not wishing to be rude, she continued to gaze at the reflection, as the passenger’s appearance captivated her attention, being unusual somehow – head bowed as if staring at the ground, features obscured by the hood of a dark green jacket. This also added to the peculiarity of the individual as it was a summer’s night, and yet they were clothed as if for winter.

For a little while they sat in silence, but as the bus continued on its journey, Ruby felt increasingly agitated, partly by the proximity of her unwelcome companion but more-so by an unknown factor. She could not truly identify why she was so anxious, but a nervousness had begun to overcome her, and the vocal silence which proved the only buffer between them poked and prodded at that sense of discomfort, pulling away at it like a scab.

As seats rattled and the floor vibrated with each uneven depression of the road, she peered out of the window once more attempting to allay her unquestionable, yet unexplained trepidation. The street which they were currently on was familiar to her, and with a welcome sigh Ruby realised that she had not slept long enough to miss her stop. The sense of relief was enough to momentarily overcome her apprehension, and while caught in a more positive frame of mind, she began to consider simply talking to her unexpected travelling companion – to break the uncomfortable silence of one sitting so close.

Slowly, she turned to the passenger. Laying her eyes upon the figure, their appearance was far removed from the distance and unreality of their mirror image. Immediately Ruby felt frightened, as if staring at someone who should not be. The dark green jacket was dirtied and scuffed in places, accompanied by a damp smell, with a blackened material around the rim of the hood where once a lighter colour had ruled, and it occurred to Ruby that she had not seen anything like it for many years; made from waxed canvas, a raincoat in style yet seemingly untouched by water for some time.

The passenger’s gender was a mystery, as what could be made out of his or her features implied neither, yet both. With head still bowed, staring down at the ground, the tip of a nose could be seen, the impression of a chin given, yet nothing more.

‘It’s getting a little cold in here’ said Ruby – half statement, the rest a question. She was surprised herself that the words flowed out of her mouth, but the peculiarity of the situation urged her to break the ice, for conversation is the melody of the mundane.

Yet the passenger did not answer, remaining focused on the floor beneath their feet, the bus shuddering once more as it negotiated the city streets, almost completely devoid of life. A few minutes passed before, anxious at the lack of a reply, Ruby spoke once more remarking that the driver had seemed a little grumpier than usual, concluding the observation with a nervously gentle laugh. Yet again, the passenger said nothing.

Watching the world pass by outside, she decided that two attempts of conversation were quite enough. She would leave him or her alone, and hope that the rest of the journey did not drag in too much, as a desire to be away from the strange person sitting beside her grew.

Then a sound.

An unnerving noise, one which crawled under the skin; of nail upon wood. Turning slowly to face her unwelcome companion once more, she found them staring down at the ground as they had always been. Yet the sound was coming from that seat. Scratching, tearing. The passenger’s hands were now poking through the gap between his or her own legs, dragging nails up and down against the wooden underneath which supported the cushioned material on which they sat, in a horrible stuttering, jagged motion.

The sound pierced air and eardrums alike, increasing in volume until Ruby, tired and now irritable, could no longer endure it.

‘Could you stop that please?’ she asked.

Yet it continued.

‘Please stop that!’ Ruby said, this time in a forceful tone sharpened by exhaustion.

The passenger ceased, and yet did not move, nor face her, nor even acknowledge her presence. Agitated, yet relieved in a sense, Ruby gazed out of the window once more, trying to extinguish the growing sense of annoyance which was now building inside. She took a deep breath in and calmed herself with the knowledge that she would soon be home.

Rummaging through her handbag, she found a half-eaten packet of mints and began to unravel them, before popping one into her mouth. Looking up, what she now saw froze her to the core – the passenger’s face peered out from behind her head. Eyes deep and blackened, mouth deformed and skewed gaping wide, captured hideously in the glass reflection.

She screamed at the sight of the face. Shock turned to fear, and fear leapt to panic as she yelled and pleaded for the driver to help. The reflection leaned in, as a rasp of cold breath climbed down the back of her neck, body quivering in revulsion as the passenger placed a shrivelled hand on her shoulder, two of the fingers long since removed at the knuckle.

The touch was cold, and it awoke a sense of fear Ruby had never known. Clawing for survival, she shrieked as the distorted hand pulled her close. With effort steeped in terror, she tore away from the abhorrent grip, leaping into the seat in front, scrambling over the aisle and falling to the ground, bashing her cheek against the floor.

The bus vibrated and rattled, and hissed, and groaned as the passenger rose slowly to its feet, head bowed, shrouded by hood; dark-green and tattered.

‘Please, God, help me!’ Ruby screamed, pulling herself along the floor by her fingertips. The passenger followed intently, stepping out into the aisle proceeding slowly towards her.

Scrambling and terrified, Ruby pulled herself to her feet, but as she did so the bus veered wildly, untamed across the road. She stumbled against the momentum, but the hooded figure remained rooted and firm. The engine now roared and growled as it tore down the wrong side of a main road, then swerved around a corner onto a side street.

Yet the passenger stepped assuredly ever forward.

As the vehicle raged onward, Ruby screamed for the driver to stop, but then it occurred to her: The bus had long since left its planned route. It screeched across concrete, before hurtling down a lane which was barely wide enough to house a car, let alone anything more substantial.

Then just as suddenly, the driver slammed on the brakes as the bus lurched to the side before coming to an abrupt halt. Thrown by the force, Ruby grasped onto a seat to brace her fall. Twisting her wrist painfully through a safety handle in the process.

The engine roar diminished to a weak whimper as the passenger stepped forward once more. Bruised and shaken, Ruby stumbled to the front of the bus, bashing her hands in desperation against the closed sliding doors, desperate for escape.

No matter how loud she yelled, no matter how many times she struck with the sides of her fists against the metal and glass, it would not yield; she was trapped. Turning to plead with the driver to open the door to his cabin and shield her from the monstrosity bearing down upon her, she saw that it was too late. There he lay draped across the wheel, unconscious or dead, his body entombed in the glass cubicle, the release button for the bus door goading her from the dashboard on the other side. Escape was inches away, yet denied by a panel of safety glass which she did not have the strength to break.

A hush then fell as the figure continued towards her.

‘Please leave me alone.’ Ruby begged, fighting back tears.

Yet the passenger did not answer. The head remained bowed, as each footstep cleanly and clearly knocked on the floor, one after the other. Closer. Nearer.

‘What do you want from me!?’

But again, no answer, for a thing which should not be needs no justification. Tears now flowed down Ruby’s face as terror spread like a cancer, clouding her thoughts and stemming her actions. Yet the passenger drew closer still, unmoved by her pleas.

In a fit of utter desperation, Ruby turned to the driver once more.

‘Wake up! Please. God dammit, wake up!’ she cried, but he remained motionless – however the passenger did not. It was upon her. Standing only inches away, the muddied green raincoat sheltering a grotesque being implied inside.

Raising its shrivelled, deformed and incomplete hand into the air, Ruby cowered; but as the figure came violently at her, a moment of utter instinct took over, she ducked out of the way at the very last second. Countless shards of glass rained over her as the passenger’s half fist impacted against the driver’s cabin with brutal force – shattering the protective shell.

Thrust by opportunity, Ruby poked her hand into the cabin, battering the release button next to the driver’s head. The doors seethed open, and just as the passenger raised its hand once more, Ruby escaped into the night.

**

The police were called and quickly attended the scene only to find the driver, covered in glass; dazed but alive and well. He remembered very little of what took place, as the last thing he recalled was Ruby paying her fare, before he then passed out. There was no memory of driving the bus on the final leg of its journey, nor did he possess any knowledge of the hooded passenger who had smashed the driver’s cabin.

With no small amount of digging on my part, I was able to contact Ruby who, after a little persuasion, spoke to me in detail about that night. The entire ordeal had taken its toll upon her, but she was not thankless for the experience. For despite not being on its route, the bus had mysteriously stopped outside of her home. Stricken with terror, she had instinctively entered her tiny apartment and locked the door behind, but before phoning the police, she quickly called for an ambulance: Her daughter had suffered a terrible asthma attack and lay moments from death on the floor – thankfully she survived.

The police found no evidence of the passenger, no CCTV footage nor eye witnesses. It was as if the hooded figure had vanished without a trace – all but for one chilling reminder that it had indeed been there. For at the seat where it had sat was a message, clawed into the wood underneath. Two words which simply read: ‘Not Yet’.

In Ruby’s mind, those words have haunted her more than any hooded figure ever could, for if ‘Not Yet’, when?

Credit To – Michael Whitehouse

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