My Grandfather Suffered from Dementia

February 23, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Grandpa was 97 years old when he passed away.

He lived far from where his three children had settled. Grandma died when I was a small child, and he ended up remarrying another woman a few years later who demanded that he move out west so that she could be nearer to her sons. She was a piece of work, was Grandma Hester. We all wondered how Grandpa could stand her. It turns out that perhaps he could not.

We’re not precisely sure when he developed dementia, but it was probably years before we noticed it. He’d tell us about people he was speaking to, or visiting with, or a trip he took. Years later, after we learned he was suffering from dementia, we’d learn that conversation, that visit or that trip never actually happened. For all we really know, any story he told us from the last decade and a half leading up to his coming back east could be a false memory. We would have no way of knowing. Hester rarely communicated with us herself.

Probably our first clue that Grandpa wasn’t himself anymore happened a few weeks after he came back east to live with my parents. Most of the family had settled in one area; my wife and I lived in the south end of our city, as did one set of cousins, but my father and his two sisters all lived in the north, within driving distance of each other. A few of my aunts’ children had moved out of town, and my brother had as well, but there were still enough of us around that Grandpa could visit with. We would often have gatherings at my parents’ house where Grandpa would either hold court with some story or would go to sleep.

One afternoon, my daughter Breanne, who was in her late teens at the time, came in from playing with my cousin’s kids and sat down at the table, where Grandpa had been napping. He suddenly woke and smiled at her.

“Well, hello, Claudia!” he said, brightly. Claudia was my aunt; Dad’s youngest sister.

“I’m Breanne, Grandpa,” said my daughter.

“No,” said Grandpa, almost sounding offended. “You’re my daughter, Claudia.”

Later that same month, he told my aunts and uncles the story of how he came out east after living with Hester got to be too much. “I prayed to the Lord,” said Grandpa. “And the next thing I knew, Martin was there.” Martin was my father. I remembered him driving out to the tiny, cold house on a hill in Colorado to get Grandpa. He had not come due to any divine intervention. He had come because Grandpa called him in the night and pleaded with him to come get him.

We all loved Grandpa, but caring for him was not easy. For one thing, Grandpa had gotten it into his head that he was a young, single man with many years ahead of him, and the only thing missing was a young woman at his side. If he spoke for any length of time with a younger woman, he became convinced that she was in love with him, and that perhaps she should be his new bride. Hester was even still alive at this point. He had forgotten her utterly.

The women he made advances on included my mother, two of my cousins and my own wife. Thankfully, he couldn’t do much more than talk, so it was just a matter of politely changing the subject whenever he would start with that, but it got worse when he decided he could do things like take walks on his own or try to drive my father’s car.

Dad and Mom didn’t let him go on walks by himself, but that didn’t mean he didn’t sneak away sometimes when Dad was away and Mom was in the basement. He had to use a walker to get around, and simply couldn’t do stairs, but refused to admit this to anyone, including himself, leading to a lot of falls. He would also get confused as to where he was, or where he lived. At times, during his walks, he would attempt to find the old family home that he raised my father and aunts in, despite it having been long gone since before I was born. Dad picked him up from a police station, where he had been taken after some patrol officers saw him wandering around, clearly lost.

The time he tried to drive Dad’s car was after that. He decided that the reason he got lost is because he had to walk. He managed to get the E-break off and rolled right down the fairly steep incline outside my parents’ house, crashing into a fence. The damage was minimal, but after that incident, my parents realized he needed to be in a full time care facility.

He got worse after that.

My father visited him three times a week. I have no idea how often my aunts went, or if they even did. I tended to only go when there was a family gathering, and increasingly I began to realize that he had no clue who I was. He’d smile and greet me as though I was someone he had just met. He’d tell me about his children, describing them as “little kids”, and even going as far as to invent a friend who was looking after them while he was in this home with “all these old people.” Grandpa was 93 at the time. He was much older than many of the others who lived there. But somehow, they were the “old people”, while he was not.

But when I say he got worse, I mean he changed. The false memories, the refusal to acknowledge that he was elderly, the attempts to chat up ladies and inability to remember that his children were grown and that he had grandchildren and great-grandchildren had been a part of who he was for years, ever since his early 80’s.

But he had never been violent before. That changed one night when Dad was called to come to the facility quickly. Grandpa had wandered into the wrong room, and had come out screaming, raising his walker up in the air and slamming it into the ground, taking a few swings at people who tried to calm him down. He began accusing the staff of stealing his things. He was bellowing as loud as he could: “Give them back! Give them back!”

I wasn’t there for it, and I still have a hard time picturing it. Grandpa barely raised his voice above normal volume during the last decade of his life, except to laugh.

When Dad got there, they had gotten him into his room, and he was somewhat appeased. Somewhat. He had a can of Ensure in a tube sock, and almost hit my father in the head with it when he came in. He apologized (Dad was one of the few people he always recognized), and said he had been waiting for “the thief” to come back. “A man who’d steal from me’d just as soon kill me,” he explained. The Ensure-in-a-sock was his weapon to fend off the thief. He told Dad about the men who had come to give him all his things back. “They put it all back, just like it was,” he said. “Didn’t take ‘em long.”

Later that night, he told Dad about how much it had scared Florence. He hated that she’d had to go through that. Florence was my grandmother; the one who died when I was six.

He finished by saying that Florence had gone somewhere, and when he went looking for her: “They told me she was dead. One day, they’re gonna come looking for me, and they’re gonna find me dead.” That was a jolt to my father. Grandpa had never, at any point before that, acknowledged his mortality, his advanced age, or the fact that he had probably no more than a handful of years left at best. Aging, and death, was something that happened to other people. But here he was, accepting that death was near.

That wasn’t the last night he mentioned the thief. He even gave the thief a name; Charlie Rosen. It was strange that he would invent a whole person, name included. He didn’t even name the friend who was looking after his kids. In fact, that person ceased to exist; Charlie Rosen had stolen his kids. Had killed Florence. Had come to his home in Colorado and routinely taunted him, beat him, and he even declared that Hester had been sleeping with him. He remembered her now, and was certain that she and Charlie were ganging up on him to make his life a living hell.

In the last six months of his life, he would become increasingly agitated. Dad could not have a single visit wherein Grandpa would not mention Charlie. And then the violence started up again.

In one visit, Grandpa accused Dad of being Charlie, and attacked him. After that, Dad’s visits dropped to once a week, and he didn’t stay long. Once, I went with him. It was the last time I saw my grandfather alive, and I will never forget it.

“Charlie was here again today,” Grandpa told us as soon as we arrived. “He told me I couldn’t leave this room anymore. He’s trapped me here.”

“Dad, this is where you live,” my father tried to explain. “See, here’s a picture of Mother. Why would Charlie let you keep that?”

“He killed your mother, you know,” said Grandpa. “Murdered her in her sleep.”

“Mother had an aneurysm,” said Dad. “You and I decided together to unplug the machine. She died in her sleep, but no one killed her.”

“No, no, it was Charlie.” Grandpa’s voice was not agitated. It was solid, like he knew for a fact what he was saying. “He poisoned her. Made something go wrong in her head. I didn’t know it then, but I realized it later, after he introduced me to Hester. Conned me into marrying her. He’s my personal demon, that Charlie.”

Dad finally had had enough. “There is no Charlie!” he said, nearly shouting. You aren’t supposed to correct people who have dementia; it just confuses them more and makes them upset. But my father forgot this in that moment. “Charlie is someone you made up! Mother died naturally, you met Hester at a coffee shop years after Mother died, and while she was not a nice woman, she was not unfaithful to you! Please, stop talking about Charlie!”

“Dear Lord in Heaven,” said Grandpa. “He got to you. He told you to say these things. You’re part of it too!”

“Uh, Grandpa,” I said. “Why don’t we start a game of checkers?” Usually he loved checkers.

“I don’t want to play any fucking checkers!” screamed Grandpa. I couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d hit me. Grandpa had never used profanity in his life. “By-words”, as he called them, were only used by bad men, as far as he was concerned. “Not with you! Not with him! Charlie Rosen’s pet demons! He comes to me every day. He talks to me about Florence. He taunts me. He reads my mind and he takes thoughts away and puts in new ones, worse ones. He tells me about how he rapes my little ones. How he and Hester keep them half-starved and chained in their basement. I can’t stop him! He can go inside my mind! He’s controlling me!”

We left after that, without saying goodbye.

Driving home, I almost wanted to cry. This kind, loving man was ending his days as a raving, violent lunatic. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. What kind of monster was this Charlie?

That thought stopped me cold. For an instant, I had accepted that Charlie was real. Giving my head a shake, I resolved to think about something else. But an image of Charlie had been forming in my mind, beginning a few months back, when Grandpa had first started talking about him. I only now realized that when Grandpa spoke of this demonic man, I was picturing him in my mind, and I could see him as clearly as I could memories of real people.

I thought of the last time I had visited Grandpa in that tiny house in the mountains of Colorado, when I was a teenager, sitting at that little round table while Hester served us some of her inedible glop, and I would see a man standing in the corner of the kitchen, watching us eat. A tall, gangly man with leathery skin stretched over sharp-looking bone and corded muscle. Shaggy grey hair hanging down, obscuring the upper part of his face, his smile stretching like a knife-slash across his jaw.

I thought of the wedding. I was twelve years old. I met Hester for the first time. And standing a ways behind her was that same man. I remember a family gathering at the facility Grandpa was concurrently staying at. Didn’t we pass that man in the hall once?

No, of course not. These were just images my mind had cooked up the more Grandpa talked about this shady character that never existed. The brain can do that; insert false people in your memory just because you decide, subconsciously, to remember them. It doesn’t mean you’re insane; it’s just another way for your brain to play tricks on you. Grandpa had invented a person who he talked about with such conviction, as though Charlie was real. So my mind had conjured up a Charlie Rosen. But there was no Charlie Rosen.

Grandpa died two months later. I remember the funeral like it was yesterday. I still wake up at night in a cold sweat, remembering.

Everything was normal at the start. My parents, my aunts and uncles, my wife and I, and our children, my brother and his wife, and their son, my cousins, their spouses and their children, we all gathered under the same roof for the first time in years. No one was missing. No one was out of town and couldn’t make it. Two of my cousins I hadn’t seen since they were children. It was nice to catch up with them.

The service was nice, as well. The pastor who served the spiritual needs at Grandpa’s facility was the officiator. Grandpa looked calm and peaceful, whole, so unlike what he had been in the last few months of life. I started to feel calm myself; Grandpa was where he belonged now, where the devils of his own fevered, decaying brain couldn’t get to him anymore.

And then we drove to the cemetery. The coffin was lowered. We all sprinkled a handful of dirt on the coffin and began our walk back to the cars. And then the gravedigger came out of the shadows to start shoveling the rest of the dirt. I could barely read the embroidered name tag on his coveralls. It looked like “C. Rose” or “C. Risen”. Or…no. It couldn’t be.

He was tall, gangly, with leathery skin, sharp-looking bones, corded muscle, long grey hair. And that smile. That smile that haunts my nightmares to this day.

I watched as this phantom dumped shovel-full after shovel-full of dirt on my grandfather’s coffin. He was laughing, softly, under his breath, but I have never heard such cruel laughter.

Today, I felt like I had to write all this down. To make sure I remember it all, before things get worse. Because today, my father called me to complain that Charlie was driving past his house and staring in his windows.

Credit To – WriterJosh

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Six Pretty Petals

February 13, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I woke up that Saturday morning to an unexpected breeze, cool and pleasant, against my cheek. I kept a fan on myself while I slept during the warmer seasons, but the fan was packed deep in my closet during the heart of winter.

I wiped my eyes and looked towards the source of the breeze. A yellow blur blocked some of the blinding light that broke through the sheer curtains. As my vision regained clarity, the yellow blur morphed into a lovely flower with six large, yellow petals.

Before college, I would have been terrified of waking up to a strange flower on my chest, but maturity left me more curious than scared. After meeting my best friend, Chelsea, a female sleight-of-hand magician, I had grown more willing to accept the unexpected. The flower was part of some intricate trick she would surprise me with later in the week. It was the only explanation that made sense, therefore I assumed it to be the correct one.

I made it through high school without uttering the ‘love’ word to any of my boyfriends, as my friends were so hasty to brag about doing. When it came to romance, it wasn’t something I let take over my life. My reputation around campus as an ice queen wasn’t entirely accurate, but it didn’t bother me. It helped me avoid the dating scene and keep focus on my G.P.A. My plan was set, and I was the only one responsible for executing it.

I was not a prude, but I was a realist. No spontaneous college guy would waste random romantic gestures on the control freak. Even if there was interest, a warm fire or a heated blanket were more romantic than any flower this far north. Winter wasn’t for color, it was for comfort. Still, it was a pretty flower.

The flower seemed healthy, but I could smell nothing. My nose was ice cold, and a fresh gust of air made me very aware of the liquid that was dripping from it. The breeze was coming from the window, open about an inch. I closed the window and touched my nose. My hands, warm from being tucked under my pillow, recoiled from the touch of my cold nose. It was no wonder I couldn’t smell the flower.

I set the flower on my nightstand, hoping a long hot shower would clear my head and warm up my nose enough to smell it. I saw a notification for a few unanswered texts from Chelsea, but I needed to wake up first.

Chelsea was the sober sorority sister of Phi Sigma Sigma, and my best friend. She had never touched a drop of alcohol in her life and never planned to, though she had a sense of humor about it. “Why?” was a question she heard often and used as a way to challenge her ability to think quick. She claimed various rules of various religions at first before moving on to secret societies cult tenants forcing her to keep clean for her Master. For the past month, she has used that question as a study aid for her Death and Society class. She would claim that the victims of Insert Serial Killer’s Name Here were drunk and that she didn’t want to make herself an easy target. After recounting some of the more gruesome details from memory, even the most practiced partiers would spend more time eyeing their drinks and fellow party guests with suspicion than imbibing. She was passing the class with flying colors.

Chelsea was a sleight-of-hand magician, and Penn and Teller were her idols. Neither had ever taken a drink of alcohol, and neither ever would, for no reason other than they didn’t want to. She liked the idea and spent her time practicing sleight-of-hand by herself while other kids her age practiced the handsy stuff on each other. I was the control freak, she was the perfectionist, and both of us avoided deep relationships in lieu of our own personal interests and hobbies. We were best friends a week into English 301.

Chelsea was the designated driver, cock blocker and general care taker when the Phi Sigma Six went to parties. She asked for three things as payment: gas money, permission to perform magic tricks for the guys who struck out with us, and allowance to film any embarrassing shit we did (with a clause that none of it ended up on YouTube). I never got drunk enough to go viral, but New Year’s Eve was the one night of the year I caged the control freak completely. That Saturday was January 1st. I assumed Chelsea was the reason I woke up with a cracked window and a strange flower instead of a cracking headache and a strange frat boy. None of the normal signs of a hangover dragged me down and silently praised Chelsea for whichever of her magic tricks had prevented the normal symptoms. I remembered nothing.

The hot shower was fantastic. The hair on my legs was longer than I expected considering I had shaved prior to party the night before. An ex-boyfriend used to swear that his facial hair always seemed to grow in thicker and quicker after a night of heavy drinking. Not caring much about the cause, I recycled the diagnosis and slathered conditioner on my legs. After I washed and conditioned my hair, I turned the shower head to pulse and stood under the water, enjoying the sensation of water massaging the back of my neck while my hair draped over my face like a hot towel. One of the perks of a private dorm room: no roommate, no sharing the hot water.

After I brushed my hair and teeth, I returned to my bed to check my missed messages when three loud, rapid knocks pounded at my door. After the third knock, a sheet of paper slid through the gap at the bottom of my door. This was how the sorority passed along warnings about secret dorm inspections or frivolous gossip we didn’t trust texting. It was quick and anonymous. No one ever knew who was knocking. For secretive note passing, those three knocks were obnoxious in volume and left a feeling of creeping dread clinging to each and every goose bump that ran up my spine. That cold cape of unease never stayed with me until the end. Much later, I realized what was so unsettling about the situation:

One, my door was the only one that had been knocked on.

Two, I had heard no footsteps approaching (or leaving, for that matter), even though the floors in our building creaked if somebody so much as coughed.

I left the note on the floor, as if to punish it for ruining my calm. I checked that the padlock was in the locked position (a useless, but helpful symbol of safety) before I picked up my phone to check the text messages from Chelsea. The knocking returned most of the pre-shower tension. My subconscious would expect more knocking for hours just to avoid surprise if it happened again. The stress made it impossible to relax.

I paced around the room as I checked my phone. First I caught up on e-mails, the last of which was also from Chelsea. It contained an image that failed to download no matter how many times I touched the retry button. I let it be and scrolled through the text messages instead. These were the last few messages on my phone.

Me: see u in 5, doll! (Dec. 31, 2014 08:29 p.m.)
Chelsea: Who is that guy? Why is he trying to give you a flower? Can I do a trick on him or does he have potential? (Dec. 31, 2014 09:42 p.m.)
Me: says his name is ray! never seen him before, but Ana thinks he’s cute so no tricks yet! (Dec. 31, 2014 09:44 p.m.)
Chelsea: Do his eyes look strange to you, or are you too drunk to notice? (Dec. 31, 2014 09:45 p.m.)
Chelsea: Brit? Where the hell did you go? (Dec. 31, 2014 09:59 p.m.)
Chelsea: Hello? Are you in the bathroom? You need to practice so you aren’t puking drunk after one Angry Orchard! Just tell me if you find a ride or not. This party is L-A-M-E! (Dec. 31, 2014 10:49 p.m.)
Chelsea: Brit, seriously, where are you? I can’t find Melody or Sara. Ray keeps looking at me and his eyes are seriously fucked up. I’m getting creeped out. (Jan. 01, 2015 01:11 a.m.)
Chelsea: Holy fvk BRt I jus foudn melody, shes passd out or smthng. Wher are u?!?!?!?! (Jan. 01, 2015 01:42 a.m.)
Chelsea: BRIT! ANSWR ME!!! (Jan. 01, 2015 01:56 a.m.)
Chelsea:sixlovelypetalsdoesshelovemeordoesshenotsixlovelypetalsdoesshelovemeordoesshenotsixlovelypetalsdoesshelovemeordoesshenotsixlovelypetalsdoesshelovemeordoesshenotsixlovelypetalsdoesshelovemeordoesshenot (Jan. 01, 2015 4:03 a.m.)

By the time I read the last message, the chills in my back had returned ten-fold. My frantic pacing caused my thighs to ache. I made a mental note to call Melody later and make sure she was feeling better, but I needed to see Chelsea.

Chelsea didn’t just lose her cool. Ever. Getting us safely back to our rooms, passed out or otherwise, was what Chelsea did. She didn’t freak out over it, especially not to the point of it silencing her inner grammar Nazi. She had grown used to me shortening a couple of words and not using capital letters, but anything beyond that meant repercussions.

More terrifying than those three knocks were the last three text messages.
The first, broken and misspelled, like a drunk text sent to an ex booty call. She would have ignored me for a weekend on principle had I sent it to her.

The second, all capital letters with exclamation points for emphasis. That would have earned me a public conversation where she yelled at me just so my ears and shame could be uncomfortable as her eyes had been reading it.

And the third message. One long string of lower case letters. Gibberish at first, but after reading it back a few times it repeats the same message six times. ‘Six lovely petals. Does she love me or does she not.’ I had no idea what the fuck that was supposed to mean, or why Chelsea would have sent it.

My phone beeped and I had a fear spasm, as if I’d run into an invisible wall. A small arrow appeared at the top of my cell phone screen signifying a successful download. I forced myself to stand still and calm down before I opened it. The morning was spiraling into some sort of hell thanks to my inner control freak. I hoped a cricket chirping wouldn’t cause me to piss myself at the rate I was going.

The download was the image Chelsea had sent me, called NYE15-6Petals. I don’t know how long I sat with my thumb hovering over that text, unsure whether or not I had the guts left to open that image. I had to talk myself into thinking that it was some elaborate prank on Chelsea’s part to get back at me for disappearing on her last night. It took me longer to open it than I’m comfortable admitting.

The picture proved that Chelsea was not responsible for the flower. It was a picture of the six of us, the Phi Sigma Six. From left to right, we were Melody, Sara, Jolene, Anastasia, Chelsea, and me. All of us had yellow flowers behind our ears, and each one of those yellow bastards had six petals. I glanced at the flower on my night stand for a moment. Perhaps it was the fear, or seeing that all six of us had received one, but it no longer seemed beautiful or special. I sure as hell didn’t have the urge to smell it anymore.

Unable to keep still, I began pacing again. I glanced at the piece of paper on the floor. I wanted to look at that piece of paper about as much as I wanted to smell the flower, though I knew I would eventually look.

I had to look. To take control.

I looked back to the picture. Six of us smiling, unsure of the shenanigans the night still held. My eyes moved past our flower framed faces to the mirror behind us. In it, I saw the man who had taken the picture. He held Chelsea’s phone level with his chin. The flash in the mirror left little of his face recognizable and made his hand look thin, almost skeletal. His eyes, unaffected by the flash, were completely visible.

Chelsea had been right about Ray. His eyes were as disturbing as Chelsea’s texts described. Something was wrong with them. They whole of each eye looked black. Most people would have assumed the man wore contacts, but the blackness looked like deep, empty holes; the irises floated against the blackness like the rims of buckets floating at the bottom of the well. All six of us had red eye from the flash, but Ray’s eyes were matte. The flash didn’t just not touch them, it seemed to actively avoid them.

It could have been bad Photoshop. I wish I could say that, at any point, I had believed it was bad Photoshop.

Whether it was the growing fear in my gut or a trick from staring at the screen too long, I saw the eyes move, those pale irises staring right at me, and let out a high pitched shriek as I shoved the phone deep within the depths of my pillow pile. I was done with cryptic texts and strange images.

I couldn’t stop pacing. Again, I wanted to convince myself that Chelsea was trying out a new, albeit disturbing, magic trick on me. She had a tendency to surprise me with small pieces of tricks instead of running me through the patter and show of it all.

This was the finale of a good trick. It would explain the black, hollow eyes that light avoided, how the texts set up finding the picture, how the picture seemed to download on its own when I finished the texts. It all made sense if I could accept that Chelsea, as a magician, had secrets that she just couldn’t share. Once I saw the trick pieced together, it would all make sense.

Any other truth would break me.

At some point I had stopped pacing and had picked up the piece of paper. I was staring at the blank back side of it as I left my thoughts. Confused emotions made me dizzy while fear and reason, the angel and a devil on my shoulder, fought for control of my hands; fought for control of that precious, terrifying sheet of paper. The devil on my shoulder cooed that turning it over would reveal the secret and give me the answer Chelsea could not. The angel, meek but loud, screamed that turning it over meant I could never not turn it over.

I had always thought that my controlling nature made me a rational person, if a bit distant, but I was learning that fear turns a person’s every trait into a weapon. I was as naïve and stupid as any horror movie character I had yelled at over the years, because I could not let myself remain naïve and stupid.

I had to know. To take control.

I turned the piece of paper over.

5 CONFIRMED DEAD, 1 STILL MISSING AFTER SERIAL KILLER STRIKES CAMPUS NEW YEARS EVE PARTY
By Neil Palmer

January 3rd, 2015 – It has been three days since the Acacia Fraternity New Year’s Eve Party ended and two more students have been tragically added to the list of deceased. The bodies of Anastasia Higgins and Chelsea Fogg were found in their respective dorm rooms this morning, despite campus being under 24-hour surveillance and closed to all non-police and federal authorities as of January 1st.
The rooms of all six sorority sisters have been secured and are under observation. Melody Simmons and Sarah Rowland were found on the morning of January 1st by pledges assigned to aid them after the New Year’s Eve party. Jolene Robert’s body appeared in her bed the next day. There were no signs of forced entry and no reports of suspicious activity from officers on duty.

Ms. Higgins and Ms. Fogg each had strange yellow flowers on their chests, as with the previous victims. Two of the petals on Ms. Fogg’s flower had been removed, leaving four petals. One petal had been removed from of Ms. Higgins’, leaving five. Though the flower has not yet been identified, the picture below, pulled this morning off of Ms. Fogg’s phone, show that each flower has six petals. Authorities suspect that whoever was responsible for the flowers may have information and urge anybody with information to call 911 or the provided anonymous tip line as quickly as possible.

(In the middle of the page was the picture that Chelsea had emailed me, displaying the six of us smiling with those fucking flowers behind our ears. I wouldn’t let myself look at Ray’s face again. I forced myself to read on, despite tears blurring my vision.)

Britney Davidson is the last member of the Phi Sigma Six who remains unaccounted for. If criminal profiler theories that this is the work of a serial killer can be trusted, Ms. Davidson represents one more potential victim. Finding her is paramount to both saving her life and catching the person responsible for the deaths of her five sisters.

If anybody has any information regarding the whereabouts of Britney Davidson, please call the aforementioned numbers.

A service for the Phi Sigma Six will be held as soon as the campus is re-opened to the staff and students. Until then, free grief counseling and student support is being offered at the local YMCA.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families of all six young women and anyone else whose lives they have touched.

There was a picture of me on the bottom of the page, and some phone numbers.

I let the paper fall to the floor as my breath caught in my chest. My sisters were dead. My best friend was dead. The grief I felt for them, and the fear I should have felt knowing that I was next, both punctuated by the date at the top of the page.

It was January 3rd. I had been lost for three days, which meant that I had lost three days.

Somehow, I had ended up back in my own bed, the same as my sorority sisters. I hoped nobody had stuffed a piece of paper underneath any of their doors. I hoped that they had gone peacefully in their sleep. I hoped they had been ignorant to the fear coursing through me knowing that I was next.

Three knocks, much louder than the first, crumbled my nerves. The chills running up my spine grew hot with adrenaline. Tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t help myself from whimpering in short, ugly bursts. I turned towards my bed, ready to leap for the phone under my pillows and call 911.

I couldn’t take the first step. What I saw stopped the chills, the tears, the whimper, my breathing and time itself, for all I knew.

The window was cracked about an inch. The yellow flower with the six pretty petals was no longer on my night table. The yellow flower sat on my chest in a perfect spot to obstruct my vision if I were to open my eyes. Not a single petal had been removed.
The room had become claustrophobic and surrealistic in a hurry. I wasn’t sure if the version of me, who I thought of as the ‘real’ me, was asleep or dead. I wasn’t sure if I was a ghost, a dream, or having an out of body experience.

I had been vulnerable to whatever monster was responsible for the death of my friends the entire time, and I had been ignorant of that until I read that damn article. In trying to grasp control, I had broken the illusion and lost all of it. As vulnerable as the ‘real’ me lying in bed was, the part of me stuck staring at her would be the part that suffered.

I envied her, the ‘real’ me lying in that bed, relaxed and oblivious. She hadn’t spent the morning pacing around her room, slowly losing her mind. She hadn’t learned that her best friends had died. She had no idea that she would never be waking up, if she wasn’t already dead.

The door behind me creaked as it opened. My entire body felt as cold as my nose had been. The adrenaline was gone, no longer warming my limbs. Something more than fear froze me in place. All I felt was cold.

I would not move. I could not move.

Each shallow exhale turned into a thick cloud of fog in front of my face. My eyes were wide open and drying out in the intense cold. The room itself seemed to turn gray the colder I got. I heard a hiss behind me and a large cloud fog flew past my head, overtaking one of my own small breath clouds.

I could not react to whatever was behind me. Rather it was out of fear or something the thing behind me had done to me, I would never know. My bladder let loose to punctuate my lack of body control. The fresh piss felt like ice water as it flowed down my leg. It didn’t even take a cricket chirping.

A yellow blur slowly crept over my shoulder from my left peripheral. As my vision regained clarity, the yellow blur morphed into an ugly flower with one large, decayed yellow petal. My entire body was ice cold, but this time I could smell it; something like nail polish remover and moldy bread and sweet rot.

Holding the stem of the flower was a pale hand that looked thin and skeletal at first. I was wrong. The hand wasn’t skeletal; it was a skeleton’s hand.
A voice behind me spoke, a deep whisper louder than any of the knocks.

“Six lovely petals. Does she love me or does she not?”

No control.

I looked at my body one last time and offered a silent apology. I was going to be the reason we died, and I could do nothing to stop it.

I was powerless.

Powerless to resist the second skeleton hand as it grabbed my wrist and raised my hand to the flower.

Powerless to stop my fingers from pinching that last yellow petal and plucking it off.

Powerless to stop myself from saying “I love you not.”

——-

I woke up that Saturday morning to an unexpected breeze, cool and pleasant, against my cheek. Somewhere within the whoosh of the wind blowing through my window, I swear I heard a deep whisper.

“Good choice.”

Credit To – Rob E. Nichols

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Knock Knock

February 6, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I bolted upright in the bed not sure what I expected to see, but knowing that something had startled me awake. Moonlight filtered in through the window and I shivered despite the unseasonably warm temperature. After a few moments I heard it; a soft tapping of fingers against glass. Slowly I turned my head to the window expecting to see some horrible creature lurking there with sharp fangs and terrible claws — but there was nothing. There wasn’t even wind to knock the branches against the window. Cautiously I slid out of the bed and looked out the window, feeling relieved to see there was nothing outside.

“Just hearing things.” I murmured coming back to the bed. I wasn’t used to sleeping alone but my partner was away on business. Surely it was just the change in routine startling me. Moments before getting into the bed I heard the tapping again, slightly louder this time; less hesitant. I spun around, sandy blond curls sticking to my suddenly sweaty brow. The window was clear. A still and empty sky allowed the full moon to illuminate the ground below revealing no one or thing outside.

This time a loud banging, behind me; llike fists pounding on glass trying to escape. Against my better judgement I crossed the bedroom to the bathroom, resting my hand against the warm wooden door before pushing gently. A bit of moonlight spilled into the room. Nothing different or odd, nothing jumping out but… I shivered again and leaned over to light the candle I knew would be to my left. The warm glow seemed much brighter then normal and I jumped when I caught my reflection.

“It’s just me…” I trailed off as the ‘me’ in the mirror raised it’s hand before flashing white fangs and shattering the glass.

Credit To – TinyBear

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Katie’s Song

February 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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You ever have a song pop into your head that you just didn’t want to hear? Whatever song you’re thinking of, mine’s worse: it’s Katie’s song.

Katie.

Yeah, I knew her.

The parts of my life where our paths cross flash before my eyes: Katie eyeballing me in class; Katie putting her hand on my leg on the bus; Katie and I staining each other’s clothes; Katie stretching out the collar of my shirt as I pull away from her. There she is, showing up at my apartment, unannounced, uninvited, in my mind’s eye the way it happened. But I don’t want to see it. I shut my eyes and the images won’t go away.

It’s three in the morning and I should be in bed. Katie’s thinking the same thing and wants to keep me company.

There’s a knock at my door. My heart starts racing. Whatever this is can’t be good. Good news doesn’t knock no your door at three in the morning. I go to check the peephole knowing full well that whoever’s on the other side has heard the floorboards creak. Another knock raps away.

I check the peephole. It’s Katie. Of course it’s Katie. How’d she get in the building? I open the door.

“What are you doing here?” I hear myself say.

“So, no ‘hello’?” she says.

Her eyes are stuck on the spin cycle, I can tell she’s flying on something and it pisses me off.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in,” she says.

“You show up here at three A.M., high as the fucking moon and you expect me to invite you in?”

“I’m not high. I’ve been drinking a little…”

“You know what? No.”

“No?” I can tell my rejection hurts her, it excites me a little.

She wasn’t expecting to not be let in. The thought never crossed her mind. But if I let her in now, I know that I’m implicitly telling her that it’s okay to pull this shit. And once it’s okay it’ll happen again and again …

“Go home, Katie.”

I start to close the door but she slaps against it with an open palm.

“Please,” she says, “I can’t go home. I just need a place to crash, I swear I won’t bother you.”

“That’s not my problem, I don’t even know you right now,” I say and the door closes. I take a look through the peephole and I can see she’s just standing there stunned. She crosses her arms unsure of what to do. Some weak part of me starts to crack, she looks vulnerable, devastated. It’s almost irresistible. But I need to be strong here. I have a point to prove, a valid point, an absolutely essential one.

I stand by the door, listening to her heels clip clop slowly, unsurely down the hall towards the exit door. When I hear it open and fall shut, I hit the sack.

But she doesn’t let me sleep.

I can hear her pacing in the loose stones between my building and the one next to it. Lot of shady characters in that building, mine’s the nice one, but it hardly matters because if either one of them caught fire, the other is fucked, they’re that close. And no matter how nice my building is or once was, the one closest to it taints it. Guilt by association —

I lose my train of thought.

Katie’s phone goes off right beneath my window, that stupid ringtone, Katie’s song.

Why doesn’t she answer it?

It’s cold out there, I know, and she’s not exactly dressed for it. I wish she would just go away, just go home. My mind screams, nobody wants you here. But that’s guilt tripping Katie, she’s just trying to make me feel bad for not letting her in.

Damn ringtone, there it goes again.

Christ, answer it!

But she doesn’t. Had enough of it so I stick in some earplugs, they do just a good enough job to cover her pacing, disturbing loose stones.

I can still hear her though. Pacing, banging and scratching against the stucco wall trying to get my attention. I can hear her muffled pleas through the window but I only smile to myself knowing that I’ve won. Your guilt trips are meaningless, powerless against me.

I hear Katie’s song once more before drifting off with a smile on my face but wondering why she doesn’t answer it.

At eight o’clock I look out my window with puffy eyes and creased skin. I can see about a half dozen people in and out of uniform in the dark, narrow space between the buildings. They’re kicking up one hell of a racket and they don’t seem to care too much that they’re waking everybody up because they’re examining the body of a dead girl.

A dead girl named Katie.

She was strangled, stabbed, murdered. Looking out the window I can’t un-see her lying atop the loose stones no matter how tight I close my eyes.

I follow the investigation on the news. Police have no suspects. Before too long the story goes away. And all this time I’ve never been able to get that song out of my head. I hear it when I’m driving, I hear it when I’m working, it pops into my head in the shower so I start humming and whistling the tune just before a shadow darts behind the curtain.

And now it’s three in the morning and I’m hearing it again with my own ears.

I can hear it playing outside my window. I always hated that song, but this time it isn’t driving me crazy. This time it’s a banshee’s cry, the chimes of a grandfather clock at the crossroads of infinity. ‘The bell tolls for thee,’ the thought comes in to my head from out of nowhere. This time, it makes my throat go dry.

“I’ve lived with the guilt,” I say to no one in particular, “isn’t that enough?”

But the only response is Katie’s song. I’m talking to myself here, but not for long. I know what’s coming. I try to brace for it and will it away. But there’s nothing I can do, my mind can’t turn back time or turn away a ghost. And then it comes.

I hear a knock at the door.

Credit To – Lucas Klaukien

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The Revolving Door

February 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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1.

I’m looking at myself in the mirror, not really realizing how bad I look. My skin looks extremely pale and I got dark bags under my eyes. What on earth happened to me? I’ve been leaning forward, clenching my hands around the sink. I don’t really know how long I’ve been standing here. I don’t even know where I am exactly. My mind has been empty for days.

Well I’m in a hotel, that much I know. But I have no clue of why I went here. Why did I leave home?

I look away from the mirror, down into the sink. There’s a distinctive smell of metal in the small bathroom area. It looks like the sink hasn’t been cleaned in a while, on account of the dust that’s in it. I open the tap to wash away some of it. The water starts running slowly, it makes a nice relaxing sound. I close my eyes and listen to the flow of the water.

My hands… they were red. I open my eyes again and turn my gaze towards my hands. Strange. What is that? Blood? How did I get blood on my hands? At least that explains the smell. I put my hands under the water flow and start scrubbing.
I turn off the water tap and leave the bathroom area. My hotel room isn’t a luxury suite. As a matter of fact, it’s far from luxurious. The walls are cracked, the paint is peeling off and there’s mold in the corners of the room. I sit on the bed that hasn’t been made and bury my face in my hands. What has a man done to end up in a shithole like this, I wonder.

I can hear voices.

No, not in a crazy way of course. The walls aren’t very thick, so it’s very likely that I can hear the neighboring guests of the hotel. I try to hear what they’re saying.

‘Are you listening to me?’

‘What do you think?’

‘…not responding…’

‘Why not?’

‘It’s just not working.’

‘…not even there.’

The voices sound muffled. It sounds like an argument, I assume they aren’t satisfied with this hotel. I can’t blame them. But it doesn’t matter anyway. I get up from the bed and walk to the wall to shout that they need to quiet down. I listen a little while longer, but the voices have faded. Good.

I think I’ll go to bed, get some sleep and tomorrow I’ll try to freshen up my memory.

2.

The droning sound of a buzzing phone. It’s one of the worst sounds to wake up to. I put my phone on the night stand next to my bed when I entered the room. I slowly open up my eyes and grab the phone. I pick up and listen to the voice on the other side of the line.

‘Hello?…’ I say with a broken voice. I keep listening, but nobody is responding. I wait and listen for a minute…

I look at the screen and only realize now that it was the alarm clock on my phone that caused the buzzing. An alarm clock at 3 AM, what was I thinking? I throw the phone across the room, turn around and try to go back to sleep.

I’ve been tossing and turning for about an hour. Damn it. I can’t sleep anymore. I get up and sit on the side of my bed. I guess that’s the end of my night. I’ll go outside for a nightly walk then. I get dressed, take my key with me and go outside, locking the door behind me.

The hallway on the 4th floor is long and dark, there are only a few TL lights illuminating it. At one side is the elevator. The other side turns around a corner towards a flight of stairs. I put my hands inside my pockets and start walking towards the stairs. While I’m walking through the hallway, I take a look at other doors. Most of them have a ‘don’t disturb’ card hanging on the door handle with the guest’s name on it.

‘Don’t go there!’

I immediately stop walking just before I turn around the corner. I look behind me to see who shouted at me. It was a woman’s voice. But there’s nobody in the hallway.

‘Hello? Who’s there?’

No response. I start walking back in the direction of my room to see if there’s someone hiding in the elevator. I click the button as I arrive and the elevator doors slowly open. I take a peek inside and see that there’s nobody inside. Relieved, I get in the small area and proceed to the ground floor.

‘You’ll be here for a while.’

There’s that voice again. I look around panicky to see where it came from, but I can’t see anyone in the elevator with me. Am I going crazy? With a shock, the elevator comes to a stop at the 2nd floor. I’m pressed against the walls, scared to move. The doors slowly open and I’m able to look into the hallway. But once again, the hall is empty. The doors close again and the elevator starts moving. I assure myself that nobody is following me. I probably imagined the voice. It’s about 4 AM right now, so it would be very unlikely that there’s someone still awake, watching me. I calm myself and as soon as the elevator stops at the bottom floor, I quickly get out.

Finally I see a familiar face. I greet the receptionist as I walk by and he gives me a slight smile, suppressing a surprised look because of my appearance at this time of night.

‘Just going out for a nightly walk,’ I tell him.

‘No you’re not,’ he mumbles.

3.

I look at him surprised, but I keep walking towards the entrance. The hotel has two doors, as most hotels do. There’s a revolving door and a regular one next to it. I’ll just take the revolving door then. As soon as I get close to the door, a sensor picks up my movement and the doors start moving. I get into the first of four openings, which quickly closes behind me. Then it stops moving.

Great… I push against the window of the door to get it moving again, but I can’t get it to budge. I call out to the receptionist, but he doesn’t notice or hear me. I knock on the window and wave to get his attention but he walks away without even looking into my direction. I’ll just hit the door a bit harder then. I kick against the window, I start hitting the glass, but it doesn’t even move in the slightest, nor does it damage.

Sigh… I’ll just wait for help to arrive then. Surely in the morning somebody will come. Daylight’s only a few hours away anyway. I get the idea of using my phone to call to the hotel desk, but then I remember I threw it away in my room. I sit down against the glass outer wall, looking at the three other parts of the revolving door. I close my eyes for a little while to make time pass faster. This’ll give me time to think about why I went here.

It feels like hours passed. I have no idea what time it is. Outside it’s still pitch black, there’s no trace of daylight to be found, but how is that possible? I’ve been here longer than 3 hours, I’m sure of it. I get up to look inside, to see if the receptionist is back already. But he isn’t. I try to push the door again. But it still isn’t moving.

I put my forehead against the glass and stand there for a little while, when all of a sudden I hear someone breathing softly behind me. I turn around and look straight into a pair of woman’s eyes in the left part of the revolving door. She has her hands pressed against the glass, her eyes are large, almost popping out of her head. Locks of her uncombed greasy blond hair stand up, her lips are chapped and she’s even more pale than I am. Her lips are shivering and it seems like she’s trying to say something. The dimmed light from the background gives her appearance a strange glow. Hesitantly, I get the courage to speak.

‘Excuse me, miss… I’m stuck in here. Could you please help me?’

Though not surprising, she just keeps staring at me, not responding. Slowly she takes her hands off the glass and points down. She doesn’t take her eyes off me. I turn my head slightly to see what she’s pointing at, but I don’t want to turn around entirely. From the corner of my eye I can see a familiar object on the ground.

My phone! Cool!

I bend over to pick it up and look at it. How did that get here? I look up to ask her, but… she’s gone. What the hell was that all about?

I look down to my phone and I can see that it’s fully charged. Quickly, I dial the number of the hotel desk and wait for someone to pick up. Meanwhile, I see the receptionist returning to the desk and pick up the phone.

‘Finally,’ I tell him while taking a glance at the parking lot in front of the hotel. ‘Listen, I know this sounds odd, but I’m stuck here at the entrance. Could you help me out please?’

I wait for his response, but I don’t hear anything. I turn around to look at the desk to signal the man. My heart skips a beat when I see there’s something written on the glass of the door where the woman stood few moments ago. I drop my phone from my hand as I read the giant word written in what appears to be blood.

Pictures.

Pictures? Through the gaps of the letters I attempt to see the receptionist at the desk. But he isn’t there anymore. Did I really see him then? Of course I did. Someone picked up the phone… or was it her? No, not possible.

I look at the word again and sit down on the ground to pick up my phone. Perhaps it means the pictures on my phone?

I open the image folder on my phone and take a look. The folder shows 1 image. It’s a picture of me with a woman in front of a house. In front of us is a small girl playing with her teddy bear. There’s a lot of blur in the picture and I have a hard time identifying the woman next to me. I zoom in on the woman. It’s a pretty woman, that’s for sure. Blond hair, pretty blue eyes and a broad smile. Something is coming back to me.

With all the confusion and the issues with the door, I completely forgot why I tried to go outside in the first place. Could it be that I left my home because of her? Then why is my head completely empty?

I look up from my phone and see that the word that was written on the glass is slowly fading…

I know this woman. We were together! I’m pretty sure she was my wife. And yes, we had a daughter together!

4.

It’s been silent for a while now. The excitement from my partially returning memory has faded.

‘Hello? Jamie? Do you remember? Do you remember what happened?’

That same voice. Again! I get up and look around to see if there’s anyone around. Maybe it’s the woman I saw earlier who’s calling me. But all the parts of the revolving door are empty. I check out my phone to see if the voice maybe came from there. But no… I’m all alone here. Surely I’m not imagining things!

‘Shut up!’ I shout out to the voice.

Dead silence…

I sit down again, facing the opposite room of the door. I close my eyes and try to convince myself of not being insane.

‘Mommy doesn’t want you anymore.’

I open my eyes and see a young girl in front of me. I sit up on my knees and look at the girl.

‘Hey, I know you,’ I say to her with a smile. The girl doesn’t smile back at me.

‘Do you remember me, daddy?’ she asks me.

‘Of course I do, you’re Celine, right?’

She smiles at me now, revealing her teeth. It’s coming back to me. My daughter, 8 years old. She always liked to wear a white dress, just like she’s doing now. She’s holding her teddy bear with one hand. In the other she’s holding a mobile phone.

‘Daddy is a bit confused though. Do you know what happened?’ I ask her.

She nods.

‘Would you like to tell me?’

She shrugs.

‘Hmm? It’s okay to tell me, sweetie.’

She stands there silently, thinking.

‘I can’t tell you, daddy…’

I look at her, thinking of what to say to make her tell me.

‘…but I can show you if you want.’

‘What do you mean, you will show me?’

She laughs. ‘You’re funny daddy. I will show you, okay?’

I nod to her. She turns around and starts to play with her phone. I stand up and move closer to the glass to see what she’s doing.

‘No peeking!’ she commands me.

My phone starts buzzing in my pocket. I take it out and pick up. I see Celine putting her phone to her ear as well.

‘Hello?’ I say.

5.

Again, nobody responds to what I say. I don’t have my daughter on the line, I’m sure of that. I look at her while I hold the phone to my ear. She’s looking back at me as well, but she put her phone on the ground. She still holds her teddy bear in her hand. Through the speaker I can hear some murmur, but there’s not someone talking to me directly. Slowly but gradually the murmur is getting louder and I can make out a heated conversation going on. It’s me, arguing… with my wife I guess?

‘You know what? Maybe I will just leave. I’m fed up with this bullshit!’

‘It’ll suit you. You always run away from everything anyway!’

‘Oh please.. what do you want from me?..’

‘You really want to know?’

‘Do tell me, yeah.’

‘I want you to get out of this house! And out of our lives!’

‘Your lives? If I’m leaving, I’ll take our daughter with me.’

‘Oh, no you won’t…’

A third voice joined.

‘What’s happening?..’

‘Celine, go to your room. Mommy and daddy are talking!’

The conversation suddenly ended, followed by a dead tone. The argument repeats itself in my head. I look at my daughter who was looking at me the entire time I was listening to the phone.

‘Daddy… that’s not all I wanted to show you.’

‘What do you mean?’ I ask her.

‘I want to show you more too. Mommy said I can’t show you because you don’t deserve it. But I won’t tell her if you won’t.’

‘Please show me… what happened,’ I tell her.

She doesn’t respond to me, yet she doesn’t take her eyes off me. I look straight into her eyes and see that they start tearing up. I try to say something as soon as a tear rolls out, but I can’t find any words. I’m looking at the tear, which rolls down her cheek, down her neck and onto her dress. On her dress several red spots are appearing. Red spots which are slowly growing…

‘It hurts…’ she says.

The bloodstains slowly grow. I can see my daughter struggling to stay on her legs. My eyes start tearing up. I can’t do anything about it. I try to smash the windows around me, try to bash through the corner of the revolving door, but it’s no use. I want to hold her in my arms.

‘You wanted me to show it to you…’ she says to me as she drops down on the ground.
I drop down on my knees, in tears to see what’s happening to my daughter. I close my eyes and put my head to the ground. My daughter…

6.

I shouldn’t have made her suffer like that. The argument, it had to do something with her death. But what really happened?..

I’m not sure anymore what is real and what isn’t. I’m stuck inside this door, that’s for sure. However, this door is unusually strong and withstands everything I throw at it. But then I just saw my daughter. But was that actually happening? Was I hallucinating? No… I couldn’t be. So many things have happened in such a short time…

‘Do you remember your daughter?’

There it is again! That voice! That voice of which the source is missing…

‘My daughter died!’ I shout to the voice. I know it’s insane to be talking to a voice that might not exist. But it’s taunting me… Obviously it too has seen what has happened just now.

‘What do you remember exactly?’

‘She’s dead. And I’m stuck here. I can’t do anything about it.’

I get back on my feet and start pacing around. This door I’m trapped in. It must have something to do with my family. What am I missing… Surely the voice of the woman can explain something.

‘Hello? Are you there?’ I ask.

No response. I look outside to see if there’s a sign of at least a shimmer of daylight. There’s still only darkness to see. However in the distance a small light appears. It looks like the headlights of a car driving towards the hotel. Can it be? Slowly but gradually the lights get closer. I can see the shape of a car turning and parking in front of the building, the beams of light are still pointing towards the door. A person gets out of the car.

The silhouette appears to be moving towards the trunk of the car. I can’t see what’s happening on the back of the car, but after a little while the person starts walking towards the entrance, carrying something. I put my hands on the glass, trying to identify the individual. The silhouette gets clearer and I know that I’m looking at a woman now judging by her hair. She’s holding something in a blanket. A few meters from the door, she stops walking and I assume she’s looking right at me.

‘Jamie?’ the woman says.

Frightened, I back away from the window.

‘Who are you? Come closer so I can see who you are. Please…’

The woman does as I ask. She walks towards the glass and puts down the object she’s carrying.

‘It’s me, Jamie.’

I also approach the glass to look at her.

‘Sally, what are you doing here? Call the police, call an ambulance. Our daughter is dead!’ I say to her while pointing at Celine.

She doesn’t respond to me. Instead, she bends over and opens the blanket she was carrying. I watch her slowly unfold it. She picks up the object and holds it with both hands, showing it as if it’s a holy relic. The knife shows Sally’s reflection through the dried up blood.

‘You remember this? I do…’ she says.

‘I don’t. But I heard our argument over the phone,’ I reply.

She doesn’t respond once again. Instead she looks to the other part of the revolving door where our daughter lies.

‘Our angel. She didn’t deserve this. And neither did I,’ she speaks without looking at me.

She looks at me now. She drops the knife and takes her phone out of her pocket, dialing a number.

My phone starts ringing now. I turn around, put my ear to the phone and listen…

7.

‘What’s going on?..’

‘Celine, go to your room. Mommy and daddy are talking!’

‘Why are you holding a knife?’

‘What? Put that away…’

‘Daddy, stop it!’

‘Shut up child, get out of the way and go to your room!’

‘Jamie, drop the knife now.’

‘Jamie… please. Don’t do this.’

‘Daddy!!!’

‘But this is what you wanted, isn’t it? Me separated from you and Celine? Well if I can’t have her, then you can’t either!’

‘No!’

I can hear objects being thrown around the room, people shouting… until the dead tone appears again. I take the phone off my ear and turn towards my wife who dropped her phone on the ground. I’m not looking at the same woman anymore. She turned into the woman I saw on the other side of the door, the woman I saw first. I didn’t recognize her before, but now I do. She raises her arm and points to behind me. I turn around and look at the words that appeared in blood on the glass.

You did this…

What did I do… I turn back to look at her and I see her clothes are slowly turning bloody as well. I can only stand there and watch what’s happening. I killed my wife?

I killed my child in a fit of insanity?

I drop down on the ground with my hands covering my head. It all makes sense now. I did this. I’m a killer.

I spent what felt like an eternity in that room on the ground, disgusted by my own being. I get on my feet and look at the opening of the revolving door, which is right in front of me. I’m not trapped anymore! I can walk straight towards the elevator towards my room. I feel the urge to go to my room. I don’t even want to leave the hotel anymore. While I’m walking towards the elevator, I hear a familiar voice.

‘Let’s get you back to your room, shall we?’

8.

The officer, clouded by a troubled mind, enters the building after a 3 hour drive. He checks in his gun and badge at the entrance.

‘Please take a seat over there,’ the receptionist says.

The officer, wearing a casual stylish blouse and jeans with white sneakers, does as he’s requested. After a 15 minute wait, he is approached by a woman wearing a long white coat.

‘Officer Martin?’ she asks.

‘Yes, that’s me. You must be Dr. Colton,’ he replies.

‘Please, call me Alice. If you’d follow me. I understand you were closely involved with this case?’ Alice says as they’re walking through the long corridor.

The officer replies: ‘Yes. Well… kind of. To be honest, I’m here on family reasons.

You see… the victims who were murdered, were my sister and my niece.’

‘I understand. Normally we don’t allow insights into our patients, but in this case I can make an exception. Just keep it on the down-low please.’

‘My lips are sealed.’

The two arrive at an office, at the end of the hallway. They enter. The officer looks around to see what’s in the room. The room looks very messy. There’s paper scattered all over the places, several cabinets are opened and there’s dust on the shelves where diplomas, photos and other objects are kept.

‘I’m sorry for the mess. I was looking for the documents you required and I made a bit of a mess I’m afraid…’

‘That’s okay, I know how bad paperwork can get,’ the officer replies with a smile.

‘Now then. The patient. So I’ll explain the way we work around here. What we do is we keep audio logs of every day we treat a patient. We start off by picking up the patient, then taking him to a room where we try talking to him. Now this patient is a very peculiar case. We know what happened, all the evidence was there. However… this man isn’t healthy on a whole different level,’ the doctor explains.

‘I’m afraid you lost me there,’ he says.

‘I think that when I let you listen to our audio logs, it’ll be much clearer for you.’

The doctor takes a USB flash drive from his desk and plugs it into the computer on his desk.

‘I took the liberty of compiling the most useful excerpts from the whole therapy session for you on this drive,’ Alice says before she plays the audio files.

9.

Audio log day 1.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Day 1. Patient’s name is Jamie Garth. Garth was admitted to the hospital three days ago. Declared insane. He was accused and found guilty of slaying his wife and daughter. He was found in a hotel room, rambling and mumbling to himself. Tomorrow I’ll try to talk to the patient in his room to find out more about him. I had the opportunity to see the patient while he was being escorted to his chamber. He doesn’t seem to respond to anyone or anything except himself.

Audio log day 2.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: Day number 2. This is Dr. Colton, accompanied with my assistant, Dr. Landon. Today we’ll have our first contact with the patient. Continuing log at the patient’s room.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: I’m in the patient’s room now. Doctor Landon will follow shortly. The patient has been standing in front of his mirror for a while now. He doesn’t see or hear us. I’ll keep observing him.

Dr. Colton: Patient has moved to his bed. He shows signs of depression. Trying another attempt at making contact.

Dr. Colton: Jamie? Are you listening to me? Can you hear me?

———————————————————-

Dr. Landon: Making any progress?

Dr. Colton: Not really, no. I’m trying to talk to him, but it’s like he looks right through me. He doesn’t even notice me being here.

Dr. Landon: What do you think is wrong with him?

Dr. Colton: No idea… he’s just not responding to anything.

Dr. Landon: Why not?

Dr. Colton: I haven’t figured that out yet. All I know is that mentally he’s not even there.

Jamie: Quiet down!

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: It does seem he is aware of people somehow. But it’s not this world he’s actively living in. We’ll continue tomorrow when we’ll take him to the therapy room.

Audio log day 3.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: Going to pick up the patient. Entering the room now. On my own today.

Jamie: Hello?

Dr. Colton: The patient is aware of his surroundings. I want to see if he’s able to walk around the hospital. Just to see if he does recognize physical areas beyond his own mindset.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: Patient is getting dressed and walks outside into the hallway. He’s walking down the hall, looking at other patient’s doors. He doesn’t show any interest to disturb them.

Dr. Colton: Don’t go there!

Dr. Colton: Patient stops and looks around. I think he heard me that time. Selective hearing maybe?

Jamie: Hello? Who’s there?!

Dr. Colton: The patient is looking straight through me again. I’m going to escort him to the therapy chamber. The patient doesn’t seem to instantly be able to find his way to the elevator.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: Don’t worry, you’ll learn your way around this place soon enough. You’ll be here for a while anyway.

Dr. Colton: The patient appears to be afraid of my voice. He’s looking around panicky.

———————————————————-

Jamie: Just going out for a nightly walk.

Dr. Colton: No you’re not, Jamie. Just come with me.

Audio log day 4.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: We’ve kept the patient in the therapy room for a while. The patient seems to be trapped in his own world. He’s asking people for help and tries to talk to people to help get him out. At this point, it appears he has no memory of what happened to him. Attempting another interaction.

Dr. Colton: Hello? Jamie? Do you remember? Do you remember what happened?

Jamie: Shut up!

Dr. Colton: Interesting.

Audio log day 5.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: Something just happened. Garth is talking to someone, his daughter probably. This means that he is trying to remember what happened. He’s visualizing the past to help him figure things out. Interesting. I wonder how accurate his visualizations are.

Jamie: What do you mean, you will show me?

Jamie: Please show me… what happened.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: The patient has been silent for a while now, he seems to have become desperate. Judging from what he said, I assume he found out that something happened to his daughter.

Audio log day 6.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: A new day. We’re going to see if the patient has retrieved some of his memory.

Dr. Landon: You will do the talking then, I assume.

———————————————————-

Dr. Colton: Hello Jamie, you spoke to your daughter yesterday, didn’t you? Do you remember your daughter? Do you remember your wife?

Jamie: My daughter died!

Dr. Landon: So he is remembering some things.

Dr. Colton: What do you remember exactly?

Jamie: She’s dead. And I’m stuck here. I can’t do anything about it.

Dr. Colton: You hear that? His memory is getting clearer. But not entirely yet. Part of his confused state the police found him in.

Jamie: Hello? Are you there?

Dr. Landon: Let’s take this step by step. Best continue tomorrow, don’t you think?

Audio log day 7.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: We’re witnessing something interesting today. Garth appears to be interacting with his wife. He’s pacing around the room, looking frightened, confused.

Jamie: Call the police, call an ambulance. Our daughter is dead!

Dr. Colton: The patient still hasn’t figured out the facts regarding his daughter. Wait. Something is happening. He lies on the ground now. All interaction seems to have faded away. He’s mumbling that he doesn’t deserve to live. Perhaps his memory did return after all. Best take him to his own room.

Dr. Colton: Come on, Jamie, on your feet. Let’s get you back to your room, shall we?

Audio log day 10.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: No signs of improvement. The patient keeps repeating his own actions over and over. He doesn’t seem to have any indication of time and place.

Audio log day 19.
Patient: Jamie Garth

Dr. Colton: I’ve now spent 18 days trying to get through to him. But it’s no use. The patient relives the same experience over and over again. He still thinks he’s trapped somewhere. He doesn’t realize he’s stuck in his own head. We call this the revolving door effect. The patient gets into an imaginary revolving door. He wants to go straight out, but his own mind doesn’t let him. As soon as he thinks the experience is over and he can reach the outside, the mental door puts him right back in.

His lack of memory, combined with an overwhelming feeling of guilt, doesn’t allow him to leave that circle of despair and move on. Each part of that revolving door shows him things that happened. From what I and dr. Landon could gather, is that he clearly remembers his daughter and wife, finding out along the way that he murdered them.

This cycle has repeated itself 3 times now. It’s unclear to us if he will ever break the cycle and manage to leave the revolving door. We’ll try to talk to him a few more times, but if there aren’t any signs of change, I’m afraid we’ll have to put the sessions to an end and search for different approaches to solve the problem.

10.

The recording stops. A few minutes have passed and the doctor and the officer have been listening to it quietly.

‘The revolving door effect, huh…’ the officer says.

‘That’s what we like to call it, yes.’

‘So what will happen to Garth when the therapy sessions are over?’

The doctor puts her hands behind her head.

‘In cases like this we either let the patient live in his room, live out his life. Or we try to find different methods. Perhaps after a while he will snap out of his delusional state himself. But we highly doubt that will happen.’

‘I see. I still wonder what could possibly drive a man this far into madness.’

‘Don’t we all,’ the doctor replies, ‘but that’s what we’re trying to figure out with our therapy sessions. Anyway, I hope I helped you out. Perhaps you’ll be able to have some closure now.’

‘I really appreciate your help. Thank you for that,’ the officer says as he gets up to shake the doctor’s hand.

‘Don’t mention it,’ she says. ‘If you’ll excuse me now, I have a session with another patient in a little while. I’m sure you can find your way out.’

The officer nods with a smile and leaves the office. He walks back towards the entrance desk to pick up his stuff and proceeds to the exit. Before leaving, he stops and takes a look at the revolving door that’s in front of him. Slowly he exits the building, deciding that he’d rather use the regular door next to it.

Credit To – TvanK

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Abu Ghattat

February 2, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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This story is a Crappypasta Success Story – it got such a positive reception (additionally, the author has reworked it somewhat after taking his received feedback into account) over at Crappypasta that it’s being moved here to the main site. You may read the original Crappypasta post and comments here. Congratulations to the author and thanks to the Crappypasta community for the save!

It has many names, the Scandinavians call it the mare, the Turkish call it Karabasan, from where I come from we call it Abu ghattat; however, I suppose you had probably heard of it under the name the “Sleep paralysis”. First let me define it: Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which a person, either falling asleep or awakening, temporarily experiences an inability to move, speak or react. It is a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep characterized by complete muscle atonia (muscle weakness). It is often accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (such as an intruder in the room) to which one is unable to react due to paralysis, and physical experiences (such as strong current running through the upper body). One theory is that it results from disrupted REM sleep, which normally induces complete muscle atonia to prevent the sleeper from acting out his or her dreams. Sleep paralysis has been linked to disorders such as narcolepsy, migraines, anxiety disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea; however, it can also occur in isolation.

Hallucinations? Is that what those who do not believe in paranormality call an unexplainable phenomenon or its effects? There are many people who rely on science to clarify all phenomenons; yet there are mysteries that even science seems to fall in its shades. According to science, you can experience a certain hallucination between the phase of sleep and wakefulness. Still, just how can we all have the same hallucination? How can we all witness the exaxt same terror? To me this is an insult to all of those who have faced it; Abu Ghattat that is, and that is how I will always refer to it, not as a personification to a phenomenon but as the demonic spirit that it is. Most people will clearly change their minds about it if they had the same experience, and live in denial that it was nothing but a dream; even though, in that case it’ll ease their mind. You see, once you encounter Abu Ghattat, you’ll have every right to claim it was a nightmare, because if you realized its truth.. You’ll most certainly never be the same again.

This brings me back to quite a tragic story; the story of a close friend and a neighbor of mine, his name was Adam. I remember him very well, just two years ago back on a Sunday evening, I remember heading back to the neighborhood together, he had that cheerful happy-go-lucky personality, as we used to hang-out every week-end. Adam you were such an amazing person! On that exact evening, I bid him farewell and left him with his usual smile; that was a smile he would never put on his face again for the rest of his life.

The next morning he didn’t show up to school all day. It wasn’t really that much of a surprise because we skipped school all the time, I couldn’t ever visit him because his parents disliked me, for they deemed me as a bad influence on their child. It was all kind of regular, nothing to worry about up until now; but he skipped school the day after as well, and so on. He didn’t answer his phone, he’s never online on any social network, and he’s nowhere to be seen. I became worried sick about him, I just had to know what is going on. So I waited until Friday when both his parents aren’t home and visited him. But much to my surprise, both his parents were there. His dad had that creepy glare which he showed me everytime he saw me, but it was somehow different than before. I sensed that he wasn’t angry.. he was sad. Then he spoke with a sorrowful tone: “Hello there, good thing you came honestly! Adam is in his room, if it’s possible please talk to him for a bit” The situation was awkward enough for me, and I just couldn’t ask what’s wrong. So without further hesitation I went to his room.. The door was open, I stepped inside and saw Adam sitting on the floor. Dear God, the state he was in was indescribable. I greeted him but he didn’t reply and he kept shivering from the moment I showed up, I felt like my presence won’t help him through whatever he’s going through, so I just went out with an optimistic faith that he probably just had too many mushrooms again, but that most certainly wasn’t the cause for this. Anyway I decided not to visit him for a while, at least until he recovers a bit.

One week later, as I had been heading to school, I saw it.. The large tent-like structure that holds funerals in my homecountry, the tradition is to construct it close to the deceased person’s house, and to keep it there for three days to welcome condolences. What shocked me was that it was constructed near Adam’s house, I ran to get there fast as my heart beat even faster. I asked the first person I met shouting: “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? WHO DIED?” He then replied, informing me of Adam’s suicide, he slit his own throat. My God! Adam, how come that you disappeared from our lives? These news almost made my heart stop, it had broken my soul. A dark cloud covered the neighborhood propagating anguish and misery all over it, it was a great loss for everyone. I gave my condolences to Adam’s parents, his tearful dad told me to return tomorrow for a highly important subject.

The following day, I went to see Adam’s dad, only to find that he gathered Adam’s clothes and overall possessions in a big Cardboard box. He told me that since I had used to be a close friend of Adam that I should be the one to take them. This didn’t look right one bit. Adam was his child, and as his father he must keep his possesions in order to remember him. But looking at that face, I realized he already can’t forget the tragedy of his only son, he wants to take out anything that may remind him of that. So I accepted to keep them instead. He later informed me that his wife and him will move out of town, but that didn’t surprise me.

I took the Cardboard box home. I found within it a Photo Album, and nostalgically viewed it when something between the pages caught my eyes; it was a letter. It had a date which was the day before the one I visited him at. I started reading it and its contents brought me to tears. It was written as the following:

To anyone who is reading this, I’m writing this because I couldn’t share what happened to me with anybody. Even though, I wanted someone to look in my eyes and tell me it’s alright, I couldn’t bring myself to it. Oh God I just couldn’t!
On Sunday night, that cursed night that will forever be kept inside my memory. I was sleeping normally, traveling the fantastic dreamworld. I can’t recall what my dream was about, all I can remember that I was feeling really delighted, but then I fell into somekind of a pit, which woke me up. Upon waking up, I felt somekind of pressure on my body. I tried to stand up, but I failed to. I couldn’t move a muscle, I couldn’t do anything, neither move nor talk. I was clearly able to see the insides of my room, and was damn sure I’m not having a dream so why? Why couldn’t I move? I thought I’m having that thing my grandmother once told me about. Abu Ghattat, according to the myth she told me it’ll only last for minutes, and the paralysis will perish. But what creeped me out, was the fact she mentioned something about a demon being the one paralysing you. But I knew such thing is impossible, I really wanted to believe that. But then I heard a sound coming from the corner of my room. Since my eyes were the only part of my body that wasn’t paralysed, I tried to force them to focus on the room’s corner, and then I saw it. That sight terrified me to the fullest. The Jinn, the demon Abu Ghattat, the monstrous being sitting there with the most sinister smile on its hideous face, it noticed that I saw it and started crawling slowly until it reached me. I was dying from terror, I wanted to shout, I wanted to scream, I wanted to get off my bed and just run for it, but I couldn’t. Then it sat on my body and I could clearly see its grotesque image now. It wasn’t very big, it resembled a troll or something, only it was uglier and scarier. It then strangled me with its hairy hands while keeping that smile. Oh my God! How terrible that felt, then it started biting my torso and punching it, it got off my body for a couple of seconds to wonder the room laughing, while I could only watch, while I can’t do anything to save myself. It came back to me again and started strangling me all over again. I just wanted to close my eyes, I forced them with all my might to get closed. Then the paralysing feeling disappeared, I opened my eyes screaming as hardly as I can waking up my parents in the process, the demon Abu Ghattat vanished as well.
All what happened later doesn’t matter anymore, and now that night refuse to exit my mind, the same goes for Abu Gattat’s damned face. I don’t know what have I became anymore, I’m afraid to sleep, I’m afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of solitude. I keep feeling its demonic presence near me all the time. It’s like I’m loosing my mind gradually. I know that I should get a grip of myself and be strong but I cannot, I cannot.

The letter ends like that, Oh Adam I should’ve been there for you when you needed me the most, I’m sorry my dear friend, may your soul forgive my idiocy.
It was hard for me, but I had to look more to what he was going through, I made a research on Abu Ghattat or how it is formally known: The Sleep paralysis. As it seems, there are things that provoke it, but the way I see it, those were things that invite Abu Ghattat to your bed. I have discovered that many people had the same experience as Adam. Most of them saw it as well, the grotesque creature Abu Ghattat. All of them aknowledged within themselves that it was a dream, if only you had done the same Adam! Your fear took hold of you and swallowed you completely, it devoured you from the inside, to the point you gave up on your own life to end your suffering. Now I see that you thought it was more mercyful, if only I had realized all of this sooner. May God have mercy on your soul.

Many may disagree, but to me Abu Ghattat is real. I used to be horrified by the fact I could end up its victim anynight, and even though I got over it quite a long time ago; remembering the evil that took away my friend still haunts my mind. After all, unlike the common ghost stories and sightings, it is real. Now I know that all of this had horrified a lot of you people as well, all I can recommend is not to do anything that could invite it in. Do not get yourself into a nightmare you might not wake up from, as you may suffer the same fate as Adam. This is all my dear readers, have a good night. Although, I know you probably won’t.

Credit To – Writer: Faissal Ouard / Definition: Wikipedia

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