Diloxodin

November 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I awoke this morning with a dull ache in my head. I took two Excedrin and went about my day. It’s probably due to the change in pressure outside. It should pass as the day goes by.

Eight hours and four Excedrin later the pain has greatly intensified. I have made plans to go see the doctor later.

The doctor asks me some questions, and tells me that if the pain intensifies that she recommends an MRI. I agree. In the meantime she writes me out a prescription for Diloxodin. She explains that this medicine is fairly new, and warns me of the side-effects, including: fatigue, increased appetite, lucid dreams, and in rare cases auditory hallucinations, and death.

As soon as I get my subscription filled I take one as directed. Within five minutes the pain in my head has lessened greatly. Within ten my headache is completely gone.

I get ready for bed, and power down my laptop. I can hear the bathroom sink dripping. I didn’t notice it before, and get up to turn it off.

I drift off to sleep. I am awoken a few hours later by the sound of the bathroom sink dripping again. I turn it off, and assume that a valve must be loose. I can’t fix it right now, so I place a towel in the basin to muffle the noise.

I fall back to sleep when I hear a sound like someone letting out a sigh coming from the bathroom. I’m startled, and my eyes pop open. I lay in my bed listening. I hear water trickle onto porcelain, drip-drip-drip-drip-drip. I take a breath and make my way into the bathroom. I turn on the light to find the faucet completely shut off, and the towel still in the basin. I touch it, it’s barely wet. I chalk it up to side-effects of the Diloxodin, and head back to sleep.

The next morning I wake up, and take another pill as recommended. I notice that I don’t have a headache, and that I’m no longer hearing things. Still, I’ll tell my doctor after work.
The doctor said not to worry too much about the hallucinations, she said they weren’t that bad, but if they get worse that maybe I should cut back on the medication.

That night I unwind by reading The Amber Chronicles. I was well into the fifth chapter when I started hearing noises again. In the kitchen I hear a clack-clack-clack, as the sound of footsteps move across the floor. I push it out of my mind and continue reading. As I continue to read I begin to hear a faint static come from the direction I heard the footsteps. I put the book down, and listen. Soon, the static becomes whispers, and I am able to distinguish two different voices, but I can’t make out what they’re saying. I again tell myself that it’s the medicine, but nonetheless I go cautiously into the kitchen to check. I find nothing there.

I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and get ready for bed. As I’m in there, out of the corner of my eye I see something brown and lanky move past the doorway. My heart gets caught in my throat. I rationalize that it was due to the medication, but soon realize that nothing was mentioned about visual hallucinations. Cold beads of sweat begin to form on my body, and my hands begin to tremble.

With trepidation I peer my head around the door frame hoping that nothing will be there. My eyes peer into the darkness of the hallway, searching, then I see it. Hulking at the end of the hallway tall, and brown, and hunched over. Its presence menacing. I notice that it’s turned the other way, and that it can’t see me. I continue to stare at it until I notice something strange about it. Something familiar. I turn on the hallway light. I sigh in relief. It was just the coat rack. I decide to go to bed but leave the hallway light on.

When I awake the next morning I forgo taking my medicine, and decide to call into work. I have no headaches, and I don’t experience any hallucinations. I spend the day lying in bed and listening to the silence.

It’s been seven days since I’ve stopped taking the medicine, and everything is still normal. I had a sinus headache a few days ago, but that was it. It would now seem that I no longer need the medication. If this is the case, then I can be done with these pills and not have to worry about anymore side effects. I’ll hold onto the pills for a couple more day, and if I’m still doing well, I will flush ‘em.

My head is killing me. It’s worse than it’s ever been. I lie curled up in a fetal position, in my bed, in the pitch blackness, with my hands cupping my head. I’ve thrown up three times already. I don’t know if I should take the medicine, but I’ve been like this for I don’t know how long, and I’m afraid the pain might kill me.

I down the pill with a glass of water. It’s hard to keep from throwing up again. Almost immediately the pain subsides, and I can function again. I promptly call my doctor to set a scan at a local hospital.

The scan comes back normal. No dark spots, or swelling. Nothing to indicate what is causing the headaches. While I’m there I ask the attending physician if there’s anything else he could prescribe me for my headaches. He writes me out a scrip for Almotriptan, and sends me on my way.

I contemplate throwing the Diloxodin away, but change my mind. In case the Almotriptan doesn’t work.

Two days now, and everything is going better than expected. Not only are my headaches gone, but I’m in an overall better mood. I’m also more actively participating during work meetings.

Fifth day now, and I things are getting weird again. Despite not taking any of the Diloxodin I’m starting to experience auditory hallucinations. I can hear voices throughout the house. They sound like the low hums of television conversations in another room, intermingled with growls, but each discernible. If I concentrate I can count them. One, two, three, four. Four. That’s how many of them are out there moving about, waiting. They can only move in shadows. I don’t even know if they’re real. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Almotriptan caused hallucinations.

I called the doctor who prescribed me the Almotriptan and asked him if it’s known to cause any hallucinations, he says that it doesn’t. Not fully satisfied with the doctor’s answer I visit forums and try to ascertain rather or not anyone else has experienced any types of hallucinations while on Almotriptan. The most I got was that a few people got dizzy, or nauseated.

I call my doctor, and tell her about the Almotriptan I’m taking, and the hallucinations I’m having. She tells me that it might be that the Diloxodin is still in my system, and that everything should clear up as time progresses. In the meantime she suggests that I get blood work done, to see if the drug is still in my system, and also to speak with a psychiatrist. I agree, and after I hang up with her. I make an appointment with a local clinical shrink.

I have my lab work done, and go to see the shrink. We speak about the hallucinations I’ve been having, and he gives me some exercises to do when the hallucinations occur. He also writes a prescription for Clozapine. He tells me that it’s for people with schizophrenia, but that it should work in my situation. I don’t like the idea of taking more pills, but if it’ll stop the hallucinations I’ll try it.

Despite taking the pills I’m still hearing things, and seeing tall, brown, slender, hulking shapes move about the house out of my peripheral. I rationalize that the medicine needs a week to fully take effect. I just wish I could do something about the sound of the water dripping in the sink.

I know that the sounds I’m hearing aren’t real; the footsteps, the voices, the water dripping in the sink. But, if I were to apply a physical solution to a mental problem it might eliminate some of the hallucinations I’m having. The first thing I do is turn off the water under the bathroom sink. The dripping stops. Now I must figure a way to stop the footsteps. If I tell the hallucinations to leave, maybe they’ll no longer bother me. It’s unlikely, but it’s worth a shot.

I can hear them in the living room, mixing of low guttural voices, and the sloshing wet sounds. I step out into the hallway, and peer into the darkness. I see four of the brown things hunched over in the living room, their backs scraping the ceiling, long slender arms that come past their knees, and the sound of saliva dripping from their mouths.

I tell myself that it’s just the coat rack, and reach to over to turn on the light. As I do so my phone vibrates in my pocket. I answer it.
“Hello.”

“Hi, Mark. This is Dr. Jacobs. I’ve received the results back from your lab work. There is no trace of the Diloxodin in your blood.”

I stand there in horror, looking at the things in my living room.

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The Wicked

November 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I see my toes peeking over the edge of a perfect, circular hole in the ground. There’s nothing in the hole but pitch darkness in screeching contrast with the smooth beige of the ground I’m standing on. Everything is quiet. I am not here to fall in.

Faint scratching heightens in volume until the distorted light in this world illuminates a pulsating mass of beige flesh sliding up the smooth, vertical wall of the hole—sliding up closer and closer to my toes. I do not fear it.

An arm shoots forth from the throbbing, ever-shifting amalgamation of what appeared to be human appendages. It reaches for the edge of the hole. It wants to get out. The fingers scrabble pitifully for purchase, but the walls are smooth and uncompromising. In desperation, the hand digs its fingernails into the wall, losing them as the bulk of the creature’s mass begins to slide back into the darkness of the hole. With a shudder, the body of limbs lurches upward again, a new arm shooting out, still searching in vain for the edge of the hole. I watch coldly.

Five times it does this. Five times the hands leave a trail of blood on the wall as the body slides back down.

On the sixth try, I lean down and wrap my hands around the wrist of its latest arm, easily pulling the entire amorphous creature out of the hole and laying it down on the ground beside me. I didn’t help out of pity or kindness.

A massive slit appears on the thickest part of the creature’s body, the curvature of lips slowly forming around the slit. It seems to face me, and the mouth opens to reveal pointed, uniform teeth, lips curving in a way that indicated sounds would soon follow. Still, I do not fear it.

My mother abruptly wakes me up for school.

I haven’t seen that dream for 11 years. But I remember it every night.

Because I fear dying among strangers, I didn’t enroll in summer courses at my university. I’m home for the summer, as usual, resigned to the irrationality of knowing that creature will eventually come for me. A flicker of defiance is all that sustains me. In a strange twist of a counter curse, I avoid happiness, believing the sacrifice of that crucial emotion would stave off the inevitable. But I was wrong.

Lately, there have been missing person reports in the news. People just disappear without a trace, vanish without any identifiable motive. Four gone in just a week, all in my neighborhood. The police are neck-deep in a city-wide manhunt, warning residents of my neighborhood in particular to be extremely careful of any suspicious people. I remember the door-to-door visit coming as a surprise in the evening during family dinner and the silence afterwards while the TV blared in the background. No one was watching it.

No one knows about that dream but me. Without reason or evidence, I know it’s coming for me. Still, I do not fear it.

Five gone, one for each of its damaged hands. My turn’s next.

I don’t know the correct way to fear it. I’m a dead man walking, emotions in limbo. This has not changed in 11 years. The ticking of the wall clock has been impossibly loud for 11 years.

The night brings with it a primal fear. I don’t go out at night, ever. At most, I look at the darkened world outside through the false safety of a window. Tonight is a window night because sleeping is risky.

There is a tree in my house’s front yard that blossoms beautifully during the summer. Some small comfort for me to look at through the window. An arm slithers around the tree trunk. I freeze. Some primitive instinct tells me if I move now, I will die. The moonlight is distorted and even the air has stopped moving. There’s no light source in the sky and everything seems to reflect a silvery sheen of light. The shadows are pitch black. A frozen world of high contrast marred by the movement of that arm spiraling upward and around the tree trunk, twisting itself into a knot around one of the branches. I blink. I know that was a mistake.

All along the length of the arm, the flesh pulsates, rippling like liquid. Eyes, noses, mouths, and ears slowly form and solidify into faces. Different faces protrude from the arm to form whole heads attached by a spindly neck. Pairs of eyes search in different directions, mouths stretched tight in a hideous grin. One set of eyes lock on to mine. The mouth opens and the piercing shriek swivels the other heads around until all eyes are on me.

“No,” I whisper.

I hear faint scratching behind me getting louder. I feel hands on my head, my shoulders, my arms, more of them wrapping around me. The arm around the tree slowly uncoils itself and the last thing I see are the heads, eyes narrowed in glee, repeatedly mouthing a word I think might have been, “Free.”

Credit To – January

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Flash

October 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I’ve heard there are two kinds of people: those who have vivid dreams, dreams of things and events, some impossible some mundane, some joyous some horrible — and those who have the same kinds of dreams but don’t remember them. I’d give anything if I could fit into either category.

I remember my dreams, but “dreams” is a misnomer; it’s the same dream every night. And it’s not even a dream of a series of events. It’s just a snapshot, a moment, a flash photo. But it’s a snapshot I can’t look away from, an eternal moment in which I experience indescribable horror. I can’t remember not having this dream. It’s been my companion my whole life.

I’m in some room I don’t recognize, and in the middle there’s a kind of hole or vortex, but it’s not a physical hole. And out of it is arising some horrific monstrosity. It doesn’t see me yet, but it’s about to turn its attention to me. And I know that when it perceives me, it will take me to hell with it to experience unbearable torment for eternity. It’s the moment before the demon sees me. And I’m filled with an absolute terror, the terror of someone who knows he is damned forever.

Every … single … night.

Ironically, as a teenager, I started getting very interested in the occult. You’d think my dream would have had an adverse affect on that, but, for whatever reason, I just never connected the two until much later (and when I did, it wasn’t in the way you’d expect). It certainly didn’t spark my interest. But as I grew older, I pursued my occultic activities more and more. By my early thirties, I was already one of the more advanced students in the craft.

By my late thirties, however, I noticed something disturbing about my dream. It wasn’t exactly the same. I remember as a child the demon was facing away from me — not that it had a face, but its attention was on the opposite side of the room from where I was standing. But now, it had turned. Its attention was on the side of the room to my right. It was still just a snapshot, but I could tell it was in the process of turning to face me and be aware of me, and I knew the moment it did what would happen.

I started thinking that my dream was a premonition. This was my destiny, my doom. Yet I didn’t have the power in me to move off of the path I was on, to avoid such a confrontation. It was almost as if the dream and my life had no connection. I was barely able to bring my dream to mind during my day-to-day activities. When I turned fifty, I realized the demon had almost completed the turn. Its attention was almost upon me.

But then my conception of the dream started changing. I had been thinking that my life was the reality and the dream was a foreshadow or a message from another time in my life. But the opposite was the case. The dream was the reality and my life was just a message. I don’t mean that my life was just a shadow of some deeper reality, although I suspect that’s true. I mean something even weirder.

You know how some people say that when you die your life flashes before your eyes? That’s what my life was. I was living, reliving, my life in the moment before the demon saw me. I was experiencing my life flashing before my eyes. The dream that I’d been having all my life wasn’t a dream. It was the present moment. I had been playing with religion and had summoned a demon that would take me to hell. And in my final moment, my life was replaying itself.

Except there was a difference. If you keep choosing to be angry, or hateful, you’ll eventually reach the point where you can no longer choose not to be angry or hateful. Slowly, as we live our lives, we are taking away our own freedoms, and eventually becoming the people we will be forever. I had spent nearly all my life making particular choices and selecting certain courses of action. I realize now that my choices were not just a turning towards the occult, but a running away from — I don’t even want to say the word — God. I had been rejecting him with every conscious thought for so long that I was no longer able to accept him. I had taken away my ability to choose him.

And yet, somehow, I realize now as I approach my doom, that I am being given the power to choose God. I don’t want to choose him. But I know that I can. I am being buoyed up so that the effects of a lifetime spent rejecting him no longer force me to continue to do so. I can choose. I can actually choose.

And a still, small voice inside me asks: What do you choose?

Credit To – Jim S.

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The Inventor

October 23, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“The Inventor”

“Thank you kindly, sir,” I said, handing the coachman a dull silver shilling. “No need to wait for me.”

I stepped out onto a cobblestone terrace amidst a garden of long-withered flowers that lead to the mansion. I began a brisk walk, marveling at the grand house. A wrought-iron fence surrounded the premises. My eyes followed the long spikes pointed toward the heavens that spread a few inches apart, easily keeping any criminal at bay.

I pulled my pocket watch from my lapel. Still broken. I hoped I was on time.

Carefully, I continued my way down the path slicked with ice. Exquisite light fixtures shone in the late winter dusk, giving off an eerie bluish tint that seemed to emanate from beyond the house. A light made up of crystallized beads hung from the porch. Two marble canine statues, teeth bared, guarded the front door, a massive wooden structure the color of oxblood.

The yard, once immaculate with lush, green grass chopped to perfection, now was overgrown with brown, crackling weeds, almost hidden by the fresh dusting of snow. A red hue of swooping curtains peeked through each window, giving the crimson interior the warm look of a womb.

I looked back at the iron gate that opened automatically when the carriage approached. The gate,
with bars of endless curly-cue designs splayed out in whimsical fury, was now closed. I shivered silently, wondering if I had made the right choice in coming here.

Just as I finished my trek to the porch, the door opened immediately.

“Hello. You must be David,” a woman said in a warm yet distant tone.

I stepped onto a black and white-tiled floor as the woman led the way quickly through the entryway.

Directly in front of the door, a silver-haired portrait painting of a man with a furrowed brow hung in an unsettling attempt to make visitors feel welcome. I tucked my hands into my pants pockets, toying with my penknife. Several steps later, a giant chandelier gave light to the otherwise dark entryway, the light sparkling through diamond-like droplets and intricate designs etched into a crystal base.

Another woman, who I figured was the maid because of her black dress and white apron, came
from around the corner in the foyer. I caught a whiff of something burning, and I looked around the hall for a fallen candle. The first woman whispered something in the maid’s ear, and the maid started following us just as the first woman spoke to me again.

“Do you always travel alone?”

“I try to. It’s been my habit ever since I’ve started this kind of work,” I answered, trying to keep up with the woman’s long-legged pace as she lead me through the house. “It’s hard enough as it is trying to patent these inventors’ wacky ideas let alone test them out. Most of these inventions never work they way they’re supposed to.”

“Well, this will work the way it’s supposed to, I’m sure. Jack is in real need for someone, like you, to sit in on his new project,” she explained, looking blankly past me and into another room adjacent to the foyer.

“Could you tell me something about his project?” I asked.

“He was inspired by an American with an obsession for electricity.”

“Edison?”

“No,” she answered, stopping in front of a door.

We stepped into the dimly lit room, and the woman gestured toward the settee.

“Have a seat,” she said, before handing me a folded slip of paper. Then she whispered something to the maid and left the room.

The expressionless maid, duster in hand, walked to the other end of the room, straightened a picture that hung on the wall, and left me alone to wait.

Feeling the softness of the velvet, I nestled into the cushions to make myself more comfortable. I
unfolded the piece of paper. This must be the name of the invention, I thought.

I couldn’t seem to take in all the spender of the room in one glance. My eyes scanned the room
swathed in flame flickers from a wall sconce. A dark bookshelf showcased gold detailed book bindings and a pair of fighting lions carved from stone on the mantel above a large fireplace. The fire crackled soothingly, and I watched as the glowing, sizzling embers cast shadows on the walls.

I was especially drawn to a painting of a dramatic storm over the ocean. I could almost hear the water crash against the rocks and see the lightening strike undeserving palm trees.
A sudden wave of heat came over me. I leaned back into the cushions and shoved my hands back into my pockets.

“I am ready to see you now,” a deep, masculine voice announced from behind me. Just before I turned around, I removed my hands from my pants pockets and noticed inky, black smears from my penknife on my right hand. I quickly wiped the ink on my white button-down shirt, secured the buttons on my overcoat to mask my carelessness, placed both feet firmly on the floor, and stood.

“Electric Chair,” I read again before stuffing the slip of paper in my pocket.

Credit To – Lindsey Cox

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Snap Man

October 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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Nightmares.

I never really understood them because I never had them. This is why when I did, I was surprised. It was like all of the horrors of reality seeped into my brain with no way of getting out.

At first, I didn’t even know they were nightmares. I would be watching a man from a third perspective. I never saw his face because he was always turned away from me but from what I did see, he was handsome. He had straight black hair, about 6’2’’ and looked fairly toned. He was always wearing a black suit with a red tie and it was nice and sunny outside. The birds were chirping and there was a slight breeze. I would see him walking on the sidewalk trying to hail down a cab. Every time one would stop for him, everything became silence and turned dark – then there was a snap. I don’t know why but whenever I hear that, it sent a shiver down my spine. It’s not like anything else happens, just a snap.

Now this was a recurring dream, happening about once or twice a week. Each dream was almost exactly the same. The only difference was that a different cab would pull up… and the snap would grow a little louder. A few weeks of continuously having this dream went by. I was in bed one night, thinking if I would have “the dream” again. The low hum of my fish tank kept me awake for a little while until I slowly drifted to sleep. The first thing I saw was the man. The dream carried out like usual. Almost. Everything played up perfectly but it seemed the man was walking towards me instead of away like he usually did. Despite the fact that he was facing my direction, I couldn’t actually see his face. There was an oddly placed shadow that surrounded it like a mask.

A yellow cab pulled up from the distance, he stepped inside and it got dark. There was silence. It was the sort of unnerving silence that you get right before something bad was going to happen. It was like the calm before a terrible storm. Nothing happened. I waited and waited but all I saw was darkness and all I could hear was empty silence. Some time went by until I finally heard the snap. Or was it? It sounded more like knocking… and it was getting more frequent. I woke up when the doorbell rang. Turning over to look at the time, it read 4:57. “What can someone possibly want at this time of night?” I asked to myself.

After quickly pulling on a pair of track pants and a t shirt, I cautiously headed down the stairs. There was a small stream of light flowing through the frosted window on the front door from a dim streetlamp outside. The light reflected onto the floor illuminating the hallway. After getting downstairs, I felt the coolness of the tiles under my bare feet. I got to the door but didn’t see anybody. Whoever it was must have left. I turned back around to go upstairs when something got my attention – I couldn’t see the top. It was as if someone put up a black blanket ending just above the last step. I shrugged it off assuming it was my grogginess getting the better me. However, I was wrong. Halfway up the stairs, I noticed I no longer making any progress. I would walk up one step, then the next, but never actually moved forward. It was as if the stairs expanded infinitely into nothingness. Then I heard the snap. I slowly turned around and saw the shadow of the handsome man in my dream. There was only one problem though…

His head was snapped upside-down. His eyes were just shells in a pitch black socket with a crimson liquid dripping from the bottom. He also razor sharp teeth, dripping with his saliva. I turned back around and began sprinting up the stairs, still without making progress. I heard him dragging his body up behind me which made me sprint harder. However, whatever blackness was at the top of the stairs prevented me from getting there. I heard him get closer and closer until I felt a tap on my back that sent me into a panic. Quickly spinning around, I was surprised to see nothing there. I must have been daydreaming. One thing caught my eye though. There was what looked like a note taped to the outside of the front door window. Recalling what just happened, I didn’t remember the note being there. Silently walking back down the stairs, I headed towards this note. I looked around to see if once again, anyone was there. Nothing.

I slowly reached for the handle which was ice cold when I touched it and unlocked the door. Now outside, I felt the cool fall breeze upon my unprotected arms. I grabbed the note from the door and looked at the paper. It was crumpled up and the writing looked like a 4 year old wrote it. “Look up” were the only two words scribbled on it. My face turned white. When I lifted my head up, the door slammed shut locking me outside. Rising up from the bottom of the door was the man in the suit. He looked exactly the way he did when I saw him on the stairs. Slowly lifting up his hand, he waved, taunting me. He then turned around and walked towards the stairs. Realizing what he was about to do, I screamed.

I don’t think I ever screamed that loud before. I screamed until my face turned red – but nothing. It was silent. All I could hear was the rustle of leaves that were scattered all over the ground. I tried to turn the handle – it was still locked. After slamming the note back on the door, I turned my back against it and began to sob. Whatever nightmare I was in, I wanted out. Then I heard it.

Snap.

Snap.

I tried for the door once again. This time, it opened with ease. After opening it, I felt everything get colder. That didn’t make sense though – it was much colder outside than it was inside. Pushing the thought out of my mind, I ran upstairs towards my parent’s room. When I reached it, the door was open. I knocked on it but got no response.

I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the bedroom. It was too dark to see anything and conveniently enough, the lights are right next to the bed. I walked towards the bed and saw the silhouette of two people in awkward positions lying on the bed. Both of them. Both my parents. How, how could he have done this to them. Their heads, barely visible in the darkness, were snapped upside-down. Their eyes were just shells in a pitch black socket. They both had razor sharp teeth, dripping with their saliva. All around the bed were dark stains. I knew what they were but I tried not to think about it. My dad made a small gurgling sound. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Darkness consumed me as I fell to the ground and passed out.

I woke up in bed. Looking around, I was relieved to see it was just a sick, twisted dream. It was 7:54. I put on my school clothes and headed downstairs to have some breakfast. While I sat down eating at the dimly lit table, I realized my parents weren’t up yet. I shrugged it off remembering that they both worked late last night. After breakfast, I got all my books and headed down the hall. While walking, I noticed something up ahead that made me stop dead in my tracks.

There was a crumpled note, taped to the outside of the door.

Credit To – ItzaMeLuigi

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Iquarus

October 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I don’t know how to start my story but I guess I’ll begin with the basic information and work my way down.

I used to be a computer junkie, so I tended to spend a lot of time surfing the web… reading blogs, articles… Facebook… the whole nine yards.
But my main focus was gaming. I loved to game. World of War Craft. League of Legends… Diablo III. ESO. I could go on. I’d spend most of my time playing games when I wasn’t at work, which was just contracting work that my dad helped me find to get me out of the house. I always caught myself wondering if I’d ever break out of my borderline lethal addiction to do something with my life that actually mattered to other people, mostly because I just wanted everyone to piss off and mind their own business. My sister would say “I don’t understand how you can spend so much time on something with no actual rewarding outcome besides a couple of measly points and theoretical money.” I didn’t let that bother me though.

It was more than that. I like the graphic satisfaction of being something I’m not. Having ultimate power over actual people who are just disguised as creatures, but who are trying just as hard as I am and not getting anywhere near as close to my greatness. It was real to me. And I loved every minute of it.

I never thought that one day I would throw my computer away. And not just throw it away. Throw it so hard into the dumpster, it shattered, sparked, and caused it to catch fire. Just thinking about it brings me anxiety. I trust right now my once very expensive, custom designed computer is sitting somewhere, destroyed in a landfill collecting trash scum. Good.

A few months back, I upgraded my system. I had just downloaded a new MMORPG game and I had to buy an entirely separate processor because I had modified my game so much (plus I have multiple games on my system). I’ll admit right here and now: I had done some dark things to get my computer to where it was then. Nothing evil or inhumane. Just illegal. Okay?

Normally having several games will slow your game system down dramatically but I wasn’t having that. I had spent all my hard earned money modifying my system so I could continue to rein power over all the n00bs and wanna-bes. I was king. I was to have the best system. Slow wasn’t an option. I named my system “Iquarus” because it was my favorite name. It was an older name, and it was ironic to have a modern system with an old name. It was always in my username too for my games. Granted I almost never got just “Iquarus” for my username so it was usually like “Iquarus32049812” or “IquarusKingOfLands” or something like that.

My best friend Joel and I played together all the time. We were both ranked up pretty high, and were competing for a chance to play for actual money in a tournament. And a lot of money too. So naturally, we spent so much playing that eventually people began to worry about us. We were obsessed. Hooked. The computer was our drug. Thank God we weren’t using anything stronger than coffee.

One day I was in the middle of a battle I had been going at for about an hour and a half. I was doing so well, I almost had it beat, when a black spot appeared on the screen. It was like a giant pixel that decided to block the way of my health and points. At first I assumed it was a little glitch. But it wouldn’t go away. I swore heavily at the spot, ignoring it best I could until eventually I lost the battle because it was in the way of site. I heard Joel swearing too. He was on my team, and we’d just lost an important battle that could place us in the finals. “The fuck happened, dude?” He asked with a pissed off tone.
“God damn glitch. I have to get Iquarus looked at.”

I called Geek Squad and had them take a look at Iquarus. “Well,” the tech said, “your system is overheating. When’s the last time you turned it off?”
I looked away with slight shame. “Well… probably 2 or 3 weeks.”
The guy laughed. “Gotta give her a rest kid. You could ruin this beautiful thing if you don’t turn it off once in a while.” He was right. He said sometimes the screen can get damaged if overheating occurs but it should go away in time.

The next day I turned the computer back on. The spot was still there. I felt myself get angry. That geek better be right…. I thought, I paid him $100 to give her a good look.

But the spot never vanished. It stayed there. In fact, the following day, it seemed to get bigger. Only by a few millimeters, but it was noticeable. Fuck it, I thought, and logged into my game. I wasn’t about to let a little pixel ruin my chances of winning a couple thousand bucks.

When I was on team speak, Joel gave a huge sigh. “Dude… we’re never going to make it into the finals. We might as well give it up.” I was offended by his tone. The only reason we’d lost was because of me and this stupid fucking spot. I wanted to win some money for being the best god damn game king to exist. “No,” I said angrily, “we’re going to win this thing. Come on, man.”
We began battle. We were kicking ass. We almost had the fuckers beat again. Then the spot began to flicker. But not like you’re probably thinking. The best way to describe this flicker is a slow every 3 seconds flicker… then once a second… then once a minute. Then switching between dark red…black…white…then almost like a blinding, glowing red.

I thought I was going to lose my mind. My brain was flooded with hate thoughts towards the computer company. That’s when I heard Joel say “Fucking mother fucking screen is messed up!” I guess Joel was experiencing some screen trouble too.
“Your screen’s got issues too, man?” I asked suddenly, glad I was no longer the reason of failure. “You Failed!” Appeared on the screen and I overheard glass break on Joel’s end. My guess was he’d thrown some kind of cup or bowl in a burst rage. I turned away from the computer and put my hands through my hair. Damn it was greasy. It must have been at least a week since I’d showered.

“Fuck this game, dude. My computer can’t handle the graphics and the pace of the programing is just too much.” He said, sounding like he was moments from going mad. “Let’s try a different game.” I grunted in approval then turned and looked at the screen. I leaned in closer because I wasn’t sure if I was seeing it correctly but sure enough I was. The spot had multiplied. Like chicken pox or poison ivy. It was spreading. I decided to ignore it, hoping it was some temporary glitching. I removed some other software games in hopes this would stop.

For the next few days I switched to another game and played with Joel a few hours a day. But Joel was slowly starting to distance himself from the computer. Since we lived a few towns away from each other, it was our only contact until school started up again. So naturally I was missing his presence in the games we played together. I called him one night after shutting Iquarus off and noticed his voice was dreary.
“I can’t sleep dude…” he said with a troubling tone, “I wanted to win that game. It’s haunting me. I can’t get over it.” I sighed.
“I wish the game wasn’t so lame that it was messing with my computer.” Joel stopped breathing.

“The game messed with Iquarus? Are you sure? Isn’t Iquarus like… top of the line hardware? Even…sort of illegally?” I laughed. “Yeah. But sometimes computers just can’t handle everything no matter how fancy or expensive they are.” Joel laughed. “Okay.”

Joel decided to take a bus over to my place the following weekend. He was obsessed with finding a way to play the game and wanted to figure out why my computer specifically was rejecting it. He couldn’t seem to believe that my computer would reject it.

I was worried about him though. Something wasn’t right with him. He’d claimed to be having dreams about being in the game and killing everyone gruesomely in his path so he could just win. His face was pale. His eyes were dilated. He smelled pretty bad. He wasn’t doing well. I was glad he’d decided to come over so we could spend real time together instead of obsess over this stupid game.

I’d mentioned that I hadn’t turned Iquarus on for a few days. He was thrilled about this. He begged me to turn it on since maybe that would make all the difference and maybe we could even get it up and running again. This made his eyes brighten and his face regain some color. I didn’t want to do this but if it would cheer him up, I was more than happy to give it a whirl.
When Iquarus turned on, though, the both of us had the same blood draining reaction to the computer screen. The spots had multiplied into a bizarre shape. It looked like some sort of evil pagan look a-like symbol. It gave me the chills, because the last time I’d seen it, it was only a few dots. Now it almost entirely covered the bottom half of the screen and was too obscure to shake off as a glitch. “The fuck…” I said trying to click around. When I clicked, the computer made an awful, pitchy noise but also sounded like when something electronic is malfunctioning… low pitched and almost like a whine.

My stomach turned so badly I took my hand off the mouse. The moment that sound started, Joel jumped up and fell backwards over his chair. He began to hyper ventilate and sweat profusely. I looked over at him in shock and stood up as well. “Wow…Joel are you okay?” He shook his head and I could see tears in his eyes. “Not you too… not you too…” he said over and over. I stared blankly at him for a moment and started to reach out for him but he stood up and ran out the door. “Joel wait!” I called after him but he didn’t respond. I scampered over to the window and watched him race off towards the bus stop.

When he stopped to wait for the bus, I saw him talking to himself. Occasionally he slapped his head a few times and shook while looking around suspiciously as if there were people watching him. I don’t know if it was Iquarus that had scared him but something suddenly drove him mad. I stood there for a moment and zoned out from the bizarre nature of what I had just witnessed. I wondered if I should call his dad or if maybe he was just having an episode. It was very bizarre and quite disturbing to witness.

I had begun to forget about Iquarus until she started making that terrible sound again. And it wouldn’t stop. It was continuing without reason. I tried to turn the computer off but it didn’t seem to want to shut up. In fact, trying to turn her off made the sound even worse. I even pulled the plug out but it wouldn’t stop. My dad came into the room and asked me if I was smoking cigarettes in my room again. (I had once made the smoke detector make a similar, less creepy sound by trying to unplug it when I was going through my pack-a-day phase my freshman year of high school).
I showed him the computer and he said the sound would probably die after some time, like the smoke detector. So I threw a blanket over Iquarus, put on some sound blocking head phones and fell asleep. Before falling asleep, I had texted Joel, telling him to call me when he had a chance, and that I hoped he was all right.
I woke early morning to a red glow from Iquarus. At first I thought I was dreaming until the sound was faintly resonating throughout the room. The symbol was slowly pixelating from black to red and it was flashing. It could see the shape perfectly from beneath the blanket. It was beginning to really freak me out. I pulled my blankets over my head and tried to think of something else. But I couldn’t fall asleep. It was terrifying.

Not even an hour later, I received a phone call. It was my dad, who was an EMT for the county.

“Hey sport,” he said, there was a really dim tone in his voice, “did I wake you?”

I got out of bed, shielding my eyes from the red glow, and walked out of the room downstairs to grab some milk from the fridge. “No. No I’m awake. What’s going on dad?”

He sighed heavily and cleared his throat. “I received a call this morning… to 55 Lake Drive…” At first I didn’t recognize the address.
“I didn’t realize where I was headed till I got there. It’s Joel’s house.” My stomach turned a knot. I almost hung up on him because I knew what was coming next. “We think… Joel committed suicide..” I dropped the phone and thought maybe I was going to pass out. I had just seen him. Not 24 hours ago. I heard my dad’s voice shouting so I quickly picked it back up. I’ll admit.. I’m a guy, and I have some pride. But I couldn’t refrain from the tears and shouting. “You’re out of your fucking mind, dad! Joel was a happy kid, he’d never do that! He’d never do that!” saliva and mucus drained from my nose and mouth. “I’m sorry kiddo. He was a good kid.” I hung up the phone and sat at the kitchen table for a long time. Crying. Thinking. Wondering. How could he do that? How could he kill himself? He couldn’t have. Then I wondered how he’d done it. When? He would have told me things. We were close. Best friends since first grade. The fuck Joel?

Dad didn’t come home for a few hours. I was still sitting at the table when he walked through the door. My face was swollen with misery. Joel was my only best friend. I had other friends but none like Joel. He was cool. We had so much in common. Dad sat down at the table and looked at me. “I kow you’re probably taking this harder than ever…but… there’s an investigation going. The sheriff is on his way over to speak with you,” he said sternly. I felt myself make a confused gesture with my eyebrows. “The sheriff? Thought it was a suicide?” I said shakily. “Well… they think there could be some other factors that you personally may know about.” I angrily put my hands in the air. “Like fucking what?!” I shouted, assuming they thought maybe I had something to do with it directly. My dad slammed his hand down on the table.

“You listen to me,” he said, eyes so solidly gazing into mine, it made the hairs on my neck stand up, “You just better calm your ass down. I know this is hard. I know. I saw the poor kid’s dead body, you hear? Now when the police are involved, it don’t matter what they’re trying to get outta you, you tell them everything you know, you understand?” I stared blankly at him and looked away. “Yes, Sir.”

Around 12 the police arrived at my house. The Sheriff made quite the entrance, if you know what I mean. Smacking on a piece of gum, keys jangling with every step his clunky boots made. Mustache right out of a Dirty Harry film. He tilted his sun glasses down and nodded his head towards me. “You must be Damon.” I nervously nodded and put my hands together. “Yes, Sir.” He whipped out a file from seemingly nowhere and sat down across the table from me. He opened the file and removed his glasses.
“You were close to Joel, yes?” He asked. I nodded. “He was my best friend.” He grunted.

“When is the last time you saw him?” I looked right at him and leaned forward. “Yesterday, Sir.” He gave me a questionable look. He was going to try to intimidate me, and it was insulting. I tilted my head to the side. I knew he was going to drag this out and quite frankly, I was in no mood to be fucked around with. “You gunna cut to the chase or we gunna pussy foot around all day?” I said with a cold tone, waiting for the interrogation to begin.

“Damon, you watch your fuckin tone young man-“ Dad began but the Sheriff silenced him with a gesture of his hand.
“It’s alright, Dan, if he wants to be treated like an adult, I’ll respect that.” He said tossing a series of photos onto the table. “Your friend brutally murdered himself in his bedroom at what we believe to be around two in the am.” My heart almost stopped at the sight of the photos. Red. Bloody. Terrible. Horrifying.

The Sheriff stabbed a fat finger onto the one of Joel’s bloody face. “He stabbed himself in the eyes, the ears, and finally, the throat. He bled out within the hour.” He said with a strong southern accent. “We understand he was having some anxiety towards his obsessive computer use. Know anything about that?” I held back my tears as long as my manhood would let me, but it was only so long before the lump in my throat became so painful my voice was unbearable.
“He was upset about not being able to win a tournament. But I didn’t know how obsessed he was. Not to this extent.” My tears couldn’t be held back. I felt them fall and then winced when I realized they had fallen onto one of the photos. I looked down at the photo and felt my face go white when I realized I was staring at the same evil black pattern that my computer had displayed this morning. “You done look like you seen a ghost young man, that photo mean anything to you?” I picked it up and stared at the blood spattered computer. The pattern was the same. Half red. Resembling an evil, demonic spiraled symbol of some kind.
“Was there a sound?” I said staring at the photo. The Sheriff uneasily snagged the photo from me. “What do you know of the sound?” My dad and I stared at each other for a moment then parted gazes. I turned to the Sheriff and tried to make logical sense of this. I lied and told them Joel had mentioned it to me. I told them I was convinced it was some sort of potentially untraceable hacker, and that Joel was just obsessed with his game that perhaps he was slowly developing a mental illness. So when the virus spread into the only thing that was making his life worth living to him, he lost his mind.

I’ll never forget that night Joel came over and saw the same image on my screen. I wanted to mention it but instead, I kept it to myself.
Dad suggested I get rid of Iquarus. So I did. I threw her in the dumpster and watched her catch fire, slowly burning in her evil aura from hell. With a sound so awful you’ll want to go deaf. A sight so horrible you’ll want to go blind. A presence so dark, who knows what you’ll do with yourself.
I couldn’t bring myself to post this online, I’m too afraid I will attract whatever it was again, so I forwarded this to a friend to repost. I will end by saying this: Demon. Hacker. Virus. Whatever it was. It may still be out there. Please be careful. Rest in Peace Joel.
-Damon

Credit To – Damon

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