Orange Three

April 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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ORANGE THREE

_________________
PART ONE

The red fabric seats held nothing but dust. That made him uneasy. He didn’t know what to expect, but he did expect someone. The letter told him the exam would be held the following day, at the old theater, and that he should take a seat in the main auditorium. It also told him he would be safe, but little else. A voice through speakers was the only entity welcoming him. “Please sit,” it said. “Where?” he asked, but there was no reply, so he just strolled down the aisle and stopped more or less in the middle. He had never been at the old theater before, not even when it was a new theater, with different plays opening every month, and long lines of people curving the corners for tickets.
“Can we raise the curtain?” the voice asked. He wanted to say yes, but only a shriek came from his throat. He felt nervous. The voice insisted. “You can, yes,” he finally coughed out.
A faint orange glow framed the stage curtain from behind, an old piece of cloth ripped at places and stained all over. It rose slowly, and as it did the man grew increasingly agitated and confused.
“What do you see?” the voice asked.
“What is this?”
“You must tell us what you see.”
“I see four children. They are sitting in wooden chairs, looking at me.”
“What are their names?”
“I,” he began, but then he paused for a moment. “I don’t know these children.”
“Describe them.”
The man moved inside his seat with discomfort. The tie was too tight, the bloody red tie he didn’t want to bring anyway. He gave it a pull to loosen it up a bit. “They wear old clothes,” he said. “Well, not old, but antique. They are very still.”
“Describe each one.”
“Why are they so still?”
“Describe each one, please.”
“I don’t understand,” he began. “There are two boys and two girls, but the two boys are the same, and the two girls are the same also. They don’t look the same, they are the same. Not like twins, more like copies.”
“Go on.”
“The boys are brown eyed and brown haired. They wear leather boots under cotton trousers, and white shirts with red suspenders.”
“Go on.”
“The girls wear a floral themed cotton dress, white sandals, and green ribbons on their heads. The hair is lighter than the boys’, but they have much darker eyes.”
“Can you tell us their names now?”
“This is odd, but yes. I know their names now. Martin and Anna. How do I know their names?”
“You told us there were four children, but only gave us two names.”
“I told you they were copies of each other. Two boys called Martin. Two girls called Anna. Their eyes are open, but –” and he stopped.
“Yes?”
One hand started to swing his tie from side to side, while the other was clamping so hard on itself the nails started to pierce the skin.
“Yes?” the voice insisted.
“They are not alive,” he finally said. “They are not dead either. They have never been alive.” He shivered and felt an urgent need to close his eyes. Once he did, he surprisingly thought of her, always angry at him, always telling him he’s always breaking things. Truth be told, he did brake her, and when he did it was serious.
The voice pulled him out of his thoughts. “You cannot keep your eyes closed. Please, tell us what you see.”
The man gave a better look. “They are not children,” he said. “They look like children, they look exactly like children, but they’re not. They are mechanical. I know it. I know they are mechanical.”
“What do you mean?”
“They are made of cogs inside. I can see them.”
“Are the children transparent?”
“No, but I can see the cogs somehow.”
“You mean you can sense them?”
“No, not sense them. I can see the cogs. It’s hard to explain. And they are moving. I mean, these children things are still, they are very still, but the cogs inside are moving.”
“But the children are completely still?”
“Completely. It upsets me.”
“Do you wish them to move?”
“No.”
“Why?”
“I think I’m afraid.”
“Of what are you afraid?”
“I’m afraid of what will happen when they start moving.”
“You fear they may attack you?”
“I’ve been told I would be safe.”
“What are you afraid of, then?”
“I don’t know. I’m just afraid. I shouldn’t be, but I am. That is all.” He was trying to keep a calm voice, but it was hard. “Martin,” he said.
“What about him?” the voice asked.
“He is raising one arm. Now the second Martin is doing the same.”
“Are you afraid now?”
His hands were spiking his legs. His skin starting to soak. His eyes as open as moon craters. “I’m safe. I’ve been told I would be safe. I shouldn’t be afraid. I’m not afraid,” but he closed his eyes nonetheless, and she was once again on his mind.
“You’re safe,” he told her.
“You’re drunk,” she said. “You’re an idiot and you’re drunk.” Always such a bloody prudence goddess, he thought.
“They were just a couple of beers. I can drive. I can keep you safe,” only he didn’t. They crashed. Her right arm broke in three different places and she had a concussion. He was by her side the whole time she was at the hospital, but they didn’t speak, they didn’t look at each other, six full days mutually ignoring one another. One day he accidentally touched her hand while going for the remote, but the hand quickly slid away from him, and her whole body closed upon itself with a shiver.
“You have to open your eyes,” the voice said. “You have to keep telling us what you see.”
He obeyed. “The children,” he said.
“What about them?”
“They don’t look like children any more. No, I was mistaken. They never looked like children. They are – “
“Yes?”
“They are a spider, a mechanical and enormous spider. And the cogs inside, they were never cogs. They were small spiders, black ones, moving inside the big spider.”
His panting made his voice come out as thin as a strand of web. His eyes were jumping out of his skull, while his body was trying to bury itself inside the seat.
“The spider is all over me. It is so big, so bloody big. It is trying to touch me. And the sound it makes –”
“Don’t you see the children any more?”
“You don’t understand. The children are the spider.”
“You mean the four children compose the different parts of the spider?”
“And the sound it makes! Oh! The sound it makes!” He was holding both hands at his hears, fighting not to close his eyes again. “The sound comes from the mouths of the children. They scream like they are dying. This is their dying scream. Make it stop! Please make it stop! ”
“How can they be dying if you told us they were not alive?”
“I don’t know, I swear I don’t. I don’t want to look any more. Please don’t make me look any more.”
“You have to.” He was trying to obey, fighting to keep his eyelids from shutting down, but they were so heavy, so bloody heavy, that the theater vanished once more behind them, and now she was eating soup at his side. She held the spoon with her left hand, since her right arm was wrapped in cast. The letter was beside the bowl.
“It came today. I need to take the exam tomorrow,” he said.
She ignored him. He knew what it meant. It meant she couldn’t care less, but it also meant she thought he would fail. He tried to remember the last time they exchanged something other than hatred, but that only made him angry. He also tried to remember the last time he didn’t fail at something, but that only made him angrier.
“It is mandatory to take the exam once you’re called,” he said. “I don’t know of anyone who has taken the exam. My sister’s cousin had a friend. I think she took it. I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll pass.”
“The exam is tomorrow,” she said.
“That’s what I said.”
“This soup is terrible,” was the only thing she answered.
“You must keep telling us what you see,” the voice urged.
The sound of the children had faded to a low hum. He opened his eyes. On stage he no longer saw the children and the spider. He saw something else.
“What is the meaning of this? I see –”
“Yes?”
“I see my wife. Why is my wife here?”
“Describe her to us.”
“What are you doing here?” he shouted.
The voice on the speakers grew impatient. “Please, describe her to us.”
“I don’t understand. Why is she part of the exam?”
There was no reply. The man sprang to his feet and walked down the auditorium. “She’s wearing her green dress. I hate that dress, and her hair, her hair is a mess,” he said, while jumping onto the stage. “Why are you here?” he asked, but then he paused, gazed, shivered. “It is not her,” he finally realized.
“Who is it, then?”
“It is not even a woman. It is a mechanical thing that looks like her, made of small, mechanical spiders. And each spider is made of those four children, only now they are as small as ants, as small as ant legs. No, smaller than that.”
“Continue.”
“The spiders form a mass, and the mass looks like her. It’s a trick. I can see it now.”
“You think this is a trick?”
He started to laugh. He laughed so hard he had to hold his bladder in.
“I can prove it,” he said, still laughing, and then he reached for her.
“Describe us what you are doing.”
“See? I’ve ripped her left eye out, but it is not an eye, it is a spider. See? I’m throwing the spider at the floor and I’m crushing it.”
“Continue.”
“I’m taking out all the spiders, one by one. I’m dismantling her. Not breaking her. Dismantling her. Do you see?”
“Continue.”
“The spiders crack under my boot. I’m dismantling her and breaking the spiders. I’m not afraid. Not anymore.”
“Continue.”
“And the children, the mechanical children? And the low hum they’re making?”
“Continue.”
“The hum stops as soon as I fall on them with my shoe.”
The voice did not reply.
“It wasn’t my wife. It was never my wife. All around me nothing but crushed mechanical spiders, crushed mechanical children.”
The voice did not reply.
“You saw what I did?”
The voice did not reply.
“Did you see it?”
The voice did not reply.
“Did you see it?” He was not laughing any more. “You did, didn’t you?”
A loud crack reverberated in the room, and all the lights died.
_________________
PART TWO

He never thought of himself as a sunset person. Some people find them spectacular events. He didn’t. He felt that orange light always rendered everything a bit wrong, but at that particular moment, he finally realized, it was the sunset in itself that felt wrong.
When the lights went out inside the theater, he knew the exam was over. The letter told him where and when he had to be to begin, but it said nothing of what he should do after finishing it. He waited a while for instructions, but after a few minutes he came to the conclusion there wouldn’t be any. He was in the dark, but not afraid, not any more. He waved his hands around, searching the floor as a blind man, but he found nothing, no children, no spiders, no wife. So he just started to feel his way out of the auditorium. He touched a door. Then another. Then another. A final door opened outside, and he saw the sunset behind the rooftops. It didn’t feel wrong. Not then.
He took a deep breath and tried to recall what happened. “What did I do?” First it was pure doubt, then it was pure terror. “They made me do something, didn’t they?” He knew it had been a trick, but it turned out to be a different kind of trick from what he thought. “Did I kill her?” It was the moment to be afraid, he thought, so he put his feet into a panicking motion and headed home.
When he arrived at his doorstep, all out of breath, he felt that something had been wrong the entire journey. First he thought of the people, or their absence, to be precise. He didn’t see one single person the whole way. Such was odd, but that was not it. Then he looked at the trees and the vivid green of the leaves. It was not November green, and it was November. Such was odd too, but that was not it. He then checked his clock. Still little past three in that orange afternoon.
That was it.
What he felt as wrong the whole way was the sunset. There are no sunsets at three in the afternoon, not where he lives anyway. That was wrong, that was definitely wrong. Even so, he took his keys, opened the front door and went inside, not sure of what he expected, not sure of what he wanted.
She was at the study, holding two books in her hands and looking up at a high shelf. He was so quiet going in it spooked her. “Oh, it’s you,” she said. “You pushed me this close to a heart attack, silly thing.” She surprised him with a kiss, and went back to shelving the books. “How was the exam?”
“It was good, I think,” he said, while his fingers touched his lips.
“Did you pass?”
He had not thought of that until that moment. Truth be told, he didn’t know. He didn’t know what kind of exam that was, if it was the kind where you pass or fail, or where you find out something about yourself. He knew nothing, nothing at all, and so he lied. “Yes. Yes I did.”
“That is very good,” she praised. “We should celebrate. You know what we could do? You could cook that lasagna of yours, and I’ll open the bottle of Douro.”
“It sounds good. Yes, it sounds wonderful.” He was then surprised by her arm, and how it was all clean and free of cast. “How is your arm?”
“It’s fine, silly thing. Just fine.” Then she laughed. He had forgotten all about that laugh. He had forgotten all about the high pitch that started it, the throat tremble which followed, and the deep chest finale. He had forgotten all about that laugh. “Don’t just stand there. Go cook.”
Such loveliness was intoxicating. He was twenty one all over again. When she walked away, he didn’t walk after, he floated. That’s how it felt anyway. He floated into the kitchen, he floated while he cooked, then he floated out of the kitchen, carrying forks and knives and plates and glasses, and he was floating when he saw it, framed inside his own house, on top of his own sideboard, two photographs, one of a boy, one of a girl, Martin, Anna.
When her wife heard the sound of braking porcelain in the dining room, she rushed to see what happened. “You are always breaking things,” she said, but she was not angry, not at all. She was smiling, she was smiling a midday sun bright smile. “Would you kiss me?” he asked suddenly. Her smile toned down. It was no longer a midday sun bright smile, it was a sunset smile, but it didn’t feel wrong. She held his head gently and gently she kissed him. First she just touched his lips with her own, then she opened them and slid her tongue inside, then she devoured his breath, his body, his soul. He had forgotten all about that kiss. When she stopped, he looked deep into her eyes, and that’s when he saw the spiders moving inside her pupils.
“The lasagna is ready” he said, “but we’ll need other dishes.”
She laughed again. “Well, I can see that. Go get them. I’ll open the bottle.”
The whole meal he stared at her, drawing a fake smile every time she raised her eyes at him. Her eyes infested with spiders. The smiles she gave him, however, didn’t feel fake. They felt as pure as she had ever given him. They ate without a word. They washed the dishes without a word. They took a shower together without a word. They fucked without a word. They fell asleep without a word.
He woke up two hours later and looked outside. It was still sunset. She was deeply asleep, wearing that beautiful sleep expression of hers. He had forgotten all about that expression. “It is not her,” he told himself. He felt thirsty and headed for the kitchen, but first he stopped at the dining room and looked at the framed photographs. Martin and Anna were gone. They had been replaced by photographs of him and his wife. “They must suspect I know,” he realized, “and they are trying to confuse me, to put me off track.”
The kitchen still smelled of béchamel and red wine. “I’m so bloody thirsty.” He filled a glass of water and drank it. He filled a second glass of water and drank it. He took a deep, satisfied breath and went back to his room, calmly holding a kitchen knife in his right hand.
The room had an orange hue. Sunsets always render everything a bit wrong, he thought. Outside the window he saw no one. He sat at his bed, next to her. With his left hand he caressed her cheeks and felt her hair, with his right hand he held the kitchen knife on top of his thigh. She opened her eyes briefly and smiled.
“Everything fine, silly thing?”
“Everything perfect. Everything just perfect.”
And she went back to sleep.

_________________
PART THREE

“This is a cast saw,” the doctor said. “It is specially made to cut through the cast without harming the skin, but tell me if you feel any pain, any pain at all.” She nodded and the saw started to vibrate. She looked away.
The wall had a reproduction of a painting by J. M. W. Turner. Nothing but orange paint, she thought. She closed her eyes and thought of the sky and of how it was nothing but orange too when he told her she was safe. She told him he was drunk. He wasn’t, not really, but he had been an idiot that whole afternoon and she wanted to insult him, to be angry with him, to hurt him. They were always at each other’s throats for the last two years. They were at each other’s throats when the curve came and the setting sun lightened the wind shield up like it was Nagasaki.
“All done,” the doctor said.
She opened her eyes.
“How are you doing?” he asked.
She didn’t answer. She was staring at the Turner reproduction. Eighteen thirty to thirty five. Tate Britain.
“Feeling any headaches? Nausea?”
She shook her head.
“How about difficulties sleeping?”
“Difficulties sleeping?”
“Yes.”
“Of course I have difficulties sleeping.”
“I understand. Do you want to take something?”
She stood up and reached for the Turner print. There was no texture. Sunsets have textures and sounds and tastes, she thought. They did now, at least.
“Something? Like what?”
“Something to help you sleep better.”
“I don’t want to sleep better,” she said, and she closed her eyes again.
Blue lights were flashing all around. “We’ll take you out of there, lady,” someone told her. She remembered the flash light at her eyes, the cervical collar, the loud sound of the siren as they drove her to the hospital, the questions, “Do you know your name? Do you know where you are? Do you know what day is it today?”
“Anna, my name is Anna.”
“Anna,” the doctor called, “you don’t need to go through this like that.”
“Like what?”
“It was not your fault.”
“I didn’t say it was. Is it all? Can I go?”
On her way out she saw the room where she thought he moved his hand to touch hers. He was going to be fine, we wasn’t going to die or anything like that. No yet. “We’re optimistic,” they said. “We need to do this head exam to know exactly what to do next,” they said.
Anna tried to remember him before the accident. She could remember things she did with him, but she couldn’t remember him. She tried to recall the first time they had sex. He cooked lasagna. It was an awful lasagna. The béchamel was too thick and the meat as salty as the dead sea, but she lied and ate it with a smile. She remembered the wine and the taste of the wine, but not the taste of his mouth, she remembered what they did in bed like items on a list, but not what it felt like, and she knew by heart all they talked about afterwards, but she couldn’t remember his voice. The voice was what hurt the most. Anna left the hospital and took a bus home.
When she arrived at her doorstep, the sun was setting over the rooftops. The keys were in hand, but she showed no intention of opening the door. She just stood there. She stood there for a few minutes, then a few minutes longer. The sharp January air sliced through her clothes, but she didn’t seem to notice. She was listening to the doctors, she was listening their words from November. “We’re optimistic,” they said. “He will probably make it,” they said. But then something happened during the exam. It was little past three in the afternoon. “He had a seizure. We don’t know why. His vitals went down so fast.”
The front door opened. “How long have you been here? You’re ice cold. Get in.” Anna went inside. “You’re freezing, dear. I’ll fix you up with something hot.” Anna’s mother-in-law moved slow and heavily. She brought her a cup of tea, a blanket and ordered her to rest in the sofa. “What were you doing out there?” Anna didn’t answer. “What did the doctor say about your arm?” Anna didn’t answer. “Well, suit yourself,” she said as she left the living room.
Anna got up and went after her. “I’ll cook tonight,” she said. “I’ll make lasagna.”
“Are you sure? Can you use your arm?”
Anna nodded.
“Well, I guess that is quite all right, then.”
Before starting to cook, Anna went to her room. It was already dark outside, but she didn’t turn the lights on. She didn’t want to look at him. “He’s in a stable vegetative state,” they explained. “He won’t be able to move or interact. Sometimes he may have his eyes open, but he doesn’t see or hear. His brain is disconnected from his senses. Do you understand this?”
Anna said nothing.
“You also need to understand he doesn’t need a machine to live, so he must go home.”
“Is he still in there?” she asked.
“Some part of him, maybe, but nobody can say. How are you feeling?”
Anna said nothing.
“Do you understand what this means, Anna?”
“I’ll take him home. I’ll feed him through a tube. I’ll change his diapers and keep him clean,” she said. And she took him home, and she fed him, and she kept him clean.
Anna and her mother-in-law ate the lasagna in silence. They were quietly drinking cheap red wine when her mother-in-law said, “You need to be strong, Anna. We need to be strong. For Martin.”
“That is not Martin,” Anna replied. She thought that when that sentence were to finally come out, it would be shouted out, each word a heavy stone, each word relentlessly violent, each word the whole message. That. Is. Not. Martin. That’s why a smile almost grew on her face when she heard how softly she was saying it, like a sweet secret whispered between lovers in one single breath. Thatisnotmartin. Her mother-in-law, on the other hand, threw her reply as furiously as she could. “That is Martin. That is my son, your husband.” Anna said nothing.
The rest of the evening they didn’t speak. The table was cleared in silence. The kitchen cleaned in silence. In silence, the mother went to check on her son, then retired to the guest room and turned the TV on. Anna knew it would stay on until morning. It helped her mother-in-law sleep.
Anna smoked in the kitchen while looking outside. The night is dark and heavy and filled with silence, she thought. I am the night, she thought. After taking a shower she went to her room. Martin had his eyes open. That scared her. That always scared her. She closed them gently and noticed his lips were dry, so she gave him water with a small sponge before trying to get some sleep. One hour later she was still awake, and her own mouth was dry.
The kitchen still smelled of béchamel and red wine. Anna drank a glass of water, then she lit up a cigarette, then she drank another glass of water, and then she lit up another cigarette. This last one she didn’t smoke, she just let it burn away in the ashtray. She repeated this until the pack got empty and the sun started to rise. A sunrise is just a sunset in the opposite direction, she thought. That’s when she decided to go back to her room, calmly holding a kitchen knife in her right hand.

Credit To – Rohnes Loraf

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A Childhood Dream Destroyed

April 1, 2014 at 5:00 PM
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A Childhood Dream Destroyed

There is no God. There is no Heaven. There is no Hell. There is only this fucking Dorito disguised as a GODDAMN Greasy lookin chicken nugget from McDonald’s Hell, where it was banished for all entirety. What the fuck is this? Who would do this? What has this world come to? Thanks Obama.

Ever since I was a little boy all I ever wanted, was to buy my own bag of Doritos. My mom would never let me eat them. Oh how I longed for my own bag of Doritos. I would sometimes imagine the smell of opening the bag, that sweet, sweet smell invading my nostrils, SMELLIN like a fresh home cooked ham in December. How I forever wanted to slowly lick my fingers off and taste the dust and shit that gets left over from them after you hold it. My mouth would be in heaven after I crunched down on them, chewed, laughed and cried as I devoured them. But that all would change tonight. I walked into cvs with much, so much anticipation, it would finally happen, I would finally buy my own bag of Doritos. I finally made my way to the chip aisle and grabbed the first Doritos bag I found. I payed for them quickly and got the fuck out.

My mind, body, soul were all ready and prepared for this moment. It was 19 years in the making, it was everything I’ve ever dreamed for. As I took a deep breath and opened the bag, I couldn’t hold myself from letting out a little scream of joy as I knew this was it, the moment that I had waited a lifetime for. The nightmare of never eating doritos was at a end. Eating this beautiful bag of chips would be my escape from madness. My life long dream would come true. As I ate the first small Dorito, a small, single, wet tear fell down my rugged face. At the moment I was in heaven, just like John Coffee at the end of the green mile when he was in the execution chair crying. This was nirvana, pure harmony at its finest. I felt like Luke Skywalker after he destroyed the deathstar and so carefree and light like Miley Cryus on the wrecking ball.

As I reached into the bag, I felt something round and large. At first I thought I hit the FUCKIN JACKPOT and it was a huge one, the kind of dorito that comes around once in a 1000 years like a Lebron James in the NBA or a Wayne Gretzky in the NHL. But as I slowly and carefully pulled it out, my world… shattered & crumbled right before my very eyes.

There is a moment in everyone’s life where there are no words. You are just stuck in the moment. Time has slowed down. You can’t think, feel, or move. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak, my life flashed before my eyes. A lifelong dream shattered in seconds. I started to shake furiously, my mouth agaped in horror as I stared at the very thing that I had dreamed of but this wasn’t a dream. This was real life, and sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. I held up the dorito, no chicken nugget and let out a blood curdling scream that shook the house to its core and would have made a banshee proud. This not what I had dreamed for, this not what MLK had dreamed for. There is no light in this world, only darkness, and as the Winter Storm of the Century nears closer to Metro Detroit, where I live and I can only think this it, my time is up. By standing outside in the storm I can end it all, the nightmares, the childhood dream, everything. I will leave this earth as a man who is broken and shattered beyond repair. There is no hope left for me. Death is my only option. As my life slowly fades from my dark, cold brown eyes, as the cold winter storm and snow tears away at my naked body, freezing me to death, I will get down on my knees, throw up my arms & look up to the heavens and scream, “God why have you forsaken me!!?” And all I will be able to think about, as I die, is that fucking chicken nugget dorito from hell, and how the very thing I dreamt about and swore to eat, was the death of me. God is dead. There are no dreams, only nightmares.

There is no hope in this world…

No Hope.

Credit To – Cameron K

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Chef the Griller

April 1, 2014 at 2:00 AM
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One month ago, on a rain-slicked street

My mother and I got a bite to eat

But on the way back, I slipped and fell

And I suppose the car coming didn’t see me well

Because the next thing I knew, as I lifted my head

I was staring at the sheets of a hospital bed!

I could not move my legs, nor my right arm

My left was okay (it escaped from harm)

My mother came in, with a frown, and then

Said “honey, I’m afraid you’ll never walk again.”

A feeling came over me, not sadness or hate

But instead overwhelming apathy took place

“Oh well,” I thought, “I guess I’m done.

My life is over before it’s even begun!”

But the next day my mom approached me with a smile

And said that, with luck, I’d only stay here a while

And then, if feeling returned to my legs

I could come back with her and start my life again

Well, that filed me with hope; an optimism quite bright

And perhaps my stay here would even be alright!

The month passed by, rather pleasantly

I’ll save you the details on how I went pee.

Most of my actions needed the assistance of a nurse

But really I was just glad to not be in a hearse

A reporter came to my room to tell my story

I think he was expecting something a little more gory

The triplegia of a fourteen year-old kid

Was something that, sadly, couldn’t be hid.

My nurse was kindly, pretty and gentle

She helped me get through that month without going mental

She even gave me a book to read

About shipwrecked sailors whose captain couldn’t lead

I learned on that day that human tasted like pork

The captain got eaten (but he was kind of a jerk.)

The nurse was very good at helping me cope with my condition

But when she was gone I sometimes felt a suspicion

Something like I was being watched

But I shooed that thought from my mind and instead stared at the clock

One thing that bothered me was the sheet on my legs

They hooked tubes up to me so that I never left the bed

But I could not reach down for the sheet to be pulled

So I could not see my legs, my once-useful tools

At the end of this month, I’m supposed to go home

But more often than not I’m simply left alone

The female nurse does not come any more

Instead, a crueler face comes through the door

His face is all pudgy, he wears an apron

That’s always filthy, and wrinkled like bacon

He gives me my food, three times a day

And he cooks all my food in all the same ways

He grills it, whether it should be or not

Grilled meat, grilled veggies, and here’s food for thought:

He served me cereal once, and I swear to God

He even grilled the cornflakes! How odd!

Sometimes, while eating one of his grilled meals,

He would stand in a corner and try to conceal

The smile that spread across his whole fat face

Before noticing my horror and running out of the place

I told my mom to ask about this weird guy

She said the hospital staff had this reply:

“He’s both a nurse and a cook (one of the best)

But while applying for the job, under ‘name’ he put ‘Chef’

So everyone simply calls him by that name

He may look threatening, but he’s really quite tame!”

I tried to let that ease my fear

But I started having awful nightmares

His face appeared, looking like pudgy rubber

And all the while he stared at my mother

His eyes were planted firmly at her hips

And all the while, he was licking his lips

Thinking of Chef filled me with horror

And when he came to serve me

His meat became rawer

It was still appetizing, but just barely

And with every day he seemed more and more hairy

My mom normally visits every day at noon

She insists on seeing me in my hospital room

She’s never late; she’s always on time

She treats being late like a capital crime

But today, for some reason, she’s a few minutes late

If I ever did something like that she’d be irate!

Chef comes in and serves me some meat

I take a look at his disgusting bare-feet

And eat the food, as there’s nothing else to try

And when I realize the taste, I nearly die

The food I was eating was clearly not pork

Yet the taste was known as soon as it was through my fork

I was eating something else; I knew it to be true

I through the plate aside, and then my guts I spewed

I vomited and vomited, and as I did I cried

Was I eating my mother? Had she really died?

“You killed my mom, and made me eat her, too!”

I yelled with all the force I could bring myself to

Chef looked at me, with an emotionless face

My one good arm shot up with the intent to erase

His expression, his presence, his existence on this earth

But my fist just bounced off his impressive girth

At that moment, my mother rushed into the room

And said “what’s all the screaming? You sound like a loon!”

I looked at my mother, there in the flesh

And never felt more relieved as I got back my breath

My mom was okay, I was overreacting!

Staying in this bed all day had my sanity retracting!

Everything was alright now that she was here!

There was nothing to fret and nothing to fear!

I gave my mom news in the usual way

Chef left, but then returned midday

When he did, I tried to apologize

I said “I know what I did was awfully unwise;

I really am sorry for freaking out

But not moving from this bed’s made me a paranoid lout!”

Chef grinned at me, with black gums and missing teeth

Which then retracted like a sword in a sheath

He walked over to the my legs that were covered by the sheet

And scowled “I was hoping you’d enjoy my little treat”

He pulled off the sheet, and my legs were gone!

It was as if they’d been cut off by a saw!

A bloody pool was where they once lay

I yelled out in horror and tried to get away

But he leaned over and grabbed my chest

He leaned in so close I could smell his foul breath

He said “All that meat on your legs was going to rot

And I would never cook a woman in such poor health

Besides, watching you eat your own mother is not

Half as exciting as watching you eat yourself!”

Credit To – Greg G.

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There Is a Man Behind You

March 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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My name is Robert Krandall, and I play a marginal part in the following story. I am attempting to post on this site for scary stories on behalf of the author, my friend Jonathan Tally. Jon is currently serving a prison sentence for manslaughter. I hope that seeing this published in a public forum will help ease his mind. His mental state has deteriorated considerably, as you’ll see. I am not a superstitious person, so I have no trouble seeing it as the hallucinations of a mentally disturbed individual. If you are superstitious, I recommend not reading it.

So here it is, reproduced, word for word, from Jon’s letters he wrote while in solitary confinement. He has pleaded repeatedly, almost desperately, to post it on some internet site where it will be read. As of last week, he has been threatening to kill himself if he is not able to see it published on the web. For the record, I did NOT do what Jon accuses me of at the beginning of the story. To Jon: you will see this soon, and I hope it brings you some measure of relief.

**********

I should tell you now, dear reader, I’m writing this story from prison. Solitary confinement. I have been in solitary confinement for a few days now, and it is for the best. I only hope that this reaches as many people as possible. These are the events that happened to me leading up to the murder and my incarceration. Whether you believe me or not is your business, but it is the truth.

This is New York City. I’m getting back home late at night after a fine evening of friends and drinking. It starts to rain really heavily, but luckily I’ve just made it to the subway station. So I go down into the subway. I get into the car, it’s empty. One stop later, one person gets on and sits in the middle of the car, on my side. A young guy, early twenties. He is sitting with strangely straight posture, staring at nothing. Head slightly tilted. A kind of wild look in his hair and eyes, like he hasn’t slept in a long time. I put my earbuds in to listen to music on my phone. Led Zeppelin, nice!

Two or three stops later, I happen to glance up and notice strangely that the distance between this guy and myself seems to have lessened. He’s still sitting the same way, back completely straight, head tilted, eyes wide and staring at nothing. This is weird, but maybe I misjudged the distance before. I turn back to my phone. One stop later I look up and he is three seats away from me. Ok, now it’s getting creepy, and I know this guy was getting closer to me for some reason.

“What the hell?” I say. “Look dude, there’s plenty of seats on the train, I don’t want any trouble.” He turns to look at me briefly, there’s a wildness in his eyes, but he turns back, facing forward. I’m watching this guy closely now. Suddenly, I notice that his clothes are completely dry. He got on three stops after me, after it had started raining, and yet he had no umbrella and was completely dry. I could only conclude that he had not come from above — he had been down in the subway tunnels the whole time. At first I’m thinking he may be homeless, but his jacket looks too new, and he isn’t dirty. Oh well, it’s New York. Sometimes there are weirdos on the train. He is kind of thin and pale, and I’m confident I could take him in a fight, but man I don’t want this shit tonight, and I’m still a little dizzy from the booze.

Suddenly I hear a loud gasp, the guy turns, and stares at me with a horrified look on his face. “What?” I shout. Part of me is getting pissed off at this asshole, yet I feel a shiver down my spine. His face is locked in a tableau of fear, like the exact instant when something terrifying surprises you. This guy is not acting, he’s afraid. Seconds go by, feeling like hours. The guy’s face is still completely frozen in fear, and by now I’m sure he has some kind of mental issue. And then he whispers something hurriedly.

“This embind do.”

“What?” I say again.

“This embind do, this embind do, this embind you.”

His whispering is fast and insistent, but I still can’t make out what he’s saying. “Speak slower.”

He gets slightly closer and leans in, still looking afraid. “This embind you, this men bind you, this a man bind you.”

“Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you!” I’m shouting now.

He grabs me by the shoulders, and my body shakes from an adrenaline rush.

“There is a man behind you.” The guy whispers in my ear and let’s go, leaning back. His face is still wild, but now it’s different. Like he’s no longer scared for himself, he’s scared for me.

I can’t help it. The incident is so weird, so creepy. I turn and look over my shoulder. Of course, there is nothing there.

And then I turn back, seeing nothing. The guy is gone! Completely! There is no one in the subway car but me, I am utterly alone. Somehow in the time I looked back, the guy must have ran into the next car. I hurry over and look, but all I see are two elderly ladies who give me a weird look. Shivering, I sit down and think.

Now, dear reader, I am a logical man. I’m not religious, I really need to see something to believe it. I don’t believe in the supernatural, in fact I’m sure most “supernatural” incidents have perfectly logical explanations based in reality, even if they have not yet been discovered. The problem is that people want to believe, and so they do. There is only one logical explanation for this vanishing wild-eyed person — someone spiked my drink. It was a hallucination, had to be. As soon as I get out of the subway and above ground, I call my friend Rob on the phone. He was at the bar with me, and he’s been known to be a joker. I wouldn’t have put it past him to slip me something.

“Dude, Rob, what the fuck?” I said as he answered. Rob pretends like he had no idea what was going on. “You give me some acid shit? I was fuckin hallucinating all the way back home!”

“Jon, man, I really have no idea what you’re talking about. I swear.”

Finally I consider the possibility that he’s telling the truth. There were other people at the bar tonight. “Fine, man, but if I find out you’re fucking with me, I’m gonna kill you.” And I hung up. I called everyone I knew who had been at the bar that evening. Finally, I call Dave. Of course, same old, deny deny.

“Are you sure? Dude, I trust you, but I don’t trust everyone else. What about what’s-her-name? Jessie’s girlfriend, she was there by herself, which was weird. Maybe they just broke up and she was looking to date rape some guy like me by slipping lsd into their drink.”

No luck. No one poisoned my drink, and there was no reason to suspect anyone did. Yet what explanation was there for a disappearing crazy guy?

For the next few days I didn’t think anything of it. Life slowly got back to normal. I didn’t really think of the creepy incident on the train. I hung out with friends, went to work, drank at some bars. I even was able to take the subway without remembering what happened just a few days prior.

And then the weird stuff started happening. Just a light brush against my body here, a soft whisper there, an occasional breath. It felt like there was someone behind me. But whenever I turned to look, there was no one. Each time it happened, I was reminded of the subway man’s declaration: “There is a man behind you.”

A few days later I’m walking home after buying some cigarettes. I not only feel a breath, but hear it, directly behind me, like someone’s face is only a few inches away from my neck. My arms jerk backward, expecting to push away some horrible creeper, but I find only thin air, and I whirl around to face an empty street. Terrified, I run straight home and get right to bed, too scared to think about showering or brushing my teeth. Thankfully the feeling is gone. I’m lying face up, and the mattress feels soft and safe against my back. I don’t dare turn on my side or back for fear that the man will come back, hovering over me like some ghastly, evil apparition you always see in horror movies.

For a few weeks after nothing happened, and I started to feel better. Annoyingly, I became the butt of some jokes, people thinking I’m doing acid again. I keep telling people, I don’t do that shit anymore. I took the stuff years and years ago, but only a couple times. And there’s no way it’s a fucking flashback, people ask me that so many times and it pisses me off. No one came forward saying they drugged my drink, so I assume it was some desperate lonely girl in the bar, hoping I’d become woozy and she’d be able to swoop in and “save” me. Bitch.

But then, I began getting this weird feeling that someone was watching me. Behind me, just staring at me. A man behind me. I would be walking down the street and swear that the man was following me, only to turn back and see nothing. The worst of these incidents was in a restaurant, with my date, Julie. Immediately after sitting down, I get that feeling again. I sense him sitting at the table behind me and feel his eyes burning holes in the back of my head. The man is here, in the restaurant, watching me with that cold, obsessive stare. That terrifying expression, half a grin, half a growl. He has bloodshot eyes, wide open and staring, and crazy, untamed white hair. He is wearing a disheveled vintage wool coat. Don’t ask me now I know this, for some reason I just do. Julie starts complaining about how I keep turning backward, and she “wonders aloud” why she isn’t entertaining enough to keep my attention. Finally, I whisper to her, “There is someone watching me. Some man, behind me that is staring at me. Do you see him?” And she frowns at me, and looks over my shoulder behind me. Looks directly into what I am sure is the man’s face, that horrible face. I nearly expect her to scream out in terror. Instead: “I don’t see anything.” She looks at me strangely. She thinks I’m crazy, and maybe I am, but I know the man is there. After this night, Julie never called me or sent me another message. Bitch.

Up to this point I had thankfully never encountered the man inside my apartment. It had always been on the street or in some public place. I began to avoid leaving my apartment, and this gave me some small measure of respite. I took off from work and went for days without leaving my apartment, and those blissful days I never felt the man’s presence. I began telling everyone that I was sick as an excuse to stay in the apartment. If people asked to stop by, I obliged but pretended I had a cough and runny nose.

Dear reader, everyone has a weakness. Some trait that becomes his or her undoing, the one thing that friends and foes alike know and can use to their advantage. For me, this weakness is beautiful women. Hot chicks. I am smitten, always. I’m not terribly ugly, I have good hygiene and a decent paying job, and I try not to be an asshole, so I’ve done relatively well in the dating game. But I am currently single, and most of my friends know this. So my friend Jimmy sends me a text and a picture (asshole, I won’t forgive you for this). The text reads:

“Dude, this hot girl wants to meet you.”

The picture, sure enough, is a smoking hot Italian chick, college age, my absolute fave. I text back: “She wants to meet me or she wants to fuck me? :)”

“Keep it in your pants, dude. She said ‘meet’. But maybe more, I dunno? I sent her your picture and she seemed really into you.”

“Ok, sounds good. Where should I meet her?”

“Come to my party! You’re both invited! 7pm tonight my place. :P ”

As it turns out, there is no fucking girl. Jimmy took the pic from some dating site and baited me into coming to his lame-ass house party in Queens. He tells me everyone has been asking why I’ve been so anti-social lately, but I’m too pissed off to care. I just want to go home. And as I turn to leave, that’s when I feel it. It hits me like a brick, oh so familiar and yet still so terrifying. The man is here. The man is behind me, somewhere, staring.

I turn, and I SEE him! Or, rather, I half saw him for an instant before someone passed in front of him. By the time the person moved, he was gone. But I swear I saw him, and I knew him instantly, even though I had never actually seen him before. Crazed, wild white hair, a head that was slightly too large and bloodshot red eyes, wide and insane. And his grin. An expression that could either be a grin or a growl, impossible to tell. He was of average height. Probably as tall as me.

Jimmy has been insisting for several minutes that I tell him about my problems, completely oblivious to the horror on my face. Finally, I say to him, “Fine, Jimmy, the reason is … I’ve been avoiding someone. And … and he’s here, at your party.”

Jimmy gives me a weird look and starts looking around, confused. “Dude, you know everyone here. WHo are you talking about?”

“A man. A crazy, white-haired man that just stares at me with this horrible grin on his face, I think he’s stalking me.”

Jimmy laughs. “Is it, like, some gay guy or something?”

This pisses me off. “No, Jimmy, it’s not some gay guy. I wouldn’t care if it were some gay guy. In fact, I’d love it if it were just some gay guy. No, this guy is like some psycho serial killer, man. He just looks at me like he’s hunting me, like he knows I can’t get away and all I have to do is leave the house and he’ll find me.”

“Ok,” Jimmy says, humoring me. “Let’s go find this psycho killer and at the very least kick him the fuck out of my party. He leads the way, room by room, noting every person we pass. I don’t feel the man anywhere, but I’m sure he is in the house somewhere. All of a sudden, I get the same overwhelming sense of dread. He’s behind me, I’m sure of it. I turn around, and I see a closed door.

“Dude, what’s in there?” I whisper, pointing at the door.

“That’s a fucking closet, Jon,” Jimmy answers.

“He’s in there, I’m sure of it.”

I look at Jimmy, and I can tell he knows I’m not messing with him. I’m genuinely terrified, and it’s making him really uneasy. He asks the people in the room if they saw anybody go in the closet, and everyone answers either no or they weren’t paying attention. Jimmy slowly creeps up to the door. As he gets closer, the rest of the party around me seems to fall away, as if there is nothing but me and Jimmy and the door. And the man. Jimmy gets within five steps, and I can’t help it. I freak out, I know that the man is behind the door and that he’s coming for me. He seems almost gleeful, like he’s been toying with me this whole time, but now he’s ready to come for me. For real.

I turn, and I run as fast as I can out of the house. I vaguely hear Jimmy screaming at me that there’s no one there, that the closet is empty, but it doesn’t matter. I know the man is there, and I know he’s coming for me. My lungs are nearly bursting as I reach the subway entrance. I hop over the entrance rail and just barely make it onto the train as the doors close a second behind me. I turn back, exhausted. The man has stopped. He’s above the steps, at the subway entrance, standing just out of sight. But he knows, and, more importantly, I know, I’ve escaped. For now, at least. I sigh, letting the fear drain from my body.

There was only one person on the train with me. A big burly guy, dark brown beard, mid 30s, probably had been to the gym every day since he was 15. Just on a whim, I went up next to him and said, “Dude, there’s a man behind you.”

He looked at me and his face scrunched up. For a second I felt like I was going to get punched, then he bellowed, “Fuck off, you crazy bastard.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Yeah, it sounded so stupid. I threw my hands up defensively. “Sorry, man, I’m just drunk. Don’t beat me up.” I didn’t have a drop of liquor in me. Hadn’t had a single drink since that other night on the train with the other guy the night this whole fucking nightmare started.

When I get out of the train, a gust of cold wind blows past me as the door to the train closes. My brain screams in terror. The man is here. Somehow, he is here, and we both know that now I’m alone. I bolt up the stairs and into the night. I don’t dare look behind me for fear of what I see, but I know what’s happening. The man has given me a slight head start, but he is now running, sprinting down the street at an unnaturally fast pace. He is going to catch me, I can feel it!

I have my keys in hand as I make it to my apartment building and jam the key into the lock. I sneak a glance back. The street is dark, but I can see the hazy outline of his shape as he runs toward me. His white hair flapping up and down with each step. I finally get the door open, hurry in, and slam the door behind me. Relief washes over me so quickly that I almost black out. My heart is pumping a mile and a minute, and I’m gasping like a madman, but I can’t help but laugh. I feel safe. Looking out the window, I see him. Or, I don’t see him, but I know he is there. He is standing in the darkness, just slightly beyond the range of the nearest street lamp. If I focus hard, I can barely see the outline of his white hair.

After this incident I stopped pretending to be sick. I didn’t go out, and when people asked why, I gave them no reason. I took some phone calls, but I did not let people into my apartment, even if they visited and knocked on my door. Other people came and went, so I couldn’t prevent the man from getting into the building, but I sure as hell wasn’t about to let him into my apartment. If my friends insisted that I open up, I just got angry with them until they left.

Slowly but surely, the inevitable happened. I made it through everything in my fridge. Then all the canned goods I had stocked up. Then everything in the freezer. The last day before my hell really started, I had nothing but a bottle of whiskey. Whiskey is made from grain, right? It’s like eating a loaf of bread. I downed half of it. Didn’t help. I was still hungry as all hell.

I can’t help it, I cave. I order take out. After about half an hour, the Chinese delivery guy arrives, and I press the button to let him in the door. In less than a minute, I hear his footsteps. My stomach is grumbling in anticipation of getting some real, actual food. As my doorbell rings, I stare out through the peephole.

It’s an Asian kid. Either late high school or early college age. As I open the door, he gets a look at me, and gives a start. Suddenly I become self-conscious. I probably look like a mess, I haven’t really been taking care of myself. “Ten dollars and thirty cents,” he says.

I get a ten and five dollar bill and thrust it into his hand, and snatch my food. “Thanks, I don’t need change,” I say, eager to just close the door.

“Thanks, mister!” the kid says, smiling, and I smile back briefly and start to close the door. But then, just before it closes completely, I notice it. His smile. His grin. His growl. The man, he’s the man! I stare out the peephole, and my breath catches in my throat. There is no one there. I look down. I stare at my open hands. There is no food. Suddenly, my apartment is chilly.

The man is not here, but something still feels terribly wrong. Like some protective barrier has been broken, and I’m now at the mercy of the man. Like the lighting has changed. The sunset colors outside my window seem more pale and foreboding than usual. Cold and hungry, I lock both the locks on my front door and hurry into my bedroom. Under my covers, I sigh as a feeling of safety returns. I try to reassure myself. Even if the young delivery guy was the horrible man, he is still outside.

My sleep that evening is dreamless, but I still wake up with a start, drenched in cold sweat. It is now completely dark outside. I look at my clock, it’s 4:17 AM. And my bladder is completely full, like a tight water balloon that could burst at any moment. When I can’t stand it any longer, I leap out of the covers and hurry into the bathroom. I start peeing, and it is the most glorious pee I’ve ever had in my life. I stand there for nearly a minute even after I finish, sighing with relief. Finally I wash my hands, deciding I’m just going to go back to bed, screw the fact that I haven’t eaten anything today. I’m feeling slightly nauseous, and I realize it’s because I’m hungover from the whiskey. As I leave the bathroom, I notice that there is a weird light in my apartment, and that’s when I see — MY FRONT DOOR IS FUCKING WIDE OPEN. With a strangled yell I rush over and slam it shut with a ferocity that surprises even me. It’s no use. He’s here. The man is here, he is behind me. I turn on the light, but the man is … nowhere. He is behind me. No matter where I turn. He is always behind me!

Finally I catch my reflection in a mirror. I stare at myself. I can see the wild terror in my eyes, and my heaving chest as my breath rushes in and out. But I see behind me, and he is not there. Not there. For a moment my mind can’t resolve this conflict. I flip flop between this overwhelming mental sensation that the man is behind me, and the visual proof from the mirror that he is not. First the mirror is truth, then a lie. Then truth, then a lie.

This conflict is strangely comforting. I go right up to the mirror and look past my reflection into the room behind me. He’s not anywhere in the room, and yet, I know in my mind that he is there. That the man exists. If I can just make it to my bed, I know I’ll be safe. I dash away from the mirror into my bedroom and crawl under the covers. The relief I feel is short-lived. Even lying on my back, I know he is there. HE IS BURIED, UNDER THE MATTRESS, JUST UNDERNEATH ME, AND I FEEL HIS ARMS COILING AROUND MY RIB CAGE. Even though my head is against the pillow, I can feel his breath against the back of my neck.

I scream and jump out of my bed and into the corner of my room. The man stays buried in my mattress. Suddenly he sits up, staring at me with those same intense, angry eyes, and his mouth locked in a grinning growl. I can’t look up, I’m too scared, but I know what he looks like and what he is doing. He cocks his head slightly, and whispers:

“No escape.”

Dear reader, you may have felt fear before, but you don’t know fear the way I knew it in that instant. To have the man staring at you, and you knowing you can’t escape. Frozen in fear. I sat like that, literally, feeling like that for hours, but it might as well have been days. The man never moved, never said anything else, just sat there, half buried in my bed, head cocked, and bloodshot, angry eyes staring at me. There I sat, in the corner, my head down, completely paralyzed, cold sweat dripping from my forehead.

The sun came up. Something was weird about him, though. Like the light was different for him than it was for everything else in the room. As if the sunlight was not reflecting off him properly. Feeling overwhelming fear for so long, other thoughts finally started to creep through into my mind.

He is feeding off of my fear. Yet, he hasn’t really done anything. He has looked at me creepily, he has chased me down, but he hasn’t actually done anything physically to me. Somehow I find the courage to stand up and rush out of the room. As I do, I feel him behind me. Every step I take, he takes one too, in perfect lock step, always close enough that he could wrap his arms around me if he wanted.

I figure if I can just get my mind off him. Maybe if I can just ease this feeling that he is behind me. My phone is nearly dead, but not quite. Grabbing ear buds, I thrust them in my ears and turn the sound up as high as it can go. And I play a song. Anything, anything just to take my mind off the man behind me. Nothin’ But a Good Time by Poison starts blaring in my ear drums. By the time the lyrics start, it’s starting to take the edge off my fear.

Now listen
Not a dime, I can’t pay my rent
I can barely make it through the week.

By the time the chorus starts, I’m thinking this might work. I might actually just be able to take my mind off my fear. I start to become delusional, that I might be able to break the man’s hold on me with the power of rock and roll!

Don’t need nothin’ but a good time
How can I resist?
Ain’t looking for nothin’ but a good time
And it don’t get better than this.

And right as that line ends, my arm twists violently behind me, and I feel his clammy, dead hands on my wrist, and cold breath on my neck. “You think you can shut me out?!” comes a cold, reptilian voice. I scream as I feel the skin on my back splitting open. I whirl around, seeing a bloodied butcher knife on the table. To this day, dear reader, I try to argue that the slash on my back could not possibly be self-inflicted due to its angle. But physicians noted that my arm was twisted as well, allowing for the possibly that I slashed my own back myself. They don’t believe me, dear reader, that the arm twist and slash on my back were both inflicted by the man.

Still feeling the man directly behind me, I grab the bloody knife and whirl around, expecting the knife to cut into the man’s face. Instead I find air. Of course. Still holding the knife, I dash out of my apartment, not bothering to lock the door. I fly down the stairs and out the building. The man is right on my tail. I run out into the street, but he is right behind me. Every time I turn, he rotates with me, like some horrifying cartoon character that you can’t shake. I turn around fast, but he is faster, and still behind. I turn again, but he is still behind me. I turn one more time and stab downward – one of these times, I will catch him … and my knife sinks six or seven inches into an elderly lady’s eyeball.

So that is the story. I committed manslaughter. To this day, that is the part I regret the most. I regret that my fear of this man, whether or not he is a hallucination, caused the unintended death of another person. I am sorry beyond what any words can express …

DO NOT LOOK NOW, DO NOT MOVE

… and I would like to once again convey my condolences to Mrs. Carpenter’s husband, and her son, and her son’s family. She did not deserve this, and if I could go back in time …

THERE IS A MAN BEHIND YOU, RIGHT NOW

… I would turn the knife on myself instead of her. If it had been my death there instead of hers, it would have been better for all parties.

Now, dear reader, here I make an apology. Did you look? Or even if you didn’t, did you want to? Any slight doubt, any pang of anxiety? If so, then, like the young guy at the beginning of the story, I have probably disappeared from my cell. I am sorry for what you will go through, but please believe me when I say I just desperately need relief from the man behind me, even if it means passing him on to a stranger such as yourself. Remember that it starts with a brush here, and a whisper there. A slight sound, a footstep, passing breath. A rustling you can’t explain, a sudden prickle on your back. My only advice: DO NOT IGNORE HIM, IT ONLY MAKES IT WORSE. Good luck!

Credit To – SmileyJack

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Anencephaly

March 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I’ve never had nightmares like this before. I’m not a fan of horror, I’m not depressed, I haven’t even been under any especial strain lately. I’m just a good person, and I’ve always had good, normal dreams. You need to understand that what happened to me wasn’t something natural.

God didn’t put that thing inside of my head.

It was eerily life-like, this nightmare, but I’m sure you’ve heard that before. I woke, in the dream, and was still perfectly aware of each of my senses. When I sat up, I felt the air shifting against my face; I could have counted the creases in the duvet as it crumpled to accommodate for my movements. There was something nagging, an uncanny feeling of dread which I had pushed to the back of my mind; something that I was trying to ignore. An elephant in the room. I knew it was there right from the start, but it took me a moment to accept it; to acknowledge the frantic rattling and dull, hollow thuds that were sounding in the bedroom’s furthest corner, just out of sight. It was a moment more before I turned my head to see.

I still wish I could take that back.

I could tell you that it was something like a spider- but that would be wrong. Structurally, perhaps, it was similar- but in its essence, it could not have been more different. It was a mistake; a glitch of nature. It consisted entirely of legs; a twitching, writhing mass of them, all joined together where the pelvis should have been. They were thin, fleshy and pale-white- and much as I tried to ignore it, there was something awfully human-like about them. Its movements were nothing like a spider’s; it moved as though it were in agony. Like something dying and helpless, unable to control the contractions and spasms that racked its muscles. Aside from its appearance, there was something deeply disturbing about it- because not only did it seem to be dying- it struck me as having the air- perhaps it was something to do with the blindness of the way in which it moved- of the not-yet-born. It reminded me, more than anything else, of those rare cases of conjoined twins, where the children are fused together at the skull, sharing a single brain- except one baby is already dead or dying by the time it leaves the womb. Or else, it reminded me of the children that are born with their hearts outside of their chests, or half of their bodies gone, like they were never even meant to be alive. It was like that; as though the thing had been born dying, and knowing that, was trying to escape from itself, from the death assigned to it by the failures of its own wretched body.

It was only a reflection. Truly, I was alone in the room, and the creature was nothing more than an image in the glass of a mirror that stood in the corner- but this did nothing to lessen my fear of the thing, because in a heartbeat I realised what it was doing; where exactly it was trying to escape to. It was throwing itself against the mirror, this thing that wasn’t supposed to be alive and wasn’t even supposed to be able to move. It beat itself against the glass, struggling through its own convulsions, heaving, throwing itself through the air until it came to collide with the gleaming surface, before it crashed to the ground again, a twitching mass. I sat there, immobile; transfixed by those awful erratic movements, as it lifted itself up, threw itself forwards and collapsed, over and over again. I could hear it breathing; this thing that had no mouth and no lungs, it was panting with exertion. Each time it came into contact with the glass, the mirror shook violently, the creature letting out a hideous wheeze as its bones crunched beneath it. Its movements were quickly growing more violent, more desperate- and the thought that hit me was worse than anything that had come before.

It was about to break through.

I can’t tell you how afraid I was; I can only tell you that at moment, there was nothing, and I mean nothing in the world, that I wanted less than for that glass to break. I would have killed myself- hell, I probably would have killed everyone I loved, if only it would make the thing go away. The creature’s breathing had mounted, sharpening and warping horribly into a piercing whine; like the sound of a pig, screaming.

No; it was more like a hundred pigs, screaming, crying in the burning fires of hell. Its legs rotating, gruesome and senseless, on its fleshy axis of a body, I watched as it raised itself once more, as it heaved its weight forwards, throwing itself against the glass with all of its force, and knowing that this was it; this was the time when it would make it to my side, to our side of the mirror.

The blissful ecstasy that flooded my body when I found myself awake, lying in silence and peaceful darkness, was beyond words. The screaming was gone; the relentless rattling had ceased. To know that I was safe, that I would never see that thing find its way onto our side of the mirror, was something that surely can only be appreciated by those who have suffered nightmares like mine.

I waited for some time in silence, unmoving, savouring the knowledge that I was safe. There was a part of me that vainly felt as though I myself had destroyed the creature; as though some transcending power of will had woken me just before the thing broke through, destroying it forever. When I finally sat up, I found myself smiling, right until my eyes landed on that mirror. It was standing there where it had been last night, in the furthest corner of the room- but the sight of it made my blood run cold.

The frame stood empty. The glass lay shattered on the floor.

Credit To – Ripple

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Bathroom Anxiety

March 24, 2014 at 10:48 AM
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Ms. Hanson is quitting her job at the end of the school year. She’s only taught fourth grade for three years, but she’s already had enough. She’s had enough of the clueless administrators who’ve never set foot inside a classroom telling her how to do her job. She’s had enough of the brainless, irresponsible and self-righteous parents refusing to punish their spawn even when they hit their teachers or trash the classrooms. Most of all she’s had enough of the violent, thieving, vandalizing, foul-mouthed and ungrateful little brats that fill Winterfield Elementary. In its youth the school had suffered through a number of rat and cockroach infestations, but as far as Ms. Hanson is concerned the diseased vermin never left: they just got bigger and learned to talk back.

She was enthusiastic in the beginning, anxious to help young kids grow and develop. Now she’s thankful that her husband divorced her before she could get pregnant. She never smiles at children and never speaks kindly to them, so it’s no surprise when she frowns at little Zack Tobin as he pokes his head through the classroom door.

Ms. Hanson is a pretty woman of twenty-five, but her eyes are cold and blue and can freeze children into little terror-stricken statues. For this particular boy she has a very special, extra mean frown where her eyes almost vanish into tiny blue slits and the lines in her smooth face suddenly cut so deep that she ages another fifty years. Zack Tobin is confident that she hates him more than anything in the world.

Ms. Hanson is still reading to the class about Paul Revere. She stops in the middle of her sentence and snaps, “You’ve been gone for fifteen minutes!”

Zack opens his mouth to explain, but she doesn’t let him. She tells him to sit down and stay in his seat after the bell rings.

Yvette Lewis snickers. Timmy Morris whispers something to the boy next to him. All eyes are on Zack as he slinks down the right-most aisle to his seat directly in front of Ms. Hanson’s desk. She moved him there the first day of school so she could keep a closer eye on him at all times: last year Mrs. Wright had told her about his enrollment in the gifted program, which means he isn’t quite right in the head. He’d heard Mrs. Wright say so in the office once.

Zack plops into his seat and stares at his desktop with his hands in his lap. Ms. Hanson has her students take turns reading from their history books out loud until the end of class. Everyone is out the door and down the hall before the bell has finished ringing.

Everyone but Zack.

Ms. Hanson spends a few minutes organizing the children’s papers, like she always does at the end of the day. Zack knows this because she’s kept him after school roughly twice a week since the start of the school year for drawing in class, not paying attention, talking to other kids, or asking questions that she didn’t like. When she’s finished she sighs, rubs her eyes, then finally looks up from her work and leans forward with her hands together at the center of the desk. She doesn’t speak for five long seconds.

“Do you want to lose your bathroom privileges?” she says.

Zack shakes his head. “No, Ma’am.”

“This is the second time you’ve abused them. Where exactly do you go when you say you need to go to the bathroom?”

“The…The bathroom.”

“And do you know that there is a bathroom right up the hall? Or do you walk all the way home and use your own?”

Zack’s eyes fall back to his desktop.

“You better answer me,” she says, “before I kick your butt up to the principal’s office.”

The boy tries to make eye contact and fails. “I don’t like that bathroom,” he finally says.

“You don’t like it? What is that supposed to mean? Just where exactly do you relieve yourself, then?”

“I used the bathroom in Mrs. Wright’s hall last time. Skip was cleanin’ it today, so I went to the one in the auditorium.”

Ms. Hanson covers her face and sighs again. “Zack,” she says in a softer tone, “you go in, you do your business, and you leave. You don’t have to like anything about where you do it so long as you do it and stop disrupting my class!”

Zack looks up at Ms. Hanson with eyes like a five-year-old freshly wakened from a nightmare. It’s a look the teacher is unprepared for and her anger vanishes for a moment.

“The noises scare me,” Zack says. “I don’t like goin’ in there.”

“What noises?”

“In the wall. Scratchin’. And other stuff.”

Ms. Hanson heard the stories about the infestations in her student teaching days. She’d researched that period out of curiosity and found photographs that still make her shudder in remembrance. Tiny armies of goose bumps crawl across Ms. Hanson’s skin.

“What kind of ‘other stuff?’” she asks.

Zack’s face turns white like he’s about to fade away before her eyes. He says nothing. Ms. Hanson sighs.

She leads him to the boys’ bathroom up the hall and around the corner and goes inside. It’s a regular public school bathroom: two long white tile walls, a large multi-user sink and a mirror along one, four urinals and two cubicles along the other. Ritchie Sawyer is standing at the nearest urinal. He looks over his shoulder, sees Ms. Hanson, zips up and runs out the door with a wet spot on the front of his pants.

The bathroom is empty now. Nothing looks or feels or smells out of place.

It’s quiet.

“I don’t hear anything, Zack,” Ms. Hanson says.

Zack says nothing. He refuses to step beyond arm’s reach of the door.

“Where do you usually hear the noises?” Ms. Hanson says.

Zack points to the furthest wall. A single tile has fallen out of place, leaving a fist-sized square hole in the wall two feet up from the floor. Ms. Hanson walks to the back of the bathroom, kneels down and peeks through the hole. It’s pitch dark on the other side.

Ms. Hanson sends Zack home, then tells Principal Sinclair about the hole, igniting one of his longwinded stories about the history of the building.

Afterward she packs up her things, digs a drawing out of her desk that Zack made during lecture (instead of paying attention) and heads across campus to give it to Miss Wiley before going home — an insistent request made by Mr. and Mrs. Tobin when they learned Ms. Hanson had been throwing them out.

She’s quick about it because she hates talking to the bubbly art teacher for more than a minute, especially about the drawing being delivered.

“He’s a creative boy,” Miss Wiley had said once, “and that imagination of his can get out of control. He needs a healthy artistic outlet.”

“That’s what our counselor told me,” Ms. Hanson had replied, “about a boy in my class who went to the office for exposing himself at recess.”

Ms. Hanson glances down at this drawing instinctively as she drops it on the art teacher’s desk. Nothing but a lattice of ugly black lines forming a series of white squares. One square right in the middle has been covered with two thick coats of black crayon. A yellow circle sits in the middle of the black square, only partly colored in. Normally a child’s scribbles fill Ms. Hanson with pity or amusement when she can’t figure out what she’s looking at; Zack Tobin’s drawings fill her with unease instead. Ms. Hanson has a brief word with Miss Wiley — very brief — then goes home, grades her papers, fixes dinner for one, and reads until bedtime.

She’s grateful when the weekend comes. She gets her grading out of the way Saturday morning and spends the day in her garden, grooming the flowers and napping in the sun.

*

On Monday Zack goes on two bathroom breaks during class, and comes back within three minutes both times. Ms. Hanson is relieved to see the boy has grown up enough to use the hall bathroom again. Even better, she never has to scold him for anything all day.

Ms. Hanson realizes he hasn’t made eye contact with her all day: even during lecture he simply stares zombie-like at his desk. She recognizes the guilty look on his face and wonders if he’s done something bad that she’d somehow missed.

At second recess Ms. Hanson rummages through Zack Tobin’s desk for anything incriminating. His textbooks are all there, most of them dog-eared and carelessly crammed into the lower shelf. She wedges a comic book out from between the history and reading books — one she told him twice before to leave at home — and tosses it on her desk.

The upper shelf holds a battered box of worn-out crayons. A crumpled sheet of drawing paper has been jammed into the back along with handfuls of other junk, which Ms. Hanson takes the liberty of clearing out. She un-crumples the paper out of curiosity and finds another unfinished drawing on it.

Something in the pit of her stomach squirms.

Two figures scribbled in black and brown, a small and pathetic one wadded up in the arms of a larger one. The latter is gangly and crooked like a dead tree and has long, dark scribbles on its head to represent a woman’s hair. Its face wears a gnarled, toothy smile drawn from ear to ear, and the eyes are yellow and uneven with tiny black specks at the center. It looks like something that was going to be human and then missed its mark at the last minute. The background is colored in with black, but he ran out of crayon near the bottom-right corner, which is still white.

Three minutes slip by unnoticed.

“What’re you doing?” Mrs. Tanita says from the classroom door.

Ms. Hanson nearly screams. “Don’t sneak up on me like that,” she says as Mrs. Tanita giggles. “What do you want?”

“I need to borrow your three-hole punch.”

Ms. Hanson shoves the drawing in the trash and gives her three-hole puncher to her neighbor. “Was Zack Tobin acting weird in Science today?” she asks.

Mrs. Tanita shakes her head. “No more than usual. Why?”

“It’s probably nothing,” Ms. Hanson says. Mrs. Tanita smiles again and leaves.

At the end of the day Ms. Hanson tells Zack that she cleaned out his desk for him, then gives his comic back and tells him not to bring it to school again. He nods, saying nothing, and heads for the door. He neither looks nor asks for the drawing she threw away.

*

Ms. Hanson has a bad dream Monday night. It scares her enough that she damns Zack Tobin to hell for it.

She remembers a blanket of darkness enveloping her. The bitter stench of urine, mold, and dust were so crisp and clear that she swears she was actually in the horrid place and not dreaming at all. She remembers her eyes adjusting just enough to see wrinkled cavern walls. She remembers the cold air wrapping its depraved arms around her, fondling her skin as a wave of greasy fur and needly paws ran across her hands and feet.

Her eyes fully adjusted to the shadows at one point near the end, and that’s when she heard the sounds: clumps of earth trickling onto the ground and the muffled grating of nails against dirt and stone. The wall ahead of her was crumbling at the center. She’d moved in to get a closer look as a fist-sized hole formed. She’d peered into the blackness beyond.

The voice came about then, sweet and gleeful like an old woman welcoming her grandchildren. And something yellow and evil peered back at her through the hole and brought her sleep to a screeching halt at 3 A.M.

Ms. Hanson’s ears are ringing, but she doesn’t remember screaming.

*

All day Tuesday Ms. Hanson is in an awful mood. She’d barely had five hours of sleep because of the dream, and she’s developed a headache that refuses to go away. She’s not civil with anyone, child or adult. She starts by giving Mr. Snyder a nasty glare in the teacher’s lounge, and mutters something regrettable to him when he asks sarcastically if anything interesting happened yesterday.

Yvette Lewis titters with a classmate during lecture and Ms. Hanson gets right in her face and threatens to send her to detention if she doesn’t keep her mouth shut. Yvette is quiet and teary-eyed until the bell rings, and Mrs. Tanita finds her bawling about it at recess.

Ms. Hanson has two more incidents like this before second recess, and when the children come back in they’re too scared to do much of anything without her permission. Timmy Morris doesn’t come back at all and goes straight to the principal’s office instead.

After granting Zack’s request for a bathroom break (just like clockwork) Ms. Hanson gives everyone a reading assignment if only to get a little peace and quiet. She finally begins to relax, but her headache has returned in full force. She leaves the children to go to the nurse’s office for some aspirin. The nurse is up the hall and around the corner, just past the bathrooms.

She makes it as far as the drinking fountain two classrooms up the hall.

“What,” she hisses, “the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Zack Tobin is frozen like a tasteless statue. He stands on his tiptoes at the drinking fountain with his hands at his crotch, in the midst of unzipping his pants. His eyes bulge until they strain out raging rivers of tears. He begins to cry.

It’s the last straw. Ms. Hanson grabs his wrist and drags him around the corner like a squealing suitcase. She throws open the boys’ room door, then just as effortlessly bowls Zack inside.

“Don’t come out until you grow up!” she shrieks, and slams the door. She holds it closed for a minute and listens to his panicked whines and his little fists banging against the other side. It only infuriates her more. Then he cries and snivels for another minute, and finally he goes quiet.

Ms. Hanson realizes at that point that clusters of children are standing at the classroom doors all along the length of the hallway, watching her with horrified and confused looks on their faces. Some of them are accompanied by their equally shocked and bewildered teachers.

Ms. Hanson feels herself shrink to about three inches high. She clears her throat and diverts her eyes elsewhere, continuing down the hall to the nurse’s office.

*

Ms. Hanson has left her class unattended for a little over ten minutes, and the hallway is now thankfully deserted. On her way back from the nurse’s office she stops outside the boys’ room door and wonders if Zack Tobin is still cowering in there. The memory of how he refused to look her in the eye yesterday delivers a sharp kick to her stomach and convinces her to check on him.

She opens the door a crack and pokes her head inside. “Zack,” she says gently. “Sweetie, are you still here?”

Grainy shuffling like sandy boots on concrete. Then silence.

Ms. Hanson leans further inside and starts to call again when she hears a sob. She steps slowly inside until she has a full view of the bathroom. The back wall grabs her immediate attention: it has somehow partly collapsed, forming a gaping black hole two feet wide and high. Broken wall tiles and flakes of plaster are scattered on the floor at the mouth.

Another sob. More shuffling.

Ms. Hanson stands stiff at the door much like Zack did the previous week. She swallows a lump in her throat and steps toward the cubicles, pushing the doors inward and finding both deserted.

Something moves inside the wall, just inside the hole. Ms. Hanson gets goose bumps again as the stench of sewage and decay creeps into her nostrils. She’s certain no little boy would hide in a scary place like that.

Ms. Hanson steps over to the mouth of the little cave and kneels down to peer inside. Just how far does it go? Her eyes can’t adjust, but it seems to be a long, wide space crudely dug out of the plaster and concrete between two classrooms. The walls of the “cave” and the loose tiles scattered on the floor bear hideous chisel-like scratch marks.

More movement directly ahead, and another sob in Zack Tobin’s voice. Ms. Hanson peers into the darkness and can almost see a form thrashing and struggling inside.

“Zack, where are you?” Ms. Hanson says.

She’s about to crawl in after him when she hears the laugh. Feminine, gleeful, and very close.

Two huge yellow eyes and a gnarled, toothy grin dimly reflect the bathroom light, staring at her from the shadows like a nightmarish Cheshire Cat. Ms. Hanson is grabbing for the bathroom door handle moments later.

*

There are three children and seven faculty members in the office, including Principal Sinclair and Mr. Snyder, when Ms. Hanson bursts through the doors. She babbles and screams and bawls, violently flailing her arms. Her eyes are intense red and flowing wet and unblinking. She tries to explain what happened to Zack Tobin in the boys’ room. She tries, but only gibberish comes out. Mr. Snyder and two others pin her onto the bench by the front desk until she calms down.

Ms. Hanson’s eyes roll around in their sockets, and then she faints. Sinclair tells the secretary to call an ambulance. One of the children is crying.

*

Ms. Hanson becomes a permanent resident at the North Hill Psychiatric Center. No one ever knows what happened to Zack Tobin: whenever someone asks Ms. Hanson she shakes her head violently, covers her eyes and hyperventilates until she faints. She never speaks again, and outright refuses to go into any bathroom.

Principal Sinclair finds the hole in the boys’ room and has a carpenter hastily seal it up. Life goes on at Winterfield Elementary as if nothing happened.

Credit To – Mike MacDee

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