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The Balcony

July 17, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Rating: 7.6. From 214 votes.
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I sat, staring blankly at the screen, for how long I can’t be quite sure. Desperate for something to watch, read, listen to… In search of some stimulation that might exhaust my mind to the point where going to bed seemed like a good idea. I closed my eyes and strained hard – pressing for some idea of what to type in the search bar but nothing came.

It wasn’t apparent to me how long I’d been sitting there, postponing sleep, gazing with glazed eyes at the monitor and refreshing the same social network feeds over and over again, waiting for some fuckwit I didn’t know or care about to update the world on their life happenings. Nothing changed, though – it was well past 2 am and most people were rolling over, ripping up the sheets and drooling on their pretty pillowcases.

Somewhere between the ears a sharp pain fired off and I realized I had a headache. Oh great… again. I reached for the bottle of ibuprofen sitting conveniently by my computer mouse and washed two of them down with the last mouthful of my warm beer. Refresh. Nothing happening. Couldn’t think of a song to listen to. Refresh. Same thing. No ideas for articles to read. Refresh. Nothing. They’re all sleeping, dammit. I snapped the laptop lid shut. Went to look out the window.

There was a streetlamp directly across the street from my little apartment, which I suppose was the reason I hated going to bed so much. One of the reasons, anyways. There wasn’t much to look at outside, either. Thin blanket of snow on the ground. Still cars in the neighbor’s driveway. Couldn’t see the stars… must have been cloudy. The apartment was even less interesting. A pile of half-read novels lined up on the shelf, arranged by size from biggest to smallest (dimensions, not pages). Drying rack full of dishes that were probably dry by now, but that could wait until tomorrow. Old flower-patterned couch made even more garish by the bright, blue and yellow striped blanket hanging over the back. And the walls…

The walls were the thing I hated most. Painted in that inoffensive, bland, mind-numbingly expressionless light beige that seemed to be omnipresent in every fucking apartment I’d ever been in. What I wouldn’t have given to paint those fucking walls. It would have been worth it, even if the damned landlord kept my damage deposit.

Leaving the window, I paced along the wall, dragging my hand as I had done over and over again, in moments of boredom. Around the kitchen/living room – divided by a half wall and made distinct by a clumsy architectural divider that reached off from the main wall by a couple feet – and around the corner to the short and narrow hallway that lead to my bedroom on the left and bathroom at the end. Strolled lazily into the bedroom, flicked on the light, looked around, flicked it off, and walked out again. Stopped for a quick piss in the bathroom. Frowned in the mirror. Then made my way back to the chair. I started flicking through the books on the shelf, but I couldn’t decide which one to read, so I gave up and sat down on the horrendous couch, staring out the sliding glass balcony door.

And that’s when I saw it.

At first, I thought my glasses were skewed, and I took them off, gave them a ritual wiping in my t-shirt, and put them back on again. No, it was still there. Hmph… that’s weird… It wasn’t anything shocking, nor was it one of those things that causes you to jump up in outrage – it just seemed a little bit… odd.

I had been looking at the picture frame sitting on the half wall that stretched partway across the floor between the kitchen and living room, which was perpendicular to the couch I was sitting on – and something about it didn’t look quite right. The picture frame was alright. The half wall looked right – as much as any half wall can – but there was something funny about were it joined to the outer wall of the apartment. I couldn’t be quite sure what it was, exactly, but it seemed like the outer wall was a good foot or more farther from me on the kitchen side than it was on the living room side.

I gave it a frown, then a giggle. Obviously, the landlord had done a bad job with the renovations and had done some miscalculations, and the inner paneling on the kitchen side was curved on one end. I didn’t know much about carpentry, but I had a basic understanding. Yeah, that’s it.

I got up, walked to the fridge for another beer and glanced at the wall again. My explanation didn’t convince me, as the wall looked flat as a wall could be. It was the damnedest thing, because from the kitchen side, the wall looked perfectly normal. Maybe it was the other side that was off. But I strolled back to the living room, and the wall on that side looked normal too. It didn’t make sense. I decided to forget about it, and set myself back on the couch and opened my beer – but there it was again. The wall in the kitchen looked farther than it should be, or the living room wall looked too close… it was hard to tell which was the case, but something was off, that much was certain.

I took a gulp of beer and got up again. I walked over to the corner in the kitchen and ran my hand along the wall near the floor. It certainly looked like things were joining up at right angles. I did the same on the living room side – it looked perfectly normal. I even grabbed a book and stuck it between the floor and the wall, and slid it across on both sides, and in both rooms the book fit snugly where the floor and wall met. Then I did the same, between the wall and the room divider. Perfect right angles. I sat back on the couch again, and now it seemed even more apparent.

It was as if the kitchen was longer than the living room, and impossibly so, as they both shared the same square space and outer wall of the building. It didn’t make sense. The wall to the left was definitely farther than it was on the right side of the half wall, but how could that be so? I shuffled my way around the rooms, observing the dimensions with squinting discretion, from every conceivable angle. No curve, no obvious deviations. If I could believe what my eyes were seeing – and I had no reason to doubt them before now – the kitchen should be protruding from the side of the building by about 12-15 inches.

I was flabbergasted. It just shouldn’t be. Even the thickness of the walls, which I guessed at about six inches, wouldn’t account for such an error. It wasn’t the way that geometry worked, but when I looked again from the couch the difference between the distances on the two sides was impossible to ignore. What the hell…

Surely, I thought, that there was some mistake, and the wall was joined awkwardly and I just hadn’t noticed it before. I’d have to go out on the balcony to reassure myself, and take a look at the outside wall of the building. My balcony ran the entire length of the kitchen/living room wall, placing the discontinuity about halfway down its length. Surely the exterior of the wall would reveal an outward jump. Now it made sense. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before. I slid open the glass door and tip toed out into the winter air, the thin snow layer crunching and squeaking under my socks.

But to my surprise, the wall was entirely flat. I flicked on the balcony light to be sure. Perfectly flat. Straight, with no visible joins or angles anywhere. I pressed my hands hard against the cold vinyl siding and ran them from the sliding glass door all the way to the railing at the end. Defeated, I made my way back inside, and slid the door shut. I peeled off my wet socks and hung them over the edge of the bathtub to dry, and retreated to the couch once more, rubbing my cold feet.

It was at this point I started to feel uncomfortable, in a way that was almost indescribable. The very image of what I was seeing didn’t make sense. It was such a departure from simple logic that my brain couldn’t concoct any sort of explanation at all. The sensation that trickled over me was something that I can only describe as the opposite of deja vu. The sheer unfamiliar and nonsensical nature of the wall was all I could think about. I had to prove to myself that it wasn’t real.

I stomped down the hall to my bedroom, bare feet slapping on the floor, snatched my belt off the dresser and brought it out. I moved the chair, slid the kitchen table out of the way, so I had a quick, clear path around the half wall. I even took the picture frames off the half wall, and laid them on the table. Nothing to get in the way.

I started on the right side. I let the belt buckle touch the outer wall, and pulled it tight. The distance from the the wall to the end of the divider was about half the length of the belt. I pinched my fingers hard on the belt, marking the length I had measured. Now… I marched around, to the kitchen, put the belt buckle against the wall and pulled the belt tight.

Impossible, I thought. It was truly impossible. The belt wouldn’t even reach from the wall the the end of the divider. I leaned against the wall, my mind whirring with thoughts, questions. The one thought that dominated my being was that the space I was standing in, leaning against that wall, should not exist! If common sense were any sense at all, I should be on the balcony right now, staring at the vinyl siding on the outside of the building. A sudden feeling of dread washed over me – I felt hot and sick and shaky. I started to wonder what might happen If i were to close my closes, but at that thought, the fear become so intense that I jumped away from the wall and ran to the bathroom where I promptly retched up my beer and what undigested remains there were of my supper.

What was happening to me? I had to sleep. Yes, that’s it. I was exhausted, and it had been a long week. Maybe it was the headache pills, I thought – I had downed them with alcohol, after all. And mixing drugs with booze can do crazy stuff, right? I closed my eyes hard, nodding my head and trying to convince myself that I had to be hallucinating. I was sleep depraved. I needed sleep.

I flushed the toilet, brushed my teeth, splashed water in my face, and turned to look down the hall. I realized then that I had left the balcony door ajar, and the cold winter air was putting a chill in the apartment. I started, but stopped again, when my peripheral vision revealed to me something which unnerved me in a way I had never known. It was at that point which I began to think I was losing my mind.

On the left side of the half wall, the kitchen stretched on, far beyond the physical limitations of my building, and filling that impossible space was – and It frightens me say it – a perfect mirror image of my own. The table, chairs, cupboards, and even the overflowing drying rack lay in perfect reverse imitation of my own, real kitchen. It was as though the wall of the kitchen had been replaced by a reflective surface, but as far as I could tell, this was not the case.

I breathed deep, shaking uncontrollably as I made my way slowly down the hall to the kitchen. I stopped halfway, at the linen closet which sat opposite my bedroom door, and grabbed the broom. I unscrewed the broom handle and clutched it tightly as I would a spear. It did nothing to make me feel safer.

I moved slowly – one foot at a time – holding the broom handle out in front of me and breathing heavily. As I got nearer, though, I could see that the discontinuity did not only mirror the kitchen – it was the entire apartment.

When I reached the point where the wall had been, I stopped and stretched out my hand. Nothing but empty air. This couldn’t be a hallucination, could it? No – something else was at work here. Something frighteningly real.

There was a draft moving through the air, flowing like a soft wind, and I realized that the sliding door to the balcony must also be ajar over there. I should close it. That seemed to make sense, at least.

I prepared myself to enter the space that should not be. Something about it still made me afraid to close my eyes, so I decided to try my best not to blink before walking over. Come on, you got this. I had a goal now. Simple enough, but still, that small purpose helped quiet the thoughts in my head a little. I swallowed, breathed deep, and walked into the impossible room. Made my way past the chairs, the books – even the fucking picture frames were there, but something about the pictures wasn’t right, and I averted my eyes as I passed. I turned right around the half wall and came to face the balcony door. I was right. It was open. However, what I saw beyond the door was not what I had expected. I had prepared myself – by taking into account the twisted anti-logic of the discontinuity – to encounter a second balcony. This was a whole new deviation. Nonetheless, I made my way through, back into the real living room, and slide the balcony door shut.

I sat on the couch again, picked up the half-drunk beer, and took a gulp. Spilled some on my shirt. I didn’t know what else to do but try and understand the situation as best I could. There was no balcony anymore. From where I sat, I could see the second kitchen to my left, beyond the real one, and through the sliding glass door I could see the opposing living room, couch and all – even the bloody half-drunk beer sitting on the coffee table. If I told myself that the kitchen wall and the balcony door were mirrors, I could nearly believe I was still sane. Yeah, I thought, it’s just a mirror. Just a big fucking illusion. Reflection. There’s the coffee table… my couch… my beer… all that’s missing is…

I heard a noise behind me, coming from what sounded like the bedroom. A faint “thwump”, like the sound of something soft clumsily hitting the floor. I froze. I could feel my eyes tighten. My pulse throbbed sickeningly in my neck. I could feel the cold sweat seeping through my clothes. I had to escape.

I clutched the broom handle as tightly as I could and ran for the front door. I grabbed the knob, whipped open the chain lock, and twisted it open in a frenzy. Tears filled my eyes and the scream my body had tried to produce had stopped at the dry lump on my throat. I slammed it shut again, as hard as I could have, and locked it. I pressed my back against the door and let myself slide limply down, down, down onto the floor. There was no exit. Outside the door had been just another entrance way like my own. An exact reflection.

And then I heard the noise again… thwump… coming from the bedroom. And again… thwump… louder this time. Thwump. The bedroom door opened slowly. Thwump. They were footsteps. Thwump… thwump… They were coming down the hall.

I do not know what gave me the strength to move in that instant. Some primal instinct, some basic will to survive kicked in. I would not sit sobbing in a corner, waiting for whatever cruel and impossible fate awaited me. I would not.

I launched myself from the entrance way, and made for the balcony door. I flew across the kitchen. Grappled the half wall and swung my weight as best as I could across the living room floor. I snatched the sliding door handle, heaved it open, and burst into the room that should not be. I drove it shut behind me, flicked the lock, and ran left, around the half wall to face whatever it was that had come from this impossible place – not daring to blink until I passed the boundary back into the real kitchen. I stopped short. The wall had returned. Solid. Real. I would have to go back through the balcony door again, but at least I had the upper hand – the door was locked from this side.

I clenched my fists so tightly around the broom handle that my fingernails must be drawing blood from my palms. My eyes were stinging now, but I still dared not blink. I could not let the perverse logic of the space get a chance to warp itself again. Not while I was still inside it.

Then, there was another noise. Not the muffled footsteps from before, but a clear, sharp “tick.” The sound of metal and springs and intricate precision.

The sound of the balcony door being locked from the other side.

No… I rushed to the sliding door and unlocked it, but it wouldn’t budge. I could see the lock switch on the other side – the real side – and it was engaged. I screamed. I swore. I cried. I yanked and tore and heaved and kicked and pounded the door, over and over and over. There was no use. No matter how much force I put on the damned door, it wasn’t going to move. It didn’t even shake. As long as it was locked from the other side, I would never be able to open it. I was defeated. My eyes were still open – I refused to let myself blink, and my vision had gone horribly blurry. They burned like fire from the air and my hysteria, but I couldn’t blink. I could not let that happen. I had to keep the real world in sight.

And then I saw the figure.. I watched with horror through the glass as the figure reclined on my couch. They picked up my half-drunk beer and took a long swig. They were looking in my direction. Staring out the glass of the sliding door right at me. By now my eyes were aching so badly and my vision so impaired that I could scarcely pick out any details, but I knew what it was. The realization of it was the end for me. I have not felt true, unhindered hope, or joy, or contentment since that moment, and I fear that I never shall. The figure on the other side was me.

It might have been an hour, maybe two, maybe three that I knelt there with my forehead against the glass. I never did let my eyes shut that night. I held the lids open for so long that my sight left me entirely. I do not know when it was that I finally slipped into unconsciousness, but it was not of my own free will.

When I awoke in the morning I found myself staring out onto the balcony. The sun was glowing through the trees and I could see crows flying in the distance. I slid the door open and fell out onto the snow-covered wood and stayed there for a very long time, watching the ice crystals melt in my breath. By the time the cold drove me inside, the sun was well up and cars were moving on the roads.

In the weeks and months that followed I paced in and out of that balcony door so many times a day I would lose count by noon. I didn’t want to stay in that apartment one moment longer, but the madness of the discontinuity wouldn’t let me leave. I was obsessed with finding a way back to the world from which I had come. The breaking point came sometime in March – I can’t remember when, exactly – when the landlord came pounding on my door, responding to multiple noise complaints. I had been attempting to tear down the kitchen wall with a framing hammer. There was a commotion, and I had a few very long talks with police, but eventually the landlord agreed not to press charges so long as I moved out immediately and paid an extra three months rent to cover the damages. I took the offer. I convinced the cops that I didn’t know much about renovating, but I was sick to death of that fucking paint and had to do something about it.

It’s been a few years now, and I’ve distanced myself from that place. I’ve since gotten a new job, made disastrous attempts at love. I’ve made things work as best I can, going from one day to the next. I’ve come to think of this world as real – I have no other choice. I will never return to the other side. Not now. As time goes on it becomes ever harder to remember that it ever existed in the first place. To this day, I can’t bear looking in the mirror. I seems to me that behind the eyes of my reflection there is some hint of malevolence… though at times it looks to me more like gloating.

I remind myself every morning that I am real. I am here. Wherever here is. Impossible or no, this world is mine now. I’ve come to see the obscure beauty in it. There is one thing that reminds me of the world I thought I knew, though – it happens every day when I watch the sun rising. I always expect it to come up in the west, but it never does.

It never does.

Credit To – Keith Daniels

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I Want To Go Home

July 7, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Rating: 8.9. From 312 votes.
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It was a dreary kind of day. It always was in this small suburban town. On the edge of this town,there resided a deep forest which gave a little life to the otherwise plain residence. The large oak trees swaying in the playful breeze, the few gentle rays of light peeking through the grey clouds were speckling through the forestry onto the foliage below, it is quite a sleepy little forest, the loudest sounds coming from the occasional wildlife passing through. That is except for today. Today all silence was broken with a loud pop and a flurry of fluttering wings followed by apish hooting and hollering. The culprit of these sounds? A group of boys who often frequented this otherwise quiet little forest. These boys had been friends since elementary school and it was common place for them to meet up after school and walk through to the edge of the local park into this forest. It was their “secret hideout”. Normally their games were innocent enough, kids just being kids goofing off and throwing sticks at each other. But today was different, today was “special”. The oldest of the group had just turned thirteen and had received a pellet rifle for his birthday. He was told repeatedly that it was not a toy and he could only use it with an adult around. He was even promised by his uncle that they would go out and shoot some targets at on Friday after school, but that was several days away and he was of course eager to show his best friends his newest treasure and what better place to do it then their secret hiding spot? So here he was proudly holding his recently fired .22 caliber pellet rifle smugly grinning at his accomplishment in hitting his first ever target. Before him just a few feet away in a mass of twitching black feathers was a small black bird, its spastic movements slowly ceasing.

“I can’t fucking believe you hit it dude!” the youngest of the three squeaked, excitedly running over to examine the fallen bird.

The oldest snorted “Of course I hit it, Uncle Joe used to let me shoot his real rifle all the time before this.”

He got a playful punch on his shoulder from the youngest boy. “Yeah right dude, I saw how your hands were shaking, you’ve never even used a pea shooter before.”

“Fuck you dude” the oldest replied with a wry grin.

The youngest chortled and rummaged through the leaves until he found a medium sized stick. He bent down to examine the animal. “Still Tommy,” he said turning the bird over, its head lolling limply over its snapped neck, now no longer moving. “It was a nice shot, you got it straight through the head, Aw sick its eye is even missing dude!”

“Just leave it the hell alone already Jake, let’s just go.” The last member of the trio was fuming. He had made it clear to his friends when Tommy brought out his smuggled birthday present that he was uncomfortable with them playing with the gun and was even more distraught of the idea of them hurting a harmless creature with it.

Tommy rolled his eyes. “Quit being a fucking pussy dude, it’s just a damn bird. What are you going to cry over it?”

James’s face grew hot “No! I-It’s just not fucking cool alright?! We already know how good your gun works can we just leave now?”

Tommy and Jake both gave each other knowing looks, letting out an exaggerated sigh, they both loved James, he was quiet and reserved, but smart and quick witted. However he was a rule follower and always got very nervous whenever the boys were doing something they “weren’t supposed to be doing”.

Tommy walked over to where James stood indignantly with his arms crossed and eyes glaring. He clasped a hand on his shoulder, James flinching away slightly, still miffed. “Hey dude, I was just messin with ya, Look I’m sorry I shot the thing, I was just really excited about this gun and when I saw the bird sitting right there on that low branch, it was like I couldn’t help myself you know? It was just right there calling to me like come on Tommy, shoot me shoot me!” He finished his sentence in a squeaky high voice drawing a giggle from James.

“Seriously dude, I didn’t mean anything by it and I promise it won’t happen again, let’s just walk around a little more and I’ll only shoot trees or shit like that alright? I promise!”

James looked unconvinced but sighed and nodded his head. “Fine, but you better keep your promise dude or I’m so kicking your ass.”

“I’d like to see you try Jamie-boy” Tommy replied with a smirk. “But seriously James, it won’t happen again.”

James knew Tommy could be an un-tactful asshole sometimes but knew he never did it purposely.

“It’s cool man let’s just hurry up, it’s getting late.”

James bent down and scooped up the broken bird and set it next to a tree where he brushed some leaves over it.

Tommy and Jake shook their heads, James was such a softy.

“Come on then slow poke, I know just the place to really try this puppy out!” Tommy began sprinting deeper into the forest, Jake and James following closely behind.

The boys finally reached their destination; it was a wide open area of the forest with the trees forming almost a perfect circle around it. There was a variety of stumps and fallen trees of all shapes and sizes, some seeming to come out of the ground like giant reaching arms, perfect for climbing or jumping off of. It was by far the boys’ favorite part of the forest.

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, this’ll make a great shooting range! James, I’ll even let you go first this time.” Tommy held the butt of the gun out to the boy but James just shook his head and shrugged.

“Nah, that’s okay, I think I’ll just watch you guys.” With that, James plopped himself down in the soft grass and began picking at the weeds that resided there.

Tommy shrugged, “suit yourself dude, hey Jake come here!”
The youngest stopped kicking toadstools off the tree stumps and ran over to Tommy and James.

Tommy slid his backpack off his back and tossed it over to Jake. “Here get these set up why don’t ya.”
Jake opened the backpack to find various bottles and cans. Perfect practice targets for a pellet gun.

“Fine I’ll set up the first round but you are setting up the next one.”

Tommy waved a hand nonchalantly in Jake’s direction. “Yeah yeah, sure.”
Tommy looked over to where James sat. James seemed to be finding whatever he was picking at in the grass to be very interesting. He sighed and moved closer to the boy.

“You sure you don’t wanna try? I know guns aren’t your thing and all but you gotta admit, this thing is pretty bad ass.”

“Uh huh.” Came a disinterested reply.

“You don’t believe me but just watch this!” Tommy looked up at a large twig that was hanging loosely from a branch a few feet above them. “I betcha ten bucks I can shoot that twig loose!”

James rolled his eyes “You don’t even have 5 bucks dude.” Still, curiosity won him over and he stood up standing beside Tommy. “Alright you win, impress me.”

Tommy smugly grinned and took aim at the softly swaying limb, licking his lips and breathing slowly to keep his mark steady. He was about to pull the trigger when a loud squawk startled him. He and James both looked over to a nearby tree to see a group of black birds staring back at them. James chuckled at Tommy who then received a glare from the older boy.

“Ha ha, very funny.”

James shrugged. “Karma’s a bitch dude.”

Tommy snorted “Karma my ass dude, they are just a bunch of dumb birds.” With that he lifted his gun again to his desired target. Before he could get a proper lock on it, the branch began to bob up and down slightly. He looked over to find that one of the birds had decided to use the branch as its perch, its beady little eyes staring into the boy’s. Tommy smirked. “Fine, if you have a death wish, who am I to deny it?”

He started to aim his gun slightly over to the right but James had been watching and knew exactly what his friend intended. He stomped over and grasped harshly onto the nozzle, aggressively pushing it away. A soft flutter of wings could be heard as the small bird flew off the branch into the trees.

Tommy was shocked and then angered by his friend’s actions “What the hell man?! Do you wanna get shot in the face? Let the fuck go!” He tried forcefully yanking the gun out of James grasp, but James had a firm grasp and was not giving in. James was seething, gripping the nozzle in a white knuckle grip. Tommy swore that if looks could kill, he would be dead a hundred times over by now.

“You fucking promised Tommy! You promised you wouldn’t shoot anything else! I’m sick of this bullshit dude, you weren’t even supposed to be out here with this dumb thing. ” He shook the nozzle in his hand for emphasis. “Tell Jake to pack up, we’re leaving.“

“Screw you man, the stupid thing was asking for it. You know, all day I was trying to be extra nice to you cuz I know you don’t like this shit but you are being a total stuck up bitch right now and it’s killing our mood. Know what? You can pussy out and go home by yourself. Jake and me are actually gonna have some fun. Now let the fuck GO!” With that Tommy jerked the gun sharply upward. James, whose resolve was slightly broken by Tommy’s hurtful words, let his grip slip causing the gun nozzle to slip out of his hands rather easily with Tommy’s excess force exerting on it. This caused the nozzle to swing higher. Tommy who in his loss of temper tried to get a better grip on the gun, accidentally put his finger on the trigger. With a loud pop everything went still. Tommy’s red face quickly turned pale, the sound of his gun slightly ringing in his ears. His anger quickly forgotten as he looked up to see James swaying heavily, a look of bewilderment in his left eye, his right was not visible due to the gushing crimson stream coming from it. He made a gurgling guttural sound before his knees gave out and he crashed to the forest floor in a heap convulsing and twitching.

Tommy was still comprehending what had just happened when he was startled by a large crash and clinking of metal and broken glass. He looked back to see Jake staring wide eyed in their direction mouth agape, the back pack unceremoniously laying on the ground, broken bottles and cans littered at his feet. Jake stood motionlessly as if he was still trying to comprehend what had just happened, and then broke into a sprint towards the boys screaming words that Tommy couldn’t quite understand, his mind was buzzing. He was sure it was something along the lines of “What the hell did you do?” He looked down again to the prone form of James. He was completely still now, no longer convulsing just very still.

Jake pushed past Tommy and slid to his knees next to James. Hands hovering over him wanting desperately to help but afraid he might hurt him more. Jake tried calling out James’s name, eliciting no response. He careful turned him over taken aback at the bloody mess on his friend’s face. He then began gently shaking him and tapping his face. When that too failed to gain a response, he became more aggressive in his attempts to stir the boy. Jake laid his ear on the boy’s chest. White face, he turned up to Tommy. “I-I can’t hear anything, His chest ain’t moving neither. I-I think he’s dead Tommy.” Jake’s eyes began brimming with tears.

That snapped Tommy out of the stupor he was currently in. He dropped to his knees next to James practically pushing Jake out of the way. He roughly grabbed the boy’s wrist pleading to any god that would listen that he would find a pulse. There was nothing. He grabbed his shoulders roughly shaking the boy. “Come on Jamie wake up. I’m sorry, God I’m so sorry! Just please wake the fuck up!” James head lolled lifelessly back and forth. The gore from his eye socket spreading further down his pale face.

Tommy was now breaking down into sobs. He’d killed one of his closest friends. He got up pacing back and forth reeling at the horror he now faced.

“We gotta go Tommy, we gotta go get someone.”

Tommy snapped his head back to Jake, his face twisted in a wild expression that made the younger boy flinch.“The hell we do, do you know what they’ll do if they find out what I did?! They’ll put me away Jake! I’ll go to prison!”

“B-ut it was an accident right? They’ll underst-“

Tommy strode quickly towards the small quivering boy and hefted him up by his shirt. “No they fucking won’t Jake! They won’t understand! I wasn’t even supposed to be playing with this in the first place! You know that! I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in prison!” Tommy forcefully let go of Jake causing him to stumble backwards and fall. He looked up at Tommy, his face was etched in fear, tears now streaming freely down his face.
“W-what are we going to do Tommy?”

Tommy glanced down at James’s limp form, studying the ruby red glistening on the boy’s face and shuddered. What would he do? What would James want him to do? He felt himself shivering but he knew it wasn’t from the cold.
“WE are not going to do anything Jake. YOU are going to go home and if you still think of me as a friend you won’t tell anyone about James. You said it yourself, it was an accident. Do you think James would want my life ruined over an accident?”

When Tommy didn’t get a response, he looked back over to Jake, the boy was trembling, lip quivering and wavering eyes gazing up at his, there was true innocent terror in those eyes, He knew his friend was fighting with himself on what the right thing to do was. Tommy held his gaze, his glassy eyes wordlessly offering an apology for what he put his friend through, what he was about to burden his friend with.

“Just go home Jake, as far as you know this day never happened.”

With that Jake carelessly scrambled up from his position in the leaves, not caring if he got a few scratches by doing so and took off quickly. After a few minutes when Tommy could no longer hear his friend’s hurried footfalls, he let out a heavy sigh and bent down to his burden at hand.

He circled around to where James head lay and hooked his hand underneath his armpits and began dragging the boy deeper into the woods.

———-

After what felt like hours he finally reached his destination, what he and his friends had called “the pit”. The pit was a deep slanted ditch that led to what they could only assume was a very large tunnel,almost big enough to be called a cave. The boys could only assume this hellish dugout was created by some large animal. It would be a common game for Tommy and his friends to dare each other into getting as close to the entrance as possible without chickening out. Tommy had only ever gotten as far as sticking a foot into the abysmal darkness before scrambling out.

He slowly worked his way down the slope, his trek made awkward with James. By the time he made it down to the tunnel entrance, he and James were both covered in mud, the earthy smell of wet leaves and grass was heavy in Tommy’s nostrils.

Tommy looked into the open burrow. It looked more intimidating now with his impending task at hand. It looked like an open mouth of some horrible creature. He could swear he could even hear breathing echoing through the hollow space.

He looked down again at James. Despite being dragged through the forest, which was evident by the mud and grime on the boy, he still looked peaceful. If it were not for the gore on the side of his face, Tommy could have sworn he was just sleeping. Tears made trails down the boy’s grimy face which he furiously wiped away.
“I’m so sorry buddy, God I’m so sorry.”

With that he rolled the boy into the entrance of the burrow. He was startled when the boy’s body rolled forward further into the space without more coaxing on his end. He heard rapid loud rustling echoing through the tunnel which ended in a loud thump. He peeked his head in further and reached out. He felt nothing through the thick darkness. He had never realized that the tunnel went so deep let alone have such a steep entry way. He briefly thought how lucky it was that his friends were never brave enough to further down the intimidating burrow.

With his task done he let out a heavy sigh, muttering more grief filled apologies to his friend and climbed out of the ditch. Just before he reached the top he felt a warm breeze breathe from the tunnel. His hair stood on end as he could swear that with it, he could hear a voice whisper “wait”. The boy had never run so fast in his entire life.

He had almost reached the exit to woods when he heard crunching and felt something squishy underneath his foot. He looked down and felt his heart stop, he had stepped on the mangled body of the black bird he had shot earlier, its bloody eye socket staring up at him. Hadn’t James set the thing’s body closer to the trees? Why was it in the middle of the trail?
A strong wind shook the trees around him and once more they carried a voice that seemed to plead this time. “wait”.
Tommy was gone before the wind could die down.

—————-

Tommy slammed the door to his bedroom, wild eyed and heart pounding out of his chest, he could not stop pacing back and forth, the floor boards creaking loudly in time with his panicked breaths.“It’s done, it’s over. Nobody will ever know what happened.” He reassured himself. He ran a hand through his hair and pulled back to see it grimy with mud, sweat and what appeared to be, blood. A shudder wracked through his body and he fought the urge to vomit. He ran into the bathroom and spent a good while scrubbing himself almost raw to be sure he got any evidence of today’s happenings off of his body and he went to sleep. His mother came home a few hours later and quietly rapped on his door asking if he wanted dinner. He declined saying simply that he wasn’t hungry.

That night Tommy awoke to short sharp tappings at his window. He groggily looked up towards the sound and the tapping stopped. From what he could see, nothing appeared to be there. With a huff he flopped back down onto the pillow and tried to get back to sleep.

He was just about to drift off when he heard it again, only it was louder this time, and more aggressive. He wearily turned over again to see what it was. This time his eyes shot wide open. It was faint and the boy only caught it due to some passing headlights, but just for a second he saw what appeared to be light reflected off of two small beady orbs looking at him through the window.

“Tap Tap Tap.” He jolted again at the sound. He slammed down on the bed, whipping the covers over his head, he felt like he was suffocating with each shuddering breath under the heat of his comforter but he did not dare pull the blanket off. The Tapping was persistent and always in the same pattern. Sometimes the sounds were quiet, but sometimes it sounded loud enough that whatever was doing it would break through the glass. Mercifully, the tapping stopped and the boy was once again able to fall asleep.

Tommy again was jolted awake by banging, only this time it came from his door.
“Tommy, you better get up or you’re going to miss the bus!” He heard his mother call through the door.
He flew back the covers. The sun was shining warmly through the windows lighting his room up in a soft yellow.

“Was I dreaming?” Tommy thought to himself. He looked towards the window and froze. There was a small black bird sitting outside on his window sill just staring t him. It seemed eerily still not once turning its head in any other direction, it kept its beady eyes trained on Tommy.
The boy was unnerved but also angry at the thing for keeping him up all night. He stomped towards the window, but before he had a chance to open it, the bird flew away.He exhaustively rubbed his hands on his face and half thought about telling his mother he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t go to school, but decided against it. He didn’t want to bring up any suspicions.

He begrudgingly got dressed and headed out to the bus. As he was about to walk out the door, his mother called out. “Hey Tommy, Have you seen James? His mother called this morning and said he never came home last night, she sounded pretty worried. You guys were hanging out last night right?”
Tommy felt a lump forming in his throat, his hands slightly shaking. He swallowed thickly and answered in as a controlled voice as he could muster.
“N-no Ma, It was just me and Jake last night, he said he didn’t want to come with us after school because he wasn’t feeling well.”
His mother’s eyebrows furrowed in concern for her boy. He seemed so upset but she didn’t question him figuring he must be worried for his friend.
“Okay sweetheart, well try to have a good day at school today alright? I’m sure your friend will turn up.”
Tommy gave a curt nod walking quickly outside, fighting the sob welling in his chest.

————

School was absolute hell for Tommy, his teachers had all asked if they had seen or what they had seen James doing the previous day and to report anything suspicious if they did. Tommy could only think about his friend’s cold pale body slowly being feasted on by whatever creatures lie in the depths of the pit, that bloody eye burning into his own. There were a few times he wanted to just stand up in the middle of class and scream that he did it, he murdered James and left him to rot in some hole in the forest. That desire would quickly bet smothered by the fear of what the repercussions for committing such a crime would be.

Tommy had seen Jake only a few times, the boy looked as horrible as Tommy felt. His clothes and hair were completely disheveled and his face held a tiredness that shouldn’t belong on a child’s face. He ignored Tommy completely and the few minute glances Tommy caught from Jake were filled with sorrow and accusation towards him.

—————

Tommy again skipped dinner that night, dismissing his mother’s worried glances with a quick “I’m fine, just tired” and threw himself on the bed not bothering to change out of his school clothes. He wept himself to sleep that night.

Unfortunately, his sleep did not last as he once again was awoken by that dreaded sound.

“Tap, Tap, Tap.”

This time however, it almost sounded like it was coming from inside his room.

“Tap, TAP, Tap.”

He hesitantly looked over towards the direction the sounds were coming from. It was too dark to see in the dark, but it sounded like whatever was making the sounds was coming from inside his closet.

“TAP,TAP,TAP.”

He was shaken by the much louder sound and sat up completely. Just then a car passed by through his window casting a light in which once again caught the reflection of two beady orbs set deep in the closet.
Tommy was too scared to move and could barely mutter out. “G-go away, whatever you are, just g-get out of my room and leave me alone!”

Tommy felt an icy chill over his body as whatever lay in the closet answered back.

“Pleaasssse.”

The voice was light and raspy, as if it were being carried on an unfelt breeze. The unearthly sound shook Tommy to his very core.

“Please Tommy, I just want go home. Just bring me home.”

Tommy hid once more underneath the covers shaking violently, barely suppressing the sobs wracking through his chest.

“I’m not angry Tommy, It waassss an accident. I just want to go home.”

“I can’t do that James, you k-know I can’t!” Tommy desperately pleaded through the thick fabric covering his trembling body.

“It’s sssoo dark and cold Tommy, I can’t seeee. I want to go home. Pleaassee, Bring me home.”

Tommy couldn’t control his sobs any longer and cried into his pillow. He stopped when he heard creaking slowly heading towards the direction of his bed. They stopped just by the side of his bed. He heard deep raspy breathing, and almost screamed when he felt a cold clammy hand slide under the blankets and gently grasp his wrist.

“I want to go home Tommy. Bring me home.”

It was said calmly but Tommy could sense a terrible anger behind it. He felt hot urine running down his legs as he shook all the more violently.
“Al-alright James, tomorrow I’ll g-go to the police, and we’ll bring you h-home alright? I-I promise!”

All at once, the cold pressure on his wrist disappeared and he didn’t hear another sound. He timidly peaked from under his blanket and felt an overwhelming relief wash over him as he saw that his room was empty.
He shakily got out of bed, his legs feeling wobbly and weak as if he had been running for the past five hours and slowly made his way to the bathroom to change.

Tommy decided he could not get back to sleep and crept down to the den were the family television was and flipped it to some infomercial. He didn’t care what he was watching, he just needed a distraction from his now buzzing thoughts. How was he going to tell anyone what had happened? What were his parents going to think? What was going to happen to him? The boy curled up in a ball shaking with distress and desperately tried to concentrate on the happy smiling people on the screen.

————

That morning Tommy was in a daze, he was surprised to find himself waking up in his bed. He could of sworn he had been watching infomercials downstairs a minute ago. Had last night all just been a dream? He heard his mother’s familiar rapping on the door and reminder that the bus would be here and slowly got up out of bed.
He warily walked over to his closet and froze. A chill swept over him as a familiar reflection of light caught his eye. He shakily crept over against his better judgment and moved over the clothing piled there to find the source. He let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding, a huge wave of relief washing over him. He pulled out the long shiny black metal that was his pellet gun and resisted the urge to whip the thing across the room, settling for shoving it underneath his bed.
“That must have been what I saw last night, the reflection off the damn things metal, everything else musta just been a dream.” After that thought, he was startled by the sound he had come to dread.

“TAP, TAP, TAP.”

He whipped his head towards the window to find what he could only assume was the same bird from yesterday morning staring in at him. It held his gaze with its cold beady eyes. Tommy couldn’t explain it, but he felt like it was angry. Before he could get up, it was gone.

———————

As Tommy wearily got off the bus he froze. There was a group of police officers standing outside the school talking to the principal. Tommy assumed they were probably here to help find James. Tommy’s grip on his school bag tightened and felt himself start to tremble.
“This is it, just go up to the cops and tell them what happened and this can all be over.”

Tommy couldn’t get himself to move. “Last night was just a dream right? James is long gone, nothing bad’s gonna happen if I just keep my mouth shut.” With that final thought, Tommy brushed past the police and endured what felt like one of the longest days at school he had ever been through.

——————–

As soon as Tommy got home, he started making his way to his room but his mother stopped him.“Honey, you aren’t planning on skipping dinner again are you? I know you are worried about your friend but you have to eat, keep up your strength you know?.“

Tommy said nothing just kept his head down and tried desperately to keep his composure.
His mother wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly.
“It’s okay honey, everything is going to be alright. How about we order pizza tonight?”

Tommy just slowly nodded his head.

“And remember, tomorrow after school, your uncle Joe is coming down from up north to pick you up to go try out your new birthday present. I know how excited you’ve been for that. You guys should have a fun weekend huh?”
Tommy felt his stomach drop, the absolute last thing Tommy wanted to do was to touch that thing again.

“Y-yeah. Sure it will be mom.”
His mother smiled. She gave his shoulder a comforting squeeze before fetching the phone to order the pizza.

———————————-

After dinner, Tommy thanked his mom and then headed straight to bed. However, not surprisingly he couldn’t sleep. He was dreading what kind of horrible dream would haunt him tonight. He waited and waited until he heard his mom shut her bedroom door, she too going to bed but there was nothing. no horrid tapping, and no malicious eyes glaring at him in the dark. With an exhausted sigh, he closed his eyes and drifted to sleep.

“TAP, TAP, TAP.”

Tommy’s eyes shot open, and his whole body immediately began to tremble, a whimper escaping his throat.

“You said you’d bring me home Tommy. You promised. You promisssseed”

Tommy screwed his eyes shut. “You’re not real, you’re not real, you’re not real.” He continued his mantra as he heard horrible scratching sounds make their way towards his bed.

”I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go hoooommee.”

The voice vibrated loudly throughout the room. With the last rasping word, there came a freezing chill that swept over Tommy. The boy couldn’t even find the strength to pull the covers over his head. He laid there trembling and sobbing.

It was then he heard the sound of fluttering wings and gasped when he felt something plop onto his legs. He could feel sharp needles poking into the thick fabric of the blanked into his legs, almost hard enough to draw blood. He could hear slow steady breathing, each breath beginning and ending in that horrible rasping sound.

Tommy himself was breathing so fast that he was sure he was going to hyperventilate. He slowly turned his head to see what hellish being sat on his legs. He felt his mouth open to scream but found that he couldn’t. Not with those glowing red orbs burning into his own.

“BRING ME HOME.”

Tommy did scream then.

—————————-

Tommy’s mother stood in the hallway outside room 324 of the psychiatric ward in their town’s local pediatrics hospital. Her eyes were puffy and red from crying, a well used tissue crumpled in her hand. Her brother had a solemn and tired look on his face as he tried to console his distraught sister.

“I-I just don’t understand it doctor, how could he-“ She paused stifling a sob. “How could he do THAT to himself?!”

Joe glanced in through the small window of the ward that now held his nephew. Tommy was strapped down to a gurney, although he was not struggling, in fact he didn’t move at all. Just a few minute twitches, his lips muttering wordlessly. A thick band of gauze was secured across the boy’s eyes.

The Doctor held the mother’s eyes with an almost apologetic glance. “It is really difficult to say, violent psychotic breaks of this caliber usually come from severe mental illness or are a result of extreme trauma. Since there is no sign of mental illness in the family I have to ask again, are you absolutely sure nothing traumatic has happened to Tommy recently? I know you said he had been upset over his friend’s disappearance but has he been under any other stress?”

Tommy’s mother just shook her head, stifling another sob.

The doctor nodded grimly. “Alright well, I’ll go over his physical condition now. Aside from the self inflicted damage to his eyes, the rest of him seems to free of any signs of self-harm. We also ran a drug screen to see if any hallucinogens may have had a part in this behavior but his blood work came up clean…As for his eyes.” The doctor paused to take in the state of the mother before continuing. “Unfortunately as you know, he completely ripped out the optic nerve along with the entire eye in both sockets. There is unfortunately nothing we can do to repair his eyesight.”

Tears welled in her eyes and she gripped onto her brother’s arm for support as the doctor continued.

“As for his mental state, well…” The doctor sighed heavily. “Your son is completely catatonic, he hasn’t moved or said anything since he came in this morning in the ambulance. He won’t even react to pain or any other stimuli. We think it may just be shock but it’s hard to tell with a psychotic break like this. I’m going to be honest with you mam, I have never seen an episode like this in a child so young with seemingly no trigger.”

The poor woman squeezed her brother’s hand and looked up glassy eyed at the doctor.“What are our options for treatment?”

“Come, let’s go into my office to discuss those details, we can visit Tommy again in a bit.” The doctor gently ushered the distraught pair down the hall.

————–

Meanwhile, in room 324 Tommy was lying still. His unseeing eyes staring up at the dim buzzing fluorescent lights flickering above his head. A bloody tear leaked down the boys face through the gauze. He opened up his dry cracked lips. His throat was raw from the screams that ripped through him the night before, however he was still able to mutter in a raspy voice:

“I want to go home.”

Credit To – MandaMute

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What Only the Girl Could See

July 6, 2015 at 12:00 PM
Rating: 7.6. From 658 votes.
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There once was a girl sitting on her sofa, reading a book by the tableside lamp like any young girl might do. Above her hung an bloodstained old woman on the ceiling, with grotesquely rotating limbs as she slobbered and gasped like a dying fish. But the girl paid her no attention. The woman was nothing but grey and red splotches of skin stretched over a skeletal frame, with her elbows and knees bent backwards like a spider clinging to the rafters, her eyes grown over with cataracts as they stared at the girl without seeing, and her decrepit face contorted into a silent scream. She darted around wildly in a disjointed fashion, and finally the girl glanced up toward the ceiling and saw the demonic creature there. But the girl only shook her head and looked away.

This girl was a special girl- she had something called hypnogogia. She wasn’t mentally ill, and science and doctors told her that what she saw wasn’t really there. The girl lived in a sort of fantasy- that is to say, she dreamed while she was still awake. This made her quite different from most other people, but what she had wasn’t rare, just… MORE than most. Have you ever woken up and couldn’t move, but you thought you saw something menacing standing by your bedside, or creatures whispering around you? That wasn’t a demon or an alien; it was sleep paralysis, and your body did it between when you slept and when you woke. This was the world that the girl inhabited.

The girl didn’t believe in magic things or spirits. She read lots of books and all of them told her that the people she saw, sometimes just out the corner of her eye, other times full-on and even staring her down- these people weren’t real, and they hadn’t lived some life before or came to her for a purpose or something. It was just a trick in the girl’s brain, and she reminded herself of that. There were all sorts of people she would see in visions- sometimes modernly dressed, sometimes looking old-fashioned, and while most of them were strangers, some of them she knew. But like any dream, they were illusory and quick to disappear- at least at first.

Yet after a while, the things the girl saw began to… stay around longer and longer. They started to appear as though they were, “attached” to other people, one might say, like the girl’s loved ones. First she noticed at her sister’s house that when her sister spoke at the dinner table there was a small, hunched figure sat upon her shoulder, its face hid behind a long beaky mask like the kind a plague doctor used to wear. Her sister wasn’t always nice to her, and she saw that when the bird looking creature leaned in and whispered into her sister’s ear, she would spit out something nasty, like it was feeding the words to her. Of course the girl was frightened, but she didn’t want to freak her family out and so she stayed silent… in time, she would get used to people and the creatures that came along with them.

In her mind, she knew that there was a logic to these entities. Like anything a psychologist would tell you- there was a reason for them being there and the way they were, and who they seemed to be stuck to, just like there was a reason for what we see in dreams. For instance, her father was a smoker for 40 years, and she would see him being followed by a wheezing, sickly thing with bloated lungs- this just signified her worry about his health, and that one day his cigarettes might get the better of him. Or the giant faceless man, cackling with laughter, that trailed her boss at the supermarket where the girl worked. The boss was always one to shout and then chuckle at his employees to embarrass them, so it only seemed fitting that his “creature” should be a brutish, monstrous looking thug.

More and more now the girl could look at any person and see what she called, “their monster.” She was unnerved to the point of trembling as she cashed out an impatient woman at the grocery store one day, watching a gaggle of slithering, growling grey beasts bounce around her feet with agonized cries like those of children. The girl had only had a couple closed loved ones ask her what “theirs” looked like… and afterward, they probably wish they hadn’t. It didn’t matter where the girl went. It could be at home, or at a friend’s house or the airport- the ugly, nasty things trailed each and every human she came across.

And then there were the worst ones of all, the truly bizarre and grotesque ones that could be called “demons” even if the girl didn’t believe in them- these ones would always go about on the ceiling, like it was their own personal world. They might be big, nasty black hog creatures snorting and sniffling until they opened their toothy maws and let out a raspy scream… or grey-blue child cadavers giggling and crawling around upside down just above the girl’s head, taunting her with bloated little faces and wagging black tongues. Soon the girl learned it was best simply to keep her eyes down upon the floor, for fear of what she might see dangling just above.

The girl grew older and she learned to cope, and lead the very best life she could. She was honest with her doctors and her family and they knew about her struggles, but she was still resolute in the fact that nothing in these waking dreams was real or could hurt her. There was one thing, though, that the girl never told anyone. Not a single soul would ever learn of her deepest and darkest fear, the one she learned she could contain most easily once she lived in her own home, away from the rest of the world. The one that chilled her to the bone in a way that the ceiling creatures never could.

The girl turned off the showerhead and stepped out onto the bathroom carpet, eyelids shut to shield against the mop of dripping brown hair. She fumbled around blindly for a towel and even as she did, unwittingly stood beneath a nest of slithering bloody white entities, humanoid yet so foreign from anything the girl had ever seen, and they scattered like cockroaches to the fair corners of the ceiling when she wiped away the water and opened her eyes, wrapping the towel around herself and shivering in uncertainty.

She took the brush and as best she could began to tease out her long wavy hair, her gaze avoiding any shiny reflection that she might unintentionally catch off the shower’s sliding glass door. She struggled to dry off and then get her clothing just so, to make herself presentable, standing in front of a wall bare save for the single nail that once held up her mirror, now lying on the floor under a dirty old sheet like all the rest of them. It wasn’t that the girl had never seen HER monster. Her terrifying secret was that she had, and so she had promised herself that she would never look upon her own face again, lest that… that THING resurface in her eyes.

Credit To – TheJinx

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Something Is Wrong

June 29, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Rating: 8.2. From 541 votes.
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It had been a while since I had visited my cousins. Believe it or not, it had been five years since I saw any of their faces.

The last I time I saw them I was eight years old and had not yet learned that the world had no consequences. I skipped gaily around their two story ramshackle house joyously, singing my favorite songs and playing with the six year old twins. This playtime, however was constantly tainted by my Aunt Clarissa.

My Aunt Clarissa was always that one person with which everything had to be just right, perfect, or as close to perfect as possible.

Whenever I would try to play tag, hide and seek, or anything of the sort really, she would be hovering over us, her dark grey eyes flashing. She would always say, “Now Jared, don’t you ever play too rough with Simon or Eloise. If anything ever were to happen to them, I’d wear you out.”

Aunt Clarissa always used to scare me as a child, with her sharp chin and stormy eyes, she reminded me of a witch. I did not dare do anything she wouldn’t approve of with Simon and Eloise, even when she wasn’t around; because I knew that she would stay true to her word and beat me black and blue if I ever harmed either one of them.

Her precious little twins had to be perfect and untouched.

We used to visit her all the time back at my old house. We only lived about thirty minutes away from each other. Then my dad got a job offer up in Michigan, and it was a long time before I ever stepped foot in Illinois.

I do remember feeling happy, at the very least, for my Aunt Clarissa as we left, despite my disliking her. She was about to have another child, and she was joyful as could be. Her eyes weren’t as stormy as they usually were the last time we went to visit to say goodbye, and she seemed as content and relaxed as ever with the growing bulge in her stomach. Three was the perfect number, three perfect children in a wonderful family; this was all Aunt Clarissa had ever wanted.

We all moved to Detroit and eight months later, the big news came. Aunt Clarissa had had her baby. She sent us a letter with several exclamation points telling us how happy she was for her newborn child, who she had named Mallory. Even now, when I’m seventeen years old, I still remember thinking that it was odd she had not sent a photograph of her infant child.

The years whisked by like sand in wind, and the more time went by, the less contact we had with our cousins, Aunt Clarissa, and my Uncle Wayne. Then, finally, we were invited over to her house for the holidays.

My mother, who missed her older sister dreadfully, readily agreed to visit, and my father, seeing how eager my mother was, complied with her wishes.

After a two day car trip, we finally got to the familiar old residence of my aunt, uncle, and their three children.

We all approached the steps, laughing and talking to each other before reaching the door and knocking. A full minute later we were still standing there, fidgeting and stealing glances at each other. The door suddenly opened about a foot. The face of an eleven year old boy appeared at the door, his white blond hair hung down over his baggy green eyes, which flitted around at us, taking in our every detail. His jaw finally quivered slightly before he said to us, “Come in, please, it’s so nice to see you all.”

After five years Simon had definitely changed. He was more solemn, as if he had been consistently bullied, and expected contempt from everyone.

My mother wasted no time, smiling and gushing, “Why Simon, come here and give me a hug!” Simon allowed himself to be hugged before taking us all inside, where we were greeted by Aunt Clarissa.

She smiled, saying, “It’s so nice to see you all again!” before spreading her arms and coming in to give us all hugs. She commented on how much I had grown up and asked me if I’d taken care of my parents. I smiled uneasily and replied that I had done the best I could, I looked hard at Aunt Clarissa, taking in how she had changed.

She really had not changed very much. There were gray streaks in her otherwise blond hair, but that appeared to be it.

I asked where her Uncle Wayne was, and she responded that he was on a business trip and wouldn’t be back in some time. She led us into the dining room, where Mallory and Eloise had already sat down. My mother crooned over Mallory and introduced herself while dad commented on how much Eloise had changed. Mallory didn’t look at all like the rest of the family. Her hair was a dirty blond and her eyes were not green or gray, but instead a light blue.

I did not really talk to her, but instead focused on Eloise, who had grown much older and prettier than I had last seen her. She barely remembered me, but I was able to make small talk with her. I noticed she had grown to be wary and suspicious of others, as if someone might try to stab her in the back.

The only members of the family that seemed normal were Aunt Clarissa and Mallory. Mallory was happily eating away at steamed carrots and Aunt Clarissa was sat on her chair with a pleased look on her face, as if proud of her perfect children.

There was definitely tension in the air, as if there had recently been a fight between Aunt Clarissa and her kids. I decided that I would ask Eloise about it after dinner.

I met up with her in the living room and sat down. She was engrossed in a teenage magazine I had never even heard of, but looked up sharply as soon as the question was out of my mouth.

“Eloise, is there anything wrong in this house?”

Her sea green eyes flitted to two different places somewhere behind me before meeting my own. I made a mental note of this.

“There’s nothing wrong here, why would you say that?” she answered, forcing a smile onto her face.

I shook my head. “Never mind, I thought Simon was acting unusual.” I saw a split second of relief cross her face before she managed to hide it.

“It’s nothing, don’t worry about him, he gets bullied sometimes by older kids.”

I nodded and continued to talk to Eloise, but my mind was elsewhere. I swiftly concluded our conversation and got up, turning around as I did so. I quickly surveyed the living room, looking for the places Eloise had been glancing at.

Those two places were the coat closet and the stairwell.

I knew that something was wrong with this family, inside this house. It was something that kept eluding me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was definitely frustrating.

I decided that I would find out tonight, after everyone had gone to bed. I was to be sharing a room with Simon, and mom and dad would be taking the spare room upstairs. I did my best to act normal and socialize with everyone, given the unsettling atmosphere of the house.

My parents did not appear to notice anything; they were oblivious to how strange our cousins were acting. I think my mom was just glad to finally be talking to her sister for after five years of not seeing each other, and my dad just seemed to be happy for my mother.

Finally it was time to go to bed, and we all brushed our teeth and changed into pajamas. Simon had allowed me to use his bed, and he plopped down on the floor. The moonlight streaming in through the window illuminated his face.

I relaxed my breathing, pretending to fall asleep, while watching Simon, waiting for him to nod off. But he did not. I stared at him for hours as he lay there on the ground, his eyes never closing. Every muscle in his body was pulled taut, as if he were expecting someone to break into the room and attack him.

At one in the morning his breathing relaxed and he became limp. I crept out of the room and headed for the coat closet, a small flashlight in hand that I had stolen from Simon’s drawer.

I tiptoed silently over the hardwood floor, wincing every time it creaked. I finally made it to the coat closet and opened the door. Turning on the flashlight, I stepped inside. It looked like a regular coat closet, nothing special or extraordinary about it. I began rummaging around, checking in coat pockets and even Aunt Clarissa’s purse, but all I came across was a Swiss army knife in Simon’s pocket and some scented Germ-X in Eloise’s jeans jacket, but nothing more.

I began to search in the more unusual places, checking in dark corners and even in the shoe rack, but didn’t find anything of interest. I started looking underneath the baskets in which various gloves and hats were kept on a shelf above the coat rack.

To my surprise, a newspaper article fluttered down to the floor.

I bent over and picked it up. The article read: “Female Infant Stolen From Orphanage.”

My curiosity increased. Why would Aunt Clarissa have something like this in her coat closet? I tucked the article into my back pocket and went onto the second thing I had seen Eloise looking at… the stairs.

I remembered when I was little, Simon and Eloise had a hide and seek place that beat me every time. They would simply hide in the cupboard underneath the stairs. Every time I passed the cupboard I would stop, not wanting to go inside to the darkness of the cupboard where unspeakable monsters surely awaited me. I would search every other nook and cranny of the house, hoping they would be somewhere else before eventually giving up, even though I really knew where my cousins were.

Using that method they had beat me time and time again until I eventually tired of hide and seek and proclaimed that we should play tag instead.

They had rearranged the furniture so the couch now blocked the cupboard under the stairs, but I knew for sure it was still there. I looked down on the ground and noticed something strange. There were scuff marks on the ground, as if the couch had been pulled away from the stairs often.

I knew that whatever was under those stairs was the answer to why everyone in the house was so tense, and I was eager to find out the secret.

I pushed the couch away from the staircase and stepped over to the cupboard beneath the stairs. To my surprise, the cupboard was secured with a thick padlock. I went back to the coat closet and retrieved Simon’s small knife. I inserted the thin blade into the handle and jiggled it around until the lock clicked open.

My heart began to pound feverishly in my chest as I unhooked the padlock and swung the small door open. I shone the flashlight in the dark area beneath the stairs. My flashlight passed over a chain dangling from the low ceiling of the right hand end of the small space provided by the cupboard, and I moved my flashlight down to discover a human hand in a manacle.

A shocked little gasp escaped my throat and my blood ran cold. I reached up and flicked the switch to the small light bulb dangling from the ceiling.

Something Is Wrong

Before me, a girl no less than nine years old was hanging from the manacles on the ceiling, clad in nothing but a pair of dirty undershorts.

Her head lolled to one side, A rag was stuffed in her mouth and her ankles were tied in thick rope. Her wrists and skin around her feet were red and sore from being bound, and I could tell from the length of her face and how small her eyes were that she suffered from Down syndrome. Her skin was seemingly pulled over her bones and her ribs stuck out.

For a horrible moment I thought that she was dead, but then her head raised and a horrible moaning escaped her throat through the rag in her mouth.

Looking to the other side of the cupboard, revulsion welled in the pit of my stomach.

Sprawled out in the other corner was the half eaten corpse of my uncle. His stomach had been ripped open and his innards were spilled all over the floor. The skin on his face had been peeled away by greedy hands to reveal his white skull.

I looked back at the girl and noticed for the first time that her hands and face were stained with gore.

I couldn’t take it; I keeled over and threw up before catching my balance on the door frame and trembling.

I realized what had happened in this house.

Aunt Clarissa, the perfectionist she was, would never have allowed her child to have Down syndrome. So she stole a new baby from a nearby orphanage. She stole the child I knew to be Mallory. But Aunt Clarissa didn’t have the heart to kill her own child, even if the baby was marred. So she kept the child hidden away under the stairs whilst being with her perfect family. However, my uncle had opposed my Aunt Clarissa. So she had gotten rid of him out and used him to feed her hungry little secret under the stairs.

I had to do something. I knew that I should immediately call the police; I ran upstairs and grabbed the handset that was sitting on a nearby table. I quickly punched in the numbers 9-1-1, only to look down and discover the phone lines had been cut.

Aunt Clarissa kept her family under close tabs. Simon and Eloise’s home was also their prison.

All of a sudden I heard a shriek from downstairs.

That’s when I realized I had left the door under the stairs open and the light on. I then heard someone running, and the front door being slammed shut. I scrambled to my room and used my cell phone to call the police.

I later found out that Aunt Clarissa had fled the house when she discovered her secret was out. Thankfully, the girl under the stairs turned out to be okay, but the police never found Aunt Clarissa.

Even now she is probably on the streets, maybe with a new name or face, searching for another perfect child.

Credit To – SnakeTongue

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The old woman’s words

June 27, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Rating: 8.0. From 304 votes.
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1.

‘Nobody likes you. Nobody ever has and nobody ever will.’

‘Not true…’

‘Yes it is. Why would you think otherwise? What’s there to like about you?’

‘What do you know about me? Can’t you just leave me alone?’

‘People just pretend to like you, but everyone hates you.’

I’m sitting in the back of the bus, there are no passengers but me and her. Her words are poison. I see her every day. And every day she tries to break me down with her words.

‘You don’t know me,’ I tell her.

‘Oh but I do. I know everything about you. Even the small things. For instance I know that you take off your shoes every time after you enter your house. Oh yes…’

I look at the old woman. I feel very disturbed by what she just said to me. Is she following me? She doesn’t take her eyes off me.

‘Keep following me around and I’ll call the police.’

She doesn’t respond and keeps staring at me. A grin appears on her face.

‘Just leave me alone.’ I say as I get out of my seat to get off the bus. It’s not my stop yet, but I don’t want to stay on the bus with this woman. Her presence feels very familiar, but creeps me out regardless. I walk towards the door as the bus starts to slow down.

‘This isn’t your stop yet. Where are you going? It’s not like you have any friends or family to go to. Nobody wants to see you.’

I don’t reply to her. I just want to get off the bus as soon as possible. The bus stops and the doors open. I don’t greet the driver and get out. I start walking and the bus drives on. The streets and pavements are empty. As the bus passes me, I look at the window and see the old woman still staring at me. I can see her lips moving and I can make out some of her words.

‘I’ll be watching you,’ is what she says.

I don’t understand why the woman is doing this to me. I don’t know her, but for some reason she knows me. I get lost in my thoughts as I walk home. It’s supposed to be a 20 minute walk, but in a blink of the eye I arrive. I snap out of my thoughts and realize that I’m in front of my house. I look around a few times to see if the woman is somewhere, hiding in the bushes or behind a car. But there’s nobody around.

The streets still are completely empty. I take off my shoes, open the door and go in, closing the door behind me. I lean against the door and close my eyes. I shouldn’t let her words get to me. But her everyday demeanor is messing with my mind. As I stand there, I don’t notice that someone has been ringing the doorbell for minutes now.

2.

That’s not a doorbell. The door of my room blazes open and a wall of light blasts through the opening, almost blinding me. There’s a person standing in the doorway.

‘Good morning dear, time to wake up! I’ll be waiting for you downstairs.’

‘Yeah, thanks. I’ll get up.’

‘Breakfast is ready,’ my wife says as she walks off.

Close the goddamn door then. I turn off the alarm clock and get up. I feel bad. Every morning I feel bad. These dreams are getting to me, they’re breaking my spirit. They started about 2 months ago and I haven’t been able to live normally since. At first they didn’t bother me, dreams happen. But every night the same kind of dreams? Every night, seeing the same old woman, hearing insults over and over… it gets to me. Then on top of that, I’ve been feeling that I’m not appreciated by anyone. Not even by my own wife. I haven’t had energy for a long time.

I go downstairs after having showered and getting dressed to find my wife sitting at the breakfast table. She looks at me as I sit down and start eating.

‘How you feeling today Jeff?’ Joanna asks as she looks up from the newspaper.

‘I’m fine,’ I respond to her.

‘Yeah? Did you sleep okay? You look pretty tired.’

‘I said I’m fine, really.’

She keeps looking at me. It bothers me.

‘What? Why are you looking at me like that?’

She takes off her reading glasses and puts them down on the table.

‘Alright dear, it’s just that I’ve heard you talk in your sleep for a while now. I worry about you. I mean, I don’t want to be annoying or anything but I find the things you say in your sleep… a bit disturbing.’

I look at her and ask: ‘What am I saying then?’

‘Well… I wrote down a few things,’ she says as she takes a piece of paper out of her pocket and unfolds it.

‘You might want to read them for yourself.’

‘I don’t want to read them for myself. Just tell me what I’m supposedly saying in my sleep.’

She puts on her reading glasses again and starts reading with a frown.

‘Okay. You are saying that you are totally fucking useless. You tell yourself that everybody hates you, that you’re better off not existing. You hate yourself. Then you also say that nobody will ever love you. Everybody is useless except…’

I cut her off during that last sentence and grab the note from her hand, I crumple it up and put it in my pocket. ‘You’re making this up! Why would you say these things to me?’

‘I’m not making this up, sweetie. I love you and I worry about you.’

‘Yeah right,’ I say as I get up from the table, ‘stuff like this really shows how much you love me. I’m off to work.’

I grab my coat and leave the house. It’s pouring outside. I walk towards the bus stop with my head down, my hands in my pocket, able to feel the crumpled note in my pocket. Did I really say all that?
I stand underneath the small shelter at the bus stop, looking at the drops of rain that fall on the pavement. My head aches. Normally I wouldn’t take the bus, but my brother borrowed our car to go on vacation. He left a few weeks ago. It hasn’t been that bad to go to work using public transportation though, it’s just that I don’t feel comfortable being in the same bus that appears in my dreams. I live in constant fear, irrational as it may be, that this old woman will appear in the seat behind me or next to me.

As the bus arrives, I look through the windows to see if she’s there. But to my great relief, she’s not. I get in and prepare myself for a mentally exhausting day.

3.

Cubicles. A lot of people fear ending up in one, the hopes and dreams that they had as a kid lost and soon forgotten for they will spend an eternity working in that cubicle. I for one don’t mind working in one. It gives me the rest that I need, it makes it possible for me not having to interact with colleagues.

As I sit in my workspace I stare at my screen. My mind drifts off to my dreams and the way I’ve been feeling the past weeks. I woke up one morning with an ache in my neck and a headache stronger than I had ever felt before. I had a nightmare that night. I can’t remember much from the dream, except that I was in a room and I couldn’t move. I wasn’t alone, there were people around me. But of course I can’t remember the details of the dream. It’s normal to forget what a dream is about.

Every night the same type of dreams however, 5 or 6 every night, will help to remember what they were about. And that for 8 weeks. More than 250 dreams where my self-esteem is broken into pieces have made me question my own qualities and the value of my existence. And after each restless night I have to start the same routine where my colleagues don’t appreciate my work, people on the street ignore my existence and then I come home to a wife who says to love me still, while deep down inside I know that she’s just pretending.

For hours I had been sitting at my desk, overthinking things. I went out during lunch time to take a walk, hoping that the fresh air would do me some good. But who the hell was I kidding. It was raining.

The same anxiety from this morning takes over while waiting for the bus to take me home. But once again, the woman isn’t there. I haven’t spoken to many people at work and I feel tired as usual. As I return home and enter the house, I greet my wife who is sitting at the dinner table.

‘Your brother called. He said he’ll bring back the car tonight after 9,’ she says.

‘Okay, thanks. By the way, I’m not very hungry. I just want to get some rest.’

‘Are you alright though? You know I didn’t want to bother you this morning with that note. I just want to take care of you.’

‘I’m alright,’ I lie to her. I go straight upstairs to our bedroom. I close the curtains quickly, making them shift back and forth for a little while. I lay down on the bed situated in front of the window. With a restless mind troubling me, it takes hours to fall asleep.

4.

‘I told you that everyone hated you. Did you see the way everybody was looking at you at work? How nobody wanted to talk to you? How everyone tried to avoid you?’

‘It’s not true.’

‘Do you believe that? You really are stupid. By the way… who were you looking for yesterday at your front door?’

‘What? I wasn’t looking for anyone.’

‘Oh but you were though, I saw you. I was there.’

I’m in the city park, although I don’t remember how I ended up here. The old woman is here as well. I’m not entirely sure where she came from. She just appeared. I look at her while she’s talking to me.

The woman has very few facial expression. I always assumed that she was old, judging by her grey hair, however she doesn’t have that many wrinkles. I think it’s her creaky voice that creates the impression of an old woman. Her eyes are empty, there’s no life in them at all. When she talks, only her mouth moves, it seems like the rest of her face is glued stuck.

‘Is there a reason why you are stalking me?’ I hesitantly ask her.

‘I have my reasons. I just have to do it,’ she replies.

I get off the bench I had been sitting on and walk away. I look over my shoulder to see if she is following me, but she isn’t. She just stands there with her head tilted.

‘Going somewhere?’ I hear her ask from behind me as I walk in the other direction. I stop and turn around to look at her, but… nothing. She’s gone.

I turn back to keep walking. My heart skips a beat when I turn and I look straight into the woman’s dark, cold, wide opened eyes. She grabs me firmly by both arms and starts talking.

‘I’ll find you again, you know. You’ll never get rid of me. I’ll break you in a million useless pieces and I’ll make sure that you’ll never be whole again.’

She lets go of my arms and throws me hard on the ground. I knock my head on the solid rock pathway and I slowly lose consciousness.

5.

I wake up on the floor of my room. Unclear as to how I managed to roll this far out of bed, I sit up. Another nightmare. I look at the alarm clock on my nightstand and see that it’s not even past 11 PM. As I glance past the clock on the nightstand, I notice that my wife isn’t in bed yet.

Sigh… I stand up and go to the bathroom to get some water. Even though it’s still early night, I don’t want to go to sleep again. As I splash some water in my face and look at my pale face in the mirror, I can hear some voices downstairs. My wife is still up and talking to someone. I listen to the voices, but I can only pick up some of the things they’re saying.

‘I’m worried about him still. I think he’s even hallucinating sometimes.’

‘It’s not your fault.’

‘But it is though, he’s my husband…’

‘I know he is. And he’s my brother… I also remember how he was before and… he changed.’

‘You think I should do something?’

‘You can’t control the man’s dreams…’

‘…but he changed so much. And I never expected him to turn out like this.’

‘We just have to accept him for who he is now. Unless you want to involve some doctors in this.’

‘Shouldn’t I intervene myself? It’s getting worse every day. And I told you about all those things I wrote down. All I wanted in life was a husband who would love me more than anything.’

I’m not sure what I just heard. The way my wife and brother are talking about me. Over the weeks I’ve been getting more and more convinced that the old woman from my dreams might be right.
I smack myself in the face. Stop it! It’s crazy to think that way, because damn… a dream is just a fucking dream. But everyone around me is either disappointed in me, or thinks I’m worthless. Everywhere, at work, at home. Even on the streets people look away as I pass.

Confused, I walk back to my room, closing the door behind me. There’s a small glimmer of light shining through the curtains which I hadn’t closed properly before. I know where the light is coming from. Our room is situated above the toolshed that I built years ago. I installed a backyard light system as well which turns on as soon as it gets dark outside. I suppose I should get some rest anyway. I walk towards my bed and the curtains and grab them.

Just before shutting them, I notice a bit of movement in the light outside. I take a closer look to see what’s moving in the distance. Is it the garden gate that’s open? No, it can’t be. It’s always locked.
It takes me short while to realize that I’m not staring in the distance… I notice that I’m looking right at a pale face, just centimeters away from me. I stumble backwards and lose my balance as I recognize the face of the woman standing in front of the window.

‘Did you hear the way they were talking about you? I told you that everybody hated you. Do you believe me now? Do you finally get it?’

Her voice sounds muffled through the window, but the fear she normally gives me only got worse.

‘You can’t be here. I’m not asleep, I’m awake… I’m awake…’ I say as I slap myself in the face, trying to convince myself of my own words.

‘Yes, indeed you are,’ she says to me, ‘and so am I.’

I get off the ground and sprint towards my door. I pull the door handle, but the door doesn’t open. I bash on the door, shouting to my wife and brother.

‘They can’t hear you,’ she says with a voice suddenly as clear as crystal.

I turn around and notice that the woman is now in my room. Her black clothing makes her posture very hard to see as the only light that’s shining into the room is the glimmer from the backyard lighting. Her face however, is clearly visible, almost illuminating. I see her gliding towards me, barely moving any limbs to get herself forward. She moves very slowly and keeps speaking to me with only her mouth moving.

‘They will not help you. You don’t live up to anyone’s expectations. You’re a burden to them and to everyone around you. You’d be better off killing yourself. Or I could do it for you.’

‘No! Get away from me!’ I shout to her as she is almost face to face with me.

Suddenly she jolts forward and grabs me by the neck, choke holding me. I try to release myself from her grip, but she’s unnaturally strong. I can’t breathe anymore…

‘Why?…’ I whimper out with my last breath.

‘I’m doing the world a favor. You’re totally fucking useless, remember?’

6.

‘Jeff?!’

‘Get him up from the ground! Put him on the bed!’

Their voices echo through my head as I slowly regain my vision.

‘Joanna? Clarence?’ I whisper.

‘Yes dear, it’s us. What happened to you? You were shouting so we ran upstairs and we found you laying on the floor…’

I look at the faces of my wife and brother.

‘Jeff? What happened?’ my wife asks again.

‘It was her… she tried to choke me. The woman from my dreams…’ I tell her.

Joanna looks at my brother. He nods to her.

‘We’re going to get you some help, get you to a doctor,’ she says.

‘I don’t need a doctor. I’m not crazy! I need a… a… a gun, a weapon or something, so I can get rid of the creep! It’s her who did this to me! We need the police or… you know. Someone.’

‘Jeff, we know what’s best for you. We’re going to get you fixed up okay? Get you safe again.’

‘But she’ll find me!’

‘No she won’t, I will make sure of that, I promise,’ my wife says. ‘Now, get up and get dressed so we can go to the doctor. The doctor can help.’

I hesitantly get up, get dressed and follow them downstairs.

‘You’ll be driving, Clarence?’

‘Yeah, I will.’

The three of us get in the car and drive off. I sit in the back of the car, my arms folded. I’m looking around nervously, trying to ignore the burning feeling of discomfort that’s rushing through my head. She’s going to get me before we arrive at the doctor. I know it.

‘Jeff, it’s going to be a long drive, so take some rest. That’ll keep your mind off things,’ my wife says, trying to get me back in my comfort zone.

‘I don’t feel like taking some rest,’ I reply to her while I unfold my arms. I stick my hands in my pocket and feel something. Oh right… that stupid note. I take it out of my pocket, unfold it and read through it. I didn’t even think about it reading it for myself before.

7.

————————————————————————————

Dream talk:
I’m fucking useless.
I’m totally fucking useless.
Why am I even alive?
I don’t care about them.
Everybody hates me.
Nobody will ever love me.
Everybody is useless except my wife.
I deserve it all.
It’s better this way.
People only pretend to like me, but they hate me.
I don’t blame them.
I’m better off dead.

————————————————————————————

Reading the note gives me some very disturbed feelings. The things I read in the artsy handwriting of my wife match up with the things the old creep tells me. I keep staring at the words… Something isn’t right.

‘What you got there, dear?’ my wife asks me.

‘It’s the note you wrote. You know? With the things I supposedly said in my sleep?’

‘Will you stop looking at that? It’s not helping,’ my brother says as he looks over his shoulder at me.

‘Keep your eyes on the road please…’ I tell him.

‘It’s just weird… this list of things. I mean, I’m starting to believe that I actually said them while I was asleep. Because…’ I pause to look up from the note to my wife who turned herself in her seat towards me.

‘…the woman in my dream tells me these things as well. And I was believing what she said. But something on the note doesn’t match with the rest.’

My wife keeps looking at the note, then turns her gaze towards me.

‘Like what?..’

‘You never noticed that this whole list consists of me hating everything and everyone, including… well… especially myself, yet I happen to speak positively about you?’

My wife looks at my brother. He keeps his eyes stuck on the road.

‘You just love me that much. I know you do, and I’m so happy that you do,’ she replies.

‘Maybe… I just think it’s weird.’

‘We’re here. This is the address, right?’ my brother says as the car stops. My wife nods. He gets out and opens the door for me. I get out, leaving the note on the backseat of the car. He slams the car door shut and lays his hand on my shoulder. Joanna wraps her arm around mine. We walk towards the freestanding building we parked in front of. The house in front of us is old, but in a good state. It’s not in the city, that’s for sure, but I don’t recognize the immediate surrounding area.

‘What’s this building?’ I ask.

‘It’s where we’ll fix everything,’ my wife replies.

We walk up the stairs and she knocks on the big door of the dark building. This can’t be a hospital. I want to ask again what kind of building it actually is, but as soon as I want to open my mouth to talk, the light turns on inside. A silhouette, visible through the glass window of the door moves towards the entrance.

‘Say Joanna, this doesn’t really look like a hospital or doctor’s office. Are you sure we’re at the right address?’ my brother asks as he looks at my wife.

She doesn’t respond to him and I can feel my wife’s grip around my arm tightening. I look at her. My brother is still looking at her as well, slightly confused by her sudden change in behavior. I try to move my arm a little bit so she would loosen her grip, but she doesn’t even look in my direction as I do so. She keeps looking at the silhouette that’s slowly getting closer and as the door opens I can make out a familiar face. One that I don’t like to see. One that makes me panic.

‘That’s her! We have to leave! Now! She’s the one that’s been doing all of this to me!’ I shout. My brother looks away from me, and turns his eyes towards the strange figure that appeared in the open doorway. I feel paralyzed and can’t move, my brother lets go of my shoulder, switching his gaze between the woman and Joanna.

‘Hello doctor,’ my wife says.

The woman speaks with her creaky voice while looking at me, tilting her head: ‘Good evening. Oh. I remember you. How are you feeling?’

I don’t dare to say anything to the woman who’s been haunting me. I turn to my wife and brother.

‘Please, get me away from her.’

‘Joanna, what’s going on?’ my brother asks. A few seconds of silence pass.

Without replying to him, Joanna reaches inside her jacket pocket and pulls out a gun. She puts the side of the gun in front of my face and shoots Clarence through the head without a second of hesitation. My eyes grow large as the noise of the gun rumbles through my ears, followed by a loud high pitched tone caused by the loud bang. My brother falls over sideways onto the hard stone tiles covering the steps of the stairs.

‘Jesus!’ I yell out.

I pull my arm out of her grip and back away from her towards my brother. I kneel next to Clarence and look at him. My hand shakes as I move it over my brother’s body.

‘Shush honey, everything will be okay soon. Don’t worry about a thing,’ my wife says as I sit there in the cold. I take Clarence’s hand and feel his pulse.

As I look up to Joanna, she continues talking to the old woman, her eyes still focused on me and my brother she just shot.

‘Things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. Can you help me out?’

‘You know there’s no refunds on my services, right?’ the old woman replies calmly and appears to be unmoved by what just passed on her doorstep.

‘I know, I’ll pay you. Just… help me out.’

‘Alright then. I’m not going to take care of that body though.’

‘Understood.’

‘Just give me one second,’ she says while turning around to shuffle back inside. I slowly get on my feet and want to run away, run to the car to drive away and find a way to call the police, but as soon as I stand up straight, Joanna points her gun at me.

‘Please don’t run,’ she says coldly, with a slight tremble in her voice.

‘Found it!’ the woman shouts from inside the building. She shuffles back to the door and holds up her arm. ‘It’s easier to get him inside this way.’

I look at the object she’s holding and as soon as I see the needle in her hand, she jumps forward and smashes the thing in my neck. I drop down on the stairs, next to my brother.

Darkness takes me…

8.

My head… I want to hold my head and try to pressure away the headache, but I can’t move my arms. What is this? I slowly open my eyes and try to make out objects in the room. I look to my left and I manage to identify some cutting tools. To the right of me is a chair. I know this room.

‘Don’t hate me for this, please.’

‘Who said that?’

The high pitched beep is still rushing through my ears as I try to recognize the voice. I lift my head to look around the room. My vision is getting clearer by the second. At the end of the table I’m strapped onto I see a familiar face.

‘Joanna? What’s going on?’

‘I never wished for this to happen… I just wanted you to love me more,’ she says while her eyes start tearing up. She still has the gun in her hand and she’s shuffling around on the spot uncomfortably.

‘What did you do to me?’

She walks to the side of the table. She grabs my hand and talks.

‘I wanted you to love me more. You never loved me enough. You had so much love to give to everything and everyone in life. But not to me…’

I look in her eyes which are tearing up.

‘Why did you make me do this?! Why did you hate me?!’ she suddenly yells at me with a touch of hysteria in her voice. She throws the gun on the floor and clenches her hands around the edge of the table.

‘What did you do to me? And what did I do?’

She looks away from me and smirks. ‘What did you do? Do you hear yourself?’

She drops down on her knees next to the table and holds my hand while cracking her neck: ‘I… never got the feeling that you truly appreciated me. I… did everything for you. But why would you hate me then?’

‘I never hated you…’ I tell her.

‘Yes you did! You did so often! Of course you will never admit it!’ she shouted.

I look at her, and she just stares right back at me. I don’t know what’s going on anymore. I don’t even recognize her like this. A silence rushes through the room for minutes. I don’t dare to breathe too loudly or say anything. Joanna tries to hold back more tears while she keeps looking at my hand which she still hasn’t let go of.

Suddenly the sound of a door opening tears up the silence and both of us turn our heads towards the door. We all know who’s entering the room. The same shady old character that’s been creeping me out for a long time. She stands still in the doorway.

‘Shall we?’ she says.

‘Yes. Yes, help me out,’ my wife says to her.

The old woman moves around the room slowly while she starts talking. My body goes completely numb from seeing the figure this close to me, especially now that I can’t defend myself or run.

‘An interesting one, this guy. I got years of experience with this kind of stuff. I even reconstructed my own body and face. But thousands of operations on my resume and I’ve never ever seen a case like this before. I mean… did I mess up? I might’ve.’

She rushes towards me after speaking and bends over me, taking my head in her hands, examining it.

‘Yes… I think I might’ve messed up this time. But, accidents happen. Mistakes happen. I’m human after all. Well, 40% human, 60% plastic and chemicals,’ she says with a grin while turning her head to look at my wife.

‘What did you do to me…’ I ask her.

My wife gets up and walks back to the end of the table. The old woman turns back to look at me, breathing heavily. She still doesn’t let go of my head.

‘You see that woman over there? She is the most messed up human I’ve seen in a long time. She tells me that you don’t love her enough. I tell her that she could be right. Or wrong. Whatever she wants to hear, that’s exactly what I will tell her. She comes to me and asks me if I could mess things up in your brain. She asks me to screw up the way you feel about things. Basically, she wanted me to make you love her more.’

‘Is this true?’ I look at my wife. She stands at the end of the table, and nods. She then rises her hand and slowly gives a thumbs up, combined with an awkward smile. The old woman forces my gaze back on her.

‘It didn’t turn out too well for you, I guess. Instead of making you love her more, I apparently accidentally ended up destroying your ability to recognize acceptance and love from others. You didn’t even know how to express your own feelings that remained anymore. All that was left was a destroyed self-esteem and even self-hatred. Oops.’

I keep listening to the woman, unable to reply to her. Her hands are still wrapped around my head, the only part of my body that’s not strapped down. She continues talking.

‘She was supposed to get a husband that had nothing but love to give to her. However, at what cost…’

I find the courage to ask her another thing…

‘Why were you haunting my dreams? You terrorized me for weeks, you wore me down until I had nothing left to live for. You followed me everywhere. You even tried to choke me to death tonight.’

She falls silent for a short while. I can hear Joanna sobbing softly in the background.

‘That’s interesting. That wasn’t my intention at all. I just receive the money and do my work. You didn’t tell me that I was involved in his dreams and hallucinations,’ she says while letting go of my head and turning towards my wife.

‘I didn’t know it was you,’ Joanna says.

She turns to face me again.

‘I suppose you don’t remember waking up during my little experiment?’

‘I don’t. But I dreamt about this room before. I couldn’t remember where I had seen it. But now I do remember. I also remember the first time I saw your face,’ I reply to her.

‘Yes… Interesting. It seems your destroyed self-esteem and inability to recognize acceptance took the form of the one person you saw, the moment they were being triggered.’

‘Which was you…’

‘Interesting,’ she says again.

Everything that has happened in the past weeks is rushing through my head. I lay silent, simply staring at the ceiling, trying to collect my thoughts and organize them. But it’s no good. My mind is completely numb.

‘Time for me to fix things,’ the old woman says.

‘Can you make sure he doesn’t remember anything from what happened?’

‘That won’t be easy, but I’ll see what I can do.’

‘Everything will be okay, sweetie,’ my wife assures me. I don’t respond to her.

‘I don’t expect you to forgive me. I only expect you to love me even more when this is all over.’

My wife is insane. Still I can’t blame her. I’m not even mad at her. I should be, but I’m not. After all, I do love her a lot. I close my eyes and realize that they did in fact achieve the goal of their previous experiment on me. I feel another sting in my neck and I let the darkness take me again.

9.

‘Jeff! Wake up!’

I open my eyes and notice that my face is stuck to the car window. My wife is looking at me from her seat while I rub the sleep out of my eyes. I sit up straight and greet her.

‘Hey sweetheart.’

‘Hi darling,’ my wife replies, ‘I didn’t want to wake you, but we just got home. You slept so long.’

‘Did I? What time is it?’ I ask her as I look around, trying to remember why we’re in the car.
Joanna looks at her wrist watch and tells me its 10 AM in the morning. She smiles at me and I smile back at her.

‘That was quite the night out for you. You got so drunk that I almost had to carry you back to the car. Good thing I was the designated driver,’ she says, laughing.

‘Oh damn, that’s embarrassing. I can’t remember anything from last night. You’re the best, though! I don’t think there’s any wife better than you.’

‘Oh sweetie, you’re just saying that. Come on, let’s go inside.’

I step out of the car. There’s a cold wind rushing around outside which gives me the chills. I close the car door but before I slam it shut I see something on the rear seat. It’s a small piece of crumpled paper. I take it and unfold it.

I read through it and I can’t help but nervously laugh at the little note.

‘Hey Joanna! Check this out! I found a weird note.’

She stands beside me and reads the text that’s written on it as well.

‘Isn’t this your handwriting, dear?’

She takes the piece of paper out of my hand and looks at it.

‘Indeed it is. It doesn’t matter though, just forget you even found it. You’ll do that for me, won’t you?’

‘Sure. Anything for you. Let me get our coats though, are they in the trunk?’ I reply and I walk towards the trunk of the car.

‘No! No no no! Leave our coats in the car. Don’t open the trunk, I will take care of it,’ Joanna urges me. She grabs my arm and playfully pulls me towards the house. She opens the door and I take off my shoes.

‘For the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I slept this well,’ I say to her before I close the door behind us.

Credit To – TvanK

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Creepypasta

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