Thief

April 21, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Note: This pasta contains gore. If this bothers you, please do not proceed.

The moonlight bathes Paris in a silver, calming hue; a breath of serenity amidst the turmoil of revolution. The city is asleep, deep in its midnight slumber. Only a lonely shadow moves in the stillness of the night, tiptoeing across the rooftops. It climbs effortlessly up a brick wall high above the ground, reaching a window sill with an outstretched hand and pulling itself against the glass. It presses its hands against the wooden windowframe and with a swift motion pulls up. The window clicks open and the shadow slips inside the dimly lit apartment.

The place once belonged to the late magistrate, Pondicher, but after he was relieved of his post -under dubious circumstances- he committed suicide, and the place has remained abandoned ever since. Many enquired about the luxurious two-story apartment but rumours of hauntings and strange sightings kept people away.

Rigaut wouldn’t let old wives’ tales scare him off an opportunity like this. Pondicher had amassed great riches during his time at the courtroom, but he had neither family nor heir, so his fortune should still be in his house. Gold coins, shiny jewels and various other trinkets awaited Rigaut inside the deserted apartment. His lust for gold wouldn’t allow him to pass such a lucrative occasion.

He is now standing in a dimly lit corridor, with wooden, intricately carved doors on the sides leading to the other rooms of the first floor. Specks of dust are dancing in the moonlight coming in from the only window in the hallway. Faded paintings and portraits are hanging from the walls. Further down, a small, wooden table, with scratches on its legs, is covered by a tattered cloth. Two tiny portraits -probably depicting Pondicher and a woman- with the faces scratched off are placed on top of the table.

Rigaut walks carefully down the gloomy corridor, the wooden floor creaking loudly under his feet. He enters the first room on his right. ‘This must be the study’ he thinks. A large bookcase covers the back wall. Piles of old tomes are heaved onto the various furniture -stools, a music player, even a small piano- around the room. Rigaut approaches an equally untidy desk in the middle of the study. Immediately his eyes dart towards a silver pocketwatch partially buried under a pile of stained papers. He grabs it and puts it into an inside pocket of his coat.

His focus shifts to the center of the desk, where a large book lays open. A thin layer of dust covers its parched pages. Rigaut tries to read a few lines, but discovers that the book is written in an unknown language; Greek if he had to guess. Intrigued, he turns page after page, until a crumbled piece of paper falls on the ground. He picks it up. Rows and rows of complete gibberish, with a few lines crossed off. “A list, of sorts.”

Losing interest, he moves back into the hallway. He decides to check the first room on the left. As he steps under the dislodged doorframe, he catches a glimpse of a shadow moving at the other end of the corridor. He quickly spins around. A curtain, torn and shredded, floats softly under the nightly breeze. He laughs at himself for being so jumpy. He has been in this kind of business for many years; the shadows a second skin to him.

He fixes his attention back on the room. This one is much more orderly than the study, but the sense of abandonment is still here. The red paint on the wall is starting to peel, revealing the yellowish plaster covering the brickwork of the building. Fine, aristocratic chairs are gathered around a marble fireplace with blackened-from-the-smoke delicate designs. A ripped chair pillow is thrown in the corner of the room, next to a mahogany dresser. He walks towards that corner, where the faintest idea of a foul odor seems to emanate. Getting closer, a strong sulfuric stench fills Rigaut’s nostrils. Upon investigating the wall, he finds a large hole behind the dresser, broad enough for a small person to creep through, leading to the next room. Slowly, he kneels down to inspect further.

Examining the broken wall, he spots dried blood onto the rim of the hole. Someone must have slid in, only to get cut by jagged edges and wood splinters sticking out. Who would go through there and why? And most importantly, was he still in the building? Rigaut peeks inside the hole, his curiosity pushing him past the rotten smell.

The room is bathed in almost complete darkness, bearing no windows and the only light source being the gap on the wall. Rigaut can’t make out much. The place is in much worse shape than the rest of the house and it is empty save for a battered sofa and a few overturned chairs. His eyes are beginning to adjust to the darkness; little details coming in view. He can now see the white paint on the wall that has dried and on some places has completely fallen off and, most strikingly, blood splattered across the wall and floor. To his horror, he discovers bloody fingerprints and smudges on the floor and lower wall, as if someone has crawled on all fours towards the corner of the room, which is just out of view.

Rigaut stretches his neck and presses as far against the wall as possible in order to get a better view, but the dark corner is still out of sight. Sick of the gruesome scene, he starts to retrieve himself from the hole. But a clanking noise roots him to the spot. He hears raspy, heavy breathing. Then a thumping sound, followed by a painful moan. Rigaut’s mind freezes. He hears the scraping of nails on the hard floor. Someone is dragging himself towards the opening. Rigaut tries to move, but his limbs are numb from fear. The noise is coming closer and closer.

Then, it stops, a low growl replacing it. Seconds pass. Rigaut, pale-faced and wide-eyed, slowly pulls himself backwards. As he is getting up, a hoarse scream pierces his brain. Rigaut rushes to his feet. A rattling of chains and thumping of limbs fills the thief’s ears. Whatever is on the other side is lunging towards the hole. Rigaut runs out of the room slamming the door behind him, the force bringing down the doorframe. He rolls to the side, narrowly escaping the falling door, which crashes to the floor raising a fog of dust.

He runs out to the corridor. “Whatever is in that room can go to hell. I don’t care even if there someone dying in there. Every man for himself, that’s my motto,” Rigaut thinks as he turns towards the window, but the sight in front of him stops him on his tracks and sends shivers down his spine. A man drenched in blood is blocking his exit. His eye sockets are empty, a thick, pus-filled fluid dripping down his cheeks. The white rags thrown over his head don’t cover much of his scarred body. A thick red line runs around his neck, like something tight was tied around it. Three large nails are pinned on his right forearm, while the fingers on both his hands are cut into short, grisly stumps.

Rigaut, mortified by the ghastly sight, backs down the corridor. With trembling hands he tries to grab on something to steady himself, but his legs give way and he falls on his back. He quickly stumbles back on his feet, frantically scanning the floor for an escape route. Unable to spot the main door, he blindly runs up a staircase on his left. He glances over his shoulder, catching the monstrosity turning its head towards him, its mouth curved into the faintest of smiles.

Distracted, he trips over the last step and falls flat on his stomach; his face pressed against a musty old carpet. He pushes himself up and takes a quick look around. This floor is much more claustrophobic than the first. The ceiling is hanging lower and the corridor connecting all the rooms is much narrower. One of the three doors is broken, revealing a small store-room closet. Rigaut lunges to the first of the two. He wrestles with the doorknob, but the door remains closed. He runs to the next door. A nasty smell hits his nostrils. He hesitates, but knowing his options are limited, he pushes the door open.

As the door creaks open, a gust of stale air burst out of the room. Covering his nose, Rigaut carefully peeks inside. Before he can get a view of the room, a little man jumps in front of him. He looks old and feeble, his frail framework trembling under his own weight. The few hairs left on his head are oily and a crust of filth covers his skin.

“Welcome to the Wall of Art,” he says in a high-pitched voice. He smiles, revealing a row of rotten teeth in his mouth. The old man steps outside the room, closing the door behind him. He is wearing a bloody white shirt, that once must have been very expensive, and he is carrying a small hammer in his right hand. He has no pants on, his swollen genitalia on display. Yellow and white marks run down his inner thighs.

“Come in and marvel at the wonders hidden inside that little corner of our world,” he gestures to Rigaut, his bony fingers trembling.

Rigaut steps away from the man until his back is pressing against the wall behind him.

“Don’t be scared. Come in and stand in awe in front of the unearthly beauty of our exhibits,” the old man says, stepping closer to Rigaut. His mouth reeks of rot and decay. He extends a greasy hand towards Rigaut’s face.

“Young lad, I assure you, the Wall is unlike anything you have ever seen. It will elevate you, it will perfect you. You need the Wall to be complete and the Wall needs you. Step inside and become part of the art.”

A surge of adrenaline rushes through Rigaut’s body. He slaps the old man’s hand away and runs for the staircase. The scarred man previously blocking the window is nowhere to be seen. Rigaut’s heart flies. He is so close to escaping this house of horrors, but as he sets foot on the first step, he freezes.

At the bottom of the stairs, a woman -her joints twisted and her limbs rigid- is slowly crawling up the stairs. She twitches and squirms, trying to drag her broken body up the stairs. She is wearing a white, ragged dress and her forehead is adorned by a broken tiara. Her blonde hair has been torn off, with only a few patches left and those glued on her scalp and forehead by sweat and grease. Her glassy eyes are staring blankly at the ceiling while her head is bobbing lifelessly left and right.

Out of breath, Rigaut bolts towards the nearest door on his right, his weight bringing it down and his momentum carrying him to the other end of the room, straight into a pile of rotten body parts. Eyes and limbs and tongues and hair, all crammed into a heap of gore and flesh.

Rigaut gags, the revolting smell invading his senses. Clotted blood glues his fingers together, his hands a sticky mess of blood and hair. He tries to get up but he slips, crashing back down on the pile of dismembered limbs.

“Sir, you aren’t authorized to enter the backstage area,” the shrill voice of the disgusting little man echoes in the room. “I will have to see you out sir,” he says, stepping through the doorframe. He walks steadily towards the fallen thief, rolling up his bloodied sleeves and swinging his small hammer around. Rigaut, accepting his fate, lies still and closes his eyes while the old man downs the hammer onto his head.

The thief’s eyes burst open; explosions of pain shooting across his body. He is lying on top of an unstable table, with the old man’s figure looming over him; a hammer in hand.

“Steady now,” the old man says, bringing the hammer down on Rigaut’s hand. His vision becomes blurry; a sharp pain on his palm numbing his senses. Rigaut looks at his right hand and, to his horror, finds a large nail penetrating his palm. The old man thrusts down with the hammer once more, pinning Rigaut’s hand to the table. The thief screams in agony.

“Shush young lad. You are ruining the magic. You will have plenty of time to scream later. Now I need you to be silent and let me concentrate on my work,” the old man says, putting his hammer down. He pulls a wheeled storage cabinet from underneath the table and opens it. After hastily searching for the tool he needs, he grabs a large, mechanic pair of pliers which he rests at the end of the table, near Rigaut’s feet.

The old man grabs Rigaut’s right foot and pulls it towards the pliers. The thief kicks and stomps, but the pain in his hand impedes his movement and he ultimately succumbs to the man’s surprisingly firm grip. His foot is pushed between the pliers, two metal plates locking it in place. The filthy man steps back, a wry smile etched on his face.

“What the fuck are you doing!?” Rigaut screams. The smile on the old man’s face broadens.

“I am painting. I am painting over nature’s incomplete work, perfecting it,” he says, using his whole weight to pull down a rigid lever connected to the mechanic pliers.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, you sick bastard!”

The metallic plates press down on Rigaut’s ankle. The grip becomes tighter and tighter. Rigaut screams in agony, as his bones crack under the metallic grip.

“There is no point in screaming, young lad. Nobody can hear you. You are only ruining your beautiful voice,” the old man says letting go of the lever. “And you want to be at your sparkling best when she plays with you,” he continues, putting emphasis on the word ‘she’.

The pliers around Rigaut’s ankle relax. The thief exhales in exhaustion.

“Now!” the old man claps his hands. “Before I leave you to her mercy, I will show you a glimpse of the greatness that awaits you,” he says, walking towards the darkest corner of the room.

Rigaut stretches to see what the old man is doing, but his aching body limits his movement. Instead, he focuses on his surroundings. He notices red curtains covering the walls around him. They are heavy and thick and their surface curves slightly around strange bumps sticking out from the wall.

Suddenly, he hears a rusty metallic sound in the corner behind him.

“Behold. The Wall of Art,” the old man whispers in a hushed voice.

The curtains part revealing dozens of bodies hanging from the walls. Some are charred, others are skinned to their bones and others are missing limbs. Large iron spikes are nailed on their heads, pinning them to the wall. They twitch and shudder spasmodically, as if they still try to escape their dreary fate.

Rigaut can only stare in horror; his mind numbed by the horrors of the cursed house. The old man stares at the bodies on the wall too, a puddle of drool ready to fall from the edge of his gaping mouth. After a few seconds of silence, he speaks.

“Beautiful, isn’t it? I have worked my whole life to achieve such elegance,” he says, sweeping a tear away from his eye. “And you will be up here soon,” he pauses. “Don’t mind me asking, but, how do you feel? You must surely be humbled by the honour that has been bestowed upon you.”

Rigaut spits at the old man’s feet.

“I don’t blame you for this classless act. In time you will understand. You will understand that man is only a pawn in the hands of a higher force. Everyone is forced to play; everyone is forced to fulfill the plot that has been set for him. Like an opera play, where the singers can’t deviate too much from the original work or they will be struck down.”

The old man says, walking up and down the room, marveling at the bodies hanging from the walls.

“I loved going to the opera. I remember one night, when I went to see the opening of Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’. Oh, what a marvelous show that was. There, smitten by the maestro’s divine touch, I fell in love. I fell in love with the Queen of the Night, played by the beautiful and majestic Josephina Rossignol. But I knew I couldn’t have her. Have you ever felt the longing pain of a love that cannot be?”

Suddenly, visibly shaken and angry, he punches the table near Rigaut’s broken ankle.

“I was devastated. Such a graceful being could never stand by my side. I was consumed by heart-wrenching despair. Every moment away from her was a moment my heart skipped a bit. I was inconsolable. My life was spiraling swiftly into a hopeless abyss of misery. I only left my house to go to her performances, dreaming she would notice me. But she never did.”

The old man sighs and hangs his head to his chest.

“One day, I mustered up all the courage in my heart to go and confess my love to her. So, I booked a first row ticket to her next performance. I can’t even remember what the play was, that’s how nervous I was. After the opera was over and the actors retrieved backstage, I slowly made my way to her dressing room. With shaking hands I knocked on the door. She didn’t answer. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door,” he says, hiding his face in his bloodied palms.

“And there she was. S-she was… indulging herself with another actor. My whole world collapsed around me. I don’t know what happened afterwards. Maybe I died and went to hell. All I know is when I opened my eyes I was sitting in a chair in this very room; my love’s mutilated body lying where you lie right now. Something had snapped inside me. I could feel it. I was broken.

“You have met her, you know. She was the one slithering her way up the stairs. My love, my first painting, reduced to a hollow cell of something once beautiful. I cannot hang her on the wall and be done with her. No, she won’t let me,” he emphasizes on the word ‘she’ once more.

“I have to watch my love wilt and wither till there is nothing left of her. I had to chain her to a wall downstairs; that’s how sad her deteriorating state made me.”

The old man snaps his fingers.

“But enough with the chit-chat. My love is simply a work in progress. It is her that you should be scared of. The Lady of the House. She is the one running this household. I am simply a painter. I paint her victims and she plays with them, feeding off their misery and suffering. The more beautiful the painting, the greater the satisfaction she gets.”

As he says that, he opens a toolbox waiting on a chair and pulls out a knife and a cleaver.

“And now, it’s your turn to get painted,” he says, running his finger down the sharp side of the knife. Satisfied he buries his hand in his toolbox, searching.

Rigaut sees his chance. Mustering up every source of strength in his body, he pulls his hand away from the spike pinning it down and rolls on his side, screaming. He comes crushing down from the table, his mind blurred by the pain. The old man turns around and stares at Rigaut with eyes filled with hatred. He grabs a hammer and slowly walks towards the thief.

Rigaut reaches for his left foot, pulling out a dagger concealed in his boot. He grips the handle tightly with his left hand; his knuckles whitened by the effort. The old man swings at Rigaut with his hammer. The thief easily evades the blow and stabs the man on his shoulder, but his broken ankle gives way and he falls flat on his back, his dagger flying out of his reach.

The old man charges towards the fallen Rigaut, but the thief kicks him in the knee, staggering him. Rigaut struggles to his feet, leaning against the table for support. His adversary swings his hammer once more, but the thief catches his hand in mid-air. The two men wrestle, but Rigaut manages to come on top, throwing the old man on the ground. By the time he gets back on his feet, the thief has already grabbed his dagger and is steadying himself for the oncoming assault.

The old man charges once more. This time, Rigaut feigns a move to his right but at the last second darts to the left, plunging his dagger deep into the man’s gut. Despite the stinging pain on his ankle, he manages to balance himself and grab the old man -who has dropped his hammer and is holding his bleeding belly- by the neck.

The old man’s face suddenly drops, a sad and tired look resting over his eyes.

“I once was Pondicher, the Great Magistrate of the Paris’ Court. But now I die as a wretched worm. Oh, how cruel life has been to me,” he says dropping on his knees.

“At last, I find peace. But the Lady, oh, she needs a painter. Without one sh-”

Rigaut slices his throat. He drops the dying man on the floor, letting him gurgle on his own blood; his face a visage of terror. A few seconds later, he draws his stern breath. Rigaut drags him across the room, pulling him onto the bloody table. He puts down the dagger and grabs a hammer. He puts a nail on the side of the magistrate’s head and thrusts down.

A new piece of art is now adorning the Wall.

Credit To – MrDupin

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The Grove

April 12, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I was always a the type of guy that enjoyed a good mystery. Mysteries like UFO sightings or those TV shows about paranormal investigators that stay a night in a haunted house always sparked my imagination as a child and on into adulthood. Some of those shows kept me awake at night, but that was all part of the fun. I never bought too much into crazy theories, but I do pay attention to anything that really makes you question what really goes on.
One documentary in particular set my mind racing. It was one of those History Channel shows that explore various mysteries over the course of the hour. This episode talked about the Bohemian Grove.
For those of you who don’t know, the Bohemian Grove is a camping ground in the Redwood Forests of California that hosts a two-week retreat in the middle of July for the world’s most powerful men. It is here that they may form a sort of think tank. This has led to some believing that the two-week getaway is actually a meeting for the New World Order.
I don’t particularly subscribe to the whole NWO theory, in fact it is one of my least favorite conspiracy theories. However, Bohemian Grove was only a few hours drive from my home in Red Bluff so I somehow resolved that a trip down to the Redwoods would be some good fun. I figured June was almost over so if I head down in a few weeks I might even be lucky enough to see some VIPs.
I called up some buddies of mine and asked if they would be down to do a little backpacking and if they knew what the Grove was. They told me that they had heard of it and a change of scenery would be good. So over the next couple of weeks we threw together some equipment and gear for the trip and headed on down.
My friends, Taylor and Joe, read just as far into the Bohemian Grove as I had so we were on the same page as far as what to expect when we got there. As such, we decided the best time to get to the Grove was a little after dark, so as to avoid any sort of security that, undoubtedly, be present.
According to our map, the best way into the Grove was to follow Smith Creek east from Russian River, and then fork due south. The trip itself would take almost a full day of just trucking through the hike, but we wanted to take our time and enjoy being away from Red Bluff. So instead, we’d go halfway and camp a night. That way, we could hike the rest during the day and roll into the Grove after sunset.
After a few hours, some restroom stops, and lunch, we’d arrived at Monte Rio where we’d found a pretty isolated spot to park the car. As we unloaded our gear, we took in the cool, moist air that the shade of the Redwoods provided for us. It was a sunny day and the clouds were sparse. The birds were chirping and singing high in the trees. The day began as the most peaceful display of nature I had ever known.
We heard the dancing waters of Russian River, locked down the car, and headed towards our starting point. It was then, among the tallest living things in the world, that I knew this place went beyond a simple meeting place for the elite. It was even beyond a force of hidden agendas and conspiracy. This place was mystical. The very air tasted purified like spring water and smelled of rich soil. Perhaps it was the age of the forest that made it that way, an aged man that settled in for his twilight years.
Our first day went great. The weather had been perfect all day. Even navigating our rather nonexistent trail proved a fun challenge. Once the sun started sinking, we set up camp and ate some of the rations we had packed. Since we were in no hurry to burn the forest down, we didn’t even bother with a fire. It was only an hour or two after nightfall that we had all settled in to our tents.
The forest’s nocturnal denizens were not as peaceful as their daytime counterparts. I was awoken by my tent rattling and bouncing around. I heard the flutter of wings and the panicked squeaks of some small creature that failed to take refuge under my tent. I figured I had to take a piss so I might as well see what the commotion was. I emerged from the tent with my headlamp and saw nothing, initially. So I walked a good twenty feet from the campsite and began to relieve myself when I looked up to see a pair of intensely glowing yellow eyes. I jumped in fright as whatever it was had caught me at an inconvenient moment. My eyes adjusted to reveal that it was a good-sized owl perched on a boulder. As I finished emptying myself while still in eye-lock with this creature, it did something I had not expected. The owl flew down from the boulder and onto the ground directly in front of me. There was something menacing, even insidious, in its gaze. Not once did it break eye contact. That is, until it let out a chilling screech I had only ever heard from a barn owl and flew off into the night.
The screech seemed to trigger the rest of the forest into action. Mice scurried along the ground. A family of deer high-tailed it to the north. I could hear a large pack of coyotes baying in the distance as if on the hunt. Needless to say, I hurried back to my tent and did not sleep very well. I could still feel that owl watching us from somewhere above.
The forest had calmed down after about ten minutes, but I had not. It was that look. The look of hatred I had never seen in an animal before. There was just something so un-animal about it, nearing a semblance of expression. The look of a man drunk with hate. A killer through the eyes of the victim. Something purely dark.
Right when I had began to doze off, I heard something that guaranteed I wasn’t going to sleep that night. It began soft, almost in the realm of hallucination. The sobbing of a child. It grew louder. Then it took on the form of a baby’s pained screams. I wasn’t the only one that heard suspicious noises this time.
“Hey, Taylor.” It was Joe speaking in a half whisper.
“Yeah, I hear it,” Taylor replied with a shaky voice.
“Man, what the fuck is that?”
“I don’t know, man, but it’s freakin’ me the hell out.”
“Why does it sound like a baby crying?” I chimed in equally as frightened.
“It sounds like it’s moving,” Joe said a bit louder. And indeed the sound was getting louder.
“How does a baby end up miles away from any road by itself?” Taylor asked as if to dismiss it as a dream. His question was something we had all secretly known and held from our minds in denial. A denial that I’d break with two words.
“It doesn’t,” I said.
The veil of panic set in as the wailing reached its climax. The deafening sound came from all angles at once. I clasped my hands over my ears, but still the cries burrowed through. I began to feel dizzy. The very ground seemed to spin at the sound of the child’s pain and despair. My head was pounding and my vision began to blur.
“Oh, I’m gonna fucking puke,” I heard from one of the other tents. I could no longer recognize their voices over all the commotion.
The cries slowly began to taper off. They eventually faded back into a plausible hallucination and on into silence. I emerged from my tent to find Joe kneeling over a puddle of vomit and coughing out the last drops. Taylor was already out as well, disoriented by the screams. I checked my watch to see if it was even worth trying to salvage a few hours of sleep. 3:23 a.m. It was probably enough time to try.
“What’s going on out here, man?” Taylor asked as an open question.
“This…is a…pretty sick joke…if that’s what you…brought us out here for,” Joe coughed out at me followed by a gaseous burp and a slight recovery.
“You think I wanted to do that to myself, too?” I retorted.
“That wasn’t any of us,” Taylor began, “None of us brought anything that could make noise like that, much less would any of us want to listen to that ourselves. Our best idea would be to try to go back to sleep and talk about it in the daylight where our minds won’t play so many tricks on us.”
We all agreed. Taylor had, in fact, always been the wisest and most level-headed of the three of us. But this truth was something we couldn’t consciously believe. Our minds couldn’t grasp it, like it had heard some strain of hideously vulgar language.
Before I retired back to my tent, I chanced a look up at the forest ceiling. I saw my headlamp’s beam climb the giant’s trunk and into the sky. It was here that I saw the clear night, the moon’s crescent glow among the stars. Along with a pair of intense, yellow eyes. A skulking stalker; waiting and watching.
I know I dreamed that night. For the life of me, I can’t remember what it was. I know I woke up terrified, instantly remembering and reliving the past night. I do remember that it was one of those nightmares you can’t willingly wake up from. It was the kind that even if your thoughts reject everything you see, you still can’t revive from sleep. A prison inside the only place that knows exactly what you fear.
I rolled out of my tent at around eight o’clock. It was an extremely foggy morning. I knew this particular ecosystem was renown for fog, but this was far beyond my imagining. The forest itself was calm, thankfully, but in a way that was eerily so. There were no birds singing in the early morning. No deer or elk roamed the woods. In fact, it was totally still. And totally silent. But I took this as a pleasant change of pace compared to the prior, hellish night.
Joe was the second to wake up and open his tent. He had the same restless look in his eyes that I imagine I also had in mine. He got a couple packs of trail mix out of his pack and threw one my way. My failed attempt to catch the snack was trailed by our first talk of the day.
“I don’t want to talk about anything until we start walking,” Joe stated as a matter of fact.
“I second that notion,” I replied, looking around the forest suspiciously.
“And I third,” said a voice in Taylor’s tent. It had startled Joe and I before we figured out Taylor had awoken and begun packing.
It didn’t take long to take down the campsite. Breaking down tents and stuffing sleeping bags was something we’d done many times before. But none of us spoke a word while we did it. It was an appropriate reflection of the forest’s own silence. I left out the map and a compass to finish orienteering to the Grove; the three of us donned our packs; and without much more than a glance at each other, we continued south. Figuring we had come all this way already, we trudged headlong into the unknown we had caught a brief glimpse of a few hours earlier.
The sun was high in the sky as the fog cleared and evaporated. It was soothing to hear birds chirping once again and to smell the same purity in the air as the day before. We still had several miles left until the Grove, so we might as well enjoy it.
“At least it turned out to be an alright day.” Taylor was the first to speak.
“Yeah, but what about last night?” Joe asked with a slightly worried tone.
“What about it?” I asked rhetorically, begging to not relive it in memory.
“That cry, dude,” Joe began, “I’ve never been that scared in my life. How did it get out here? Like you said, it couldn’t have made it out here on its own. Something had to carry it, or someone. Whatever it was didn’t seem to be in a huge hurry to shut it up. Furthermore, that cry got loud. Like it walked straight through camp.” Joe’s perceived paranoia was scratching at the walls of questions we all had but knew we couldn’t bear the answer to.
“I saw something when I got out of my tent last night.” Taylor had chimed in now, and he had captured our full attention. “Before the cries completely vanished, I saw two lights fading into the woods. They were bouncing as if carried by someone walking very slowly through the woods. They were as small as candles and burned as bright, as well. I didn’t want to say anything then to alarm you guys further.”
“Which way were they going?” I asked and immediately regretted doing so.
Taylor paused a moment and I could see him working it out in his head. His eyes shot down to his feet to watch his step and then back up to the woods. “I- I don’t know,” he stated after hesitation.
But I knew. I knew he had remembered which way his tent was facing. I knew he had remembered which way he was looking relative to his tent. It was the type of thing he had typically taken note of. I knew he knew exactly which way they had gone. And I knew we must be following them.
“Aside from all this crazy-talk,” Joe said to try to shrug off the conversation, “What are we gonna do tonight when we actually get to Bohemian Grove?”
“Well,” I had thought this part out well, “We all have binoculars, right?”
They nodded in agreement
“I was thinking we’d post up on a nearby clearing. It needs to be somewhere we won’t have our view limited by the trees and a place high enough to have a good view of whatever’s going on. I looked at the satellite pictures of the areas around the Grove and our path should lead us somewhere that may work for us. Don’t know what we’ll see, but we oughtta at least see some VIPs and some of the facilities.”
“I just hope this whole trip wasn’t for a bad view of a place we know nothing about,” said Joe begrudgingly.
We took great comfort in the remaining daylight, even partially recovered from the terror of the night. As twilight set in and we came upon our clearing, the daylight had already become sorely missed. We set our packs down in front of us and used them to prop up our chests, making the extended use of binoculars a bit more comfortable.
I peered through the scopes to see only distant Redwoods still visible in the fading twilight. As I panned around I began seeing cabins and tents. They were small, almost miserly shacks. Not a place I’d expect to see visiting dignitaries. I lowered my binoculars to see what my cohorts were looking at.
“Some hive for the rich and wealthy,” said Taylor who had apparently seen and thought the same as I had.
“What’s that?” Joe lowered his binoculars and pointed toward a small body of water.
I raised mine back up in the direction of the water. It almost looked like an amphitheater. A small pond giving rise to stone steps filled my sight. I followed the stairs up to what appeared to be a two-tiered stone stage separated by another set of steps arranged in a semi-circle. At the center of the semi-circle was what appeared to be a stone fire pit of some sort with a strangely shaped monolith behind it, towering over the amphitheater.
As I stared at this strange sight I had ascertained what the monolith was. It was a statue of a large, winged creature. An owl, to be certain. My mind raced back to the vicious owl at the campsite. I tried to dismiss it by thinking it a bizarre coincidence. But the whole thing made me feel uneasy.
“Looks like a kind of theater,” said Taylor. “That’s probably gonna be what we wanna watch tonight.”
We all agreed and used the day’s last light to set up our tents. Thankfully, our tents blended well with the environment. This would help us avoid being discovered by the security that was surely present with such high-profile individuals about. No lights were to be used all night and we rarely spoke above a whisper. Our dinners consisted of beef jerky and peanuts, a true backpacker’s delicacy. It seemed that the purple glow of twilight gave way to utter darkness in mere minutes and the nightly silence followed.
The moon hung in the sky as a resolute watcher of the night as the stars joined in with us as secret audiences of Bohemian Grove. The three of us posted back up on our packs with our binoculars glued to our faces. The Grove was dimly lit by candles and lanterns posted along the roads. This was our first sign of actual life down there. We could see vague forms and figures migrating toward the amphitheater. Taylor had chosen the right spot to watch.
It was hard to tell what these figures were wearing in the dim. The only thought that came to my mind was the robes worn by a choir. Except these robes were mostly black, broken up by some blues, grays, dark greens, and only two reds from what I could tell. Their faces were all shielded by hoods. The vast majority of black robes gathered on the north side of the small pond, closest to us, and a faint hum of conversation permeated the crowd of about fifty. All colored robes took places on the stone stage and carried candles. I chanced a look over at Taylor to see what he may be thinking. All I could see was a lump forming in his throat. I peered back down the scopes.
One of the blue robes stood center stage. He held what appeared to be an unlit torch aloft. The buzz of talk among the audience silenced. At first it was difficult to discern what the figure was saying. Eventually, my ears had tuned in to the man’s baritone voice.
“…on this, the first night of this year’s encampment, we welcome all into our domain of shared wisdom and brotherhood. I will be the Old Guard residing over tonight’s communion and, indeed, Bohemian Grove itself. Let us begin with a word of prayer to Moloch.” The man lowered the torch and raised his right hand toward the owl monolith. The crowd and the bystanders on stage mimicked the action. “Greatest Moloch, we humble servants of your way ask for close guidance these next few weeks to carry us through the rest of the year before we convene here once again to bask in your sight and take shelter in your mighty wings. We seek the wisdom and knowledge to best lead our people into your divine talons so they may be carried on the winds of enlightenment.”
The crowd followed by speaking a verse in the form of a chant. I couldn’t distinguish but a single word from it but it was no longer than a short sentence beginning with the word “Wisdom” and fading into indistinguishable babble. Owls had often been associated with knowledge and wisdom in many cultures so it made sense to ask this “Moloch” for such a thing.
The blue-robed man continued, “It is not out of charity we ask these things. We have prepared for you a seed that would surely grow as mighty as these trees you have made your dwelling in. Please watch, dear Moloch, as we prepare for you our offering.” He lowered his hand back to his side and lifted the torch back up.
The crowds lowered their hands as four grey robes flanked the blue with candles pointed forward. They raised their small fires to ignite the torch into a blaze of its own. Once lit, the four returned the candles to chest-level and retreated to their spots.
“The lighting of the torch symbolizes the four Songbirds that fly the Void,” the blue robe continued, “singing their Unheard Lullaby to Camazotz. Moloch is the Songbird of Knowledge. As such, he is tasked with remembering the song should the other three forget or the song end.” The man turned and walked toward the stone fire pit and lit the kindling inside.
The fire began small and smoky, but eventually was able to outshine all other lights when coupled with the reflection made by the pond. I, nearly blinded by the inferno, took my eyes out of their respective lenses and looked to my two friends.
“So this is what they do when we don’t see them on TV,” whispered Joe mockingly. He and Taylor were still peering through their binoculars so I raised mine back up to my head.
The blue-robed man spoke again. “This ceremony is called the Cremation of Care, and it is our longest held tradition.” For the rest of this “ritual” he spoke exclusively in an undefined language. It sounded like it may have been close to Hebrew, but I was no linguist. He spoke quickly in his almost-haunting beretone voice. Every few sentences, he would stop to allow the crowd to respond with a chant in the same twisted language.
“I don’t feel too good about this,” whispered Taylor.
“Yeah, man,” I spoke in hushed, shaky tones, “Everything about this feels wrong…wait, what are the two red ones doing?”
The two red-robed figures standing on either side of the owl turned and walked slowly, as if calculating every step, behind the monolith. Moments later, they returned carrying either side of a dresser-drawer sized wicker basket. Its contents were obscured by our angle. The two continued their snail-paced walk to the front of the the fire pit. They set the basket down and returned to their posts.
The blue robe continued his obscured sermon and turned to point at the two red robes. His rant had carried on, but this was not what held our attention. The two figures in red raised their hands to the sides of the hoods. They slowly and simultaneously lowered them to reveal a hideous sight. Two pale bald heads emerged from the hoods, each lacking eyebrows and facial hair as well. Perhaps the strangest of things were their eyes, each with heavy cataracts that gave the irises a ghostly appearance that was enhanced by a slight jaundice. Theses men had been stricken blind.
“We…we need to leave,” said Taylor slightly above a whisper.
But Joe and I were nearly entranced. We would be witnesses to something the world did not know of. It was this ability to wield forbidden knowledge that held our attention stronger than the sheer terror.
“Guys,” Taylor was speaking at conversation volume now, “You don’t get it, guys. We need to leave. Now. Before we see something that will drive us insane.”
“Taylor,” Joe began speaking as loud as Taylor now, “You’re freaking out about nothing. These guys are harmless.”
“Well you can keep your head up your ass, but I refuse to sit and watch any longer.”
“Both of you keep it down,” I whispered loudly. They ceased their bickering. I knew Taylor may have figured something out, but I could not stop watching what was unfolding below. “Nobody’s making you stay, Taylor. If you don’t wanna watch go in your fuckin’ tent.”
Taylor stared at me for a second with a look of shock in his eyes before walking back to his tent. I couldn’t be bothered by his cautionary advice. What I was seeing took greater precedence.
As I once again donned my binoculars I could see the blue robe walk over to the basket at the foot of the fire pit. He was still speaking in tongues as he pulled a bread loaf-sized clump of rags out of it. But the rags started to unfurl. He cradled the remainder in his left arm. With his right hand he reached into the clump and raised, as though unsheathing a sword, an infant child and held it high in the air by its leg. He paraded the now-wailing child around the stage like brandishing a trophy.
Chills shot through my whole body. Bumps formed on my arms. My heart was a racing engine. Whatever was about to happen could only be a sinister act. An act of dark obsession and evil motives. My stomach churned as the same ear-piercing cry of the baby in the forest shot out from the Grove. Had this been the same baby? Had the two figures in red robes carried it right through our camp, blind to their surroundings? What about that damned owl? We were in the midst of no mere sermon, but of an unholy communion. A sacrificial rite.
I froze. Unblinking. Unable to react to what I was seeing. Unable to run. Taylor had been right, yet again. I could hear him beginning to cry in his tent, not capable of leaving the friends that defied him. A cold sweat began rolling down my forehead.
The man in the blue robe put his left hand on the child’s forehead and recited, loudly and clearly, words from some arcane ritual written in the mutilated Jewish tongue. He removed his left hand and walked toward the fire. He reached the baby over the blaze and released it. The child was devoured by the charring depths of the sacrificial furnace. Some monstrous, sickening deed had been done in the name of this malign deity. The cries grew in intensity, reaching a new level of agony and suffering. The blaze shot up, reaching the height of the monolith before being completely extinguished in an instant. A silence hung in the air that suggested the poor child now knew a sleep it was far too young to meet.
My eyes adjusted to the dark after moments. Candles and lanterns were now the primary light. The forest seemed to shiver after what it had seen. The moon abandoned its nightly watch and the stars turned their backs.
“The seed is fed to the fire, as the ancient rite goes,” said the blue robe bowing to the owl statue. “Hear us and reply, Lord Moloch. Share the wisdom of ages.”
I could hear what sounded like distant thunder rolling through the forest. Once it passed overhead, it was followed by a cold wind. If my bones had not already been chilled the wind would have surely done it. My eyes suddenly started burning fiercely. With no explanation as to what had caused it, I glanced toward Joe. He had gone pale and looked sickly. He was crying blood. Thinking I might have been doing the same, I rubbed my eyes and looked at my hands. They were a dark shade of crimson.
“We gotta get the fuck outta here,” said Joe on the verge of vomiting.
“Tell Taylor he was right. I’ll start breaking down the tents.”
We packed the camp up in mere seconds, though at the time it felt like a grim eternity. The wind picked up as we left our precipice. The sky was now shrouded in cloud and it was not long before rain was falling. Whatever monster the Grove had been calling to had definitely answered. With our headlamps on and our hearts in a panic, we set off in a dead run through the forest.
The wind was causing the trees to sway and flex. It cut in between them, making a ghastly moaning noise. Taylor led the way with Joe and I trailing closely behind. Lightning flashed, giving us a brief, lighted glimpse of the forest. The thunder clapped in the distance and began growing louder. It felt like that thunder was chasing us. As it rolled overhead, our headlamps began to flicker. The flickering was mild at first, dimming and occasionally blinking. This progressed until the lamp was nothing more than a paperweight with a head strap.
Once my light went out, I ripped it off my head and tossed it aside. This run was miserable. Every breath filled my lungs with freezing air. I could not tell if my eyes burned because the rain or the blood that still trailed from them. I could feel the weight of my pack dig in to the muddy ground with every step.
With a flash of lightning, I could see something falling onto Taylor. The impact took him to the ground. Immediately following, Joe tripped over Taylor with me nearly going over as well. I saw Joe roll over in the dirt and recover to his feet. Taylor fell on his side and was shielding his face with his arm. Another flash of lightning revealed what Taylor was shielding his face from. I knew what it was in that very instant by the tell-tale sign of a pair of burning, yellow eyes.
The owl tore at Taylor’s flesh with its talons. It nabbed at his eyes with its beak. Though Taylor flailed around in a desperate act to escape, the nocturnal bird did not let up its onslaught.
“Oh God! Please, God, help me!” Taylor screamed in terror.
I dropped my pack and delivered a swift kick to the owl’s chest. It landed about three feet away on its side. I waited a moment to see if the owl would get back up. It sat lifeless on the ground for a moment before recovering to its feet. Its sulfurous gaze cut through to my very soul and ailed my already weary body. With a hideous shriek and a flutter of wings, the owl flew off into the wicked night.
Taylor had been knocked unconscious. He had deep lacerations all over his arms, prompting heavy blood flow. His eyes were swollen shut. Deep purple bruises covered his face. Aside from still breathing, he looked dead.
Joe and I broke out our first-aid kits and went to work. We applied disinfectant and heavy gauze to his carved-up forearms and hands and tied tourniquets to his upper arms to slow the blood loss.
“We need to get this guy to a hospital,” said Joe, still a bit rattled by the assault.
I nodded. We strapped Taylor’s pack to his chest to keep his weight forward and his possibly concussed head resting on the bag’s frame. Together, Joe and I scooped him up and slung each of Taylor’s bloody arms around our necks and began dragging him out of the accursed forest. No matter how our bodies had already been battered, we now had a life in our hands. The life of a friend. Adrenaline took hold and we summoned the strength to trudge on with our northerly route.
Minutes of walking passed. Followed by what seemed several hours. The sky began to brighten as the rain let up. As if to signal some small salvation, we heard the running waters of Smith Creek. Our weary bodies saw the light at the end of the tunnel and began to shut down. Our legs quaked with the fatigue delivered by every step. All we needed to do now was follow the creek west and to the car.
The familiar sounds of the morning birds filled the air. They sounded so joyous, so blissful, so unaware of the atrocity that occurred. The sin that dejected nature and broke the order, the very substance that defines conscience and sanity. Or perhaps these creatures lived in an ignorant awareness to the annual unholy sacrament in the heart of the forest. An odd sort of pact with this Moloch, for animals, too, fall prey to their own curiosity. Curiosity is, after all, what led us to this strange part of the world. It was out of curiosity that we witnessed that foul enterprise at the Grove. By curiosity’s cruel hand, we were now dragging our dear, nearly-dead friend out of such a cursed land, a wicked garden. It is as if we are all just marionettes, with our innermost questions stringing us along, being manipulated by a prime mover. A blight that rests within all of our hearts and minds. Uncurable and unceasing.
It was around seven o’clock in the morning that we cleared the forest and loaded our gear back into the car. Taylor was lain across the backseat with Joe keeping him from rolling around. Once all was secured, I began driving down to a nearby hospital in Sebastopol.
“What are we gonna say to the doctors?” asked Joe.
“The truth. He was attacked by a wild animal.”
“Wild, huh? I saw how it paused to stare you down after you kicked it, which, by the way, shoulda killed that thing. That bastard had a mind of its own.”
“I know, man,” I said nervously, “I’m trying to forget about all that.”
“Forget? I hate to say it, but I don’t think that’s happening. This is something we have to carry with us to our grave.”
“Well, Joe, if you’ll excuse me, I’m tryin’ to make sure our friend doesn’t get there too long before we do.” I was tired, impatient, and angry. But most of all, still scared shitless of even thinking about everything.
“I’m sorry, dude…You- You just keep driving.”
I was relieved to have some silence for a bit to concentrate on the road. Driving always eased my troubled mind. But then Joe broke the silence, yet again.
“You know…”
“Know what?” I said with a sigh.
“We could help Taylor in another way.”
“Oh, yeah? How’s that?”
“Doesn’t knowing what we know feel like a burden to you?”
“I guess…”
“And we wouldn’t want to burden a friend, would we?”
“What are you getting at?”
“I’m saying we could end his suffering before it starts…save Taylor from a lifetime of fear and paranoia.”
“Are you out of your fucking mind?!” I asked demandingly. I had pieced together what he was playing at.
“C’mon, man. For all we know, he’s in a coma he’ll never wake up from. Would you torture a friend like that? Make him relive the past nights in his mind over and over again in an endless nightmare?”
“I won’t make a judgement call on another man’s life. I won’t play God. And if you so much as look at him funny, you’ll find yourself walking your ass back to Red Bluff.”
He paused a moment and whispered, “It’d be easy. Just one twist. End the poor bastard’s life.”
I pulled over and stopped the car. As I turned to the back seat I saw Joe’s face. He was weeping gravely. The man had lost his mind like Taylor said he would.
“What, man?” Joe sniveled. “Can’t you see that it’s gonna be the end of all of us, anyway? We’ll never get away from it. No matter how long or how far we run, it’ll find us.”
“Look around, Joe,” I said calmly, “What’s coming after us?”
“Right now? Not a thing. But in days, months, even years? He’ll find us. He’ll be the end of us. He’ll hunt us down in our thoughts. In our nightmares. He may come knocking at night, when all evil roams free. He may even find you in broad daylight, when you once again find safety in your daily routines. But he’s coming for us all. Can’t you hear him? He’s whispering in my head. Telling me to end it all. He says you’ll hear him, too. You’ll look into his eyes again.”
His face had gone pale. Tears soaked his face as more welled up in his eyes. His hands shook uncontrollably, like he was being electrocuted. He had either abandoned his sanity or it was lost within him. But what he said terrified me. What he said shook me to my core. He was right. This wasn’t something that could be outlived.
“Look, man, you’re not yourself right now. We’re going to the hospital. Bottom line. Just don’t touch Taylor and don’t say another word. We’ll be there in fifteen.” I turned back around and put the car in drive. Daylight was no sanctuary anymore.
Upon reaching the hospital, Taylor was rushed to the emergency room. Joe and I sat in the waiting room for an eternity. He did nothing but shiver and whisper to himself the entire time. Growing tired of it, I told Joe I was going to the bathroom. Instead of going, though, I spoke to the lady at the front desk and explained Joe’s ruptured sanity as post-traumatic stress. Within moments of a phone call to the psych ward, Joe was confronted by two burly, male nurses and escorted away.
That was the last I saw of Joe. In days to come, his seemingly sudden mental collapse would earn him titles such as schizophrenic, epileptic, and amnestic, among others. I kept tabs on him, but never visited.
After they took Joe away, I sat alone in the waiting room. For two days, I’d attempt to read books or magazines, but my worries would take me away from whatever I was reading. I’d sleep in the chairs, only to be awoken from a nightmare by the lady at the desk offering me a cup of pudding or something. I never felt well enough to eat, but I always muscled down what she gave me.
On that third day, a nurse came out and escorted me to Taylor’s hospital room. His door was closed, but a television monitor outside showed him fast asleep.
“We had to drain the blood out of his swollen eyes,” the nurse began, “after that, it was all a matter of getting stitches to those gashes. One hundred eighty three, to be precise. No concussion. No comatose. He’s just asleep now. Did you want to go inside and see him?”
Just as she asked this Taylor began to stir on the monitor. He looked up to the camera. I did not want to see him anymore.
“No, thanks. I’ll let him get his sleep and contact his family for his insurance,” I spoke these words very briefly. The nurse looked confused as I turned a expeditiously left the hospital to drive back to Red Bluff.
Taylor looked great. His color had come back and, aside from light bruising around his eyes and a map of stitches on each arm, appeared ready to be released. There was just one thing that bothered me. One thing that sent shivers down my spine. Staring through me from that monitor were a set of abhorrent, yellow eyes.

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Spirits of The Caribbean – Vwayaje O Diab

April 11, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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If you are familiar with the tiny island of Trinidad, the southernmost isle of the Caribbean, you may be aware that it is rich in folklore and tradition. You may know of tales passed on through generations, told under flambeau since the days before independence, of magic, bewitchment, and even of wicked sprites that dwell in the forests. However, should you ask your grandparents whether these tales are true or mere fancies, they are sure to warn you of one thing; there is real evil in the world, and real evil in the isles, that was long forgotten when the lights of the towns went up and the forests were burnt away. And they will tell you, should you see this evil, you must never acknowledge it, for it will follow you and bring ill-will, suffering, or death himself to your doorstep. One of these tales is that of Vwayaje O Diab; an entity believed to be the devil himself, who rides through villages under the black of the Caribbean night atop an old cart drawn by black mares, who searches for the tired souls of weary travelers and night vagabonds to carry them away to a hell that lay beyond the borders of the trees. As the elder generations pass away and old tales like this one are erased from the consciousness of society, the malevolence that has manifested itself from centuries of blood spilled and evil practiced on our isles will not soon let us, the generation of technology and education, forget its presence. If you are of this particular generation, there are still places where you can experience the wickedness of the old bush firsthand, and some of them are much closer than you may like to believe.

Should you be acquainted as well with the life of a college student in the tiny island of Trinidad, you may know, among the standard tales of partying and excess, many stories of late night study sessions at one of the local university libraries. There is a library that is situated at the lonely end of a local hospital. For those unaware, a college faculty is resident at this particular health facility, and the library is open at night to accommodate ambitious students who wish to study in peace. Many students follow this routine religiously, and if you are a student of this particular faculty, you may have spent a night or a few studying here. If you are adventurous, however, and you want to prove your grandparents either right or wrong, I encourage you to go to this place to start your journey.

If you decide to stay at the library, know that you are in no immediate danger, as many students frequent the place regularly. However, if you seek to perform the following acts as described, it may require you putting yourself in danger; not the kind of danger that can be avoided by a security patrol, rather the kind that requires a strong will to emerge from without hurt. You will notice many buses making hourly stops to shuttle tired students to their respective homes. The shuttles usually make pre-designated pickups during early hours of the morning as requested by library staff, and the last scheduled shuttle usually arrives at around three in the morning. This shuttle is perfectly safe to enter, however it is not the reason you are here on this particular night. You must remain in the library until the shuttle has left. You will now see that there are people who have stayed with you. Among the others, the ones who remain, some will seem especially foreign to you; in a sense that, although you may be familiar with their faces from the library, neither you nor anyone you ask will be able to recall seeing them around campus, nor can you remember ever speaking with any of them before. After a half an hour had passed, you may see two or three patrons rise and proceed to leave. Should you also exit the library, you will see that another shuttle has arrived and a couple persons are now boarding. Now you may choose to partially board the final bus while keeping one leg firmly planted on the ground behind you. You will see many more persons seated than have entered. None of these persons will be particularly familiar, and will not try to engage you in conversation. The driver will not acknowledge you nor inquire about your destination. You must not fully enter this bus; it is a trick manifested by an evil presence to cause you to relinquish your life. Each being on this bus is a patient from the nearby hospital, considered to be on death’s call, and the driver is Vwayaje O Diab. Exit, and return to the library and stay here for at least the break of four in the morning. On your drive home, do not look into your rearview mirror while on the road. A red hue will radiate from behind your vehicle, resembling lights of an emergency vehicle. You must ignore this, as well as any other anomalies you experience. The devil has seen you and will try to follow you to your family and loved ones and take them for his own.

Credit To – Obeah6611

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A Hanging Lantern

April 10, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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It’s not often that I tell this story, and I don’t much like telling it either, but it seems to get a little easier every time I do. The memories that I have of that night don’t even seem real to me. To this day I can’t wrap my head around how such a thing could have happened to me. I never saw it coming. I mean, how could I be in one place, then suddenly be in another? It happened faster than a lighting strike and it happened faster than a finger snap.

The best I can compare it to? A night void of dreams. It was the kind of slumber where a person stares out of a window at an evening purple sky, blinks, and then finds the window sharply illuminated by the morning sun. The comforts of a familiar bedroom are not in my recollection. Rather, I remember sitting on a bar stool and staring into a glass with anticipation. The bartender returned with my change and I guzzled the first drink of the night.

As the bitter perfume of hops coursed its way out of my nostrils, I peered into the emptying glass. Through the frothy bottom, I saw the clock bordered in a green neon light. Its red L.E.D. digits gave me the time, 9:24 P.M. The time isn’t really important, it’s just the last thing I remembered before the transition.

As the last of the liquid flowed down my throat, I closed my eyes. Upon reopening them, the smoky environment of run-down bar changed to a clear, star-lit sky. The ambient sound of hushed talk and sporadic laughter gave way to a symphony of crickets chirping and Tiger Frogs croaking. As I stared up at the sky, the leaves of a Weeping Willow danced amongst the stars with a gentle night breeze calling the steps.

Blades of long grass tickled my arms and neck as I lied motionless in a silent hysteria; pondering how I managed to get there. I tilted my head to the left and saw a grove a trees in the distance. Before them was a house left in ruin from years of abandonment. The small amount of light from the sky only hinted at its features. It leaned unnaturally at its foundation with a door and set of windows following in parallel with the slant.

I then looked away from it and lifted my head upwards, touching my chin to my collar bone. Past my feet there stood a pond in the distance. The moon’s light reflected off it like a mirror in the stillness of the water. Another Weeping Willow was set at the shoreline with a dim, amber, and scintillate glow of light at its base. In many respects, the way the waxy leaves hung over the light reminded me of a lamp shade. I remembered thinking that some answers to my whereabouts could have been revealed if I ventured towards it, and that is exactly what I would end up doing.

I stood up and immediately a sharp pain throbbed in my right ankle. How I became injured is still a mystery to me as it is to anyone else. Yet still, I limped forward to the light. I had become aware that the place I awoke from was on a hill and my destination was a sharp descent down an embankment, but I clenched my teeth and moved despite the pain.

Eventually, I made it to the embankment and found the source of the light. A simple lantern was affixed to one of the sagging branches of the willow and bobbed up and down in the breeze. I dropped to the ground in a sitting position with my injured limb outstretched in the air. With slow cautious motions, I shuffled myself down the steep slope and again rested at the base of the tree. I was still utterly confused with the situation, yet, there was a glimmer of truth that beckoned in the distance. This truth was a flashing red light in the sky. I recognized it as the water tower of my home town. I thought a great deal about it. If I only followed it, I would find my way back home, but it only appeared as a dim sequence of flashes that indicated it to be miles away. At the same rate. I would eventually come across a road and maybe I could hitchhike my way back.

My thoughts hatched together a plan to tough out the pain and get back to civilization, but first I had to address a need. The gratuitous amount of alcohol I assumed I drank earlier left me with a parched throat. I then gazed at the body of water that welcomed me so invitingly, at least in my mind. I proceeded to crawl on my knees to the pond. The water felt cool as my hands and legs began to submerge below the surface and without hesitation, I cupped a handful and slurped it into my mouth. It tasted horrible as pond water usually does, yet, it did not deter me from collecting a bellyful of it.

After I was satisfied with my consumption, I dipped my hands back into the water and rested them in the muddy depths. It was then I felt a sturdy stick at my fingertips. I could’ve used such a thing as a rudimentary cane considering the painful extent of my mysterious injury. Wrapping my fingers around it, I lifted the wood above the surface and froze in terror.

There resting the slanted branch was face staring lifelessly at mine. Its blackened skin was shriveled against its skull and its long disheveled hair dripped water back into the pond. Its mouth was agape with a patch of algae hanging from the darkened hole flanked with a set of brown teeth. Its chest arched upwards with the pressure of the tree limb compressing against its back. Strained rib bones jutted out through the front of the skin and a sickening sound filled the air as the leathery mass began to stretch under its own weight, like rope under tension. I slowly lowered the stick back into the water with liquid refilling the wide and empty eye sockets of the corpse.

The thought of small decayed particles of flesh floating in the water may have unnerved me, but the reality of that same water being my stomach absolutely disgusted me. I backpedaled out of the pond and vomited shortly after. With shock, I shivered with my back resting against the willow. I’m not sure how long I stared out into the water thinking. Maybe it was a minute? Maybe it was an hour? Perhaps it was most of the night?

At some point, I managed to collect myself once more. Priorities began to develop in my mind of what to do next. The second was to find a way back home. The third was to call the local constabulary and show them the pond. The first did not occur to me until I finally stood once more with my hand resting against the tree. That priority, was to run like the dickens.

Despite the pain it caused, I quickly sprinted away from that place. Every sound of the night was amplified as blood rushed to my eardrums. A rabbit retreating into the bushes or a twig snapping below my feet made me shriek in terror as I panted, sweated, and cried. I’m not even sure how long or how far I ran, but I know a legged-it through a line of trees, two fields of corn, and a quarter section of wheat. Eventually I emerged from one of the fields and found a lonely stretch of blacktop. There I rested alongside the road and wept uncontrollably in the fetal position. My lungs were on fire, my legs ached, and my ankle felt as if it had been put through a wood chipper.

My salvation came as a pair of headlights in the distance. I may not have been able to get to my feet once more, but I waved my arms around in the air like a maniac until they drew close and stopped by me. One of my neighbors just so happened to be passing by and gladly gave me a ride back to town. He asked a lot of questions, most of which I couldn’t answer, and a great many I still cannot. I had no idea how my ankle was sprained. I had no recollection as to how I got there. I couldn’t even fathom how the police eventually found 12 dead bodies in that forsaken swamp. I don’t even know how I could be alive. Maybe I’m just lucky?

There is still one detail that haunts me to this day. It’s not the bodies or the fact I awoke in the middle of nowhere; It’s that hanging lantern. I know it’s all painfully obvious in hindsight, but this thing so simple and innocent held a much more sinister meaning with its presence. I knew one thing for certain. I sure as hell was not the one who put it there. Somewhere in the darkness, someone was with me.

Credit To – G. Preeb

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Just Another Haunted House Story

April 1, 2015 at 2:00 AM
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Some people are born to explore, while some are born to sit at home and waste away in their solitude. Some people have a burning passion in their hearts, and all too often that passion consumes them. These people are often exiled, the energy they produce is too vibrant for the blackened world around them, clouded by the rules and regulations laid down in a feeble attempt to control the ways of man. These people either douse the fire, extinguishing their sole reason for living, or feed it with adventure and exploration.

One such explorer was Kate Brown, a fiery woman who decided to live in the darker realms of life and lived to chart the uncharted. She and her new agency, The Spirit Room, were a collection of these degraded misfits. Ridiculed by the non-believers, they searched tirelessly for evidence of their obsession, and yearned for validation to their personal dogmas. Despite having not yet found this conclusive evidence, The Spirit Room team was one of the most renown supernatural investigators in the world, often turning down viable investigations due to the sheer distance from their hometown and Headquarters, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Despite the distance, The Spirit Room team took up this investigation, concluding that, as their leader and owner Samuel said, “This is the one.” A week prior, The Spirit Room had been alerted of a crime recently committed at a house on the outskirts of Orlando. Three teenagers were brutally murdered, their hearts and organs removed and hung from the ceiling. When the autopsies were conducted the coroners found bite and scratch marks all over their bodies, and found the incision marks to be rough and jagged, done by a dull knife with extreme force. This crime was only one in a series of over 20 murders reported to have happened in the house, all unexplainable with no culprits ever having been caught. 650 Miles, several fast food burgers and a sketchy hotel stay later; the team arrived in Orlando Florida, “The City Beautiful.” After arriving at the Orange Horn hotel, the team spent no time before heading to their location.

When Kate emerged from the car, she was blinded by a bright light. The sun shone vibrantly on the torn road, cluttered with rocks and stones, the petty remainders of a city long overgrown. At first glance she mistook the town for a forest, with the long vines blooming on the rotting wood frames, the flowers and saplings in full bloom, and the nests and tracks of animals scattered across the landscape. Only upon further inspection did she realize that yes, this indeed was a town, and yes, people did once indeed live here. She stepped into the soft mud, and dirtied her well-worn combat boots unloading the equipment from the back of the car.

The house to be investigated in particular was well rotted, the floor shattering into a million wood chips and creating a rush of ants and beetles when the home base system was set up. The air was ripe with the smells of rotting flesh and mildew, with hints of feces and urine. With the help of Samuel and Daniel, The video and sound technician, they succeeded in rigging the house for surveillance. The equipment had been barely set up before night fell, and the men scrambled to test the equipment and to equalize out the sound before any activity started.

As the men continued on this endeavor, Kate decided to explore the old house, to get an idea of the layout which was becoming increasingly dark with each minute that passed by. As she ascended the moist and unstable stairs she could feel the wood give under each stride. She arrived upon a hallway devoid of windows and was forced to finally light her lantern in order to see. Unlike most investigators of her day, The Spirit Room chose to use traditional kerosene lanterns because they found some ghosts more easily identified with them, where newer electric lights often scared away the ghosts. At the end of the hallway was a large pile of sticks and leaves, covered in scurrying black shapes and emitting sharp squeaks through the halls. The air was thick from the humid and rotting house, and as Kate looked to her left, finding a doorless room to which she promptly entered. As his lantern filled the room with light her gaze found a room full of paintings from ceiling to floor, on every wall, rotting and falling apart, many of them indistinguishable. In the center of the back wall was a giant painting that was flaking off at the edges and surrounded by a molding wood frame. The painting was of a landscape full of lush life, a small river coursing through the center with fish jumping out and a turtle on its bank. The sun was setting upon the serene exposition and for a brief second, Kate forgot that she was in a house soaked with the blood of innocents.

Sensing that it was getting time to begin the investigation, Kate turned around and began to walk out the door before she noticed yet another painting, hung all alone in the hallway. Unlike the others, this painting was pristine, and possessed an almost glossy quality to it. It was of a young boy climbing a tall tree in the African savannah, with a blood orange red sun above it. Below the tree was a group of three natives, with expressions of horror on their faces as the tree was engulfed in vibrant red flames. The natives faces stared deep into Kate’s eyes, and she felt the utmost sympathy. Kate reach out her hand towards the painting a stroked one of the natives faces, leaving a large black smear across the painting.

In shock, she stumbled backwards from the painting, and it fell to the ground with a large crash. “Kate? You okay?” she heard from downstairs. “Just knocked something over that’s all” replied Kate in the most courageous voice she could muster. Quickly wiping the paint off on her jeans, she ran downstairs.

“Arighty Kate, so here’s your head camera”, Daniel said, placing the heave headband on her. “This is hooked back to my computer so I can see exactly what you are seeing.” “We’re going to start by exploring the upstairs areas, than the bottom floor, than well split up and I’ll explore the garden and you’ll explore the basement.” Said Samuel. “Is that a good idea? We really shouldn’t split up why don’t we just go to both together.” Kate replied, remembering what had happened earlier and feeling the first signs of fear setting in. “No, we don’t have enough time for that. Also, those are the two most haunted places so we need to observe them at peak activity hour if we want to find anything.” Samuel said, leaving no room for discussion. “Here, take this whistle, it blows at a higher frequency than dog whistles, so if anything starts to get out of hand it should take away any activity you were observing.” Kate accepted the long snakelike tool with gratitude felling that this would be the one time she would end up using it.

Once again, Kate ascended the decaying stairs, this time with her much heavier partner, Samuel. Kate waited at the top of the stairs for Samuel, who was much slower than her. When he finally reached the top of the stairs Kate promptly turned to her right and towards the rats nest. “Left or right?” Said Samuel “Right.” Kate replied. The both turned their separate ways, each into a separate doorway. The room that Kate entered was empty, barren of anything resembling a human living space. Covered in mold and feces the floor was almost unseen. A small glass window with one large crack down the center was on the wall. Walking through the filth, she reached the window and gazed out. Kate saw a small creek in the distance and could hear the bubbling of the waters. Not wanting to let Daniel think she wasn’t serious about this investigation, she turned away from the window only to find a porcelain doll lying in the center of the room, gently placed on top of the sea of excrement. “That wasn’t there before…” Kate muttered under her breathe timidly. She hoped Daniel was watching this. Sensing her opportunity, Kate withdrew her EVP recorder and turned it on. Tschhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… Static. She sighed and turned the recorder off. Kate figured she must have overlooked the doll earlier and it was there all along.

Tapping her boots off, Kate walked into the hallway, Samuel nowhere to be found. She looked around and began to panic before realizing he was simply in the bathroom of this room. “Did you find anything?” Samuel said inquisitively. “Nothing, you?” she replied calmly “Nothing.”

They moved down the hallway into the room the Kate had previously been in, and once again she was captivated by the painting of the river. The waters seemed to flow within the painting, as tattered as it may have been. Kate swore she could almost smell the flowers in full bloom and taste the sweet air of the scene, even in the broken down house she now occupied.

She kept on with this thoughts for what seemed for quite a while until she was brought back to reality by the harsh sound of a painting dropping to the wall. “What the-” Kate began before another painting flew off, and than another, and another. As more and more paintings flew off the walls Kate and Samuel ducked under the central table to hide from the assailing shards of glass. Samuel screamed as a painting flew glass first into his back, and Kate could tell by the rush of red surrounding him that it had caused him injury. “Oh god, get the EVP.” Samuel reach his now bloodied hand into his pockets fumbling around for the recorder before finally finding it as Kate retrieved her whistle, all the meanwhile paintings roaring from side to side, some even flying back up once they landed. Kate blew on the whistles as hard as she could, to no success. “Peice of shit!” she yelled, tossing the metal trinket into the storm. “Here! I cant handle this right now!” Samuel said throwing the EVP recorder at Kate. Kate retrieved the blood soaked EVP and went to turn it on before all of the paintings stopped, where they were, and fell to the ground simultaneously in one loud crash. Tschhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….

“God dammit all that for nothing!” Samuel whimpered in a submissive tone. “Nothing? Nothing? You think that was nothing?” Kate said with excited anger in her voice, “Cameras Samuel! These are cameras!” she said, shaking her head cam. “This combined with Daniels readings downstairs have to be conclusive evidence!” Kate rose from underneath the table, and examined the area around her. The floor was covered in shattered glass and wood, and scattered around where old canvases. The room was thick with dust and mold that had been stirred up in the flurry, along with the stench of fresh blood, causing Kate to become nauseated. As Samuel crawled out from under the table she saw the full extent of how badly he had been hurt.

A big man as he was, he could barely fit under the table, his entire backside sticking out. His now burgundy jacket’s back was torn to shreds by glass, and there were visible pieces of glass lodged in his back. “Samuel! Are you okay! I didn’t think it was that bad!” she cried, rushing towards him. “Yeah I’m fine” he struggled to say, propping himself up on one knee. The searing pain shot through his body causing him to collapse on the floor.

“Daniel! Daniel!” Kate screamed over and over. “No no no no no, stay awake Sam!” she said, slapping his face back and forth as he struggled to close his eyes. “Get out for your own safety, run, leave me…” Samuel said finally closing his eyes. “No! Don’t you fucking do this to me!” Kate pleaded. The pool of red grew around her as did her screams for help.

Had Kate realized that she was screaming at the top of her lungs, and had she realized that Daniel most certainly should have been able to hear her, she may have suspected something was out of place, other than of course the now dead man in front of her. In a last ditch effort, she began beating senselessly on Samuel’s chest, not having been certified for CPR and only having seen it done in movies she had no idea on how to conduct such a procedure, especially not on someone as large as Samuel.

It was several more minutes of thrusting and screaming before Kate realized that it may have been time for her to actually get out. Realizing that Daniel was not coming, and Realizing that Samuel was dead as a doornail, she sprinted towards the door. Running towards the door she heard a loud gasp from behind her. Startled, she jerked around to see Samuel sitting up perfectly fine. “Samuel!” she began to return to him before he screamed a loud and rancorous scream which stunned her. The floor began to blister and wave, bursting to reveal hordes of spiders and beetles, all of which ran towards Kate. She grasped her ears to block out the sound only to find that her ears were bleeding oily blood profusely. She ran into the hallway and slammed the door shut behind her.

“Just a couple more steps, down the stairs, out the door, get out of this house and I’ll be safe” she thought. The hallway began to elongate for what seemed like miles and miles, and fast as Kate could run was not fast enough to reach the ever-distant stairs. The door to the art gallery was full of clicking and pounding, and the sound was still persistent, although by this time Kate’s luxury of hearing was long gone. Kate ran faster and faster until finally she collapsed from exhaustion. “Just accept it, you’re going to die” Kate thought solemnly. Opening her arms and legs spread eagle, she closed her eyes and waiting for the ever persistent insects to devour her.

She waited. And waited. And waited. When death had not come for her, she looked up. The hallway was perfectly normal, and the door was no longer shaking. For a brief moment, she even deliberated opening the door to see if anything had ever even happened. Deciding against it, she decided to walk towards the stairs, still panicked yet much too exhausted to run, even despite the circumstances.

Kate walked calmly down the stairs, hoping her cool exterior would prevent another outbreak. This act was soon exposed however when she arrived downstairs to find Daniel entangled in electrical wiring, a thick black power cord encompassing his throat forming a deep red line. His face was a deep shade of blue and one of his eyes had popped out of it’s socket. Once again screaming, Kate obtained another rush of adrenaline and ran to the front door and was not at all surprised when she found it to be locked.

Not wanting to be the idiotic female protagonist of a haunted house story, she forwent the banging and screaming on the door as the possessed body of her coworker and wave of insects descended from the second floor to disembowel her ruthlessly. Instead, she used the broken window next to the locked door suffering only minor abrasions and climbed out, got in the company car and drove away to never investigate another haunted house again.

Good for you Kate.

Credit To – Nevernewyear

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It Has No Face

March 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Everyone has tales about the strange and bizarre. My story is about how my half-hole mask saved my life, and continues to save my life to this very day. Late in December, I was traveling north from California to my home state of Oregon. Nothing fancy, I was just going to visit the family for the holidays. On my way north I hit a small snow storm, nothing awful, just a lot of snow falling all at once.

I wasn’t worried about the small increase of snow at first, considering I had snow tires installed before I started my long journey home. I did, however, get a little hesitant to drive when the snow started to really come down. The large amount of falling snow coupled with the large amount already littering the ground as I traveled higher into the mountains caused me to consider finding a place to stay for the night. I figured I could get some sleep while the storm passes over, that and the fact that I could give my car’s heater a break before it would decide to burst into flames- or worse, just stop working all together. I scanned as much of the landscape as I could, but there were no buildings in the immediate area.
The only other option that I had for my predicament was to keep driving and hope there was a town or exit nearby that I could take in order to escape from the storm. I must have been driving for at least an hour before I saw a sign up ahead indicating how far the closest city was. My heart sank a little when I read 162 miles as it flew by my windshield and vanished into the snowy night. At this point the snow was beating against my windshield, and I knew that I wasn’t going to last 162 minutes let alone 162 miles.

The digital clock on my radio read 1:21AM, and I decided that the next turn off I saw I would take and hope that I could find a neighborhood that will produce some results on my current endeavor. My thought process was: either freeze to death in my car, or stay the night at some random person’s house. Weighing the two options in my head I picked the only thing a sane person would pick and go with the house.

Another 30 minutes flew by, and still no luck finding a place to pull off. Just when I was starting to loose hope I saw a turn off in the distance. A small shape started make its way closer into my head lights and on further inspection it was reveled to me that they were two wooden poles that possibly belonged to a fence. When I turned onto the road between the two wooden poles the ground beneath me felt rocky and rough, like I was traveling on gravel. I didn’t drive for too long before I started to see a small cabin creep into my field of view.

The lights in the cabin were off, but the place seemed to be in good shape. I parked my car under a tall wild-looking tree that took residence on the cabin’s front lawn. Getting out of my car, I immediately grabbed my extra jacket and put it on pulling the half-hole mask I wore around my neck up and over my ears to keep the heat around my face. I put my cap on and trudged up to the cabin after putting my cap snug on my head. As I traveled through the cold windy night up to, what I felt was my salvation I immediately regretted not getting any gloves for my hands.

Despite the irritation I had with my hands, my face and the rest of my body were comfortably warm so I didn’t have much room to complain. I stuffed my frozen hands deep into my pockets and continued my journey across the cabin’s lawn. As I made my way to the door I noticed something odd. There was no indication of life anywhere; there wasn’t even a car in the front yard.

Taking my right hand out of my pocket I knocked 3 times, waiting patiently before saying “H-hello? Is anyone in there? I’m sorry to bother you so late at night, but I need a place to stay for a few hours.”

Nothing answered my plea for help, so I knocked 3 more times on the door hitting my knuckles harder against the aged wood of the entrance.
“Hello?” I said again a little louder before continuing with “I’m not here to rob you or anything; I just need a place to stay for the rest of the night. I promise I’ll be gone by sunrise.”

As I finished my sentence I touched the ornate metal door handle. Noticing that the door seemed to be unlocked I said in a loud voice “I’m coming in now, if there’s anybody in there let me know now please.”

I pressed the metal leaver down, finding it a bit odd that the door was unlocked, and opened the door with little resistance on the other end closing it behind me with about the same resistance despite the fact the door looked really old. Looking around the area I noticed the cabin had 5 rooms: the living room- which was the biggest room- a small kitchen, an even smaller washroom, and- what I assumed were- 2 small bedrooms in the back. No lights were on inside the cozy cabin making it almost pitch dark if my eyes weren’t already adjusted to the darkness from outside. I decided the best thing to do would be to search for a light switch, so I took out my phone and turned on my flashlight app to scan the walls. My scan produced no results however, and at the risk of losing precious battery power on my phone I decided the best option would be to turn off the light and put my phone on airplane mode.

Before turning off my light I studied the paintings hanging on the wall that I glossed over in the initial scan. Each painting that crossed my sights was just typical landscapes or harbors- things like that. There was a painting that looked like a fox hunt or something like that, but other than that it was just typical paintings you would see hanging on the walls around an elderly person’s home. There was a painting, however, that caught my attention. The painting was small and consisted of what looked like two adults- a mother and father- a teenage girl, and a small child.
The family captured in that painting were wearing what looked like Victorian era clothing. I’m only guessing about the clothes, I mean they could have been from the 1800’s or the early 20th century- the point is that the clothing was very ornate and regal. There was something really disturbing about the image in the painting though. The faces of each member of the family looked like they were smoothed over with clay- it’s kind of hard to describe it, but the 3 family members looked like they had no facial features. By no facial features I mean instead of the normal facial features you and I have, the 3 people in the painting hade grooves of smooth flesh where normally you have an eye, nose, or mouth.

The only person in the painting that didn’t posses a blank face was the teenage girl, which had normal facial features for a teenage girl- in fact she was quite breath taking. I pulled myself away from the painting to take a glance at my phone for the time. My phone indicated that it was passed 2 o’clock in the morning, so I decided to go to the back room and check to see if it was occupied. To my relief the room was vacant besides a medium sized bed, ornate dresser, and nightstand there wasn’t much to go by. The walls were blank besides more sappy paintings to give it a little more atmosphere.

Although there was no indication of a heating system- besides a chimney- the rooms were bearable enough that I figured I could just bundle up in my clothes under the covers in order to stay warm. I was only going to be there for a few hours anyway, so there wasn’t much point in starting a fire plus the people who owned the cabin wouldn’t be back tonight considering how late it was. I hopped into the worn out bed facing the open door next to another door I assumed was a closet and pulled my half-hole mask completely up and over my face to make sure my head would stay nice and warm the rest of my stay. Pulling the fabric of my mask down slightly I set the alarm on my phone for 4:30AM and put it back down onto the nightstand. I covered my face again and bundled up tightly with the sheets, closing my eyes and letting dreamland take me away until I woke up after what felt like minutes later to the sound of scratching.

My body froze as I heard the noise over and over again softly coming from the closed door. I tried to relax myself by thinking that all the noise that I heard was just a rat or some other animal that was spending the night in the closet while the cabin’s owners were away. Quietly I shifted onto my back, pulling my half-hole mask down slightly so a little slit appeared giving me a small window to look at what was out there. I laid on the bed stiff as a board with my cap and mask covering my face in such a way that it acted like a visor giving me a small peak at what was in the darkness. Thankfully my eyes were still adjusted to the dark, which gave me a small amount of reassurance as I continued looking in the direction the scratching noise was coming from.

The scratching continued louder and longer for what seemed like minutes until just like that, it suddenly stopped. Silence filled the room again, but it wasn’t a safe kind of silence. The deafening silence in the room was a foreboding ominous sort of silence. The vacuum of sound in the air was the type of silence that happens in a movie just before something jumps out at you. Just when I began to calm myself down the door knob to closet began to jiggle and turn very slowly.

My heart was racing out of my chest as I saw and heard that knob turn, and every inch of my body wanted to bolt out of that bed and out of that cabin before whatever was on the other side of that door got out after me. I laid perfectly still on the bed despite the fact that I had a cocktail of adrenalin, nerves, and instincts telling me to get the hell out of there. My eyes widened as the door to the closet opened slightly and I saw what looked like a dried head attached to an elongated neck pop out of the opening followed by a skeletal body. The thing that was emerging from the closet crawled on all fours out of the doorway and slowly made its way to the bed I was sleeping in. I had never been more frightened in my whole entire life as the thing stood up, almost touching the roof of the cabin, and looked down in my direction.

The creature stood there studying me as I peeked through the thin slit in my mask, pure terror swirling around in my mind as I glanced up at the body of the creature. Looking at the creatures’ skeletal face I noticed that it had no eyes in its’ eye sockets, which lead me to believe that it couldn’t see me even though I could see it. Just when the idea of it not being able to see me started to give me a little comfort the creature began to speak.

“Strange…” The creature whispered softly as it continued to watch me, and then began to speak again.

“It has no fear of me…” The creature continued to say in a hoarse tone as it began to breathe loudly, continuing to look at me and gripping down on the edge of my bed. Feeling the creatures’ bonny hand touch the edge of my bed caused my brain to go into complete panic mode. The only thing that stopped me from jumping up was the thought that maybe the creature believed I was dead or asleep and wouldn’t attack.

“How can it not fear…? How can it not fear me..?” The thing said through clenched teeth before loudly gasping and suddenly pulling back with its’ mouth open in an expression that seemed like fear.

“It has no face.” The thing whispered to itself as it continued to back away.

“It has no face.” The creature said again, but this time louder than before and slightly more threatening.

“It has no face!” The creature shouted as it backed off further away from the bed. I heard the thing breathing loudly and quickly before calming down and slowly returning to the side of the bed.

Leaning over me slowly, the creature continued to look at me before softly beginning to breathe on my face. I could smell its’ foul breath even through my mask. The smell was so powerful that it took all my strength not gag as a reflex to the awful stench. In my mind I made the choice to keep motionless, and not do or say anything that could compromise whatever illusion I was giving the thing that was currently studying me. The creature breathed on me again softly. The stench I smelled from its’ breath could only be described as pure death, which only strengthened my resolve to stay perfectly motionless.

“Strange…” the thing whispered at me again, leaning in close to me to the point where I could see and smell its’ decaying flesh.

The creature slowly reached for me, its’ hand slowly moving towards my face. With every inch that decaying hand moved I couldn’t help but feel my situation becoming more and more dire. I thought that this was it for me. The creature would kill me tonight, or take me away and torture me then kill me and no one would know what happened to me. No one would find my body out here, and no one would know my story. I could feel tears start to swell up in my eyes as I thought of everyone I ever loved being yanked away from me in this one moment.

“No face, no face, no face.” The creature softly chanted as its’ hands crept ever closer to my face. I could hear the anguish in the creature’s voice as it continued chanting over and over as it reached for me.

As the creatures’ long boney hand crept only centimeters away from my face I braced myself for the worst, making the last thoughts I would ever have about the people who I loved. Just as I thought my life was all over a sudden loud noise erupted from the room, filling the ear closest to the nightstand with a flood of beeps, and causing the creature to scream and jump back. As the noise continued the creature threw itself back against the wall shrieking uncontrollably in terror as it stumbled back towards the closet. I was dumb struck for a second before the thought came to me that I had set my alarm for 4:30AM, which must have been the source of the noise.

I jumped out of the bed grabbing my phone and pointing the lit up screen at the monster as the alarm continued to ring loudly. The loud ringing caused the monster to shriek even more in confusion and terror as it retreated quicker as I approached. Seeing my chance I activated my phones flashlight and put it on strobe in order to disorientate the monster further.

“No face! No face! No face! The creature shrieked at me as it withdrew to the safety of the closet. I continued to shine my light on the creature, and for added effect I started playing loud music as I continued to jab my phone in the monsters’ direction like a lion tamer. The thing threw itself into the dark recesses of the closet and I shoved the door back locking it after I slammed it closed. The shrieks coming from the monster started to get fainter and fainter, like it was retreating deeper into the house.

“No face! No face! It has no face!” I could hear the creature yell out as it got further and further away.

After hearing the last retreating words of the thing that terrified me the whole night I bolted from the cabin at break-neck speed, jumping into my car, and floored it off the gravel road. I was shaking all over as I drove, and when I pulled my half-hole mask further down my exposed skin was as white as the snow that littered the ground. I was so frightened by the whole experience as soon as I pulled into the first town I saw, I parked my car, and began to sob uncontrollably for awhile. The experience that I had just been through would scar me for life, but as I wept in my car in the parking lot of a seven-eleven I couldn’t help but start to laugh a little in between my fits of crying. I got through my ordeal without so much as a scratch on me- well besides the mental scars- I was fine, I was alive, and I didn’t have to worry anymore.

After I finished with my whole episode of crying and laughing like an insane person I entered the store sniffling and wiping away the rest of my tears. As I continued into the store the cashier looked up at me and traced my direction with his eyes before continuing with what he was doing. The store was mostly empty, besides an elderly couple, I was the only customer in there.
“Had a rough night?” The cashier said with one eyebrow cocked up while he scanned my items.
“You have no idea.” I said looking out the window at the sunny winter day.
“I noticed you looked a bit upset when you came in. What happened? Did you get dumped or something?” He said looking up at me as the register computed how much I owed him.

Looking at the young man behind the register, he seemed to be a little younger than I was- although that doesn’t say much because even though I’m 22 I look younger than my actual age. I looked at the cashier’s name tag for a second before feeling that I had nothing to lose by telling him about the night I just had. The small name on his ID tag read Evan, and as I finished telling him my frightening tale something odd happened. I expected him to burst out laughing or say I was the best liar he had ever talked to. Instead of doing any of that Evan just stood there, his skin milk white as he stared at me with an expression so horrified he gave me the impression that he just witnessed someone get run over by a train or something.
“Evan, a-are you alright?” I said looking into his eyes while we both stood there quiet.

“W-what? Oh… Yea- it’s just…” Evan began to say before his thoughts trailed off due to the new feeling that we were both being watched.
I began to feel eyes burn into the back of my head before turning around to see the old couple I glanced at when I entered the store beforehand. The old couple possessed the same horrified look that Evan had just a few seconds ago, they must have heard the whole story I told. After a few moments of silence the old couple asked me what I knew about the cabin, to which I couldn’t really say, I gave them the best description I could about what I saw. The couple proceeded to tell me about the cabin, how long it’s been there, and that it was haunted by a presence so terrifying that the place was condemned and left to rot away after so many people disappeared there. They told me that no one who ever stayed in that cabin has ever been seen alive again- if they’ve ever been seen at all after their visit.

“One of my best friends stayed the night in that cabin…” Evan said quietly as he stared off into the distance, but continued his thoughts with “I refused to go into the cabin, I knew something bad would happen if we went. I tried so hard to convince him that the dare was stupid and to not go in, but he refused to be labeled as a chicken and continued with the dare.”

Evan’s eyes began to water as he continued with his story “I never saw him again after that night. I kept calling his house but his parents still couldn’t find him. We put out flyers and billboards but we never had any luck. After a few days we contacted the police and I told them about the cabin.”

Evan began to choke down tears as he clenched his fist “They found him in the basement of that cabin sprawled out on the floor. His eyes were surgically removed from his eyes sockets, his nose was removed, and his lips… they were sliced off. When they found him he was naked with an incision from the bottom of his rib cage to his pelvis down the middle of his body. All of the internal organs were extracted from his body and to add insult to injury his genitals were sliced clean off. But you want to know the worst part of it all? When the police did an autopsy on the body, they found that he was alive during the whole process.”

Evan winced as he remembered the whole gruesome site and said “they never found who, or what did it. There was no DNA evidence to convict anybody, they didn’t find the tools that made the incisions, and they didn’t find anything.”

Evan clenched his fist tighter on the table before the old man listening to our conversation put his hand on Evans shoulder to reassure him that it was going to be alright. As he comforted Evan he looked at me and said “People have been disappearing from that area for decades- maybe even centuries for all we know, but the bodies always end the same gruesome way. I don’t care who you are, no one deserves something like that happening to them. They should just torch that evil place to the ground.

The old lady joined her husbands’ side and looked at me with the most foreboding face I had ever seen. “If your story is true, you should consider yourself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. In all my years of living you are the only one to go into that cabin and come out alive.” The woman said gripping onto her husbands’ hand tightly as she spoke to me.

After hearing the old woman’s’ words I realized that Evan said the body of his friend was found in the basement, which explains why the monsters voice got fainter. It would have pulled me into the basement if my phone hadn’t gone off. I quickly paid for my items and left the store more troubled now than I was when I entered. Feeling drowsy due to the lack of sleep and constant adrenalin rush caused by my whole terrible ordeal I decided to go to a hotel and spend the day sleeping and relaxing to get my mind off things.

That night I sat on the bed in my hotel room and looked at the 2 items that saved my life. In one hand I gripped onto my half-hole mask, which hid my face from that terrible monster. In my other hand I held my Cell phone, which scared away the horrible beast that could have killed me. I decided that from that day on I would always wear my half-hole mask to bed- it saved my life that’s the least I can do for it. The recent brush with death I just experienced had taught me that life is too precious to waste, so I decided to ask my best friend Samantha out on a date and things worked perfectly.

Samantha and I were together for 2 years before I recently asked for her hand in marriage- which she said yes. Part of me will never forget that awful night and because of it not only have I been wearing my half-hole mask to bed every night since then, I’ve also made it a priority not to live in any type of house that has a basement. I as an added safety measure I started locking every door before going to bed- it’s a pain, but you can never be too careful. Despite these crazy precautions Samantha has accepted my little quirks and has continued to be supportive as we continue or journey through life together. I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out in my life, and I’m so lucky to be with Samantha- everything’s perfect.

There’s just one thing that bothers me- and I think I might just have to blame my imagination, but sometimes when I wake up at night, when it’s really quiet… sometimes I’ll hear soft scratching noises. Also- and I think it’s just paranoia, but I swear, sometimes I hear something whisper “No face…” From inside my closet …

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