On the Bus

September 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.5/10 (245 votes cast)

The streets, roads and dusty lanes of Colombia have been fertile territory for myths and legends since before the arrival of the Spaniards. Tales of ‘La Patasola’, a one-legged wailing banshee that forever sought her child, and of ‘El Duende’, a backwards-footed goblin that led travelers to their doom, nibbled at the corners of journeymen’s ease for centuries. Although these stories mainly troubled those living in or passing through rural areas, the growth of cities brought with it a new breed of urban legend rooted in the primal distrust we still harbor, somewhere deep inside, of modern technology. An example of this is the phantom bus that allegedly roams the streets of Bogota at night. Supposedly, young women who board it alone are found mutilated in overgrown outlying fields a few days later, a frozen look of abject terror illustrating the moment of their last, tormented breath.

That being said, given that you’re certainly not a young woman (at least not last time you checked) and that it’s 5:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, phantom buses and handicapped gremlins are the last thing on your mind. You’ve been using Bogota’s public transportation system for over two decades, and your greatest concern is that traffic levels have become all but unmanageable since the latest mayor took office. However, home is about 80 blocks away, so your only choice is to wait until the right bus comes along. Walking would certainly take longer than putting up with any traffic jam.

When a bus displaying the route sign you’re hoping for shows up, its advertised fare is 200 pesos lower than the standard going rate these days. This usually indicates that the vehicle in question is older and a bit more uncomfortable than most, but no bus rider in the history of the city has ever given a damn about that. Folks that consider themselves richer and “above” this mode of transportation pay seven times as much to get around by cab, and statistically expose themselves to a higher chance of being mugged or robbed. More power to them, right?

Never one to avoid seeking further discounts, you ask the wizened driver if he’ll let you on for a thousand. The wrinkled, musty-looking man’s eyes never leave the road as he silently takes your bill and slides it in the purse hanging from the bony gear stick. Satisfied, you turn your attention to the cabin; what would make this ride ideal would be an empty seat.

Curiously enough (considering the time of day), there aren’t enough passengers aboard for anybody to be standing. A few available spots are in sight, so you choose one on the left, towards the middle. Both the aisle and window seat are free, and you sigh contentedly as you sprawl out on one with your knee nested on the other. This particular trip should be over in no time.

The driver’s radio is off and your phone’s battery ran out an hour ago, so you pass the time staring out the window and watching vendors ply their wares and car drivers nod along to whatever music they’re listening to. Your position eventually starts taking a toll on your back, so you straighten up and take the chance to examine your fellow passengers. None of them seem to be riding together, given that everybody’s quietly facing the front of the bus. They are also all uncommonly old——not in the sense that they’re all over 100, but in the sense that nobody seems to be under 75. You find this a bit odd, and for a brief moment the idea that you don’t belong there flashes through your mind. It’s a silly thought, but combined with the bus’s particularly strong (although not necessarily atypical) smell of must and metal, it makes you look forward to the end of the trip. Nevertheless, as there are another 30 or 40 blocks left to go, you look out the window again, zone out, and let your mind go where it will for a while.

The sight of Pacho’s bakery pulls you out of your reverie twenty minutes later. You get up and make your way past your silent companions to the rear exit, where you hunt for the little silver button that will let the driver know you’ve reached your stop. As you spot it above the door, you realize that nobody’s boarded or left the vehicle since you got on, which is weird for rush hour. Shrugging it off as an unusual coincidence, you press down on the button and grab on to the

You are sitting on your seat, facing the front of the bus.

What… what the hell just happened? You look around and see that everybody’s still where they were a moment ago. Trying to make eye contact with them is fruitless, since they all seem to be lost wherever it is that old minds wander. The thought of saying something runs through your head, but you decide against it. What would you say, anyway? You were probably so zoned out that you simply imagined getting up to ring the driver’s bell.

That’s probably it; your daydreams are occasionally so vivid that leaving them is downright startling. Besides, you’re already two blocks past your stop. Call it a “weird thing that happened on your way home” or whatever, but for now you should just get off the bus. There’s no point in having to walk back too far. You (once again) get off your seat and head for the rear exit, somewhat unnerved by the other passengers’ stoic disinterest in everything around them.

There’s the button, right where you remember it. Except that you can’t remember it, of course, since you’ve never actually been back here; you probably saw it when you got on. After grabbing on to the guardrail (these bastards occasionally decide to stop on a dime when you ring), you look towards the driver, put your thumb on the button

You are sitting on your seat, facing the front of the bus.

A piercing chill runs down your spine, and instead of fading away, it spreads through every one of your extremities. It’s not a shift in body or ambient temperature, it’s the chill you feel when suddenly consumed by the level of fear that slightly precedes terror. Something really messed up is going on here. You don’t know what it is, but you want out, you don’t want to be here anymore. A feeling of bitter solitude is now gnawing at your mind; whatever these people around you are thinking, they clearly don’t give a damn about what’s happening to you.

Therefore, you once again decide to avoid saying anything and simply lift yourself off the seat, not processing the fact that you did it with less agility than should’ve been the case. All you want right now is to get off the bus. Besides, it’s already advanced more than ten blocks past your street, which suddenly feels like a distastefully long distance to walk. This is all secondary to the point at hand, however; you have to get off this damn thing.

As you make your way back, an old lady in the back row looks up at you. Her expression tells you nothing, but the way it fixes on you——on your torso, to be precise——as if you were just another chunk of the vehicle further spikes the almost overpowering sense of dread now coursing through your veins. Whatever, you can’t panic, not now. You stand at the back of the bus and, instead of going for the button, yell at the driver. You yell at him to stop, to let you off, that you’ve already rung twice, but nothing comes of it. You curse at him, tell him what he will die of and wish great evil upon his kin, but the door remains unmoved. The man is not listening. Or he doesn’t care. Or he doesn’t want you to get off. But you don’t give a damn what he wants or doesn’t want, so you grab on to the bars, take a step back for momentum, and send a solid kick right into the column of hinges that

You are sitting on your seat, facing the front of the bus.

It takes a moment to register. Maybe more than a moment, maybe it’s a full minute. And as you realize that the bus doesn’t want you to leave, you also realize that your right knee hurts with an unnatural, piercing sharpness. It’s the same leg you used against the door, and now it feels like it’s all but broken. This quickly becomes a distant concern when you attempt to massage it, though, because that’s when you notice your hands.

These are not the hands of a 25 year-old. They are wrinkly, set with well-defined veins and even lightly patched with liver spots. As you study your hands and arms, cold terror envelops every corner your psyche. You touch your face and feel wrinkles and whiskers that didn’t previously exist upon your cheekbones. Your head is patched with a few anemic strands of hair; as your fingertip grazes your coarse scalp, a spark of electricity shoots through it and down into the most private recesses of your being. Your eyes dry up, opened wide and unbelieving, and you feel a seven-ton lump of horror coalesce in your otherwise paralyzed throat.

You must leave this evil bus, you must leave it at once before it finishes what it’s begun. You carefully make your way off your seat——no need for any further injury——and head towards the front, towards the driver. Perhaps you can reason with him, or perhaps you can club him to death with a flashlight or something, since there are always a variety of trinkets and gadgets at the front of t

You are sitting on your seat, facing the front of the bus.

It takes a good five or ten minutes for you to come to terms with what is happening to you, to understand that your life is vanishing before your eyes. Your hands are now like those of your grandmother, your back hurts from its base all the way to your neck, and your eyes can barely focus on the signs posted above the windows. Even your mind isn’t as sharp as it should be; it takes you a while to determine that you should make another attempt at the exit.

Perhaps violence is not the answer, perhaps you can gently pull it open. Perhaps if you treat the bus like a living, gentle being instead of like a demonic machine it will let you out, perhaps…

The old woman is looking at you again. You notice her blue jacket, which is much too big for her; if it were a blouse of the same size, it would hang loosely off her gaunt frame. A tiny, hesitant tear forms on her frail face, and then follows a meandering path down her ancient features to land on her wrist with eerie finality. There’s a red Totto watch around that wrist, the sort that is currently all the rage with kids graduating from high school.

You examine the door. Two panes joined by a vertical line of hinges, coated on the right by a rubber pad to avoid contact damage. The door is slightly bent inwards, and as you notice this a glimmer of hope runs through you. If you can just insert

You are sitting on your seat, facing the front of the bus.

WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON MY HANDS THEY ARE OLD MY HANDS ARE THE HANDS OF AN OLD MAN, NOT OF MY GRANDFATHER, OF AN OLD OLD THE MAN BEHIND YOU STARTS WHEN YOU TURN TO HIM AND YELL AT HIM AND GRAB HIS FACE AND SCREAM AT HIM TO LET YOU OFF HE MOUTHS SOMETHING YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND HIS TEETH HIS BLOOD YOUR TEETH OH MY GOD MY TEETH ARE LIKE TINY THEY ARE DUST THEY’RE WHAT THE HELL HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN HERE FUCK THIS I’M BREAKING THE WINDOW WITH MY ELBOW EVEN IF IT BREAKS I DON’T WANT TO DIE HERE NO MORE OF

You are sitting on your seat, facing the front of the bus.

After a long time, you glance down at your hands. They are the gnarled, rheumatic, blood-splattered claws of a hag that’s seen more than one generation’s share of horrors.

A hag? A hag is not the right word. A hag is a woman, right? At least so it was in mother’s stories. Like those of La Patasola. Your knee still hurts, but not as much as your elbow. It feels like it is shattered. Ah, yes. This bus. You must get off it. You know you must get off it now. You do not remember why you must, but it is imperative that you do. It is urgent. It was urgent. You are so tired.

You try to lift yourself off the seat but your knee buckles under your weight; it is by chance that you fall back on the bench. You must get off the bus. You remember these buses. They used to take you to work. You steady yourself on the bench. You will try to get off the bus. But in a moment. You must rest. The bus can wait.

You are sitting on your seat, facing the front of the bus.

You are sitting on your seat, facing the front of the bus.

Credit To – Lucas Llinás Múnera

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.5/10 (245 votes cast)

Shady Wood

September 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (184 votes cast)

Linda,

I’m not sure whether this letter will ever reach you, but I’m going to put it in the mailbox and hope for the best. It seems unlikely anyone’s actually going to deliver it, but this may be my last chance to contact the outside world, so I’m going to seize it anyway.

You’ve probably wondering what happened to us; it’s been a week since we were supposed to come back from our camping trip. Well… it’s been a week to us, but maybe time passes differently outside, and maybe to you it’s only been hours, or maybe it’s been years. I have no way of knowing. Okay, that probably sounds crazy, but honestly, after what we’ve been through, I don’t know that there’s much of anything I wouldn’t believe.

I should probably explain from the beginning. This is going to be a long letter, but I want to make everything clear, and I’ve got nothing but time. I think I told you where we were going, but just in case it has been years outside and you don’t remember, I may as well remind you: I’d decided to take my family camping, just for a weekend, and I found a campground online called Shady Wood. It seemed to have all the amenities we’d need and it was surprisingly cheap, so I called the number on the website and made a reservation.

Actually, that’s something I don’t think I told you about… when I called and made the reservation, the person on the other end of the line spoke really slowly. It wasn’t odd, but not odd enough to set off major alarm bells. I didn’t think much of it at the time; the only reason I bring it up is because in retrospect it may have been significant.

So, anyway, we made a reservation for the weekend, and we set out the Friday before last. I was worried the campground might be hard to find; the directions on the website included a bunch of streets I’d never heard of. The first one was off a stretch of the 144 I’d driven down lots of times before, and I never remembered seeing it, and it was a weird enough name I was pretty sure I’d remember it—the name was Badhollow Road. But when we set off for our trip, there was Badhollow Road, right where the directions said it was, and there were all the other streets, one after another. After Badhollow Road, they were all just winding tracks through the wilderness, no buildings around and no signs of habitation. But they all were right where the directions said they were, and soon enough we saw the sign, a big wooden arch above the road that read “Shady Wood”.

We checked in at the administration building just inside the gate, and they gave me a map and marked on it where our assigned campsite was. I did think it was a little strange that the woman at the desk was wearing sunglasses—she was indoors, and it wasn’t that bright a day—and, now that I think of it, she did talk pretty slow, the same way as the man on the phone. But, again, I didn’t think much of it at the time.

We didn’t have much trouble finding our campsite. And the weekend passed more or less uneventfully. I guess there are only two things that happened before we left that are worth mentioning. One was on Saturday night when something got into our food. I thought it was a raccoon at first, but when I went out and looked around with a flashlight, I caught a glimpse of something that looked like a little white monkey. About two feet tall, vaguely humanoid in shape, no tail. Running on its hind legs. That I did think was strange, but I only got a brief look at it and wasn’t sure what I saw, and after all I’ve never been much of a nature buff and didn’t know much about the local wildlife, so while I was pretty sure there no wild monkeys in Pennsylvania maybe there was something here I wasn’t aware of, or maybe it was just a trick of the shadows and I was imagining its humanoid form.

The second thing was when we went to the trading post—that’s what they called the campground store—to buy some things I’d forgotten, or hadn’t brought enough of. Chapstick, toilet paper, garbage bags. The man running the store wore sunglasses, and he talked slowly, but not so much that I was seriously disturbed at the time.

Other than those two things, though, the weekend camping went pretty much according to plan. The kids enjoyed themselves. Gail found a muddy stream that seemed to be an endless source of amusement for her. Alice just kept looking for birds and animals. Rick acted bored a lot, but he was only acting—you know how teenagers are. Anyway, everyone had a good time, and Sunday afternoon we packed up and started heading back.

The first strange thing we ran across on the way back was an empty station wagon by the side of the road. It wasn’t at a campsite; it was just parked there in the bushes. One car parked in an odd place wouldn’t be too hard to explain; it was the second car that was really strange. I think it was a Volkswagen van that may have once been blue. It looked like it had been abandoned for a long time; it was covered with rust, and the tires were rotted away, and there were weeds growing through its chassis. And I was sure that it hadn’t been there on the way in.

I think it was about then we saw a couple more of those white monkey things running through the bushes. Maybe it was before the cars. I’m not quite sure about the sequence of events.

I do know, though, that it was after the second car that we got to where the map of the campground said that the intersection should be, and the intersection wasn’t there. The road just kept going. I wondered if we’d missed the turnoff, but neither Mary nor any of the kids had seen it, either.

So we kept going. It was either that or turn around, and there didn’t seem to be much point in doing that. I watched for any landmarks; depending on which turn we made we ought to be passing either the pool on our right or the radio tower on our left. We didn’t pass either of them. We did pass more cars, though. The further we went, the more of them we saw. Different makes and models. Some of them looked like they’d been there for years, maybe decades; others looked like someone had just stepped out of them. But they were all sitting there empty on the side of the road.

I think we passed a few dozen cars before it hit me that their license plates didn’t match. I mean, they were from different states, all over the country. I know people like to travel for vacation, but it didn’t seem likely people would drive all the way across the country to stay at an obscure little campground like Shady Wood. I even saw one or two license plates that I don’t think were from the U.S. at all. I’m still not sure what was up with that.

Eventually we did get to a fork in the road, but it was much farther along than it should have been. And since we had no idea where we were, we had no idea which way to go. Since our last turn on our way to the campsite had been left, I decided it made the most sense to turn right. It didn’t bring us to any place more familiar than where we’d just been, though, and I’d say we were just getting more and more lost, except that I think we were already about as lost as it was possible to get.

We drove for hours. That shouldn’t have been possible; Shady Wood shouldn’t have been that big. Of course I thought maybe we were driving in circles, but we weren’t. We used some of the cars as landmarks, taking note of a car that stood out and keeping an eye out to see if we passed it again. We never did. I swear we weren’t retracing our path. We were just driving over much more road than should have been able to fit in the campground.

The next intersection we passed, I stopped for a moment, trying the decide which way to go. Then Gail piped up, and said “Left”. So I went left. It was a long time till we got to the next intersection, and when we did she said “Right”, so I went right. You might be wondering why I was following directions from a six-year-old. Hell, I knew she didn’t know where we were going. It was probably just a game to her. But I had no idea which way to go, so whichever way Gail said to turn seemed just as good as the other.

Finally, we got to a trading post. The map had only showed one trading post, and we’d been there, and this wasn’t it. Still, this was the first thing we’d passed since we left our campsite aside from a lot of trees and empty cars, and maybe someone there could give us directions. And anyway, we’d used up our food, and we’d expected to stop by a McDonalds or something on our way home from the camp, and the kids were getting hungry.

So we pulled over, and I went into the trading post. Like I said, it wasn’t the same trading post as before, but it had the same stuff. Food, toiletries, stationery, you know, anything you’d need on a campout. I went in and bought enough food to keep us for a while—bought more than I thought we’d need, just to be safe. And when I went to pay for it, I asked the guy running the shop for directions.

I guess at this point it probably doesn’t really need to be said that he spoke very slowly, and that he was wearing sunglasses.

Anyway, I brought out the park map I’d been given at the main office, and I asked him how we could get to the exit. As I spread the map out on the counter, though, I could swear it looked different from when I’d last looked at it. It still had pretty much the same style, and it still said “Shady Wood” on the top, and it still had a blue ball-point ink X on campsite number 215, but the roads were arranged differently and had different names. So I wasn’t filled with a lot of confidence when the guy pointed out a spot on the map and said we were there, and traced the route he said we’d need to take to get out of the campground. But it’s not like I had a lot else to go on.

So we took off from the trading post, and I tried following the route I’d just been shown. But again, it was much longer than it should have been before we got to an intersection. And when we did, it was a side road meeting the one we were on on the left, instead of on the right like the map said. I did my best to follow as close to the directions as I could, but I knew I was fooling myself. There was no connection between the roads we were going down and what the map showed. We were totally lost.

And, of course, eventually we ran out of gas. That wasn’t a surprise; I knew it was getting low, and I knew it was going to run out if I kept going. But what else could I do? At least I hoped we’d make it somewhere before it happened. We didn’t. So I just pulled over to the side of the road.

It was getting kind of late by this time, so we decided to spend the night in the car. It wouldn’t be comfortable, but at least we’d be safe from the elements. We’d figure out what to do in the morning.

I think it was Mary who noticed that we were all a little shorter than we’d been when we left the campsite. I thought she was imagining it, then, even though Alice agreed with her.

It wasn’t easy to sleep, partly because of the cramped space in the car and partly, well, because of course we were all a little scared by what was going on. I managed to get to sleep eventually. I did wake up once in the middle of the night, and I almost screamed. There was a face, staring at me through the windshield. An almost human face, but maybe a third human size, white as snow. The thing looked at me for a few seconds, and then it jumped away, and I saw its pale, naked form disappear into the foliage.

I was unsettled for a while, but I managed to drift back to sleep. When I got up, I thought maybe I’d been dreaming. Now I don’t think I was, though.

Anyway, we got through the night, and then it was time to decide what to do next. We kind of got in an argument then. I was still trying to convince myself everything was okay, and I insisted that if we just waited there in the car, where we’d be safe, someone would come along and find us eventually, and we’d be able to get a ride out. Mary wanted to start walking. I told her she was just restless, that she just wanted to be doing something, even if it was useless, and she wasn’t thinking straight. But I don’t think I was really thinking straight either. Sure, walking like Mary wanted us to didn’t end up getting us anywhere, but I don’t think waiting there like I wanted to do would have ended any better. We were both wrong. I don’t think there was a right answer.

It’s not that Mary convinced me, though, or that I gave in. It was Rick who settled the matter. While Mary and I were arguing, he just grabbed his backpack and the extra supply bag, got out of the car, and started walking. Mary and I both yelled after him, told him to come back, but he didn’t listen, and finally we didn’t see any alternative but to get our stuff and go after him. He slowed down and waited for us to catch up. He hadn’t really wanted to get away from us. He’d just wanted to stop the argument.

So we walked, the five of us, along the road. I had the tent, Mary had the food, Rick had the extra supplies, and we all had our own packs. We walked all day, and didn’t see anything different from the kind of thing we’d seen the previous day.

That night we pitched the tent, right there by the road. We hadn’t gotten anywhere, and didn’t know how much longer we’d have to walk or if we’d ever get to the exit, but we were all tired and had to get some sleep. And we got up the next morning and kept going.

The food we’d bought at the training post ran out the day after that. We passed enough streams to keep off our thirst, but food was another matter. Alice was hungry enough she grabbed some berries and ate them before any of us could stop her. We were worried about her, but after an hour or two she didn’t seem the worse for wear, so the next time we passed by a similar berry bush, we all helped ourselves. We found some mushrooms, too, that I thought might be edible; I nibbled a tiny piece off the side of one to see if I got sick, and when I didn’t we ate those. It was risky, maybe, but so was starvation.

By that night it wasn’t possible any more to deny that we’d gotten shorter. Our clothes were bigger on us than they had been a few days ago; the sleeves went out past our hands, the legs of our trousers bunched at the bottom, and we all had to tighten our belts. We didn’t talk about it much. We weren’t talking much at all, really, but especially about that. I don’t think we wanted to acknowledge what was happening.

Besides being too big for us, our clothes were wearing out, too. Much faster than they should have been; it had only been a few days, but our clothes were as ragged as if we’d been walking around for weeks. And we were all getting paler. Gail had gotten a little sunburned over the weekend, but her skin was back to as light as it was, if not lighter. There were light streaks appearing in Alice’s hair, and I thought her skin was lighter too. Same with Mary. And Rick was practically blond. And my own skin, when I looked at my hands… well, I’d had a tan on Sunday, but I didn’t have one now.

I told Mary and the kids it was just sun bleaching. I made up some explanation for why the sun was making us lighter instead of tanning us—I don’t remember now exactly what it was I said. It didn’t really make sense, and I don’t think any of them believed it, but at least it let us all pretend we understood what was happening. I came up with an explanation for the shrinking, too; I blamed it on malnutrition, and said it would be reversed once we got back to civilization and got some good square meals under our belts. That isn’t how things work, of course, and we all knew it, but it kept us from having to fully face the wrongness of the situation.

Actually, I don’t think malnutrition is something we have to worry about. Over the next few days, we got pretty good at foraging for food. We found a knack for realizing what plants were edible and which were poisonous, and we were getting desperate enough we even developed a taste for grubs and bugs we could gather under rocks. We were eating almost as well as we had been while we were camping. But we didn’t seem to be getting any closer to civilization.

It was the night before last that Rick disappeared. I still don’t know why, but he’d been changing the fastest; by that evening he’d been shorter than Alice and almost as short as Gail, and he looked like an albino. Now that I think about it, he may have been shorter then than Gail had been before this all started, though he was still a little taller than Gail was by then. I’m not sure I phrased that well; I hope you get what I meant. Though if you didn’t, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Anyway, we set up the tent and got bedded down for the night, and when we all got up Rick was gone. His clothes were there by his sleeping bag—what was left of his clothes, anyway; they weren’t much more than rags by then anyway. And his pack was still there. But Rick himself was gone. We all looked around for him, of course, and it was Alice who found a footprint near the tent, the print of a bare human foot about the size of a young child’s—which is about how big Rick’s feet had been by that point, given how much he’d shrunk. We managed to follow the trail a short distance away from the tent, but we lost it before long. It was leading away from the road.

We spent the better part of that morning looking for Rick, but we couldn’t find any other sign of him. He was gone. Neither Mary nor I wanted to leave there without him, but there didn’t seem to be any way we could find him, and we finally decided that if we found our way out of the campsite we could send help back to find him later. We went on.

Yesterday and earlier today were more of the same. Walking along the road, finding enough plants and grubs to sustain ourselves, passing car after derelict car. Again last night we pitched the tent and got some sleep. Every day since we left the campsite, we were a little paler and a little smaller than the day before.

Then, this afternoon, we found a trading post. Another one. I went in and bought more food—just because we could live on foraged food doesn’t mean we didn’t want other food if we can get it. I didn’t have cash left, but my credit card still works, for now. I asked the slow-talking, sunglassed woman at the counter for directions, at this point more because it seemed like something I ought to do than because I really expected it to do any good. Anyway, I noticed as I was leaving that outside the trading post was a battered old mailbox. So I went in again and bought some paper and envelopes and stamps. I took a while to think through who I should send a letter to, but as my sister you’re my closest relative who isn’t trapped in Shady Wood with me, so I figured you ought to be the one I tried to contact.

Like I said, I don’t know if this letter’s really going to be delivered. Maybe the mailbox is just there to tantalize us. For all I know, the slot in the mailbox just leads to a giant pit with fifty years’ worth of undelivered letters in it. But if there’s even the slightest chance that this letter will get to someone outside, I figure there’s no harm in dropping it in the mailbox and hoping for the best.

I’m not writing this letter expecting you to come after us. I’m only sending this so you’ll know what happened to us, so our disappearance won’t be a mystery. In fact, don’t come after us; even if you can find us, you’ll just be trapped here with us. I don’t think there’s much that can be done for us now, but at least you won’t be left wondering why we never came back from our trip.

As for us… after I drop this letter in the mailbox we’ll go on down the road. The woman at the trading post said that there’s an intersection right around the corner, just a few hundred feet away, and that if we turn left it’ll take us straight to the exit. Based on past experience, I have little hope that it’s actually true, but there doesn’t seem to be much else we can do.

Credit To – Immutatus

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (184 votes cast)

Lessons From The Shadows of Hiroshima

September 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.0/10 (1538 votes cast)

“Daddy, why do they hate us?”

“Oh sweetie, it may seem like they hate us but really it is more like they chose us.”

“But Daddy, I didn’t want to be picked!”

“Neither did I pumpkin, but unfortunately it is the will of greater men and a greater God. This will be the last nuclear war the world will see. There is an old saying that one must destroy before they can create. It is like when you play with your Lego blocks. Once you build something don’t you have to take it apart in order to build something bigger and better? It is the same thing with men and cities.”

“Couldn’t they have picked other cities?”

“They have my baby, many others. But we have been chosen because we just consume too much. There isn’t enough food and materials to go around anymore. And because of that there is too much evil in the world now. You know how scary it can be when you and your brother come with us to the market, don’t you baby?”

“Yes, Daddy.”

“Now, it’s been nine minutes since the sirens have gone off, I want you to be brave my angel. We are going to be immortal after today. That means we are going to live forever. No more pain, no more hunger, no more hurt. That doesn’t sound so bad now does it? It’s time for us to tell each other goodbye…I love you so much my baby. I am so proud of you. Now let’s grab our signs and head outside.”

The Smith Family straps their hollow-stenciled signs over their back and above their head. As they position themselves in front of a large, immobile marble slab, they clasp hands in a row and close their eyes. The tears rolling down their cheeks evaporate immediately, as do their bodies, once the nuclear blast reaches them. Their permanent shadows burn against the marble, leaving a message for the survivors of the Great Reduction, “We Forgive You. Lest Not Be In Vain.”

Credit To – StupidDialUp

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 9.0/10 (1538 votes cast)

Forest of Suicides

September 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (215 votes cast)

His room was quaint, containing quarters to sleep, a kitchenette and facilities. Simple, yet exceedingly modern, his room mirrored his personality near-perfectly; simple, open and inviting. It was the home of Tokiro Mitsuko. He sat on the foot of his bed and leaned back, remembering the events of the past several days.

Tokiro Mitsuko had never been a drawing man. The large pool of intelligence he controlled was overshadowed by his lack of dreams and ambition. He had never been fond of chasing after girls, never had many friends, and never said much. He was entirely neutral. His only goal was to live his life until its inexorable end. He had not attended a university, nor had he tried to gain any truly marketable skills. He lived quietly and simply, politely denying others from entering his sphere of influence. He even worked simply; a simple park staffer. The forest to which he was delegated, however, was anything but average; it was Aokigahara: The forest of suicides.

Lying at the base of Mount Fuji, the forest was exceedingly quiet, devoid of wildlife, and dotted by ice caves and caverns. The forest had strong ties to demons in Japanese Folklore. Every year, over one hundred troubled souls enter the forest, only to take their own lives. Each year, the park staff must enter the forest to clear the human remains, tally the dead, indentify which corpses they can and check for items that may be important to living parties related to the deceased, such as suicide notes. Tokiro Mitsuko has been employed with the park for twelve years. This year was no different; he arrived just after dawn at the edge of the forest. Exiting his vehicle, he attached the harness (many employees put on when entering the forest) to the front grill of his vehicle. Surrounded by so much death, in the quiet of the forest, it was only natural that the living would want a tether that they could count on to not lose touch with reality.

The forest was disconcerting, towering trees stood motionless, with nary the smallest of breezes to move them, and not the smallest of creatures to scurry around. Tokiro walked along, carefully picking his way over bushes and sticks, not at all concerned with the place he was in. He stopped at a particularly large tree in a clearing; he retrieved the pack from his back and unzipped it. From it, he drew a handwritten sign, asking poor souls to reconsider and seek help from those who loved them. He slowly and methodically hammered the sign into the ancient bark of the looming tree. He stepped back, satisfied. He breathed in deeply and the hair on his neck stood on end. He had always felt something akin to closeness in this place; death had been a near fixation of his. “The freedom”, he whispered aloud, “the absolution of soul passing from the body.” He never really had seen much point in living, but for whatever reason he couldn’t see the point of taking one’s own life, either.

Nearly an hour had passed, and the quadrant of the forest he was assigned to had reared next to nothing, much to his pleasure. Rounding a small embankment, Tokiro stopped to gaze upon the long dead corpse of a young woman. Her eyes had long since rotted away, but her corpse seemed unusually bloated. Next to her was a small wooden box, carefully, Tokiro knelt down and opened the box. Inside, he found a suicide note. Skimming through the note, he recounted this woman’s story: she had been in her final year of high school when she was raped by her step father and framed for being a harlot and a liar. Shunned by her family and pregnant with nowhere to turn, she wandered into the forest before stabbing herself to death. Tokiro noted that the story ended with an apology to her unborn baby girl, whom she had intended to name Arisu.

Tokiro slowly stood up, noting a small knife lodged in the woman’s abdomen. He looked around, reflecting on the horrendous actions that led this woman to the dark place that she was unable to recover from. Reciting a small Buddhist prayer, he noted her GPS location and vowed to give her earthly remains closure, as he did with all he the deceased he found. He stopped in mid stride away from the corpse. In his periphery, he saw indentions in the layer of topsoil off to his right. He wandered over to them slowly, observing them. They were small, human feet; they led away from the corpse. As far as Tokiro could tell, not a soul other than he had set foot here in months, and as timeless as the forest seemed, this should not be. He stooped over the trail led by the small footprints, noting they almost looked like those of a child.

It was at this point that Tokiro began to breathe heavily. He was scared, yes, but intrigued. He started down the trail, following the footprints. His tether had reached its limit, he had one hundred meters of rope at his disposal, but it was not enough, he slipped free of the harness and kept walking on. The great, gnarled trees had begun to gnaw at his psyche; he became increasingly paranoid and upset with his surroundings. He was too far into the forest for the tape and markings left by thrill seekers to be present, and he soon realized he was unsure where he was. Drawing closer to panic, the only logical plan in his mind was to find where the footprints led.

A break in the trees appeared ahead of him, and a craggy, icy cave opened up before him, beckoning him into its gaping maw. His radio buzzed loudly, sending him reeling with fear. He regained his composure enough to respond; it was Natsumi, the only woman whom he had close in his life. She informed him that he was late, and his GPS said he was nearly three kilometers out of his designated zone. He pressed down the button to reply, inhaled, and stopped. He could think of nothing to say, no words would come to his lips. He wanted to beg for help, to reach out and have contact with something over than the paranoia that had consumed him for hours, but only dead air fed through to Natsumi’s receiver. He looked deep into the darkness of the cave, feeling himself drawn in. He dropped the radio and his GPS system to the ground and continued into the cave. He was lucky that the cave was rather linear and easily traversable, though he still could not see how a child had made it here. Hours seemingly passed before the cavern led to a large central chamber. Tokiro was shocked by what he saw; Stalagmites protruded from the ground, with dozens of corpses skewered in various stages of decay. He fell to his knees and wretched, appalled. A faint notion pierced his mind, something slight and frail, a touch. He looked behind him to see a small girl grasping his ankle. Her hand was barely big enough to get a drip on his ankle, and slighter than brushing against a tree branch, but it held him in place with a grave chill.

A small voice permeated his mind. At first, he thought it to be his own, but behind the small veil he sensed a wave of negative energy. Instinctively, he bolted from the grasp of the small girl, and ran to the center of the gruesome sculpture. He could sense the tinge of a demonic presence now. Its dark tendril burrowed into his mind, melding his consciousness with darkness. “Let me tell you a story…” The voice hissed in his mind.
From outside the cavern, Natsumi picked up his fallen radio. She looked around, seeing no footprints but his and no signs of disturbance. Suddenly, a shriek assaulted her ears. Startled, she dropped the radio and sprinted towards the edge of the forest. She locked herself in her small car and panted heavily for several minutes before calling her manager in tears. When she arrived back at the park management building, she was hysterical and inconsolable; utterly terrified. She was sent home with the advice to breathe some fresh air in the city park.

Natsumi sat on a bench, waiting for the tram to come by so she could get to work. It had been three days since her experience in the forest, and three days since she had gotten any decent sleep. The weight of someone sitting down next to her was enough to rouse her from her funk. She looked over to see Tokiro Mitsuko sitting next to her, smiling. Before she could say a word he gently pressed a finger to her lips. “Let me tell you a story, Natsumi”, he said, smiling. He leaned back and told her of what he had seen in the cavern, ending his story with the feeling of a dark presence invading his mind. At the conclusion of his tale, he produced the small knife from the corpse of the suicide from under his coat. He thrust the dull, rusty blade into the bottom of her stomach, wrenching the blade upwards until he had cut her entire abdomen open, spilling the contents on the sidewalk. Gasping for air, Natsumi watched as her lifelong friend walked away, whistling; the last image she ever saw being his large, toothy smile.

Two days and two publicly disemboweled women later, Tokiro leaned forward from his position as someone he didn’t recognize entered the room. The man introduced himself as Detective Itou, and asked Tokiro to tell him why he had killed three young women. Tokiro briefly struggled against his straight jacket, and then leaned in close to the detective. “Let me tell you a story…” he whispered, smiling.

Credit To – Andy Young

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (215 votes cast)

Creeping Jesus

August 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.4/10 (139 votes cast)

“Ah, this is BORIN’. Museums are rubbish.”
“Fabian James, will you be quiet!” Mr Jenkins, the teacher, hissed through clenched teeth – for the third time that day. “Please pay attention and stop ruining things for everyone else.”
Some of the other members of Fabian’s class giggled, looking forward to another amusing episode. Fabian just looked down and kicked the toe of his shoe against the floor.
The curator that had been showing them round continued.
“And this is the archaeology section, The Bowen Gallery, where we keep historical items that have been dug up. They tell us a lot about the past.”
“Have you got any axes and spears?” Fabian asked suddenly, looking up.
“Well, no, but we do have…”
“Just so’s I can kill Tommy with one,” Fabian interrupted.
“Fabian!” erupted Mr Jenkins. “I won’t have that kind of talk.”
“I’d kill you first anyway,” muttered Tommy, so that only Fabian could hear.
“What we do have is something scary,” the curator continued, trying to get the class’s attention back. “A skeleton!”
Some of the class perked up at that.
“It was dug up in Aberystwyth Castle twenty years ago. We have assembled the pieces over here,” he said, gesturing towards the glass display case, causing the children to crowd round it, “and…”
“Skeletons aren’t scary anymore,” Fabian laughed. “They were only scary hundreds of years ago. Only aliens or zombies are scary now, or Freddy Krueger. Skeletons are just sad.”
“Right, that’s it!” snapped Mr Jenkins. “Fabian, if you speak again and interrupt the curator you are going to miss out on the school party next week. You will be banned from attending and I’ll write a letter to your parents explaining why. Your behaviour had been disgraceful today and I am very disappointed in you. It is like you have been trying your best to ruin the day for everyone, despite us being in this lovely museum and being shown around.”
“And he touched all the things in the bwthyn that said ‘Please do not touch’,” said Jessica.
“He spilt coke on the carpet in the shop on purpose,” alleged Tommy.
“He pulled my plait,” added Amanda.
“Fabian stole two of my sweeties and put ‘em both in his mouth at once,” wailed Samantha.
“And he said a rude word when we went to the top balcony,” added little Dafydd Huws.
“So that’s your last warning,” shouted Mr Jenkins, red-faced with exasperation. “DON’T SPEAK AGAIN, FABIAN!”
Fabian knew Mr Jenkins was serious. So he shut up and let the curator talk about cannonballs and broken vases. Though he couldn’t resist sticking two fingers up at Tommy when Mr Jenkins wasn’t looking.

His interest perked up at the recreation of an iron-age hut. At one end a life-size creepy dummy of a girl held a stick and stared out. From the other end you could see another dummy squatting over a fake fire, eerily lit by the orange light that made it look like flames. The fake hut was lined with rags, and had deep shadows, as black as night.
The dummies looked as fake as lots of other stuff in the museum, Fabian thought, but it wasn’t them that interested him.
A devious expression crossed Fabian’s chubby features.
“Well I can’t speak, but I can still have fun,” thought Fabian, hanging around at the back of the group.

Mr Jenkins thanked the curator for being so helpful. It had been nice for the last half hour, looking at the items arranged around the top gallery. The children had all been quiet so he was able to ignore them and listen to the curator’s interesting comments. As the group moved back down to the shop Mr Jenkins saw that many of the parents were waiting there already to collect their children, it being the end of the day. Some children ran off to their families, others left the museum, and it was hard to keep track of who had been collected and who hadn’t in the chaos.

The museum was locked up for the night. All the staff had gone home. But the museum wasn’t empty.
Fabian crawled out from behind the big basket of wool in the iron-age ‘hut’. He was getting hungry, but it was worth it, he thought spitefully – Mr Jenkins would be in so much trouble when Fabian’s parents found out he had been ‘abandoned’ in the museum by a careless teacher. Mr Jenkins might even get the sack! That would be good, Fabian thought, a nasty grin on his face.
Of course, that wouldn’t happen for a while. Dad would be working late, and if his Mum did her aerobics video again she wouldn’t notice that he hadn’t walked home until tea-time (the meal no doubt delayed, as usual). Still, they would notice eventually, he was sure.
It was dark in the archaeology room. The only illumination was the orange light from the fake fire in the hut, and a faint orange glow from the street lamp outside the museum. There was just enough illumination to see by, though it looked eerie with deep shadows in the room that seemed to move when you weren’t looking at them, as if the whole room was a crackling fire.
He crawled out, under the wires which were meant to stop people from entering the exhibit, and decided to try the door that led out of the Bowen Gallery, and into the main part of the museum. He was sure he would have fun running around and eating chocolate from the shop until a teacher came back (or his parents, or the police) to ‘rescue’ him.
He turned the door handle and pulled – but the door wouldn’t budge. He tried again, and realised it must be locked. He had thought it was just the click of the door closing when a member of museum staff had put the main lights out and left – but he must have actually locked the door, not just closed it.
“Why lock an empty room?” Fabian murmured aloud.
Suddenly he jumped when he heard a muffled thump from somewhere in the room.
“Only something I disturbed,” he thought nervously. “I’ll just wait in here, and someone will come soon.”
He decided to look at some of the boring stones and bits of rubbish anyway. But as he turned away from the door he caught a glimpse of the strange iron-age girl dummy, the one that was stood behind him – and he felt that its eyes suddenly flicked forwards, as if they had been looking at him. His heart skipped a beat.
“Don’t be daft,” he told himself nervously. “It’s only a dummy. And it is so dark in here you couldn’t see properly anyway!”
He knew he only had to prod the dummy with his finger to prove it was a lifeless piece of plastic – but he couldn’t bring himself to do that. In daylight her skin had looked dry and plasticky; her hand fake and twisted wrongly; her hair artificial and straggly – but in the weird orange glow she looked a lot more… real. The eyes particularly glinted. For all those reasons Fabian couldn’t bring himself to move within reach of that hooked lower hand.
So he moved quickly away.
“Trick of the light,” he muttered, like he’d heard in a film once. Though he didn’t like the sound of his voice in the otherwise silent room – it felt like it didn’t belong there.
He moved over to the cabinet that had clay smoking pipes in, and tried to be interested. He noticed that one pipe was red on the bit that goes in your mouth. It reminded him of blood.
Then the hairs on the back of his neck started to rise. His eyes focused differently, and he saw that there was a reflection of the dummy in the glass panel over the pipes – and the head was slowly turning towards him!
He spun round, heart really racing now, and he noticed that the dummy – although deathly still again – was leaning right against the criss-crossed wires.
“It fell forward, it just fell forward…” he repeated, like a chant.
There was a click, and the orange light in the ‘hut’ went out. Fabian knew the bulb could have blown – but it sounded more like it had been switched off, from within the display. The thought of the crouching dummy on the other side of the hut, next to where he had originally hidden, made him shudder. And now he could hardly see anything, despite the faint streetlight outside.
He kept his eyes on the dummy. It didn’t move. And a horrible memory surfaced in his mind – the game he had liked to play when his Granny was alive. He used to sneak up on her when she wasn’t paying attention, freezing if she looked his way – she was so short-sighted she didn’t notice him if he wasn’t moving, until he was almost next to her. And so he would stealthily make his way over to her while she read, or watched TV, noisily sucking toffees. Then he would just say something like, “Do you want a cup of tea Granny?” in his most innocent voice. Granny would leap out of the chair in shock, hand clasped to her breast, and glare at him until she got her breath back enough to scold him. And he would just sweetly claim he hadn’t snuck up on her, saying it wasn’t his fault she was half-blind, leaving her squinting at him with pursed lips, shaking with frustration and impotence.
So she had nicknamed Fabian ‘Creeping Jesus’, and always said it in a mean way. She called him that whenever his Mother wasn’t around, right up until the day Granny had a heart attack and died, a year ago.
After that he had felt funny, and had bad dreams for a while in which Granny just pointed at him and ground her teeth together, but said nothing.
But then Dad had bought him a PS2 and he forgot about Granny.
Until now.
Creeping Jesus…
Maybe they couldn’t move while he was looking…
But the head of the dummy turned a little more, he could just make out the movement in the darkness, and the clawed hand seemed to be reaching forwards… Maybe in the dark the normal rule didn’t apply.
He ran into the area that had a bench, that you could only get to from one end, and hid underneath, hoping he would be safe there. But as he listened he became aware of a rustling and dragging noise that seemed to be moving across the floor to where he was hidden… It sounded like something in scratchy clothes pulling itself along the floor towards him, not even trying to be stealthy… There were occasional bumps, as if whatever it was didn’t have proper joints, and was moving using stiff arms and legs, which made walking properly impossible – but crawling just about do-able.
He scrunched his eyes tightly closed, but in his mind he just saw the dummies, and their creepy faces, dragging themselves along the floor, dragging, not even trying to creep anymore…
“Oh Mummy, oh Mummy,” he said as the two shapes pulled themselves nearer.
“Please no please no please no,” he continued to say as cold hands groped for him, eventually latching on to one of his ankles. Suddenly a tug of inhuman strength pulled him partway out from under the bench, and he felt another hooked hand grab his wrist and tug that hard too. He squirmed, heart beating fast, as stiff arms dragged him fully out. He only just found the breath to scream as the heavy stones were brought down hard against his body, again and again; but the screaming stopped seconds later when the dull blows crushed his skull, and from then on the only noise heard from outside the room was a heavy ‘thump thump’ noise, with a faint occasional dull cracking sound; and eventually a wet slurping noise, like a boy drinking milkshake through a straw.
In the darkness an impossibly limp shape was dragged into the iron-age exhibition; it was so floppy it fitted into the little gap under a floorboard in the fake hut; and the floorboard was then covered by smelly rugs.

The curator put the phone down with a sigh. He was unhappy at having had to come back to the museum at night, unlocking everything and looking around with his torch. Especially in some of the rooms and areas where the hairs on the back of his neck prickled sometimes for no apparent reason, such as near the stuffed animals, or in the Bowen Gallery. Silly to feel that way, but he couldn’t help it.
Anyway, he knew the kid hadn’t been left in the museum, because he had just looked in every room, shone his torch into every dusty corner, and all locked doors were still locked. There were no boys hidden anywhere. The kid must have got lost somewhere else, after he had left. Everything here was in its right place.
Well, almost.
It was a bit weird that one of the skeleton bones had been left on the floor outside the glass case in the Bowen gallery. Probably something to do with the horrible kid who had been messing around and not showing the museum its proper respect.
The curator had put the small bone back in the glass case where it belonged.

Credit To – Karl Drinkwater

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.4/10 (139 votes cast)

The House on Harbor View Road

August 26, 2013 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (159 votes cast)

I think it should go down in law that all small towns need an urban legend. Nothing ushers in excitement to a dull, lackluster town like a good ol’ fashioned ghost tale. Or monster tale, or murder tale, et cetera. My quaint little town of Nahant, Massachusetts holds around a little over 3,000 people, and can get quite boring rather easily. Attractions here are scarce, unless you like breweries or going to the Nahant Beach. Things are blander than a rice cake.
After school, I decided to go for a walk with my friend Stephy. We headed to the Lowland Park and do a couple of rounds, taking in the scenery. We were talking about pretty mundane things, like friends at school, classes, and idiot teachers we just could NOT stand. While strolling on the grassy lands, and gossiping to no end, we came across a fellow classmate, Terrance. I didn’t know him as well as I knew Stephy, but, we were still fairly nice to each other. I decided to say hello and ask him how he was doing. Not expecting much of a reply outside of a simple “coo’,” I kept walking, as did Stephy. However… he had some choice words to unleash upon us.
“Honestly?” He began, “Very confused.” Stephy and I looked at each other in confusion.
“Confused?” Stephy said quizzically. “About what?” I silently cursed her out, wanting to just continue on our way. Stephy was always too sociable for her own good.
“Yeah. My friend Jacob was telling me this weird-ass story about a haunted house on Harbor View Road.” He began. “It’s a new house too. Grey roofing, white boards, very bland looking. He told me that the folks invested tens of thousands of dollars in the place, and after nine months, they split.” Stephy and I looked at each other. We never got any ghost stories around here before. I wasn’t much of a spiritualist, hell, neither of us were, but when you live in a boring place like Nahant, it was quite intriguing. We listened on. “From what he told me, the couple apparently took a couple of their belongings before getting out, leaving the place newly furnished and everything.”
“What in the fuck…” I muttered to myself. Stephy simple looked at me and shrugged.
“How do you know the place is furnished though?” Stephy asked. “Did Jacob go in there, or something?”
“That’s what he told me.” Terrance replied. “He said he just got back from doing some exploring. I asked if he wanted to hang out but he just turned me down and went home. Must’ve been spooked by something.”
“Where is Harbor Road?” I mused. If anything, this sounded like a fun diversion.
“Well… Take Ward Road south, Take a right onto Castle Way, Then a left, and you should be on Harbor View. I don’t know the exact address though.” He informed us. Stephy looked at me, and smirked.
“Guess I know what we’re doing tonight.” She stated, without so much as a consultation on my part. “Let’s head back to the park and go!”
“Well, I don’t have anything better to do tonight. Let’s go! Thanks for the info., Terrance.” I chimed.
“Well, be careful, man. Jake was pretty creeped out. He was paper white, man.” He replied, wearily.
“It could’ve just been a cat or something.” Stephy said. “Thanks again, Terrance. We’ll be careful.” She assured. With that, we went our separate ways and loaded up into my old 2005 Ford, heading in the directions given to the White house. As we turned onto Harbor Road, we scanned the houses trying to pinpoint the right one. There were a few white houses, but some had lights on, some didn’t. We finally found the one we were looking for.
“Are you sure that’s it, Stephy?” I asked, not sure of her tracking skills.
“Look at that window.” She pointed. “It’s cracked pretty badly. Usually if a window’s being repaired, there’s a plastic sheet over it or something.”
“True, but it could’ve just recently been cracked.”
“Well there’re no lights on. It’s almost night time; they should have some lights on. Might as well just check.”
“I guess we can look. But if we’re caught, we’re totally fucked.”
“As if you’re not familiar with being penetrated, you ass. Let’s drive a way’s down and get out down the street.” She suggested “That way we won’t get caught or ticketed.”
“Good idea.” I remarked. I did as she instructed, and we got out of the car. We walked down until we were directly across from the house. “You know… it looks a lot creepier without the tinted car window separating us from it.”
“Normally I’d call you a pussy, but… damn, you aren’t kidding.” Stephy remarked, straining her neck to get a good look around. The street lights didn’t provide much help, the sickly orange hue just barely lighting the slick concrete road. We crossed the street and got closer to the house. It was jarring to say the least. You know that feeling when you’re told something, having it built up and up, and you finally seeing it, not knowing what to expect? Yeah… that feeling. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it felt like a juxtaposition of surprise, fear, and joy. You just scratched the surface, and you wanna see more.
We walked closer, and got up onto the porch of the old house, the wooden boards creaking under our heavy steps. The porch was railed in and very wide. The left side was barren, nothing but wood paneling and dust. On the right was an old rocking bench, slightly creaking in the night breeze. It wasn’t moving much, but the breeze wasn’t strong enough to even get it to rock as it was.
“That’s fucking creepy.” I stated bluntly. What else was there to say?
“Yeah, no kidding.” Stephy replied. She pulled open the screen door and saw a bronze knocker with an elegant design. Seemed like something you could get from Home Depot. “This knocker looks new. Might as well give it a try.” She said, rapping the handle against the bronze rest twice. We waited for a few moments, glancing around the neighborhood. Looked like a nice place. The houses were reasonably sized and spaced apart reasonably. The lights were god-awful though. It gave just enough light to help passer-bys along their way.
“Well, guess no one’s home.” I said. Stephy reached for the matching bronze handle, and twisted it. The handle gave no resistance, and activated the mechanism. The door creaked open slightly. Stephy and I looked at each other, apprehension in our eyes. That fear was overpowered by excitement. Finally something interesting to do in this humdrum little town, and we would be damned to an eternity in Hell if we passed this up. This turned out to be one of the most ironic thought I’ve EVER had. We opened the portal further, and peeked inside.
“I’ll go first,” I said, stepping through the portal, into the abandoned home. The thick, rubber sole of my shoe met with the cold pavement, causing a clack to sound out through the house. I looked down and my eyes adjusted to the darkness. It was a hexagonal black and white design, with bigger shapes being joined together by a smaller one, like a demented flower. I looked around, it was a hallway. The walls were coated in a light film of dirt. I began to see better, and I saw fingerprints embedded in the dirt.
“What the fuck…” I sighed, horrified.
“What? What is it?” Stephy asked in a panic, coming in after me, closing the door softly.
“There’re fingerprints here.” I began hyperventilating. I was freaking out.
“Dude, calm down.” She began. “Remember what Terrence told us? His friend Jack, or whatever-his-name-is came in here. He probably just used the wall to feel his way around.”
I thought about it, and realized she was right. I took in deep breaths, and let my heart rate return to normal.
“Thanks for that.” I said, giving her a meek thumbs up.
“I swear; you’d be lost without me.” She said with her hands on her hips. “Let’s keep going.”
We continued down the hallway and stumbled into the kitchen. I pulled out my iPod and used the flashlight function to see around. It wasn’t the best, but on short notice, it would do. The place looked like something out of a furniture store display. A dusty, but new coffee maker resting on the granite counter-top. Cupboards had a smooth, wooden finish, and the fridge was a grand white with a water and ice dispenser. The sink was metallic, with not a drop of water staining the surface. Terrance wasn’t joking when he relayed that story, that’s for sure. The place looked like it was ready to be sold, minus the smell of rotting food and dust coating everything. Stephy coughed and looked around. On the other side of the counter was the dining and living room, joined together by a wooden arch. It was moderately spacious, nothing too magnificent. On the opposite wall, next to the fridge, was another hallway. Seeing as how we just came out of a hallway (And an irrational panic attack, for that matter), we decided to save that for later.
We began to investigate the home by entering the dining room. The table had been set with fine china, an elegant flower design emblazoned upon it. The utensils seemed to be made out of silver, or a cheap imitation of said material. The napkins were a thick cloth and the placemats were made of leather with a leaf design stitched into it. There was a vase of rotted Roses, Amaryllis, and Daffodil plants in the center of the oak table, its legs crafted into elegant shapes. Around the table were oak chairs with velvet pillows resting on them. To the right of the table, was a window, facing the street. On the window sill were pots of plants, dead. Having mentioned that, there was a strong plant theme going on for the dining room, as there were various flowers, dead due to neglect and the passing of time littering it.
“These guys must really dig plants.” I whispered to Stephy, giving her an aside glance to the rotting carcasses of the greenery.
“Must’ve had more than a green thumb.” She winked, making a double entendre. I chuckled and we proceeded to the living room.
The expenditure of this place was generous, to say the least. A TV was positioned on the opposite side of the room, kitty-corner to the door. It was a plasma screen that stretched at least 6’. It was cocooned in a marvelous entertainment center made out of oak wood painted in the darkest black you could imagine, with silver handles protruding spaciously in random places, obviously where the cupboards and shelves went. Next to it was a fireplace, which, upon closer inspection, had soot upon it. Along with it, was a giant marble angel, beautifully crafted, playing a harp. On the opposite wall were two red, polyester chairs, with a coffee table resting in-between them. On the lower shelf of the table were some magazines dedicated to life’s various activities. A wide couch rested against the wall of the oak arch. The black fabric stood out like a sore thumb against the white walls, slowly peeling away. On the paper white wall was a tapestry with angels sown in, but was ripped at the seams, as if someone yanked on it or tore it apart. Stephy and I both looked at each other, noting how odd this was. We looked down to make sure there was nothing to trip on. The Berber carpeting had only a white rug on it. Sewn into the rug was reflective, golden string, giving off a sort of religious vibe, to match the rest of the room. I angled my iPod a bit to look further down the rug, only to notice a stain on it. It was grayed, but it was definitely there.
“Pieces of shit weren’t careful with their drinks.” Stephy joked.
“Apparently, that stain is huge.” I replied. I did a once-over of the room again and saw something I missed the first time I looked at the couch. It too, was stained. It was stained in what looked like blood and… feces. I pointed this out to Stephy gagging, who followed my lead.
“That’s just fucking nasty.” She gagged. “Why the fuck is there all this blood?!”
“I don’t know. It’s only on the couch, though. Nowhere else.” I observed. I felt like I was playing a watered down version of Sherlock Holmes, but it was a noteworthy observation. The couch, and the floor near it was stained in blood. Everywhere else was stain-free. The smell still made us gag, but we were big lids, we’d be fine.
“Wait… do you smell that?” Stephy asked, distracted by something else.
“No, I’m too busy admiring the shit and blood.” I snapped back.
“No, it’s not that. It smells like… a cadaver.” She whispered.
When she mentioned it, I went back into the kitchen to smell for it. Sure enough, she was right. It was faint, but death was definitely embedded in this house.
“What should we do?” Stephy asked, a nervous tone dripping from her lips.
“…Let’s investigate it.” I said. “If we see a body, we make a break for it, and call the police while we drive off.”
“Fuck…” Stephy said, obviously apprehensive about playing a game of detective. “Do you think that’s a good idea? Why don’t we just leave and call them?”
“If we do that, we’ll get arrested and charged for pranks, and possibly trespassing if they do a deep enough investigation. You feel like paying a fine?” I asked harshly. Stephy glared at me for being such a dick, and responded:
“Okay, asshole. I see your point. Let’s just look quick, alright? Let’s try to sniff it out.” She said, shaking. I agreed, and apologized for being so rash with her. She accepted and we started our hunt. We took the second hallway from the kitchen we abandoned before. Entering it revealed, we could see doors dotted at random intervals, before stopping at a window. Turned out to be a small house. We turned took the first door on our right, and entered a bathroom. Nothing too fancy, a drawn shower curtain revealed a porcelain bathtub/shower combo, next to a porcelain toilet, and, shocker, a porcelain sink. Everything in here was porcelain.
“God damn, these guys must’ve been the most pretentious decorators ever. Each room has some sort of theme to it. This is a house, not a fucking museum.” I commented. I don’t know if it was nerves, or what, but I felt the need to make light of SOMETHING. Stephy agreed and we left. The next room was on the left side of the hallway. We entered it, and found an office.
The office was probably the most normal-looking room of the bunch. It had a mahogany floor, with Brunswick Green walls. The desk was made of Maple wood, a common choice, and tucked in the legroom was a standard blue swivel chair. There were shelves of books to the left, some on the floor in a pile. On the wall was a single window, facing the street. The only other note-worthy thing was photographs. We saw a young couple in the middle of the photos, and framing them were either other pictures of them, or one of them with what I assumed to be their family members. The man and woman in the center photo were nothing too remarkable; long blonde hair on the woman, and short black hair on the man. She wore a white button-up blouse, and he, a black button-up shirt. She was caressing her husband’s hands, which were clasping her stomach. They had each had a smile on their face, and a stare that could peer into even the deepest of souls. Offsetting them was a plain covered in snow, and a dark stormy sky. Jesus, even their pictures were artsy. Stephy made a gagging sign with her hand, not letting the situation darken more than it already had. We then left the room behind us and ventured into the next room.
“Jesus Christ.” The words trickled up my throat and just barely left my mouth. Stephy didn’t respond, I assumed it wasn’t loud enough for her to hear. I turned to her, and saw a horrific look on her face.
The room was torn apart; ransacked, from the look of it, almost as if someone was looking for something. From what we could gather, this was the master bedroom. Clothes were thrown recklessly all over the place. Dresses, suits, and tops were all over the place. The bed’s quilt was savagely dug into; cotton sprawled all over the bed. The spectacular oak frame was splintered, and crushed as the mattress was sunken into it. The pillows weren’t even on the bed; they were tossed askew all over the room. The carpeting was torn up, showing spots of the bare floor, and the closet door was ripped off its hinges, lying on the floor, and it too splintered. Sewn on the wall were thousands of scratch marks. Some scratches tore up the paint, and others painted the wall in blood. Whoever did this had their fingers worn to the BONE. Furniture was toppled over, and a television was broken, lying on the floor like a murder victim. In comparison to the living room, this place looked like Hell. Sure, the blood in the other room was jarring, but this was terrifying. Stephy began to panic.
“We need to leave. Right now.” She said, tugging me back. I turned and grabbed her by the shoulder.
“There’s one more room. We’ll look in, and leave.” I said, stern in my demeanor.
“The room is fucking RANSACKED. That’s proof enough, let’s go!” She yelled. I didn’t budge.
“We’ll leave as soon as we’re done with that room. Then we can get the hell out of here.” I said. Stephy knew it was useless. She let go of me and grunted.
“Fine. We’ll look in there, indulge your sick, fucking curiosity, and then we are GONE.” She snapped. She was obviously angry. I couldn’t blame her. But we were too deep into this. We had to see for ourselves what caused this, if we could manage to find them. I nodded and we left the room behind us. We stood in the hallway, and stared at the final door. Stephy held onto my shoulder in fear, and I held onto hers. We were both terrified out of our wits, who wouldn’t be? But we had to find out what was behind that door; for peace of mind, at the very least. I slowly reached out to grab the handle. When I held onto it, it felt miry. I would’ve reacted in disgust, but I was far too horrified to even give a damn, or identify what it was. I turned the knob, the familiar clicking sound echoed throughout the house, and rang in my ears. I slowly opened the wooden plank, Stephy gripping onto me tighter than she did before. The door was finally open, and we saw what the room’s contents held.
It was a disgusting place. The floor was stained in some type of liquid. Water, blood, I couldn’t be too sure. The floor was wooden, but, a divergence from the other rooms, it looked to have been occupied. The walls were stained. I knew this because the wall was light blue, and what was mixed in was definitely blood, feces, and various liquids that I was too shocked to identify. On the far end of the room, were decomposing bodies. From what I could tell, an old women, two middle-aged police officers, and a man in a blood-stained white apron. Their skin was half-hazardly ripped off their bones, and others… what appeared to be gnawed off. Stephy vomited on our feet, but we didn’t care, the sight was far too gory to even acknowledge what she did. Then, we heard it. A soft clicking noise. It might’ve been our ears playing tricks, but for a moment, we heard it. One second, then it stopped. We halted our deep breaths, and listened. In this hyper-focused tension, we finally noticed the structure and various things surrounding it. Stuffed animals and toys were ripped up, and/or broken. They were surrounding a crib.
This was a fucking nursery.
We saw more toys inside the crib, also torn up and ripped apart. Stuffed teddy bears, clowns, and generic things like that were all of a sudden transformed into terrifying abominations from the deepest pits of Hell. Stephy and I were going borderline MAD. We were about to turn out and make a dash for the hallway, when we were met with a horrifying noise. The crib creaked… and… from under the toys, a mass rose up.
The crib creaked with each movement the mass made. I moved the beam of light I had over toward it hesitantly, not sure if I wanted to see it further. I focused it, and was able to see what it was.
Its body was small, and malnourished. The skin, pale blue, seemed to be melting off, revealing its bones, coated lightly with its blood. It’s yellowed, rotting teeth were bare, and came to a razor sharp point. The eyes were sunken in, and jaundiced. The irises seemed to be black, but, it could’ve just been the lack of light, making brown appear black, I’m not sure. Its nails were worn down, and the tips of its bones were showing. A guttural inhalation came from it.
“…..M….Momma….?” It growled, almost innocently, tilting its head toward Stephy. She dug her fingers into my shoulder, holding on for dear life.
“…..Da……Dad….Daddy…..?” It growled once again, this time tilting its head towards me. I locked eyes with the horrendous creature. For a few moments, silence filled the room, before the creature sliced it open.
“…Y-Y….You… B-Back……. Back….” It said, a wide, toothy, ear-to-ear grin appeared on its deformed, gleeful face. It then let out a scream. At least, it sounded like one. It was hoarse and blood-curdling, but sounded nothing like a normal scream. It left its crib and darted at us, crawling on all fours in a crippled, malformed manner.
“GO!” I yelled, dragging a stupefied Stephy with me. The jolt knocked her from her stupor and she followed suit in front of me, taking a sharp right toward the hallway that led to our salvation. She reached for the handle and tried to open it, but it was jammed. I didn’t know, and couldn’t stop, as I came slamming into her, opening the door from the impact. We collapsed onto the porch. I quickly got up and ran, looking back to make sure Stephy got up as well. I stopped and turned to see that she hadn’t. As she was on her feet, I saw the creature coming right behind her.
As soon as she lifted her foot off the creaking wood, it dug its nail into her leg, causing her to scream. Disregarding her pain, I yanked her as hard as I could from the grip. Blood sprayed everywhere as chunks of her skin left her body. She wailed in pain, but as long as she was alive, that’s all that mattered. I ran, carrying her, her screams of protest was muffled by my sheer determination to leave. I looked back and saw the thing in the doorway, screaming at me. It was the only thing that pierced my eardrums. I gritted my teeth in pain as I continued to run. The car was just down the road, but it felt like a marathon. I opened the door and threw Stephy inside. I ran around and got to my side, looking at the house. The thing wasn’t chasing us. That didn’t stop my paranoia or tenacity, however, as I boarded the car, turned it on, and slammed my foot on the gas.
We sped away from Harbor View Road. I didn’t look back. I drove aimlessly, ignoring lights and forgetting the most basic rules of the road. Fuck the turning signals, fuck the signs. I needed to get Stephy and me away from that fucking abomination. I soon came to a stop. I didn’t know where it was, but to hell with it, it was away from that god-forsaken home. I was PERFECTLY okay with that. I sucked in as much air as I could. When I finally came back to reality, I noticed something.
Aside from my breath, there was no sound. None at all. I turned to Stephy. She was completely silent, looking out the windshield with a blank look in her eyes. I figured she must’ve been terrified from the events that transpired. I was about to apologize for my actions, but then things started to blur. I can’t remember if I did or not, but the next thing I knew, I was blacking out.
The next thing I saw was my bedroom ceiling. I was in my bed, the familiar red quilt covering my nude body. It took a while to register, but when it did, I just assumed that I wanted to get out of those clothes. I was probably just too exhausted to get ready, but I didn’t want my clothes on. I wish I knew, but again, my memory was hazy. I then remembered what happened before my black-out. Mortified, I used my cellphone and called Stephy’s house. After a few intense moments of ringing, the phone was finally picked up by Stephy’s mom. I asked frantically if Stephy was alright. She was taken aback and told me that she was fine, a little sick, but okay. Now I was the one taken aback. I questioned her about the wound on her leg, but she said that I never mentioned a wound on her leg. Nor did she even have one.
I was dumbfounded. I may have blacked out in the car, but everything else I remembered clear as fucking day. I asked her if I could speak to Stephy. It took some prying, but she agreed to it. After hearing the muffled sounds of her actions, I finally got Stephy on the phone.
“Hello…?” She said, weakly. She sounded awful. Like she had the flu or something.
“Stephy?! Thank god. Are you alright?” I asked, agitated by the stress of the past hours.
“…Kinda. I feel like shit.” She said, going into a slight coughing fit.
“You remember what happened last night, right?” I pried. There was a few moments worth of silence, before I finally got an answer.
“Yeah…” She replied. “My leg still aches. But there’s nothing there.”
I was left in a stupor of confusion. Had any of that actually happened? It had to have happened. I mean, we both remember it clear as day. There had to be an explanation for all of this. There just had to.
“Hello?” She asked, yanking me into reality once more.
“Yeah… sorry… I’m just… tired.” I said. “I’m gonna go back to bed.” I said. “You should get some rest too.”
“I will.” She said, coughing again.
“Good bye, Stephy.” I muttered groggily.
“Wait…” She said.
“Yeah?” I asked, feeling a bit impatient. More silence was heard, before she said something that sent a chill down my spine.
“I feel sick.”
The phone clicked, and a dial tone rang, knocking against my skull. I gripped the phone for what seemed like an eternity, before I set it down on the receiver. I slowly crawled back into bed, pulling the covers over my body. That last sentence rolling around in my head as my consciousness slipped away from me.

Credit To – -Nolan B.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (159 votes cast)

This website contains fictional content that may be too scary for younger readers. Please verify that you are either at least 18 years of age or have parental permission before proceeding.