Marked for Death

July 7, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Bryn was not a squeamish girl, but this was really pushing it.
“Okay, you want me to do what?”
Jasmine smirked. “I want you to go in there and take pictures.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder and continued. “My parents would freak out if they caught me coming home looking like you do every day. But yours wouldn’t give a crap about it.”
“But the old asylum? Really? It was quarantined for a reason,” Bryn said.
“Well, if you don’t want to do it, I can always just tell everyone that you tried to beat me up,” Jasmine said, that annoying twinkle in her eyes. She thought she knew everything.
Bryn sighed. It wasn’t true, of course, but everyone would believe Jasmine. She had been defeated. Jasmine would always do anything to get her way. “So why exactly do you need pictures?”
Jasmine adjusted her flashy red glasses. “Because I want to shoot a video on the occult there, and I need to know if it’s a good set.”
“Then do it yourself!”
Jasmine handed her a cheap digital camera. “I already explained why I can’t. So go there tonight and let that sucker snap, ‘kay?”
“But what about the disease?” Bryn asked.
“Oh, don’t be such a pathetic wimp. The disease will obviously be dead by now.”

Bryn trudged toward the asylum, camera in hand.
Back in whatever year, a patient who came to the asylum carried a deadly disease with them. The doctors and nurses had filed reports about the strange black markings found on the necks of each sick patient. The disease had affected the other patients, and the asylum ended up having to be quarantined because it was so bad. They meant to burn down the asylum once all the patients were dead (things were different back then), but it was never gotten around to. Now everyone in town considered it haunted, although the patients were presumed dead.
Bryn stopped in front of the old asylum. Dust seemed to hang in the air, above the browning grass choked with weeds. A heavy feeling of dread lingered around the building. It was nightfall. The moon shone eerily through a dense mist of wispy clouds.
She scowled at the asylum, took a shuddering breath and entered.
Inside was a thick coating of dust on every surface. There were holes in the roof where the moon shone through; there were no working lights and everything was colored in monochrome.
She struggled not to sneeze. She had a strange feeling that something bad would happen if she did. She brought the camera up and pressed down on the shutter button. A sudden and frightening wave of light swept the room. She continued like this as she made her way through the rooms.
Oh, that’s strange. I thought there would at least be some traces of the patients.
Bryn came to a heavy wooden door, unbolted. She opened it cautiously to find a dusty staircase leading down into the dark. She heard a strange dripping sound.
Jasmine can explore the stupid basement herself. I’m done.
Bryn worked her way back to the door.
She couldn’t open it. She frowned and tried again, but was still unsuccessful. Bryn backed up. The door was locked.
I’m screwed. I’m really, truly screwed.
She heard the dripping sound, louder this time. Something made a crash. Bryn ran to the basement, which she had stupidly left open, and fell down the stairs. She lifted her head, only to see the door close with a finalized thud. She was trapped.
Bryn stood up and spat her hair out of her mouth, trying to stay calm.
It’s probably just a prank – a stupid one, at that. That door will open in the morning and there’ll just be a bunch of obnoxious teenagers laughing at me…right?
Bryn studied her surroundings apprehensively. She could see no more than a few feet in front of her, and like the room above, everything was coated in dust. She took a few steps forward, arms outstretched to feel a cold surface, the opposite wall. Bryn frowned. It was a…mirror? roughly as big as a doorway. She peered at the glassy surface, but saw no reflection.
Something scuttled behind her and Bryn turned, clutching her camera defensively. There was nothing there so she turned back to face the mirror and immediately jumped back, a scream escaping her throat.
A man stood in the mirror, grinning eerily. His blank eyes were sunken into the waxy, translucent skin stretched across his face. Thin purple veins bulged across his bone-white scalp in place of hair, and Bryn could see a small black mark on his neck.
Bryn shrieked and hurled her camera at the mirror. It shattered on contact, shards sailing through the air and landing on the floor in a flurry of clinking noises. Her hand curled around a particularly large piece of the broken mirror and she rose, ready to stab him–it, but it was unnecessary. The man was gone.
Bryn walked shakily backwards to the mirror-less wall behind her and held the shard out from her quivering body.
But she let a small laugh out. It was just a mirror, she thought. I must have been hallucinating. Just because this asylum is unnerving doesn’t mean there is anyone lurking in the shadows or mirrors, for God’s sake. See, look, it’s just a harmless mirror.
Bryn walked over to the shards and examined them in the dim light that seeped in through the cracks in the wooden door that had sealed her in to the basement.
In one moment, she realized the mirror shards were glass. There was not a doorway-sized mirror–there was a glass door–and it was broken. She gasped, and the second she made a sound, a bony, moist hand bulging with thin, protruding veins reached out the doorway.
She screamed as she was dragged into the room beyond.
“Get away from me!” Bryn sprinted down the next hall, the man close behind. He seemed to have never-ending stamina. Then again, he wasn’t necessarily running–she didn’t know what to classify it as. He was simply there in a flash, chasing after her.
Bryn, on the other hand, was starting to slow down against her will. Sweat rolled down her face, despite the cool temperature of the air, and her breaths came in short, choppy bursts. Her eyes widened as she saw something at the end of the hall–a door? She gritted her teeth and pushed herself forward, yanking on the doorknob and throwing herself inside before closing and locking it as fast as she could.
Bryn turned around, leaning on the locked door for support. She breathed a sigh of relief. Today, she thought, she wouldn’t die.
And then she saw it.
From the dark shadows in the corner came what Bryn at first thought was a huge bug. But then she realized it was a patient, with no legs. One eye hung from its socket by a thin tendon, the other socket empty, exposing thin, stretched yellow skin. It dragged itself toward Bryn with its arms, making a grotesque scraping noise. From its mouth issued a terrifying, inhuman screech like nails on a chalkboard.
“No food,” it rasped quietly, “but now there is a feast…”
It came closer to Bryn, exposing four rows of sharp blackening teeth.
Bryn was trapped between two killers.
It came closer and closer, a trail of dark blood behind it. The blood was everywhere–on the walls, the floor, even the ceiling. A heavy stench of death and rotten things permeated the air in the room. Bryn had to restrain herself from screaming bloody murder as the thing’s malformed face stretched into a bone-chilling smile. She backed up slowly, suddenly hitting something solid–the wall.
Her bag bumped against the wall and something fell out, glinting silver. A small flashlight, the kind a person would put on a keychain. A idea passed through her brain. Light. This thing had probably been living down here in the dark for who-knew-how-long, so light would hurt it, right?
Bryn quickly crouched down, her fingers scrabbling across the floor to find the flashlight. She glanced back and forth nervously, from the floor to the thing, as she searched, the creature growing ever closer with slow, even movements. It wasn’t even trying to hurry, like it knew that Bryn was trapped and doomed to become its prey.
No…where IS it?! Bryn’s panic grew worse with each second. The light. The light. She had to find the light.
She heard a soft hissing sort of noise behind her, and realized that the thing was laughing. Bryn turned to see the legless patient’s face inches from her own. She struggled to hold in her scream as the thing’s eye, dangling down from its face, bobbed up and down. She heard its erratic breathing. Its breath was disgusting.
Bryn backed into the wall as much as she could, knowing that she was going to die no matter what. Something gleamed in the darkness over the thing’s shoulder. The flashlight. If she could get ahold of it somehow…
Stay alive. That was her main priority right now. So she had to do this, for her life.
Bryn winced slightly, gritted her teeth, and yanked on the thin cord of flesh holding the monster’s remaining eye in.
It shrieked like a banshee, hands reaching up to the empty socket and Bryn dashed past it to grab the flashlight. Not caring about whether or not it would still do anything to the creature without its eye, not caring about anything but survival, she flicked it on and pointed it towards the thing.
The reaction was instantaneous. It let out a long, tortured screech as its skin bubbled up and its face seemed to melt. Bryn continued to hold the thing in the deadly glare of the light until it collapsed in a pool of blood and half-melted flesh, letting out a final shriek before going still.
Now she just had to find a way out. Maybe the man was gone from the door. She turned just as a deafening knock rang out. Nope. Another knock came. And another. They grew louder and closer together, until Bryn was withstanding awful pounding noises echoing all around the chamber. She knew that the door wouldn’t last much longer. Bryn had to find a hiding place–fast.
She desperately looked around the room, searching for something, anything that could possibly hide her. The only possible hiding spot was the dark corner of the room that the thing had come from, but that would be far too obvious. She’d be found right away. But she could always…Bryn pursed her lips as the pounding continued.

The man came bursting through the door, grinning madly. The creepy smile melted off of his face, however, when he did not see Bryn. He flashed over to the dark corner, the spindly fingers of his hand curling into a fist and punching the wall, causing the stone to crack. He emitted an inhuman growling noise in rage and passed right through the wall to search for the girl.
Bryn slowly eased herself out of the remains of the thing and stood. There was blood and other things she wasn’t sure she wanted to know the names of dripping from her. Well, camouflage. She had not wanted at all to hide inside the thing’s corpse, but it was all for survival, right?
Bryn fought back hot tears welling up in her eyes. She was alive, and that was all that mattered.
Bryn knew she had to get out of the basement. She opened the door as quietly as she could. There was nothing in the dark hall. The night had gotten darker and there was barely any light. Bryn made her way through the hall based solely on sound. From one side of her came an eerie song. The notes seemed to settle in her mouth and nose and suffocate her. So she covered her ears and felt for the closest door with one hand. Bryn’s hand rested on a door handle and she silently slipped into the room. The music had stopped, but she was in the room it had come from.
There was a beautiful glossy white grand piano in the center of the room. She felt an unearthly pull towards the piano. Bryn had never played one a day in her life, but she had to play it. The minute her hands stroked the keys a beautiful tune started. But soon it morphed into the painful song she had listened to in the hall.
Bryn tried to cover her ears but something was forcing her to continue playing. As the song got worse and Bryn started to panic, a knife was at her throat and something dragged her off the bench, singing the terrible song in her ear. The blade was cold against her throat, and Bryn saw a small hand materialize on the handle from the corner of her eye. The creepy singing in her ear was interrupted by a soft, girlish giggle.
“You shouldn’t touch my piano, you know? It’ll taint it…”
Bryn nervously took in a breath. “Can you take the knife away from my throat? You could hurt me…” She figured by the girl’s voice that she was young.
“Ohhh…I wouldn’t want that…”
Bryn slowly exhaled. The girl probably wouldn’t hurt her…
“I mean, I want you to die, you know?”
No. She was NOT dying now, not after running from a creepy man and hiding in a half-melted corpse. “Maybe we can work this out…”
The knife pressed deeper into her throat.
The knife paused. “Go on…”
“We’ll both play the piano…whoever’s playing is better will win. If I win, I get to leave, but if you win, you…you can kill me.”
The blade came away from her throat. Bryn turned cautiously to see a young girl in a lacy, old-fashioned dress. There was an ethereal quality to her, however, her skin being completely white, and Bryn had the feeling she wasn’t exactly alive. The girl smiled. “I love games! Let’s play! I’ll go first!”
Bryn nodded. Perfect. The girl placed the knife on the edge of the piano and smoothed her skirts, sitting on the bench. She lifted her white hands to the equally white keys and began to play.
The music washed over the room, flowing with a graceful, elegant tune. It sounded happy and light, but Bryn could sense a tinge of melancholy as the girl swayed with the music. At last the song ended, leaving a sense of peace and sadness lingering in the room. The girl turned excitedly back towards Bryn. “So? How was tha-”
She was cut short as Bryn forced her frail form forward, then released the top of the piano to slam down on her head with a sickening crunch. It cut straight through a now apparent black mark on her neck. Bryn lifted the knife from the piano and drove it through the girl’s chest from behind for good measure as sticky blood leaked out from the piano, dripping onto the keys and staining the pure white a deep red.
Bryn left the room, the piano’s sheet music placed on the dead girl’s back with the knife gone and the words “YOU LOST” written in blood over the notes.
Bryn walked calmly down the hall, clutching the knife. Well, it’s way too late to go back now, and this creepy asylum probably won’t even let me. I guess the only thing to do is go further in.
So Bryn continued and the hall seemed to go further down than it had originally appeared. The darkness seemed to be closing in on her as she set her gaze forward to see a door at the end of the hall. She reached out to place her hand on the doorknob, only to hear a sound and whirl around to face…
The small but persuasive girl was standing there in the middle of the hall, red glasses shining in the little light there was. Bryn held her knife in front of her, ready to strike, but Jasmine backed away slightly. Bryn scowled at her.
“What are you doing here?”
Jasmine said, “It’s none of your business. I wanted to come in. You were being too slow.”
“How did you get down here?” Bryn demanded.
Jasmine shifted her weight onto her other foot nervously. “It’s still none of your business. Let’s just go.” Jasmine marched past Bryn, grabbed her wrist, opened the door and pulled Bryn against her will into the room. When they were in, the door disappeared to leave behind a solid concrete wall.
Jasmine squeaked and pressed herself up against the aforementioned wall. “What is that?”
Bryn looked up and saw what was freaking out Jasmine. The entire room was covered in spikes, save for the floor and the wall Jasmine was clinging to like a lifeline. A ways up on the wall, about four feet up, were several bodies skewered on these shining iron spikes. The spikes had reached all the way through their torsos, and their entrails were hanging out, swinging in the slight draft. Every few second a small drop of crimson blood would fall from the bodies and land in a rapidly growing pool in the floor.
Jasmine seemed to be trying to fuse herself with the wall. “W-what do w-we do?”
Bryn didn’t even bother to look at her. “You wanted to come in here, Jasmine.”
Then a strange scraping sound rang through the room. The spiked walls closed in on them slightly, as Jasmine shrieked like a very unhelpful banshee. Bryn’s eyes widened slightly and she got into a defensive stance, knuckles white against clenched knife, as if thinking that would help.
The scraping noise continued as the walls crept up on them, the entrails of the long-dead corpses swinging jerkily. Jasmine was busy having a hysterical meltdown as Bryn examined the pool of blood on the floor. A small wooden corner of something peeked out from underneath it.
Could it be…?
Bryn kicked some of the blood out of the way and her suspicions were confirmed.
A trapdoor! Bryn tugged on the rusty metal ring holding it in place and managed to yank it partly open. Jasmine squealed like a pig and rushed to the trapdoor, pushing Bryn out of the way. Bryn quickly studied the spikes on the wall. There was only enough time for one person to go down the trapdoor before the spikes impaled them, too. So Bryn stabbed her knife through Jasmine’s stomach and hurried down the trapdoor, turning to see black sand rushing out of Jasmine’s wound. Jasmine had not been real.
Bryn fell through the dark and landed in something soft, followed by a spattering of blood and a pair of cracked red glasses. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light, Bryn could make out a reddish tint all around her. Where was she?
She tested the floor with her foot and found it to be spongy and soft. The chamber was suddenly shaken by what seemed like a pulse. She reached out warily and her fingers met a series of slimy cords reaching from floor to ceiling. Bryn gritted her teeth and brought her knife through them. Whatever this room was, she wanted to get out.
She continued to cut through the slimy cords, searching for a source of light until finally she broke through the last of them and burst out into yet another hallway. A pair of vast double doors stood before her. She cautiously pushed them open and opened. She heard a strange sound from the ceiling. Bryn stopped dead and looked up, only to be smacked backwards by something very solid.
Bryn dusted herself off and stood up. She looked to what had hit her, and tried to choke back a scream. It was her, hanged from the ceiling. The body was swinging back and forth like a morbid unmanned marionette, and that wasn’t all. All down the hall were torture devices of every kind imaginable, each one featuring her as its victim.
Bryn took a deep breath and took one step down the hall, trying her best not to look on either side. She heard no screaming. All of her doppelgangers were eerily silent. Every so often Bryn would be showered with blood or chunks of unknown substances.
Bryn gathered her courage and sprinted down the hall to another door. But it wasn’t a door. It was a mirror. Bryn finally managed to force herself to look back but the door had disappeared. On a whim, Bryn stuck her hand tentatively out to the mirror. It went through, so Bryn tightened her grip on the piano girl’s bloodied knife and walked straight through it.
Inside the mirror, it was completely silent, even more so than the hall of torture devices. Bryn turned in a slow circle and saw herself reflected on every surface. She recoiled slightly as a small black mark on her neck came into view. Bryn closed her eyes. It’s not real, it’s just an illusion.
“It’s not real,” she repeated aloud.
“But it is, isn’t it?”
Her eyes shot open to focus on a small girl, peering over Bryn’s shoulder in the mirror. The piano girl.
Bryn jumped forward, away from the piano girl. “But I…I killed you…”
The girl smiled and chuckled musically. “Funny how that works, isn’t it? But I’m here now to take my knife back. You need to be taught a lesson, you know? You touched my piano,” she took a step forward. “And that’s not okay.”
Bryn tightened her grip on the stolen knife. “I-I saw your head explode! You should be dead!”
The girl pouted slightly. “Boy, didn’t anyone ever teach you to listen? And not to take things? We covered this already. Now, give me my knife!”
Bryn gritted her teeth and sprinted down the mirror hall, the girl’s sing-songy voice echoing after her. “That’s not very nice, you know. You shouldn’t run away from your lessons! It’s such an inconvenience to have to catch you again, you know? But I can do it, sooo…”
Bryn didn’t wait for the girl to prove her claim. She ran even faster, and the mirrors around her seemed to change in blurs of muted, glistening color until she was running down the very first hall in the basement. The hall that had started it all. And there was the door! All she had to do was run up the stairs and open it. She suddenly heard a growl and a bone-chilling scraping noise. She knew without looking that the threats she had evaded earlier were back.
Bryn reached the staircase, but as soon as she saw it, it drew itself back up, leaving a door twenty feet up on the damp wall, unreachable. Instead, a man, a normal man, was standing in front of Bryn.
The monsters stopped. They watched.
“You need to make a decision here,” the man told her. “You can stay here, with us. We won’t hurt you. Not if you don’t resist. You’ll become one of us, living in the darkness, trying to recruit others who are unlucky enough to find us. We were all once like you, but our stories are to be told another time. Or you can take this box of matches, open this door–” a door appeared behind his shoulder, “and we can resume this chase.”
Bryn didn’t hesitate. She grabbed the matchbox, not sure why she needed it, and threw open the door. An identical hall lay before her, a faint light at the end. She sprinted down it, getting a slight head start from the monsters, and reached the light. There was another door she opened, and she found herself in the ugly brown field in the front of the old insane asylum. The monsters stopped in the doorway.
“Very well. You’ve made your choice. Do what you wish with the matches. I suppose your fate is the same. It is all a matter of freedom.”
The monsters retreated. Bryn felt like sitting down in the field and crying, overwhelmed by the events she had just witnessed and survived, but she had a job to finish. She opened the matchbox, grabbed a match, lit it, and threw it towards the asylum. The old wooden building ignited, throwing heat onto her face. Bryn tore through the field until she reached the sidewalk, a line of burning weeds following her. As she made her way down the sidewalk, she heard sirens. Bryn smiled. Now no one would have to experience the terror she just had.
Bryn realized she had been gone for at least one day. Her poor mother must have been freaking out. When Bryn reached her house, less than a mile away from the asylum, police cars were parked in her driveway. She found her mother sobbing in the middle of the living room, being awkwardly comforted by stony-faced policemen.
When her mother spotted her, Bryn was pulled into a bone-crushing hug amid sobs and cries of incredible joy. She shed a few tears herself, glad to be home. Her mother sent her to bed immediately, and Bryn crept into bed, her mother sitting next to her to tuck her in. Her mother spoke a few warming words. But Bryn couldn’t escape the chilling ones that came after.
“Hey, honey, what is that black mark on your neck?”

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A Haunted House in Sialkot

May 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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This story comes from my dad and he was around 18 at the time of this particular incident. It was summer time so he went visiting relatives in a city called Sialkot. His maternal family was based there, living in a few houses in a small cluster. A few of his cousins and one of his uncles, Uncle Arshad, who was also quite young (being around 25 at the time), also joined him there. During their stay they heard a few stories of a house their family owned.

It was located two houses down the street and was unoccupied house at the time. Its only utility was that the courtyard (which was open to the sky) was used as a gym of sorts by the local bodybuilders during daytime. One of the stories they were told was that of a local bodybuilder named Manna. Manna was alone lifting weights there one day, and one time after getting up to stretch after lifting something particularly heavy he was patted on the back and told ‘Well done’. Only, he knew there was no one else in the room. He had stopped being there alone after that.

My dad and his uncle were quite excited after hearing all that and being ‘Young and foolish’ they decided to spend a night there. They were warned against it, a few of the elders including their maternal grandfather calling them fools for meddling in ‘things you do not understand’ but their minds were set. In the end, they decided that they would enter the house after dark, a little before midnight, and sleep there leaving just after daybreak. Since the house was not in use they decided to sleep on the roof on charpai’s (which is a traditional woven bed in the Indian subcontinent). They also instructed their watchman to lock the main door after they had entered to ensure no one else could enter after them and to come open the door immediately after daybreak. Apparently the watchman laughed after hearing this and told them he would keep the key ready because they would be calling him long before that.

The next night before they were supposed to go to the house one of their elders told them to try something. He told them to set up a carom board in the courtyard and just leave it there, untouched, and check it sometime after. They set it up in the house as instructed, and carried their charpai’s to the roof after that. It was difficult doing all of it in the dark, since they house did not have an electric supply. Their only source of light was an oil lantern, and the light it cast was dim and yellow, but they were still happy for the lack of ghost sightings.

They spent the first hour playing cards and nothing seemed to happen. Much more relaxed about the house, they began to wonder what everyone was on about. And then, during one of the rounds, they heard the unmistakeable sound of the hand-pump in the courtyard being worked, and the sound of water flowing. They were four floors up, on the roof, but that sound still sent a shiver through them. They tried to ignore it the best they could, but the hand-pump continued pumping water on its own. Much quieter now, they tried to keep playing cards but around 1 am they just gave up and decided to sleep instead.

My dad slept on one of the charpai’s on the edge, and slept like a rock till he was woken up by someone shaking him. He got up to the frightened face of one of his cousins. He pointed to Uncle Arshad who had been sleeping in his boxers on the far edge. It was then that he noticed that he seemed to be writhing in pain, clutching his throat. They tried to shake him awake, but it took a whole minute filled with the fear of what was happening to wake him up. Uncle Arshad woke up breathing heavily and still clutching his throat. He looked at them and said, “We need to leave this place, now!”

“It is 3 am already” one of the other cousins said, “We only need to wait an hour or so more and then—“

“I want to leave this place NOW, and I will jump from the roof to do that if I have to!”

They were even more frightened after that. They decided to leave but remembered that the house entrance was still locked. So, they started shouting to get the watchman’s attention. Soon enough though, they got the attention of my dad’s grandfather instead who had been sleeping on the roof of his house anticipating something of the sort. After a few choice curses he sent for the watchman and told them that he would be waiting for them downstairs.

They still had to climb down the stairs though. Four flights of stairs, in pitch black darkness, with nothing but the dim light of the lantern to guide them. They climbed down slowly and with much arguing about who would climb down first, and who would be at the rear. They kept their eyes nearly shut and tried not to look around them, since they kept imagining things in the dark, looking back at them, or perhaps one of them being dragged off. And Uncle Arshad was still clutching his throat; the image of him writhing still fresh in all of their heads. When they finally got to the courtyard they went past the carom board, and all of them noticed that all the pieces were now in the pockets.

When they finally got to the door the watchman was waiting for them, with a large smile on his face. “So are all you young ones done here? Has your warm blood run cold yet?” he said, laughing at them.

After they were out of the house, they asked Uncle Arshad what had happened, but he refused to tell them anything till he was out of the darkness. So they took him to a street lamp and they sat under it till he calmed down and stopped shivering with fear. And then he told them his story:

“As I fell asleep I dreamt that I was in the house. I walked down to the courtyard and in my dream I started urinating there. Just then, an old man with a long beard and terrifying eyes came and grabbed me by the throat. He shouted ‘How dare you defile this sacred place?!’ and lifted my up in the air with one hand. I was helpless, kicking and gasping for air when all of you woke me”

After he told them the story he finally took his hands off his throat. Even in the lamplight they could clearly see the bloody blue mark of a hand right across his neck.

Writer’s note: This particular story comes from my father and has always been one that took my imagination to places I did not want to visit. I could have taken my father for his word but for the sake of keeping this account ‘factual’ I tried to confirm its details from two different people. During my attempt to validate it I found that not only is this incident and the haunting of the building in question real, but there are people living in that house today who deal with this sort of phenomenon on a regular basis.

(This is a part of a collection of real life horror stories and memoirs currently being collected and compiled by Salman Shahid Khan. For more, please visit and follow the writer’s blog at )

Salman Shahid Khan

Credit To – Salman Shahid Khan

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The Flesh Market

May 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Have you ever visited Edinburgh? Beautiful city, no matter what time of year you go. The castle that sits at the centre of the city is awe-inspiring, looking down on the surrounding area from the Mount. The peaks and valleys of the land have resulted in a city that flows with the landscape. Streets that surround can be steep, with the numerous sprawling alleyways even steeper. It is here that we find Fleshmarket Close.

It could be mistaken for any other darkened causeway in the city. It sits among the shops and tourist traps, relatively non-threatening, and can be used as a short cut to get down to the station if you are in a hurry. The name has been justified, through some who point out that fleshmarkets were a local term for butchers, and through others who suggest it a hangout of women of the first vocation. These are incorrect. There is a market on the close, but flesh is not the product. It is the currency.

Market hours are dusk until dawn, and the entrance fee is one mouthful of your own blood. Prepare a glass, and progress down the alley. As you get halfway down, swig from the glass and spit it against the wall. The blood will bubble and spread across the wall, coagulating into a hardened scab. This will then start to flake and scatter. A rather anti-climatic door will be revealed beneath. Stepping through is disorientating as logic will tell you you are stepping into a building. The space you are stepping into has no walls, with darkness shrouding the edges. It is at the penumbra that a number of stalls are set up, run by individuals who look like market traders from across the globe, from Arabian merchants to Cockney grocers to New York street con-men. All of their clothes are splatted with blood and offal

These figures will entice you to come speak with them and will gesture to numerous signs around their stalls regarding the sales they are currently having. Upon approaching one of the stalls they will start to pressure you to make a deal with them. You are certainly welcome to do so, and the products that are available are certainly worth consideration.

Starting at the cheap end of the spectrum, you may wish to offer one breath. A lungful will net you knowledge of the weather for the next day. In itself a rather pointless purchase in this age of smartphones and the Met office, but centuries ago invaluable. Taking this offer will result in the seller reaching out with his hand flattened, then quickly grasping it into a fist. The air will literally be stolen from your lungs, and cause a few moments of gasping as you catch your breath.

Are you attached to your fingers? How attached? I mean, do you reckon you could do without your little finger? This sale will provide you instant forgiveness from any one person you desire for any wrongs you may have encroached against them. Agreeing to this one will cause the trader to grin and shout “One Yubitsume Special, coming right up”. They will lunge forward and grab your wrist, pinning it to the table. Don’t resist, because no-one likes a tough sell. A flash of steel and you will be minus one digit. Just remember you can only pay twice.

Now make no mistake, it will hurt. There will probably be a lot of blood, and if you don’t take care of the wound, it may even get infected. As the price goes up you may want to consider taking precautions regarding what you trade. Tourniquets and sutures would certainly not go amiss.

Now some of the trades will seem familiar and may hark back to stories and legends that have existed for millenia. This is is the influence the market has had on our culture, leaching in over the centuries. A pound of flesh will make it impossible for the next person you make a trade with to renege on the deal. Especially useful if you don’t trust the company you keep. It has no use within the Market as all of the traders here are trustworthy, and will honour a purchase to the letter and the spirit. Best to leave this transaction until last.

How about one of your eyes? Depth perception is over-rated any way. Offering up one of them will allow you to converse with our avian friends. You will be able to call down the birds from the trees, and they will be able to answer any questions you may have. It is advisable that you avoid ravens. They have their own agenda, and it is not in your best interests. The salesman will grab you around the throat and slowly prise his fingers into the socket. A snap of the wrist and your visual organ will rest in their palm. Another snap, and it will disappear.

It is at this point where you may want to consider stronger measures to ensure your survival of payment. In this strange little world or ours, the market is hardly the strangest. Artifacts and incantations exist that can allow the body to continue to function long past the point at which mortal coils would be shuffled from. One or two can be picked up here, but few are willing to live without their sexual organs. It seems eternity is that little bit colder without the ability to get your rocks off. I’m not going to go into the details as to how they are taken, suffice to say that it is unpleasant and messy.

At this point the prices become a little more …..Vital. What would you take for your stomach? In this deal it would merit you the ability to understand the desires of anyone you talk to. Whilst you converse with them, your mind will be filled with the images of that which they covet the most. This would provide a significant advantage to any budding salesman, and the deal has been taken up by several of the stallholders themselves.

Some may argue that such a gift would be more poetically suited to the heart. That vascular muscle, however, is apart of an altogether different deal. By bartering with your heart, you can guarantee the happiness of any given individual for the rest of their life, however long that may be. The removal of these types of organs can be significantly painful, but the dealers will allow you a moment to prepare yourself before they will produce a short, keen blade. One practised swipe later, and they will be digging into your tissues. They have unerring accuracy and a level of cleanliness that rivals any surgeon.

Now it is acknowledged in some places that once the deal has been sealed, a buyer may have second thoughts and may want to back out. This is not one of those places. Most of the contract is left unspoken, but you are expected to have done your research. The buyout clauses are a killer.

Whilst most of the body can be put on the table, there are limitations.The fact of the matter is that the brain is the seat of sentience, and cannot be fully placed in. I say fully, there was one individual who offered to lobotomise the part of the brain that holds memory as a part of the deal. The problem is he cannot remember what it is he received in return. I hear he suffered night terrors for the rest of his days.

Now at this point I offer a warning. Up until now I have detailed the price list for your own body parts. What ever you do, do not attempt to purchase anything in the market with organs of another. Every figure in the market will stop and stare at you, and the one you attempted to defraud will scream “THAT IS NOT YOURS TO TRADE!”. What ever it is you have tried to barter will, that body part will be taken from you as punishment. A very literal eye for an eye.

Despite whatever theological perspectives you may hold, offering your own soul will elicit the same result. There have been many theories postulated for this response, but the honest answer is we just don’t know.

The market has been trading in blood and bone for as long as civilization has existed, though the entrance has moved from city to city. Many have visited and shook hands with the butchers, though not quite as many got those hands back. A smart man would wonder how it is that these individuals are capable of honouring the deals they broker. A smarter man would ask himself why his body parts are of such high value in this economy. Just understand that it is supply and demand.

And as long as there are fools willing to supply, you shouldn’t need to concern yourself with who is doing the demanding.

Credit To – The Silicon Lemming

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The Lost

April 23, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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This is a Crappypasta Success Story – a story that was rewritten with the feedback received on Crappypasta and accepted for the main site. You can see the Crappypasta posting for this story here: The Lost

My name is Clare and I’m from a small country in central Europe. Many people have probably never heard of it. My country has everything from a small coastline on the Adriatic Sea to the majestic Alps but most of the landscape consists of small green hills, each with a little church on top. Almost two thirds of my country is covered with forests and the capitol is famous for its middle age architecture. It is a beautiful country where, most of the time, nothing unusual happens.

Like most people here I live in the countryside where my nearest neighbor is almost a quarter of a mile away. I spent most of my childhood running around the forest right by my home. I can still remember where the best trees for climbing are and where certain flowers grow. Something happened there in the summer of 2001 I will never forget. I was around twelve years old and I had decided to spend my whole afternoon alone in the forest.

As I said most of the country is covered in hills and the hill behind our house is quite steep. At the top of this hill is an old orchard my great-grandfather planted and from it you can almost see the capitol city in the distance. My forest extends from the orchard, across the Karst landscape and almost right to the Italian border. There are a few smaller towns and villages between my home and the border but I never really went very far from the area my family owned. On this particular day though I decided to explore some of the areas I had never been before.

I really didn’t take anything with me and I didn’t bother telling my parents where I was going. I always felt very safe in the woods even though bears were often seen in the area. In reality the most dangerous thing you would normally come across were drunken hunters. The forest is pretty in the summer and the leaves and tall trunks made me feel like I was in a big cathedral. I started to sing a tune I had heard on the radio and before long I was about an hour and a half walking distance from home.

At this point I decided to stray off the main road that leads through the forest. I’m not sure how much time passed but I suddenly realized that the Sun was starting to set and the light was making the leaves glow in sharp colors. Soon I found myself wandering, in the twilight, in an area I did not know. The wind blowing through the dry branches was making very eerie noises and I suddenly knew I was lost.

I could feel my panic beginning to rise and the adrenaline started to flow through my veins. My instincts were screaming to run away, but I forced myself to remain calm and tried to figure out the way back to the main road. It was pointless; I had no idea where I was. I started to walk around aimlessly, hoping to find the road or at least a path I could follow. Suddenly I saw a figure standing in the distance and from its size it had to be a child. I started to walk towards it but the child seemed to notice me and ran away. I chased after it through the forest for quite a long time but I could never quite get close enough to actually distinguish any of its features but it seemed to be a young girl no older than I was at the time.

As I was running after the mysterious girl the ground suddenly gave way beneath me. I experienced that dreadful feeling of falling, like in very bad nightmare, where time seems to slow down and everything is in slow motion. Then came the awful sound of my body hitting the ground and pain erupted through me.

For a moment I lay motionless on the ground trying to catch my breath. Finally I pulled myself together and opened my eyes, waiting for them to adjust to the thick darkness in the cave, where I had landed.

At first everything was pitch black but then I began to be able to see. There was a single pair of eyes staring at me just a few inches in front of my face. I quickly backed away, until I hit something dry and crumbly. Somewhere in the back of the cave a light suddenly flared to life. First there was one, and then more and more, until the chamber was fully lit. There were thousands and thousands of eyes watching me. Dead, dull eyes in dry sockets. Faces whose skin was desiccated and stretched over their skulls. Their mouths hung open, their lips having rotted and pulled back so that it looked as if they were all screaming in rage or terror.

I stared, I wasn’t able to move or scream. I am not even sure I was able to breathe. I blinked, hoping that the dreadful image in front of me would disappear. As I opened my eyes it seemed as if all the corpses had moved. I never saw them move, but each time I blinked it was like they had gotten one step closer. I felt cold sweat dripping down my neck and my eyes began to itch and water as I tried to keep them open. I couldn’t help myself and I blinked again. This time, as my eyes opened, I was completely surrounded. I simply closed my eyes, hoping this was all just a bad dream. I didn’t hear a single sound and I smiled thinking that I would soon wake up in my own bed. When I opened my eyes I was face to face with it. I could clearly see the dried and rotten face, eyes dim and lifeless. I started to feel dizzy and sick and then it seemed as though I could feel something like boney hands and fingers grabbing my hair and tearing at my clothes. I felt it and then again I didn’t feel it. I was so overcome with terror I could no longer tell what was real and what wasn’t. I tried so hard to stay conscious, to fight, but I couldn’t move a single muscle. Then the lights suddenly went out and it was pitch black all around me.

I opened my eyes, trying to adjust to the lack of light. I was lying on the forest floor, not far from my home. At that moment my body started to function normally and I ran home as fast as I could. I had no idea how I had gotten there and I just wanted to forget about what had happened. I was so happy to be home and safe but my peace didn’t last very long.

The next night I had a dream about the people I had seen in the cave. I woke with a start and saw a face looking at me through the window. In the moonlight the features of the face were much easier to make out than they had been in the darkness of the cave. It was the face of a young girl, she was dead and her empty eyes stared at me with wild anger as she clawed the window trying to get in.

Since then I have had the same nightmare of the girl clawing to get through my window every night. It has been twelve years now and in that time I have gone to many different therapists. They tell me it is just stress from school and work and that I should try to relax. How can I relax when every night I am afraid to open my eyes for fear that she will be there trying to get to me?

It is a known fact that right after World War II the communists took over the government and thousands of people who refused to cooperate with the new system were killed. Men and women were walled up alive in abandoned mines or shot and buried in mass grave sites. Some of them were part of my family. Our government still refuses to talk about this and almost none of the people responsible were ever punished.

Credit To – thepierces42

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Mapimi Silent Zone

April 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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In July, 1970, the US military conducted a missile test in Green River, Utah. The missile, a multi-stage rocket, was loaded with a payload of two small containers, nominally containing radioactive cobalt-57. It was launched toward the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. However, the rocket malfunctioned somehow and ended up crashing into the Mapimi Preserve in Mexico. The US government launched an investigation that took several weeks to find the rocket, build a road to the site and haul out the wreckage. At least that’s the story.

How a rocket could overshoot its target by over one and a half time its intended distance, when the fuel loads on missile tests are usually precisely calculated is only the beginning of the problems. Cobalt 57 is a marker isotope, usually used for medical tests, not so much for missile tests. The missile being used was one that was one that was used for launching test payloads, and not one that had any military application.

Over the years since then, stories about that area where the rocket fell have surfaced. The most prominent among these is the story that gives the area its nickname “The Silent Zone.” Apparently, no radio waves can be received in certain areas surrounding the rockets crash site. While areas devoid of radio signals are not unknown on earth, most of these are the product of altitude and mountainous terrain combining with a lack of transmitters in the area. The Mapimi Silent Zone is located in flat terrain with only small foothills surrounding it. Moreover, it is well within the range of several “Border Blaster” radio stations, known for highly boosted signals designed to carry them well into US territory. None of these stations can be picked up in the silent zone. Not even static is present. Just dead silence across all radio bands until you leave these areas of radio void.

Physical oddities are also present. Plants in some areas have taken on strange colorations, especially among certain breeds of desert plants. Bright purple or dark violet versions of cacti that are normally green have been found, along with strange, abnormally large growth patterns in scrub vegetation. The strange patterns are also prevalent in local animal species, with some tortoises in the area exhibiting triangular shell patterns, wild coyotes growing unusually large and small desert lizards growing to sizes unheard of in other areas. Blood work done on these animals and people living near the area, showed signs of blood cells that exhibited unusual properties, including rounded triangular structure in some cases.
The geology of the region is also highly unusual. Some pebbles and rocks in the Silent Zone feature an unusual content of rare metals; including ruthenium, rhodium, and most notably extremely trace amounts of Technetium. These technetium traces are most startling because technetium is not a naturally occurring element, and almost all isotopes decay to ruthenium in a matter of seconds to minutes. The few pieces that have had a relatively stable isotope, Technetium-97, indicate a wide array of origin dates when their decay rates were analyzed, indicating no single event could have been the source. Strange magnetic fields plague the area, causing compass needles to spin crazily. Ferrous rocks and pebbles can sometimes be seen to move, evidently being pulled by these magnetic anomalies.

This leads into a discussion of the most concerning aspect of the area, the unexplained activity in the region. Strange lights and unusual radio wave bursts have been observed in the zone. These lights and radio wave bursts occur both in the air above the Silent Zone and on the ground. Some people who have travelled to the area claim that they are subject to strange visions and auditory hallucinations during their time there. A small research station, originally located on the site as a biological research station, undergoes a very high rate of personnel turnover and desertion, sometimes including researchers seemingly disappearing in the middle of shifts.
No video evidence of these occurrences has ever made it into the public record, but in April 2013, scans of a handwritten journal pages turned up on several conspiracy and paranormal image boards. These pages were from a secret personal journal kept by a researcher named Hector Alvarez. In them, he chronicled the unusual phenomenon he saw while working alone on the graveyard shift at the station. He claims he started the journal after complaints about strange things he saw being ignored by higher ups, and attempts by him to document them with a digital camera had been unsuccessful due to some malfunction of the memory of the system.

The journal itself chronicles about 3 months of activity, and detailed multiple phenomena. Minor phenomena included some of those previously outlined. Additionally, he noted strange wind and barometric pressure readings on the stations weather sensors. These indicated extreme weather conditions despite the observable weather was nothing out of the ordinary. Unusual discolorations of the paint, both inside and outside the building would occur seemingly at random. There was no pattern to the color or location of these discolorations, but they would always be vaguely triangular in shape.

Some of the ‘disturbances’ he reported were more severe. These included a few sightings strange, glowing “triangles”. He was unable to give an exact size, but he said that they appeared to be the same size each time, roughly 6 feet on a side. These triangles would appear suddenly, often accompanied by odd sounds and rushes of air. These triangles were described as having borders of prismatic colored ‘fire’ while the interior of these triangles would contain translucent, undulating bands of shifting colors, with Alvarez noting he felt that there was a pattern to these shifts, though he did not know why he felt this way. These triangles would remain in existence for several minutes before disappearing with the same odd sounds and atmospheric disturbances as their arrival. Though he only recorded seeing half a dozen of these ‘triangles’ he noted that all of them appeared to be equilateral, and all of them were either tilted at a 15 or 105 degree angle, seeming to imply an unseen, regular pattern.

He also detailed an event where the speakers of all the computers in the station suddenly began to blast a strange, garbled white noise, despite the computers being off. This broadcast continued even after the speakers were unplugged from the computer. The next day, several of these computers would not turn on, and when tasked with repairing them, the technician claimed the motherboards and hard drives looked like they had melted under extreme heat.

The journal ends abruptly after three months. Officials at the Mapimi Preserve had no comment on the matter, other than to say Mr. Alvarez had apparently left his post the night of March 15, 2013, and did not return the following night for his shift. They had since referred the matter to the local police, whose investigation turned up no leads. Their investigation did turn up to interesting facts. First, Mr. Alvarez’s car was still at the research station the morning after he disappeared. Second, a large, triangular discoloration on the wall discovered the next morning was found to be emitting trace amounts of radiation. When analyzed in a lab, the surface of the wall was found to contain Technetium isotopes. The amounts of the isotopes present would place their time of origin at roughly the night Mr. Alvarez disappeared.

Credit To – Discardable

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April 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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To whoever may read this. The following is an account of some of the melancholy events that have befallen me in my dark tinged lifetime in my own words. I hope that some of you may for a moment put aside the pressures and events in your lives that may have some actual importance and listen, or read rather as I recount the tale of my life. In particularly my life insofar as it relates to a certain devil house which once constituted my family’s estate. It is a grim tale, and not for those weak of stomach or depressed by nature. Before I begin I suppose I must give you some information on whom life you are about to see inscribed on paper. I am 25, a failed writer and somewhat of an English scholar, I say somewhat as I never finished formal education, or at least not as much of it as I really should have. I now find myself as a failed writer and a journalist who hates his job. I will not use my name in this story for fear somebody may use it in order to find me and therefor the horror which I will now die attempting to keep from the world.

When I was a child I lived in a small thatched cottage in rural Devonshire, England. It is an eerie old house, the type that would look quite at home in some cheesy horror story. During the autumn and winter thunder storms where common in my area and on a dark night with the wind howling, the rain belting and with lightning chipping away at the surrounding mountainous countryside it could be quite a sight. It was also strange old place, the sort of house where you would wake up early in the morning with your heart thumping and beads of warms sweat streaming down your face onto your soaked sheets without any memories of a nightmare or any sign of what could’ve woken you. The sort of house were you could be alone in a room but even if you lock and bolt the doors you would find yourself sub-consciously glimpsing over your shoulder as if the very walls were sprouting unseen eyes and watching you.

There was always certain malice about the place. You never felt truly alone. It was never a place I could call home but I don’t think I was the only one. The house seemed to reject any sentient life that dared step foot into its dank rooms. It made you feel unwelcome by projecting its own darkness unto whoever entered it as if left tainted by the hateful heart of some previous deceased owner. We knew nothing of the houses history with my parents having only purchased it in the early 50’s. We had no significant contact with the houses previous owners other than to exchange money and legal papers. So when my father and mother (who was pregnant with me at the time) moved in they knew nothing of the place but we could always tell it was old. I don’t know quite how old enough to have seen a lot in its time.

There may well have been a whole village there when it was first built. But now there is only the house and the desolate country side that stretches out for miles each side. There it stands like a sentinel, standing erect in that untouched area of countryside, keeping its cold watch, ready to stop anything from touching its strange serenity. But there was also something meek and pathetic about the house, like it was the last survivor of some near apocalyptic event in which all its brethren was wiped out, now doomed to stand its lonely vigil until the its very earth gave way beneath it. Sad, alone, weak, with a crooked old heart filled with hate. I believe my poetic side is reading too far into it, so I will stop boring you with my romanticising and instead get to the bulk of my tale.

I lived in that house for all of the first 18 years of my life with my mother; a quiet and nurturing woman, my father; a rather traditional English gentleman, he commuted to the small village a few miles away where he worked in the isolated village’s bank. I also had a younger sister who was eight when she vanished. My sister disappeared from our family home on the 4th of November 1970 I was only ten myself when it happened. I don’t remember the details of what happened. I only remember that one day she was there and the next day she was gone, leaving nothing but a distraught mother and numb father to prove that she had ever been there at all. My parents called the police at a payphone in the village (because after a particularly brutal storm the week before knocked out the phone lines [at that time there was no internet and I still can’t figure out how we even had electricity and a phone line]).

The search went on for a few weeks after she disappeared but nobody was ever recovered. The police gave up the search reasoning that she had run of during the night for some childlike adventure those young ones raised in rural environment’s tend to go on and had fallen or gotten lost. There had been heavy rain and decent wind speeds on the night she disappeared so it wasn’t hard to imagine a young girl running through wet rocky area in pitch black tripping and breaking her neck or falling down into some crevice. The police knew there was no hope of finding her alive and this was long before the time of Facebook missing person’s campaigns. So the police stopped the search in the knowledge that all they would be doing by sending more officers into a secluded rocky area in harsh conditions would be risking more lives. So my sister was essentially classed as missing and presumed dead.

Although I might not remember the events surrounding her disappearance, what certainly stuck in my head were the events leading up to and the aftermath of her disappearance. My parents took her disappearance harder than I did. I was too completely young to comprehend what was going on and neither of my parents really felt like explaining it to me. All I understood was that Sal was gone and now mummy and daddy are sad. My mother took it hardest of all. She had clearly always wanted a daughter and my sister had been extremely close to her, following her around almost everywhere. It didn’t take long for my mother mental state to Deteriorate to a startling degree after my sister’s apparent death. She completely withdrew into herself.

She never spoke to anyone, not even my father. Yet, sometimes I would hear her talking though, but not to any person. To my young mind it almost sounded like she was, well, talking to the walls. Like she and the house were engaged in some deeply private conversation in hushed tones. What really stands out in my memory today is the fact that I could hear two distinctly different voices. At the time I assumed that she was either speaking with my father or talking in funny voices (I mean, at the time I saw nothing wrong with this).

In retrospect however neither of these things could be true, with my father apparently always having an alibi and the fact that that voice could not possibly have been my mothers. Not only was it in a completely different frequency, it also didn’t sound human. I know that sounds cliché but by inhuman I don’t mean it was the deep guttural growl of some demon or animal. There was something pure yet scratchy about its voice. The closest thing I could compare it too is the noise thick foliage makes when a strong wind blows. Something in between a whistle and a scream. Only a year after my sister’s disappearance my mother also vanished late on an October night. The investigation was short with the obvious, be it brutal verdict being that she had slipped of in the middle of the night without the intention of returning. There are many caves, hills and streams in the surround area a person could use to quietly take their life and never be found.

My father became cold and distant after my mother’s death. He was hit hard by my sister’s death but with the loss of my mother he felt he had nothing left to live for. I could tell he still cared for me and did not act distant to hurt me. My father was an honour bound man, there was no way he would take his own life but at the same time he had no hope, everything he had loved and tried to protect had been taken away from him in the course of one year. He never turned to alcohol or quit his job. He never left the house and lived in it every remaining day of his life. He just stayed in his own honour bound limbo until he died 20 years later. Once I hit eighteen I left to make my own way in life, although I wanted to be there for him I sensed he didn’t really want me there.

And so I lived a normal life. I got a decent job as a mechanic and bought myself a decent sized bungalow in a small town in Hampshire; I lived well but not in luxury. I then discovered my father had passed away aged 64 leaving the house and what humble possessions he had left to me. After I left home me and my father had never patched up our relationship, in fact I hadn’t spoken with him in 11 years and had only found about his death one I was approached about his will. I had over time blocked out the events of my childhood. Not even because I found them traumatising, but more because I thought them to be unimportant, particularly when I was younger. The moment I heard about my father’s death all the memories (many with new detail and context the older me could pick out) came flooding back. At that moment something happened; I was not filled with some strange curiosity, some urge to go back there, I was not suddenly aware of some great truth I had left unseen, not even the lightest flame of interest was ignited in my heart. I quickly, quietly and above all simply; lost the ability to live a normal life.

I can’t explain it, it wasn’t something understood by my higher thought processes. I simply could no longer continue with my endless dull routine of; work, eat, sleep. I found myself unable to focus on any of these activities. I found it especially hard to do them in any order uninterrupted. I was just accompanied everywhere by this nagging sense of insecurity follow me through life with the continuous sub-conscious feeling that returning to the site of my family members death’s would somehow ease my mind. I was not sure that it would and I wasn’t nervous about doing it either. It was just a vague hope, but a necessary one. A hope that, in the end, became just as nagging as the problem to which it was supposedly the solution. I eventually decided to claim a few weeks of work to visit the home (if I can even call it that) I grew up in.

It was a Monday I left for the house. I had no significant other and only a handful of friends so I had no-one to really miss me. My limping old ford twisted its way over the desolate Devonshire countryside until I finally came to the remote hilly area my childhood house was situated in. It hadn’t changed a bit. Then again I shouldn’t have been surprised, why should I expect an area which looked like it hadn’t changed in perhaps thousands of years to have changed purely to stroke what little sense of nostalgia I may have had. I had no pleasant memories of that place. I was always a quite reserved boy. Not meek or sickly but simply more at home with his own thoughts than out playing in the green wasteland that stretched out for miles around my childhood friend.

As I walked up to the gate of the house I finally saw something to assure me that I was in fact returning to the house rather than letting the creeping feeling I never left takeover. There at the gate stood an old wiry hazel tree which I remembered from my youth. Now however the branches where torn and crooked and the tree was a sickly shade of grey. I looked to have taken a lighting strike some years ago. The entire tree was fried and the top of the trunk had been totally blown off. I hated that tree, as a small child I found its dark bark would sometimes make shapes that, too a young child, resembled a human face all too much. Now the once healthy young tree stood crippled and hunchbacked leering down at me with its dark mangled faces. I opened the gate and it screamed as I pushed it open as if the house was warning me not to take a step close.

As I got a closer look at the tree I noticed multiple small patches of a pure black mould growing out of the holes in the wood. It looked smooth and thin and whistled at me as I walked past. I got the strangest feeling as I walked away from the tree. I felt as if the tree was watching me with its many strange faces. I could feel its eyes scorching the back of my neck. It felt as though I had woken the tree from a great slumber and now as it came around the frustration I felt in its gaze transitioned into something else. It was something primal, common to all higher thinking beings to some degree. Something we all keep locked away in the backs of our minds as we have no use for it. It’s the way a predator eyes its prey. Not even prey its hunting, just something that, under other circumstances it would be hunting. It didn’t take long to realise I had awoken the house and now it was watching me.

I was never one to keep diaries. I never felt the need or had the patients and commitment to keep one. At this point in my life however, for those few days, I did keep a diary for the sake of documentation. It is less my diary and more the diary of that house. So for now I will recite to you an abridged version of that very diary. I will hand over to my younger self for now.

1st November 1991

The journey here was uneventful. The round between my current home and this house is basically a remote country road so no terrible traffic. I think I’ve brought enough food to last me a week. I have a small-fridge which I’ve already plugged in and I can use the water from the tap in the kitchen with the cups I brought. It looks like we’re in for a storm in the next few days. Being here got me thinking about father and what it must have been like alone. The phone doesn’t work and there’s no-one living for miles. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for an old man living here alone. It makes me feel bad I wasn’t there for him but I know I wouldn’t have been welcome. I would only have made things worse.

It doesn’t feel like I’m home, in fact it feels as if I’m invading somebody else’s sanctuary. They say father died from some sort of reaction to an unknown contaminate, signalled by a black rash. So I’m being especially careful not to touch things when it’s not necessary. Years of poor upkeep mean the house if full of damp spots since the thatch on the roof hasn’t been changed in years so the one upstairs room I’m staying in has water stains down all the walls. I hate to think what it’s going to be like if it does rain. There’s one window looking out onto the front garden and the rolling hills and rocky crevices beyond. The walls are covered in small black spots of mould on the damp patches. What shocked me however the fact that there was mould on the window. There it was. Multiple small black smudges on the windows.

I was immediately` fascinated by this phenomena and upon finding the mould was thankfully on the other side I took a closer look. Each smudge was around the size of my thumb. What was strange about them was the fact that each of the smudges on closer inspection seemed to have spiral patterns were the glass showed through. This gave the weird effect of making smudges resemble fingerprints as if some unseen figure had been prodding at the window. Anyway, I’m now going to prepare some canned beans and go to sleep. I decided that since it was still here I would sleep in my old bed. I am staying in my old room so there’s no point in buying a sleeping bag with my childhood bed being right there.

2nd November 1991

I woke up at around three in the morning last night to a sound that resembled something hitting the window with an impact considerable enough to cause a loud smacking sound but not quite enough to break it. My first though was that a bird must have smacked into the window. It was pitch black outside after all. I flicked on the light and went to the window to discover what unseen event had startled me so much. When I opened the blackened curtains I was greeted by quite an unnerving site. New mould had grown on the window. This time it was a far larger single patch of mould that looked like a bunch of small patch’s stuck together. They all shared the strange marking I had seen on the other one with the spirals. There seemed to one large circular one with five small oval shapes coming of it. I very quickly realised what this looked to be and jolted backwards the moment I did. It still seemed to be on the outside, which came as some relief for some reason. I decided I was tired and my mind must be exaggerating just how much this silly patch of mould looked like a hand. I was about to turn off the light to go back to sleep when I caught one last look at the old hazel tree, and too my weary eyes it almost looked like it was looking back up at me.

When I got up this morning I decided to have a look around the house. All the rooms look exactly like they did when I left. In fact it looks the exact same as it did the day my mother disappeared. It must have reminded my father of her, keeping the place like this. The only new object in the house is an old photo of my mother and sister sitting alone on the dusty, mouldy mantelpiece. What I did find however is a door outback which appears to lead underground. I don’t recall us ever having a basement but I never went out back and I don’t see when we would’ve used it so it would hardly surprise me if we did have one and I just never came into contact with it or don’t remember ever having. I tried to pry the door open but it just wouldn’t budge as if something was holding it shut from the other side.
I went for a walk around the countryside, something I never did while I was younger. I’ve never felt as alone as I do here. The beautiful terrifying desolation of this place is palpable. The loneliness is the kind of loneliness you feel when the whole world turns on you and you have nowhere to hide. When the very earth itself seems to look up at you with a mix of disgust and contempt. Half ways through my walk it began to rain. By the time I had jogged back to the house it was belting down with the first signs of dark lightning storms moving over the empty tundra. I was soaked when I got in and intended to take a bath. When I got to the tub I found it still filled with the last disgusting remnants of the last water poured into it. The thought that this may have been the last bath my father had ever taken sent shiver running down my body. So I dried of and settled for some new clothes. The more I think about it the worse an idea this trip seems.

I still don’t know what I hope to achieve with this. I came on the logic that I should pay my final respects to my father. But that’s not what I’m here for and I know that. I just think that if I can get down into that Basement maybe I’ll find the answer I seek, even if I’m not even sure what the question is yet.

3rd November 1991

Last night was hell. I couldn’t sleep over the persistent feeling someone was watching my slumbering when no-one is there. In the middle of the night I became aware of the sound of something greasy squeakily rubbing against my window. I waited for the noise to stop and got up. I turned on the lights and opened up the curtains. Despite the heavy continuous rain the dark imprint of a hand seemed even more pronounced and there was a new pattern. There the black mould was, forming a human face. I almost yet out a yelp when I saw it. The face was large, as big as both my hands side by side. It looked human but there were things wrong with it. The eyes seemed that littler bit too small for the face, the nose was invisible and the mouth was stretched into a long crooked grin, a grin I might almost call hateful. It might have only been mould but looking into the things “eyes” I could have sworn I sensed malice. Reached out to touch, to see if it really was there and it wasn’t something the exhausted imagination had pulled from the darkest part of my psyche.

Much to my horror it was wet. Not even wet, but slimy and smooth. It was on my side of the glass tonight. I jerked my hand back. It felt like rubbing thousands of tiny smooth strands of seaweed. I felt a throbbing pain in my middle finger where I had touched it. When I looked at it I did not see a normal finger, where I had touched the mould the finger had gone black and grey. The nail had curled of and when I prodded it with a pencil it slid straight off. I was too tired for everything that was going on so I went back to sleep and just as I turned the light out I could sworn the face’s sadistic smile had widened.

The day went by without anything eventful happening. I woke up and attempted to nurse my finger. The pain had stopped and I ran it under cold water, to no avail however. The skin itself was black and shrivelled and there didn’t seem to be much I could do for it other than bandage it up with my small portable first aid kit. I figured that since it was no longer causing me any distress and it didn’t seem to be spreading I would risk the seven hour drive to the nearest hospital. With my finger like it is now I decided it wouldn’t be worth it. I would just keep it clean and keep applying fresh bandages and antiseptic. Until I find the answer. I need the answer and I’m not stopping until I find it. I won’t leave until I’m sure I understand this house. I took another look at the basement door. After years of decay and rainfall a small corner has snapped off, I managed to take it by the sodden wooden corner and pry it open. Its smells like decay down there but I can’t stay in this house, not for another night.

I went into my bedroom earlier and upon looking at my bed I noticed that on the walls above it are two large patches of black mould. They appear to be in the shape of humanoids in the crouching position looking down at the bed. They appear malnourished and misshapen. Like the pale imitations of the human for you might see in a child’s painting. The wretched creatures seem to be looking straight at the bed ready to spring from their position at anyone who falls into their trap. Any tired ignorant person. Me. I don’t know what they would do if they caught me off guard sleeping but I know it wouldn’t be good. I can’t sleep in that room again. I have decided that I will go down into the basement, get my precious answer and leave this cursed place.

4th November 1991

I am lost. Last night, in the middle of the storm I entered the basement of the house. The first thing that hit me was just how warm the air was. It felt like a hot, humid summer’s day down there despite the fact it was a chilly autumnal night outside and it was blowing a gale. I closed the door to attempt to block out the guttural pounding of the rain. As it shut I continued down into the darkness with no company other than the antique miner’s oil lamp my father kept on the mantel. I was bloody lucky there was oil in it. I just then noticed the smell. It was something in between meat, a green field and a rotting apple. It was strangely pleasant yet sickly sweet and totally sickening. They as I stepped down the final two steps I noticed the first of the carcasses. It was a rat nothing more. It looked relatively fresh, as if it had died only a few hours beforehand. The only off thing about it was the layer of black mould encasing its body. I had never seen mould like this. It was so thick it looked more like moss.

As I took a few steps I began to notice the shapes of other dead creature. They were lined up along the room like the trophies of some strange biologist. Who chose to, instead of preserving his specimens in vinegar encase them in this strange mould. There were animals of all types in there. Small birds and rodents to larger mammals like badgers and foxes right up to sheep and goats. All in differing states of decay but all sharing the same ominous layer of soft black mould. As I waved my lantern, at the end of the room something stirred. My mind was whirring as to what could’ve possibly have killed all these animals and brought them down here. A large predator? A Maniac? My own father? As well as what the mysterious mould was doing. My brain put the movement down to something being blow by a gust from the on-going storm outside. However whatever was moving continued to stir and grabbed my attention when it slowly but surely began to rise, like a child taking its first steps.

This pulled me back from the world of possibilities I was considering at the time. They shape raised itself unto its hind legs, it appeared humanoid. Like everything else in the room it was covered in a thick layer of mould, but was older than anything else in the room though. The skeletal shape beneath the tangled mess of fungus looked weak and incomplete. It swayed slightly as if the bone itself was crumbling. To reach such a state of decay would take some time. Perhaps around twenty years. As that creature turned to face me the other creatures in the room began to rise. I felt the rash on my finger begin to throb and burn as I saw the black shadow of another skeletal creature standing next to its larger counterpart. It was much smaller. It resembled the decaying bones of a small child. I had seen enough. I only had time to weakly utter one final word to the creature “Shit” as I bolted for the door. I panicked at first as I struggled with the old wood but my panic was short lived as I began to feel the door crumbling open. And so, I ran. With the shambling creatures slowly awakening behind me and getting up to lumber after me.

I jumped in my car and drove. Ignoring all my possessions I left in the house. I just drove. As I looked back at the house one final time in my wing mirror I saw the door to the basement still wide open with silhouettes poking out from the darkness that, from the distance, I could almost mistake for a woman and child standing and holding hands as the wind, rain and lightning beat the countryside around them.

That was too fucking much for me. I drove back to my hometown and am now spending the night at the house of my friend Jess. I cleaned and replaced the bandages on my finger. To my horror I also discovered that during my scramble to get out I had ripped my jeans and exposed the skin underneath to the mould. The rash grew for a couple of hours and stung like hell before calming down. It now covers most of my kneecap. I’ll go to hospital to get it checked out in the morning. For now I just need to sleep in a safe environment and gather my thoughts. Had I found my answer? Was I happy? Was I safe? I don’t know but I doubt it. All that I do know is that I’m far away from that house, and that’s all that matters. I think this will be my last entry.

And so it was. I got it looked at the hospital the next day, they were baffled. This sort of reaction only ever occurred due to the bite of some exotic insect, not some common English fungus. The reaction died down, although the black hue never went away. I stayed with Jess for another couple of months and over that time one thing led to another and over the course of many months we became more than friends. We got married in the spring of 1992. Spring, a fresh start for me, away from the endless fall of that house. We had two beautiful sons and have lived a happy life in our small town for twenty odd years. But I know I need to go back. The house kills and the mould feeds on decay left behind after death. It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship I suppose. The house is a predator that never lets go of its prey and I am its prey and the mould only lives on dead things. I was dead from the moment I touched that face. Therefore the mould will have me one way or another. I doubt I’ll come back and if so I’m sorry I couldn’t have been a husband to my wife and a father to my sons for longer. But I don’t want to take them down with me. I have to go back to that house and face it alone. Because lately, my rashes have been burning. And even more recently, I’ve seen the strangest spots of mould on the walls.

Credit To – CreepyZalgo

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