Frank’s Forest

May 22, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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In the backseat of her mother’s minivan, Ashley admired the passing autumn foliage and contemplated the excitement and fear she and her best friends were sure to experience at Frank’s Forest, an attraction featuring actors as zombies, witches, and werewolves galore, all trying to “kill” the visitors.
For four years, she, Emily, Sarah, and Zoey had wanted to go to this haunted attraction. Each girl pleaded with her parents, only to hear the same answer: “You’re too young.” Now that they were freshmen in high school, their parents decided they were old enough to experience it. To make it even better, they had the opportunity to partake in the thrills and fear on the night of Halloween as well as that of a full moon.
Despite this, Ashley had a sinking worry in the pit of her stomach. Though she knew thousands of people had participated in Frank’s Forest and loved it, she was certain something would go terribly wrong.
Over the course of the past year, Ashley started seeing a therapist to discuss her increasing feelings of paranoia. At first, it was focused on the paranormal; she claimed to see countless ghosts lurking around her home. Since her parents had no reasons to believe otherwise, they kept an eye out for supernatural happenings around the house. To their dismay, her parents never experienced any ghostly activities. The spirits only seemed to want to interact with Ashley.
Once her ghost phase moved on, she felt as if someone was constantly staring at her. Whether she was in class or with her family or completely isolated in her own room, she could not shake the feeling that someone was watching her. This feeling kept her constantly on edge and would not allow her to sleep for more than a few hours at a time. She realized she must be going crazy and admitted it to her parents.
Therapy worked as long as she didn’t have a reason to have paranoid thoughts anymore. However, her feelings of paranoia only intensified when her friends reminded her of their dream to go to Frank’s Forest. Ever since that conversation six months ago, Ashley has had nightmares where she and her friends have died in hundreds of different, gory ways. These nightmares only got worse when they made definitive plans to go on Halloween night, the night of a full moon. Her paranoia convinced her there would be real werewolves there that would transform and maul all her friends and her to death.
Although her fear was petrifying at times, she refused to ruin the fun and excitement for her friends. Ashley decided not to tell them of her therapy sessions or her unshakable worries.
“Ash, are you okay?” Sarah asked tentatively from the adjacent seat.
“I’m fine; I’m just a little nervous, I guess,” she assured.
Zoey turns around from the passenger seat, glaring at her with an annoyed expression. “Why are you nervous? We finally have a chance to go, and you’re going to ruin it for all of us! Just enjoy it, won’t ya?” she demanded.
“Now, Zoey, that’s enough,” Ashley’s mom interfered.
“C’mon, Zo, don’t be rude,” Emily chimed in. “By the way, thanks for the ride, Mrs. Hamilton.”
“Yeah, thanks,” the other girls added.
“No problem, girls,” Mrs. Hamilton said, smiling as she turned down a dirt road and into an unfamiliar forest. After five minutes, the girls saw a small yet packed parking lot. Mrs. Hamilton backed into a space and turned to face the girls again. “I don’t know this area well, and it’s quite a drive, so I think I’ll find somewhere to relax until you girls are done. Just shoot me a text or call me when you’re all done and I’ll be back for you, okay?”
“Alright,” Ashley answered as her friends climbed out of the vehicle.
“Ashley… Please try to relax and have fun tonight. I know it might seem scary, but don’t freak yourself out. Your friends are with you, and they all want to have fun with you, too.”
“I know, Mom. Thanks again. I love you.”
“I love you too, sweetie.”
Once Ashley exited the van and the girls crossed the lot, Mrs. Hamilton pulled out of her spot and back down the road. After the girls watched Mrs. Hamilton leave, Sarah interrupted the silence. “We don’t want to be late, guys,” she said, gesturing toward a narrow dirt path with a “TICKETS” sign handwritten in red paint.
The girls walked silently down the path for a minute until they reached the ticket booth. Sitting inside was a woman with dark circles under her eyes and an uncommonly pale face. “Four of you?” she asked in a husky voice. All four nodded. “That’ll be $80.” Each handed her a $20 bill, which she placed in a cash register. “Behind this ticket booth is a group of picnic tables. That’s where your guides will be meeting in a few minutes. Until we meet again.” She smirked at them as they passed.
Once they are out of earshot, Zoey commented, “She was creepy.”
“Are you guys sure we can handle this?” Ashley wondered nervously.
“Of course, Ash! We’ll be fine,” Emily reassured her.
“We just paid for our tickets, anyway,” Zoey reminded her. “If you don’t wanna do it, I guess you don’t have to; you’re just out $20.”
“Look, there’s no need to make such a big deal out of this, guys,” Sarah chimed in. “Plenty of people have gone here before, and it must be pretty good if it’s still open. Let’s have fun.”
Ashley sighed and nodded. “Sorry, guys, I’m not sure why I feel this way. But I can do this.” She lied to appease her friends.
The girls approached the picnic tables, all of which are occupied by couples and small groups in their late teens and early twenties speaking of their excitement and anxiety about this upcoming experience. In total there were around a hundred fellow visitors. Once the girls found a spot to sit together, they idly chattered for a few minutes until the actors slowly approached. There were two physically fit actors and a skinny actress. One man donned a heavy mane and excess amounts of thick hair on every visible inch of skin. The other’s skin was a haunting grey color, and as he sluggishly shuffled forward, he brought the unmistakable odor of rotting flesh. The woman wore a skintight, seductive black ensemble with a velvet red cape, featuring pointy vampire teeth and sticky blood around her lips.
Ashley shuddered immediately upon recognizing the monster the actors represented; she was right about a werewolf being there, and was now absolutely convinced they were going to die. Every part of her wanted to turn around and go home, but she couldn’t explain it to her friends in a sensible way.
“Hello, ladies and gentlemen. We will begin as your guides and transform into your worst nightmares,” Werewolf introduced in a menacing growl.
“Basically, we will lead you into the area and leave you on your own,” Vampy added.
“Do any of you have questions before we begin?” Zombie asked.
Ashley called out, “How long will this take?”
The trio exchanged a look and chuckled ominously. “However long it takes. It depends on how much of a fight everybody puts up,” Vampy responded, winking at Ashley.
Ashley involuntarily shivered. By asking that question, she made herself — and her group of friends — an easy target, she was sure. “Guys, I have a really bad feeling about this,” she whispered desperately. “We can’t do this. I can’t let us do this.”
“What’s your problem, Ash? They’re actors; they’re supposed to intimidate us and make us afraid. It’s their job,” Zoey snapped quietly.
“Don’t be rude, Zo,” Emily scolded. “Ash, it’ll be okay. Do you realize how many people come to this every year and have an amazing time? Seriously, we’re gonna walk out of here safe and sound. I promise.”
“Alright, everybody follow us!” Zombie commanded as he and his comrades turned around to head back in the direction from which they came.
Ashley exhaled deeply and looked to her friends. “Here we go,” she murmured as they walked side by side, following their temporary guides.
After a silent and eerie walk deep into the woods, Werewolf, Vampy, and Zombie abruptly stopped. “We’ve arrived at our destination,” Werewolf explained. “Now, we must reunite with our comrades. All of us will return in five minutes’ time.”
“We take pleasure in hunting humans and making feasts of them,” Vampy added, smirking. “Each of us is famished. If you do not desire to become a meal, I would suggest that you hide or attempt to escape.”
“However, half our pleasure comes from the thrill of the hunt. Therefore, you cannot stick together as one large group. It would be much too simple to track you down and devour every last one of you. The people you came here with are the only ones you may stay with,” Zombie said.
“Know that our next encounter will be fatal. We — werewolves, vampires, and zombies — are the only ones who can fatally wound you. Our other friends are simply devices to terrify you. Your screams are also clear indicators of your location. If you encounter our less deadly friends, refrain from shouting out if you value your lives,” Vampy supplemented.
“We sound like soulless monsters, and rightly so,” Werewolf augmented. “Despite this, we are not completely unreasonable creatures. If your group is the last group standing, we will restrain ourselves and let you go free. Oh, and don’t even bother calling outsiders for assistance; you have no cell reception. If you don’t believe me, go ahead. Take out your phones.”
Immediately, every human pulls out their cell phone. Each one has the same message on the screen: NO SERVICE. Zoey, Emily, and Sarah look around at one another, both impressed and slightly worried.
“Your five minutes begin once we can no longer see you: a generous gift since our eyesight is much better than yours,” Zombie concluded. “I hope to see many of you soon. Good luck.” He and his comrades crept backwards until they were no longer visible.
As soon as the group was left to its own devices, couples and small groups immediately branched off and began walking away in several different directions, talking quietly amongst themselves.
“I think we can be the last group to be found if we jog instead of walk,” Zoey suggested. Sarah and Emily nod in agreement as the girls begin their run in a direction unique from the rest of the crowd, backtracking toward the ticket booth.
“What’s our strategy?” Emily wondered.
“We do whatever we can to be the last ones standing,” Ashley answered grimly, assuming her friends now agreed with her worries. “It’s good we’re heading in the opposite direction of the monsters. It should take longer for them to find us.”
As they progress, they heard the familiar sound of a wolf’s howl, a sound that stopped them in their tracks. Living in an area where it was common for wolves to appear in someone’s backyard, the girls all knew it was a genuine howl, not a human imitation. “They wouldn’t have a tourist attraction like this in a forest where there are wolves prowling around, would they?” Ashley questioned. This was proof enough for her that the werewolf was real, and if he was, so were the others.
“They must have speakers in the tops of the trees and a recording of a wolf howl,” Zoey rationalized. “Come on; we need to pick up the pace.”
The girls continue running until they heard a series of bloodcurdling, paralyzing screams from behind them. Once again, the group stopped. Ashley began to shake uncontrollably as she knew the screams were real, too. “Our five minutes must be up,” Emily stated matter-of-factly.
The others hushed her. “If they started already, we need to keep quiet and keep moving,” Zoey whispered. “We want to last as long as possible, right? We need to get our money’s worth.”
“Do you think everybody found each other back there and kept close together?” Sarah wondered softly. “How many screams were there?”
“I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. They don’t concern us,” Zoey stated diplomatically. “All I care about is us making it close to the end, if not the very end. Let’s go.”
After a few more minutes of uninterrupted silence and running, more bloodcurdling screams break out from behind them, closer this time. “Others are heading back here, which means the monsters are, too,” Zoey observed quietly. “We need to pick up the pace.”
However, before they could do that, they heard a crashing sound from directly behind them. As each girl turned around, she gasped and covered her mouth to stifle the screams. A lifeless, pale, and hauntingly thin female body lied limply inside the enormous dent of a previously healthy and stick-straight tree, featuring two puncture wounds on her neck and little trickles of blood dried onto her neck.
“Do you see the dent in the tree?” Sarah shrieks, forgetting about the importance of muted voices. “Humans can’t throw that hard, even from a short distance away. They either have a catapult, or…”
All eyes turn to Ashley as they realize her worries were both justified and correct. “I told you guys I didn’t want to do this,” she murmured as tears formed in her eyes.
As the girls’ faces slowly lose their color, they attempt to walk slowly in the directly for which they were heading. “We need to keep moving,” Emily muttered, emotionless.
“We’re not getting out of here alive, are we?” Sarah asked them.
“I don’t think anyone is,” Ashley responded honestly.
After thirty seconds of lifeless walking, they hear leaves rustle behind them. As they turn around to investigate the source of the noise, they hear it from the previous direction, as well. All four girls realized instantaneously that they were surrounded. At the moment, none of the monsters were visible yet. “Are we the final group?” Emily called out timidly. “We heard plenty of screaming going on. Does that mean we get out of here alive?”
The response consisted entirely of growls and devious laughter. “We aren’t known for our honesty,” the familiar vampire voice responded, a smirk apparent in her tone.
“Well, I’m sorry we ever doubted you, Ashley,” Zoey said, reaching for her hand as the girls felt the monsters closing in on them. Once they were finally visible, Ashley noted the clothing dampened with blood and the dried blood ringing their mouths. In the moment before the four girls were preyed upon like wild animals, Ashley felt a strange happiness, finally realizing that at least her paranoia regarding Frank’s Forest wasn’t paranoia at all.

Credit To – Melanie Adela

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.

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A Slight Misunderstanding

May 12, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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*Introductory Note* What you’re about to read actually happened while on an internship during Fall of 2014. In order to protect people’s privacy, I’m not including the names of my friends, the name of the company I was employed with at the time, or the name of my university. But after you read my account, if you feel skeptical or otherwise have any questions about my experience, feel free to e-mail me at 2453396381@qq.com. I know the address looks like a spam e-mail, but QQ is actually an extremely popular social networking site in mainland China as Facebook, Twitter, and all the western networks are blocked by the Chinese government. The reason for the suspicious username is that your QQ number is randomly generated and assigned to you when creating an account (that’s right, your identity is literally reduced to an itemized number until you provide personal details on your account).

In fall of 2014 I got a job as a supervisor over 13 volunteer English teachers. I would be working in a Chinese city called Weihai [pronounced ‘way high’] located in Shandong [shawn doe-ng] Province. The company that hired me sends English teachers to Mexico, India, China, Russia, and Ukraine each semester. I was super excited at the opportunity because not only would I have the chance to live in China again (I’d originally been one of the volunteers for this same program several years prior), but my university was willing grant me a semester’s worth of Chinese language credits as an academic internship. I could get good job experience, live abroad in a country that I consider my second home and complete a semester of school, it was my dream semester!

In Weihai, the volunteers and I lived and worked at a prestigious international private school. They treated us really well, one of the biggest perks being that in addition to taking the same vacation days as the school’s faculty that took place over China’s national holidays, we also got an extra week or two of personal vacation time. It was during one of these vacations that I had one of the most disturbing experiences of my life.

Two of my friends from the group, I’ll call them Sara and David, decided they wanted to travel down south to China’s Guangdong [gwahng doe-ng] Province during the Dragon Boast Festival. I suggested that we visit Yangshuo [yahng sh-whoa] a little-known village surrounded on all sides by the region’s gorgeous mountains. I’d visited it a year before and wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to visit there again. Search Google images of Yangshuo’s scenery and you’ll understand why I’m so crazy about the place.

Yangshuo isn’t a large town, but even so, if you plan to do everything that you want to while you’re there, you need transportation since most of the things to do are out in the countryside. The problem was that we’d chosen a super busy time of year to visit such a popular tourist location. All the traffic in the area the entire 6 days we were there was literally a continuous traffic jam, so taking cabs or hiring rickshaws wasn’t an option. We were fine though, as we’d rented some bikes which gave us the freedom to go anywhere we wanted. It actually worked out even better than relying on cabs because we would be able to get to some of the places that were out of the way an inaccessible by car.

I remembered some mud caves pretty deep in the countryside that I’d visited before. It was about an hour outside of town by bike, so it was more than a little out of the way, but its secluded nature was one of the reasons it was such an appealing destination, especially during such a busy holiday where it was a nice to have a break from all the tourists. I convinced Sara and David to make the trip to these mud caves, explaining how we’d already done everything there is to do immediately around the city. They reluctantly agreed, and the morning of the 5th day, we grabbed our bikes and headed out.

We rode for an hour. An hour and a half. Two hours. After the two hour mark I realized that I must’ve gotten us lost. Granted, it had been quite a while since I’d last been there, so I think it’s understandable that I didn’t remember the route. Regardless, I felt stupid and guilty because I’d talked up the mud caves so much to my friends and it looked like we weren’t even going to make it to them. Not only that, we seemed to be in a completely isolated section of countryside. I spoke the language, so finding our way back to town wasn’t going to be a problem. Provided we found another person. From what it looked like, we were in the middle of the wilderness. I was worried that I’d inadvertently wasted one of the last days of our vacation.

I explained the situation to my friends who groaned and were noticeably annoyed at me but who, to their credit, didn’t complain or even blame me for ruining their vacation. That actually made me feel even worse about my screw-up. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I knew that losing a vacation day was no small matter to them.

We stopped our bikes and began discussing what we should do. Should we continue following the current trail and maybe find someone further along the way, should we try to backtrack and run into someone closer to the main road? Should we just abandon our original plan and try to find something else to do out in the country?

While we were deciding what course of action we should take, I noticed some old-looking buildings hidden within a valley, obscured by the thick vegetation clinging to the steep mountain slopes. I was elated; there was bound to be some people in or around those buildings and it couldn’t have been more than a 15-minute ride from where we currently were! Aside from which, some of the most memorable places in China are the ones that you stumble upon by accident, the ones that aren’t known as big touristy places. Our bad luck could turn out to be a good thing after all.

It was evident as we rode our bikes into the enclave that it had been abandoned for some time. The buildings were obviously once part of an old commune from the Maoist era when Communism was in full swing and everyone was required to live in communal compounds. After Mao’s death and Deng Xiaoping [Dung Shyow Ping] started on economic reforms to move China away from Communism, people deserted these communes to make a life in the city and chase a capitalistic dream. So what we’d stumbled upon was actually a really cool piece of Chinese history. We decided to check it out, look around, take some pictures, etc. etc. The entire compound was an enormous siheyuan [sih huh yuwhen], which is essentially a house contained in the walls surrounding a large courtyard that usually contain smaller structures (again, you can Google it for a better idea of what it looks like). In this case, though, it wasn’t just a single household, it was an entire walled community. The walls themselves comprised the living quarters, the central area contained an overgrown field where they would’ve kept the publicly-owned livestock. It looked like some animals had taken up residence since the people left; some goats and cows grazed the long grass and chickens clucked around their feet. Scattered around the perimeter of the field were a few run-down buildings dotting the compound which I assume at one point were the dining hall and some small for textile mills or small-time industrial production plants, depending on what this place specialized in.

We checked around the living area, and it was immediately clear that this place had been abandoned for several decades. The rooms were almost completely vacant, only furniture and a few odd assortments of possessions—woks, chopsticks, portraits of Mao—were left behind, creating a sort of gloomy atmosphere amid the cracked, crumbling walls.

We snapped some pictures, recorded some videos and just generally took in the scenery. We were getting ready to leave when I heard a voice coming from the far end of the commune. Was somebody still living here? It was possible. We had seen some animals left in the central area, after all. I’d assumed they were wild, but it made sense that somebody was still raising them. In fact, it probably made more sense because it didn’t seem very likely that stray animals would find their way inside a gated community like this.

We approached the apartment where the voice was coming from. The front door was slightly ajar and the rich smell of incense wafted out. The voice continued droning on, almost like a chant.

David spoke up. “You think this guy knows the way back to Yangshuo? You should ask for directions.”

I thought maybe the person inside was performing some kind of religious ceremony, so I was reluctant to interrupt him, and I said as much.

“We don’t know how long they’re going to take in there. Do you seriously just want wait outside their door for a couple hours like a bunch of creepers? Just knock on the door and if what they think they’re doing is really important, then they’ll ask us to wait and give us directions when they’re done.”

I was a little bit annoyed by that because David had a tendency to use our celebrity status as white people to expect special treatment from Chinese nationals. I preferred to try to blend in with the culture as much as I could, and I have a strong respect for local customs, particularly religious ones. But he also had a point—Chinese people are naturally hospitable and eager to help others. If this person was a devout Buddhist or Daoist, then their willingness to help us would be even greater, and would most likely drop whatever they were doing the second they saw us.

So I rapped lightly on the door. There was no response. I knocked a bit louder, and the person continued mumbling to themselves. I opened the door slightly and called out to them to alert them of our presence.

“Wei? (Way?) Ni hao! (Knee how!)” The the chanting stopped for a moment, almost imperceptibly, but then continued as though nothing happened. I pushed the door open all the way and saw an elderly, hunchbacked man wandering around the room, shaking a wooden tool as he hobbled about, mumbling his incantation.

He was certainly a Communist-era comrade. His hunched posture and wrinkled, yet calloused skin, told of years of hard work. He was practically doubled over at the waist and only had a few wispy white hairs on the top of his head. His clothes were the classical Communist fare; dark-gray pants with a matching button-up shirt that reached his Adam’s apple along with a squared-off cap. He must’ve taken great care of his clothing because they were in surprisingly good shape, considering they were from around the 1950’s. It’s not like anyone could find a replacement for era-specific clothing 60 years after the fact.

Even more surprising than his physical appearance however, was the state of his apartment. Given how empty the rest of the rooms were in this commune, I was shocked at how decorated this one was. It looked as though he’d scavenged everything his neighbors had left behind when they left. None of the walls were accessible because tables had been pushed up against them, occupying every inch of the room’s perimeter. The tabletops were completely covered by candles, statues of miniature Buddhas in various poses, wilted flowers, beaded bracelets and necklaces, the shoes of infants, calligraphy drawn carefully on rice paper, and what looked like the personal effects of loved ones who had either passed away or abandoned him. There looked to be thousands of other items that I couldn’t even begin to identify.

I approached him and began to speak, asking if he was familiar with Yangshuo and if he would be able help us find our way back to the main road. In response, he only muttered a short phrase

“Wo shao si ge ren [whoa sh-ow sih guh run].”

Wo shao si ge ren? ‘I’m short 4 people?’ Was this person expecting company?

“Excuse me?” I asked, in Mandarin.

“Wo shao si ge ren!” he repeated again, urgently. He glanced at me, and then his eyes darted to Sara and David. He looked between the three of us, repeating this phrase over and over. I felt bad. This poor man must have been senile. Maybe his friends or family had left the commune and promised to come back and he was still awaiting their return. Or maybe he was just pretty far gone and honestly believed he was preparing to receive 4 guests who hadn’t yet arrived. I tried communicating with him a few more times, but he simply continued mumbling this cryptic phrase, shaking the wooden object in his hand.

I took a closer look and realized I’d seen the object he was holding before. It was a religious instrument used for venerating statues of Buddha. Similar to how Catholics believe that partaking of the Eucharist purifies members of their sins, Buddhists use tools like the one this man was shaking to sprinkle statues of Buddha with water, symbolically cleansing themselves. They were shaped like Spanish maracas and were riddled with tiny holes that would allow for a several of water to escape from each hole with each shake. Sometimes people would infuse the water with lavender or other herbs to invoke a pleasant smell. I don’t know what this man had mixed in with the water, but it was a pretty putrid smell.

I ignored it and turned back to Sara and David.

“What’s he saying?” Sara asked.

“He just keeps saying, ‘I’m missing 4 people’,” I replied.

“What does that mean?”

“Honestly, I have no clue. But I have a feeling he’s not going to be able to help us. Should we just try to head back to the main road and hopefully we’ll run into someone there who can give us directions?”

“What the hell!” David yelled. Sara and I spun to look at him.

“That old guy just soaked me!” He complained, motioning to a wet spot on his shirt. I rolled my eyes.

“Give him a break,” I said, “He obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing.” As I said this, the elderly man continued to shuffle around the room, sprinkling water on the statues of Buddha and the other artifacts laid out on the tables, all the while muttering ‘wo shao si ge ren, wo shao si ge ren.’

“I’m fine with just going, but you should at least ask him if he has any water. My bottle’s completely empty,” Sara said. It was a good idea to get a refill before we left. Yangshuo is ridiculously humid and hot year round, so even though it was already late October, it felt like mid-July in Florida. We were so sweaty that we could easily get dehydrated just by standing around, even if without riding bikes.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” I responded. I was about to turn to the man for one last attempt at communication, to hopefully find out where we could get some water.

He violently shook the maraca-like tool, drizzling water on my shoes and the floor around my feet. Some even splashed up on the pant legs of my shorts.

“Wo shao si ge ren…” he muttered again, but this time, it caused a chill to run through me. Something didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was wrong.

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

I took a step towards the man and felt my foot slide slightly it touched the floor. I looked down and saw the unnatural layer of gray dust that had collected on the floor. How could there be so much dust on the floor if someone lived here?

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

I was getting increasingly uncomfortable and felt the urge to leave, but I couldn’t understand why. I glanced over to Sarah, about to speak, when I realized something I hadn’t noticed before. Maybe I missed it due to all the clutter, but this room was in noticeably worse condition than the others. The walls had black stains on them, the wood in the window frame was blackened and seemingly shattered, far more brittle than those of other apartments. It almost seemed like this specific apartment survived a series of accidents, but was still somehow standing. So why was this the only room left occupied?

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

The broken old man shuffled past once again and this time I got a quick spray in the face. The powerful odor assaulted my nostrils. The smell of the scented water was off. It was too potent, too abrasive. It almost had a…toxic fragrance to it. It made me want to cough, to get it out of my nose and throat.

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

An icy shiver ran through me as I made a sudden realization.

“Guys, we need to go, now.” I said. I didn’t wait for Sara or David to respond, I made for the door and ran until I reached my bike.

“Hey! What’s going on?” David called out as midway through the courtyard.

“Why’d you ditch us?” Sara asked. They’d both caught up to me and were mounting their bikes, slightly out of breath. I didn’t answer them. We rode the trail we entered through in silence. After only about half an hour of riding we stumbled upon some hikers, both Swedish. They spoke impeccable English, which was good because I wasn’t in the mood for talking and Sara was eager to take over so we could find our way back to the hostel. It wasn’t until later that evening when we were back at the hostel that Sara insisted that I tell them what had me so freaked out.

“What’s going on? Ever since we were at that creepy old guy’s house you’ve been acting really weird.”

I didn’t want to tell them because I was hoping that if I kept it to myself then maybe the realization I made would somehow be less real. Maybe if I didn’t say it out loud, then I could believe that it hadn’t really happened. But it had. Remaining silent about it wouldn’t change that.

I sighed.

“You know what the guy kept repeating?”

“Yeah, you told us it means ‘I’m short 4 people’. That can’t be what’s bothering you, though…”

“That’s not what he was saying. I heard it wrong,” I replied.

You see, the thing about Chinese is that tones make all the difference. For example, if you hear ge ge (guh guh), it could either mean ‘older brother’ or ‘each and every’, depending on what tones are used. What I thought was “I’m missing 4 people” wasn’t that at all. It wasn’t until I understood what he had actually sprayed me with that I realized I’d been hearing the tones wrong.

He wasn’t sprinkling water all over his apartment. He was sprinkling kerosene. And he wasn’t saying “I’m missing 4 people,”. What he was really saying was

“I burned everyone.”

Note*
The Romanization of the phrases and their Chinese translations are as listed below.

I’m missing 4 people:
wǒ shǎo sì ge rén
我少四个人

I burned (literally burn-kill) everyone:
wǒ shāo sǐ gè rén
我烧死各人

Credit To – nibris

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Camp 22

May 10, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Many North Korean defectors and ex-prisoners can testify to the fact that there was a camp in that territory which housed more evil than anything else witnessed. It is called Camp 22, or the Hoeryong concentration camp. It is a torture camp originally intended for political enemies of the nation, but eventually broadened their targets to anyone they could capture. Anyone who was sent there also had their families sent there, as it was completely isolated from the rest of the world. Not even satellites were allowed to map the area. Anyone who was abducted and brought to Camp 22 were destined to die there.

Prisoners in Camp 22 were forced to perform agricultural, mining and factory labor until the day they died, and any insubordination would be punished by rape, starvation, torture, mutilation, and death, which also could extend to their entire family. Much of the time, even completely obedient prisoners would be brought to the private execution site for the guard’s entertainment.

None of the torture and experimentation done there seemed to have any purpose, as no information was being extracted from the victims, and none of the people abducted were of any political or ideological importance, just seemingly captured at random en-masse. The experiments were of no military value either, as no reports were ever written on the results.

The reason so much unnecessary cruelty was allowed in Camp 22, was to trigger the development of something the administrative staff referred to as “the white monsters.” This was denied by the North Korean Government, along with the existence of the camp itself after the defection and closing of Camp 22, but was reported by guards who left the camp. If any prisoners held in this camp ever survived, they could testify to this.

The program in charge of the surgeries required the doctors to drink alcohol before they did surgery on the “promising” subjects, so any strange occurrences they witnessed can be attributed to their drunken state. Inexperienced doctors were required to torture the living subjects until they went into shock, and then were instructed to strike them in the head with a hammer to cause brain damage. Often, this resulted in death, but as some of the defected guards and doctors reported, this wouldn’t kill them, or even leave them brain dead. Almost immediately after they died, their vitals began functioning again. One doctor described that a body “deflated” and “inflated again”, as if the wound to the subjects head allowed his soul to leave, but allow something else to enter.

When prisoners die, they are taken with a cargo coach and burned in a furnace until they melted and no traces remained. Those who did not die from sickness or suffering were taken to a secret execution site. However, many who were taken to the secret execution site were not always crushed or shot to death. Many of them were put into a solitary room where the experiment subjects were held. No guards or administrative staff were ever allowed into this room except to deposit the subjects there, otherwise the “white monsters” might be tempted to leave. The white monsters were always believed to be an in-joke amongst the guards of the camps to keep new recruits from bio-hazardous areas, and the people dumped in the building were disposed of by separate workers.

Eventually, when Camp 22 was nearing a shut-down, many of the prisoners were transferred to other camps for continued detainment, while a large number were executed. It is believed that the remaining unaccounted prisoners starved to death, even resorting to eating each other to stay alive in the abandoned prison, which was locked after the staff left. However, it is believed that when Camp 22’s status was no longer valid, the administrative staff quit ordering the guards to put people and confiscated children in the solitary chamber and just shoot them. As the days passed by, guards began to hear unsettling noises from the solitary chamber there, as if there were things still alive in there, stirring and looking for a way out.

Curious guards questioned the administrators about what was being held in there and why, and after receiving their answer, they defected the first opportunity they had, distancing themselves from the horrors of North Korea as soon as possible, while those who remained where killed by their fellow soldiers under a secret order.

As many of the prisoners abandoned in there would not eat their own family members or murder each other to stay alive, it is thought an unrelated third party wiped out and cannibalized the remaining prisoners, the third party which was locked away in those buildings.

Camp 22 was not just a torture camp filled with homicidal psychopaths, who were paid to punish and kill the prisoners sent there. It was a breeding ground for something even more horrible than savage men, beyond hounds trained to kill children, beyond inebriated doctors performing unnecessary body deforming surgeries. It was the place where the “Agma”, the white monster, was born, the personification of all the cruelty, death, rape and suffering in North Korea, and the only place where it could find bodies that were “vacated” solely for its use. Only in a place where death and suffering saturates the soil, could such creatures be born.

Even after Camp 22’s closing, an unsettling fact still remained, as their other concentration camps have not been closed, and the execution grounds of each one have a building that the staff are recommended to stay away from. Trucks are seen loading boxes out of the camps filled with coal and corn, but also take on additional unmarked cargo similar to animal cages. Why the North Korean government continue to transport these creatures in secrecy is unknown, however, it is evident that they are not limited to their own borders when releasing them.

Sightings of Agma are in every country on the planet. Truck drivers are seeing pure-white humans skulking across the roads at night. Hunters are finding human footprints next to their own tracks. Pale human-like animals creeping along the roof-tops in many towns are sighted constantly. Sunken pure-black eyes and sharp talons being a common trait amongst descriptions of them. The ability to speak languages, and to have otherworldly powers like invisibility, teleporting, telepathy or mind control are attributed to them. Many young children who have disappeared have drawn pictures of creatures that look like the Agma of North Korea, and while they differ from picture to picture, their major shape and attributes remain constant.

Every day, a new Agma is born, ready to find its way into another town, ready to stalk and kill another person or family. With how long and how often Camp 22 brought bodies to their off-limits buildings, there would be enough of these entities to have 1 in every city in America, and the numbers are continuing to rise with the efficiency that North Korea concentration camps produce them. It is unknown if they are weak to contemporary weaponry, but the lack of recorded kills or recovered bodies does not play in its favor. It is unknown if North Korea influence the behavior of these creatures in any way, or just unleash them in their dormant state on unsuspecting populaces to see what happens.

Soon enough, their numbers will be too high. Soon enough, proof of them will be undeniable. Soon enough, there will be no place on earth to escape them. The only conclusion or advice a person can take from these facts is that they should keep their loved ones close, spend more time with them, and be wary of the darkness outside their homes. When the Agma no longer have to hide in the dark of night, our world will become a nightmare that surpasses Camp 22.

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Thief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rigaut spits at the old man’s feet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The old man snaps his fingers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new piece of art is now adorning the Wall.

Credit To – MrDupin

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The Grove

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

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Spirits of The Caribbean – Vwayaje O Diab

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

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

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

Credit To – Obeah6611

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