October 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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You stepped into the darkened house, picking through the broken pieces of glass from the shattered window you crept in through. The rest of the windows were boarded up, the electricity long cut off from the decrepit old building, rendering it as black as pitch. You don’t remember how long this house has been here, on the edge of the forest, with its long winding driveway and old crumbling pillars that made of the remnants of a gate. You don’t even remember a time where anyone had been in it, it had always been that abandoned house, sitting alone and untouched at the edge of the forest, slowly falling in on itself as time ticked by. It sat there, a time capsule, waiting for someone to enter it.

You finally had the guts to do it today.

With a flashlight and a tackle box to store things in, you crawled in through the window and shined your light about the house. It was a disaster. The floor was covered in old clothes and forgotten papers, scattered across the house wall to wall like scraggly carpeting. Old pictures hung crookedly on the walls, the glass sometimes broken, the frames covered in a thick layer of dust from all the years of just sitting there. Some show happier times, the family that was once in there, sitting around tables, standing in front of buildings and monuments, happily gazing out with permanent smiles fixed on their faces.

The couch in the living room, you noticed, had been moved, shoved up in front of a door near the stairs. The couch was actually laid sideways up along the door, as if specifically put there to hold something inside of it. You aren’t sure you want to see what is behind that door, so you avoided it, slowly climbing up the stairs to the attic above it all.

The attic was in a similar state of disarray, things scattered here and there. In the corner, there was an old, rotting crib, its white bars turning yellow with age and some strange bundle laying in the center of the crib. You shined your flashlight over it, inspecting closely what it could be inside. Something was swaddled in old, moldy blankets, moth eaten and dark with dust and age. You almost reached out to grab it, but thought otherwise. You were superstitious, nervous about trespassing into this old abandoned house. You swore you could feel eyes on you in every corner of the house, staring at you, becoming angrier and angrier with every passing moment of your stay here. Instead, you reached down and picked up a small fallen board from one of the walls, and prodded the bundle of blankets tentatively.

And it squirmed.

You leaped back, gripping the board like a sword as the pile of blankets twitched and writhed for what felt like ages, until it finally settled again, crooked and cocoon-like on the crib. You hadn’t imagined it. It had definitely moved. Your heart still pounded from the sight, but you stepped forward again, boldly using the board to try and unwrap the mass of blankets. Again, it began to squirm and writhe, almost attempting to pull those blankets tighter around it, fighting every attempt to roll it over and inspect it fully.

Finally, at last, something gave way, and the blankets fell away.

A dark, greasy stain sat heavy in the center of the blanket, and a foul smell rose from it, some strange mixture of bodily excretions and dust. The bundle had been empty. It was as if the space had been occupied with nothing but air, but the stain sat there, filling the expanse with the scent of dead flesh and sweat. You gagged, and backed away from the source, staring at the yellowish gray stain in the middle of the blankets. This had now become too strange for you to enjoy, it was certainly past time for you to go.

Abandoning the old attic with its strange contents, you went back downstairs, skipping steps as you hurried to find the window you had slipped into the house from. You could have sworn it was in the kitchen, but that was now boarded up, no sign of broken glass anywhere. You paused in there, frantic, shining your flashlight from corner to corner, looking for the sign of entry, but there was nothing. Just silence, and the sudden, approaching scent of rotting flesh and old sweat. Your nose burned, and you stumble back out of the kitchen, kicking at the front door to see if that would give. It was boarded from the outside though, and your meager little attempts to break them down were in vain. There was only one door left to try.

The basement.

The couch was still laying up against it heavily, covering up the entirety of the door. As you got closer, you could smell that disgustingly familiar scent. Decay and sweat drenched one of the cushions of the couch, the cushion itself sunken. Even the back of it was depressed back, and the dark stain left there was in the shape of a body. But how had you not noticed this as you passed it earlier? You were at loathe to touch it, as if in fear that the stain would creep over onto your hands. You could imagine the filmy grease slipping along your finger tips, gathering under your nails as you tried to wrench the couch away from the door. You stifled a shudder, and grabbed the arm of it, as far away from the dark stain as you could get, yanking with all your might.

The couch fell with a heavy thud, rattling the whole house as it hit the ground. Frankly, you were surprised that the floor didn’t crumble beneath it.. Dust flew up in every direction, and you backed away from the couch quickly, as if in fear that something, somewhere, would hear it and come to inspect what had happened. Then, you dragged the couch away from the door, breathing through your mouth heavily so as to avoid smelling the stain. It got into your mouth instead, you could practically taste the rotting, slimy grease, slipping down your throat and laying heavy on your tongue. It was good enough where it was, the door would open.

The door was stuck where it was. It hadn’t been opened in years, so it seemed, and the hinges were rusted with time. You yanked and pulled as hard as you could, before suddenly, with a snap and loud creak, the door swung open, and the dark expanse of the basement behind it yawned open. That smell suddenly exploded upwards, forcibly invading your nose and mouth, and you coughed and gagged terribly as the flashlight revealed a greasy door, gouges torn out of the interior, as if something had been fighting against it with all its might in order to escape. Grease was smeared along the wooden banister leading down into the darkness, and a filthy hand print had been placed at the wall. No dust touched it, there was a clearing circle around the hand print itself, as if the passage of time didn’t dare lay a finger upon it, it was so appalling. But, this way might be the only way out. With the flashlight and tackle box gripped tightly, you began to descend down into the darkness.

The terrible smell just grew more powerful with every step taken down, threatening to force you to vomit. Was it really all the grease that was making that smell? Or was it something else? You reached the bottom, shining the flashlight around the small space. Dark, cold, the walls made of stone and leaking brackish water. Old cobwebs hung from the ceiling, with dead and moldy spiders hanging from them like an assortment of arachnid gallows. Still no sign of where the smell was coming from, but there was the faintest filter of moonlight coming from a crack somewhere. You peered hard, and swept the light over, and there, you found the door to the outside, hopefully not boarded up like the rest of the main doors.

You take a step towards it, only to hear a sickening, awful squelch. Something crunches under your foot as well, as if whatever was sealed inside that sticky, oozing mess was hard and brittle. You jerk the flashlight down to see what you step in, before bile rises in your throat.

It’s a hand. Or the remains of one. Sealed inside a great, foul, yellowish grayish mass of grease. It’s an entire body, the grease translucent and in the shape of what might have once been a body. Obese and filthy, things writhe inside the grease, trapped inside of it. You don’t have the stomach to see what they are, and you yank your foot up quickly, gagging and spitting as the shattered bones of the hand stick to the underside of your shoe. You don’t want to know. You never want to find out. You dart past the body on the ground, or what you think was a body, and try to head on, but your flashlight gathers more on the ground. Another grease covered skeleton, laying propped against the wall, its eyes partially jellied and staring balefully out back at you. There’s the remains of skin on this one, purple veined and bloated, but the grease seemed to have actively eaten away at everything else. Stringy, greasy hair dangles down in limp, lifeless curls that might have once been so bouncy and vibrantly blond. You can’t hold it anymore, and you violently empty your stomach onto the ground, that smell just compounding the scent of death and decay in the basement. You have to get out.

You focused on the door, and went to shove it open. Once, twice, three times you try, the hinges groaning and the wood creaking. Finally, at the point where you were sure it was all for naught and you’d be trapped in this awful house with the corpses, the door gave way, and fresh air and moonlight streamed in through the open door. You rushed outside, and didn’t even bother to shut the basement door behind you. You left that dark, black house with its strange secrets and returned to your home, crawling into bed before falling into a restless, difficult slumber.

Weeks pass, and the house was slowly pulled out of mind, as other things came up and life in general took over. You returned home one day to your house, unlocking the door and stepping inside, and all at once, a familiar scent greeted you.

Of decaying flesh and old sweat. Your stomach instantly tightened up in knots, and you instantly turned on all the lights, desperately seeking out where the smell was coming from.

You didn’t notice the greasy hand print on the wall, or the dark, filthy footsteps leading down to the basement. But you will. Eventually.

Some secrets want to be known.

Credit To – Squid

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Room 1C

September 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I lived in unit 1B in an apartment building. It was on the second floor, at the end of a hallway that leads to the other units, and I had the whole thing to myself. And for a while, it was pretty good. Quiet building, decent rent, no problems with the landlords or other tenants. But a couple of months ago, the unit right above me–1C–started to get noisy.

It sounded like a little kid playing and stuff, running around and all that. But the weird thing is, it only happened at night, around 11pm or later. I ignored it for as long as I could, but I have to get up early for work, so eventually I had to say something. One night when the kid was really loud, probably around midnight, I went upstairs and stood at 1C’s door. Yup, he was definitely in there, running around and playing or something.

I knocked on the door, and right away, the kid stopped running. I guess it was one of those times when kids get caught doing something bad, they freeze up and play dumb. I actually smiled when I thought that, and I wasn’t mad or anything… but no one answered the door. So I knocked again, and said, “Hey, could you please keep it down? I can’t sleep.”

No one answered. But the kid had stopped running, so whatever, I went back to my flat. As I left, I could have sworn I heard something… it was like a giggle, but combined with a series of rapid, low-pitched clicks. I ignored it and went to sleep.

But a few days later, the kid was back at it. All hours of the night he was running up and down, making a Hell of a racket. I didn’t want to go and knock on the door again, so the next morning, I went to the management office in town. They gave me the paperwork to file a noise complaint, and I filled it out then and there. But as I handed it back to the lady at the front desk, she took one look at it, and said, “Umm… 1C is vacant.” I asked her what unit was above 1B, and she said 1C. And I was sure that was where the noise was coming from, but she checked her records, and sure enough, 1C was vacant. In fact, she still had the keys in a little set of cubbyholes behind her desk.

There were a couple of other people in the office, and they started to look at me like I was crazy. I didn’t want to create a scene, so I left and did my best to ignore the kid, or whatever it was, for the next couple of days.

But one night I woke up, and not because the kid was making noise. Something wet was dripping onto my face. I got up and turned the lights on, and saw that the ceiling right above my bed was leaking water… really dusty, dirty water. I called management’s emergency number and they sent a repairman over right away.

And I was pretty pissed off. My bed was soaked and filthy, I couldn’t get back to sleep, and I had work in a couple of hours. So when the repairman came over, I went with him up to 1C. He had the keys, so we didn’t have a problem getting in.

There was about an inch of dust everywhere, and the moment we went in, it started to fly all over the place. I felt it coating my lips and the inside of my mouth and nose when I breathed. And it was pretty chilly, even though it was the middle of spring and probably seventy degrees outside. So me and the repairman pulled our shirts over our noses and headed through the living room and into the bedroom, which was right above my bedroom. There was a trail of water leading from the attached bathroom, and when we followed it, we saw that a faucet was on and the sink had overflowed.

I looked back in the living room. My footprints were there, and the repairman’s, but that was it. We shut off the faucet and since the repairman didn’t seem too interested in talking to me, I let him vacuum up the water and fix the floor by himself. But I had to know what was going on. Had someone broken in? There’s a drainpipe right next to the window in the bedroom, and it faces an alley, so I opened the blinds to check it out.

But the window was locked from the inside, and it wasn’t broken or anything. The only weird thing about it was that there was a single, dusty handprint on the inside pane, but the moment I breathed on it, it vanished. It was getting pretty early by then, so I headed out to get whatever sleep I could. I didn’t see anything else in the unit, but I’m pretty sure I heard something clicking as I left. Maybe it was the floor.

I think something happened to the repairman, because we had a couple of issues in the building and management had to hire a contractor to fix them. He didn’t come back until a while later, and even then he was coughing and wheezing all over the place. But things were quiet on my end, and I didn’t have any more problems with 1C, not until a week or so after the water incident.

It was really loud that night. Like, really loud. It was like the kid was jumping up and down and stomping around. There was that weird giggling noise too, mixed with those low pitched clicks. I still have no idea what they were. Anyway, I had just about enough of it, so I stormed up to 1C and started to bang on the door. I shouted at whoever was in there to shut the fuck up and let me get some sleep, and that was when someone told me to calm down.

I must have woken up half the hallway, because they were all sticking their heads out of the doors and staring at me. I asked them if they heard anything, and they said no, 1C was vacant. I asked them if they were making any noise, and I must have cursed again, because they told me to go back to sleep or they were going to call the cops. I didn’t really have a choice, so I did what they said.

The next morning, I went to management to thank them for dealing with all of my complaints. I apologized for the night before and promised that it wouldn’t happen again, and then I gave them a box of donuts. The lady went to go and give it to the rest of the workers, and when they were picking out which ones they wanted, I reached over the desk and grabbed the keys to room 1C. I chatted with them for a few minutes and then headed to work.

I got a flashlight on my way home, and a surgical mask for the dust. I’m not sure what I meant to do, but that night, when I heard the little motherfucker stomping around again, I went up the stairs, put my mask on, unlocked room 1C, and went in. I left the door open to get in some light from the hall, but the entry to the suite is a tight turn, so it didn’t do me much good. And when I went into the living room, it slammed shut behind me anyway.

It was really dusty in there. And really dark, I wouldn’t have been able to see a thing without my flashlight. And the weird thing is, even though the windows were in the living room were closed, there was a lot of air moving around, it was making the dust fly all over the place. Even with my flashlight I couldn’t see very far, because of all the dust. But I kept going. There was nothing in the living room, nothing in the closet, nothing in the kitchen. So I went to the bedroom.

The moment I stepped in, it got freezing cold. I could see my breath in the air, and the dust was still going nuts… but I went in a little further to take a look around. My flashlight died out–and that was weird, since I got the batteries that day–so I tried to turn on the lights. But of course the electricity had been shut off. The only light was from the streetlights through the gaps around the blinds.

I was having a tough time breathing. It was because of the surgical mask, so I took it off, but it was so dusty that it didn’t make a difference one way or the other. And I was getting really, really cold, and nothing was there, so I decided to go. I turned around, and that was when I a lot of dust gather in the air in front of me. It wasn’t like when it was just floating, it was definitely collecting in the shape of something. But I couldn’t see and I couldn’t breathe, so I stepped aside to get some of the street light on it.

It was a face. A kid’s face. It smiled for a minute, making that weird clicking sound, and then it started to float toward me. I tried to scream, but the dust got in my mouth, so I held my breath and shoved the kid–I definitely shoved something solid away–and I ran the fuck out of the bedroom and toward the door. But it was locked, and my key didn’t work–and I heard footsteps behind me, light footsteps, and a kid giggling. When it got close, I kicked out as hard as I could, and then I managed to break the door down and get back into the hallway.

That got everyone out, and they were all looking at me like I was a freak. But I talked to an old lady about it later, and she said that when they saw how pale I was, and how hard I was struggling to breathe, they knew that something was wrong. I couldn’t talk, I was coughing so much, so I just pointed at the door.

A couple of big guys went in to check it out. They didn’t need flashlights, the lights worked just fine when they turned them on. They told me they saw footprints in the dust. Most of them were mine, but some of them were a lot smaller. And one of them said that just next to the door, there was a heavier layer of dust, and it was in the shape of a little kid.

I got an apartment down the street the next day. Management agreed to give me my security deposit back if they could rent 1B by the next month, so there were a bunch of people looking at it while I was moving my stuff out. One of them asked me if the other tenants were quiet, if there were any noisy kids or anything. I just said no. And he ended up taking the place.

I saw him at a bar yesterday. I asked him if it was still a quiet building, and he said yeah, for the most part. But some nights he hears something from the unit above him. I said, what, is it a little kid being loud or something? He said no. It’s a little kid crying.

Credit To – Alex Ross

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The Old Mill of Playland

September 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Sometimes I miss the dreamy sensations that came with childhood, like the excitement of visiting an amusement park. Back then they seemed like dreamlands nestled in reality, and it was as though no kid could wait to visit them. My younger brother and I were no exceptions. Whenever summertime rolled around, we would eagerly count down the days until Playland opened its gates.

Never heard of it? Playland is a very old amusement park in our hometown of Rye, New York, and it was always the place to be when we were kids. I made many fond memories at that park: the first time I rode the famous Dragon Coaster, playing frisbee on the park’s beach with my brother and father, and the night my crush kissed me on the cheek as we watched the fireworks display from the boardwalk. One particular memory, however, overshadows the rest.

It was the night our adult sister and her boyfriend had brought us to Playland. The four of us had spent the day riding the coasters, playing minigolf, and so on, but what my brother and I were really looking forward to was going on the dark rides (you know, those indoor rides through dark tunnels with different scenery and animatronics). At the time, there were rumors going around that all of Playland’s dark rides were going to be shut down, so we were adamant about paying them our final respects. My brother insisted on waiting until nightfall before riding them, so I assumed he wanted to go on the Zombie Castle or the Flying Witch first. But once the sun had disappeared behind the sealine, instead he hurried us to the tamest of the dark rides: Ye Old Mill. While the other two dark rides take you through castles infested with zombies and monsters, this one takes you on a boat ride through caves inhabited by Disney-esque gnomes and trolls. I asked him,

“You want to ride this one first? I thought you were our main thrill-seeker.”

“Yeah, I am,” He replied. “But I want to try something.” I could hear a bit of mischief in his voice.

“Try what?”

“I heard that if you go on this ride alone at night, you can see a ghost at one part!” Okay, so it was clearly only a rumor he had heard at school, but what would one expect from a 9-year-old? I (who was 11 at the time) just brushed it off, although I was, admittedly, a superstitious kid. “Just wait here, I’m going on first!” He turned to run to the ticket booth when our sister swiftly stepped in front of him.

“No you’re not!” She snapped. “Don’t you remember what happened last year?”

“Oh, yeah…” I muttered to myself. I had almost forgotten about the incident that had occurred on the ride looming above us, a tragedy that had played out like a horror story.

You see, Playland has a small record of deadly accidents, one of which occurred in 2005. A 7-year-old boy had gone on the Old Mill alone, having passed its minimum height requirement. His mother, who had been waiting outside, was terrified to find that the boat he was riding in returned empty. The news later broke out that authorities had discovered his body stuck beneath one of the conveyor belts used to move the boats, under more than 2 feet of water. There were no eyewitnesses to the accident and inspectors found nothing wrong with the ride itself, so it was believed that the boy became frightened and climbed out of the boat in an attempt to escape. According to the boy’s autopsy, the cause of his death wasn’t by drowning, but blunt force trauma to the head.

“He’ll be fine as long as he stays in the boat.” I said. Sis frowned at me as my brother nodded in agreement. Even though I understood why she was worried, I thought she was overreacting. The Old Mill was one of the safest rides in the park, and our little thrill-seeker didn’t scare easily.

“Look, you two can just ride it together. The ghost might appear anyway, right?”

“Yeah guys,” Her boyfriend chimed in. “You can take it like a pair of ghostbusters!” The cheesiness of that line made me laugh, as did the face my brother made in response. I said to him,

“Sounds fine to me.” He just sighed in defeat.

“Oh, all right.” As my brother walked up to the booth, Sis put a hand on my shoulder and quietly said,

“Don’t let him do anything stupid, okay?” I turned to see her face dark with concern. Hell, she sounded like she expected us not to come back. What did she think our brother would do? Jump ship and hide in the scenery? Sounds silly, but it was technically possible. The Old Mill has narrow concrete paths running along the walls for staff access, so people could hop out of the sluggish boats and go exploring. To try and calm her down, I placed a hand on her shoulder and said,

“Okay, I won’t let him get eaten by the robot gnomes.”

“Oh, shut up and go already!” She gave me a playful rap over the head before checking out the nearby game booths with her boyfriend, leaving my brother and me to board the ride. With no line in front of us, it was only moments before we boarded one of the boats and were on our way into the Old Mill. Rounding the first bend, we were greeted by an animatronic gnome in mining gear perched on a pipe above us.

“Welcome to Playland Waterworks!” it announced in its usual Western accent. “We’re keepin’ it flowin’ down here! But stay in the boat and on the main waterways. There’s hungry trolls hiding in those back caverns!” With that, the boat drifted into the unlighted tunnels ahead.

Do you ever get the feeling that a room seems darker when you know it’s dark outside? Never having been on the Old Mill at night, I was getting that sense. Aside from the lights on the scenery, the tunnels were completely black. I tend to get a little anxious in really dark places since my eyesight isn’t the greatest, but being with my brother helped alleviate that anxiety. For the first couple minutes we just poked fun at the scenes we passed, which consisted of the gnomes performing generic mining duties: digging for gems, blasting stone with TNT, and accidentally blowing each other up (in the cartoony “covered-in-soot” way, of course). At one point I asked him,

“So, when’s this ghost supposed to appear again?”

“I don’t know.” He replied with a shrug. “But it wouldn’t be in here, it’s too bright. Maybe if we’re really quiet…” We had just entered a room full of mock machinery, the set brightly lit. Both of us went silent, so I just listened to the bouncy music playing over the speakers. I heard a sharp clicking sound a couple times as we passed through the room; assuming it was the music skipping or something, I ignored it and thought about the accident. That kid must’ve been really afraid of the dark, that or the “scarier” scenes got to him. But still, to frighten him enough to want to climb out of the boat…My contemplation abruptly ended when my brother turned excitedly towards me.

“This could be it! Get ready!” This is where the memory becomes more vivid for me, as though it happened last night. Ever since I was little, this particular part of the ride struck me as foreboding: as the boat made another turn, the comical music emanating from the machine room faded out, overtaken by the sound of gusty winds. A white strobe light flickered in the distance while faux thunder echoed through the corridor, creating the illusion of getting caught in a summer storm. The chilling atmosphere was amplified by light mist spraying about, surrounding us in a cool embrace. ‘There’s nothing here,’ I thought to myself, ‘Nothing here except us’. But then, I heard it again: Clickclickclick, just like in the last room. Without the music and voices of the animatrons, I could hear it more clearly; it reminded me of the sound a dog’s claws make when it walks across a hard floor. I glanced around, even though I couldn’t see a damn thing, and tried to locate the sound. Then it occurred to me that the only “floors” around were the paths alongside the boat…

“Hey, do you hear that?” I asked my brother.


“That clicking sou-” A crash of thunder suddenly burst from the speakers, cutting me off and making my heart leap. But what frightened me more was that as soon as the thunder rang out, I thought I heard something splash in the water behind us.

“What? Did you hear the ghost?” My brother asked.

“N-no…” I stammered. Disappointed, he turned away from me without even noticing my unease. As our lonely vessel drifted beyond the stormy hall, I listened carefully for the clicking sound again. Clickclickclick; There it was, sure enough. ‘What the hell is that?’ I thought. I was beginning to think it was just in my head, but then I heard something else alongside it: Clack clack clack. It was just like the clicking, only…heavier. Sharper.

“Go back, please!” A worried voice warned us. I noticed we were drifting by the next scene: a gnome with a lantern waving at us from a small cliff. “Last chance! They’ll get ya for sure! Please, don’t go back there!” From that point forward, my imagination started to run away with me. I began to think the puppets were trying to warn us of some real, imminent danger, regardless of the fact that they were only reciting their usual lines. I wasn’t even focused on the scenery anymore, instead fearfully staring at the floor of the boat while my mind ran wild. If a ghost were haunting the ride, would it try to hurt us?

“I warn you, humans!” I heard one of the troll puppets shout. “Go away now!”

What if someone who had come in before us decided to hide in the scenery and scare whoever passed by? What if that person was dangerous? Or maybe, instead of some phantom or adolescent trickster, we were being watched by…something else?

“It’s too late now.” Another troll said, letting out a low, wicked laugh. I finally looked up, recognizing the scene in front of me: the troll was stationed next to a sharpened log suspended by vines; a trap. The log suddenly swung forward as the tunnel was engulfed in darkness, a crashing sound played moments later. Just before the crash, I let a scream slip out as I heard another splash. This time, it wasn’t as far behind.

“What?! What is it?!” My brother shouted back in surprise.

“D-didn’t you hear that?!” I stammered. “Something’s in here! In the water!” He paused a moment, as though to say he had been hearing something as well throughout the ride.

“Y-you better not be joking!” He was trying to sound tough, but he couldn’t mask the fear in his voice. The trepidation I had felt since the stormy hall had finally overtaken me. I was on the brink of tears, glancing every which way to find the source of that godforsaken sound of claws on stone. I hoped and prayed that we would come to a tunnel with more light and fast–

I held my breath, frozen in terror. Whatever was making that sound was right beside the boat. For the first time, I heard it breathing; it took in quiet, shallow, croaking gasps as if it was struggling for air. It wasn’t the mournful moaning of a child’s spirit, however. No, it didn’t even sound human…I had to know. Despite the temptation to just hide my face in my sweaty hands, I had to know what in God’s name was following us. Summoning whatever little courage I had, I slowly turned my head to the path on my left. Fear pierced my heart as I met the incandescent gaze of two green, unblinking eyes. They were wide and blank like those of an angler fish, but I couldn’t make out the head they were attached to. I heard its claws lightly click against the concrete as it crept alongside the boat, its eyes locked onto me. Shivering, I took in only quick, stilted breaths, afraid that any sudden movement or sound would cause it to attack. I wanted to warn my brother and tell him not to move, but before I could…

“What’s that noise?” He asked meekly. I heard his body shift as he turned to face me. Suddenly, he let out a scream, clearly seeing what I saw. The creature immediately averted its eyes from me and locked onto my terrified brother, responding to his scream with a loud hiss. It darted past me and leapt towards him at alarming speed. My brother cried and screamed in pain, snapping me out of my fear-induced paralysis. Without thinking, I reached out to pull the infernal thing off of him, fumbling in the darkness until I got a hold of it. It wasn’t very big, but it was powerful. The rough scales that made up its exterior dug into my skin as it writhed and squirmed relentlessly in my arms. I was about to throw it overboard when I suddenly felt several claws strike me across the face. I shrieked and clasped my hands to my face as the damn creature slipped free.

“Get it away!!” My brother cried. “It’s going to kill us!!” Wiping my eyes of what was either blood or tears, I turned around to see those faint green eyes burning into mine. All at once I felt a churning blend of fear and rage, and as it approached again I swung my leg as hard as I could. The creature let out what sounded like a gasp as my foot slammed against it. Realizing I had the upper hand, I rushed forward and kicked at it again, and again, and again before backing towards my sobbing brother. Still unable to see anything in the darkness but those eyes, I watched as they unsteadily turned from us and disappeared over the rear of the boat with a splash. To my relief, the boat was just starting to pass one of the next scenes, offering us just enough light to see.

“Quick, it’s gone! Get out of the boat!” Thanks to the adrenaline coursing through me, I was able to pull myself onto the concrete walkway beside the set and my brother after me. I could see his wounds in the dim, orange light. His legs were scratched up as was his chest, visible through his torn shirt. But his worst injury was on his left arm, drenched in blood; he was tightly clutching a large mark between the wrist and elbow.

“It bit me!” He sobbed repeatedly. There was no way in hell we could stay any longer.

“Come on, we need to get help!” I choked out, trying to catch my breath. Thankfully, he was still able to walk. By sticking close to the wall, we were able to find our way to the next set without falling off the narrow walkway. The scene was of a troll cutting down a tree, so I knew we were close to the end of the ride. “Don’t worry, we’re almost there! Almost…”

Clack clack clack.

The familiar sound stopped us in our tracks. I began to tremble, ready to sob out of utter disbelief. ‘No, no that’s not real!’ I told myself. But what followed was unmistakable: a furious, hissing roar right behind us. Instinctively I turned around, just in time to see another glowing pair of eyes charging in our direction.

“RUN!” I screamed. We bolted towards the end of the set as the second creature entered the room. I looked back for a moment to see how far behind it was, catching a blurry glimpse of its appearance. It was some ungodly animal, larger than the other one, clawing its way toward us like an enraged crocodile. Its eyes burned bright yellow-orange like twin torches, and its teeth seemed to be bared and jagged. All I could see of the body itself was a greyish-red color, but I wasn’t about to stop to get a closer look. My brother and I scrambled into another black corridor, the longest in the entire ride, and saw the light of the last set visible at the end of it. I thought we were in the home stretch, but the next thing I knew, something clamped onto my right leg. I fell forward and hit my head against the floor, calling out to my brother and reaching out with my arms.

“What happened?! Hurry!” He cried.

“I can’t!” I cried back. I felt the creature tug on me, sending a splitting pain through my leg. Thinking I had been bitten as well, I looked behind and saw that the glowing eyes weren’t that close to me at all. I quickly realized that it had ensnared me with some kind of appendage. With his arm hurt, my brother couldn’t pull back, which left only one option. “Get help! Get out and get help, now!”

“What?! But it’ll–!”

“Go now! Run!” With that, I heard my brother’s crying grow fainter and fainter as he hurried to the end of the tunnel. The beast growled as it tugged on me again, pulling me closer to what would certainly be my demise. I desperately felt around for anything to grab onto or use as a weapon, to no avail. I tried to grip the edge of the walkway and pull myself free, my mind overrun with thoughts of my family, the memories of that park, and the child with whom I was about to share a final resting place…

Then, the creature’s growling became a dry hiss, croaky and shallow like that of its smaller counterpart. Its tugging was more frequent, but not quite as strong. It wasn’t clear to me then, but I now believe that it was losing its breath. In one last attempt to escape, I kicked at my right leg with my left, trying to hit the spot where its extra set of jaws had latched on. Again, and again, and again I kicked with all the strength I could muster. Finally, unable to last above the surface any longer, the creature released my leg and leapt into the water. I watched the fiery glow of its eyes fade as it swam back into the depths of the Old Mill. Fearing that it would return, I didn’t waste any time trying to get away. As I crawled toward the light of the last set, battered and bleeding, all the trauma I had endured suddenly caught up with me. My head throbbed violently and my arms grew weak, the whole world melting into a bleary mess before my eyes. The last I recall of this nightmarish memory is the glint of a flashlight, the garbled voices of Playland staff members, and the last animatronic gnome shouting, “I warned ya! I warned ya!

I awoke the next day in a hospital bed. My dear younger brother was in the bed next to mine, still asleep. I would learn later that day that he had stumbled out of the ride pale and hysterical, screaming over and over that there was a monster in the ride and that I was going to die. God in heaven…Our little thrill-seeker got so, so much more than what he bargained for. We all did. The authorities later concluded that we had been attacked by wild dogs that had somehow found their way into the ride. What other explanation could they give? There haven’t been any incidents like this since then, so I can only assume the real culprits no longer reside in the Old Mill. Only God knows what they were or where they are now. Those soulless, incandescent eyes continue to haunt me, and perhaps they always will. Even more haunting, though, are the terrified cries of my brother. It brings me to tears to think what could have happened if I had let him get on that ride alone.

Credit To – ClockworkCreeper

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Case Report 7591

September 4, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Details of this story have been changed or censored by the State Court of Illinois and by those person’s involved in this case whose safety or reputations could be damaged by such information being released to the public.

In 1959, a small town in Illinois suffered from an economic blow after a Chevrolet automobile factory was shut down. During their period of decline, many of the citizens tried to bring forward their own personal ideas for reviving the economy. A man named Travis Leroy, who owned a large plot of farming land near the edge of town, decided to use the opportunity to pursue what he claimed to be a long forgotten childhood dream of his and opened an amusement park in hopes of bringing in tourism from nearby cities.

Travis wasn’t very well known by the rest of the town and had always been fairly quiet, but he had never said an unkind word to anyone and he’d didn’t have a single enemy to speak of. A few of the other men in town were hired to help plow the land down and assemble the buildings and decorations for the mechanical rides and carnival stands. Most of the rides were generically shipped in and set up on spot without much effort, but there was one custom attraction in particular that was assigned the most care and preparation by the founder of the project. It was an original idea of Leroy’s that he insisted on including in the park, as it was one of the few things he had specifically envisioned as part of its final opening.

It was a slow indoor track-car ride that would be lit and decorated to appear like an enchanted forest, complete with different animatronics of animals and lifelike statues of pixies, fairies, and other magical woodland creatures. Leroy personally had the statues and moving figures brought in from a larger outside company, and the rest was easily constructed with nearby shrubbery and donations from the town’s taxidermist.

Before Travis officially opened the park to the public, he insisted on doing a final walk-around on his own as he marveled the creation and assured himself that everything was perfect for its first day of general admission. Once it was approved to his standards, the local children were abuzz with anticipation to see it and the attraction was an immediate sensation in the region. The park was successful for many months and was immediately bringing in more revenue and income to the surrounding community, as well as to all the townspeople who were employed in many of the stands and vending booths.

As a whole the place was well-loved by all and commonly visited, but as time went by it was clear that the enchanted forest was not entertaining as many guests as some of the other rides or games. However, when it was suggested to Leroy by any of his employees or associates to shut down the ride, he would immediately cast off the idea and become seemingly offended. Because it wasn’t using up very much of the profits on maintenance or repairs, the majority of those who asked never argued otherwise and the subject was eventually dropped completely.

After a few years of the theme park thriving and growing, one of the local four-year-old boys was reported missing after disappearing in the ravine by his backyard on the outskirts of town. Traces of evidence were found in the brush near the other side of the creek, a shoe and some locks of hair, but there was no sign of blood or violence. The case was eventually concluded as an animal attack and closed by the parents and the department of the state.

Even after its close, some citizens were suspicious of the lack of evidence or remains found of the toddler by search parties or authorities. The suspicions never came to much fruition, as coyotes and wolves stalking unwatched pets and children was not uncommon for the area. Then, five months later another child went missing in an outside county. It was nearly an hour’s drive to the park and its town, and thus was barely noted by many around.

At least not until the town’s sheriff and pastor brought to attention that the circumstances of the missing child, as well as the lack of evidence and general surroundings, were very similar to each other. Upon the pastor’s further investigation, it was also discovered that the two children were very similar in appearance. They both had dusty blond hair near the same length, and were both round-faced boys with similar heights and complexion. Police launched into further investigation and were unable to find any other connections over two weeks of questioning and researching each victim’s family. About a month into the reopening of the cases, the mothers of the boys noted that they had both taken their children to the local theme park within three weeks of their disappearance and notified the detectives.

The entire staff was interrogated over the matter and the lot was inspected, but most of employees were unaware of the disappearances even occurring and there was no suspicious findings in the park. Travis Leroy was put under the most thorough questioning, being the owner of the property and main executive manager of the establishment, but answered the majority of the questions with ease. He had seen neither of the boys in the park the days they visited and spend most of his time during park hours in his office or in the maintenance back lots.

The case was again closed without further evidence until another disappearance a few miles down the ravine from the brush the first child’s traces were found. This child was a girl of three, but again matched the appearance of the other boys having short blonde hair and round, rosy cheeks.

After the parents of the girl were brought in for search and investigation, it was soon discovered that they had also just visited the theme park only a few days before. The park was then officially shut down by authorities until further notice for a intricate search and investigation, much to the outcry and complaint of the town receiving its valuable income. The rides were dismantled and the offices were cleared, but no undeclared components or secret areas were found anywhere. Even after a search of Travis Leroy’s living quarters and the homes of a few other managing staff members, nothing was found to be connected to any of the missing children. The only area noted by detectives that had yet to be investigated was the building housing the forest ride due to the lack of installed lighting and commonly used exits.

Because the only usable lights in the ride were the colored atmospheric yard lamps set up through the trees and across the ceiling, the police did the majority of their search using flashlights and lanterns. Nothing was found out of place on the track or in the cars themselves, and most of the officers seemed to be somewhat impatient to leave the area. However, the head detective became especially curious of the few display cases set up through the ride of the fairies and sprites. He requested that Leroy allow him into the cases, which Leroy denied by saying they were completely sealed off in glass and had been since the opening of the park. The detective was still unsatisfied, but let the owner and his employees off without a problem.

Later that night, according to the head detective himself, the detective used his warrant of the premises to search the ride again on his own and attempt to find a way into the cases. He wasn’t able to manage a way in, but what he did discover was that the sealant bordering the corners of the glass paneling was still fresh, suggesting it had recently been opened and resealed. This peaked the detective’s concern enough to request another search of the building with assistance from the other officers on the case. Leroy was insistent that opening the cases would permanently damage the integrity of the display and the ride’s condition, but after several different debates of policy and warranting, the police were finally able to surpass Leroy’s complaints and permitted inside under state policy.

On March 18th, 1963, a party of seven different police officers and investigators entered the enchanted forest ride in search of further evidence of the missing children. After only two hours of inspection and investigation that day, the park was immediately dismantled and the town nearby went down in local infamy, despite most citizens not knowing the details of their discoveries. What was found in the ride was said to be so disturbing that the photographs taken for evidence were strictly kept from the public and many of the officers in the party refuse to recall the experience.

The group of authorities walked into the building and followed the car track around its winding bends and turns through the different displays before stopping at the first glass case about halfway through the ride. Armed with crowbars and paint scrapes, the police were able to separate the first two panels and split the rubber-like seal in a little under an hour. Immediately the scent of stale air and embalming chemicals were evident from the box, which was not unexpected due to the amount of taxidermy animals in the case to complete the forest ensemble.

But there was a different smell beneath the formaldehyde and thin layer of dust that left the party uneasy and a few feeling ill. It was described as a bitter scent with a hint of sweetness, similar to that of spoiled meat and rancid flowers, as one described. As the men delved further into the case, they seemed to agree that the smell was emanating from the statues and figurines.

The head detective approached one in the middle; a small dark-haired sprite in a homely outfit of overalls and hat who was staring curiously up at the ceiling and holding a preserved bird perched on his fingers. He peered closer at the figure’s expression and stared into its lifeless glass eyes before quickly being overpowered by the previously noticed smell. Covering his face with his sleeve, he continued meticulously inspecting the sprite to find what the source of the odor could be. While searching it, he noticed that there was almost a faint hint of freckles on its cheeks under what looked like a thick layer of lacquer or resin. What happened next sent the whole of the group into a fit of disgust and one man had to rush from the building to vomit outside.

The detective raised his hand to scrape away a layer of the enamel from the sprite’s face and sample it for later testing. But instead of peeling back a flake of enamel, a large chunk of the figure’s cheek fell away under his fingernail and dropped to his feet. Beneath the layer of flesh-tone covering was what seemed to once be living, raw flesh and muscle, long congealed and dried from years of preservation and stagnant presence in the glass box.

The detective quickly swabbed the flesh for sampling before excusing himself outside, as the smell and the atmosphere of the area was becoming too overwhelming for him and the others to handle. More authorities were sent in after and the rest of the displays were opened, all proving to hold the same grotesque odor and stale air of unease. All figures and statues were inspected, and almost all proved to show the same conclusion.

After the entire ride was emptied and investigated, a total of 17 children’s remains were recorded to be held in the ride’s displays, three of which were the bodies of the missing boys and girl from the previous months. A few were unidentified, and the rest were found to be long-lost children of the nearby townspeople or others from a near area. The youngest child found, an infant no older than twelve to sixteen months, was found to be the son of none other than Travis Leroy himself who was said to have died at birth along with his departed wife.

Leroy was immediately arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of all seventeen children and the park was permanently closed. Most of the other rides were dismantled and returned to their original owning companies, but the majority of the citizens refused to approach the building of the enchanted forest. The townsfolk held to the strict belief that the land was drenched in evil, and ill fortune would come upon any who entered it again.

An outside construction team, unaware of the lot’s past, was hired to dismantle the building a few years later. They refused to complete the task after being unable to remove the sickening smell and reporting sounds of children’s distant laughter. The town left it abandoned after that, but kept very careful watch on it to keep any outside tourists or journalists from breaking in.

To this day, the building still stands with the other scraps remaining of the park on the plot of farmland near the edge of town. There have been no reported entries of the building or visits of the property since.

Credit To – iwasfriendswithaghostonce

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The Black Woods of Beaumont Chase

September 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Daniel Warrington leapt to his feet. The fire roared and crackled in the hearth and the wind gusted outside and for a second he doubted whether he had really heard it – a second, heavier crash, like a great clap of thunder swiftly relieved him of such foolish notions. He rushed across the drawing room, his plush burgundy smoking jacket billowing out behind him, shoving aside an armchair in his haste, and emerged into the entrance hall to see the stout oak doors rattling in their frame. He snatched the Sharps model-1874 from its stand above the fireplace and dashed across the brilliant marble floor, feeding a new cartridge from the stash in the pocket of his smoking jacket into the chamber. Too late, he flung open the doors only to catch the briefest glimpse of an immense bulk retreating into the circle of trees.

He returned his attention to the doors – deep gouges in the wood, the lower panels splintered and dented. He slammed his fist against the doorframe in frustration, ignoring the hot lance of pain that pierced his hand.

Daniel Warrington had had enough.

This was the third incident of its kind to occur since his taking up residence in Nighthill Manor two months previous. Pausing only to pull on a pair of worn-leather boots and a demur brown scarf, he considered rousing his manservant, Dunwald Marsten, to accompany him, but decided against the idea. The old man was probably tucked up in bed by now – there was no reason to disturb him. Whatever it was that walked the woods of Beaumont Chase and menaced the Manor, Daniel Warrington would deal with it himself. After all, hadn’t he faced down enormous black bears during his months on the Continent; looked death in the sharp yellow eyes deep within Peruvian rainforests; slain a great white lion, King of the African plains, with nothing but a blade and his bare hands?

Determined and resolute, Daniel Warrington strode out to meet the night. The air was frozen and the skies empty. Before him at the clearing’s edge loomed the woods: a vast black wall of frostbitten limbs and flaking bark. The wind – at least, it was probably the wind – howled between the slender trunks and seethed in the clusters of tall dark pines. Pale icicles, thin and crooked like skeletal fingers, scintillated as Christmas baubles hung from a tree – a black, dead tree.

As he crossed the clearing, his hand fell to the LeMat belted at his hip. Deemed far too superfluous and unreliable for field use by the US Army, he had managed to procure one of the few remaining prototypes from a customs officer up in Birmingham. In addition to the revolver and the Sharps, he carried a long, thick knife with an elaborate deer-bone handle sheathed at his waist, a gift from an elderly knifemaker by the name of James Black several years previous – the blade had since tasted the blood of almost every animal that walked, crawled or swam upon the face of the earth.

Regretting not taking the time to change out of his smoking jacket, Daniel Warrington gritted his teeth and trudged on through the biting cold. Tracking the mysterious beast was proving to be exceedingly difficult. Having neglected in his haste to bring a lantern, it was all he could do to discern the sporadic trail of odd, hoof-like prints. Their distinctive cleft, although somewhat more pronounced, reminded him of the tracks of the curious black-and-white striped deer that ran freely across the African plains, with but a single difference; these were sunk far too deeply in the snow, incongruous with the weight of such an animal. Whatever the beast was, it was of a most prodigious size.

For minutes that dragged like hours he plodded onwards by the sickly light of the moon, the only sound that of fresh snow crunching beneath his boots. The wind nipped cruelly at his exposed face and hands, bringing with it a faint mist that flowed around him in shreds and tatters, snatching at his clothing with ghostly, insubstantial fingers. His every breath fogged the air with an ephemeral white cloud and seemed to draw the seeping chill ever deeper into his body.

Something moved in the outer darkness of his periphery; by the time he had levelled the Sharps it was gone – if it had ever been there at all. The darkness was enfolding now, a great all-encompassing blackness held at bay only by thin shafts of moonlight. A branch snapped to his right, and he whirled in time to see a dislodged clump of snow thud to the ground. Taking a deep breath, he once again levelled the Sharps. His mind was calm and still, a vast frozen lake in midwinter’s grasp. The weight of the stock in the hollow of his shoulder felt good. It felt right.

It had been far too long since he’d seen the spark of life fade from the eyes of a dying animal.

Slowly, cautiously now, he picked his way between peeling silver birches and over the fallen trunks of once magnificent oaks. Alert to even the smallest motion, he hunted in silence, pressing onwards into the woods, deeper than ever before.

Eventually the tracks halted at a great twisted snarl of brambles stretching taller than a man. There was no sign of his quarry passing through, and truly the tracks continued in no other direction. Fighting back disquiet at the idea of an animal so large capable of clearing such a barrier with a single leap, Daniel Warrington slung the Sharps over his back and unsheathed his knife.

He would need to act swiftly now.

Stumbling forth from a narrow tunnel of thorn and tangle, Daniel Warrington emerged into a misted clearing. Damp from the moisture in the air, lank locks of hair clung to his forehead. His face and hands were sliced in several places, and his smoking jacket was all but ruined. Dunwald Marsten would not be amused.

He straightened and unslung the Sharps, taking stock of his surroundings. The wall of brambles encircled the entire clearing, and it appeared he had forced his way through at one of the lowest points; in places the brambles grew around the overhanging branches of nearby trees, crawling along their drooping limbs like sinister barbed snakes. All across the clearing spires of rock jutted upwards from the mists, their twisted points scraping the caliginous skies. Small, trembling gouts of white had begun to spiral down, but Daniel Warrington barely noticed. His attention was elsewhere.

It was not often that Daniel Warrington found himself at a loss for words – now, he could barely remember to breathe.

Dominating the centre of the clearing and towering over its surroundings was a dark Cyclopean monolith of impossibly immense proportions. Plainly visible upon its surface were an array of nightmarish bas-reliefs, upon which the gibbous moon shone sickeningly. Thin tendrils of mist curled up and around the hideous obelisk, crashing against its sides like churning ethereal waves.

Mother Nature took a deep brief, and the night itself fell still.

Deep within the mists, something moved.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

He could feel it now – the beast’s eyes were upon him. The fine, downy hairs on the back of his neck stood erect, and his skin rippled with gooseflesh.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

The sound echoed hollowly across the clearing. He sighted down the barrel of the Sharps and willed his trembling hands to still. Shifting anxiously beneath the gaze of that loathsome monolith, he watched and waited.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

The stag shambled forth from the swirling mists. A blackened crown of jagged antlers twisting in all directions adorned its head; as the beast sauntered past the monolith, the tips of those dreadful antlers screeched across the black stone. The Sharps dropped from Daniel Warrington’s shaking hands, clattering away across the ground. The stag’s jaw lolled wide, revealing a maw bulging with pointed yellow teeth, akin to those of the sleek tiger-striped sharks of the west Pacific. Only now did he understand the truly monstrous proportions of the beast; its head stood fully twice the height of a man, above which loomed the terrible antlers. The monster’s snout glistened wetly in the waxing moonlight, and its tattered fur seemed to crawl and shift as though it were a living carpet of chitinous beetles. Patches of yellowing bone shone through its coat; fur and skin clung to its forelegs in patches, like moss to the trunk of a rotten tree. Dark rivulets of blood trickled from the hollows of the beast’s eyes; a pair of vast, empty holes in which green flames guttered and billowed.

The stag snorted, stamping its foot with a sharp crack like a gunshot, causing a murder of sleek black crows to take erupt in flight from a nearby tree. Coils of mist drifted lazily around the beast, never quite coming close enough to touch its slick black fur. Its hooves were bloodied bone, heavy enough to crush a man’s skull to dust beneath their tread. And then it spoke; a guttural, rasping sound abhorrent to the minds of men.

At this, some hidden string, pulled taunt in fear, finally snapped, and the LeMat leapt into Daniel Warrington’s hand as if it had been there all along. He flipped the lever on the end of the hammer up, causing the striker to fall upon the primer set directly below it. The stag let out a monstrous bellow, lowered its head and charged. Daniel Warrington took careful aim, drawing a bead atop the beast’s skull.

The stag roared; as did the LeMat. The blast of buckshot from the revolver’s secondary barrel disintegrated the top of the stag’s head. Something coiled and dark pulsated amidst the ruin of its skull, shifting and oozing against the splintered bone.

The beast hardly faltered.

Daniel Warrington could only stare, horrified, as the wound immediately began to heal, bone reforming before his very eyes – the skin, however, remained absent, and he at once understood the significance of the many bald patches speckling the creature’s hide. How many before him had tried and failed to slay this dark, majestic horror?

Razor-sharp antlers gored his stomach, and then he was tumbling across the frosted earth towards the monolith. He pressed a hand to his stomach, and felt what seemed to be a handful of snakes squirming against his palm. Blood seeped between his fingers.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

The stag towered over him now, whispering blasphemous insanities of the Old Gods which dwelt beneath the earth and deep down in the seas and in the dark, forgotten places of the world where the stars had never shone. Dreadful images began to form in his mind, of nameless monstrosities uncoiling beneath the earth and Polyphemus-like creatures emerging from the oceans.

The insignificance of man crashed down upon him – followed momentarily by the stag’s hoof, which fell with a sickening crunch, the splitting of a ripe melon.

Daniel Warrington thought no more.

Dunwald Marsten sat in the darkened library, reading by the guttering flame of a candle burnt nearly down to the stump – a leather-bound tome of substantial thickness, The Midwinter World. But the book was Midwinter World in name only – the cover concealed a far more sinister tome, one which had previously resided for many years under lock and key in a sub-basement of the British Museum – hidden by fools who possessed neither the strength of mind nor the courage to conquer the horrors bound within the book’s wafer thin pages.

From the walls of the room, glassy eyes reflected the candlelight, inch-long yellowing fangs frozen in snarls of anger and roars of defiance. It sundered Dunwald’s heart to see such beautiful, magnificent creatures murdered for the cruel sport of a single man. His gaze wandered to the umbrella stand in the far corner, fashioned from the foot of a majestic white rhino, and he felt the familiar fires of hatred flare up in his chest. That Warrington had the nerve, the gall to slaughter even a single one of Du’zu’s precious children grated on Dunwald’s very sense of being.

Well, it would not happen again. Yshmael would see to that.

Thin, wavering shafts of moonlight filtered through the picture window, picking out every scar and crag on Dunwald’s tanned, calloused hands – the hands of one who has spent a lifetime in the wilderness, wandering the secret untamed places of the earth.

The book at his fingertips remained dim and dark, the light itself refusing to touch such blasphemous pages. This suited Dunwald perfectly – some things were born only to dwell in darkness.

Dunwald drew the flickering candle closer, leant forward and continued to read.

…from the earth where groweth dark wood, into any time when the Rites are spoken, can the holder of the Knowledge summon The Walker, child of Great Du’zu, He who dwelleth in the vast Wilderness between the worlds and eateth the soul and flesh of Man, He that roams when the moon wanes yellow and is called Yshmael. Only in supplication to The Walker of the Worlds Between can one escape the Wrath of Du’zu…

Credit To – Tom Farr

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The Wicker House

August 30, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Of course everyone claiming residence in Arthur’s Wake knows tales associated with the Wicker House. It seems that every small province plays host to some structure of ill repute which, as if by supernatural magnetism, draws rumor of ghosts and bogies, wrapping the timber and stone of its foundation in a shroud of darkness and horror. In Arthur’s Wake, the Wicker House fills this odious task.

Scant days after arriving in town, while taking the time to familiarize myself with the local watering hole and its residents, I became introduced to the well known superstitions surrounding the Wicker House. As a man of science, I knew any truths to be found in these outlandish stories were likely embellished to points unrecognizable. Nothing was first hand; all experiences were from a friend who knew a fellow who may have seen something. It is the provincial mind which transforms wild dogs into wolves that walk like men and interprets astronomical phenomena as harbingers of certain doom. Still, my curiosity sufficiently piqued, I endeavored to better inform myself upon the subject through more objective means. To my great surprise, while failing to confirm the more supernatural claims of the tales, the town records in the basement of the local library did provide aspect to a most sinister reality all their own.

The house was built in 1920 by the millionaire Tomas Wicker who, in addition to being both a successful oil prospector and fishing magnate, was by all accounts completely insane. No one knows what first drew Wicker to Arthur’s Wake. Some speculate this as the first outward sign of his impending madness. What is known was that the foundations of the house which would come to assume his name were poured almost immediately upon his arrival.

The structure was supremely modest for a man of Wicker’s means, rising a mere two stories in height and composed of scarcely a dozen rooms plus cellar and attic for storage. The house was built on Blackwood Drive, a major tributary of the town’s main street, and close to the industrial center, such as it was. The plot itself consisted of about a quarter acre, the yard home to a few blossoming trees and a small garden, the whole of which was surrounded by a high wrought iron fence accessed by a similar gate. The posts of this formidable perimeter were topped by wicked spikes to discourage would-be trespassers. Construction concluded rapidly and the autumn of 1920 saw Wicker take up residence in the house accompanied by a maid, groundsman, and his wife.

The lady of the house quickly became the subject of gossip among the townsfolk. During the construction Wicker had boarded his wife in parts unknown. None could recall when she arrived at the house; one day she was simply there. As the groundskeeper cared for the exterior yard and garden and the maid handled all domestic chores including trips to market, the lady was herself never seen to exit the house. Due to this complete lack of socialization, the townsfolk did not learn so much about the woman as her Christian name. The servants themselves shed no light upon the subject. The man hailed from a remote part of the Dark Continent and the woman appeared to be a mixed-breed, vaguely of the Orient. Wicker had acquired the service of each while abroad for business dealings and neither spoke a word of English. Naturally, the Lady Wicker was the object of most persistent rumor.

Early speculation was she suffered from some exotic malady which left her drawn and bedridden. These theories were repudiated by those few who would occasionally spy her from the street. In each case she was seen exclusively at night, staring forlornly through the second story window of what was assumed to be her bedchamber, lit only by candlelight from within and to all appearances the picture of health. Additionally, there was little chance the typically damp and sunless climate of the Wake would be prescribed to improve one’s constitution by even the most inept of physicians. As common folk are wont to do, with a logical explanation absent more fantastic theories were crafted. Some began to speculate the woman was a witch, others an enslaved angel won by Wicker whilst dicing with Satan. What all who observed her agreed upon was her singular beauty.

I gleaned much of this information from archives of the local paper, especially one curiosity piece which was accompanied by a photograph of the lady in question. The scene was just as I had heard described, the single lonely prisoner peering through the window and across that terrible iron fence into the darkness of the night. The photograph was muddled due to the quality of the prehistoric equipment and the lack of natural light, effectively obscuring the lady’s features. Indeed it was difficult to distinguish whether the blurred form was in fact human, though it did project an impression of unmistakable femininity. And yet, even through that grayish haze I could perceive a certain piercing, almost hypnotic quality of her eyes.

Wicker himself was something of a mystery though considerably less so than his bride. An attractive man, tall, dark haired and well featured, many a young woman found herself unequivocally jealous of the seldom observed Lady Wicker. Though often away for long periods on business excursions, at home Wicker would frequent the only drinking establishment in the Wake, an illicit locale consistently ignored by the well-bribed police force charged with upholding Prohibition. Although he had no one in town that might be explicitly named ‘friend’ Wicker was known to purchase drinks for the house on his occasions of patronage and was as such engaged in conversation by no few number of fellow revelers.
It never took long for Wicker’s tongue to be sufficiently loosened at which time he would regale his latest passel of hangers-on with fantastic stories of his journeys abroad; forbidden hoodoo rights in the Caribbean, strange tribal sacrifices in the heart of Africa, dead men who walked in Eastern Europe, and countless others, each one stranger and blacker than the last. Though Wicker never spoke of his wife directly, these tales only served to expound upon the rumors of her origins.

Things progressed much in this way for some five years. Wicker would travel and carouse upon his return. The servants went about their business without comment or complaint. The townsfolk gossiped. The lady remained a shut-in. The horror occurred without warning.
The events that took place on the eve of Samhain, nineteen hundred and twenty-five have gone down in the history of Arthur’s Wake as unembellished fact. Among the town records I discovered the report of the patrolmen dispatched to respond to the disturbance at the Wicker House. I will summarize its contents directly.

Tomas Wicker returned from his latest trip abroad on the thirty-first of October. Having stopped briefly at home, he arrived at the aforementioned drinking establishment in a clearly agitated state. The always impeccably dressed Wicker was sloppily garbed, one shirt tail hanging out of his trousers, shoes scuffed beyond repair. It was obvious he had not recently bathed or shaved, his well-groomed hair was mussed, and his eyes were bloodshot and wild. Approaching the bar he apprehended an entire bottle of liquor, took several long swallows without use of a glass, and ignored all attempts of other patrons to engage him in conversation. Taking a final drink from the bottle he placed his wallet and the entirety of its contents on the bar, smashed the now almost empty receptacle upon the ground and exited with the astonished eyes of all present following him. That this entire portion of the episode occurred within a completely illegal establishment is not lost on me, although it apparently was on the investigating patrolmen. As I have said, they were well bribed.

That no mortal eye remains which observed what happened next is surely proof of a merciful God. The two patrolmen who first came upon the scene were summoned by terrified reports of shrill cries and demonic cackles. Long-term veterans and hard men both they were nevertheless ill prepared for what they would soon find at the Wicker House. Armed with a lantern and clubs in hand the men carefully approached the dwelling now ominously quiet.

The great iron gate was open askew as was the oaken door at the top of the steps leading to the interior of the house. Receiving no response to their shouted inquiries, the patrolmen cautiously entered the foyer and proceeded to search the ground floor. They found the first horror in the kitchen. The maid had been tied with thick hemp rope to a large table, limbs spread and secured to each of the four legs. She was naked, the butcher knife which had been used to slit her throat permanently sheathed in her heart. Glistening blood dripped from the cruel altar, slowly pooling on the floor while tell-tale splatters painted the walls like macabre decoration. The patrolmen shared a glance of mutual, unbelieving dread, tightened their grips upon their clubs and continued to search the premises in complete, terrified silence.

Having determined the cellar empty through a brief yet understandably taut examination, they exited the back door to the yard and discovered the groundsman’s body. A thick wooden stake had been erected in the center of the garden and crossed by a perpendicular beam. The man hung naked, suspended from the crossbeam by spikes harshly driven through his wrists and ankles in a grotesque simulacrum of Christ’s crucifixion. He had been disemboweled, ropey innards pouring out of his belly dripping blood and excrement.

Horrified, the patrolmen reluctantly agreed that a premature conclusion of their search to summon reinforcements would provide a very dangerous murderer a chance at escape. The men reentered the house and agonizingly proceeded up the winding stair to the second floor. Systematically they searched each room, uncovering nothing until only one remained; the bedchamber of the elusive Lady Wicker.

Eyes wide, heart pounding wildly the lead man slowly eased the latch. Raising their clubs the men burst through the door and stopped dumbfounded. The room was completely dark and empty, devoid of trappings or furniture of any kind. By the thin beam of their lantern light the men saw that strange occult symbols had been scrawled on every surface of the room though those on the far wall had been somehow marred. Of the murderous Tomas Wicker or his mysterious wife there was no sign.

A noise from above alerted the men to their quarry’s location. Returning to the hall, they spied a trap door operated by a string which, when pulled, revealed a ladder leading up into the lightless storage space of the attic. The two patrolmen stared at the entrance yawning black and wide as the maw of some infernal creature, beckoning fools to wander to their doom. Unable to decide who would proceed first, the men threw evens. The unlucky loser took the lantern and ascended the ladder.

He stopped halfway through the aperture, lantern held high to better diffuse its light and ready to beat a hasty retreat to the relative safety of the hallway below. The attic was in a state of disorder, strange souvenirs of Wicker’s trips abroad stacked haphazardly throughout. The constable slowly played his beam about, gradually revealing each disjointed mound of clutter. At last the light fell upon the attic’s far corner revealing the huddled gibbering mass of the man they sought.

Or what had been the man. Indeed whatever reason serves to separate man from beast had, sensing it was no longer a suitable dwelling place, fled the form of Tomas Wicker. The handsome features were gone, replaced by deeply sunken cheeks and a hideous grin. As the patrolman stared terrified, he could see the creature was covered in the blood of his victims left below. Hands about his knees, Wicker slowly rocked, babbling to himself.

Joined by his fellow, the constables steadily advanced. Arms outstretched they readied to seize the thing that had been Tomas Wicker when his mad eyes shifted upon them and the muttering stopped. In a moment of seeming clarity he whispered, “She’s gone,” before emitting a maniacal howl and leaping to his feet. Taken aback, the patrolmen hesitated, affording the lunatic room to bound past them to the window and hurl himself through the glass. His desperate shriek gave way to a sickening thud.

The men rushed to the broken window. Far below by the light of the moon they saw the body of Tomas Wicker jerk spastically, impaled by the wicked spikes atop the iron wall. By the time the patrolmen descended from the attic, the hideous motion had mercifully stopped.

The remainder of the report is, compared to the extraordinary events that had thus far taken place, remarkably mundane. Determining that the murderer was indeed dead the patrolmen called for reinforcements. The house was searched in detail and much speculation was made regarding the fantastic totems and fetishes populating every nook and cranny. All who set foot on the premises were in unanimous agreement that Tomas Wicker was unequivocally mad. Most confounding of all, there was no sign to what fate befell the mysterious Lady Wicker. Taking the lunatic’s final utterance as related by the patrolmen, the investigators deduced that the lady, tired of being regularly abandoned, had fled to parts unknown during Wicker’s latest trip abroad. Upon his return the shock had been enough to push the man into a murderous rage. Since virtually nothing was known of the woman, neither whence she came nor even her proper name, no search was mounted and the case dismissed.

It is from this point that the tale departs from the realm of logical reason to instead delve into the twisted byways of urban legend. About a month after the death of Tomas Wicker was when the disappearances began, the investigation of which ultimately lead to my arrival in Arthur’s Wake.

Parents would put their children to bed at night and find them gone the next morning. Exhaustive searches of the Wake uncovered nothing. Strangers new to the town were accosted, imprisoned and, in one instance, lynched by a frightened mob. Some questionable “evidence” was found on the man’s body after the fact, and the police happily declared the case closed with the suspect too dead to proclaim his innocence. That the pattern of disappearances has continued for more than sixty years would suggest they were mistaken.

I have been unable to identify the first to claim seeing a strange light emitted from the long abandoned window of the Lady Wicker’s bedchamber, nor the one who swore he heard the sound of children playing as he hurriedly passed the accursed house. I do know that the tales have spread and grown to the point they are not so easily dismissed. Shortly, I will ascertain any truth to them that may be.

Slender tendrils of fog quest hungrily between my feet like living things as I approach the ruins of the Wicker House. Pushing through the rusted iron gate, a trick of the moonlight suggests a soft glow emanating from the second story window as if from a candle lit within and, were it not impossible, the visage of a beautiful woman stares down and smiles at me approvingly. My hand tightens on the knob as children’s laughter reaches my ears. I open the door.

Credit To – Shadowswimmer77

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