The Lost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – thepierces42

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Mapimi Silent Zone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – Discardable

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Mould

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st November 1991

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

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

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

2nd November 1991

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

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

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

3rd November 1991

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

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

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

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

4th November 1991

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – CreepyZalgo

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The Crying Room

March 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The end of the hall finally arrives, and on Todd’s left a door marked 129. The keys jangle as he spins them idly on his finger like a gunslinger just after the kill; then he notices the grimy film coating his fingers from touching the key ring. One more thing nobody bothers cleaning.

Todd slides the key into the door handle. The lock snaps back like cracking vertebrae, and behind it is a sound like a gasp or sob inside the room.

Todd hesitates, listening. The entire building is silent as if it were abandoned. He pushes the door open and flicks on the light, maybe a little hastier than he’d admit.

Standard room. Small table by the window. Wooden vanity with a cracked mirror. Small entertainment center with television set and videogame console. Queen size bed with green comforter (read as, mite nest), which Todd promptly tears off the mattress and tosses in the corner. Bathroom so claustrophobic the door almost touches the toilet bowl when it opens. The one thing giving it personality is the presence of the missing author’s things — mostly textbooks and notebooks — which haven’t been moved or claimed yet. The bedside clock reads 9:31 P.M.

The room is quiet.

Todd closes the door with his foot, tosses the key on the vanity. He pulls a packet of bleach wipes from his back pocket and begins wiping down the doorknobs, the TV remote, and the faucet handles. He takes twenty minutes to wipe down the toilet’s seat and lever.

*

Todd Kline maintains the most abysmal rooms at the Nimbus Hotel. He used to clean the cadaver room at the university, so the eerie and the disgusting have little effect on him.

He’s lost track of how many years he’s been a room attendant there, but it’s been long enough to know the hotel should be shut down and the building condemned. The shit he’s seen would turn tourists off of hotels forever. The beds are a vast culture of germs and dust mites: attendants don’t wash the comforters between tenants unless they’re visibly stained on both sides. The bathrooms have such thick layers of fecal particles that tenants ought to be showering with their shoes on. And God knows what’s crawling around in those “clean” drinking glasses.

That’s all standard fare for a veteran hotel worker, though. It’s the special, gruesome little touches that make Nimbus stand out from the other germ bordellos.

Last year he cleaned a handsome spread of gooey feces out of the bathtub in 222. Gladys, Dave, and Bernie all refused to touch that one. They wouldn’t touch the crusty clumps of God-oh-God-please-don’t-be-semen in 114’s comforter, either — stone solid like petrified gum. It was a miracle Todd managed to scrub it all out.

The same year as the tub-shitter and the bed-gum, a lady got scabies from sleeping in room 313. Gladys checked the bedspread and found it swollen full of mites, fleas, and ticks. Todd had to ball it up, stuff it in a garbage bag, take it to a stretch of desert highway and burn it. The lady got reimbursed for her stay. Todd got seven or eight fleas.

All of that still doesn’t top the crown jewel from two years ago, when they got a complaint about a sweet and sour stink in Room 106, and found the source — stuffed between the mattress and the bed frame — was a dead hooker. Todd was the only one who didn’t puke when the body was found, so Todd got to sanitize the room after the police hauled it off.

Somehow the Nimbus Hotel is still in business, boasting that “A stay in a Nimbus Hotel is like sleeping on a cloud!”

A cloud of shit-caked fleas that feed on dead hookers.

All Todd’s jobs at the Nimbus Hotel are dirty jobs. When the other attendants refuse to clean the filthiest of filth from the bedsheets, bathtubs, or TV remotes, Todd has to drop whatever he’s doing and go take care of it. He’s the only one who’s ever had the guts or the know-how (and you can bet he won’t let anyone forget it). Nothing scares or even discourages him, however weird or gross.

That’s probably why Manager Ed asked him to spend the night in the Crying Room.

*

Its proper name is Room 129. It’s had eleven tenants in the last two months and not one of them stayed the entire night. Some stayed for less than an hour. They usually packed their bags and fled without giving an explanation or asking for their money back (a few had even abandoned their luggage). Four of the eleven just vanished. Todd and the others presumed those tenants had left in the night.

Only one asked for a refund: Jervis Liddel, a pasty, balding lawyer with a bulbous nose and huge grandma glasses who had haughtily announced he was staying for a week. He’d barely been settled in for an hour when he came back to the lobby whiter than ever, his hands trembling and his teeth chattering as if he were standing in a snowy wood without a jacket. He took his money and launched through the doors like a missile.

Todd was chatting with the pretty new clerk, Melissa, when the Crying Room’s next tenant checked in: a middle-aged schoolteacher lady named Fran Carlyle. She came into the lobby at ten to five, made pleasant conversation with them about the book fair up the street that she’d come to help with, asked if there were any good restaurants about, then took her key and went to her room.

Melissa got the call on the lobby phone around nine. The voice on the other end was hoarse and just barely above a whisper.

“Can you come down to Room 129 please?” it said.

“Uh, is this Miss Carlyle?” Melissa said.

The voice seemed unsure. “Yes.”

“Miss Carlyle, is everything okay?”

She was quiet for a while, then said, “I…I think someone is in my room.”

Melissa didn’t waste any time calling the police. But they didn’t find anyone in there except the teacher, and she seemed a mix of frustrated, embarrassed, and terrified. She explained that she’d been reading in bed and heard a voice — a young boy or a woman, she wasn’t sure — crying and sobbing silently somewhere in the room. The police were pretty irritated when they left and the teacher seemed desperate for someone to believe her. She’d frightened Todd pretty good trying to make him stay with her.

She was gone the next morning. Her car was still in the lot. Everyone assumed she must’ve run screaming into the night like in a cheesy campfire story.

Sometimes a tenant in room 127, 128, or 130 reported hearing someone sobbing next door, usually late in the evenings. One guy had actually knocked on the door to the Crying Room and asked if everyone was okay in there. The sobbing stopped, and the room was quiet for two days.

The last guy to stay in 129 was a mediocre writer of children’s lit, Benjamin Hammond. He’d heard about the Crying Room and wanted to stay in it for a night or two. He was working on a book about childhood night terrors — closet monsters, bogeymen and the like — and thought studying Room 129 would help his research. Like the other three vanishing acts he was gone the next morning; but later that same day the college girl staying in Room 127 filed a complaint with Ed, saying the rowdy lovers in 129 had woke her up late at night.

“I had an important interview today and only got about five hours of sleep for it,” she said. “I wake up to those two wrestling next door like they’re the only ones in the building, one of ‘em going on with this pathetic whimpering and another giggling like a child. I pounded on the wall and told ‘em to keep it down, and the racket stopped, but they’d woke me up at midnight all the same. I mean, guys and gals gotta have fun now and then, but goddamn…”

Ed shared this little anecdote with Todd and the others. They all knew the author had checked in alone.

*

Ed sat everyone down in his office earlier today and said he wanted something done about Room 129. The other attendants were so scared they wouldn’t be caught dead in there. So it was up to Todd to save the day — “like always,” he’d reminded his coworkers as he patted each of their scowling heads — and that’s why he was walking down a green carpeted hall stinking of fresh paint with a hotel key in his hand instead of driving home to the comfort of his apartment.

“Stay the night in 129,” Ed said. “Figure out what’s going on in there. Maybe it’s a prank. Maybe it’s a ghost! Who knows? Figure it out and there’s a raise in it for you. I can’t afford to keep losing tenants. Bad publicity.”

“It’s a prank all right,” Todd thinks, reflecting on the meeting, “to see if they can break me. What a waste of time and effort that could be spent actually cleaning this dump.”

Bad publicity. Todd thinks of scabies and dead hookers and wrinkles his nose.

*

Todd wakes suddenly in the night and finds himself sitting upright, staring into darkness. The unfamiliar bed startles him at first, but with a groan he quickly remembers where he is.

His heart kicks the inside of his throat like he’s been jogging for the last hour. He has trouble breathing as if the air is made of lead. Neither of his arms will reach over to turn on the bedside lamp. They’re frozen stiff. He can’t remember what nightmare could have pulled him so abruptly out of a sound sleep or put him in such a frightened state.

Was it a nightmare that woke him? Or was it that icepick jab in the pit of his stomach — jabbing him still — trying to tell him that someone came into the room while he was asleep? Ten minutes pass as he allows his eyes to adjust to the dark, but the room is deserted except for the comforter wadded in the corner; quiet except for the sound of his own uneasy breath.

Todd’s muscles soften and he releases a long sigh. Skimming through the author’s notes before bed was a mistake, all right. Late night thoughts of boogeymen and closet monsters and Baba Yaga have made him as paranoid as a five-year-old. He lies down again. Takes in another lungful of stale air.

An hour later Todd wakes up again. Someone is weeping silently nearby.

He bolts upright and scans the room. There’s nobody. The shape in the corner is still a wadded comforter. His head still swimming from waking so suddenly, he loudly mumbles, “Whoozere?”

The room is quiet. It stays quiet for the fifteen minutes Todd sits there, listening, wondering if he had heard anything at all. Angrily he swats the missing author’s notebook off the bedside table and goes back to sleep.

Todd has barely slept a half hour when he’s awoken once again by the voice. It’s unmistakable this time: a delicate, miserable voice trying shamefully not to cry too loudly.

Now Todd’s mind is crisp and clear. “Who’s there?” he whispers.

Like before, the voice holds its breath. After a few minutes it starts crying again.

Todd can’t pinpoint the source of the voice: it seems to come from all around him, from the room itself. He climbs out of bed to get a better bearing. He plants his feet on the carpet and stands up, wobbling slightly.

The weeping suddenly stops.

Something made of old leather paws at Todd’s ankle.

Survival instinct takes over. Todd’s feet leave the floor as he lunges forward like a rabbit escaping a snapping bear trap; he twists in midair, crashes headfirst into the wall and lands on his side. Barbs of pain drip through the joints of his skull and fill his eye sockets. His ears are ringing. He might have cracked one of his ribs. He doesn’t care. The bed has a firm hold of all his brain’s conscious functions.

There’s nothing where his feet had been. But Todd knows there was something a moment ago.

The voice starts crying again.

It can’t be coming from under there. Nothing could live under there for two months.

Todd inches steadily forward — eyes never leaving the spot by the bed where the thing touched him — and turns on the bedside lamp. Somehow it makes the void beyond the bed skirt even more sinister.

Seemingly of its own free will, Todd’s hand reaches for the bottom of the skirt. The crying stops when his fingers brush it.

It’s Ed, Todd thinks, his blood sizzling like cooking oil. Or Gladys. Bitch blubbers like that all the time.

Todd bites his lip and puts his ear to the carpet inches from the bed frame. He pulls the bed skirt upward, a montage of angry curses on the tip of his tongue.

The hand that reaches out to greet him is vaguely human.

The ancient eyes staring at him from the shadows are not.

Suddenly Todd doesn’t care if it’s a prank. He doesn’t care if there’s a raise in it for him. And in the next ten seconds he doesn’t care that he’s running across the hotel parking lot in his boxer shorts.

Credit To – Mike MacDee

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Timeout

March 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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This would be the second house tonight. He knew Cory would be angry, sure – the man was always trying to stick to his “rule book,” and the first Law of Cory was to avoid same night hits – but they were running low on pretty much everything. Harry wasn’t about to starve because of a stupid rule made over whiskey shots and a little pot; besides, pissing off an already touchy brother was just the cherry on top.

It wasn’t a big risk anyway. He wasn’t across the city, teasing the suburbs. This was Canvastown! If he pissed on a station wagon’s hubcaps, he would probably get little more than a few cheers. Once, back in their more exhilarated days, he and Cory had found a whole briefcase of tiny coke baggies down here – easy pickings. Then again, Cory hadn’t stopped checking the windows for two weeks afterwards, whispering about “the dealers” in his damn sleep. Jumpy little fucker, he was.

Now Harry stood in front of the most rundown house he could find that still had a number on it. He was on Miller Street, a dumpy lot of half-vacant “homes” (if you bothered to name them). As he stepped out of the faltering streetlight and down the weedy, nearly nonexistent front sidewalk, barely worried about his surroundings this far from downtown, he peered vainly between the molded boards covering the front bay window. If this shack is completely empty, he thought, I might as well head back. On the flip side, it could be filled with merry crack heads; that was a risk he had to take.

There was something special about this house, however. Occupying the front window was a small cardboard sign, meager yet significant. He could see some of its washed print through a gap in the wood. “Al’s … Care.” Harry could also make out a handwritten “registered” seal of approval poking out in the corner. There was a dull piece of rainbow topping the seal; it gave him the fucking creeps.

Harry watched his footing carefully as he climbed the creaking front steps, avoiding patches of fallen concrete. The dips in the stone looked like they would devour his leg if possible, biting down with rusty foundation wires. He laughed, glancing at the entranceway’s absent doorbell slot, and considered knocking on the door. Easy pickings.

The door opened before he could touch the knob, swinging with a press of his shoulder. The ease took him by surprise, and Harry reached for a crumbling barrier as he stumbled forward. The floor inside was completely collapsed, black except for a few stabbing lengths of smashed floorboard.

Who leaves a pothole in their front entranceway? Even the slummiest of idiots usually threw a board or two over gaping holes in their house. The pit did not reveal its depth, but it was certainly dark enough; as he bent down in an attempt to see past the blackness, a thick waft of putrid scent slapped him in the face – a dead rodent, he guessed. Suddenly, his hand itched for the doorway behind him. There might be something worth his time in here… but man, this place… smelled.

The house reeked of inactivity. Moonlight was Harry’s only guide as he tiptoed across the rotting wood, dodging more fallen floors and strange pits. Dust, thick and ancient, filled his nose as he gasped in the kitchen’s doorway – a massive rat stood up in the sink it was nosing around in and scattered, leaving a trail of decomposing casserole behind it. He gagged as he stepped over another pitfall, holding his right arm to his nose as his left acted as a leading companion. He noticed a glint, approached it, and found nothing but assorted silverware. Then, after a moment of near puking, he turned right around and quickly made his way back to the foyer. The kitchen was rancid.

Now he caught himself looking longingly at the hanging front door, glancing at the fresh air outside. He shook his head, scolding himself for being such a coward. This house wasn’t so different from some of the others he had been in – a little smell wasn’t going to drive him home with his tail between his legs. Cory would never stop laughing.

He changed direction and walked down the right hallway instead, checking each darkened room as he passed by. Thankfully, the floor seemed to be intact here. Harry began to get excited. He was starting to see some positive signs – objects that might mean goodies.

The first room belong to a little girl or maybe a young teen. The walls were painted a dull, sick pink that flaked off like dying bark. He could see a couple still-coherent stuffed bears, a remnant pile of old books, and a TV dinner tray rotting beside an old dresser. In the center of the room, the largest hole yet spread its dark jaws under a bladeless ceiling fan. Across the room, rusted metal bars wrapped around the inside of a small window. Harry knew that the neighborhood was bad, but still uttered a low chuckle at the bars.

The next room was like the first one with a few key differences; the similarity poked at his stomach, though he wasn’t sure why. Instead of pink, a cold blue painted the walls. Matching bars covered an identically tiny window, and the same bears stuffed the room. There was a hole in this room as well, but the pit was off-centre and to the right instead. In the middle of the room lay at least ten crammed cots, each one molded over and riddled with insects. How many damn kids did these idiots have? He stared at the black pit for a while longer before continuing down the hall.

The last couple of doors had to be kicked open; the last one did not exist. The room at the end of the hallway was so plain that it stood out – its walls seemed to be plastered and unpainted, and its floor contained no hole. A single, neatly folded bed sat in the corner, seemingly untouched by the house’s atmosphere. Harry checked the room for any valuables, but found nothing – there was nothing really to search. No dresser, no bedside table… not even a closet or chest. He frowned and left, heading back into the blue room next door.

The room seemed even more eerie from the inside. The bears watched him sadly as he stood in the center of the room, his feet next to one of the moldy cots. In a way, he almost felt trapped – it was as if the bars on the window were taunting him with their very presence. Then he saw it. The whole room was covered with the weeping blue paint – everything but the edges of the window. There, it had been scraped off. Claw marks stretched outwards on either side with half-chipped paint bordering each scratch and blood creasing in between.

Suddenly, the house didn’t seem worth it.

Before Harry could turn around, the door slammed. He screamed and turned, bolting for the wood and slamming his fists against it. The lock had been snapped when he kicked the door in, and now someone was holding it shut against him – he could feel it give way a little bit with each hit before slamming back against its frame.

“HEY!” he bellowed, now attempting to shoulder in the door. There was no answer – only a whispered clicking as the door held back with impossible strength. “I’LL KILL YOU!” he screamed.

“Naughty, naughty,” a voice whispered from the other side of the wood, breathing deeply with each slam against the wood. “You haven’t learned your lesson… Timeout isn’t over yet.” The voice gave Harry chills, and he pressed harder than ever.

“Let… me… OUT!”

“Can’t do that, door must stay locked. Timeout isn’t over yet. Not ’till you learn your lesson.”

Harry took a heavy step back, preparing himself to full-out tackle the door. His foot collapsed into the ground. Motion became a blur and pain ripped at his legs as he found himself falling, collapsing through the rotted ground into darkness.

He passed out.

When Harry opened his eyes, the first thing he did was whip out his lighter. Angry and desperate, he flicked three times before the casino device divulged its flame. He wished it hadn’t.

He was in some kind of basement. There were no windows, no doors… all he could see beyond the shadows were odd shapes and piles of wood. He tried to turn, twisting his body to search his surroundings, only to find that his legs were unwilling to cooperate. One leg was severely displaced, a smooth white bit of his femur poking its curious face out of one side, while the other was penetrated by a sharp piece of floorboard or something… he couldn’t look long enough to tell. Harry moaned and turned to his belly, sliding the lighter around as he moved.

Above, he could see the original hole from the boys’ room. Below it laid the shadowy outline of an obtuse mound – a pile of little, barely composed bodies. The boys seemed to stare at him, their empty sockets pleading him to end their punishment… to finally let them out of the room decomposing around them. Harry whimpered and turned away, unable to look anymore – he could now see the second pile of bodies, just under the faint outline of the girls’ room’s hole.

“Now, now, you can’t come out… you haven’t learned your lesson.’

From above, the man’s faint voice broke out again. Its delicate, routine charm echoed throughout Harry’s new abyss as the sound of a door slowly swinging shut punctuated his dialogue.

“Timeout isn’t over yet.”

Credit To – Vincent

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Abigail’s Run

February 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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October 31st 1691

‘’Hurry,’’ Deliverance whispered, her voice softer than the light breeze which tousled her lank grey hair. ‘’Bury it, child, bury it deep.’’

Tucking a wayward strand of raven hair behind her ear, Abigail continued scooping up handfuls of soil and tossing them into the hole. Tears streaked her dirty cheeks, and her thighs were still damp with warm blood and tar-like ichor from the birthing. She glanced at her mother, and felt a tinge of fear at the worried expression upon the older woman’s face, a usually unreadable mask, completely devoid of emotion.

The thing in the hole squalled and shrieked with its newborn lungs, sending another chill of fear down Abigail’s spine. A spindly arm protruded from the dirt, grasping weakly at thin air before falling limply away. Sobbing, she dropped huge clods of soil atop it, until only its twisted spine and snake-like nose could be seen.

Soon even they were gone, and the hole was filled once more.

‘’Come, girl, we must be away.’’ Deliverance chided, putting an arm around her stricken daughter and leading her out from beneath the overhanging branches of the willow tree and back towards the house. ‘’It is done now. It’s over.’’
Abigail Hobbs, having buried her firstborn mere hours after its birth, could do little more than weep at the horror of it all.

October 31st 2005

Scores of children fill the streets: Vampires, werewolves, ghouls and gremlins galore. Sheeted ghosts gambol beneath the hazy glow of streetlights and luminous skeletons cavort amidst the shadows. And look, over there next to the birch on Ms Reeves’ lawn, why, is that the Frankenstein Monster? There he goes, staggering onto the sidewalk with a stiff-legged gait, his torn suit jacket flapping in the wind and his candy bucket swinging side-to-side. A clown in a pair of voluminous yellow pants dashes past him in a blur of colour, a painted, pallid mask with a bouncing red nose, the curls of a garish purple wig bobbing with each step. Jack o’ lanterns stand sentry on every porch and doorstep, taking in the colourful procession of costumes with gouged triangular eyes that flicker with a faint orange light. A gust of wind billows along the gutter, kicking up sun-bleached crisp packets, golden autumn leaves and a tattered yellow flyer. Witchcraft Heights Summer Fete, the bold type headline reads, below which the date August 12th is printed in flamboyant primary coloured lettering.

But of course, those dog days of summer are long gone. The days have grown short now, and long-legged shadows chase laughing children home from school, kicking up golden-brown storms of autumnal foliage as they play. And as the span of daylight withers and dies, so does the dark majesty of the bleakness ahead begin to bloom. The summer is dead and buried; the city is slipping into winter’s cruel grasp, where it will remain, a frozen snowflake of concrete and glass, until the thaws of spring. Now is the time when the darkness beneath the bed and the gloom beneath the stairs take on an altogether more sinister undertone; the time when the creaking you hear while tucked beneath the covers could easily be something with far too many limbs scuttling stealthily towards you; the time for ghost stories to be recounted in dimly lit bedrooms as the wind howls outside and rain sprays the window.

Tonight is Halloween and Brandon Knight is running late. Out of work by seven and home by quarter to eight, with just enough time to shower and freshen up before meeting his girlfriend, Kathy. That’s the plan, and everything is running on schedule until a pair of young mothers arrive in search of outfits for their toddlers. Of course they spend twenty-five minutes debating whether to dress the excitable children as pirates or astronauts, before predictably settling on a pair of witches instead, and of course it is twenty-past-seven by the time Brandon has ushered the squealing children from the store and locked up.

So now a quandary presents itself; does he rush home to shower and run the risk of showing up late, or does he head over to Kathy’s place early but smelling like something stagnant that has crawled from the depths of the town dump? It’s the clothes that finally do it for Brandon; he can’t take Kathy on a date in his Craft Castle uniform. After all, isn’t it bad enough that he spends eight hours a day five days a week wearing a cap so orange it’s practically luminous and a lime green polo shirt trimmed with sunburst yellow?

He has almost resigned himself to the fact that he will be arriving late at Kathy’s when inspiration strikes; he will take the Pumpkin Trail, the Grinning Pathway. He will walk the Witches’ Draw. To hell with the stories – something flitted across the edge of his vision, a scuttling mass of pale sticklike limbs – and to hell with the fact that they kept him awake for hours when he was younger. Right now, the path through the pumpkin patch that grows almost the entire length of the vacant lot between East Willamette and Mill Street has one distinct advantage which illuminates Brandon’s mind like a spotlight: it cuts his journey down from forty-five minutes to a mere twenty-five. Perfect. He’ll definitely make it on time now.

So instead of crossing, Brandon hangs left on East Willamette. A gaggle of zombie cheerleaders giggle as he passes them by, their prom queen faces and coltish legs stained crimson with streaks of gore, but he pays them no heed, and throws only a perfunctory glance over his shoulder upon arriving at the high-boarded wooden fence – I could hear them whispering to me, they had mouths that nobody had carved – before stopping at the loose plank that every kid in Salem knows, the one that every kid in Salem avoids. When he was younger, on the days he’d been late out of school and the shadows had grown long, he would run past that tilted piece of wood as fast as his feet would carry him, convinced that something sinister lurked beyond.

But of course, that was years ago. Tonight, he simply holds the plank aside and squeezes his slim body through the gap into vacant lot.

The black asphalt trail at Brandon’s feet snakes ahead of him like a discarded liquorice whip, curving around an old, blackened tree stump before disappearing into the impossibly tall stalks of corn. Most of them are little more than shrivelled brown husks now, wilting and falling apart, but they are still packed tightly enough to obscure whatever lies beyond them. Brandon pulls his hood up, adjusts his rucksack and bulls on ahead.

Back on East Willamette, the teenage zombies are heading to a house party a couple blocks over. Jennifer Fisher, an ample-chested med school student dressed as an undead nurse, lingers to peer into the gap in the fence the guy in the flannel jacket just ducked through. She thinks he’s sort of cute and likes the way his wavy hair hangs down past his shoulders, despite the dorky looking cap he’s wearing. If he’s slipped behind there to smoke a joint or something and is still there, then she’ll invite him to come along with them. She leans forward and sure enough there he is, squatting with his cap off and his back to her in the shadow of something that looks a lot like stalks of corn.

Jennifer grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She’s never heard the stories about Abigail’s Run; she doesn’t know any better. She calls out to the boy and his head whips around to face her.

A long scabrous tongue rasps across a lipless mouth. Maggots writhe amidst decaying flesh and a fly with shattered wings crawls laboriously across an unblinking eye. Something terribly thin, crouched on stick-like limbs with faint wisps of hair hanging from its mottled scalp, turns its gaze upon her.
The bottle of Smirnoff Ice she has been carrying slips from her grasp and shatters on the pavement, drenching her new sneakers and slicing her ankles. The thing that Jennifer mistook for a boy darts away into the gently swaying stalks, and only then does Jennifer realise the source of the shrill sound she can hear. It’s her; she’s screaming.

Husks of corn cling to Brandon’s jacket and jeans like withered brown spiders, and he has somehow lost his luminous cap, the absurdity of which he finds quite amusing. Pushing the last of the cornstalks aside, he emerges once more into the – relatively – open air and gasps at a sight long imagined but never witnessed.

A knobbed alley of pumpkins stretches as far as the eye can see, flanked on either side by high-boarded fences that tower over him. Some of the pumpkins are the size of his skull; some are larger than his Great Dane, Alaska. But all of them share a single defining characteristic: they have all been carved. Jagged mouths zigzag across bulging orange skin, sly knowing smiles lurk beneath slanted triangular eyes and distended ovals scream in perpetual terror. Some are more elaborate than others, and Brandon’s gaze lingers for several seconds on a bloated pumpkin with downturned eyes and a drooping mouth growing near his feet. Without fully knowing why, he stomps on it, smashing through ribbed skin and soft innards with ease. The entire thing caves inwards and orange tinted liquid begins to seep from the wreckage, yet those downturned eyes continue to stare up at him.

He can’t quite discern whether those eyes belong to a face that is weeping or laughing. He decides that it doesn’t matter, and that he really doesn’t care. Does a pumpkin even have a face, or is it a head? Can you have a head without a face?

As he tentatively picks his way through the sprawling pumpkin patch – for some reason, stomping that first pumpkin has made him uncharacteristically nervous – Brandon begins to wonder why the fences on either side of him are so damn high. North Willamette is lined with those looming townhouses, the ones with stone gargoyles crouched on the eaves that look about five-hundred-years old, yet the fence that runs as far as he can see does little to mirror their gothic architecture. No wrought iron gates, no elaborate iron railings, just those huge, imposing panels. They must be thirteen, no, fourteen feet high, and he can barely make out anything beyond their impassive brown finish. Their height, combined with the narrowness of the grinning pathway, leaves him feeling trapped and claustrophobic.

Strangely enough, it doesn’t leave him feeling alone.

It can smell the meat on the wind, and when it presses the object in its hand to the slits on its face, the pungent stench increases tenfold. It moves silently on all fours through the cornstalks like a scurrying rat, contorting its rake-like body so that its chin faces the sky and arching its spine in anticipation. Stick-thin limbs protrude at odd angles as it hurries towards the children. Towards its precious children. Exploding from the corn in a silent flurry of motion, it snaps its torso around and twists itself backwards.

Now it walks like the meat.

The light is fading, but its eyes are milky white and attuned to lightlessness after years of crawling through tunnels of Stygian blackness; they pick out every detail of its surroundings with the precision of a hunting Kit Fox. It hobbles forwards, forked tongue lashing the air. Husks of corn are caught in the folds of its decaying skin, and pieces of flesh have been ripped away by errant stalks to expose the yellowing bone beneath. A beetle crawls through a hole in its cheek, and is immediately torn apart by rows of shattered teeth, filed to points during long hours spent in places beneath the city upon which light has never shone. Pus oozes from open sores and angry red wounds writhe with clusters of fat yellow larvae.

At the edge of the orange carpet, it stops. It falls to its knees and shrieks, tattered, disused vocal cords rasping and screeching in a choir of shrill insanity.

It holds the broken body of one of its many children. Fat chunks slip through slim fingers and frail palms sticky with mush and liquid pound the ground in agony. It looks into the funereal eyes of its dead child and howls in atavistic fury. With bones cracking and joints grating, it drops down to all fours and shoots away into the darkness.

The wind is picking up now, and it carries to Brandon the shrill screams of gleeful children, high-pitched shrieks of excitement mixed with giggles of glee. He smiles ruefully as he walks, keeping one hand on the fence so as not to lose his footing, remembering how long it’s been since he was that small, running from door-to-door dressed in a long red trench coat and his dad’s fedora. Spawn was always his favourite comic book character.

He is startled from his reverie by the thing almost directly in front of him; he would have walked straight into it had he not looked up just at that precise moment.

Before him is a pumpkin the size of a small dumpster, its gargantuan bulk spilling across the Pumpkin Trail and threatening to bar his way. It has been carved with the visage of a mirthful clown, and the young man can almost see the mummer’s flabby jowls quivering with silent laughter.

But he’s been walking for a good fifteen minutes now, so he must be nearing the end of the Witches’ Draw. He’ll be damned if he’s going to let an overgrown vegetable – or fruit, whatever the hell a pumpkin is – stand in his way. He scrambles up the side of the thing, using its laughing mouth as a foothold, and is about to slide over it when a thought strikes him.

Maybe he can stand on the giant clown to peer over that soaring fence. A quick peek won’t hurt, just enough to satisfy his gnawing curiosity. He boosts himself up, his fingers scrabbling for purchase against the fleshy orange surface, and manages to pull himself up.

Before he can lean forward to peer over the fence, something flickers across the edge of his vision, and he feels a sudden awareness of scrutiny. Turning to his left and squinting into the darkness he finds nothing, and is about to turn away when a dark shape flits from the shadows.

Whatever it is, it’s moving low to the ground, like a dog or a cat, except a lot larger. It picks its way through the pumpkins with ease and fluidity, limbs turning at all angles and feet reaching high above its shoulders as it sweeps down the trail. A brief spell of moonlight gives him a true glimpse of its emaciated form and drawn, pallid skin, and warm urine seeps through his jeans. Whatever that thing is, it could have crawled straight out of the potholing-gone-wrong horror flick he’d watched with Kirsty over the summer.

Brandon loses sight of it, and for a second he allows himself to believe it an imagined terror, one born of far too many Hellraiser comics and late-night readings of Clive Barker novels. Then the creature leans forward, squatting atop a lumpy pumpkin…and looks straight at him. Unable to process the horror of its face, Brandon snaps his gaze downwards, towards those terribly-thin arms, and balks at the familiar orange cap clenched in one of its hands.

Before it has even begun to scuttle towards him, Brandon is leaping from the giant pumpkin and sprinting in the opposite direction.

From the window of 168 North Willamette’s drawing room, Augustus Dowell, seated in a plush leather recliner, watches his red Doberman pinscher, Maxwell, lope about the garden. He takes a sip from the glass of bourbon cupped in his hand, his watery eyes never leaving the hound. In the process of ferreting through the carefully-maintained bushes lining the rear of the garden, the Doberman freezes, its wiry body going rigid and its ears standing erect, and whips its head to the side. Seconds later, it launches itself at the fence, standing on its hind legs with its forepaws scrabbling against the wooden panels and barking ferociously. Augustus’s attention immediately shifts to the top of the fence, scanning the wicker dolls that hang lifelessly there. He lets out a deep breath he hasn’t realised he is holding after counting the seventh doll. Yes, they are all there; everything is in place, meaning that his property, and by extension his family, are protected.
Whatever is going on beyond his boundaries is none of his business, nor is it any of his concern.

‘’Augustus, bring Maxwell inside will you?’’ His wife, Constance, asks from the landing. ‘’He’s making an ever-so frightful racket.’’

‘’Of course dear.’’ Augustus replies, glancing a final time at the wood-and-wire constructs dangling from the fence before turning away. ‘’I’ll fetch him in right away.’’

Brandon, his uneven breathing becoming ragged, finds time between bouts of mind-numbing terror to curse himself for dropping out of Phys. Ed. If he’d never met Kathy in the art block that night, and subsequently decided to switch subjects, perhaps he wouldn’t be so damn unfit. The thought of her spurs him on, though, allowing him to draw upon reserves of energy he had thought long since expended.

He dares not turn around, lest that skulking thing be inches away from him, reaching for him with skeletal arms and-

Brandon barrels straight into the corn and for several seconds doesn’t understand what’s happening, batting at the stalks all around him in fear before he realises. This patch of cornstalks must mirror the one at the entrance he used, forming a barrier of sorts between the pumpkins and the real world. Meaning that he’s almost at the exit.

His joy is short lived as something hurtles past him and bare skin brushes the leg of his jeans.

He staggers to the side until his shoulder connects with the fence. Biting down a curse, he whips his head around, expecting the creature to be beside him. He can’t hear a thing, which is much more disconcerting than if he were to able hear it moving about. At least then he’d know where it was.

With his back to the fence and one splayed hand feeling the way forward, he inches slowly to the left, fearful of making even the slightest sound. His heart is thudding somewhere in his throat, and adrenaline is coursing through his veins like electricity. Everywhere he looks he expects to see it, leering out of the corn towards him. A subtle shift directly ahead causes him to freeze; a stealthy scratching that sounds as though it is directly beside him. His sodden boxer shorts become damper still. Suddenly, the thing has him, he can feel its spindly fingers scrabbling against his leg-

His phone. His phone is vibrating. Frantically trying to wrestle it from the pocket of his jeans, all the while aware of every subtle movement around him, he succeeds in doing so just as the incoming call notification shifts from vibration to an audible tone. Brandon does the first thing that comes to mind.

He turns and throws the phone as hard and as far as he can, back in the direction from which he came. It begins to wail and jingle as it spins through the air, and something shifts in the corn to his right – to his immediate right, inches away – and shoots off after it.

All pretence of stealth abandoned, Brandon smashes his way through the corn, bursting free of the clinging stalks seconds later and almost running head first into the chain-link gate that bars the exit onto Centre Street. There are signs covering the gate, so he can’t see them, but he can hear the blessed sounds of children shouting, parents chatting, and sirens wailing. Even the incessant hooting of impatient taxi drivers sounds like music to his ears.

Brandon scrambles up the chain-link and thuds down onto the pavement, narrowly missing a passing group of children and their parental escorts, who throw him scornful you-should-know-better-at-your-age looks, seconds before something crashes against the gate from the other side. He whips around, horrified, and begins to back away as various sections of the chain-link begin to subtly sag inwards, as though something were testing for a point of weakness.

He can’t see anything through the gate; signs and notices cover it entirely, having been crammed together side-by-side. WARNING CONSTRUCTION IN PROGRESS, one reads; UNSAFE SURFACES screams another in bright red lettering. A vivid red and yellow PRIVATE PROPERTY – DO NOT ENTER board runs the length of the gate, and as Brandon’s eyes shift to the right of it his pupils dilate and his heart drums a frantic tattoo against his ribcage.

Staring through the small slit between the PRIVATE PROPERTY board and its neighbour, a green heptagon with oriental lettering, is a listless, pupil-less white eye; below it, the vaguest impression of a row of pointed teeth clasping the chain-link and something serpentine and dark snaking along the side of the sign. Slim, hairless fingers scrabble at the links like pale overgrown spiders.

Brandon staggers away in horror and instead of finding the sidewalk his foot finds only empty space. Pinwheeling his arms but unable to keep his balance, he tumbles backwards.

Sahj Patel is on his way back to the depot when the man – a kid, just a kid really – falls backwards in front of his bus. He’s only four miles-per-hour over the speed limit, but at this distance he doesn’t have a hope in hell of stopping in time.

Something crunches sickeningly beneath the wheels, an elderly lady at the rear of the bus screams and a mother hugs her son to her chest. Sahj is out of the vehicle in seconds, but the way one of the wheels nestles in the kid’s chest tells him that he is already too late.

Only while he waits for an ambulance, tears streaming down his face and breath coming in huge wracking sobs, does he realise exactly where on Centre Street he is: the entrance to that accursed alley. Witches’ Draw, they had called it when Sahj was a child. Of all the places, he thinks, and slams his fist against the gate in frustration, tearing down a cluster of small wicker figures hung there by children in his anger.

Behind the gate, in the softly swaying stalks of long-dead corn, something stirs. A sickly crescent grin splits a pair of scabrous lips.

Free at last.

Credit To – Tom Farr

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