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Old McDonald’s

September 15, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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I’m sure many of you have been to a newly remodeled McDonald’s. Possibly one with a McCafe.

But have you ever looked up why they started remodeling the restaurants in the first place?

The first McCafe in the states popped up in Chicago back in May of 2001. That was just the beginning.

Now over the last five years, McDonald’s has taken to remodeling every single restaurant in America. Most of you might even be asking yourself how long it’s been since you last stepped foot in an old McDonald’s.

Ask anyone who’s done some market research and you’ll hear something strange. McDonald’s loses money on the process. It’s a fact. The new furniture isn’t pulling new customers and the McCafe’s can’t sell coffee that cheap and turn a profit. Look at Starbucks prices and you’ll see what I mean.

Stakeholders say they wanted a more adult vibe for the restaurant. “A classier look for a classier America.”

Wrong answer. Google it right now: what’s McDonald’s target age group? It’s children and teens. It always has been.

So then why did they start all these remodels? Why would one of the largest corporations in America spend over 1 billion on a terrible marketing strategy?
That’s where things get interesting.

Let’s start with the play places.

If you can remember, almost no two play places at McDonald’s were identical. Some of them were really fun. I know I had a few favorites.

Well some of them were also really dangerous. The first gem I could find was a carousel play place in Lancaster, Pennsylvania back in the 1980’s that got shut down mere months after opening. Little information was given about why they closed. The lot has been vacant ever since.

If you find the right connections in Lancaster though, you just might be able to read an article that didn’t make it to print.

Children would play on the merry-go-round in ways they weren’t supposed to, you see. They’re kids, so of course they would. Well one day a few kids managed to crawl underneath the thing but then they never made it back out.

The whole incident was so heavily guarded by McDonald’s PR, you’d be troubled to find a single person that was even there that whole afternoon. The only witness anyone could find had this to say:

“When they went under, a few parents started calling for help. Then something happened to the lights. The carousel kept getting brighter and the music was deafening. I ran out of the building when the machine started to smoke, but I looked back through the window to see if the kids were alright and [the employees] were just standing there behind the registers! They looked like they were still waiting for customers!”

Weirder and weirder stories pick up from there through the years. Reports of children sinking into ball pits that should only be a foot deep. Mothers searching play tubes for their kids, only to find a lonely pair of shoes.

But the play places held a mere fraction of the incidents.

Back in 1996 in Knoxville, Tennessee there was a business man of his 40’s who went into a McDonald’s restroom and remained there for seven hours. Patrons noted that he refused to leave the furthest back stall.

The police were finally called and they managed to break down the door. He was restrained by paramedics as he wouldn’t willingly leave the restroom.

As they pulled him out of the stall he began screaming bloody murder “take me back! I want to go back!” but the moment he exited the restaurant he passed out. He had no memory of ever going to a McDonald’s the day of the incident.

The restaurant was shut down before anyone could inspect the stall he had shut himself in. However, anyone who used the restroom that day mentioned hearing several voices whispering things like:

“It wasn’t him.”
“We have to go back”
“Saw you smile.”

Then there was a fry cook somewhere in Vermont back in ‘99 who walked into the middle of the restaurant and dumped scalding oil on himself without flinching or saying a word. Several of the customers started to laugh and roll around in the burning oil alongside him and all were rushed to the hospital. Only one survived but refuses to make a statement. Not that she easily could. Her throat melted all the way through and had to be completely restructured.

The manager claimed he didn’t remember ever hiring the fry cook and that he wasn’t in any official paperwork. “His name tag didn’t even have a name, just #### written on it.” Once again, the McDonald’s was closed without a trace.

Most of the stories sounded like urban legends to me but it never failed. Wherever I found a story, a McDonald’s had been shut down in its wake.

Near the late 2000’s the number of cover ups had become so frequent that McDonald’s decided to shut all of them down and rebuild. Every. Single. One.

But of course they’d miss a few.

I needed to see one for myself. I remember going in the old McDonald’s as a kid but that was before the frequency of the incidents. That was when it was still safe.

There was a small town on the way to my parents’ house just off the highway. Oroska was its name. Maybe a hundred residents. Completely untouched by the outside world, practically forgotten. It was pointless to stop there for any normal reason because there wasn’t a gas station or rest stop. Not even a sign to let you know you were close.

Let’s just say I had to sneak my way around some very old building permits to discover that they had one of the few McDonald’s (aside from some treasured landmarks) that has yet to go through a remodel since the 1970’s. How lucky is that? I was surprised they even had a fast food place, yet they didn’t have a market or post office.

I planned a trip to my parents’ place for the weekend, with a stop at Oroska on the way. It was already dark out since it was the dead of winter and I didn’t get off work ‘till 5. I was cold and grumpy about driving at night, but mostly determined.

I don’t think I would’ve ever found the place before phone GPS, the turn off from the highway was just a dirt road with no landmarks or anything. As I pulled into town none of the houses had lights on. Most of the street lights were out as well, as though nobody had remembered to change the bulbs in years. This place really was untouched. I’d be surprised if most of the residents hadn’t moved out or simply died off. It definitely had the makings of a ghost town anyway.

I was about to lose hope when I finally saw it. The nauseous yellow light of those golden arches illuminating a vacant parking lot in the distance. It buzzed and flickered like a fly zapper running out of batteries. The sign below said “eat new eggs mc-uffin. We like to saw you smile.” Which I assumed was just a lazy teen’s handy-work. I pulled into the lot and carelessly parked my car in the center (there was nobody else there anyway).

When I stepped out of my car, I felt a squish under my foot. There was a burger covered in mold with a rancid liquid oozing out. The smell was absolutely vomit worthy. I jumped out to scrape the contents of the burger from my shoe when I noticed the whole parking lot was covered in trash. There were half eaten boxes of fries and sun baked childrens’ toys spilling out of old greased up McDonald’s bags. Everything was mixed in with the dirt and snow like it had been here for months, possibly years.

I hurried across the lot to avoid retching all over the asphalt. As I approached the door I noticed the windows were caked in dust. Somebody had taped a piece of paper to the door with the word “CLOSED” scribbled across it in red marker, yet the sign hung from the inside clearly said open. Cautiously I approached the door and pushed.

An artificial bell hummed an old McDonald’s tune that fizzled out on the last few notes as the door creaked open. I looked around the fluorescent lit room and saw it was void of life. There was nobody sitting at any of the tables and nobody attending the registers. Somebody had left a tray on one of the tables in the back but there was no other sign someone had been here.

The inside was at least a little cleaner. The toys on display by the counter were of characters I’d never heard of, likely from before my time. The whole place was covered in faded coats of yellow and red paint and all the tables had that classic McDonald’s wood finish. The wood looked completely rotten, but slathered in coats of polish as a sad attempt to keep it looking new. All of it had a sort of green hue which I contributed to the old lights. The most noticeable element, though, was a terrible burning plastic smell that stung my nose.

I went up to the register. I felt like I shouldn’t order anything but I was hoping maybe I could ask someone a few questions.

I waited for a good 15 minutes in silence. I shouted hello with only a muted echo for a response. I had been to a few McDonald’s with bad service in the past but this was insane. With how dirty the whole place was I should’ve expected as much.

Just as I was about to turn around and give up, the cash register popped open. It was practically begging me to take a tip for myself. Besides, didn’t I deserve a slight reward for wasting my time here? I casually walked over to it and saw at least a dozen 20’s stacked high.

Looking around to make sure nobody was watching, I reached in to take a few bills when the thing suddenly snapped closed right on my fingers. The metal dug deep into my flesh leaving a dark trail of blood down the side of the counter. I yelped in pain.

Behind the counter at the other end of the grill was a first aid kit hanging on the wall. The lights were burned out in the kitchen area but I needed a bandage, pronto. I hopped over the table and made my way to the back. The burning smell was getting stronger as I walked. I noticed the grill was covered in a thick layer of grease, completely unsuitable for cooking. I passed by the frying station and the oil was filled to the top with maggots.

I quickened my walk to the first aid hoping to get patched up and out of there as soon as possible. I was starting to realize that this restaurant definitely wasn’t open for business anymore and I probably shouldn’t have entered it in the first place. I opened up the first aid kit and had to swallow some vomit.

A cloud of mold burst out from it in every direction followed by the same bubbling black ooze that was on the burger outside. I started coughing and waving my hands in the air to clear the mold dust floating around.

The same bell I heard playing that McDonald’s tune started up again as I steadied myself. I assumed it was broken like the rest of this dump. I looked back toward the counter and noticed everything seemed farther away. I must have been disoriented from losing blood and that awful smell. I looked down at my hand to see how bad the wound was and my eyes widened. There was no wound on my hand at all.

I rushed back towards the counter in a panic when something under the stove caught my foot and I fell. In the darkness my eyes started to adjust and I saw the outline of a body. Somebody was under there. Maybe they were unconscious and needed help! I yanked at the person’s arm and a half decayed body slid out across the floor.

They were wearing a McDonalds’ employee shirt with a nametag that read ####. Their mouth was contorted into a sickening grin but their eyes were screaming. I tried to shout but no sound came out like when trying to wake up from a nightmare. As I scrambled to get back up to the counter, the lights had started to dim and the McDonald’s tune was getting louder, the notes fizzling and distorting as they played.

Once I had gotten my grip above the counter, I froze.

Since entering, I never looked at the side of the restaurant opposite the counter. There was a play place.

The glass separating the main restaurant from the play area had hundreds of bloody handprints smearing down toward the floor. The tube slide was caved in with chunks of red liquid spurting out from the tiny hole left at the bottom. There was a row of nooses tied to the monkey bars in the corner with employees wearing the same #### nametags hanging from them. The tables around the perimeter had skeletons with rotting food left on trays, some of the food hanging from the skulls mouthes. I looked on in horror, too shocked to move.

While the rest of the restaurant went dark, a bulb in the center of the play place continued to glow like a carnival spotlight. Below it was a massive ball pit, barely able to contain all of its colored plastic balls. It was smoking under the blaring white light, making that awful burning plastic smell.

The balls began to rattle and fall off the edge when something inside started shuffling around. I wanted to run so badly but my body refused. Then suddenly the music went dead and the movement stopped.

A yellow glove slowly crept upward from the pit below, writhing its fingers as it went. A connected red and white sleeve came after it, slowly alternating colors as they appeared from underneath. The arm continued to reach toward the sky, growing more and more, while its joints popped and cracked like breaking branches. By the end that arm had to be at least six feet long.

It finally reached for the lit bulb on the ceiling with its gangly gloved fingers and began to twist it loose.

I broke into a sprint, jumping over the counter and toppling chairs as I went. That last light went out just as I got to the exit. I bashed through the door, breaking the glass in the process. As I rolled into the parking lot I heard a distant scream, and then something whispered right next to my ear in dead silence. It had the same tinny distortion as the McDonald’s tune

“Come back. I want to see you smile.”

I haven’t told anyone about what happened there that night. There was an article online saying Oroska burned to the ground a few days later. I don’t know if it was a cover up or something else, but I’m never going back to find out.

I didn’t share this because I want you to get involved, by the way. I shared it to warn you what happens when you do.

You can go to a new McDonald’s, keep getting your Big Macs, get your McCafe coffee, that’s fine. They did something to the remodels to make them safe, at least for now.
But don’t ever go into an old McDonald’s. Not even the drive thru.

I’ve got to stop typing now and get some pain meds.

My jaw hurts and the hand I snapped in that register has been getting itchy.

Credit To – Braytendo

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September 14, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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The Town of Willowing Hills
A collection of true stories surrounding a mysterious town nestled between a mountain and valley, in the middle of nowhere.
Taken from residents of this town, who have written in wishing for someone to investigate the strange occurences of which they report on.
These residents wish to have their names changed, should their stories be published, for their own sake.
They urge I write under an anonymous pen name as well.

Samantha Argos.
I write here in total darkness, the only light coming from the lantern I’ve “liberated” from an old farm I crossed a few miles back. It seemed abandoned, so I didn’t see any wrong in taking the light, but as I kept skirting along the edge of the wood I realized that if the farm was devoid of life, then who left a lit oil lantern out on a fence for me to find? I believe I’m being watched, even now, even after my escape. These people are powerful and all-knowing, so it’d be no problem for them to keep tabs on me. Perhaps even they have left this out for me, toying with me to further their studies. But I’m getting ahead of myself, and I suspect my time is short if they really are watching me. There’s no way they’d want this to get out, so I should start.
My name is [Samantha] and I’ll be turning 17 this December. I used to live with my older sister along Brookford Avenue in the older part of Willowing HIlls, which is where most of the town’s residences are located. Down the road is the high school I used to attend, Willowing HIlls High, which isn’t the most creative of names but, our corner of the world is pretty small. My sister graduated 6 years ago, and should be taking classes at the community college farther north (I say this because I have no idea what she is doing after my departure). She took care of me after the death of our parents, via car crash some years ago, but I was pretty young and the memories of them are hazy, so not much of a loss there. At the high school, people regarded me as a rather smart kid, not too bad-looking and able to hold her own in whatever physical activity we did in P.E. I had some advanced placement classes and I played volleyball my sophomore year. This was my life. But this crazy place, everyone just got so weird and I still don’t know what happened to them.
It all started early one morning when I got up for school. My sister used to take me, but after I got my license, she gave me the family car and took the bus to the college, usually waking up before me and leaving just as I was getting ready. That morning I didn’t see her off, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I would hate to see her acting all schizo like everyone else. Nonetheless, I showered, got dressed and ate, but as I walked out of the door the wind suddenly picked up and blew the car keys out of my hand. As I bent down to pick it up, the strap on my bag ripped and I had to go back inside and get some industrial tape to hold the thing together. I was kind of annoyed, in a “this won’t be a good day” kind of way, leaving me not as happy as I usually am. I mean, it was a Monday morning too, so that already was cause for me to wake up hating the world.
I got in my car and started my morning commute to school, turning on the radio and getting nothing but static. I thought it was pretty strange as Willowing Hills had their own radio station, and played some pretty OK music when it wasn’t broadcasting some nonsense. But as I fiddled with the dials on my dash, I looked up and saw I was already downtown and just a few hundred yards away from the school. Since it was so close and I arrive earlier than most, I usually sat in the parking lot and listened to the radio or read, but as it was out of commission, that wasn’t an option. I resigned myself to just going inside whenever I got there, but I almost didn’t make it- at that moment, a deer leaped out of the neighboring forest on my right and bounded across the road. I had to grip the wheel with both hands and jerk the car out of it’s way, missing the animal by inches. I slowed down but didn’t stop after missing it, looking in my rearview mirror to see if it was alright. It just…stared at me, then continued into town. I almost called it in to the police, but I suspected that some shop-owner would see it rooting around the square and do that himself. I got to school.
After parking, I walked inside and found myself thinking that it was strange that I didn’t see any other people around. No students lounging lazily against a locker, or a teacher on duty to make sure the early-birds didn’t start up any trouble. Classes weren’t supposed to be starting yet, the bell was to ring in about seven minutes. The halls were empty, and so was the front office when I peeked inside. There were several adjoining rooms to the office, so I assumed the administrators and assistants were simply in a meeting, or just away. I should’ve known something was up. Instead, I decided to go on to 1st period.
When I walked inside, the class was full of kids staring down into their history textbook. No page turning or acknowledgement of me entering, just…silence and studying. The only thing on the page was a picture of Abraham Lincoln, and a short summary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Every single one of them looked joyful, as if it were the most interesting thing in the world. It creeped me out. The teacher was sitting behind her desk, her lips curled into a small smile when she heard me walk in but still not looking up to see me. She was shuffling papers, moving them around and adjusting them, and as I took my seat near the front of the room I noticed that they were all blank. At this point, some red flags were going off in my head, and I felt immensely uncomfortable with all the silence.
I raised my hand timidly, but the teacher still didn’t see me. Then I cleared my throat, softly calling her name. That’s when things went bat-shit.
She finally turned her head to acknowledge me, and her facial expression went from “happy” to “smiles overload.” Her grin grew bigger, showing all her teeth and her eyes widening. It was already unnerving, but what really got me was that I could tell she was upset. Her face was twitching and a vein on her temple throbbed. But she still kept smiling.
“Samantha!” She screeched, and I cringed. I couldn’t tell if I was in trouble or not, because of that damn grin. “Just what do you think you’re doing?!”
I was just a little bit scared to answer. I shrugged in reply.
“This is an outrage, girl!” She yelled, standing up and moving towards me. At this point I could see in my peripheral every other student look up from their books, watching the scene in interest. “You’re indecent! Show some restraint and consideration for the boys!”
Extreme confusion replaced the fear. I looked down, inspecting my modest purple t-shirt under a baby blue jacket and red skirt, which was fingertip length. I even checked my blue flipflops. No cleavage was out or excess skin. I looked back up at her to see her shaking in quiet fury, and yet, she still had that smile painted on her face. She grabbed my arm, forcing me out of my seat. “You’re coming with me, young lady!”
As we left, protests spilling out of my lips, I remember the students finally making some noise, some acknowledgment of me. I heard their whispers.
“Absolutely disgusting.”
“What would her sister think?”
“She’s gone off the deep end, hasn’t she?”
It wouldn’t have bothered me so much if they didn’t….keep….grinning like the fucking Chesire Cat. My teacher dragged me down the hall, not releasing me of her vice-like grip, still smiling. When we got to the front office, moving to one of the adjoining room’s known as the Principal’s Office, she kept grinning and our principal did, too. In fact, when he saw me, he lit up even more, standing up immediately.
“Samantha! Show some modesty child, you’re in school!”
I meant to ask just what was going on, but all that came out was a pathetic whimper.
My teacher was shaking her head next to me. “I never expected such behavior from such a smart girl. ‘Tis a shame, I have half a right to call the police down here.”
At the mention of the police, I found my voice. Turning to her, I screamed “Why?! What did I do?!” My pent up aggression and stress of the whole thing was reaching a boiling point. And yet, they didn’t answer me, glancing at each other and talking about my “punishment” as if I wasn’t there.
“You know, the police may just be what she needs.” The principal stated, reaching for his cell-phone.
“It’d do her some good, we don’t even need to concern her sister with this.” My teacher finally released me, but left the room, calling over her shoulder “Bless her heart, her parents die and now her little sibling is acting up…”
By the time I looked back up at the principal, he had already dialed the number for the police and was muttering to them over the phone. I didn’t know what to do – he kept throwing dirty glances my way and nodding. While I stood there, unable to speak or move, I thought about just what was going on. I was dressed the way I usually was, my long brown hair was undone and clearly not some rule violation, and I hadn’t cursed or anything. I wondered if I came to school late somehow and my clocks were wrong, but the penalty for that was getting a tardy note. All of this was completely unnecessary and I knew I’d done nothing wrong. Part of me wanted to call my sister to get me out of this, and another part didn’t. I had no idea why.
About ten minutes later, the police car arrived outside the front of the school, and by the look of the trio of officers that stormed inside, you’d of thought there was a bomb threat or something. They rushed into the front office and into the room, two of them grabbing me by the arm and practically (well, literally) dragging me outside. I started screaming, and pleading with my principal, my teacher, and anyone who happened to be watching to help me. I looked those officers in the eyes, and they just smiled at me, before one of them dropped my arm and threw a punch at my head. I immediately saw stars, my vision fading in and out and my screams getting caught in my throat. I could feel them forcing my body into the back seat of the police cruiser, then heard the door slam shut. The last officer was conversing with the principal, shaking his hand when we drove away and Willowing HIlls High School vanished from view. Then I blacked out completely.
The next thing I remember was waking up in a stark white room, which only had a hard bed with one thin-bare blanket and a writing desk. An equally white metal door was in front of me, with several bolts and a screen of glass awarding any passersby the image of a scared teenage girl lying on the floor with a black-eye. It was my first one and throbbed like hell. You can imagine all the thoughts rushing through my head. I knew I was not in the station or the dirty jail cells that they had in the basement. My first idea was that I’d been kidnapped, but I still had all my clothes (minus the flip-flops) and cell-phone.
Wait, a cell-phone! I reached into the pocket of my jacket and pulled it out, giving it a kiss before dialing 911. But then I realized that they were the ones that got me here, so there was no way they’d get me out. Then I remembered my sister. I quickly punched in the number and pressed the call button, holding the phone up to my ear and praying she wasn’t in class so she didn’t ignore me. It took a few rings, which seemed to last a lifetime, but she picked up, saying a crisp and low “hello.”
“[Anna],” I cried my sister’s name, as tears began flowing down my cheeks. “[Anna], I’m in some kind of trouble and I don’t know why. The police came to the school and they took me somewhere and-and I just need help, please come….please…”
There was a pause on her end before I heard her sigh heavily. “Honey, I can’t.” She said. Time seemed to stop at that moment, and I could feel my heart slow down. My one lifeline, telling me she couldn’t help.
“Why?!” I demanded angrily. “I don’t even know what’s going on! No one is telling me why!”
“How could you not?” She answered, sounding annoyed. “I honestly didn’t expect this from you, and to be honest, it’s kind of sickening. What would mom and dad think of you?”
The sobs caught in my throat as I felt her words pierce me like a knife. “I d-don’t-”
“Look, wherever you are, I’m sure you’re getting help for your problem. You should trust them, [Samantha], they’re only here to preserve our sanctity and keep the peace.” With that, she disconnected, and even if I wanted to call her back, I couldn’t as my phone chose that particular moment to turn off. The battery had no charge, and this let me know that I’d been out for a long time as it’d been on 100% this morning. I could only look at the black screen in shock before I hurled it at the door, screaming in rage.
After a few minutes of crying, a voice flooded the room. I looked up and discovered the intercom perched in the corner of the ceiling, settled next to a video camera. I was under surveillance. The voice spoke again, calling out my full name. I sat up, wiping my nose. “What do you fuckers want with me?” I croaked.
My captors paused, then spoke again. “We want to observe you.” They said finally. It was a man’s voice, surprisingly light and refreshing but still sending chills down my spine.
“Oh yeah?” I asked, narrowing my eyes. “Why? What have I done? Where am I?”
“Your answers will come soon. Are you calm?” The voice asked sweetly.
I answered no, I fucking wasn’t. It was several more minutes until he spoke again. “Are you calm now?”
Playing his game, I nodded, knowing they could see it. The white door’s bolts immediately came undone, and the metal thing swung open slowly. Outside, in a startlingly white labcoat amid a white-tiled hallway, was a handsome young man with trimmed hair and a beaming smile. I was getting sick of those. He extended a hand. “Come with me.” It was the same voice from the intercom.
I was obviously skeptic, but I didn’t see a point in refusing and staying here. I stood up and walked to the door, not taking his hand or looking at his face. He shrugged, then led me down the hall, which seemed to extend forever. More white, metal doors filled the hall on either side of us, and I wondered just how many other people they had in…wherever we were. Were they like me, confused and scared? I didn’t get a chance to look in any of the slim glass windows on the doors to sate my curiosity, because we turned a corner that was devoid of anything except the white walls, ceiling and floor. The lights were excruciatingly bright, and I could not stop squinting. The man seemed to be used to it, as he strided across the floor looking happy as can be.
We turned a final corner and was met by a single metal door, this time not painted white, but black, with a strange curling symbol painted on the middle. The man opened it by punching in the code on a neighboring keypad, and then pushed it open. I made a note to remember what numbers he used. 7902. They’d save my life.
This room was full of machines and people operating them (all smiling, no less). There were a few people sprawled out on tables, being poked and prodded at by scientists in labcoats. They were unconscious, and the first people I’d seen today who didn’t have grins painted on their faces. It made me worried about them. I didn’t even realize the man was taking me to my own table until we were right in front of it and a another group of scientists, eagerly awaiting me.
“Lay down here.” The man requested joyfully, patting the cushioned top. I shook my head, adrenaline filling my veins. “I insist. You want answers, don’t you?”
“Why can’t any of you just tell me what’s going on?” I demanded, beginning to back away. No one stopped me.
“That’s why we must study you,” He answered simply. “So we can all understand.”
“What if I refuse?”
“Then we’ll have to use force.” He stated simply, but I could hear he malice in his voice, and see the gleam in his eye. Smiles could hide a plethora of emotions, it seemed. “It’d be much more…beneficial…for you to lay down.”
I looked from him to the other scientists, all of them holding pencils or some sharp object. When my eyes landed on one of them, who was holding a mask designed to pump anesthetic gases into my system until I blacked out. Until I’d let them cut me open and “observe” me for something wrong, when I knew I was perfectly fine. They’d roam over my body and insides, picking and stabbing until I was dead, probably. There was no way I’d leave from this facility alive if I lied down on that table. So I had an epiphany, I had to play their game if I wanted to live. The idea hadn’t crossed my mind because I was always in despair or so much stress I couldn’t think clearly. But I realized then that, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
For the first time that day, I smiled, a big, huge smile.
All of the scientists froze, some of them gasping. They dropped their tools and scribbled in their notebooks furiously, and the man that brought me here grinned even wider. Somehow, I knew he was genuinely happy.
“This has been a great breakthrough!” He cried, clapping his hands giddily. “Tell me, how do you feel?”
“Like shit.” I replied, still maintaining my smile.
Despite the response, he continued beaming. “Excellent, excellent! Simply excellent.” He turned to his colleagues to laugh heartily, and I took that as a chance for my escape. I ran through the rows of machines and tables of people who’d fallen for the trap, and made my way to the door, punching in the numbers. No one stopped me- they were all remarking at my “breakthrough.” I made sure to keep smiling as I exited the strange room, and ran through the building looking for the exit. From there, everything’s been a haze – the facility was a maze, and every hall looked the same. The only good thing was that no one obstructed my absconding, so after some searching, I found a pair of red doors with the words “Exit” marked over them. They weren’t locked. I burst through them, noting the cold wind of the night and thick forest that surrounded the giant building I’d just egressed from. I wasted no time, taking no chances, I ran into the woods and, after some time, managed to find an old path that led to the main road.
Since then, I’ve been walking, stealing food from any of the sparse homes I find (all empty, suspiciously) and thinking about my situation. I had no idea where I was, it appeared to be nowhere near Willowing HIlls. I can see the top of a mountain in the distance, over miles of trees, and I know it’ll take a while to get home. But a big piece of me doesn’t want to go home. I had my thoughts that I’d just be thrown back in jail, or the facility since I’ve stopped smiling. But I’ve seen people on the main road, after I hide behind a tree or in the brush to watch them pass by. They don’t smile, at least not all the time; they bicker, they argue, they cry, they laugh, they do normal human things. Somehow I knew that whatever disease had taken hold of the town that day was gone, as mysteriously as it’d appeared. And still, I don’t want to go back to Willowing Hills. I always knew the place was weird, and now my suspicions are confirmed. There was something sinister in that town, and in that facility and I urge anyone reading this to avoid it all costs.
So yeah, I’ve been on my own since then. I see people sometimes, as I’ve mentioned before, but I don’t engage them. I guess my trust has just shriveled up and died. I’m writing this now in the hopes someone finds it, but when they do, I’ll be far away from here. I’m in an abandoned cabin a few miles down the road of that farm I mentioned. I’m not sure what time it is, but it’s been several hours since the sun has set below the treeline. There’s no one else here, but I keep telling myself there is. When I got here, there was a plate of food, untouched, on the kitchen table. I almost didn’t want to eat it, but what choice do I have? I suppose now I know for sure that they’re still watching me, but also helping me, probably to further their studies. As far as I know, I’m the only one to escape, and it was all too easy. They had to have let me done it. Maybe they’ll let my story be found, too.
If I’m honest, I don’t know what to believe anymore, from the start the whole thing has seemed like a sick joke that went too far. I say that because when I found this cabin, there was a slip of paper sitting next to the plate of food. Scrawled on it messily, was a single phrase I’d only heard a few times in my life, but never taken seriously. Someone has though, and thought they’d infect the whole town with the notion. But…not me, and I don’t know why. Maybe I can find my answers one day, but I’m still going to keep smiling whenever I see someone on the road, or in my dreams, or in the window.
After all, you’re never fully dressed without a smile.

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The Elevator

September 11, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Ethan Crumbski sipped at his piping hot coffee, strolling into his office. Placing down his cup, he set to work instantaneously. His co-workers know of his seriousness for getting papers done and handed in on time, so they rarely spoke with him. Ethan didn’t mind one bit.

Scrolling down the document he worked on for the past three nights, the brunette man’s florescent blue eyes dashed across each line, revising his work, making sure there were no mistakes. Satisfied with finding no such mistake, he printed the sheets out, quickly standing to retrieve them.

As he hurriedly went to the printer, waiting for the seventeen pages, Ethan’s ear picked up a certain conversation voiced by one of the security guards he knows works the late night shift as well as the owner of the company he works for.

“Another one, last night.” The night guard quietly stated. The boss was silent, grumbling at the confusing news for Ethan. “It was a different time like how the others are. I just don’t understand why they use it. There is an obvious sign on the doors specifically saying it’s out of use.”

“Wish I knew the reason behind it as well, Carson.” The night guard was silent as Ethan picked up his papers. “Keep up the good work.” Ethan moved away, back to his office to finish his hand in.

Ethan’s job is creating ideas for advertisement. He has been in this company for a few years, excelling faster than his co-workers. Over the years working here, Carson has been the night guard but frequents the boss’s office in the day to hand in reports on some nights. The brunette had witnessed this many a time but brushed it off. This month he couldn’t easily shove it to the side.

Being a great observer with the way his personality is, he has noticed over the month a lot of people missing. There was Heidi, who worked at the desk across his office door. She usually pestered him about going to lunch and chatting, not refusing to back down though he rejected her as nicely he could. She worked here for only five months, then she disappeared without saying anything to anyone. He remembered her mentioning something similar, how people were missing from the company. He paid no mind to it until his memory came back of all the people who used to be here. Kade, Will, Jessie, Becca, Ricky, Gene, Clark, Mallory, Avery, Dennis, Florence, and Owen. They didn’t have a thing in common, that he knew. Never saw all of them together. But then, he didn’t know anyone since he kept to himself.

People were missing. He wondered who had gone missing this time. Figuring he would find out soon, he finished up his morning work and headed out for lunch.

Returning from his meal, Ethan passed by Heidi’s old desk, glancing at the new name plaque on it. Sarah Fredricks, it read. He hummed to himself as he walked into his office, leaving the door open for once. He would watch Sarah for a while when he could, not thinking he could be dubbed a creep. The woman didn’t notice at all, too busy typing away as she chatted with her desk neighbor, Robert Stans.

Rob was a comical guy. Ethan overheard many conversations with him dropping jokes at the correct times. If memory served correctly for the brunette, Robert worked just as many years as Ethan. He wasn’t so sure. Pushing his thoughts away, he began writing another advertisement campaign.

Night soon came and Ethan compiled his gear together. He was ready to leave within seven minutes. Briskly walking to the elevators, he noticed one out of the four holding a sign. “Out of Order.” He read aloud. The morning talk between Carson and their boss came back to the front of his mind. Could this be what they were talking about? Now that he thought of it, its been out of order for nearly four years now. He wondered why no one would try to fix it. Shrugging it off, he went to the last elevator on the right and descended down to the lobby floor.


The next morning he came in earlier than he was supposed to. He noticed Carson packed up and ready to head out but stopped him before he could reach the entrance doors.

Carson blinked, surprised that Ethan came up to him. “Is there something wrong, Mr. Crumbski?”

Ethan stared at him, analyzing him to see if anything like what supposedly happened yesterday night occurred again. He couldn’t find anything. “No. Nothing’s wrong.” The guard nodded, standing awkwardly as he stared at the other. “Do you remember a woman by the name of Heidi Sinclair? Her desk is where Sarah Fredricks now resides.”

“Yes. Yes I do.” Florescent blue eyes scanned him over again.

“Do you know what happened to her?”

At this question, Carson paled, lips sealed tight in thought. Ethan instantly picked up on his reaction and continued to wait for a reply. “I-I do not, sadly. She was a sweet woman, though. Bright as well.”

Ethan nodded, agreeing. “’Was’ as in because she is no longer working here, or ‘was’ as in she has possibly passed on?”

The security guard’s complexion worsened. “Have a good day, Mr. Crumbski.” He nodded a goodbye and dashed out of the doors.

He found that strange, but one question was nearly answered. What ever happened to Heidi, she was either gone and somewhere else in the world, or gone for good. His long legs quickly made way for the elevators. Ethan checked the far left one and saw the sign was there as well. An urge to use that elevator rose within him, but he opted for the one he usually uses.

Ethan walked onto his floor, the top most floor of this seventy story building, and gazed at all the desks. He went around, remembering exactly where all the past co-workers sat and hung around. Kade sat next to Mallory who always talked with Gene across from her. There was a time where the young woman didn’t show up to work one day, which turned into weeks, then months. He realized years had past since he last saw Mallory. Gene never talked much once Mallory went missing.

Heidi was the first one he remembered coming to him and asking about the other workers who hadn’t showed for a while. She was there when Avery was. They were good friends. Her worry for her exceeded the limits when she asked around about her.

“I’ve been asking around about Avery, but no one remembers her! How can that be? Please tell me you remember her, Ethan.” She sounded desperate as she stared at him, pleading for him to say he did remember. He didn’t.

The next thing he knew, Heidi was gone. It was only two days after she went around the floor asking about Avery. Questions revolved around his mind, now, wondering what happened, if the same thing occurred to Heidi.

Sitting at his desk, he turned on his computer and decided to research on the missing people he remembered. Time passed with his research. People started coming in, not giving him any attention as usual. Though, the out burst form his room shocked many near by. Ethan was furious. He couldn’t find anything on any one person he knew before in this building.

A knock shocked him out of his thought process. It was Sarah. “Are you okay, Mr. Crumbski?” She asked, concerned.

He started at the woman. She fidgeted in her spot. “Yes I am, Miss Fredricks. Sorry to have bothered you.” He closed out of the browser, deciding it was best to leave it alone and get some work done. Sarah only shook her head saying she wasn’t bothered, only concerned. He merely passed by her as he left his room for the boss’ office.

The hefty man sat at his computer, eating a donut, not expecting Ethan to walk in and sit in front of him. With a raised brow, he asked, “Yes, Mr. Crumbski?”

“I was wondering about Miss Heidi Fisher. Do you remember who she is?” Blunt and straight to the point, Ethan stoically gazing at Mr. Hyden.

Mr. Hyden’s brows knitted together, unsure of the name though he felt he heard it before. “I do not. Is she your girlfriend?” The old man grinned. “’Bout time you got one.” He joked.

Shaking his head, Ethan spoke, “No, she isn’t. She used to work here. I was just wondering if you knew where she went.”

“Oh, well then. I do not remember any employee with that name, and I remember all the employees I’ve hired.” The man boasted about his memory only for Ethan to mentally disagree.

“Okay.” He stood, knowing full well the man didn’t remember anyone who had gone missing. “Thank you for your time, Mr. Hyden.” Ethan left without looking back. He didn’t need to.

His research continued though he knew it was futile. He kept searching for the names with a specific picture attached to them. No such luck. Ethan wasn’t one to give up though. He kept at it for days. At home. During free time at work. On his phone on breaks. He was so busy looking things up that when he returned from his lunch break, he didn’t realize he got off the wrong floor.

Ethan strolled around, eyes on his cell, until a worker came up to him. “Mr. Crumbski! So nice of you to visit our floor.” He blinked, looking up and seeing a fellow acquaintance of Heidi’s. He remembered the man used to go out with Heidi in place of him when he rejected her. “My name’s Tom.” He continued speaking. “I know you don’t know me, but, well, I know you because a friend of mine was obsessed with you.” He chuckled. “She was sort of loony, but I still liked being with her. Sad she’s gone though. Don’t know what happened to her.” He stuffed his hands in his pants pockets, mulling over his lost friend.

The brunette didn’t hesitate to ask. “Who was your friend?”

“I don’t remember.” Tom hummed. “She had shoulder length blonde hair, though, and fetching green eyes. I feel bad not remembering her name.”

“Could it have been Heidi?”

Thinking about it, Tom nodded. “That sounds about right, but… I don’t know…” He shrugged. “Wish I could remember.” Glancing behind himself, he smiled. “I need to get back to work. Nice chatting with you, Ethan!”

He watched as the energetic man fled to his work desk. He stared, wondering if it wasn’t just his floor that people were missing on. As more questions popped up into his head, he went back to the elevator.

The next few days, he spent some time on other floors. He randomly approached people and asked them if they had noticed anyone missing from their floor. Out of the bunch he questioned, only a hand full could say they remembered descriptions but not names. The puzzle pieces were beginning to fall slowly into place, but the main question still needs to be answered.

Carson avoided him at all costs since Ethan made the habit of arriving when his shift ended. The brunette took every chance he could get to confront the man that knew more than he would tell, but each try failed. One day, though, he went towards the out of order elevator, about to press the button.

“Don’t go on that elevator!” Ethan turned around, wide eyed. Carson’s face was full of panic. “Whatever you do, don’t go on that elevator. It’s dangerous, and not just because it’s out of order.”

Ethan raised an eyebrow at that. “Is there something about this elevator only you know about, Carson?” The security guard froze. “I’ve been doing my research on the people I know who are no longer here. There are no-”

“You shouldn’t do that.” Carson interrupted. “You should just forget about it all. Forget about them. It’s safer that way for you.”


“Just…believe me, Mr. Crumbski.” He sighed. “You’re a really great man. It would be a shame for you to wind up like them.” Ethan’s eyes narrowed at him. “Shit, I said too much already.” He skedaddled as fast he could. Ethan cursed under his breath, taking one last look at the elevator for that morning, and going to his regular one.

This night was a late night for Ethan. With his mind on researching the missing people, he strayed behind on work. The entire day he did project after project, trying to get all of his work done so he wouldn’t need to stress about it. When he was finished, he packed up all his work, neatly set everything on his desk for tomorrow, grabbed his coat, and walked to the elevators. He instantly noticed something different.

The far left elevator no longer had it’s sign. Curious, he walked over to see if it fell down since it was taped up. He couldn’t find it. Humming to himself as he stroked his chin, he didn’t expect the doors to open. He jumped at the sudden beep of the elevator, signaling it’s arrival. He peered in once they were fully open, the slowly crept in.

From the looks of it, it was an ordinary elevator with a different interior design. He complemented the maker, but then soon found and odd indentation on the metal wall. Two steps closer he took to further examine it. There were four long streaks of what could be called fingers. The palm, a oval big c underneath the streaks. It was too big to be a human hand, that’s for sure, so what could have made this? He reached out to finger the indentation only to jump as the doors closed with that same, eerie ding. Ethan tried to get out before they could fully close; he didn’t make it.

Sighing, he leaned against the wall after pressing the circle button for the first floor. He waited for what he knew would be a few long minutes. Nothing out of the ordinary was happening. The ride was slow and relaxing. He closed his eyes only to open them back up when the elevator lurched to a stop. Furrowing his brows, he looked at the floor number. It said 66. He looked down at the buttons to press the first floor again, but soon saw that the 6th floor button was lit up. Ethan isn’t a religious man, but that doesn’t mean he knows that devilish things are out there.

He backed away from the panel of buttons into the metal wall. The feeling he felt as he looked at the numbers wasn’t good. Waiting for the elevator to continue its descent, he stood there, staring. It wouldn’t move. He began to worry. What was going to happen to him? He knew he didn’t live a fascinating life, but he got by fine. What could be the connection with this elevator?

A sudden memory that was a year ago popped up. He had brought up this elevator, asking why it was never repaired or taken out. The group he asked was surprised to hear his speak, but speculated as well. Guesses were thrown out here and there, but one struck him.

“I heard that elevator was torn out of the building before, but wound up being put back for unknown reasons. The repair men also wouldn’t go near it. Maybe it’s cursed or something.” The group laughed, but Ethan thought on it.

It made sense to him now. If the elevator was cursed, what was the curse on it?

Ethan’s ears twitched as the elevator speaker turned on, static flowing out. It was just a buzzing sound at first, but then became an uproar. He covered his ears, shielding them as best he could. He picked up two words, though, even with his ears clogged.

“Going down.” The spoken voice sounded gravelly, like the person lost his voice box but still spoke. Very hoarsely. Ethan shivered.

The elevator soon began to move again, slowly at first, soon accelerating. The brunette gripped the bars for his life, only to be pushed off into the middle of the floor. He glanced behind himself, eyes widening the instant he saw what pushed him.

A creature. Black foggy appearance with a red outer line to it. It’s hands were huge, the same size as the indent on the other wall. It loomed over the scared man, showing a red grin with yellow glowing teeth.

“Last stop.” The speaker said with the same voice.

Ethan trembled on the floor, backing away as far he could. The creature followed him, placing its hand in the same spot as the indent. The terrified man now understood what happened to the other people that went missing. They went through the same fate he was going to end with. The only question he wanted an answer to now was: Why these specific people who are instantly forgotten?

He clenched his eyes shut, ready for his death. Only, it didn’t come. He was too afraid to open them, but did once the elevator fell off its tracks. He slammed against the ceiling. His skin rippled with the force of air against him, close to tearing thin sheets of it off. The pain was unbearable. Ethan wished for this to stop, for him to get off and go home. No such luck would come to him. The creature materialized through the elevator and engulfed him.


The next day, Carson, pale as a sheet of paper, went to Mr. Hyden for another report. He stood at the door, wringing his hat. The boss took one look at him and knew instantly that it happened again. A fist pounded his desk. He was livid, but didn’t know why. He couldn’t remember who the person was the name Carson spoke of belonged to.

Sarah Fredricks peered into the empty office of the previous employee who worked in it, wondering what could have happened to him. Knowing that he never missed work, she frowned, worried about him. As she went back to her desk, she slowly sat down. Thinking it over, she knew something was wrong. Ethan Crumbski. Who was that again?

Credit To – ChamirianBels

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Campus Alert

September 7, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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This is a short film I wrote, directed, edited, and created special fx for. Campus Alert follows a student on campus who is stalked by a strange masked man at night while the campus is on high alert due to incidences of assaults and muggings. Terror ensues for all parties involved. I like to thinks of it as a slasher film with a fun twist!

But for those interested, I’d like to talk a little bit about the inspiration for it. I had the idea for setting a horror film on a college campus for a while. I have a slight case of insomnia from time to time so sometimes when I’m up all night I’ll get the urge to go outside and go on walks. While living at my school’s dorms, I’d go on these walks on campus at weird hours. Not to mention the school’s library is opened pretty late most weekdays, usually to 1 and sometimes even 2 AM. The whole scope of that setting at night, with all the open space and empty buildings, you get a real sense of aloneness. Not to mention when you are alone, you get weird vibes whenever you come across other people like you who wander around at weird hours. You’re not sure if the person is a potential threat. On one of my late night walks, I remember someone with a foreign accent yelling across a parking lot at me “Am I safe?” from afar when he noticed me. And even though I would walk about at weird hours, I never actually ever felt unsafe. After all, I was living in Salt Lake City which was one of the whitest, safest cities around for the most part. Especially in the area of the University.

So for a while I thought about possibly doing a horror film about a female student being stalked by a masked man, basically Halloween set on a college campus. But I could never really come up with any ideas on how to develop it further, until a while back students at the University were receiving “campus alert” notifications about two assaults that happened on campus within a short period of time and warned students about being careful when walking at night. Which I guess made me underestimate the safety of college campuses in the area as an adult male. This eventually lead to the idea that this college set slasher film should be set on a campus that is on high alert because this thing has been happening a lot at night. To a point that masked killers roam freely at night, which a lot of friends of mine who have seen the film reminded them of The Purge.

And even though I love slasher films like Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I’ve never really been all that interested in creating a film that focused entirely on a damsel in distress scenario. Eventually that lead to an idea which I don’t want to spoil too much, but there are a few twists and turns within the 8 minutes. Kind of akin to films like The World’s End, From Dusk till Dawn, and the Anna Paquin short in Trick r Treat. Basically this is a fictional college campus where a lot of crazy **** happens after dark.

I also love old school horror films such as The Evil Dead and I used this as a chance to do some practical gore fx, all done in camera and nothing digital. This is not just meant to be scary, but also fun and for fans of more old school horror flicks.

Hope you enjoy.

Campus Alert

Credit To – Brendan Morrisey

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September 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Gavin slid the back panel of his digital recorder open and gently placed two small batteries into the matching slots. Clicking the plastic back into place he pushed the power button and the electronic screen blinked alive, emanating with a pale blue light that brightened the dark night air around his hand. Gazing up into the brisk autumn night sky Gavin was amazed at how much the colossal structure in front of him blocked out the twinkling stars like a gaping black void consuming the essence of the universe around it.

He knew that this night was special. In the local town of Rittleberg the elders spoke of this night in whispers and warned their children not to venture near the asylum past dusk. Any traveler who questioned the locals about the asylum and the date of October 14, 1964 was met with a flurry of urges to keep their distance. The only shred of information they would divulge is that what had happened at the asylum was so terrible that it had permanently scarred the surrounding area. Gavin had received these warnings and he had listened to the stories, but he was still determined to record the enigma that was Peirce Asylum.

Fumbling with his backpack Gavin pulled out a plastic flashlight and clicked it on. The bright beam created a cone of light that Gavin flashed over the tall arch of the structure in front of him, revealing an entrance doorway with lettering that spelled Pierce Asylum. Letting out a small sigh that warmed the air around his mouth turning into an ethereal mist Gavin shouldered his backpack and, with a determined stride, pushed the entrance door open and entered the building.

Gavin stood on the other side of the ancient doorway looking at a decaying entrance atrium. As he swung his flashlights beam across the room it lit up the columns of dust gradually floating to the ground from the rotten ceiling. Lowering the flashlights bright gaze, he revealed a reception desk covered in patient files and a layer of gray dust. Stepping over to the desk Gavin slowly dusted off one of the yellowing patient files. Most of the writing was illegible but what he could make out was a name, Dr. Riktoh. As he brought the paper closer to his face to try and decipher more a soft voice resonated out of the darkness, “You need to help!”

Dropping the paper he swung his flashlight around the room eager to confront the source of the intrusion. Now standing with his back to the desk Gavin stared into the darkness with a puzzled expression, there was nobody to be seen. He glanced down at the recorder in his hand and, confirming that it was still recording, started to turn back towards the desk. What he saw next both excited and stunned him

The first thing he noticed was the gentle odor of perfume weaving itself into his nostrils as if to beckon his attention. As if each sense was being tested, a barely audible “help” whispered its way into his ears. Then for a brief moment, there was an image of a nurse standing behind the reception desk. Gavin could make out every detail in this woman’s attire, the white blouse and a red sweater with worn elbows from a life of constant patient care. Her hair pinned into the traditional 60’s style bun with a wavy strand drifting into the front of her black framed glasses. What caught Gavin’s attention most though, was the unusual red stain in the midsection of her chest that seemed to glisten with the reflection of his flashlight bouncing off of it.

He blinked and she was gone, all that remained was her distinct image, photographed in his mind. For a brief minute he heard that soft voice again. His ears strained but all he could make out was a soft “help”. Furiously rubbing his eyes Gavin blinked and slowly let his eyes readjust to the dark space he was no staring at that had seemed to swallow a human being.

Still staring into this dark abyss Gavin’s mind continuously looped the memory of what had just happened to him. The image still clear in his mind, he seemed able to only focus on one aspect of this spectral woman. The glistening red stain on her chest, which Gavin now presumed to be blood. This apparition seemed to be in distress, calling out to him as if to urge him to assist in her escape of a torturous hell.

Kneeling down next to the manila patient file that he dropped Gavin extended his hand out and tenderly wrapped his fingers around the crinkling paper. The examination of this documentation had resulted in the phantom’s apparition so perhaps it would yield another clue to his spectral visitor’s distress, or her cryptic message.

Placing the flashlight firmly between his teeth, Gavin gingerly opened the manila folder and began to read the documents it contained. As he furiously read his eyes became wider and held a look of pure astonishment. The files referenced a patient, Miles Slander, who had been in the asylum’s care on the year of its closing. According to the file, Miles suffered from acute schizophrenia and was often lost in delusions of his own creation. His primary caretaker also had a reference in the file, including a picture and this is what had shocked Gavin. The picture, faded from age with torn edges, still clearly portrayed an image of the same nurse who had just moments before presented herself to Gavin. Her attire was exactly the same aside from a lack of the blotchy red stain in her chest.

Fumbling with the paper, Gavin began to read more about this nurse’s report on Mr. Slander’s. There were boxes checked off with a steady mark in pen, most notating the proper procedure of care such as medication distribution and hygiene care. Flipping the paper over to scan for more, Gavin discovered what seemed to be a note hastily scrawled on the rear. Clearly labeled for another nurse, perhaps a friend, the note read, “Janet he has gone too far this time! I have put aside my own emotions to assist Dr. Riktoh in his heinous studies into the human mind through experimental lobotomies and electroshock but I cannot, I will not, allow him to administer a patient in my care with the contents of that syringe. For the good of Miles and the asylum I have hidden the vials in the morgue, behind the first cadaver drawer, please if you still care for my wellbeing at all, retrieve it on your night shift for me so I can relay it to the authorities.”

This message was the clue Gavin needed, he now knew his next step in documenting the paranormal in Pierce Asylum. He was going to venture to the morgue where perhaps this nurse’s manifestation would once again appear. Placing the envelope in his backpack Gavin shouldered the bag and stood up. Returning the flashlight to his hand he flashed the beam behind the desk where he spotted a map of the asylum. Stepping closer he could see that the morgue was only down the hall and around the corner an easy walk that would only take moments.

Practically vibrating with excitement Gavin turned and stepped away from the map. He shone his flashlight down the hallway and grinned to himself. This was the break he was waiting for. Suddenly his bright, guiding flashlight beam flickered and then disappeared. Gavin shook the flashlight, there was no way the batteries could be dead he had just replaced them. Suddenly Gavin began to get an unsteady feeling as an aroma of sulfur reached his nostrils. Looking up from his flashlight Gavin noticed a strange anomaly beginning to form in the darkness in front of him.

The black, consuming darkness seemed to be twitching and coming alive. Gavin stood still, his feet seemed to be rooted to the floor, unresponsive to his brains frantic commands to run. He wanted to run, he wanted to scream but it seemed as if he was completely paralyzed, forced to watch the terrifying show preparing itself in front of him. The darkness began to swirl and dance in a cyclone growing in strength, almost as if it was sucking the energy out of the room to grow. Gavin began to notice that his breathing was becoming more and more ragged as if the void was syphoning the precious oxygen that he needed to survive. The last thing Gavin saw as he felt himself loosing consciences was a black figure suddenly standing directly in front of him

Gavin’s eyes shot open and he sat straight up. He looked down to see his flashlight sitting on the ground next to his leg, the beam still on, bright and powerfully cutting through the darkness. Scrambling he groped the light and swung it around the room as he flung himself to his feet. There was no trace that any figure or vortex had ever entered this room’s atmosphere as the only disturbed dust seemed to be the dust gently falling from Gavin’s quick elevation.

Shaking his head to clear his mind Gavin remembered the ghostly nurse and the morgue. No dark entity was going to keep him from finding out the truth and perhaps helping the nurse move on. Firmly gripping his flashlight Gavin charged into the dark hallway and swiftly arrived at the heavy steel door marked Morgue.

Swallowing a small lump that had begun to form in his throat, Gavin gently pushed the door open. He confidently stepped into the room and turned towards the small shelf of drawers that once held the unfortunate casualties of the asylum. Stopping in his tracks Gavin’s jaw fell open slightly as, standing in front of the drawers was the apparition of the nurse. She stood with her hands clasped together and looked up at Gavin with a sad look.

Gavin struggled to find his voice and then let out “Who are you? You wanted help, I can help you” The solemn looking nurse gently stared into Gavin’s eyes and opened her mouth, “It’s too late now, you can’t help me. I’m sorry.” Gavin looked at her with a shocked look, “What do you mean it’s too late, I can still help, I read your note about Dr. Riktoh.” The ethereal nurse seemed to smile a small sad smile as she stared into Gavin’s eyes. She stepped back from the drawer she was standing in front of and whispered, “See for yourself.”

Gavin looked at the drawer and then back at the apparition. He slowly walked over to the closed drawer and placed his hands on the latch. Gavin stood for a moment and held his breath preparing for what he was about to do. Catching his breath Gavin firmly gripped the latch, clicked it open and pulled out the cadaver drawer. The drawer was heavy, heavier than Gavin anticipated it to be and he quickly saw why. Laying on the exposed board was a body. Gavin looked in disgust at the nurse, who was still standing composed to the side of the drawer. She glanced at the body and beckoned him to examine it. Gavin picked up his flashlight, his hands shaking and trembling as he shined the beam onto the body’s head.

Gavin screamed and fell to the floor. He looked at the nurse who still stood composed and shouted, “No! No! What is this! What did you do?” She continued to look at him in a sad expression and then took a few steps towards him and knelt down. She looked long into his eyes and whispered “Now you understand why you can’t help me anymore, why it is too late.” She stood up and looked at the body. The corpses head was concaved from a wound still fresh with dripping blood. “Now you understand why you can never leave this place.” Gavin stood and took one more look at the horrific body in front of him, oozing with blood dripping from the pieces of skull protruding through the skin. The body of a young man who was once filled with emotion and energy. The body of someone he once knew. His body.

Credit To – ZR

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Jason Loved to Read

August 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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Jason loved to read. Every day he would take a walk to a nice place, like the park or the beach, and sit down to read for hours. It didn’t matter what the story was about, or who the author was, because Jason just loved to read.

One weekend, his usual places were a little crowded due to the gorgeous weather. He decided to take a walk in the woods to see if he could find a clearing, or an interesting log, where he could relax and lose himself in a book.

Jason walked through the forest for quite some time. These particular woods weren’t good for hiking and had no trails, so he was sure to have some solitude. He wasn’t sure how far he had walked before he came upon the mysterious building. It looked somewhat like an old bank, and was covered in moss and vines. The doors were open and falling off the hinges, and the windows were filthy and broken. Jason figured this strangely placed building might be just what he was looking for.

As he entered through the crumbling doorway, he saw dozens of shelves lined with books. What was a library doing in the middle of the woods? It didn’t matter to Jason. All that mattered was that he was staring at what might possibly be a treasure trove of unread narratives.

He wasted no time grabbing a random book off the closest shelf as he dropped his book bag without care for its contents. Jason inspected the book and it was surely something he had never heard of. He returned it to the shelf and went to further investigate the library. The whole place was filthy, but there wasn’t any random clutter like one might except from an abandoned building. But why was it abandoned? Who could just leave all these books to rot? Jason only thought about it for a moment, as he was too engaged in reading the names of all the books, wondering if he’d find something he recognized. He didn’t find anything remotely familiar.

Books were meant to be read, and Jason felt like these books weren’t fulfilling their purpose, and for a long time it seemed. It was time to start reading. He picked one called ‘Black Wing Adventures’ and sat Indian-style on the floor. The story was incredible! It had everything anyone could want in a good book: adventure, romance, action, even philosophy. But it wasn’t just that it had so many good qualities, it was that those qualities shined so much brighter than anything he had ever read. If this book was this amazing, what treasures did the other books hold? Jason was excited in a way he never felt before.

It was getting late and Jason knew that his girlfriend, Melissa, would be pissed that he wasn’t answering her texts. Normally she understood that this was Jason’s ‘me’ time, but he usually came home hours ago. He took the book with him so he could finish it later and started his journey home. He wasn’t sure if he would find the library again, so he marked trees along the way with a sharpie he had in his book bag.

The next morning, Jason got up a little early so he could read. He grabbed his book bag and took out what he expected to be ‘Black Wing Adventures’. The book now had a different title, ‘Love Without a Friend’. More rummaging through the bag produced only his other boring books that he had previously been excited to read. Did he grab the wrong book? No, that wasn’t possible. He hadn’t let go of the book before putting it in his bag. It was obviously from the same library because it was covered in thick dust. He must have taken the wrong book. It was the only explanation.

He decided that he would read ‘Love Without A Friend’ even though the title didn’t really seem anywhere near as cool as ‘Black Wing Adventures’. Boy, was he wrong. It was just as good. It didn’t have adventure or action, but it had a strikingly human quality to it. Jason had never felt the kinds of emotions the story was invoking. Turning each page was like opening a Christmas present. He couldn’t wait to receive each word, each thought, each feeling. It was late, and Jason began to nod off. He didn’t want to stop reading, but eventually he passed out.

The next morning he was still holding the book in his hands. It was still opened to the page he left off on, and he started to read again. He had no idea what he was reading. The story had completely changed. There were different characters, different thoughts, different feelings. He closed the book and looked at the title. It was ‘Men and Monsters’. Jason was even more shocked than the first time. This book hadn’t left his hands. He hadn’t returned to the library to exchange it for another book. None of this was possible, and Jason was getting understandably freaked out.

All he could think of doing was going back to the library. Maybe he could find one of the other books he was reading. Upon his arrival, Jason received a text message from Melissa that read, “Are you ignoring me?” He responded, telling her he had found a new spot in the woods to read. He left out the part about a mysterious library with curious books, figuring it would only lead to more questions. Once Melissa’s concern had diminished, Jason shut off his phone.

When he got inside the library, he searched long and hard for ‘Black Wing Adventures’ or ‘Love Without a Friend’, but he was unsuccessful. In fact, none of the titles he remembered from before were anywhere to be found. Every book was different. Could this be another abandoned library? How many could there possibly be? Even one seemed strange. Jason just wanted to experience what these books were capable of, so he didn’t want to think about how strange the whole situation had become. He just wanted to read.

He knew he didn’t have much time, so he quickly grabbed a book called ‘Our Nation’s Last Hero’. It was a political drama with as many twists and turns as a great mystery. Jason had never read anything like it. He rarely thought about politics, but it was suddenly the most interesting subject in the world. It started getting dark, so once again, Jason left the library and took the book he had been reading. He hoped it would still be the same book when he woke up the next morning. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

Jason didn’t know what to do. These books were amazing, but apparently he wasn’t going to be able to finish one unless he read it in less than twenty-four hours. He was going to have to stay awake for a long time, so he packed his book bag with caffeinated energy drinks and a few deli sandwiches in case he got hungry. Jason knew Melissa would be looking for him, but he didn’t care. He cared so little that he left his phone at home on purpose.

And so it began. Jason was on a mission to finish one of the magical changing books. What else could they be but magical? A book that changes every day? What an incredible thing! Though Jason had been upset about not being able to finish one, he was thrilled at the fact that he was reading books that no one else would ever read. If he managed to finish one, he would be as satisfied as he could ever be in his whole life.

He chose a book called ‘The Lion’s Tears’, and began reading. As he read, he would periodically take a few swigs of energy drink and take a bite of a sandwich. Eventually he ran out of drinks and began crashing from all the caffeine. It was too soon! He hadn’t finished the book! There were just a few chapters left, but he couldn’t stay awake any longer. He hoped that he would wake up again before the book changed. When he awoke, it seemed as though the next day had not yet come, but the book had still transformed into something new. Jason decided he was wrong about when the change occurred. It wasn’t when the day changed, it was whenever he fell asleep.

Jason stopped leaving the library. He had no time to walk back and forth, or spend time with his girlfriend, or do anything other than read the magical books. He tried to stay awake long enough to finish one, but it was no use. He just kept falling asleep. Jason was getting angry now. This wasn’t a treasure trove of beautiful works of fiction, it was a curse. He was obsessed with finishing one of the books, and it was eating away at his sanity.

No food, no water, no contact with other human beings. When Jason would begin to fall asleep, he would take a piece of broken glass from one of the windows and cut himself to stay awake. After several cuts, he began to feel weak from blood loss. His mind was becoming warped as he sucked every word into his now crippled consciousness. The books he chose became more and more macabre. Titles like ‘Making Love to Murder’ and ‘The Man Who Ate Himself’ were overtaking the other, more gentle ones. If Jason was going to finish one of these books, it had to be something that interested him, and gentle things were no longer in his interest.

There was no telling how long Jason had been in the library. He wasn’t eating or drinking, but somehow he wasn’t hungry or thirsty anymore. It was as if the books were keeping him alive. They wanted him to read. They wanted him to finish. He kept getting closer and closer to finishing one of the books. He was sleeping less and less, and his dream was going to soon come true. But which book would be the lucky one? Which one would be read from front to back by a willing participant? He picked up a book off the shelf and looked at the title. It was called ‘Jason Loved to Read’.

His eyes widened. His mind raced. What an amazing coincidence! A book with his name in the title! And it’s about someone who loves to read! Adrenaline raced through Jason’s body as he opened the book and began the first chapter. He read of a teenage boy who found an abandoned library in the woods. He read about books that magically changed their content whenever the protagonist fell asleep. He read about himself. This was the book that he would finish. This was the book that he HAD to finish. Jason’s heart pounded like mad as he reached the final chapter, when suddenly he was interrupted by a shouting female.

“What the hell, Jason?! THIS is where you’ve been?! I’ve been calling! I’ve been texting! Everyone is looking for you! I only found this place because I happened to see those marks on the trees and thought that maybe you made them! Hello?! Jason?! Are you deaf?!” Just then, she noticed the cuts all over Jason’s body. She fell silent, and took a step back. Here was her boyfriend, cut up and bloody, buried in a book, paying no attention to her tirade.

“Jason… what’s going on? Are you alright? Why won’t you look at me? Jason?” Her voice was concerned but hesitant. Jason just sat there Indian-style, reading his book. Melissa lost her temper.

“Look at me, Jason! What the fuck?!” She began to cry. All she wanted was to find her boyfriend and find out why he had been missing. She expected him to embrace her and tell her that they were together again and that everything was going to be alright. She ran to him, bent down, grabbed his arm and shouted, “Jason!”

In a split second, Jason grabbed a piece of broken glass, already covered in blood from using it to cut himself, and jammed it firmly into Melissa’s neck. Her eyes became wild with fear as she gurgled and jiggled, eventually falling to the floor with the glass still in her neck. Jason’s face had no expression as he continued reading his book; his legacy.

It was about to happen. The last page. Jason couldn’t believe it. He had finally stayed awake long enough to finish one of the magical books from the mysterious abandoned library in the middle of the woods. His hands shook as he turned the page and saw the words ‘The End’ towards the bottom, below the final paragraphs. It was then that he became horrified for the first time in his entire life. The book ended with the protagonist, Jason, stabbing his girlfriend in the neck with a shard of broken glass.

Jason didn’t move, didn’t blink, or even think. He just sat there in absolute shock. Was this really happening? Why did the book say that he killed his girlfriend?! That was impossible! Jason was no killer, he just loved to read! He stood up and screamed a desperate, primal scream, throwing the book on the floor next to Melissa’s body. He looked at her as if noticing her for the first time. There was blood all over the floor. Melissa was surely dead, and Jason must have been the murderer. He walked home in a daze, and called 911 to turn himself in.

According to Jason’s story, the police expected to find Melissa’s body in an abandoned building in the woods. When they arrived at the proper location, they found only her body amid the blood stained leaves and branches. Nothing that resembled a library was anywhere in sight.

The details of the trial and conviction aren’t extraordinary, but what you may find interesting is what happened when Jason arrived at prison. His cellmate offered him a book to pass the time. Jason politely replied, “No thanks. I hate to read.”

Credit To – Umbrello

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