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Rose – Part 2

November 30, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 8.4/10 (89 votes cast)

Note: This is a sequel to Rose – Part 1 – please read that story first!

The weather that day was not fitting for a funeral. Especially a funeral as sad as this one. It should have been rainy and gloomy but there was not a cloud in the sky. Birds were chirping, the air was warm, the sum shimmered through the trees. It was as if the world didn’t know that a sad, lonely man had just died a sad, tragic death.

Daniel Young stood over his son’s grave as the casket was lowered in. The regret he felt was like a knife carving into his heart. He shouldn’t have moved so far away. He should have called. He should have known Eric was going crazy. He should have gotten him the help he needed. But he didn’t. And now he was left to feel this hatred toward himself. He had failed as a father.

A gentle hand was placed on Daniel’s shoulder with the intent of providing some comfort. Daniel turned his gaze away from the casket to meet the eyes of Father McKenzie. Father McKenzie had baptized his baby boy 35 years ago and now he was there to send him off to the afterlife. Very fitting.

Father McKenzie did not remember baptizing Eric. He had done many, many baptisms in his life time, but he would never forget the day Eric died. He had seen men die before, in the hospital, performing their last rites, but it was always a much more peaceful death than that of Eric Young. The images of Eric’s last moments were still ingrained in his mind. He saw his face every time he closed his eyes; every time he tried to sleep. But something that possibly haunted him more was the face of Officer Green. The way his eyes widened and looked deep into his soul. The way his mouth fell open in shock. The way his face stayed frozen in fear as Father McKenzie left the police station that night.

He had confessed his sins many times and still prayed for forgiveness several times a day but he could not shake the feeling that this sin would not be forgiven. But what else could he have done? He couldn’t bear the thought of ending up like Eric. Especially after the vision he had had while Officer Green was out. It was so vivid and gruesome that he never wanted to see what happened next to that poor girl. Eric saw and look where he ended up.

The casket hit ground with a thud and the machinery grinded to a halt. The first pile of dirt splashed on top of the wooden coffin. Daniel breathed in hard through his nose and slowly out his mouth, attempting to calm himself and hold back the tears. He turned on his heels and walked away, unable to control his emotions. But Father McKenzie stayed. He stayed until the very end.

“I make a damn good cup of coffee,” Officer Perry mused, leaning back in his chair and taking another long swig.

“I second that.” Officer Henry Freed was never really a fan of coffee but Warren had forced it into his hand that afternoon. He would probably be up all night now.

“Shame Matt doesn’t get to enjoy it. I bet he’s not really sick, probably just being a big sissy about that guy that died yesterday.”

“Yeah, I heard it was pretty bad, though. I’m glad I didn’t have to see it.” Henry was one of the newest constables at the station and was still learning. It was really quite exciting for him to get to work with Officer Perry that day despite how intimidating he was.

“Wasn’t that bad. I’ve seen worse. I’ve been on the force a long time, you know.”

“Yes, I know.”

Warren’s personal cell phone started to ring. He flipped the old phone out of its holster on his belt and answered it without hesitation.

“Warren?” It was a woman’s voice but he didn’t recognize it to be any of his family members.

“Yes, can I help you?”

“It’s Shelly Green. I… I don’t really know why I’m calling you but…” He could tell she was struggling to get her words in order. She might have even been crying. “Matt left this morning. After he got home from work, he wouldn’t speak to me. He just packed a suitcase and took off. I just wanted to know if you have any idea what’s wrong with him.”

“Oh geez… Well, we had a pretty gruesome case last night. I think it really got to him. He probably just needs some time to himself to calm down. I’m sure he’ll come back soon. Do you know where he went? Maybe I could talk to him.”

“He just said he was going to the motel. I’m assuming it’s the Blue Moon Inn. I doubt he would bother going out of town. He won’t answer any of my calls but maybe he’ll answer you. You wouldn’t mind calling? You’re not too busy?” After hearing that Warren was willing to help her, she was able to compose herself.

“Of course not. Don’t worry about it, I’ll talk to him and tell him to call you, alright?”

“Thank you so much, Warren. Please tell him I’m worried about him. Bye.”

Warren ended the call and went through his contacts to find Officer Green’s number. He hit call and listened to the rings. Ring after ring after ring went by. Then he finally answered.

“Hello?”

“Matt, its Warren. What’s going on? Shelly just called me asking what the heck is wrong with you.”

“Oh God… Please tell her I’m fine and not to worry about me.”

“Why don’t you just tell her yourself? Why don’t you just go home? I know seeing that guy dead was hard but you should be with your family if you’re having a hard time with it.”

“I can’t… I can’t go home.”

“Yes, you can, just-“

“I can’t!” The line went dead.

Officer Perry shook his head.

“What was that all about?” Henry asked.

“Nothing really. I guess I was right about why Green stayed home today.”

“Hello?”

“Hey Matt, it’s Tony, how you doing?”

“Been uh… been better.”

“Yeah, I heard you called in sick. Anyway, I’ve got some news about Eric Young. I just finished his autopsy.”

“What? What is it?” Officer Green’s voice was suddenly urgent.

“Well, I’m not one hundred percent sure on this – I still have to send some stuff away to get test results back – but it seems that the bite marks around Eric’s ankle weren’t his own. I think they might have been from a woman. And he didn’t die from blood loss, he died of a heart attack.”

“Oh God… Oh God, oh God, oh God… Please tell me you’re making some sort of sick joke!” Matt sounded terrified and angry. His voice bubbled with frustration.

“It’s not a joke, Matt. I wouldn’t joke around about something like this. What is going on with you?”

Tony could hear Officer Green sigh heavily. “Are you a God-fearing man, Tony?”

He paused for a moment. Where was he going with this? “As a matter of fact I am, but what does that have to do with anything?”

“Tony… I’m at the Blue Moon Inn, room 104. Please come, I need to talk to you. I’ll leave the door open, just come in.”

“Matt? Matt, what the heck is going on? Hello?” The line went dead.

Tony arrived at the motel within 15 minutes. It was just on the outskirts of the town. It had worn out blue siding; the shingles were starting to peel off, and the atmosphere was anything but welcoming. He parked right beside Matt’s car. He approached room 104, feeling his nerves start to kick in. This whole scenario was so odd; he had no idea what he would find on the other side of the door.

He decided to knock first, despite the fact that Officer Green had told him to come in. “Hello?” he called out. No answer. He could hear the TV blaring inside so maybe he just didn’t hear him. He composed himself for a moment and then pushed the door open.

The room looked just as he had remembered it when he was back in high school. He would sneak out of the house to meet his girlfriend there because their parents were very strict. All the teenagers did it and they probably still did. Mostly everything was the same. A new bedspread, new TV, but the same headboard, dresser, and wallpaper. It was decades old now and you could tell. The room looked a little dishevelled which Tony found strange since Green couldn’t have been here very long.

“Matt? Where are you?” Tony said loudly as he crept slowly farther into the room.

“I’m in the bathroom… Don’t come in!” he warned.

Going in there was probably the last thing Tony wanted to do. “Um… okay. What’s going on Green? You’re getting me really worried now.”

“Just come up to the door so we can talk,” Matt yelled.

Tony walked to the back of the room and stood in front of the bathroom door. “Okay, talk.”

“I know why Eric Young died. He was being haunted by a ghost. She was possessing him; taking over his mind and body. She wanted him to feel what she felt when she died. He wanted her to know what happened to her.”

“Matt, come on… That’s a little ridiculous, don’t you think?” Tony knew it wasn’t completely ridiculous. There had to be some sort of explanation for the female bite marks around his ankle and his frost bitten leg.

“Tony, I know. Rose’s spirit is in me now. I’m seeing the visions that Eric saw. Everything is happening the same way. I don’t want to rip my eyes out!”

“Hey, relax, man. Just calm down. You’re probably just experiencing some PTSD from last night. We can call in a therapist for you and everything will be alright.” Tony didn’t want to believe that Green was right but something told him that he was – that this was all real.

“No, I can’t go anywhere. I can’t see anyone or I might touch them. I don’t want to put anyone else through this. Maybe if I just die before anyone touches me, Rose will be gone.”

Tony was finally giving in. He knew Officer Matt Green was a sensible man with a good head on his shoulders. This had to be real for him to be reacting this way. “Tell me about Rose.”

“Rose… I did some research during the investigation last night. She lived in this town in the late 1800s. She went missing one day and was never found. I guess no one knows what happened to her. No one but Eric Young.”

“Rose… Rose who?” Tony had a sinking feeling in his stomach and his heart felt like it was up in his throat.

“Rose Walker. Tony… are you related to her? Do you know what happened to her? Can you help me get rid of her?” Matt finally had some hope that he might get through this after all. It had never occurred to him that anyone he knew would have known about Rose. She lived so long ago.

Of course Tony did not know her personally – she died long before Tony was born – but he knew of her. “Rose Walker is my great aunt. She was my grandfather’s half-sister. But he never even met her. She died a few years before my grandfather was born. I really shouldn’t be telling you any of this; what happened to Rose was meant to stay a secret. It was meant to stay hidden away forever like Rose was.”

“Well she’s not hidden anymore. She’s here and she’s angry. You’ve gotta help me, Tony.” Just then, the faucet turned on. Tony pressed his ear against the door in an attempt to hear what was going on in there. Matt’s body slammed against the door, startling Tony as he jumped back, hitting his own body against the back wall. He heard some more bumps and bangs for about half a minute then everything went quiet. The TV continued to play a few feet away but all was calm.

“Green? What happened? Are you okay?” Tony returned to the door and listened again. Nothing. “Green?” He heard water running… Then it stopped.

“Tony… You have to help me. Tell me everything you know about Rose.” Green’s voice was softer now, filled with desperation.

“Okay… Alright, I’ll tell you. Will you come out of the bathroom first, though?” Tony rested his hand on the doorknob.

“I don’t know… I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

“Green, come on, it’ll be fine, just come talk to me face to face and I’ll tell you everything I know.”

There was silence for a moment as Matt contemplated coming out. He had just blacked out a second ago so it would probably be a little while before the next one came. Maybe he could just come out for a few minutes. “Alright… I’m coming out. Just… don’t touch me, okay?”

Tony backed away from the door as Green slowly emerged. Just as the door opened, a rush of cold air escaped then dissipated almost immediately as Green closed the door behind him. Tony sat down on the bed, holding his hands in his lap, staring at them as if they had all the answers. He fidgeted for a few moments, trying to get comfortable and deciding on where to begin. “My family… The men in my family, they’ve never been very good people. It started with my great grandfather, although I’m sure it started before that as well. His name was James Walker and he was a lawyer in this town. He owned a lot of land and was very well off.”

Green had pulled a chair out from the corner and sat in front of Tony like a child listening to a bedtime story.

“He married a woman named Helen and they had a baby girl named Rose. Years later, their marriage fell apart and Helen left him. It really hurt his reputation as a lawyer but it mostly hurt Rose and his relationship with her. No one really knows what went wrong with Rose but she just went crazy. Maybe she had always been crazy or maybe her mother abandoning her and the strained relationship with her father drove her mad. But anyway, James couldn’t have anyone knowing that Rose was crazy so he ended up leaving her to die in the outhouse at the back of the lot. No one knows if she died of starvation first or if it was hypothermia that did her in but my great grandfather was responsible. A few years later, he married my great grandmother, Mary, and they had my grandfather, James Walker II. On my great grandfather’s deathbed, he told my grandfather what happened. My grandfather kept it a secret as well until he died in the 90s. He told me, my brother, and my father what happened and we all promised him we wouldn’t tell anyone. As much as I wish my great grandfather had been punished for what he did, I also don’t want our family name to be tarnished with this tragedy. Me, my brother, and now you are the only living people that know what actually happened to Rose.”

“Tony… you have to tell everyone.”

“I can’t. My brother still carries on the family business; I couldn’t do that to him.”

“What’s more important, Tony? The truth or money?”

“It’s just… it’s not really my secret to share. It won’t impact me at all, but if people knew the truth about my family, my brother could lose the whole firm.” Tony stood up and started to pace back and forth. The faucet. It turned on again. “Why does it keep doing that?” Tony asked.

“It’s her… it’s Rose. I should go back in there. It might happen again.” Green stood up and started back towards the bathroom door.

“What might happen again?” Just as the words left his mouth, Matt’s body went limp and fell to the ground with a thud. “Matt?” Tony rushed towards him but just before he was about to roll him over, Matt rolled over by himself. He stared up at Tony, with just the whites of his eyes showing.

The sound of a girl’s voice came from Matt’s mouth as he said, “Daddy?”

Tony stepped back slowly as Matt began to crawl towards him. “Rose… Is that you?”

“Why don’t you love me, Daddy?”

“I’m not your dad, Rose. Your dad is dead.” Tony couldn’t believe he was talking to a dead girl. He wanted to believe that Matt was just playing some sick joke on him but the voice that he heard suggested that this was all too real. Tony continued to inch his way towards the door, ready to make a break for it at any moment. “If you want revenge on him or something, you’re too late.”

Rose let out a scream and started scratching her face. She then stuck a finger in her mouth and chomped down on it, severing it instantly. “Matt!” Tony screamed. “Matt, stop!” He wanted to grab him by the shoulders and try to shake him out of this but he had said not to touch him and Tony wasn’t going to take that chance. Matt… Rose, inserted another finger into her mouth. “Rose! Please stop!” But she didn’t stop. Another swift bite and another finger was gone. “I’ll tell everyone! Is that what you want? I’ll tell everyone what happened to you and how much you suffered if you’ll just leave him alone.” Matt paused just as another finger was being lifted.

“Everyone?” Rose said. “And you’ll tell them that he was a bad man? You’ll tell them everything?” Rose’s voice began to sound more normal; less frantic, less terrifying.

“Yes, I promise. I’ll tell everyone everything if that will make you move on.” Tony had stopped backing up now, the fear in his chest slowly dissipating. It was silent for a moment, then Rose’s body fell back down to the floor. Tony crept towards Matt’s body, the blood from his fingers gushing out onto the carpet. Tony jumped over Matt and went into the bathroom to grab a towel. He hurried back over to Matt but was reluctant to touch him. He just stared at him for a moment, watching the blood continue to flow. Thankfully, Matt’s eyes opened. He let out a shriek as the pain from his fingers hit him. “Matt, holy shit. Take this!” He tossed the towel towards him and Matt immediately wrapped it around the nubs that used to be his fingers.

“Wh.. What happened?”

“You… or Rose… bit your fingers off. I think you swallowed them.”

“Oh God… Thank God.” Tears began to fall down Matt’s cheeks but they were not tears of pain. “She’s gone, Tony. You didn’t touch me, did you?” Matt’s voice was suddenly urgent.

“No, hell no! I told her I would tell everyone and I guess she must have finally let go. Come on, get up, we’ve got to go to the hospital.”

Matt continued to cry. He was sure he was going to meet the same fate as Eric Young but Rose had spared him. She was finally able to cross over to the afterlife and end all the suffering.

Officer Green did lose his fingers. Good thing it was only the pinky finger and ring finger on his left hand. Though it was very hard to explain to everyone what happened. Eventually he just started telling people it was a table saw accident. He tried to tell the truth to Warren but he wouldn’t believe him. So he went with the table saw story and acted like the real story was just a big joke.

Tony’s brother’s law firm is still running. Not surprising since no one knows what happened. Tony never told anyone what happened to Rose. After he was sure she had crossed over, what could possibly happen if he didn’t stay true to his word? Spirits can’t just come back from the afterlife, right?

Credit: LAKK

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Lord of Lies

October 27, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 8.4/10 (301 votes cast)

Note: Contains minor gore; please consider this alongside the plot setup (evident within the first sentence) as this may be a story some of you will wish to avoid.

Peter Helford hadn’t exactly planned on murdering a child. But when money came and knocked on his door, he had been all too accepting of it. After all, cash was something he was in desperate need of anyway. He was an anxious man who clenched onto every last penny he could find. While some called it greed, he called it living in poverty. In all fairness, Peter wasn’t exactly at the top of the economic chain. Every day he worked at a Shell Gas Station for a pathetic payment of minimum wage. Peter probably wouldn’t have lived in his house as long as he did if it wasn’t for the aid of the Collins family. Every summer, Peter helped out around the Collins Household and was rewarded generously. The Collins were a very rich family. Nobody knew how they got their fortune. There were rumors that they were involved in drug trafficking, but others scoffed and said their riches were simply inherited. Whatever the case, money was money. And that was exactly Peter’s mindset when Gloria Collins knocked on his front door one muggy August morning. He answered it, and found her standing there on the doorstep. She was dressed in all black, as usual, and her sleeves were long despite the heat. He opened his mouth to speak, but she beat him to the punch, tersely asking, “May I come inside?”

“Of course,” he replied, holding open the door as she stepped into his living room and made herself comfortable on the couch. She was perfect. Her blonde hair was curled just right, her skin and clothing were both devoid of any wrinkles, and she seemed to radiate a sense of calm professionalism.

“Shut that door, Peter. We have a lot to talk about,” she ordered.

“Oh?” he said, shutting the door.

“My husband and I have been talking a lot lately.” This was fairly unusual. The Collins’s were not lovers, they were partners. There was very little chemistry in their relationship. Peter raised an eyebrow.

Gloria sighed, and for a moment she looked older than she really was. Then she took in a deep breath and let it out:

“I want you to kill my son.”

Shock should’ve been the first emotion Peter felt, but it wasn’t. Kevin Collins was an optimistic young boy who had the blondest hair Peter had ever seen. He was so skinny that he more or less resembled a pole with glasses. Even though Peter didn’t know that the little nine year old child had been a mistake, he probably could’ve guessed it. It was as simple as this: The parents did not want him around. They never had, and they never would. He was a constant nuisance to them, not because he was bad, but because he expected so much from his mother and father. Every day, a brutish Harley Collins would lumber out of his house in a business suit and drive off until seven o’clock at night. Gloria Collins, on the other hand, was a full time online student. She would rather stare at a computer screen all day than pay a lick of attention to her own child. However, Kevin wanted them so much to be good to him. Peter remembered a night last summer when he had stayed late at the Collins Residence, and heard the boy asking for a goodnight kiss. He had been dusting the room next door, and the walls were permeable to sound.

When Kevin spoke, he did so with obvious caution in his voice. He seemed to believe that it would hurt him if he raised his voice too high.

“Um… mom, could you come in here for a second?”

There was a quick patter of footsteps, then, “Yes, Kevin? What is it?”

“Do you think, maybe, you could give me a goodnight kiss?”

Gloria had simply chuckled softly. It hadn’t been a nice laugh though. It was instead the kind of laugh that made gooseflesh begin to creep up the nape of Peter’s neck. “Now, Kevin, your mother is very busy right now,” she responded, clearly annoyed. “She’s taking a course online that needs her full attention. I don’t have time for things like this.”

Just like that, Gloria had left the room. Peter was finished dusting, but he stayed where he was for just a moment longer. Just long enough to hear Kevin begin to sob.

Kevin wanted his parents to have fun with him. He wanted to play games with his parents, wanted to go to Carowinds with them, wanted to bond and grow close to them, wanted to be loved. However, Gloria and Harley Collins couldn’t care less. To them, Kevin held no more importance than a pesky mosquito that was constantly buzzing in their ears.

The first emotion Peter felt when Gloria asked him if he would kill her son was curiosity, and the first question he asked Gloria was, “Why me?” After all, he was a man who was about to enter his fifties. His whole body seemed to be gradually fading, and his hair was taking on a new salt and pepper coloring.

“Because,” answered Gloria, her icy blue eyes never wavering their piercing glare, “I know you won’t turn me down.”

That night, Peter collapsed onto his bed in exhaustion, even though his day hadn’t been particularly strenuous at all. His mind was whirling; he was ecstatic, but also strangely frightened. Gloria had offered him one hundred thousand dollars. His brain could barely process it, One hundred thousand fucking dollars! But in return, he would have to murder a child. Peter had always felt sorry for Kevin, and he could even relate to him slightly. He himself was raised in an environment where his parents didn’t fully care about him. Many of his teenage years had been spent alone, in his room, with the sweet sounds of music blocking out the arguing of his mother and father. On top of that, Kevin was incredibly innocent. He was always trying to get the attention of his parents. He was always trying to make them love, even though it was a lost cause from the beginning.

Peter thought it over. He tossed and turned all night, unable to get any sleep as he weighed the pros and cons. He would probably feel guilty for a long time, and experiences like this one were supposedly damaging, but still… money. And anyway, Gloria had told him he could do it in any way he desired. Just as long as Kevin was gone, the deal was done. It could be quick, silent, and it could be painless. He mused over the best way to do it. Maybe a bullet to the head? Quick, yes, and just about as painless as he was going to get it. But silence was at stake, and he didn’t own a gun anyways. Strangulation? Absolutely not, it would take minutes on end to cease Kevin’s breath forever. He pondered a few moments longer. What about slashing the throat? It would definitely be quick. The boy’s heartbeat would drive the blood out of the body in a matter of seconds. What about silence? Yes, making a throat cutting silent was also doable. And finally, painless: How bad could a little cut hurt? All boys like Kevin had probably skinned their knee at some point or another. The only thing different about this was that the cut would be cleaner, thinner, and it would bleed a little more. It was perfect. However, something was still wrong. If Peter was going to carry through with this, he wanted to do it in a way that would save him of some guilt. He needed to do it in a way that Kevin wouldn’t know it was he, Peter, who had killed him. Peter sat up in bed. It was useless trying to sleep anyways. He reached for his nightstand and grabbed his pack of cigarettes. When three smokes had been expended, he had it: the perfect plan to murder Kevin Collins.

It took Peter a week to mentally prepare himself for what was to come, but eventually he knew the time was right. When the time came, he was driving towards the wilderness of Scotland County. Kevin was in the backseat, and he was more excited than ever. He had known little of Peter before this, but now looked up to him with a new sort of respect. It wasn’t every day a man was nice enough to take you camping, especially if your own parents wouldn’t.

“Hey sir!” Kevin piped up from the back, “Why are we doing this again?”

“Well, Kevin, your parents need a little time to themselves. They want me to take you on a little trip.”

“A trip to where?” Kevin asked, “Oh man! I know that we’re going camping, but where? What’re we doing?”

“We’re just going to camp by the Little Pee Dee River. We’re going to get to know each other. Live like real men for a while…” Peter felt a momentary tug of guilt, “Maybe even tell some ghost stories around the campfire.”

“I love ghost stories!” Kevin squealed, and Peter felt his gut wrench. He had loved ghost stories too as a kid. Just like how he had had uncaring parents. Did he wear glasses when he was a child? Peter thought about it for a second. Yes, he had, but he had long since switched to contacts. His hand came up and touched the side of his face, as if to pull off a pair of invisible spectacles.

Peter confided in himself for a short few seconds. How was he going to go through with this if he was already feeling guilty? He told himself to be cool and collected. Everything would go according to plan. Meanwhile, Kevin was pulling out his battered copy of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark from his knapsack.

“Whoa there,” Peter said, forcing a smile, “Let’s wait until dark before we start with that, alright?”

“Oh, okay. Sure,” Kevin replied. “Say, do you have any ghost stories?”

“Oh yeah,” Peter returned, “I certainly do.”

“Well, where’s your book?” Kevin asked, reaching for Peter’s backpack.

“Hey! Don’t touch that stuff, okay? And all the stories I know are memorized.”

Kevin withdrew his hand, and Peter let out a sigh of relief. After all, suspicion may have been aroused if Kevin had looked into his backpack and seen the latex gloves, rope, lighter fluid, and the knife. Then, Peter realized, he probably would’ve thought they were nothing more than camping supplies. He was over-thinking this by a long shot.

Peter and Kevin reached their destination soon after. They pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed their equipment, and headed off into the woods. It wasn’t long before they ran into the Little Pee Dee River. The waters were placid. To one who was looking at the body of water from a certain angle, it would appear they were seeing a large pond. It was the perfect place to dump a dead body.

It had been nearly thirty-six years since Peter had last gone camping, and Kevin was even more inexperienced. It took them an hour before their tent was pitched, and by the time they were unpacking their belongings, it was already beginning to grow dark.

“Can we tell ghost stories now?” Kevin asked eagerly.

“Well, the sun’s just beginning to go down. I think by the time we get a fire going it should be dark enough.”

“Yes!” Kevin hissed to himself, pumping his fist.

“Now the first step is to gather some kindling. Start collecting dry leaves, twigs, anything that’ll serve the basis to a good fire.”

While Peter didn’t know much about camping, he did know a thing or two about starting a fire. He had made sure of this by looking it up on the internet prior to the trip. After all, burning a knapsack full of one’s possessions takes a decent fire. Kevin was a hard worker, and in no time at all, the necessary kindling had been gathered. Taking his time, Peter arranged a few large stones in a circle, and then put the kindling in the middle. After that, he stacked some nearby sticks in a lean-to arrangement over the kindling while Kevin watched in awe. Finally, he struck a match and threw it into the mass of dry grass hidden by the sticks. In no time, a blaze was starting to flicker. The wind through the trees picked up slightly, and the fire let loose a roar as it spread, blossoming into a crackling inferno.

“Wow…” Kevin murmured, obviously impressed. Peter sat down in the dirt next to the flames. He looked at Kevin, saying, “Go on now. Get your book and read me a story.”

Kevin obeyed. He read scary story after scary story from his book until the night sky had grown black. Kevin was enthusiastic about it to say the least. Whenever he came to a scene that was particularly gory or frightening, his voice would deepen slightly, and would eventually morph into a forced whisper. There were plenty of gruesome campfire tales in his book. There were stories of rotting bodies being found, decapitated heads, corpses coming back to life, and even cannibalistic butchers. But Peter remained unruffled. He had a story that he knew would frighten Kevin to his core.

“Okay, stop,” Peter told Kevin when he was halfway through the narrative of a ghost with bloody fingers.

“What? Why? This is like, the last one!”

“Don’t worry about that. I have a good story, a true ghost story. And it takes place right here, by the Little Pee Dee River.”

“You swear it’s true?”

Peter smiled in spite of himself. “Yes, it’s true. When I was your age, my father told me this story, and I told this story to everyone in my Boy Scout troop. It scared all of them shitless…” He stopped, testing to see if Kevin would be affected by the profanity. He wasn’t. “… And so now, I think it’s only appropriate that I tell you.”

“Do it,” Kevin replied. His voice was light and breathy, like that of a young girl on her birthday who is about to receive a gift. He reached into the knapsack that was lying beside him and pulled out a bag of marshmallows. Grabbing a nearby stick, Kevin speared the marshmallow from the bottom up and stuck it over the flames.

“Alright, I’ll tell it if you can keep the interruptions to a minimum.”

Kevin nodded his agreement, and Peter began:

“This is the story of the Lord of Lies. That wasn’t his real name, of course, just a sort of nickname, like Bloody Mary, or something along those lines. Anyways, our main character in this story is a man named Joseph Thorn. If you want me to describe him, I guess he did have one defining characteristic: His eyes. Joseph had the strangest eyes you’d have ever seen. For whatever reason, his irises were bright red. Other than that he looked more or less normal. He lived up in a town not too far away from here back in the 1930’s. Every day after work, Joseph would hike down to this river with his fishing gear, and he would fish his heart out. Now, you have to understand Joseph was just an ordinary fisherman. There was nothing particularly odd about him. As a matter of fact, Joseph led a pretty good life. He was married to the most beautiful wife in town. Her name was Barbara Thorn. People said she had a laugh that could put mockingbirds to shame. But, while she was gorgeous, she was also unfaithful.

“When 1942 rolled around, America was in a state of chaos. It was decided that we were going to be entering World War II, and all men who were eligible were being drafted, including Joseph. Well, as the war raged on, Barbara became more and more lonely. There are some women who could wait lifetimes for their man to come back, but Mrs. Thorn was not one of them. In her free time, she began to visit her next door neighbor, who went by the name of Kenneth Carl. Mr. Carl hadn’t been drafted because he was an invalid, you see—

“What does that mean?” Kevin asked suddenly. “What’s an invalid? Sorry for interrupting.” His marshmallow had caught aflame, and Kevin blew on it frantically, trying to preserve some of the golden brown crispiness.

“An invalid is someone who is weak to the point where he can’t do everyday things, someone who has a severe illness or injury. This man, Kenneth, he was in a wheelchair. I can’t remember why, exactly. I think my father told me at some point or another, but if so I can’t recall. Barbara started out just assisting Kenneth. He usually had a helper around to make life easier for him, a hired man, but he had been drafted for the war. What started out as just service to someone in need soon turned to something else. Kenneth and Barbara had an affair.

“Well, when Joseph came home, he wasn’t all the same. The war had changed him a lot. He wasn’t the happy fisherman that the townspeople had come to know and love. He had grown distant. Things only got worse with the affair. In small towns, news travels fast. It wasn’t long before someone told Joseph his wife was cheating on him. Can you imagine coming home after fighting for your life, only to discover that your wife no longer loves you? It was tough shit for sure, and Joseph took it pretty hard. He stayed down by the Little Pee Dee all day long, fishing from dusk to dawn for days. Some people even say that he slept down there by the river. He was doing a little more than fishing while he was down there though: He was plotting his revenge.”

“What did he do?” Kevin questioned, his built curiosity overwhelming the need to stay silent.

“I’m getting to that. One day Joseph confronted his wife about the affair. She immediately burst into tears, as I’m sure you can imagine. While she was bent over sobbing into her hands, Joseph said to her, ‘Don’t worry, it’s going to be all right.’ Then he slipped his filet knife out from his belt, reached under her arms, and cut her throat.”

There was a moment of silence as Peter let that statement sink in.

“Then, Joseph went over to the neighbor’s house. The helper had been fired at that point. Barbara had taken his place, so he didn’t have any trouble getting in. He just cut the screen on the front door, reached inside, disabled the lock and went right on in. He found Kenneth asleep on his bed. He walked up beside him, and right away Kenneth woke up. As I’m sure you can imagine, he was pretty scared, and he instantly started calling for help, but Joseph hushed him up. He put his hand on Kenneth’s shoulder, looked him in the eye, and said, ‘Calm down. I’m not going to hurt you.’ Then, real quick, he drew out his knife and sliced open Kenneth’s throat too.

“Joseph waited until night before wrapping both the bodies up in a tarp. Then he took them down to the Little Pee Dee. He found the biggest stone he could before tying both bodies down to it firmly with a few feet of rope, and pushed them into the water. He gave the fish something to eat for the next couple days.”

Kevin threw a fearful glance at the nearby river.

“Well, it didn’t take very long for someone to find the corpses. Two little boys were playing by the river. They were having a contest to see who could find the most interesting thing on the river-bottom. You dive, reach the ground, grab something, and come back up. I used to play that game myself when I was young, actually. You could find all sorts of things: Coins, glasses, bracelets, necklaces. It was really a lot of fun. Back to the story, one of those two little boys resurfaced with a rotting human finger in his hand. He went home and showed it to his mother, and the police were notified, of course. Afterwards, the entire department went down to the river, with the boy in the lead. What they saw was pretty unexpected. Joseph was there, and he was waiting for them. It turned out that he had seen the two little boys make their discovery, and he knew the police would be after him soon. None of the police actually knew that he was the murderer though. That realization would come later. What they saw then and there was Joseph wading into the river, bit by bit. The police tried to stop him, tried to warn him that the waters were being searched, but he didn’t listen. He kept walking into the river until he was completely submerged. A full minute passed, and Joseph was nowhere to be seen. They waited another ten minutes until it was determined that Joseph had drowned himself.”

Peter stopped abruptly, and Kevin stared at him expectantly. “Well come on!” he protested. “That can’t be the end, can it?”

“No. It’s not the end. Joseph’s body was never actually found.”

Kevin looked at him, eyes wide, and mouth agape. “You said this really happened?”

“It absolutely did. Some people say that the river absorbed Joseph’s spirit, and that’s why no one found his body. Do you know why they call Joseph the Lord of Lies? Have you figured that out yet?”

Kevin shook his head.

“It’s because he always lies to his victims before he murders them. Think about his last words to Barbara and Kenneth. Legend has it that the Lord of Lies awakens every time he senses someone impure camping near the Little Pee Dee. You’ll fall asleep only to be awoken seconds later. You’ll feel a cold hand over your mouth, so that you can’t scream. You’ll hear Joseph’s whisper, ‘Don’t worry, it’ll be okay,’ before your throat is sliced open and your body is dragged down into the river forever.”

Peter couldn’t tell for sure in the dim light of the fire, but it looked like Kevin’s face had gone deathly pale. Peter had told the story well. No hard task, considering he had been practicing in front of a mirror for the last few days.

Kevin voiced his concerns, saying, “Sir, I’m kind of scared.”

“Hey Kid, no need to worry, it’s only a story, I promise.”

“But you said it was real!” Kevin insisted.

“Well, it really happened, but there is no Lord of Lies. I can promise you that. Even if there was, why would it be interested in you? I mean, come on, what’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?”

At this, Kevin seemed to relax slightly, and Peter faked one last smile. “It’s getting late. You should go to bed soon. I’ll be sleeping right outside if you need me.” Kevin nodded his assent and let out a yawn. He was obviously worn out.

“Goodnight Sir. See you in the morning,” he muttered tiredly, getting up and ambling into his tent. Peter sat by the fire for a second, motionless. Then he retrieved his backpack and unzipped it. He reached inside and pulled out the latex gloves. Wiggling one finger in at a time, he slipped them on. They stretched over his flesh, fitting like a second skin. He reached into his backpack once more and pulled out the other required materials. He placed the small paring knife on the ground next to his sleeping bag (it was the closest he could get to a filet knife), before pressing the start button on his stopwatch. Now he would wait.

After an hour had passed, he knew that the time had come. The most important time. Something occurred to him. He could stop this. He could go to sleep right now and pretend like this was just a regular old camping trip. Then he remembered the money. He was feeling slightly ill to his stomach, as if he was going to throw up. One hundred thousand dollars, he reminded himself. The four words became a chant in his head. One hundred thousand dollars, One hundred thousand dollars, One hundred thousand dollars. He repeated the words again and again as he approached Kevin’s tent, knife in hand. He was gripping the handle tightly, so tightly it hurt. But he continued his advance until he was there, kneeling by the entrance flap of the tent. It’ll be over soon, he thought, and then I can have my money.

Peter peeled back the opening to the shelter, casting firelight onto the sleeping face of Kevin Collins. He looked to be in the middle of a pleasant dream. His lips were curved slightly into an unconscious smile. His nostrils flared as he breathed in and out, as his chest rose and fell. Peter reached out a hand tentatively. He lifted Kevin’s neck, inch by inch, before scooting forwards, so that the back of Kevin’s head rested on his knee. Now Kevin wouldn’t be able to see him. It would seem likely to him that this was the attack of a stranger… or a murderous urban legend.

It was now or never. Before Peter could stop himself, he pushed his palm down hard over Kevin’s mouth. Kevin’s eyes shot open, and he let out a terrified scream that was lost in Peter’s grip.

“Don’t worry,” Peter growled in his deepest voice, “It’ll be alright.”

Then, with one quick movement of the paring knife, Peter carved a slit into Kevin’s throat. In his last living movements, Kevin thrashed desperately, but this only caused his already life threatening cut to widen. Blood sheeted out of Kevin’s second mouth in torrents, covering the floor of the tent in a brilliant vermillion red. He made one last incomprehensible attempt to shriek for help, but all that came out was a weak rasping cross between a moan and a whine.

Peter held him there for a good five minutes. He had a strange fear that as soon as he started to back away from Kevin’s supposedly dead body, it would jump back to life and start screeching its pain for the world to hear. After he was sure Kevin was totally deceased, he got up. Shakily, he returned to his backpack and pulled out a coil of rope, which he tossed over his shoulder. Then, Peter moved back to the tent, grabbed Kevin by the ankles, and dragged him outside. He wheezed as he exerted himself, but eventually the twosome reached the edge of the river. A rock that looked to be about half the size of Kevin’s corpse was lying a few feet away. Peter walked over to it, grabbed it as best he could, and hoisted with all his might. He managed, with some difficulty, to move it over to Kevin’s lifeless form. For the next few minutes, he fought with the rope, rock, and body. It wasn’t easy, but eventually Kevin was strapped down solidly to the stone. Once again, Peter prepared his muscles before pushing with all his gathered strength. Gradually, Kevin’s carcass skated across the mud and into the water, disappearing below the liquid glass of the river.

Peter wasn’t done yet. He retreated to the camp and began to accumulate all of Kevin’s possessions. His knapsack, sleeping bag, and his book of ghost stories were all seized and thrown into the fire. When that was finished, Peter disassembled the tent, folded it up, and pushed it into the camping bag, which was also fed to the heat.

It was over, and Kevin didn’t even know who had really killed him. Peter’s ploy had been a complete success. Of course, Peter was also disturbed by the experience. Kevin had reminded him so much of his own life as a young boy, that it was almost as if Peter had killed himself in a way. At that moment, Peter felt the urge to grab a cigarette from his back pocket and light up, as he always did when he felt stressed, but then he remembered that doing so would leave a remnant of his being here.

Suddenly, Peter felt drained. His eyes were ready to close. He realized that he needed sleep more than anything else at the current moment. After stripping the dirty, bloodstained latex gloves off his hands and slipping off his ruined pants, he slipped into his sleeping bag and curled up by the great fire. In no time at all, he had fallen into a deep sleep.

Peter’s slumber was so deep, as a matter of fact, that he didn’t even stir when the normally calm surface of the river began to ripple. Peter didn’t let out a single peep as a figure emerged from the dark depths of the dirty waters, red eyes flashing with vengeance. The fire which had sanctioned Peter was dying rapidly. The flames were shrinking lower and lower until there were no flames, only embers, which quickly went extinct. A veil of black descended over the night, and the cold crept in like a sickness. Heavy footfalls echoed off the trees until the Spirit of the River found what he was looking for.

A cold, wet, slimy hand clamped down over Peter’s mouth. He jerked awake, trying to yell out, but the hand pushed him down firmly, keeping him in place.

“Don’t worry,” the darkness whispered huskily, “It’ll be alright.”

Those were the last words Peter ever heard before he felt the rusty blade of the filet knife slide across his throat.

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My little sister has an unusual talent.

October 26, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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My little sister is thirteen now. Her name is Zoe, she has blonde hair, blue eyes and she likes pop music, fashion and other typical teenage girl stuff. I really do love her. I must have been seven or eight when she first came home. I was excited to finally see my little sister. At first I had been annoyed that the baby was going to be a girl as I had wanted a little brother, but I was happy when she eventually did come home. This kind of disappeared quickly, though. It was about a week since Zoe first came home. My dog, Rusty, just would not calm down. Whenever he was in the same room as Zoe, he just barked like mad at her. Eventually, as my parents were scared that he would hurt her, they got rid of him. They didn’t even talk to me. I just came home one day and he wasn’t there. It was only when I asked about it that my mum just casually said “Oh, we got rid of Rusty. We were worried about Zoe.” Then she went back to feeding Zoe. I was confused. Both of my parents had just abandoned my dog, my best friend, in some pound somewhere and they didn’t even bother talking to me. They weren’t even sorry. This was when I first started to gain some disdain towards her. It wasn’t her fault, of course. If we had kept the dog, she probably would have loved him too. I just blamed her at the time. When she was one I was kicked out of my room. We lived in a three-bedroom apartment, just on the outskirts of some big city. There was my room, where I kept all of my stuff, my parents’ room, which was where Zoe had slept in a cot in the corner, and the tiny guest room. My parents had decided that Zoe should have her own room, but instead of refurbishing the guest room for her, they kicked me out of my room and gave it to her. Any protest I had was quickly silenced and I could only watch as my room, my one free area that I had any say in, was transformed. Sports posters were replaced with pictures of ducks and sheep, my bed was replaced with a pink wooden cot and everything else that made my room mine was changed. They didn’t even give me my bed or my TV or anything. All of the things like that were either thrown away or became Zoe’s. They refused to refurbish the guest room for me, and I was instead forced to make do with boring, beige walls, an old, metal single bed and a single wooden dresser for my clothes. I did decorate it slightly, of course, with posters and other decorations I had managed to scavenge, but it wasn’t the same. My parents seemed more concerned with where any guests we had were going to sleep. This was the point where disdain turned to hatred. It seemed to me as if they had just completely forgotten about me in favour of her. Eventually, my parents decided that I was old enough to be responsible and look after Zoe while they went out. I think she was three years old, so she was old enough to speak. I really didn’t want to do it, but my parents wouldn’t take no for an answer. They simply left saying that they had left some premade lunch for her in the fridge. There wasn’t one for me, so I had to make myself something. I couldn’t be bothered with looking after her all day, as there was this TV show I wanted to watch, so I just laid a blanket in the corner, put a few of her favourite toys in there and said this to her; “You need to stay on the blanket. Don’t move off it, okay? If you do, mum and dad will be really mad, so you HAVE TO STAY IN HERE, understand.”
She simply nodded her head in agreement and started playing with her toys. I was on the couch watching my show, my eyes flicking to her when there was a commercial break or some boring segment. At one point, as I was watching two of the characters on my show beating the tar out of each other, I felt a tugging at my trouser leg. I turned to see it was Zoe. She looked up to me, then sighed “I’m hungry.”
“I told you not to come off the blanket!” I said, shooing her off. She just sat back down on the blanket. I looked back to my show. It was a boring bit again. The victorious character was monologuing over the unconscious body of the loser. I couldn’t just not feed her, harsh feelings aside. I got up and walked to the kitchen. As I was opening the fridge to get her lunch, I heard her say from the other room;
“Daddy won’t come.”
I was confused, but not enough to stop me in my tracks. “What did you say?” I asked, carrying her lunch over to her.
“He won’t come.”
“Come where?”
“Here. Back.”
I was quite unnerved by this, but I didn’t think anything of it. About half an hour later, the phone rang. I didn’t check the number, assuming it was my mum, but instead a male voice that wasn’t my dad’s came through the receiver. “Hello, is this Daniel and Zoe?” The voice sounded serious, and kind of upset and disturbed.
“Uh… yeah, I’m Daniel. Who is this?”
The voice then proceeded to explain to me, nice and clearly, that there had been a traffic accident. My mum was in critical yet stable condition, but my dad was not so lucky. He had survived the initial collision, but died on the way to the hospital. The next few hours were a blur. I just switched off the TV and stared at the blank screen as I waited for my Uncle Jared, who was married to my dad’s older sister, my Aunt Louise, to pick me and Zoe up. We spent the next few days at his house. My aunt was inconsolable. I was just dull. I didn’t speak, I barely left the bedroom I was in. Zoe was too young to grasp the situation, but they said that she understood that dad was gone. The only thing I was thinking of until my mum came out of hospital and we could go back home was what Zoe had said to me. It was as if she somehow knew what was going to happen. I didn’t forget about it. It got to the point where it was unnerving to be in the same room as her. Another similar incident didn’t come until much later, however. A year, to be exact. It was a nice, sunny day. We all went for a walk in the park, me somewhat reluctantly, as by this point we had decorated my new room and I had a TV, which I had plugged a PS2 into. My mum held my sister’s hand and I walked slightly behind, hands buried in my pockets and generally wishing to be home. It was all quiet, nobody really speaking, when Zoe pointed to an inconspicuous looking guy in a hoodie. All she said was “There’s a bad man over there.”
My mum turned to look. A man in a grey sweatshirt stood by a fountain. He was staring at his feet, hands in his pockets. I looked too. Something about him did seem rather off, but I didn’t think much of it. It was later on, when we had left the park and were in the car on the way home, that I remembered how she had predicted dad’s death. I leaned over to her. “Zoe, what did you say about the man in the park? The bad man?”
She turned to me. Her face was covered in chocolate from the chocolate bars mum had given us. “The man had a knife. He was sad about something. He wanted to change it.” She then turned back to look out the window. I was just frozen. He was sad about something? He wanted to change it? I wanted to ask my mum to call the police, but I knew she’d find it ridiculous. I just stared out my window too. The next morning, I was up before anyone else. I saw the local newspaper had arrived, so I picked it up to put it on the coffee table for mum to read. As I did, I glanced at the front page headline, and I dropped the paper and almost jumped back in horror. ‘Family of five stabbed to death in home.’ Beneath it was a mug shot. A man in a grey sweatshirt. It was then that I realized Zoe had a talent. I stopped being distant and uncaring of her, and instead listened carefully to what she had to say about anything, asking her about random things that we saw. I would write down anything I found particularly interesting in a notebook I kept in my room. There wasn’t anything major. She worked out when the goldfish was going to die, but that was the biggest thing. I eventually worked out that she could only make predictions linked to deaths. When she was six, something big happened. She was watching some little girl TV show, eating crisps, when the phone rang. She turned to face my mum’s boyfriend, David, as he picked up the phone. “Oh no.” She said. I was on the other side of the couch reading a comic book. I looked over to her, expecting that something had just happened on the show, but she was staring at David.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Grandpa.” She said, still looking. I froze. I could feel in my gut that this was another prediction. We watched David talk on the phone.
“Yes?” “Oh my god, really?” “Jesus, I’ll tell Cathy.” “Ok. Goodbye.”. Then he hung up. He noticed that both of us were looking at him, and a sunken look came over him. “Oh, jeez. Kids, I have some bad news.” I knew what he was going to tell us before he even said it. Grandpa had passed away in his sleep. Mum was sad. Zoe was sad. I tried to be sad about grandpa, and I was. I was just more amazed and creeped out at Zoe. How did she do it? That was the last prediction for a long time. I eventually forgot about it, just chalking it up to coincidence. Last week, I got a phone call. Checking the caller ID, I saw that it was Zoe. I hadn’t spoken to her in about a month, so I was pretty happy to see her name on my phone. I took the call.
“Hi, Zoe, how are you?”
“Dan, are you there? I need to talk to you, are you alone?” My girlfriend was sitting next to me, watching TV.
“Hold on, I’ll move.” I said, standing up. My girlfriend looked to me.
“Who is it?”
“It’s just my sister, I need to talk in the other room.” She just shrugged and turned back to the TV. I closed the door to my bedroom behind me.
“I need you to listen to me. I got a terrible feeling, as if I knew something was gonna happen. You and Megan should get out of your house. Go to a hotel or something, just get out of there.” I couldn’t speak. Not only did she predict something again, but she was aware of the seriousness of the situation. Meagerly, I managed to say;
“Ok, thank you.” I hung up. Then I rushed back into the room where my girlfriend was sitting watching the TV. “Megan, we need to leave.”
“Why, what’s wrong?”
“My sister had another prediction, we could be in danger.” I had told her about the predictions. She never believed any of it, or chalked it up to mere coincidence.
“Are you kidding? I’m not going anywhere because your thirteen-year-old sister thinks we should.”
“I told you about her predictions, this is serious!” I shouted. After an hour of bickering and arguing, she finally agreed to leave. We went to a nearby hotel, booked a room for one night and went to sleep. The next morning, I got a call from the neighbor. He said our house had been broken into, but nothing was taken. I told my girlfriend, and she was utterly dumbfounded.
“How in the hell did she know?” Was all she said. We talked to the police, and I called my neighbor and told him to call the police if they returned. We stayed at the hotel again that night. When morning came round, I was woken by my phone ringing. It was the police. We went to the police station and apparently Megan’s mentally unstable ex-boyfriend broke into our house with a knife. They had arrested him when the neighbor called the police. It was obvious to all of us what he was going to do. My girlfriend hadn’t said a thing. She was just completely blown away by what my sister had done. Without her, I would probably be dead. I talked to my sister about it, and all she said was this one thing;
“I could see your bodies lying on the bed. You were next to dad, grandpa and five other people I didn’t know.” I’ve never felt more haunted than I did after hearing her say that. Nobody else believes it, even my girlfriend is still skeptical, but I know for sure that my sister has a gift.

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Rose – Part 1

October 25, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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“Okay Father, we need you to cooperate with us here. If you’re honest from the beginning, things will be a lot better for you.” Officer Green sipped his coffee, a little too weak for this time of the night. Things like this didn’t happen very often in his small town so he wasn’t used to having to stay up all night. But when there’s a homicide investigation, it’s all hands on deck.

“Are you a God-fearing man, officer?” Father McKenzie held his hands together, nervously rubbing his knuckles.

“Not sure what that has to do with anything, but no, not particularly.” Officer Green leaned back in his chair, his spine aching. We’re not going to get anywhere with this guy, he thought.

“Then you’ll never believe me. But I’m not worried. God knows that I’m a good man and I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Officer Green took another sip of his coffee; longer this time. He needed some time to think about what to say next. He hadn’t done many interrogations during his time on the force and most of them ended with a confession in about 5 minutes. This one, he could tell, was going to be a bit more difficult. “Well if you’ve done nothing wrong, why don’t you just tell me what happened? What time did you arrive at Mr. Young’s house?”

“I arrived at his house around 6 pm.”

“And did he invite you over?”

“Yes.”

“Why?” This is going to take all night if I’m only getting one word answers from this guy, he thought, leaning forward and resting his elbows on the table.

“It would probably be best if you heard it from Eric Young himself.”

“Alright smart ass, what are you talking about? That guy is dead.”

“I received a letter in the mail from him a few days ago. It’s in my car. I think it would be best if you just read that.”

Officer Green paused for a moment. He wasn’t totally thrilled with the idea of following orders from a suspected murderer. But what else was he supposed to do? This interrogation was going nowhere. Nowhere fast at least. He put his palms down on the table, hitting it with more force than he intended, obviously a little exasperated from the events of the night. He pushed his tired body up and left the room.

About an hour had passed before Officer Green returned with the letter. Four pages all sealed in individual plastic baggies. It was really the only hard evidence they had so far. He returned to his seat, across from the Father, not saying a word to him. With another sip of his now-cold coffee, he settled in for a read.

“Dear Father McKenzie,

It’s been a while since I last went to church. About 20 years or so, probably. But I need your help now. I’m not proud of what I’ve done but it really didn’t seem to hurt anyone in the beginning. I was really doing more good than harm. I should explain.

I’ve been a ghost hunter for about 10 years now. But I don’t really hunt ghosts. I just go into people’s houses, use my fancy equipment to look legitimate and tell them there’s nothing to worry about; no ghosts here. They thank me, they pay me, I leave. If they continue to insist, then I burn some stuff, put some crosses up, yell some bullshit like, ‘Whatever spirits are here, please leave.’ Then they thank me, they pay me, I leave. Simple. I know I’m a fake but at least people minds are put at ease and they just go on with their lives. I know there’s no such thing as ghosts but some people’s imaginations just run wild and they need someone to calm them down. That’s my job. For 10 years now I’ve been doing this job without incident.

I got a phone call from a woman named Penny Hutchins a few weeks ago. She told me there’s an evil spirit in her house and she hears that I’m the best ghost hunter around. She seemed very spooked – as most people are when they’re convinced they’re being haunted. I assured her that I would help her and that the ghost would be gone in no time. I told her I’d fit her in in the next week or so. Her voice trembling, she replied, “Please hurry.”

When I arrived at her house, I unloaded my equipment and headed in. This appointment started out just like any other. I discussed my rates with her and she was eager to pay any amount if I could just help her. She had $1000 cash in hand, telling me to take it all. I did my usual spiel about how it depends on the severity of the haunting and the stubbornness of the spirit, blah, blah, blah. I fully intended on taking the full $1000 at the end.

I got out my fake EMF meter and started walking around the house with her, pressing the button under my index finger that makes the meter move. She tells me to go into her bathroom because that’s where the ghost usually is. Father, as soon as I walked into that bathroom, my blood went cold. Partially from fear, and partially due to the actual temperature of the room. I could see my breath; that’s how cold it was. At first I thought there must just be something wrong with her furnace. I should just tell her to call someone else. But then I turned around. Penny was standing behind me, staring right through me. The door slammed shut behind her. Her eyes started to roll into the back of her head and her mouth slowly fell open. Her head then tilted ever so slightly to the side. Her pupils were no longer visible but I knew that she wasn’t looking through me anymore, she was looking in me.

I carry a cross necklace around with me, just for added effect, but at that moment, I felt like that cross was the only thing that could save me. I dropped my EMF meter, grabbed the chain out of my pocket and swung it around at her as I slowly backed away, further into the room. I started screaming at her, telling whatever evil spirit that was there to leave Penny alone. My heels hit the bathtub. I had nowhere else to go. She lunged towards me, arms outstretched. Her skin was turning grey; her body looked lifeless the way her limbs flailed. I ducked down and dove for the door, escaping her grasp. The handle was frozen; the skin on my hand stuck to it instantly. I thrust my shoulder into the door as hard as I could but it wouldn’t budge. Penny, or whatever Penny had turned into, starting come towards me. I started banging on the door, yelling for help. She reached for me. I tried to slap her hand away from me but she grabbed my wrist. The cold went straight up my arm; I could feel it in my neck. I screamed like a little girl, pulling and tugging, but her grip was too strong. Finally, I kicked her right in the gut and she flew back into the bathtub, taking the shower curtain down with her. I looked at my hand. My skin was completely white from the tips of my fingers to about my elbow. I started to feel dizzy and that’s the point where I blacked out.

When I came to, Penny was sitting beside me, her face right over top of mine. “Eric?” she said. “Eric, talk to me! Are you alright?”

Everything came back in a flash and I jolted up to my feet and backed up to the door. Penny looked like Penny again. My arm was back to its normal colour.

“What happened?” I asked.

“What happened is that you’ve cured me!” She exclaimed, slowly moving towards me. Her eyes were glossy as she held back tears of joy. Tears of relief.

I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t fully wrap my brain around what had happened. “I… I don’t understand,” I sputtered.

“Come. Come to the kitchen, I’ll fix you up a cup of tea. Do you like tea?” She opened the bathroom door with ease. This seemed to be an entirely different woman than the one I had met minutes ago. Or was it hours? I had no idea how long I had been out for. I followed her down the hallway and sat at the kitchen table. I started putting my equipment back in their individual cases. I had to compose myself. I couldn’t let her know that this wasn’t just another day in the life of a ghost hunter. I didn’t want to lose out on that $1000 if she found me out.

“So this ghost…” I began, selecting my words carefully. “What has it been doing to you?”

Penny filled up the kettle, not looking at me as she spoke. “Oh, it was terrible. That room has been getting colder and colder by the minute. I haven’t really slept at all in days. This spirit, she haunts my mind, mostly. Just yesterday, I blacked out for what seemed like hours. She’s been showing me horrifying images. Thank God you showed up today or I might not have been able to bear it any longer. She is a very restless, malevolent soul. I did a lot of research on spirits when this whole thing first started. I’m sure you know all about it though. You’ve dealt with this kind of thing before, I’m sure.”

“Oh yeah, all the time. I had a very similar case just last month.” It was a good thing I’m a good liar. But lying is why I’m in this mess now.

Penny fixed my cup of tea and she made pleasant small talk with me. I tried to respond as normally as possible but my mind was elsewhere. I tried to bring the topic back to her haunting. “So, what kind of things would this spirit show you?” I asked.

Penny sipped her tea, looking deep into her cup. “I really… I don’t want to relive that horribleness. I’m sorry. It was just too much for me.”

“I understand.” I looked at my teacup. Still half full. We continued the small talk as I tried to drink my tea faster. Turns out Penny had three kids, all of whom are grown up and moved away now. She downsized by moving into this house and started having issues with this ghost a few days in. Her kids all thought she was going mad and started making comments about nursing homes. Penny couldn’t have been older than sixty.

Anyway, I’m rambling now. I’m writing to you, Father, because this ghost is now with me. Something happened when Penny grabbed my arm. I can feel this spirit’s presence all the time. I black out frequently throughout the day and she shows me horrible things. I’ve done research but I can’t figure out who she is. But she’s shown me what happened to her.

I see these images as if I’m floating above her, watching the scenes unfold. Based on her attire, she must have lived in the late 1800s. She is in her house with her father. He begins to yell at her. He yells at her for not coming home before dark. She looked to be about 16 years old. She yells back at him. He grabs her and throws her against the wall. She cries. She sobs uncontrollably. He picks her up off the floor by the arm and throws her into a bathroom, shutting the door with immense force.

Another scene. Days later, her father opens the door. The girl looks sickly, slouched against the wall. Painted in blood around her are little pictures. Pictures of the girl, eating her father. Her father is terrified. He backs out of the room as she laughs. Her eyes pierce through him – into him. He slams the door as he leaves.

Every time I black out, I wake up in another part of the house. Things around me will be broken. My house is a disaster now but I can’t will myself to do much about it. This spirit has consumed my life. The scenes get worse from here.

The father has a doctor come in to try to find out what is wrong with his daughter. The doctor opens the door. The girl’s hair is matted. She’s removed almost all of her clothes and is crouching in an animalistic manner. The walls are covered with more and more drawings of the girl killing the father and eating him. The girl looks up at the doctor and screeches. She lunges for him. The doctor retreats and slams the door. The doctor and the father stand there, awestruck. They hear the faucet turn on. The water is the only thing keeping her alive.

After she showed me that vision, my faucet began to turn on and off intermittently. I thought about calling a plumber at first. But no plumber can help me now.

The next time the father opens the door, the girl is completely naked. Her foot has been severed at the ankle but her foot is nowhere in the room. She looks up at her father. Her eyes look dead – completely devoid of life. “Daddy,” she says, her voice toneless. “Help me.” She reaches her hand out to him for a moment then puts it down on the bloody floor. She begins to pull herself across the tiles towards him, her head held tilted up the whole time. The father stands his ground for a moment but can’t take it. He slams the door again. The girl screams in agony.

When I came to after that vision, I found myself with bite marks around my ankle. Some points were deep enough to break the skin. All I do now is sit in my room, waiting for the faucet to turn on. Waiting to black out again. I can hear her voice in my head sometimes. “Help me,” she says. I’m worried I’m starting to go mad. I’m worried she’s going to bite my foot off. Or that I’ll bite my own foot off. I need your help, Father. I don’t want to get anyone else involved. I know Penny passed the spirit on to me when she touched me and I don’t want anyone else to suffer the same fate. I would have called but during one of my black outs, I broke the phone. I can’t go out because I’m afraid that I’ll touch somebody and pass her spirit on to them.

I know I’m a bad person, I know I’ve done wrong but I don’t think I deserve this torment. If this is God’s way of punishing me for stealing people’s money, then I want to apologize. I need you to come to my house so that I can confess my sins. Before it is too late. Please hurry.

Sincerely,

Eric Young

Officer Green placed the last page back in its bag. Father McKenzie had been staring at him the entire time as he read. Officer Green met his gaze. “You expect me to believe… that this guy was being haunted? By a ghost?”

“No. I never expected you to believe it. But that is the true story.”

Officer Green shook his head. “This is ridiculous,” he proclaimed. He gathered up the papers in the bags and left the room.

“Are you hearing this bullshit?” Officer Green asked his partner, Warren, who had been behind the two way mirror.

“Just got a call from Tony. He says we should come down to the crime scene.” Warren, Officer Perry, had been on the force for about 20 years – 10 or so years longer than Officer Green – but even he had never had a case like this.

Eric Young’s house was a disaster zone. Picture frames shattered, the couch was overturned, and the smell of rotting food was almost unbearable. The smell of rotting flesh had not yet kicked in but it wouldn’t be long.

Eric was still fairly young. No older than 35 years. He had no wife and no children. His mother had died when he was young and his father lived across the country. No siblings, nor did he make many friends in the ghost hunting profession.

Officer Green and Officer Perry entered the crime scene for the second time that night. They had been the first ones to respond to Father McKenzie’s 911 call. The body had not been moved yet. The poor guy still lay there on the floor of his bathroom, mouth wide open, surrounded by blood. The most disturbing part of the scene was his eyes – or lack thereof. His eyeballs had been ripped from their sockets and were just hanging off his face, resting on his cheek bones.

“Over here guys, come take a look.” Tony Walker, the medical examiner, sat in the pool of blood, dressed in a plastic suit.

“We can’t just look from here?” Office Green asked. He wasn’t overly squeamish but he also had never seen anything this gruesome before.

“Green, come on, man up.” Warren bumped his shoulder against Officer Green’s as he strode past. Green soon followed.

Tony lifted Eric’s pant leg, nice and gently. “Oh my God,” Warren breathed, bringing his hand to his mouth.

“Both feet, completely frost bitten. But this one…” Tony rolled up the other pant leg. “This one has almost been severed off.”

“W… With what?” Green stuttered. He was fairly certain he knew the answer but felt the need to ask anyway. He still held on to a shred of hope that Tony would say a knife or even a spoon.

“Teeth. The guy was gnawing his leg off with his own teeth. Weird, eh? “

The three men shared some awkward glances amongst themselves, no one certain what the next move should be. The half severed ankle was surely odd and the frost bite would have been much less odd had it not been August.

“Maybe we should call someone in about this. Someone from the state?” Green suggested.

“No, it’s fine. He obviously just went crazy and died from blood loss. End of story. No murder,” Warren concluded.

Green had to look away. He turned and started walking through the house, carefully stepping over the broken glass. He stood in the middle of the living room. A small desk sat in the corner. It was the only thing in the house that seemed to be in order. Upon further inspection, Green found some papers on the desk. Whoever was supposed to be searching for evidence here was not doing a great job. Green sat down at the desk and started reading.

“Dear Father McKenzie,

It’s been a few days since I sent my letter and I haven’t heard from you yet. Things are getting worse. I need you to help me as soon as possible. I have less and less time that I’m in control of my body.

The visions are getting worse. I’m beginning to have trouble separating the visions from reality and now, rather than a bystander viewing the scene, I’m beginning to view the scenes as if I am the girl. That poor girl. I don’t understand why she is doing this to me. I don’t understand what she wants. But she needs help. I need help. I’ve had two more visions since I wrote you last. Two more that I remember vividly, that is.

The father has given up on saving his daughter. But he can’t have anyone know about her. It would ruin him. He opens the bathroom door. The girl hasn’t gotten much worse. Her bones are protruding through her skin. She’s obviously starving. She reaches for him, mouth wide open. “Daddy,” she whispers, her voice raspy and tired from screaming. He takes a deep breath and reaches out for her. She bites his hand, drawing blood; he lets out a shriek. He grabs a fistful of her hair with his free hand and pulls her off of him. He drags her through the house, kicking and screaming, scratching and fighting to hold onto something. He takes her out the back door, continuing to drag her on the ground, a trail of blood seeping into the fresh white blanket of snow. They come to an outhouse at the very back of the property. He opens the door and throws her in. The girl looks up at him.

It is at this point that my view of the scene begins to shift and I am now seeing it through her eyes.

“Daddy?” Her voice has a tone of panic, much different from the way she sounded before. “Daddy, what’s happening? What’s going on?” She begins to yell, tears beginning to stream down her bloody face.

“Rose?” He says. “Sweetheart, are you alright?” He begins to cry as well. He kneels down towards her, reluctantly pressing his palm to her cheek.

Her eyes roll into the back of her head. Before the father has time to react, she… I… bite his thumb clean off. He screams. He slams the door shut. I’m in darkness, laughing. Just laughing.

I’ve tried to do more research and find out who Rose was but nothing has come up. My computer is now shattered so I guess I’ll never know. I thought that maybe if I knew more about her, I would be able to help her but that hope is lost.

It is getting more and more difficult to write. I can feel Rose in my mind, beginning to take over my thoughts. She is taking over my actions. She has shown me another vision – I hope this is the last one. I can’t bear to explain it. I have more bite marks all around my fingers and more around my ankle. My bones are cold. I haven’t eaten in days. Please Father. Please help me. I don’t know if I can bear to see any more of what she is showing me. I need you to get her out of me. Please hurry.”

This letter wasn’t signed at the bottom. He never really got a chance to finish it. Green took a deep breath.

“What is that?” Warren peered over his shoulder.

“It’s another letter, more gibberish about a ghost. I guess you’re right, he did go crazy.”

Officer Green and Officer Perry returned to the station. Officer Perry immediately went to the coffee pot to get another one started. Officer Green went to his desk first. He searched for all open cases between 1850 and 1920. There were two about a girl named Rose but he knew exactly which case he was looking for. It was difficult to read as the document he found was a police report that had been scanned into the computer. The writing was messy and the ink was uneven. From what he could decipher, a girl named Rose Walker disappeared December 17th, 1897, never to be seen again. What struck him as odd was that she was reported missing by her teacher, not her father.

Green grabbed another coffee before returning to the interrogation room with Father McKenzie. Neither of them said a word for about a minute. Officer Green just stared at him and he stared right back.

“Tell me what happened when you got to Eric Young’s house.” Officer Green said, trying to keep his tone even and not stutter.

“I’ve already told you, you won’t believe me.”

“I believe you. I believe you now.” He looked Father McKenzie dead in the eyes in an attempt to convey how serious he was.

“Alright… Here’s the truth. When I arrived at Eric’s house, he never came to the door. It was unlocked so I went inside. Everything was a mess, as you’ve seen. I could hear groaning and mumbling mixed in with occasional screaming coming from the bathroom. I knew I didn’t have much time so I rushed over there and flung open the door. Eric was lying on the ground, gnawing on his own ankle. I could tell that the spirit had taken full control of him now and I had to act quickly. I got out my bible, my cross and my holy water. I had to hold him down with one arm while I held my bible with the other hand. Eric started to come back but he was utterly petrified. I tried to calm him down but he just kept screaming. ‘What have you done to me?’ He kept saying. That’s when he began to scratch at his eyes. I had to look away. I immediately called 911. I didn’t think there was anything else I could do for him.”

Officer Green leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. “You’re free to go,” He stated blankly.

“I beg your pardon?”

“You’re no longer a suspect. It’s been concluded that Eric Young went mad and killed himself.”

“But you know that’s not entirely what happened.”

“I know. And you know. But as far as anyone else is concerned, he went mad and killed himself. I don’t think anyone else will believe the story even if they read the letters. Even if someone does, no one in their right mind would blame a death on ghosts in a police report.”

“That is true.” Both men began to stand up and head for the door, Officer Green leading the way. “Officer?”

Officer Green turned around to face him, turning the knob and pulling the door open a few inches. “Yes, Father?”

Father McKenzie extended his hand to Officer Green. Officer Green smiled slightly, pressing his lips together. He reached out to shake his hand.

“I’m sorry, Officer.”

Green’s eyes widened as Father McKenzie quickly grabbed onto his hand. He tried to pry his hand off of him, finger by finger, but his grip was too tight. Father McKenzie stared right into Green’s eyes, tears beginning to well up. Green’s hand began to get cold, his fingers started to turn white, numbness began to creep up to his wrist.

“I’m so sorry.”

Credit: LAKK

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Hun, I’m Home

October 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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“Hun, I’m home,” Dylan said as he walked into the house, shutting the door behind him. The apartment was beautiful, for a building that was built in 1812. The old schoolhouse now was home to 4 apartments.

The apartment itself was beyond perfect for just the two of them. The ceiling was a good fifteen feet high. The giant nine foot tall windows gave the home a very ‘high class’ atmosphere, and the kitchen certainly met up with the standards.

Even though the apartment was perfect, the building itself gave off an eerie look, as expected with any building that was over two hundred years old.

“Hey hun,” his wife, Jasmine, said smiling as she walked out from the guest room.
“How was work,” she said hugging him and giving him a kiss.
Her hazel eyes looked up at him. She was just 5’2 and he was 6’3.
“It was alright, nothing to horrible today. How’s unpacking coming along,” Dylan asked looking around the house. There were a few boxes still packed, but nothing compared to just three days ago.

“That’s good, and it’s getting there. It’s almost done!”
“I see that! Oh, I forgot my bag in the car,” Dylan said kissing her again, “I love you!”

He grabbed his bag and shut the door. The three story building looked gloomy, almost haunting, in the little sun that was left.

He opened the main doors and stepped in the hallway, which was more of a large conference room with dull blue carpet plopped in the center. There were two doors side by side on the right wall. Apartments Three and Four. His was Four.

Two doors sat on the other wall as well as a staircase. One of the doors lead into an old classroom that the landlord was renovating to what Dylan assumed would be a new apartment. The staircase led to the two smaller upper apartments. The other door, led to the basement. Dylan had never had any reason to go down there. The apartment itself was plenty big enough for the little furniture and belongings him and his wife had.

Being as curious as he was, Dylan decided to open the basement door and go down. Light from the setting sun shone through the ground windows which lined the top of the walls.

The stairs were relatively new. He got to the base of the stairs and took a deep breath. It was chilly within the stone walls.

There were open rooms throughout the basement. It seemed that these were all once classrooms, now just storage rooms for the landlord and past tenants.

Walls between rooms were old and dusty, some spots even had bricks laying beside them as if they were torn or smashed out of the walls.

There was a hallway behind the first two rooms. As he got further from the stairs, he noticed there were no more windows. The only light was the small glimmer of light from the windows across the basement.

Each step kicked up a tiny cloud of dust. Clearly no one came down here recently. There was an open doorway to his right, a small light shining from it, into the hall. He went in and immediately noticed that the back of the room indeed had windows. They had just all been painted black, and the light was coming from a partially shattered window.

In the room sat several dressers, a few boxes, and a bed frame. Plenty of bugs that crawled through the window, lied dead on the floor. Dust covered the boxes and furniture. The room had a deep red haze to it from the glistening sun.

Behind one of the bed frames sat a quite large… Thing. It was about eight feet tall, leaning along the wall. Several blankets were wrapped around it and taped, protecting whatever was within the bundles.

Dylan got closer and was puzzled at the fact that if something was so special to wrap up in several blankets, why would someone leave it here?

Nothing else was wrapped up. In the first rooms there were plenty of lamps, mirrors, and other breakable items just laying around. Why was this item so special?

Dylan’s curiosity got ahold of him. He moved the bed frame and began carefully taking off the tape. One by one he unraveled the blankets, revealing a very old wooden framed mirror. The frame was stained a dark brown, giving the mirror a very nice aurora.

He wiped the dust off the frame, running his fingers slowly along engravings in the wood. It was one line of symbols, which looked foreign, that wrapped completely around the mirror.

Even behind the layer of dust, the mirror gave off a slight glimmer. Dylan wiped it off with his hand. One single stroke, enough to reveal his face in the glass.

His brown eyes stared back at him. There was something in which intrigued him about his own reflection. Something didn’t seem right, but at the same time it looked like every other reflection he had seen.

He placed his hand on the glass and looked closer. Maybe his eyes were irritated or he had bags under his eyes, it was a longer work day than usually. No. No bags under his eyes, and his eyes were fine.

“You shouldn’t be down here,” James said, causing Dylan to jump.
“You scared the hell out of me man.”
James stayed silent. He lived upstairs in one of the apartments with his wife and daughter.

“You shouldn’t be down here,” he said again.
“Just looking around, Is it yours,” Dylan asked pointing to the mirror.

“Not mine, it’s theirs,” James replied as he stepped closer into the light, revealing an old hatchet.

“James? Are you okay?”
“I haven’t been okay for a long, long time,” he replied walking closer.

With no expression James raised the hatchet and struck Dylan’s head. The blade jamming five inches right in his forehead killing him instantly.

James ripped out the hatchet and turned to the mirror, a soft grin spreading across his face. He dragged Dylan’s body and propped it against the mirror and stepped back.

A few minutes past, and a long thin hand slowly came out of the mirror’s glass, grasping Dylan’s head and pulling his corpse slowly into the mirror.

Several minutes past, with nothing in the mirror except what should be. James impatiently began tapping his foot. The air grew cold and, somehow, felt as if the oxygen was gradually being drained from the room.

One foot emerged from the glass. Then a leg. Until an entire being stood before James. It looked like Dylan. Same clothes and even the same hair style Dylan had just moments before.

But, it was not Dylan. Whatever it was stood there, it’s legs twisted and bent backwards. His arms and hands twisted in positions that should be impossible.

The sounds of cracking pierced the air as the, thing, began twisting it’s body. Within a minute there it stood, perfectly upright. Now in every aspect, it looked like Dylan.

The creature gave a sinister grin as the last bit of light faded from the room.

The creature opened the door to Apartment 4 and stepped inside.
It sounded just like Dylan as it said, “Hun, I’m back.”

Credit: Dylan Broussard

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