Lost iPhones

May 25, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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James said he found the iPhone in the lawn as he was leaving the party. Afterward, we wondered what had really happened, how he had actually found it. But then, when he told us, we had no reason to not believe his story. He was walking out, he explained, completely hammered, and there it was: a pink 5C covered with dew from being out all night.

“You stole someone’s phone? Not cool, James,” said Hayley. We were standing it in our apartment’s small kitchen, lit quite brightly by the early afternoon sun. James had just come over, but in his defense, it was probably much more like morning for him. I had only been up for a couple of hours, anyway. Spring semester had finished a few days ago and all the dandelions were coming out, yellow headed and alive in the few green spots in the city. Hailey’s internship at the museum wasn’t starting for another two weeks and my work in Professor Isle’s lab was on hold until he came back from vacation, which meant we had nothing to do except talk too much and drink too much and sleep in too much and way, way too late.

James lived in our apartment building, on the bottom floor. I knew him from my fiction workshop. He had gone to boarding schools and wrote a lot of stories about the sadness of being rich. He DJ’d Monday nights at the college station, playing hipper than thou indie rock and dub reggae. I’m making him sound a lot worse than he is. He always had good hair.

In a plot twist that didn’t surprise me at all, Hayley had slept with him (“I don’t regret it Ariel. All great lives feature things some would call failures, but we libertines call them the forge that tempers our personal steel.”) but only a couple of times. He had initiated extremely awkward hugs with me, but that hadn’t evolved into anything more physical. Thankfully.

“I didn’t steal a phone. I’m not, like, a thief.”

“And yet here you are,” Hayley said, “with that phone you didn’t buy.”

“You act like I’m breaking windows and snatching shit.”

“Are you?”

“No, Ariel. I am not breaking windows and snatching shit.”

“Thank god. Don’t think we weren’t worried,” said Hayley.

“Do you guys want to know why this phone is weird?”

“Sure,” I said, “show me.”

He slide the phone on and punched in the security code.

“Hey,” said Hayley, “how do you know the code.”

“I didn’t,” he said, tapping at the screen, “but this morning I just put in some random numbers and it, boom. It worked.”

“What numbers?”

“4444.”

“What a crappy pin,” I breathed. “that person’s email password must be password.”

“Maybe it is, but it’s not on their phone,” said James, “they don’t have an email set up, or any apps, or contacts.”

“What the fuck do they even do with their phone then,” demanded Hayley, “only make phone calls?”

“No. No calls in the history. Received or outgoing.”

“So there’s nothing on it?” asked Hayley, “maybe it’s a new phone or something?”

“It’s not a new phone,” he flipped it over. The back of the phone was covered in scratches, tiny spider web cracks running in and out. “See? Somebody has had this forever.”

“So, there’s nothing on it and it’s got a shitty password. James I hate to complain about your attempts to bring mystery and excitement into our lives and our, you know, our kitchen,” Hayley gestured at the tiny room we were all packed into , “but this isn’t exactly Cicada 3301.”

“There’s not nothing,” he said, indignant, “there’s a video. you want to see?”

“Not nothing is a double negative,” I said, “you would say “there isn’t anything” or, maybe, “there’s something on it” instead. Does that make sense?”

“I hated your pedantic criticisms in workshop, Ariel, and I dislike them in real life too. People sometimes talk because they like how words sound with each other. They aren’t always in blind thrall to the completely imaginary, class-centric, often internally contradictory rules referred to as “grammar.” Now, did you want to watch this? Because, it’s a little, umm, fucked up. To be honest.”

Hayley and I looked at each other. She shrugged.

“Obviously we want to watch,” Hayley said, “right? Why wouldn’t we?”

“Right,” I said. “Let’s do this.”

The video started to play.

Images of the ground appeared: rocks, dirt, leaves. The camera was shaky. Shoes appeared in and out of the frame, just the uppermost tops of shoes. They looked like chucks. You could hear footsteps, breathing. It was obviously someone filming themselves walking.

“Did you already watch this?” Hayley was staring at the screen, her brow furrowed.

“Yeah, I did, be quiet though.”

The walking stopped. The camera panned up and swung left, revealing a heavily forested landscape with the same path the person had previously been walking on running out into the distance, and then the camera swung to the right. There was a hill’s edge there, swelling out over a precipice, overlooking a not insignificant drop off.

“I recognize this,” I said, “where is this? Have you guys see this before?”

“Me too,” said Hayley, “it’s out in Machen park. I’ve gone jogging out there.”

“Watch,” said James, his voice tense.

We did.

The screen shook as whomever was holding it lowered it again. The breathing rasped. Then, there was another noise. Something that sounded like running. The camera swung up, there was a blur, a shadowy motion, some kind of noise, and then the person and the phone were moving. They went over the cliff, together. Then there was an awful noise and something far away, a weird familiar screaming.

The screen went black.

I looked at Hayley, who wasn’t saying a word, biting her chipped florescent green nails instead. James looked up.

“I told you,” he said, “it’s a little fucked up.”

****

Three hours later, we were in the woods.

“Bad idea, Hayley,” I murmured, walking on the path. “You’ve had bad ideas, but this is the worst.”

“Really? The worst?” She frowned. Mosquitos were starting to appear in the near dim. One bite me and I slapped it, leaving a long smear of bright red blood on my left forearm. “Ok. Maybe the worst. But don’t you want to see?”

“For sure. But I wished we had waited. Or asked James if he wanted to go.”

“He had to work,” she shrugged, “so I ain’t trying to hear that. I want to see what’s happening.”

We kept walking down the dirt trail. Most days there were joggers or other hikers, but we hadn’t seen anyone else. Everything felt static, like we were looking at a screenshot instead of real life.

“Do you think we’ll find a body?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Do you want to? It’ll be like “Stand by Me.” I’ll be River Phoenix,” she kicked a stick, “unless you want to be River Phoenix.”

“No, I’m ok. I don’t like people who die pretty and young. It makes me self conscious about aging.”

“I don’t know why people romanticize youth anyway,” she said, “it’s a hella temporary state.”

“People like to think things can last forever,” I said, then, “almost there.”

We walked ahead, toward the twist in the path where the video had been filmed. I don’t know why we were going there. It was dumb and we were young. What did we think we’d find? And why did we want to find anything?

“What did you see, when we stopped the tape for a second, right before the person holding the camera got pushed, or whatever?”

“Nothing, really,” I said, “we are almost there right?”

“I know it was just a shadow,” she said, “but I felt like I saw something.”

“Is it here?”

“Like — you know when an image gets messed up on a website? It’s just a digital scramble? Then it’s normal? It was like that — the glitch before it goes normal. But I know there wasn’t anything there.”

“Here,” I said. We turned the corner. We were at the little break in the park where the video had been shot. To the left, woods. To the right, the precipice. And there, standing in front of the cliff, was James.

He was wearing the same clothes he had been wearing in our kitchen: tight jeans, a black t shirt, black chucks. His back was to us, but I know immediately who it was. You can recognize someone without seeing a face.

In his hand, I saw a phone. He pointed it at his left, then his right.

I should had been screaming. I thought I would. And maybe some part of me believed I was. I looked at Hayley. Her mouth was open: veins popped out on her neck as her lips stretched wide and her eyes grew wider and larger. But no sound.

Something was coming.

I could feel it, in the woods, something was rushing moving towards us. To James. I wanted to scream, I felt like I was but I knew I wasn’t. It was coming.

James lowered the camera. The wind came and went by the two of us and into him. It looked like colors and decaying images, like a pixilated drawing of a tornado. It was a cartoon. It was t real. It ripped into his shoulder. I saw blood fly up and into the dead sky. He stumbled to the edge of the cliff. Then over. Then there was only the nothing of our screaming, suddenly audible and hysterical.

Everything after that turned into the slow, sick time, where events feel delayed, as if it was happening from a great distance. We ran down the path that looped down the hill, loose dirt and rocks slipping under our feet. My chest hurt, I remembered thinking as I ran; it felt tight and full of breaths I couldn’t believe I was still taking.

At the bottom of the path we jumped into the clearing where James had just fallen. But there was no James. There was no blood. Just a space where a body should have been and, in that area, a brilliant blue iphone.

*****

We got back to our apartment after eight, exhausted and suddenly cold in the night air. Cars were backing up at the traffic light, the city starting to sound louder, different, as the streetlights flooded corners. I could hear music blaring from one of the cars as I unlocked the door, Hayley following me.

Once we were inside, Hayley put the phone on the kitchen table and walked out of the room.

“Where are you —”

“I need to take a shower,” she said. “Don’t touch the phone.”

Within moments, I heard the rattle of pipes, the rushing of water. I walked over to the fridge and poured a glass of the cheap American pink wine we drank too much of. It tasted like headaches.

I finished a glass. Then poured another. Then I pulled out my phone and texted James.

“Hey. How are you.”

Then,

“What happened inthe parf”

“*park. stupid phone. what was thet?”

My phone buzzed back. A little green circle.

“who is this”

“this is Ariel is this James?”

“sorry. wrong number”

“Is this a new phone? Did you just get this number”

“No had it forever sorrry. Have a nice nightZ”

Hayley came out of her room, her hair still damp, almost a half hour later. I was finishing my third glass of wine. She said hey and I said hey back and she grabbed the wine from the fridge and walked out into the living room and I followed her. She sat on the muted grey couch her parents had let her take when we moved in and I sat on the floor, leaning against the cold wall. Another kid lived in the apartment next to us, on whose wall I leaned. I had a semi whatever crush on him. He worked nights at a gas station and smoked so much I could taste the cigarettes sometimes through the walls. Was he there, I thought. Would he still be there?

“I looked James up on Facebook,” Hayley said. Her voice sounded numb. “I couldn’t find his profile. His tumblr’s gone too. So his Twitter.”

“I texted him. Somebody sent a text back saying I had a wrong number.”

“He’s gone. He doesn’t exist.”

“We’re going crazy. People don’t just stop existing.”

“He did.”

“You’re right,” I sighed, “he did.”

“So,” she took a swig off the bottle, “now what?”

“I don’t think there’s really a manual for this sort of thing.”

“There should be,” then, hesitatingly, “what is this sort of thing?”

“Whatever it is, it’s not real. Like, this isn’t happening. I don’t think this is real.”

“It is happening, though,” Hayley murmured, holding the wine. “It’s happening.”

“I’ve been sitting here,” I started, “trying to figure out what we know, like for a fact. I thought it might help.”

“Did it?”

“Fuck no,” I laughed and she almost did. “But this is what happened: James found the phone, leaving a party. He never told us what party—”

“We didn’t ask.”

“I know. But on television shows they reconstruct these things. So, he finds the phone, figures out the password —”

“All fours,” said Hayley, “four means death in Japan.”

“— right? Watches the video, doesn’t recognize his feet in the video? Shows it to us instead of investigating, goes to work? That’s crazy: James doesn’t fucking care about his barista gig,” I said.

“But he went.”

“He went.”

It was silent for a minute or two, the sounds of traffic and night slipping the window, as both of us sat, not saying anything. Finally, Hayley took a swig, then:

“I think I know what happened. Maybe. Wait here,” she said and she left the living room and walked off to her living room. She came back, carrying her laptop.

“Did James ever tell you about that time his school bus crashed,” she said, as she sat down and started to typing.

“He did,” I nodded, “he was like ten and it skidded on black ice. He wrote a story about it. He seemed really freaked out by it.”

She opened up the laptop and passed it over.

“Look.”

The screen was opened to an archived article from a Connecticut newspaper. James’ home state. About a bus crash. One fatality. A ten year old boy. James Han.

“What is this? Did you make this up? Hayley if you made this up I swear to god I swear —”

“I didn’t make it up. I searched for him forever and there was nothing. Like he didn’t exist. Then I found that. It just appeared in a search like it had always been there. Read it if you want. Or don’t. It’s the story he told us. But in this one he dies.”

“Just like he did in the park”

“…yeah, like that.”

“What do you think happened?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “but I think he was dead when we met him. And maybe the James we met was a glitch.”

“So if James was a glitch, are we? Because when I was eleven I —”

“No, Ariel,” she said, calmly, “stop. I don’t want to hear about you almost dying when you were a kid, because I almost died when I was a kid. So what does that make us?”

Neither of us said anything for a moment. Finally, I coughed.

“…do we want to look at the phone?”

“No,” she said, “not tonight. Tonight, I’m going to go take an ambien and go to bed. Let’s talk about this tomorrow. Ok?”

“Ok.”

An hour later, when I was sure she was asleep, I walked out into the kitchen. I didn’t turn on the lights. The traffic signal from the visible intersection outside the apartment glowed green through the slats of the blinds. I picked up the phone. I punched in 4444. It opened.

It was the same as the other: no information, no apps, no photos. One video.

I stared at it until I couldn’t anymore. I hit play.

Whoever was filming was running, causing the camera to bounce up and down nauseously. They were on Sigmund Street which, as one of the major streets near me, I recognized almost immediately. I had the volume down but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear anything. The figure ran, desperate and moving from one side of the street to the other, coming to a sudden stop as they reached Eddelstein Bridge. I saw their shoes, briefly, then there was a long pause. The feet moved from one side to the other, transferring weight, tapping. And then there was something else in the frame. The screen shook, the image growing wildly pixilated, and then the riots colored turned abruptly, mechanical black.

It only took a few minutes to get to the bridge. No one was really out, since the area was mostly retail storefronts which had all been closed for at least a couple of hours at that point. My steps sounded echoey.

I could see her from far away, standing motionless in the blank night. The sky was void of clouds, letting the moonlight translate everything. Especially her.

I didn’t think she was going to move. I thought she’d be like James, but once I was almost twenty feet away, she turned.

“Hey,” she said.

“Hey” I answered, “I’m sorry I watched the tape.”

“Don’t worry,” she waved me off, “I would have if you hadn’t.”

“What do we do now?”

“That’s easy. We tell each other how we died. You go first.”

“Okay,” I said, “I was eleven. It was at school. Sixth grade. I was climbing the rope.”

“I hated the rope.”

“Me too. Before this happened, even. I got to the top and — you know how it was secured to the ceiling? On that latch?”

“Uh huh?”

“It came off the latch.”

“Oh my god.”

“I fell like fifteen feet. Completely fine. No injuries. Everybody told me how lucky I was. But I didn’t feel lucky. I felt like something had fucked up.”

“Like you should have died?”

“Yeah, like there was a mistake.” A car drive by with a missing headlight, an urban cyclops, “what about you?”

“I was sixteen. In my house. I took a bottle of Prozac,” she shrugged, “I liked the irony. Whatever. But, yeah. A week later, I got out of the hospital. The doctor told me it was a miracle I was alive. But I don’t know. Maybe there was just a wrong line of code somewhere. Maybe —”

She didn’t finish her sentence.

Her screams didn’t sound real as the thing broke into her, her eyes flashing sudden vicious strange awareness as her body rose into the air, briefly, her brown and blue new balances twisting inches above the cement, and then she collapsed, twitching on the ground. When she landed I was able to move, but it didn’t matter. She wasn’t there. Just an iPhone in the middle of the street, with a series of spider hairline cracks in the case.

Around noon the next day, I had made it to the living room, staring at the ceiling. My phone buzzed. I had been texting Raj — the guy Hayley had been dating — a few minutes ago.

“yeah for sure come on over. Doing zero rn. what’s the weird thing you wavy to show me?”

“I’ll show you whenI get there,” I typed, “can I bring Hayley?”

“*WANT not wavy :/

But yeah for sure Bring her over. Who is she? I know her”

I looked at the empty spot in the living room where there used to be a grey couch.

“oh wait,” I typed, “she isn’t here rn.”

Credit To – Kevin Sharp

Note: Crossposted from /r/nosleep with explicit permission from the original author.

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The Plague Doctor

May 11, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Ever since I was a child, I always had a crippling fear of doctors. You may wonder why; these individuals were here only to heal us, mend us. Ignoring slight hiccups in medical practice, everything they did was beneficial. And yet, I could not even be in the same room as one without shivering, without the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end.
Maybe it’s because I’m squeamish, I would tell myself. Perhaps it was because my young mind linked pain and illness to them; it would make sense to a child, since you go to the doctors when you aren’t feeling well, maybe they were the ones that caused it. Of course, this didn’t help my fear at all; it probably served to perpetuate it further. But it gave me a small comfort that there was a reason, a rational explanation for having such an irrational fear.
But, in reality, it was because of the nightmares. From the age of eight I suffered horrific dreams, all of which were based in a specific hospital. Unlike your usual sterile building, where smiling nurses would escort patients suffering from all kinds of ailments to the correct rooms to be treated, it was disgusting.
The place seemed abandoned, the walls stained with dark brown over the peeling, sun-bleached walls that have turned to a sickly ivory colour. The ceiling tiles were damaged, exposing the pipes and cables above. Some snaked down, broken and sparking, only to add to the decrepit nature of the place. The furniture was torn and scattered across the floor, if present at all. All of the halls and rooms were poorly lit, as if the backup power was being used to keep the place lit.
What made the dream even more unnerving was that the hospital seemed familiar. As if I had been there before, and that it wasn’t just some place in my head. The second floor of the hospital, and some elements of the main entrance and stairwells, bore an uncanny resemblance to a hospital I went to when I was younger for a check-up. It would make sense that this would be the case; dreams are based very loosely off of what has happened to you, and then are distorted as your brain sifts through the information.
But, it wasn’t the hospital that frightened me. It wasn’t the walls or the ceilings that caused me to wake in fits of shivering and screams. It was what was in the dream with me that frightened me the most.
The creature was tall, gangly, and seemed to have an aura of filth surrounding him. He wore a long, stained coat, similar if not identical to those worn by a doctor. It was closed mostly, but underneath he wore a brown waistcoat, made of leather, and long black trousers, with pointed black shoes, much like that of a suit. His hands were covered in large black rubber gloves. His right glove had syringes strapped to the tops of his fingers, with long, cruel spikes where different hues of green and brown liquid dripped. They were linked to canisters on his back, long sections of translucent tubing connecting them to his fingers.
But his face, or lack there of, was the most terrifying. He wore a mask, made of browning leather, with two large metal rings and thick, green lenses where the eyes would be. Instead of a nose, a long beak protruded from the mask, with a barbed end. The mask covered his face entirely, strapped onto his head. the rest of his head was covered with a black veil, over which the straps were tied, and a small tricorn hat, made of the same material as his trousers, also black.
He would stalk me through my dreams, slowly pacing his way towards me, a distorted chuckle seeping from his mask. I could run as fast as I wanted, I could even try to get out of the hospital. But the doors were always locked, and he would always find me. No-matter where I hid, no-matter where I ran, he would catch me in his left hand. He would hold me up to his lenses, and would seem to inspect me. He would then run his beak over me, before cackling and spearing me with his syringe-glove, injecting me with poison and plague. I could feel myself rotting from the inside out, foaming at the mouth.
And then I would scream.
And then I would wake up.
For years, he tormented me. I couldn’t sleep without him tainting my dreams. I couldn’t daydream without him haunting my thoughts. It got to the point where my parents were even worried about me. I would be sent to psychiatrist after psychiatrist, and each time they would just prescribe the same old pills. Anti-depressants and sleeping pills were the most common, and all they did were make me think about him even more.
I decided to name him when I was ten, after doing a project about the Black Death. I ended up settling with “The Plague Doctor”. His mask resembled that of those old healers, and much like them he wasn’t a doctor at all. He was a quack; he never helped anyone, he only aided the spread of disease and was a harbinger of despair.
As the years passed, my terrors slowly subsided, getting gradually less and less intense. Though he never left me completely, less of my dreams would be centered around the hospital. Some nights I could even get a decent rest, without being interrupted by his presence. He never truly left me, but I could finally go to sleep and not have to worry about being trapped in that building anymore
.
You may be wondering why I’m telling you this now. Why am I telling you about this night terror, about the phantasm that has caused me so much pain? Why am I telling you if I seem to have gotten over it so well, to the point that he no longer haunts my thoughts.
The answer is simple, really: I saw him in real life.
But he wasn’t wearing his long coat, or his cruel glove, or his concealing mask. Now he wore a suit, a ring, and an aged grin. He wasn’t tall and thin anymore, he had become shorter and stouter and older.
When I first walked in here, it was for a routine check-up. Don’t you remember? When I came into the practice, and I locked my gaze with yours. I could see something stiring in your eyes, and then you cracked the slightest of grins. And then I realized why you smiled, and it made me scream.
I had seen you before. I had seen you when I was a child.
Much like now, I was just going in for a routine check-up, that was all. I was just there to have a few injections. Back then, I didn’t really have an issue with doctors, only needles. And I was confident in myself. I told my dad that I could do this on my own. So he dropped me off at the hospital, and said he would meet me at the diner across the street whilst he did some shopping.
I went through the main entrance, climbed the stairs and made my way to your room at the end of the hall. When I sat down, you asked where my parents were, do you remember? I saw no reason to lie, you were a doctor after all. A good man. So I told you that they weren’t here, that I was doing this all by my self. And you nodded, and went to lock the door. And then you grinned at me, like you did when I came for my check-up. And then you injected me. You tied me down and filled me with your poison. I was sick after what you did to me. And then, after you had cleaned me up, and yourself, that if I ever told my parents or anyone about what happened to me here, you would kill my dad. And then you chuckled and sent me on my way.
You aren’t a doctor. You’re a quack, a fake. You didn’t help me. You destroyed me. I was sent out of that room a different child. And within me the seeds of my nightmares germinated, and so it blossomed.
The Plague Doctor is your avatar, an image my mind came up with when to shield me from things I could not understand. It was the horrible monster that would capture me, laugh at me, inject me, poison me. You took my life that day, and created an abomination.
Well, it seems both of us have limited time now. I can hear the sirens outside just as well as you. I guess you take the law more seriously now you’re nearly retired. But that won’t change what I’m about to do. Now I’m going to slay this beast. I’m going to kill the Plague Doctor, once and for all.
And maybe then, I can get a good night’s sleep.

Credit To – Crustacean174

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The New Year Burning

May 6, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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POP-POP-POP-POP!
It was only 9:45 PM and the local kids were already setting off cherry bombs. Lydia expected such, but even so, it startled her to the point of spilling the tea she held in her hand. The hot liquid burned the inside of her thigh, and she cursed under breath.
It was New Year’s Eve, and Lydia was spending it the way she always had: alone, curled up with a good book and a hot beverage. The holiday was just another day for her, and although she did make it a tradition to at least stay up until midnight, she felt no need to spend it with friends or family. She liked the solitude, and often felt awkward around other people.
Getting up to wash the tea from her leg, she passed the once-vibrant Christmas tree whose lights were no longer twinkling. The last time the lights were on was Christmas day. She made a mental note to take it down the following morning, as well as all the other half-assed decorations she had around her house. She often wondered why she bothered putting them up anyway; nobody saw them but her, but old habits die hard.
Grabbing a rag from a drawer in the kitchen, she wiped off the spilled tea and examined her thigh. The spot was red, but nothing too serious. The pain would subside quickly, and as long as she kept a firm grip on her mug, she was sure she would be able to get through the night without too many serious injuries, fireworks or not.
Just then, the phone rang. Forgetting about the burn and figuring one of her family members was calling to wish her a happy new year, she answered.
“Hello?”
She heard laughing in the background, but nobody replied.
“Hello?” she asked again, a little louder.
“Is Joseph there?”
It was a woman’s voice. Lydia could still hear laughing in the background.
“I’m sorry, there’s no Joseph here. You must have the wrong number.”
Then the person on the other end hung up.
Lydia took the phone from her ear and made a flabbergasted facial expression.
“That was rude,” she said, and placed the phone back on the receiver.
As she made her way back into the living room, she heard laughing coming from the front of the house. Immediately reminded of the phone call she just received, Lydia froze to listen. More laughing, and getting louder.
She made her way to her front window and peaked outside. To her relief, a group of teenagers were walking up the sidewalk, sparklers in their hands, laughing up a storm; the boys teasing the girls and the girls giggling their heads off. The street lamps made their shadows bouncy and elongated, reminding Lydia of the shadows she used to see when the power would go out and her family had to rely on candle light. One of the girls pushed one of the boys gently, knocking him off the sidewalk and onto the street. “You’re gonna get it now!” he shouted, and the girl tried to hide behind one of her friends.
Lydia let go of the breath she was holding and closed the curtain. She did not miss being a teenager, although a small part of her felt nostalgic at the thought of interacting with the opposite sex. There was nothing like those first time butterflies, casual glances, and playful teasing. Smiling to herself, she returned to the couch, sipped her tea and began reading her book again.
About an hour passed before the phone rang again. Thinking for sure it would be one of her relatives this time, she got up and answered.
“Hello?”
Again, nobody answered, but she could hear what seemed to sound like a party in the background. She could hear glasses clinking together, music playing in the distance, loud conversation, and the occasional noise maker going off.
“Hello?” she asked again, louder still.
Then she heard what sounded to be someone shuffling the phone about and then nothing. The dial tone was the only thing she could hear now, so she hung up again.
“What the Hell?” she asked to herself.
Aside from the first phone call she received, Lydia figured someone had accidentally butt-dialed her. Letting it go, she returned to the couch.
As midnight approached, Lydia grew increasingly tired, but was determined to stay awake. As she read sentence after sentence, her eyelids felt like they were filling with sand, and she would catch herself closing them for a few seconds. She looked at the clock. It was 11:45.
“Fifteen more minutes; then I can finally turn in,” she said, closing her book and searching for the television remote. Lydia figured the TV would be the perfect distraction as she waited for midnight.
Then, the phone rang again.
Lydia contemplated answering it. It wasn’t usual for her to get any calls period, let alone three in a few hours, wrong numbers or not. Curiosity got the best of her, however, and she walked over to the receiver.
“Hello?” she asked, in an irritated voice.
HONKKKKKKKKKKKK!
A loud noisemaker blasted in Lydia’s ear. She moved the phone away from her head as quickly as she would have if she touched a hot stove.
A man’s voice appeared, and he spoke no louder than an angry whisper:
“Happy New Year, Joseph. You never thought I’d do it, but I will.” The man laughed, and breathed in deeply. “Do you like when things burrrn, Joseph? They’ll try to stop me, but I’ll do it. It will be beautiful.”
Lydia’s brow furrowed. Not knowing how to respond, she said, “Who is this? There is no Joseph here!”
The man on the other end kept his tone to a whisper and said only one more thing before hanging up.
“You’ll burn, too.”
A woman laughed in the background, and then silence.
Lydia slammed the phone down into the receiver. A chill ran up her spine and she looked at the clock. It was almost midnight, but she couldn’t focus on New Year’s when she was shaken to the core.
Without really knowing what to do next, Lydia decided to check all the doors to make sure they were locked and all the blinds to make sure they were closed. Her anxiety rose every time a new firecracker went off in the distance, and she kept having to tell herself that it was nothing but kids horsing around and enjoying the holiday.
When 11:59 rolled around, Lydia crept back onto the couch and huddled underneath a blanket. She braced herself for the impending firecrackers, and when the clock struck 12:00, she closed her eyes.
Several firecrackers and fireworks erupted in the distance, sounding like a mixture of gunfire and explosions. She jumped at every one, holding her breath between every pop and snap, closing her eyes and counting the minutes when it would all be over.
The main hoopla subsided around 12:30. Although she was still shaken up from the prank phone call –if that’s what it even was—she decided she would turn off her ringer and go to sleep. Her heart had had enough action for the night, and all she wanted to do was close her eyes and drift off into a land of nothingness for a few hours.
As her hand went for the Ringer Off button on her phone, it rang once again. Hesitant to pick it up, yet too curious to leave it ringing, she answered the phone for a fourth time.
“Yes?” She asked with a whisper.
It was the same man as before, whispering violently.
“ARE YOU READY JOSEPH? I CAN FEEL THE HEAT ALREADY. IT’S MOVING THROUGH MY VEINS AND WARMING THE SOUL THAT WILL SOON BE DAMNED. OH, JOSEPH. THE TIME IS NOW.”
Then what sounded like a loud air horn went off into the phone, and Lydia dropped it to the ground. She could still hear it going off when she picked it up again and slammed it into the receiver. Turning off the ringer, she ran into the back bedroom, shut the door, and jumped onto her bed. She could still hear firecrackers in the distance, but eventually her heart slowed and she was able to lie down. She wasn’t able to fall asleep until around 2:00 AM, but she did eventually drift off into that land of nothingness.

***

“I’m here, Joseph. It’s happening.”
Lydia’s eyes fluttered open to the sound of a man talking and the smell of smoke. Startled awake, she found she was lying on her bathroom floor with the door closed. She was unable to process how she got there because panic took over her body.
“It’s going to be so beautiful, and you won’t be able to stop me.”
A woman giggled, and then Lydia heard what sounded like scratching on the door. She suddenly felt like she was being pressed to death, unable to get up or do anything because the fear she felt was so strong. After a few seconds, she recognized the voices as the ones she heard on the phone earlier.
Lydia heard a loud bang as if something large had been dropped outside the door, and she jumped, tears beginning to stream down her face. Too scared to do anything, she put her hand to her mouth and waited to see if anything else would happen, all the while, the smell of smoke getting stronger. Lydia felt her stomach drop.
More scratching up and down her door, and then the man whispering again:
“It’s gonna burn. It’s gonna burrrrrn.”
Whoever was on the other side of the door suddenly ran out of the room, so Lydia jumped up and tried the door.
Jammed. Something was blocking it from the outside, just as she expected.
Lydia pressed her ear against the door and listened. From the distance, she heard the man and woman laughing.
“It’s getting hot! The flames are spreading!” the man screamed.
Putting two and two together, Lydia figured the people in her home were going to burn the house down, with her in it. Looking up at the only other way out, her heart sank. There was no way she would be able to fit through the tiny bathroom window.
“Let me out!” Lydia screamed, hoping against hope someone would open the door. The only response she heard was more laughter. In the distance, she heard glass break.
Lydia tried the knob again, and found that it was becoming warm.
“Whoever you are, please let me out! I’ll give you anything you want, just please let me out of here!”
Silence. She pressed her face against the door and felt a slight heat. She turned and faced the mirror, almost not recognizing herself because the terror in her face made her look completely different. “I’m going to die,” she thought. “What a great way to start off the New Year.”
Lydia leaped to her feet and grabbed the toilet tank lid. Without thinking of anything else, she started hitting it against the door knob, hoping she could somehow break the door open. Smoke started coming through under the door, and Lydia started pounding faster. With every hit, Lydia let out a desperate cry. After a few minutes, Lydia thought she wasn’t going to be able to do it, but with one final smack, the door knob fell to the ground.
Lydia pushed the door with all her strength, but it was futile. Whatever those people pushed in front of the door, it was not going anywhere. In a fit of rage, Lydia slammed the palms of both her hands into the door over and over, screaming until she started coughing; the smoke and heat coming into the bathroom was beginning to become too much.
With resignation, Lydia sank to the floor. Her eyes began to sting and it was getting too hard to breathe. She was becoming light-headed.
She looked over to the small bathroom window and thought “I could have at least opened it and screamed for help.” She closed her eyes, heat enveloping her body. Her final thought before passing out was, “Who the fuck is Joseph? I hope he had a better New Year’s Eve than I did.”
It took eight minutes for the fire department to respond, but by then it was too late.

Credit To – Aja

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A Blackstone Family Thanksgiving

April 23, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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It was all over the papers, though no one really knew how the events unfolded. On the surface, it looked like the perfect Thanksgiving. The turkey was cooked to golden perfection. Steam still rose from the freshly baked dinner rolls and the house was filled with the scent of cinnamon and melted butter from the pumpkin pie and candied yams. Each family member sat around the table dressed in their Sunday best, ready to enjoy the feast before them. Yet, this picturesque scene, which could have easily been the cover of Home and Garden Magazine, was revealed to be under the surface, a gruesome tableau of a family fallen. Foul play was afoot this Thanksgiving. Five corpses sat around this untouched meal.

Claude and Mildred Blackstone earned their money on the backs of the hard-working, indentured servants who ran their plantation. Claude ruled the farm with an iron hand during the day and Mildred kept a household that was as strict as it was spotless. The two ice-cold children, which consisted of bratty Cynthia and Toby (who earned a reputation for frequenting the servant’s quarters at odd hours of the night), had just reached young adulthood. The children occupied themselves with their own preoccupations, as did the rest of the Blackstone household. Uncle Percival (Claude’s youngest brother) was generally considered to be a good man as the priest of the local parish of Farenville, but was not without his secrets.

Claude had recently taken ill with tuberculosis, and it was clear he was not long for this world. This had left Toby and Cynthia with a conundrum. They were the next of kin and the fortune that they would stand to inherit was substantial. By the laws of the township, it was known that the entire fortune would go to Toby, being the first born male son. This, of course, did not sit well with Cynthia and she soon began plotting to remove Toby from the picture. However, despite Toby’s apparent thickness, he was wise to his sister’s plans and developed his own. Cynthia’s vanity would be her downfall. A simple tampering with her cosmetics would be the end for her, but not before Cynthia’s knowledge of her brother’s sweet tooth would have him find an added ingredient in his beloved saltwater taffy. Both Blackstone children died silently in their sleep.

Percival had always been jealous of Claude’s success and affluence, but most of all, his wife. He had been in love with Mildred since they were children, but it was Claude who had won her heart and they married young. Yet, the passion had faded from their marriage years ago, and now Percival found himself making more and more house calls to the Blackstone home. He and Mildred met in the woods to confront their secret love for each other, but religion and family obligation kept them from fully reconciling their passion, even despite Mildred’s discovery of Claude’s liaisons with the servants. Percival would listen patiently as Mildred confessed her hate for her husband daily. Though he knew that Mildred was a woman scorned, she would never abandon her family.

On the night before Thanksgiving, Percival came and met Claude in the kitchen just as he was leaving to rendezvous with the head housekeeper. Claude’s breath was stinking of whiskey, and Percival’s patience was at an end. The hatred these two had for one another in this moment climaxed from a low simmer to a rolling boil, and neither could suppress it any longer. Claude swung at his brother and missed. Percival, reaching for the only thing he find handy, drove his crucifix directly through his brother’s heart. In horror of what he had done, Percival left the kitchen that Thanksgiving Eve, and ran to his parish to pray.

When Mildred came down for her nightly cup of tea and saw her husband dead on the floor, she quickly called for her children. When they didn’t answer, she ran up to their room only to discover each child dead in their beds. Mildred screamed and wailed, crumbling to the floor in despair. However, moments later, as though nothing had happened, she rose, wiped her tears, and calmly dragged the bodies of her children one by one, downstairs to the dining room. She then gathered her husband’s body from the kitchen. All night long she prepared them, dressing them in their finest clothes, cleaning their wounds, and arranging them around the table.

Percival spent the night praying in the church and that next morning came to the house ready to confront his sins and beg Mildred’s forgiveness. As he reached the house, he called out for Mildred. He heard her familiar, elegant voice echo from the dining hall, “In here.” Percival entered. The table was set for all of them, the lifeless bodies sat around the Thanksgiving feast. A bottle rested between two glasses of wine. Percival’s shock and confusion left him speechless. All thoughts of his own confession to Mildred had left his mind. As he stammered to ask Mildred for an explanation, she smiled sweetly and handed him a glass of wine. “Drink,” she said, “and we can all be a family again.” Percival drank the wine as he was told. The poison worked quickly.

Mildred, finally, with her entire family around her, took her own glass in her hand. Still with that sweet smile that had so charmed the late Percival, she drank. She never screamed as the poison ate its way through her intestines.

Credit To – Starr Hardgrove

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Thief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rigaut spits at the old man’s feet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The old man snaps his fingers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new piece of art is now adorning the Wall.

Credit To – MrDupin

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BlackOut

April 8, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 7.2/10 (266 votes cast)

BlackOut : Original Short Horror Film

This is a video pasta. If the embedded video is not loading for you, please click the link above to go directly to the video’s YouTube page and try watching it there.

Credit To – directed by Calum MacPhail, music by Michael Whitehouse

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