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The Manor House

January 3, 2017 at 12:00 AM
Rating: 9.7. From 3 votes.
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Part 1: Discovery

Let me start by saying, I’m no professional writer. I just have a story to tell.

Every summer my parent’s would drive from our home in rural Lincolnshire, to our holiday home in a little village in the West Norfolk coast. I won’t say where exactly, but it was a beautiful village, a 10 minute walk away from the beach. All the houses were made from Norfolk stone and flint, quiet, picturesque and the kind of place where everyone knows each other; there was a real sense of community. I loved it there. My house was in the heart of the village, it was called Manor Lodge because it used to be living quarters for the servants who worked in the Manor House that backed on to my garden. The Manor House had been abandoned since I could remember. No one ever went back there and no one knew who owned it, so it was just forgotten about. Left to become derelict.

I would spend my time playing with my friends Dylan and Peggy, their parents had holiday caravans on the main site in the village so we spent a lot of time together in the school holidays. We would ride our bikes to the beach and play, or hang out in the park, typical things 10 year old kids would do. In 2001 it was normal for parents to let kids out unsupervised until dusk fell. That was our call to go home, before the darkness descended. And, seeing as we were in a safe village, no one really worried about us.

My story starts here. It was the beginning of the summer holidays and neither Dylan nor Peggy had arrived with their families for the summer. I had been at our house for a week already and I was bored so I went out into the garden to play. Our garden was fairly large, a few flower beds that my mum liked keeping herself busy with and a conservatory where my dad sat in a lounger and fell asleep in most days. The end of the garden was like a mini forest. Noting major, save for a few all trees that I could hide under, or make a den in. This particular morning I found the very end of the garden. A 6 foot wooden fence sealing off the boundary. It was quite rotten and was clear that no one had been back here to check on it for quite some time. Now, me being me, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to kick a hole in the rotting wood and see what was on the other side; I was quite a curious and inquisitive kid so I just went for it.

When I made a hole big enough I wasted no time in scrambling through. I found myself in a small, over grown field. Tall, yellowing grass and thistles dominated the expanse but it was quite easy to navigate my way through. I was tall for a 10 year old so I could see over the top of it with ease. The Manor House was on my right. I had to stomp down a path to the middle of the field before the surrounding trees subsided and the house came into view. It was huge, more of a Mansion than a Manor. Dark red brick, brown, wooden window panes and covered in thick ivy. I carried on making my path until the field ended and a gravelled driveway at the front of the house appeared. The front door was incredible. Painted black wood with cast iron decoration, it was like something out of a Harry Potter film. I noticed a small number 1 etched into the wood; I just assumed it was the house number.

I lifted the cast iron latch and tried to shove the door open but it must have been locked from the inside. On the right of the door there was a window that looked into what I though was the living room. I pressed my face to the glass trying to see inside. It was pretty much empty. Old fashioned wall paper had been ripped from the walls and there were crayons strewn all over the floor. It looked like a child had ripped the paper down so they could draw on the walls, but the room was so big I couldn’t quite make out what the drawings were. As I mentioned before, I was quite a curious kid, so I scouted the exterior of the house to try and find another way in. I carried on walking along the right hand side of the house when I came to a small side door over grown with ivy. We don’t have poison ivy in England so I knew I’d be ok pulling as much of it off the door as I could. You might think this was predictable, but this was genuinely what happened, as I pulled the ivy off the door I saw the latch was broken, it didn’t shut properly so it was ajar, ready for anyone to walk in.

Opening the door and stepping inside, I found myself in a small corridor that lead to the living room and what I assumed was the kitchen beyond. I wanted to see the drawings so the living room was my first stop. As I entered, a pungent smell hit me, stale and damp, like something had died in there. Holding my sleeve over my nose I walked up to the back wall where the drawings were and took a closer look. They were clearly a child’s drawings, simple but had enough detail to know what was happening. My eyes widened as I processed what it was I was seeing. They had drawn a story. A dark story. An expressionless, young girl, I think about my age, was pictured holding hands with a black silhouette of a man, he was terrifying. As my eyes scanned to the next drawing he was beating her with his bare fists, a punch reigning down onto her face, another showing him twisting her arms behind her back, her bones snapping like twigs; all the while the girl was completely expressionless. The last drawing was of the girl locked in a cupboard under the stairs. It looked like she was banging against the door, crying and trying to get out. It surprised me to see this was the only drawing she had an expression in; it was one of true desperation and fear. The man wasn’t in the last picture, but the child had started to write something in black crayon. The letters R U N were shakily drawn onto the wall, but before the child had a chance to finish the letter N it trailed off, the crayon mark furiously running across the wall as if being dragged away. I followed the crayon as it ran across and then down to where the wall met the floorboards. I wasn’t expecting there to be anything else but I was wrong. Splatters of deep red were at the end of the crayon trail as well as on the floor. It didn’t take a genius to realise what it was…Whoever drew those pictures died right after drawing the last one.

I ran. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, right back through the side door, through the field and back into the safety of my garden. My mum was in the flower bed and saw my disheveled appearance.

“Are you ok love? You look like you’ve seen a ghost back there!”

“I- I’m fine mum. I just got a bit too into the game I was playing, that’s all.”

I hurried back into my house and didn’t come out for the rest of the day. Something bad happened in the Manor House, and I wanted to know what… But there was no way in hell I was going back there on my own.

Part 2: Investigation

Dylan and Peggy arrived 2 days later. I hadn’t stopped thinking about what I saw in the Manor House. Who drew those pictures? What happened to them? Who was that man? These questions floated about in my head but I couldn’t figure it out with the little information I knew. I had to tell Dylan and Peggy, I wanted them to come with me.

The day after they arrived, they both came over to my house. “Guys, I have to tell you something but you have gotta’ promise not to tell your parents ok? Swear?” Dylan and Peggy both glanced at each other, obviously hooked on what I was going to tell them.

“Ok” said Dylan, “What is it?”

“The Manor House…” I told them, “I went there 2 days ago. I saw… Well, I don’t really know what I saw, this is why we need to go back”

Dylan was always keen for an adventure, Peggy not so much.

“Alice, what exactly did you see?”

Peggy asked, a little unsure of what I was asking her.

“This is the thing.” I replied, “I saw drawings, kids drawings, but they weren’t of dogs, or fairies, or anything like the stuff we draw Peg’s. They were… dark. The last one was just a word, RUN.”

My 10 year old self couldn’t quite describe the menacing, murderous drawings accurately. But Peggy understood.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” she asked both Dylan and I, “Won’t we get into trouble?”

“Oh come on, Pegs!” Dylan exasperated at her, “This sounds awesome! Don’t you want to explore?”

“Fine! I’ll go, but I still don’t think it’s a good idea” Peggy folded her arms and winced as she asked her next question.

“So, when are we going to do this?”

“Now!” I quickly answered back, “I need to figure this out guys and I don’t want to go alone. I’m scared.”

We walked down to the end of the garden, through the gap in the fence, followed the path to gravelled drive and walked to the side door I found 2 days ago.

“Through here, follow me” I beckoned to them. Both Peggy and Dylan followed and I showed them the drawings in the living room. “See?” I said, “What do you think?”

Dylan took a closer look. “I thought you said they stopped with the word RUN?” he said, confusion in his voice.
“It- it did”

Underneath the word there was a new picture. A little girl in a pink jacket was holding hands with the silhouette man. It definitely wasn’t there the day before.

“Alice, I really don’t like this. Can we go?” Peggy said this with unease, like she was truly afraid. I didn’t understand why until 2 days later.

We made our way back into the hallway, and there he was. A tall, black silhouette of a man stood at the end of the hall blocking access to the main entrance hall. All 3 of us froze, staring into the only part of him that had any features; his gleaming white, evil eyes. The form moved towards us with a jolt. We turned and ran.

Panicked and in shock we raced through the field and I lost Dylan and Peggy.
My parent’s weren’t home when I made it back to my bedroom. I slumped down onto the bedroom floor, my back pressed against the door and tried to catch my breath. I assumed Dylan and Peggy made it out of the house as I was certain I heard them running after me. Kid’s didn’t have mobile phones back then so it wasn’t like I could text them to make sure they were ok. I had to just hope…

Dylan finally showed up 2 days later. His mum saw what state he had returned back to his caravan in and thought he was ill so kept him in for a couple days until he appeared better. Neither of us had seen Peggy. We went to knock for her at her caravan but no one was home. Her parents were very sociable people so were probably at the beach or out with friends for the day so we didn’t think much of it.

Dylan and I played for most of the morning. Neither of us brought up the Manor House incident. I think we were both scared to even think about it, let alone talk about it. We were pretending like nothing happened and, to be honest, I was more than ok with it. This was probably the one time that my curiosity was curbed through pure, unadulterated fear.

As lunch time approached, Dylan was getting ready to go home. He left his bike in my back garden so went to go get it.

“Uh, Alice, is that Peggy?”

I squinted to the trees at the very back of the garden and sure enough there she was!

“Oh my god, Peg’s!” I cried out, “Where have you been? We called for you but no one was there.”

Peggy smiled. “I’m ok” she said, “I’ve been playing in the field. Come and play.”

Peggy disappeared back into the trees so Dylan and I followed, eager not to lose her again. We were all stood in the over grown field, unsure of what to do next.

“I keep thinking about the Manor House” Peggy casually told us, shocking both Dylan and I.

Peggy seemed so afraid the last time we went, and now Dylan and I were afraid too. How could she seem so nonchalant about what happened?

“Really?” I replied, “Why?”

“I don’t know. I just feel drawn to it. I want to go back inside. Come with me?”

She was very eager for us to say yes, so we reluctantly agreed. Were we mad?! 2 days ago we were running from an evil presence in that house and now we were going back?! It was classic, ‘Don’t go in there!’ horror story moment, but we stupidly did it anyway.

We slowly walked up to the front door and decided what to do next. I surveyed my surrounding again, familiarising myself with quick exit routes should I need to run again, when I noticed the number 1 on the doorway was scratched out, and in it’s place was a freshly etched 2. Weird, I thought.

I refused to go back into the living room so this time we chose to explore the kitchen. Peggy seemed a little more anxious now she was back inside the house, which although was a bad thing, it was more normal than her carefree attitude to the situation outside; that unnerved me much more.

The kitchen was tidy, no plates or bowls, kitchen equipment or anything like that left around, but an inch thick layer of dust coated the counters, cupboard doors hung off of their brackets and mice droppings everywhere. It looked like it hadn’t been touched for years. Strange considering someone must have been living here, I mean, who else could’ve added that drawing in the living room? Or changed the door number to 2?

We had a look in some of the cupboards, wiping away the dust but found nothing unusual or out of the ordinary. Dylan kept a look out for the silhouette man, but he never showed. Maybe we imagined it? As I was scoping out a cupboard that was full of canned food from 1902, Dylan called out to us, laughing.

“Guys, a crayon just rolled through the doorway…”

“Ha, we’re in a creepy house, you’d think something more frightening would appear through the door than a crayon!” I replied trying to stifle my laughs. Although I was scared, I took this opportunity to laugh down the situation we were in, make it appear like I was less frightened than I was, and to be honest, laughing at a crayon was helping.

I followed Dylan through the kitchen side door that led into the main entrance hall. It was a large room with a double staircase to right side, double doors that led out into a courtyard at the rear and the dark wooden door with the cast iron decorations to the front. The door was bolted shut from the inside; that’s why I couldn’t get in the first time I came here. Dylan was stood by the side of the stairs, holding the black crayon that rolled into the kitchen. The stairs cupboard door was open and he was transfixed on whatever it was that was inside.

“Dylan? What’s the matter?” I asked as I walked up to stand next to him. When I saw what was inside the cupboard under the stairs I gasped.

“What the-?”

The walls were covered with bloody finger nail scratches, like someone had desperately tried to get out. I instantly remembered the drawing in the living room of the terrified little girl locked in the cupboard under the stairs. This blood was fresh… The person’s fingernails had come off on to the wall they had scratched so much. It was a scene of absolute horror. In a state of disbelief I noticed something crumpled in a pile on the floor of the cupboard.

“Dylan, what’s that?”

Dylan bent down to pick up the heap of pink material and we realised.

“Wasn’t Peggy wearing this jacket when we came here the other day?” Dylan asked me.

She was. Peggy’s pink jacket was now on the floor of the cupboard under the stairs, soaked in still wet blood. And above it on the only clean patch of wall was a drawing of the silhouette man, his eyes boring into us like he was coming for us next.

A scream erupted throughout the house and that was all it took to jolt Dylan and I from our shocked states and once again run from the house. Dylan dropped Peggy’s jacket and sprinted to go back through the kitchen and out the side door, but our pathway was blocked.

Silhouette man was stood in the kitchen door way, this time grinning at us; he made no other movement which rattled me to the core. Why didn’t he come for us? Thinking quickly, I remembered the front door could be unbolted from the inside. Dylan followed me to the door and helped me with cast iron bolts. They were heavy and stiff, I couldn’t have moved them on my own. When we saw daylight again I was relieved. The house was so dark and dingy it was easy to lose track of what time of day it was, and something about the light felt safe. I didn’t look back until I was once again in my garden, Dylan behind.

“Where’s Peggy?” I asked, panting for breath.

“I don’t know” Dylan replied, equally as exhausted, “I thought she was following me, but I guess not.”

Just as he finished his sentence, my dad came out into the garden with Dylan’s parents and 2 police officers.

Part 3: Over-Active Imaginations

“Alice, Dylan. You need to come inside. Now.” My dad demanded.

We obediently followed, thinking we were about to get the telling off of our lives for trespassing, but when one of the officers opened his mouth and started talking I was absolutely dumbfounded.

“Alice. Dylan. I’m sure you are aware by now your friend Peggy Langdon has been missing for 2 days. Have you seen her in the last 48 hours?”

I literally couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“No she hasn’t…” I replied in confusion, “She was just with us. We were exploring the Manor House. I know we shouldn’t have been in there, but she was honestly just with us!”

Dylan nodded furiously in agreement as I began to explain everything to the police officers.

“I went exploring on my own about 5 days ago. I got a bit freaked out because I saw some weird drawings on one of the walls in the house. Peggy and Dylan came back there with me so I could show them and it freaked them out too. That’s when we saw him. The silhouette man! We ran and then we all didn’t see each other for 2 days. Peggy showed up this morning in my garden and she wanted to go back to the house. We found blood and fingernails and a pink jacket we thought was Peggy’s under the stairs. We got scared and ran again. We’ve all just come back from there… At least, I thought we all came back…”

I trailed off realising that when we got back to the garden Dylan pointed out that Peggy wasn’t with us.

“A pink jacket did you say?”

“Yes,” Dylan replied, “It was in the cupboard under the stairs, along with the blood and the fingernails. We thought Peggy must have dropped it when we ran away the first time, she wasn’t wearing it when we saw her today”.

“Children… Peggy was wearing a pink jacket the day she went missing. Are you sure she was with you today?”

I tried hard to think back to the first day we all went to the house; the day the police claim Peggy disappeared. And I remembered… As clear as day I remembered the new drawing in the living room. The drawing of the little girl in the pink jacket holding silhouette man’s hand. I remembered being freaked out that a new drawing had appeared. I remembered seeing silhouette man standing in the doorway of the living room, and I remembered me, Dylan and Peggy running. Peggy running in her pink jacket… Only, I lost them both when I returned to the garden.

“We were with her right up until I found the cupboard…” Dylan pondered.

I burst into tears at the realisation my friend was gone. It all added up. But I was JUST with her!? My mum enveloped me in a hug and tried to soothe me but I was just inconsolable.

“We need to investigate the house immediately. If what you are saying is true, then that blood may belong to Peggy Langdon. Thank you for your time children. I’m so, so sorry this is happening to you.”

The two officers left and within the hour there were more police officers with their sniffer dogs, forensic tents going up and men in white overalls flooding our back garden; searching the fence and the Manor House for any clue as to where Peggy could have gone. That evening, the tents were taken down as quickly as they were put up and the police left the area. I didn’t understand. Didn’t investigations take a lot longer than a few hours? I was playing with Peggy at lunch time and now it was almost 10pm and the police had pretty much left. All but 2 officers remained and they looked extremely irritated. There was a knock on our front door and my mum answered.

“Mrs Taylor, may we have a word with you and Alice?”

She called me down from the confines of my bedroom and the scalding began.

“Alice.” One of the officers addressed me. “Did you know it is against the law to waste police time?”

I obediently nodded and waited for him to carry on.

“Good. So you know that making up stories about your friend when they are missing is very wrong and scared her parents into thinking she was dead?”

At this remark a look of bewilderment spread across my face and I couldn’t hide it even if I tried.

“I wasn’t making it up! It happened! I swear it did! I was with Peggy at lunch time!” I couldn’t have sounded more exasperated if I tried. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t believe me until he spoke again.

“Alice, we searched that house for all the things you said. The blood, nails, even the drawings… There was nothing. Not a trace. We didn’t even find her pink jacket. There was no evidence to even suggest you, yourself, had been in that house.”

In frustration and anger I screamed and I cried. What was happening? My head felt completely scrambled and I couldn’t make sense of anything that was going on. Reality was a blur now and I didn’t know what to believe. The icing on the cake what when the officer continued,

“We haven’t been able to find Dylan since we spoke to you both earlier. His mum found a black crayon in his room, but nothing else out of the ordinary. Do you know where he is?”

I shook my head and tried to speak through my sobs.

“He- might- be- hiding- at- the- park. He – doesn’t- like- getting- told- off-“ I managed.

“Thank you Alice,” the officer replied, “And Mrs Taylor, I think your child may have an over active imagination. You might want to take her to see someone. Might be ADHD. You know what those kids are like…”

The officer shook his head at me then called his colleague to leave. I was still sobbing away in my mum’s arms. Fatigued and emotional my dad took me off of my mother and carried me upstairs to bed where my mum changed me into my yellow pyjamas. I drifted off to sleep quickly through sheer exhaustion.

The next day passed fairly quickly. I slept for the majority of the day and refused to talk to anyone or come out of my room. Every hour I’d look out of my bedroom window to the back garden and try to relive what happened. Try to make sense of it, but no matter how hard I tried to organise the events in my mind, I just couldn’t. It was impossible.

At 6 o’clock in the evening my parents announced they were going for dinner and tried to persuade me to come. I ignored them and after 15 minutes of trying, they left and told me to come get them if I needed them. They were going to the pub next door to our house so weren’t far away. To be honest, I was glad for the peace and quiet. I took comfort in being alone, adult’s were untrustworthy in my mind now and their presence disgruntled me.

7 o’clock passed and I did my new ritual of looking out of the window to try and piece my thoughts together, when I saw them…They were stood at the bottom of the garden waving at me, beckoning me to come outside. I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and looked again. Dusk was beginning to fall and the sky was an incredible burnt orange colour, but it was still bright enough to make out who it was at the bottom of the garden. I sprinted out of my room, down the stairs and straight out the backdoor that led to the garden.

“Peggy! Dylan! I knew I wasn’t lying!”

I raced over to them but before I got there they ran into the trees and back through the hole I kicked in the fence. I chased after them in elation that I knew I wasn’t going mad, or fabricating stories about my friends. They were here, not missing, and I knew it! I knew it! I could hear Peggy laughing with delight, and I followed her giggles all the way to the front door of the house. The numbers 3 and 4 were now etched into the front door and I still couldn’t figure out why but at this point I didn’t care. I just wanted my friend’s back. I wanted to prove to everyone that I wasn’t lying. I hesitated at the front door a little while longer, remembering all the negative things that happened in this house until I was snapped back to reality by Dylan calling my name.

“Aaaliiccee!” he chanted. “Aaaliiccee!”

I took one last look at the beautiful summer night sky and proceeded to follow Dylan’s chant to the living room. No one was in there and the room fell silent upon my entrance. A wave of dread suddenly filled my body at the realisation I never actually followed them into the house. I was here on my own. Looking over at the back wall the drawings were there clear as day, except this time, another new drawing was added. The picture of a girl in yellow pyjamas with the number 4 scrawled above her head, holding silhouette man’s hand. It was me…

Part 4:The Legend Of Alice

“And that was the last time anyone saw Alice again.” Toby announced proudly as he retold ‘The legend of Alice Taylor’ to his little brother, Harry, and Lily his school friend.

Toby’s grandparents bought Manor Lodge, Alice’s former house, 5 years after her disappearance. Because of it’s background history his grandparents bought it incredibly cheap. They knew the full story but they weren’t worried. Their child, Toby’s mum, was grown up and had moved out with her husband so it was just his grandparent’s that occupied the house. That was until his grandmother got dementia and kept wandering off… It was then that his grandfather decided to move them to assisted living accommodation and passed the house over to Toby’s parents. And then along came Toby, then Harry 2 years later.

Toby was a confident 13 year old boy, he had a lot of friends and was well known within the village for being a bright, aspiring boy. The kids at the village school talked about Alice regularly and a few even claimed to have gone to the house but those kids were exposed to be lying when they couldn’t prove where they gained access. The house was well guarded with barbed wire fencing and ‘No Entry’ signs warning people away from the dangers the house might contain. Alice and her friends went missing roughly 20 years ago now and the village tried hard to forget. It was never brought up by adults and if anyone mentioned it, it was quickly shut down as a legend and untrue to protect the villages credibility and safety.

But Toby being Toby, had other ideas. He wanted to the top dog of the school, and by proving he had gone to Manor House, he could gain that status. It would be easy for Toby, his house backed onto the Manor House after all. If anyone was likely to gain access it was him.

It was Saturday morning, around 9am, and Toby, Lily and Harry stole a pair of wire cutters from his dad’s toolbox in the garage and made their way to the end of the garden. A thick wire fence sealed off the boundary which Toby was able to cut through with ease. His dad would be furious when he found out he ruined the fence; It was incredibly expensive to put up. But at this point, Toby didn’t care. They all scurried through, being careful not to tear their clothes on the freshly cut wire, and found themselves in the over grown field, just like in the legend…

“Ok,” Toby said with assertiveness, “We need to do what Alice did and make a path that leads to the middle of the field. Then we should see the house on the right. Ready?”

Both Harry and Lily shook their heads. They had heard the story countless times before on the school playground, and even though it was said to just be a legend, they still believed it enough to be put off from going there properly.

“Can’t we just watch from here?” Lily replied nervously.

Toby scoffed, “Fine, but I get to call you both wimps for the rest of the year!”

Lily and Harry were willing to take that risk. Being called a wimp was better than being arrested for trespassing. They helped Toby make a path to the middle of the field but stopped when they saw the house. Toby continued stomping down the grass, it was harder than it looked and he wondered how on earth a 10 year old girl could manage to do this on her own, let alone a 13 year old boy.

Eventually, he got to the gravel driveway and took a moment to catch his breath and take in the enormity of the Manor House. It was just like they described in the legend; dark and menacing. But this spurred Toby to investigate even more. He walked up to a window that caught his eye, something was glinting from inside. As he peered through he saw it was the kitchen, a steel saucepan hanging up on the wall glinting in the sun. On closer inspection Toby noticed drawings all over the kitchen walls. It looked like a kid had drawn them with crayon.

“Who uses crayon’s anymore? Haha!” Toby laughed to himself, it was all about gel pens in school now, crayons were lame.

But none the less, he wanted to see what the drawings were a bit closer up. In the legend the drawings were in the living room; maybe the legend was wrong?

Alice was stood in the corner of the kitchen, hoping with all her might that the young boy outside the window could see her drawings; could see that the drawings were of him, locked in the cupboard under the stairs. But he appeared to ignore her warnings.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you…” She whispered.

As Toby walked up to the huge front door he thought he heard a voice, but shook it off and told himself to stop being stupid. The legend wasn’t true after all. He stopped and took in the beautiful features of the door as he opened it. Dark slats with cast iron decoration and the number 5 etched into the wood…

Credit: Alice1nWonder

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Death Gave Me a Choice

December 27, 2016 at 12:00 AM
Rating: 8.7. From 116 votes.
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Death came to me that night as I sat numbly in a puddle of my own desperate blood and tears. And when I saw him, a tall entity clothed in a robe so black it reached past the depths of darkness I felt inside my heart.

I’d been upset. Not about one thing in particular, but multiple things.

I’d made so many mistakes, that trying to put myself back together had become harder than reassembling a broken egg shell.

A year earlier, I’d lost the most important person in my life. The only girl I truly loved: Penny. I could only blame myself. I’d spent the past year blaming myself for betraying her, betraying her trust.

She’d found a new guy, a better guy than I am. One that brought her flowers, took her out on fancy dates, was loyal to her. And all that reminded me of how many chances I used to have to do all those things for her.

6 months earlier the guilt and pain got to me – tore at my soul – and to numb the pain I took sleeping pills will alcohol every night, dreading the moment I’d wake up to another sunny, lonely day.

4 months earlier, I lost my job and my scholarship because the depression and substance abuse kept me rooted to the spot. I didn’t want to face a world where I’d have to watch everyone else swim, as I’m slowly sinking.

3 months earlier I lost my friends and family as well; I’d become distant and emotionless. I turned down invites, didn’t show up for holiday get-togethers, blew up on anyone who told me I needed help.

I was in chaos, and I could only blame myself.

1 month earlier, I’d bought the small rectangular case of razors. Adding self abuse to the substance abuse. I’d feel the smallest release when I felt the sharp sting and saw the deep red flow down my wrist.

And that night, I called my ex girlfriend slightly tipsy, but truthful all the same. I told her I loved her, I begged for another chance, I cried harder than I’d cried in months just at the sound of hearing her voice.

She told me one thing and one thing only, “I don’t love you anymore, Calvin. And I never will.”

She hung up the phone immediately after, and all I could do was stare blankly at the corner of the room. But as everything hit me at once, it hit me harder than a car going full speed.

I didn’t hesitate. I swallowed the rest of my sleeping pills, gulped down the remaining vodka straight from the bottle, and I used those razors to cut deeper than I’d ever cut.

So here I sat, hopeless and alone. But I wasn’t alone. I’d looked down at my bloody wrists for mere seconds, and when I looked back up he was there.

A normal person would have been hysterical and afraid, but I wasn’t normal anymore. I wasn’t surprised he was there. No, I welcomed it.

“Calvin,” he spoke in the most baritone voice I’d ever heard – lower than the voice overs on every movie preview – and he said that one word with a disapproving sigh.

The way he said it made me feel like a kid again, as if I’d done something and lied about it. But I wasn’t lying now. The proof was in the mess that was myself at that moment.

I sobbed shakily, “I-I’m sorry,” I said. For whatever reason, I felt like I had to apologize, so I did.

“You’ve spent a long time being sorry, Calvin. But not once did you say sorry to yourself.”

A crease formed in between my eyebrows as I mulled over what he’d just said. It came to me slowly. He wanted me to see that my only enemy was myself.

“Do you give all of the souls you come across helpful advice? I thought you were Death, not a psychologist,” I raised an eyebrow at him, still unnerved by the fact that I was looking into an endless black hold where his face should be.

He forced a deep, short laugh, “No. Mostly just the ones like you, that take it into their own hands to decide fate. It’s not up to you Calvin.”

“Sooo you give advice to your suicide victims. What does that mean?”

He sighed again, as if he’d explained this thousands of times before; I’m sure he had. “It means you don’t get to decide this. It means I’m giving you another perspective.”

I stood up, curiosity hanging on ever word. “What perspective would that be? The only way I see things is that I’m a horrible, crap excuse for a human being. So why be afraid of dying when I’m more afraid to live? I had to do this. I needed to do this.”

“And I’m showing you, Calvin, what living can do for you.” A hint of persuasion sounded in his voice.

“Tell me, Death. What do I have to live for?” The question came out harshly, but he didn’t flinch.

“Listen closely. What if I told you that you’d make it through this depression, not fully healed but controlled by medication and therapy. What if I told you that because you’ll overcome this depression, you’ll get another job. And the job will pay for the education you dissed. When you’re done with that education, you’ll be admired. Admired by your friends..your family..and most importantly your ex girlfriend. They’ll see the greatness in you that you know you have. They’ll be proud of that change. You won’t be able to looks at a bottle of vodka without being sick. And what if I told you that your career will pay for the expensive ring you’ll use to propose to your one and only. And you’ll be able to give her all the flowers and dates and loyalty you’d failed to give before. Most importantly, what if I told you you’d be able to give her a dream wedding as well? And give her two beautiful children: a girl and a boy. What if I told you you’d be missing out on life by choosing to give up?”

Tears rimmed my eyes opaquely, “I can be happy again?” I asked hopefully, afraid of what the answer might be.

But his answer was the biggest relief I’d ever felt, “Yes, you can be happy again.”

I wiped my wet cheeks and cracked a trembling smile, “I’d say I want to live.”

“Then I am no longer needed,” the finality in his voice diminished the tension I’d felt before.

As I grinned wider, I let out a half cry-half chuckle, “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

“Now go to the hospital, get your stomach pumped and seal up you wounds. Goodbye,” and in a flash the black void that was him vanished.

For days afterward couldn’t get rid
of that smile. The nurses and doctors that helped me were puzzled by it. A man being treated for a suicide attempt is this happy? I knew to them there was nothing right about it.

But I hadn’t felt for right in my whole life.

Because of my obvious mental health issues, I stayed in the mental ward for a month after I healed physically. Just like Death said, I still had the memories of my depression, but it was nothing the therapy and medication couldn’t fix.

After I was released, I found a job at a call center that paid slightly more than minimum wage. It wasn’t the best of jobs, but I was surely glad to have it.

I saved money for a few months and started going to school again in the fall. I was working on a business degree.

My friends and family were there to watch me graduate, and I’d never felt more thankful. Finally, I was making people proud again. I wasn’t failing.

I didn’t even drink that night with the rest of my friends. I didn’t want to touch another drop of alcohol. I spent that night with the people closest to me, all seated at a large table at the best restaurant in town.

And I’m so glad I chose to do so that night, because our waitress happened to be the girl I missed so badly and still loved.

She looked surprised to see me, but she also looked glad. “Calvin…” She said, staring at me as if I was her long lost twin.

I wanted to smile too, but I noticed the faint purple under her right eye. It wasn’t completely hidden by her beige foundation.

She knew I noticed, and before I could say anything she began taking our orders.

Concerned, I told my family and friends as they were leaving that I was going to stay and speak to her. They understood, and after more congratulations, departed.

I waited another hour in twilight stained parking lot, where I could breathe in the fresh spring breeze.

She was one of the first to come out and she noticed me propped next to the entrance, halting her stride.

Penny’s face lit up and there were tears in her eyes, “I knew you’d wait for me, Cal. I know you’re a great guy, I think I’ve always known you had potential but I guess I was being my own worst enemy.”

Those words brought back the tiniest memory of what Death had told me months prior – that I should say sorry to myself. And she needed to do the same. “The past is the past Penny. No animosity.”

She looked even more grateful then and reached to hug me. I put a hand on her cheek before she could, and gently rubbed the purple under her eye, “Did he do this to you?” I asked concerned and pissed off.

Penny didn’t say a word, but her deep brown eyes said it all. He obviously was over the accommodating boyfriend role and had started asking too much of her. But I would become everything she needed and more.

I pulled her into a hug and ran my fingers through her long hair, “It won’t happen again, love. I’m here now.”

After that night, things were better than they’d ever been between me and Penny. She’d gotten away from her abusive boyfriend and together we got him the jail sentence he deserved. We’d spend every moment we had to spare with each other, and it was like we’d never even parted. Even our old inside jokes remained the same.

With time, I’d saved enough to buy her the most beautiful ring I could find, and I proposed to her. Right in the middle of the local high school football field where we’d met so many years ago.

A field, maybe not the best setting for a proposal but it meant so much to both of us.

Flowers filled our house with fragrant smells. I brought home one everyday after work. I made reservations every weekend for dates. And no girl could ever mean as much to me as my Penny.

The wedding was the one she’d always dreamed of when we were younger: A winter wedding in the snow, everything adorned in blues and whites, and that long sleeved dress she’d hoped for ever since she saw it in that store window.

A year after the marriage, Penny came to me with the best news I’d ever received from her. She was pregnant. We found out it was a girl, and I was every bit the happy father when our Violet came into the world.

Dark hair, just like her mother.

Two years later, we had our son – Jackson. He looked like me, with green eyes and a mop of chesnut hair.
Violet was over the moon about having a younger sibling.

Life was amazing. It was everything Death had told me it would be, and more. I chose life the last time I saw him, and life chose me.

You can imagine my shock the day I found him standing in front of my work desk. I had been tapping away on my computer, focused on nothing but my work. He broke that trance.

I became a statue, still as Lot’s wife after she had turned to salt. After seconds of this vacant stare-off, I broke the stillness, “Why…”

He sighed, much like he had the night we’d met. That disapproving sigh, but now with a bit of apprehension. “Something has occurred, Calvin. Something bad.”

My heart beat swiftly against my ribs, I stopped breathing. “W-what do you mean bad?” A million things raced through my head at once. My family, my friends, myself; did something happen to them? Was something going to happen to me.

“You remember Hale, don’t you Calvin.”

Hale. The piece of crap I’d put in jail. I hated hearing his name, “Yeah. I remember that bastard. What about him? Did he finally get what was coming to hi-”

“He got out of jail, Calvin.” The caution and pity in that one sentence couldn’t have been good.

I stood up from my office chair, flustered, “there’s no way! He couldn’t have gotten out yet! He received
fifteen years! It’s only been nine!”

“Ever heard of good behavior Calvin?”

I was enraged. How could this monster be capable of good behavior? And then I remembered. He’d fooled Penny for a year. He had been a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He was definitely capable of fooling others.

“I think you need to come with me, Calvin.”

I didn’t waste any time. I followed him, not bothering to tell anyone I was leaving work. My first priority was to make sure the people I loved were okay. But the pieces that were being put together in my mind was anything but okay.

I drove ninety all the way home. Beads of sweat had formed across my forehead and my breathing was loudly audible.

Death followed me into the house as I rushed inside, but he said nothing.

The living room was a mess of broken vases – the ones which held all the flowers I’d given to Penny. And a million little pedals and leaves littered the floor.

I was so immensely angry and scared at the same time. Scared mostly, because the scene in front of me hinted that nothing good could come from it.

I screamed, terror in my voice, “Penny! Violet, Jack! Wher-”

“The master bedroom, Calvin,” Death said from somewhere in my peripheral. He pointed to the door at the end of the hall. A door that was now chopped and broken, standing slightly ajar.

I sprinted down the hallway and pushed past the door, not worrying about the sharp splinters that dug into my left hand.

The light was off. I wish I hadn’t turned it on. Because when I did…I was met with sheer horror.

Blood. Crimson painted across the white carpet and bedsheets. On the walls. And painted on the bodies of the three people in my life that meant the most to me.

The details are too traumatizing to repeat, but the axe that had been used on all of them was left behind – embedded into my wife’s skull.

I fell to my knees in front of them, wracking sobs so hard they made me puke.

I just couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t speak. I was screaming under the weight of emotional pain. I was hurt.

“But you said it would be better!” I turned to Death, screaming and seeing red, “you said I’d be happy! Why…,” I sobbed deeply again, unable to contain the lump in my throat.

“And you were Calvin. You were happy for several years. But with a life comes chances. Good ones and bad ones. Everyone suffers Calvin.”

“Suffer? I have nothing to live for anymore Death! I’ve lost my reasons for living, for working, for loving! That’s more than suffering!” I couldn’t contain the contempt in my voice and I got dangerously close to that black hole of a face Death wore, despite having to look up to see it.

“You’re wrong again Calvin. I’m here not only for your family, as I do have to do my job,” he lifted his bony hands in surrender, “but I’m also here for you…”

“What?! You already know I’m planning to kill myself once again, psychologist?” I spat at him, hot rage drenched in every word.

“Actually, yes. I knew you’d try. You’ll go get the pistol from the top shelf of your closet and blow your brains out, you’ll do it in a few hours in this very room. But I have another perspective for you.”

My mouth hung ajar. He knew my plans, knew where the pistol was that I kept for protection, but I couldn’t be too surprised. After a moment I crossed my arms and glared, “oh! Another perspective for me, huh? What?! What could possibly make me choose life this time? A life that isn’t worth living!”

For the first and last time, Death laid a hand on my shoulder, and although I couldn’t see his face, I knew he was looking me right in the eyes.

“You must live Calvin, because Hale must die. And you’re the one who will make it happen,” I thought I heard his lips part into a smile, if he had lips.

Death made it clear once again for me. “What do you say, Calvin?”

I smiled then too – what must have appeared a sick, sinister grin, but a grin all the same.

“I’d say I want to live.”

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Rose – Part 2

November 30, 2016 at 12:00 AM
Rating: 8.4. From 129 votes.
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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
Rating: 8.4. From 314 votes.
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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.

Credit: SnakeTongue

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My little sister has an unusual talent.

October 26, 2016 at 12:00 AM
Rating: 8.7. From 659 votes.
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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.

Credit: CardboardPizzas

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