Something Was Off About My Freshman Roommate – Part Three & Epilogue

May 3, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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To read about the horrific events caused by my freshmen roommate leading up to this, click here for the beginning and here for the 2nd part.

Had I been thinking clearly, I would have made sure that Andrea didn’t see the pictures that “Zach” left me on his iPod. But, by the time I looked up from crying, she was already viewing the images, a look of shocked horror on her face.

She asks, “Eric, what kind of monster is this?”
“He’s a psychotic killer. And I think he’s out to get me because I found out his secret. I know that he’s the one that killed the real Zach and he’s trying to stop me before I can go to the police.”
Just then, my cell phone rings. I’m surprised to see that it’s my mother who is calling. My mom never calls me this late at night…
“Hello? Mom?”
“Eric, honey, I think you better come home tonight.” Her voice sounds strained.
Starting to panic, I ask, “Mom, are you ok? What’s going on?”
“Eric, just, please come home. Your father and I need to see you.” And with that she hangs up.
I’m gripped with fear that “Zach” has somehow found his way to my parents’ house. I don’t know if he is playing a sick game, but I need to make sure my parents are safe.
“Andrea, I’ve got to go home to check on my parents. You need to go somewhere safe. Go to your parents’ place. He shouldn’t know where that is. I’ll call you when I can. Then we can go to the police.”
“Eric, I don’t want to go alone,” she retorts.
“You gotta trust me. I think “Zach” might have my parents and I don’t want you anywhere near there. Just go home as fast as you can. You’ll be safe at home with your folks.”

My mind is racing during the drive home. How could all this be happening so fast? Zach _________ was just a name on a roommate info card 8 days ago and now his killer has pretended to be him while living with me, stalked my girlfriend, killed my friend, and is now terrorizing my parents.
It’s very late when I pull into our cul-de-sac. I’m immediately shocked to see police cars with flashing lights all around my house. Could my parents have somehow contacted the police? Maybe they’ve already captured “Zach.”

I park the car and sprint toward my house. After a few seconds I hear someone yell, “There he is! Someone grab him!”
I start looking around anxiously, hoping to identify “Zach” as he’s trying to dash away. All of a sudden, the wind is knocked from me and my vision blurs. I’ve been slammed to the ground.
“What the hell!?! Get off of me! What’s going on?” I can feel my arms being twisted behind my back and I feel cuffs locking.
“Eric, you are under the arrest for the murder of Zach _________. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do will be used—“
“What are you talking about?! I didn’t kill him!” I scream. “My roommate at DePauw has been pretending to be Zach, but he’s the murderer! I can help you catch him!”
I continue to try to make the police officer understand, but he continues to escort me into my house where I see my parents sitting at the kitchen table. They look distraught and pained when they see me walk in.
“Mom? Dad? Are you guys ok? Did my roommate try to hurt you? Was he here?!” I anxiously ask.
“Eric…” my mom starts to say.
“Mom, the cops are making a mistake. They should be arresting the guy that’s been my roommate at DePauw. He’s been pretending to be my real roommate, but he murdered him! And he killed Joel!”
“Eric,” she starts again quietly. “They found something in your room…”
A large police sergeant comes over to me. “Eric, I’m Sergeant Rosado. We received a tip tonight that you might be responsible for the murder of Zach _________ two weeks ago.”
“What?!?” I yell incredulously. “That’s ludicrous. My roommate killed Zach! Who told you it was me?”
“The caller identified himself as a friend of yours from school,” responds the Sergeant. “He said you were acting strange and thought it had something to do with the death of Zach.”
“But… that doesn’t make sense…”
“We weren’t convinced either. That is until we came here and found this under your bed.”
As he said this, another cop brought in a duffle bag, the same duffle bag that had been sitting on the floor of my dorm room for the past week. “Zach’s” duffle bag.
“Does this look familiar?” As he opens the bag I can see a small cooler inside. He flips open the lid to reveal human organs and ice. A heart, a liver, and a few others.
Stunned, I blurt out, “This is crazy! I’m being set up! My roommate is framing me for the murder that he committed! Ask anyone on my floor at school. They’ll all tell you how strange he’s been acting all week! Call Andrea. She’ll tell you how he’s been leaving origami flowers in her room! He’s framing me somehow! I didn’t do this!” Tears begin to stream down my face.
“Son,” Sergeant Rosada says. “You’re going to need to come with us tonight.”

As they walk me out of the house and to a squad car, I can hear my father ask the sergeant if it’s possible that I’m telling the truth. Is it possible that my roommate is framing me? I hear the sergeant respond that they’d look into it, but that it’s very unlikely.
I spend a long, sleepless night in a holding cell at the police station. A few times I try to plead with the officer on duty to talk to my friends at DePauw. I tell him to ask them about the guy that I’ve been sharing a room with. He just ignores me.
Late the next morning, I’m taken to an interrogation room. Sergeant Rosado walks in holding a manila folder and sits down.

“Eric, can you tell me, in detail, about this person who has been your roommate this past week?” he asks.

So, I tell him all about my roommate “Zach.” I tell him about all the weird things that he did that week: the staring out the window, the sleeping without bed sheets, the late night walks, and the creepily staring at me while I slept at night. I then go into detail about what happened the day before, starting with my discovery of the news article revealing that the real Zach had been murdered two weeks ago. I share about meeting with Joel after class and then having him to go to the police while I went to check on Andrea because I thought “Zach” was after her. And finally, I explain to him about driving down to Andrea’s and finding out “Zach” had been coming there at night and how we found an origami flower and iPod with the images of the murdered Joel on it that had been left by the door while we talked.

“So you have to stop him. He killed the real Zach and he killed Joel yesterday.”

Sergeant Rosado just stares at me and sighs. “Eric, we went up to your dorm room this morning to verify your story. We found this.” With that he opens the manila folder to reveal a set of photographs. The pictures show the same scene that I saw on the iPod that “Zach” left me. But the police photos were taken further back to reveal that Joel was killed and placed into my bed in my dorm room. I stare at them in shock.

“He killed Joel in my room… These are just like the pictures that he left for me on the Ipod—“
“An iPod that only has your and Andrea’s fingerprints on it.”
I pause. “I’m not sure I follow…”
He continued, “Don’t you find it peculiar that there is nothing on the other bed in your dorm room?
Isn’t it strange that your roommate doesn’t have any clothes or personal possessions?”
“That’s what I’ve been saying!” I scream. “He’s always been super weird. He’s a psychopath!”

“Eric,” he calmly says. “We talked to the other people that live on your floor. No one has ever seen or heard of this roommate of yours. The teachers say they’ve never had this ‘Zach’ in any of their classes. Eric, you’ve been living alone for the past week. You never had a roommate.”

EPILOGUE

The hearing and the trial went by in a blur for me. I was tried and convicted for the murders of both Zach and Joel. Additionally, they are currently trying to link me to two similar unresolved murders that happened in the past month, all in Indiana.

I never got to speak to Andrea again and I only saw her once during the whole process. It was when she testified on the stand about her relationship with me and about what happened to her that fateful week. She only looked at me once and I could see the revulsion and fear on her face.

It didn’t make sense! I don’t remember doing any of these things. I pleaded with them that I was framed and that if Joel were still alive, he could confirm meeting my roommate, the real killer. He knew how crazy “Zach” was and he helped me figure everything out. The prosecuting lawyer said it was awfully convenient that the only other person who had seen or spoken to my supposed “roommate” was now dead.

After the trial, they put me in a prison for the criminally insane. They said I have dissociative personality disorder; that’s why I don’t remember killing anyone. I’ve been here for months now and I’ve been told this so often that I’m starting to believe that maybe they’re right. Maybe I did kill those people…

This morning, I received a letter. A rare surprise in this hellhole. I opened it up to see a folded origami flower and picture. On the flower was written a note in handwriting that I immediately recognized:

She looks so peaceful when she sleeps, Eric. I envy that.

The picture was the photograph of Andrea that was taken from my nightstand.

Credit To – legendaryhero27

This is the last entry in a small miniseries that was posted in three parts. For the prior two entries, you may visit the links at the start of the post or track the Freshman Roommate Series tag to see all three posts.

This story first appeared on reddit’s /nosleep/ board and is being hosted here with permission from the original author.

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Something Was Off About My Freshman Roommate – Part Two

May 2, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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If you haven’t read the first part of this story, please click here to be brought up to speed on when I first started to notice something was off about my freshmen roommate.

Time seems to slow down as I try to process what it means that I have been sleeping in the same room as psychotic murderer for a week and that the picture of my girlfriend is now missing. I try to quickly scan through everything that I know about “Zach.”

He listens to music on his iPod a lot. He likes to look out windows and people-watch. He supposedly goes for long walks late at night. He stares at me while I sleep.

Suddenly, I realize that “Zach” has only begun conversations with me twice in the past week: the night he was staring at me while I slept, and move-in day when he asked me about Andrea’s picture.

“Joel! I’ve got to talk to Andrea! I think “Zach” is going after her.”
“What? Why would he do that?”
“I don’t know, but our first day together he asked about her picture and I told him she went to IU. Now the picture is gone!”
I immediately pull out my phone and call Andrea. No answer. Frantically, I call again. No answer this time either, but I leave a voicemail.
“Andrea, it’s me, Eric. Listen, call me as soon as you get this. I’m serious. Call me immediately please.”
“What do you want to do, man?” asks Joel.
“I’ve gotta go down to Bloomington and make sure she is all right. She’s probably just out with friends right now and missed the call, but I need to be sure.” I’m desperately hoping this to be true. “Joel, you still need to alert the cops about this bastard. Can you borrow someone’s car and go to the police without me?”
“Yeah… but I think you should come wit—“
“I can’t! But I’ll be back as soon as I can get Andrea and make sure she’s ok,” I interrupt. “Just please do this for me. The sooner we get the cops involved, the sooner we can catch this guy.”
“Alright, Eric.”

I run to my car while texting Andrea to “call me ASAP.” I pray that she responds. As I begin the hour-long drive down to Bloomington, I’m so nervous that I can’t even listen to music. I just keep telling myself that she’s alright as the sun begins to set. After what seems like ages, my phone rings and my heart skips a beat as I see that it’s Andrea.

“Andrea? Are you ok!?!” Please tell me you’re alright!”
“I’m fine, Eric. What’s going on? I got your message and I’m a little scared. Did something happen to someone? Are you ok?”
“Kind of… Listen, it’s probably better if we talk in person. I’m about 15 minutes away from you right now. Are you in your dorm?”
“No. I’m out with some friends.”
“Can you meet me at your dorm room? I’ll be there in 15 minutes. And don’t talk to anyone who you don’t know!”
“Eric, what’s going on?”
“Please, just listen to me for now, Andrea. I’ll explain everything when I see you. 15 minutes.”
“Ok. See you at my place.”
It’s late when I arrive at Andrea’s, but I’m flooded with relief when she opens the door and I see that she’s ok. After a long embrace, I tell Andrea she better have a seat. I lock the door and sit beside her.
I begin, “Do you remember when I told you Tuesday how strange my roommate was?”
“Yeah.”
“Well, things got a whole lot stranger in the past few days.”

I tell her all about my first week with my new roommate and all about “Zach’s” weird habits. I share about how he supposedly goes for late night walks for hours every night and how he was watching me sleep the previous night. Then I share with her what I found out about the real Zach when I Googled his name. I can tell she’s a little unsure of how to react or what to say, so I tell her that I can prove it. I grab Andrea’s laptop and type in the search for the news article concerning Zach’s murder from two weeks ago. She reads it out loud.

ZIONSVILLE TEENAGER ZACH _________ STABBED TO DEATH, CULPRIT STILL MISSING Last night, Zach ______, 18, was found brutally murdered and mutilated in his bedroom at his family’s Zionsville home. His parents, Richard and Alice ______, found his body in his bed when they returned home around 11:00pm. They immediately called the police.

This gruesome murder is a shock to the normally safe suburban community, as Zach is well remembered for being a likable and pleasant teenager. Before his death, Zach had recently graduated from Zionsville Community High School and was a member of the marching band and an actor in many of the school plays. He was an honor student that was planning on attending DePauw University as a freshman at the start of the fall semester next week.

IPD is reporting that the body had been stabbed repeatedly. It had been severely mutilated and was then purposely tucked back into the victim’s bed. Currently, the police are reporting that they have no suspects and few leads to go on. All blood samples found in the room have been confirmed to either belong to the victim or have been mixed with an ammonia-based solution rendering them unidentifiable. The only clue the police have to go on is an origami flower that was left on the victim’s body.

Andrea’s voice trails off as she finishes reading the article. Her face looks stricken as she slowly backs away from the computer.
I point to the picture of the real Zach and say, “That is not the person that I have been sharing a room with for the past week! I think the guy I’ve been living with has been pretending to be Zach _________. I think he’s the murderer. Andrea? Andrea?”

Andrea is still staring at the screen in horror, but then reaches into her closet and pulls out three objects. Shakily she states, “I started receiving these three nights ago, one each night. The first two were just set out in front of our door late at night. My roommate and I saw them in the morning. The third one was left on my nightstand last night, but I swear we locked the door! Eric, they were cute, so we thought they were from a secret admirer or something!”

In Andrea’s hands are three perfectly folded origami flowers.

“Do you know what time these were left here?” I ask frantically.
“I don’t know… Sometime after I go to bed, which is usually around 12:30. They were there each morning at 7:00 when I wake up to shower.” I can hear the fear seeping into her voice just as I can feel it seeping into my thoughts.
“That bastard! He wasn’t going for late night walks, he was coming here! I don’t know how he found your room, but we’ve got to get out of here. Joel went to the police already. We should go there and join him.”

I grab my phone to call Joel. No answer.

“He’s probably still explaining everything to the cops. I’ll try him again in a few minutes, but we should start making our way there.”
“Eric, a killer was standing next to my bed last night…” Andrea barely whispers. I bring her in close and hold her tight.
“I know, babe, and I’m so, so sorry. But the best thing we can do now is meet Joel at the police station. They’ll know what to do. It will be safe there.”

I go to the door and unlock it, but stop in my tracks. Sitting on the floor in the hallway is a beautifully folded origami flower. And sitting underneath it is an iPod. I know immediately whose it is. I grab them both, slam the door, and lock it.

“What are those?” Asks Andrea timidly.
I show her the flower and iPod and say, “Gifts from my ‘roommate’.”
Andrea starts to cry. I go to hold her again, still holding the flower and iPod. As she’s sobbing into my shoulder, I see that there is writing on the white side of the origami flower. Slowly I step back from Andrea and carefully unfold the flower. In it is written a note from “Zach.”
Eric, you once asked me if I knew what I wanted my major to be. I’ve decided perhaps photography.
And below that:
Your friend looks very peaceful when he sleeps, Eric. But I don’t envy him.

My hand shaking, I turn on the iPod. There’s nothing on it except the factory default programs. There’s not even any music on it. That psycho was listening to nothing all along! I press the Photos button and my knees start to go weak.

There is one photo album with five images in it. Each one is a different shot of a severely mutilated human body. Blood and gore flood each photo. Cautiously, I flip through the photos of carved human flesh and organs. When I view the last image, I drop the phone and begin to weep.

On the iPod’s screen is an image of Joel lying in a bed. The sheets are saturated in blood and sitting on top of his chest is an origami flower.

Credit To – legendaryhero27

This is a small miniseries that will be posted in three parts over the next few days. Once the other parts go live, I will edit in links to their posts here. You can also track the Freshman Roommate Series tag to see all posts in this series.

This story first appeared on reddit’s /nosleep/ board and is being hosted here with permission from the original author.

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Something Was Off About My Freshman Roommate – Part One

May 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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It didn’t take long for me to realize that my freshmen college roommate was a very strange guy. But that wasn’t all that surprising as I’d heard about plenty of people that got saddled with weirdos as roommates their first semester of college. He wasn’t strange in the sense of being a LARPer or never taking showers or anything like that, but from the moment I met him, something just seemed…off.

Move-in day was pretty odd. The first thing I remember is being surprised at how old he looked when I met him. From the roommate info card that I had received from my university over the summer, I knew that my roommate’s name was Zach _________ and he was from a town called Zionsville, a suburb of Indianapolis. I thought that he was an 18 year-old freshmen like me, but he looked like he was maybe 4 or 5 years older than that. Oh well, I thought, it had been two months since I read that roommate card, so I figured I was simply mistaken and that he was just one of those guys that waited a few years before going to college.

Now all that Zach brought with him to move into our dorm was a duffle bag of clothes. No furniture, no computer, no belongings, nothing. He didn’t even bring bedding. I asked him if that was all that he had, and after an awkward pause he said that we was bringing the rest of his stuff later.

For the next hour, I went about setting up our room. Zach sat down at the desk that came with the room and pulled an iPod out of his back pocket. So he did have at least some other things, I thought. He put his headphones on and while doing so, he would just watch me or look out the window. I tried talking to him while doing this, but his answers would be pretty short.
“Are your parents here with you today?”
“No.”
“Do you know what you want your major to be yet?”
“No.”
“Do you know anyone else here at DePauw?”
“No.”
After another half-hour of feebly trying to converse with him, Zach says, “That’s a pretty girl. Who is she?” I was holding a framed picture of my girlfriend. “What? Oh. That’s Andrea. She’s my girlfriend. She goes to IU.” I set the frame down on the nightstand by my bed. And that was all he said.

After another 30 minutes of awkward silence, I have to get out of there so I go to meet up with the only other guy I know from high school, my buddy Joel. I tell Joel that I think my roommate situation is going to be disaster this semester, and then we go out to grab a bite to eat. I come back to my room to find Zach is gone, but see his duffle bag still lying on the floor. I finish setting up the room and go to bed around 1:00 AM. Zach still isn’t back by then.

I don’t sleep well that first night, but figure it’s due to sleeping in a new, unfamiliar place. I wake up to find Zach sleeping on his mattress with no sheets. During the day, anytime Zach isn’t in class, he is in our room just staring out the window with his headphones on. He nods his head if I said hello, but that’s about it.

I try having Joel over to our room one night, but Zach is there and it gets awkward fast because he just keeps looking out our window listening to his music the whole time we are there. After attempting to watch a movie for about 15 minutes, Joel makes an excuse to be somewhere else.
Frustrated, I angrily ask Zack, “Why do you just stare out that window all the time?”
“I just like to people-watch. There’s so many interesting things to see here.”
“You’re a strange dude, Zach. You need to get out more,” I respond. And with that I follow Joel out. When I catch up with him, he asks me, “What’s up with your roommate?”
“Yeah, sorry, I tried telling you he was a weirdo. He stares out that window all the time. He said he likes to people-watch.”
“Well, he was probably homeschooled our something. Maybe his parents were really strict and he isn’t sure how to handle the wild college life,” replies Joel.
“Yeah, maybe. It’s just that he looks like he’s 23. You would think that he’s lived a little.”
When I go to bed again that night, Zach is once again gone. I have another restless night and when I wake, I see that he is once again sleeping on his blank mattress. He must have come in quietly while I was asleep. I notice that my computer screen is on, which was odd, because I thought I had turned it off when I went to bed. Oh well, not the first time my screen turned on because a draft moved the mouse.

A few more days go by and I’m still not sleeping terribly well, but think it probably isn’t helping that I am staying up much later than I ever did at home.

Each night, Zach is gone when I go to bed late and he is asleep on his mattress when I wake up in the morning. I can’t figure out where he would be since I have never seen him talk to anyone other than me. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have any friends. Thursday night of that first week, I’m doing some homework at my desk and Zach, per usual, is just staring out the window like a creep, listening to his iPod.
“Hey, where do you go every night? You’re never here when I go to bed, and I’ve been up pretty late each night.”
He didn’t respond immediately, but finally said, “I like to go for walks at night. I like the quiet.”
“At 2:00 in the morning?”
“Yes.”
“Did you do that at home too? Did your parents just let you walk around late at night?”
Again, long pause. “I lived in a pretty small town, so it was safe. My parents didn’t care.”
“I thought you were from Zionsville. Isn’t that pretty much Indianapolis?”
Another, longer pause. Finally Zach says, “I’m going for a walk.” And walks out the door.
Late that night, I’m startled awake to find Zach just standing next to my bed, looking at me.
“JESUS! Oh God! Zach, what the hell are you doing?!? You about gave me a heart attack!”
“You look very peaceful when you sleep.”
“What?” I say groggily. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“You look very serene as you sleep. I envy that.”
Thoroughly creeped out, I say, “I gotta take a piss.” I didn’t have to pee, but just wanted to get away from Zach. I go to Joel’s room and tell him what just happened. It’s about 3:00a.m., so I’m not sure Joel is completely coherent, but he lets me crash on his couch.

The next day between classes, I share with Joel again how uncomfortable Zach is starting to make me.
“Have you tried Googling him?” asks Joel, “He’s got to have Facebook page or something online. Maybe you can find something out about the creep.”
“Yeah, I’ll check it out when I get back to my computer.”
After another class, I return to my room. Fortunately, Zach was at class. I typed “Zach _________ Zionsville, IN” into the search bar on Google. Google finds thousands of webpages instantly, but I stare in disbelief at the top listing.
ZIONSVILLE TEENAGER ZACH _________ STABBED TO DEATH, CULPRIT STILL MISSING
I click the link and see an article from the Indy newspaper about the brutal murder of my roommate, who was repeatedly stabbed to death in his bedroom two weeks ago. They show Zach’s senior photo. It is not the same person that I have been sharing a room with for the past week.
I close the browser and sprint to Joel’s room, but he has classes until 4:00. Wanting to be out of our dormitory, I text him, saying to meet in the student commons after his classes. I don’t want to be anywhere near my room if “Zach” should return in the mean time.

Joel finally meets me in the student commons and I tell him everything. I’m trying not to make a scene but as I’m sharing the story of sleeping in the same room as a murderer for a week, I begin to break down and sob. I can tell that Joel is still unsure until I pull up the news article on his phone, then his face turns grim. He says it’s probably best if we go to the police in person and tell them everything.
Joel doesn’t have a car on campus, so we have to go back to my room to get my keys. I’m incredibly nervous, but Joel says if we happen to see “Zach” we’ll just act normal and say we are going out to eat. No big deal.

I peek into my room and sigh with relief as I realize that he isn’t there. As I grab the keys from my desk drawer, I notice that my computer screen has two tabs open on it. One is my web history. The 2nd tab is the news article about Zach’s murder.
“Shit!” I scream, “He was here and saw this.”

I glance around the room and see that his duffle bag is now gone. “We gotta get to the police NOW! Who knows where this psycho is?!?”
As I’m running out of the room, I notice something odd. The picture of Andrea, my girlfriend, is no longer sitting on my nightstand.

Credit To – legendaryhero27

This is a small miniseries that will be posted in three parts over the next few days. Once the other parts go live, I will edit in links to their posts here. You can also track the Freshman Roommate Series tag to see all posts in this series.

This story first appeared on reddit’s /nosleep/ board and is being hosted here with permission from the original author.

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The Shephard Cane

April 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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My girlfriend and I have this special spot. This nice little place that serves up food, drinks, and amateur stage performances. They named it the Stage Harbor Dinner Theater. It used to be a loading dock but what was once a place for blue collar grunt workers is now a quaint setting to showcase local talent. Rachel and I first laid eyes on each other there and have made it an unspoken rule that we return at least once a month. We love the open mike nights.

Our small-town doesn’t seem to have many serious artists and yet we have one person with dreams far larger than those of its simple residence. Jeffrey Buttfellows. He aspires more than anything to become a comedian.

For years we have watched in discomfort as Jeffrey leaps out from the red curtains all smiles and self assurance. He joyously grabs the microphone and proceeds to tell the unfunniest jokes imaginable. His intentions are so sincere, his confidence so undeserved, and the setups so horribly timed, that even laughing out of politeness is impossible.

Most of the audience has become exasperated at this point. Whenever his rusted Ford pickup truck can be seen in the parking lot the dinner theater loses business. His shows always end the same fashion: whenever he’s getting overly heckled and hissed by the audience, this old fashioned vaudevillian shepherd’s cane reaches out from the side curtain and pulls him away by the neck. The audience usually gives this shepherd’s crook lavish applause as soon as it hooks him. That stick has undoubtedly saved Jeffrey and his spectators from further humiliation on countless occasions.

I liked Jeff though. A true artist. With absolutely zero support he’s able to go out there and shoot for his dream. Even his own lack of improvement doesn’t discourage him. I believe if all joes had his kind of ambition we’d be a world brimming with genius.

My admiration changed a few months ago when Rachel and I were celebrating our three year anniversary. We bought a bottle of champagne and waited for another lousy attempt by our persistent stand-up. Rachel had on a screaming lemon dress that may have been a little too revealing for her plump form. Perhaps it was that dress that had garnered Jeffrey’s attention that night.

For that evening a couple of drunk frats from the city were at the club. I suppose they had even less patience then us locals. They would interrupt Jeff with, “This guy sucks giant hippopotamus balls!” other times they’d simply scream, “NEXT!” One even threw a bottle at his head.

Talented comics can handle hecklers with devastatingly vicious comebacks, but as you know Jeff was not a talented comic. Realizing his material was unfit for these city boys he looked around for something he could make funny. He saw it. Rachel. All 4’11 and 220 pounds of her. He started making fun of her size.

She was silent and chuckled quietly with poorly disguised hurt on her face while the rest of the audience roared with laughter. This went on for twenty agonizing minutes as if he’d been planning it in his head all these years. Eventually he exhausted himself of fat jokes and moved onto more neutral subjects which left his listeners hot and bothered. Once more the shepherd cane materialized behind the curtain and relieved him.

Though she pleaded with me not to confront anyone I talked to the stage manager backstage. He had his back turned holding the shepherd’s cane. As he turned to face me, the first thing I detected from his face was that he was blind. His eyes lacked that glint of focus.

“Hey listen pal,” I began, undeterred by his handicap, “Jeff went too far tonight when he made fun of my girl. It was completely uncalled for and I didn’t like it.”

The Stage manager raised his hand and lowered his head in respect,

“Sir, I understand completely, but that was first time that I ever heard such laughter coming from that kid. And I mean ever! I’ll talk to him for you. Though you gotta admit the guy was due. Let’s just hope the confidence boost can help him find other material.”

But he didn’t find other material. Every night when Rachel and I came to visit, he’d direct the spotlight on her and could dish out jokes and wisecracks without repeating himself for over half an hour. He called her, “whale cunt,” since he never asked her name and never needed to since she was more of an entity of fatness to him. His growing fan base would slap their thighs and tickle their ribs amidst the satisfied howls. Even I have to admit his normally dull act became diabolically clever. Though I certainly did not find it funny in the least which is why I will not repeat his jokes here.

Afterwards Rachel would be quietly depressed yet would insist we return week after week. As if she saw it as a hurtle, to not allow this man to take away a location she associated with hope and happiness.

I begged the stage manager to use the Shepherd Cane once his abuse was starting to begin, but he wouldn’t do anything. It seemed years of yanking Jeffrey from his beloved spotlight had simply softened the blind man’s heart too much to punish him.

Finally Rachel said she’d do something. She decided to call Buttfellows to see if she could persuade him to not make fun of her weight as it was a sensitive subject to her and she was self conscious about it. She had left a voicemail.

The next night Buttfellows played the voicemail for the audience while pausing and mimicking her voice. Then he gave a violent recant that had everyone in stitches. He grabbed her drink and hocked up a loogie in it much to everyone’s delight.

In that moment the idea for revenge that had been growing in my brain finally blossomed. I had a plan to punish not only Jeffrey for obsessively spitting out fat jokes but also the blind stage manager for his misguided sympathy. It was all so foolproof. The shepherd’s cane was the key.

I grabbed an old farmer’s scythe at an antique store and sharpened it until paper could be sliced from its own weight when rested upon it’s blade. I then smoothed its handle with sandpaper until it felt just like the shepherd’s cane. Same wooden handle, same weight, same everything save for the steel crescent moon on it’s head. I put a bag over the blade so no one at the restaurant would be suspicious.

When I peered inside the stage manager’s office I saw the Shepherd’s Cane hanging on the wall by a nail. The stage manager himself sat on a chair looking directly at me, but he had some headphones on and was tapping his foot to the music. I coughed. No reaction. I lumbered in noisily to see if he’d react. I put my face close to his. I could hear the soundtrack to West Side Story. Perfect. I made the switch. Jeffrey Buttfellows was on in 15 minutes.

Ten minutes later I met up with Rachel. She gave a weak smile when she saw me. I thought witnessing tonight’s show might churn her stomach at first, but perhaps later, maybe fifty years from now, when we’re an old couple, I can say, “Remember Buttfellows? That awful lout who got his head chopped off for being a failure as a comedian? I did that.”

Rachel would smile and say, “Deep down I always knew.” Then she’d squeeze my hand. That would be wonderful.

I noted the scar on her wrist and decided to buy a bottle of wine to lighten her mood and my nerves. For tonight was going to be one to remember. I noted that we’d probably have to take the bottle home, since they were bound to close down the restaurant for about a week or so after tonight.

Jeffrey headed down the stage and lifted the microphone up to his face. “What’s up folks? Miss me? I’m sure you did didn’t you my buxom lady?”

The spotlight radiated our table. Rachel looked down and braced herself for the coming onslaught of verbal lashes. That night, his bits about her were merciless. He had sketches, impressions, fake stories about how her parents tried to drown her for her hideousness. How it was her medusa-like ugliness that had actually struck the stage manager blind. I could scarcely hear the manager himself chuckle at that one from behind the curtain. I poured another glass and pulled it towards my grimaced lips.

It went on for hours like that until finally he had to change to one of his less popular themes. Throughout all this suspense I was on my third bottle and started feeling quite a bit drunk off the wine as well as my thoughts of fore-coming revenge.

The heckling started small since the audience truly wanted to give him a chance with other topics. After all it was his genius who had had them laughing for hours at the same subject. Yet before they knew it, he dished out some unforgivably godawful material that had them moaning their unavoidable disapproval. He started stuttering and repeating the punchline while tapping the microphone. “Is this thing on?” It was so pathetic. Even Rachel begun booing which was perfect. She deserved to have a hand in his death.

Then, on the side curtain. There it was. Lurking its way outside the curtain. Hovering it’s shiny blade reflected by the stage lights. It was like watching the moon making its elliptical trajectories across the sky. Slowly moving towards the unsuspecting buffoon. Not slow enough for someone to notice and warn him. Oh no. It was such a bizarre happenstance no one could figure it out in time.

The only reaction came from the patient and expecting murderer. I smirked and raised my wine glass to the comedic failure. I recall his eyes actually reaching mine as the crescent blade curved its way around his neck.

With an overly ambitious tug, it made it’s way through. The blade swiftly disappeared behind the curtain. The Stage Manager must be confused by now. Jeffrey stood there with the microphone by his lips. We could no longer hear his voice. All we could hear was his gurgling. Blood coming from his neck reddening his collar and his shirt. Then his head slipped off with a thud. It rolled off the stage and onto a family’s table. They screamed. His body still stood on the stage, his microphone held up to the stump of his neck which erupted with scarlet liquid. After a couple spurts his body went limp and fell backwards. His legs kicking a little. The crowd was hushed.

“Don’t worry everyone! I’m a medical student,” I drunkenly announced amidst the stunned silence. I stumbled onto the stage and got down to my knees as I checked the corpse’s wrist. I spoke into the microphone still in the dead Jeffrey’s hand, “It’s too late, he’s dead.”

Perhaps out of fear and disbelief over what they had just seen. The audience actually laughed. A few were still gaping however, but eventually they started laughing too. Maybe they thought it was a magic trick? I suppose I got a high off of the initial laughter. “He’ll never get a-head with that sort of material right?” Silence. Too soon I guessed.

“That really sucked!” shouted someone from the back. Most of them started booing. I noticed a pair of female twins in their teens from the family table were gazing at Jeffrey’s pale face. His mouth was open and his left cheek was caked in gravy. His eyes darted around in confusion until they finally rolled in the back of his head. The twins shrieked again.

“Whats-a-matter?” I grabbed the microphone from Jeff’s dead fingers and stood up, “Oh come on girls! You should know at your age that a little head can be a good thing!” The audience continued to groan, the father threw an apple at me. Even Rachel shook her head in disappointment from that last one. Suddenly, I felt something sharp encircle my neck. My blood went cold for I knew what was next.

Credit To – Johnny V

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Mess

April 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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I awoke with a start as I heard a loud bang out in the street. I HATED noise before 8:30 AM. I have OCD, so the tiniest things can set me off.

Annoyed, I pulled on my bathrobe and walked out the front door to see what the commotion was. I stopped to fix a flower that was drooping to the wrong side. Immediately, I was assaulted with the world’s imperfections. I gave a silent yell as I surveyed my block; it looked like a disaster zone. A house down the street was on fire, and people were running out of it, screaming. Overturned trash cans and makeshift sand bag barricades lined the sidewalk. I gave a small “humph” and turned on my heel back into my house, locking all 4 of the bolts on my way in. I checked to make sure all my windows were boarded properly; everything seemed ok.

I moved over to the living room, grabbing the orange juice container and pouring myself a glass before I sat down on the sofa. I flipped on the television, and the hum of the backup generator kicked up as power usage increased. For the 4th straight day, the state’s emergency broadcast system was airing. I sighed, and returned to the kitchen to make myself a piece of toast. I was tired of the broadcast. I was hoping they’d be back on schedule with the morning news soon.

“The governor has issued a state of emergency. This broadcast has been tailored to your area.” A short pause. “Residents of San Diego and Imperial Counties are urged to make their way to the Red Cross centers in San Diego and El Centro. If you are unable to leave your home, lock and barricade your doors and windows. Arm yourselves with any weapons you can. Firearms are most effective, especially when aimed at the head. Remember to stay hydrated if infected. The CDC has so far been unsuccessful at finding a cure, but it is noted that staying hydrated keeps the immune system functioning properly. If an infected has already passed and returned in your household, do not hesitate to euthanize them. We repeat, DO NOT HESITATE. Remember, the Red Cross has centers in San Diego and El Centro. The military has camps throughout the state. Please stay safe.”

I recognized those closing words, and switched off the TV to conserve power. Another loud bang could be heard outside. I jolted, alarmed at the noise. I swore under my breath, I straightened the sofa pillows as I stood up, making my way back to the front door. Another bang. Looking through the peep-hole, I saw a disgusting figure knocking its head into my front door. It was one of the zombies, with rotting gray skin and yellow eyes. There was a festering wound on its neck; its dirty, blood-stained clothing accentuated its repulsiveness. Horrified, I stepped back. I had only seen the zombies on the television, never in real life. I wasn’t sure what to do.

Suddenly, a gunshot roared across the street, ripping into the zombie’s skull. It fell immediately, its brain and blood all over my porch. I nearly fainted. So much mess. I heard a loud whoop, and then the rippling sound of a motorcycle engine. I realized that I wasn’t safe in my home anymore. But with OCD, I found safety in what was familiar. The crowded, dirty city was not familiar. I knew it was foolish, and later I regretted it, but I chose to stay home.

I could hear the zombies becoming restless outside later in the evening, wailing late into the night. A few times I heard screams as the living tried to escape. One sounded like Mrs. Avery from two houses down. Another like Mr. King from around the corner. I vowed to try to escape while I still could the next day. With the thudding of zombies against my door, I fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning, after gathering everything that would fit in my car and my Smith & Wesson, I backed out of my driveway for the last time. The air conditioning in the car cycled in the putrid stench of decay and vomit. The smell was overwhelming. I glanced around, trying to see if there was anyone nearby. Only zombies. They rushed over to my car, banging their bloody fists against my beautiful Lexus. One smeared entrails all over the window. I gave a small yelp, and floored the gas pedal to get away.

Minutes later, I was driving down the freeway. Overturned cars littered the road, with a few struggling bodies trapped in the wreckage. I hoped that those struggling were the undead. I passed a hospital with a large, crude banner reading “No help here, Try Mercy,” written in black paint. I shuddered at the thought of hospital patients, trapped in their beds, as the undead came limping down the hallway. I was amazed that everything had gone to ruin so quickly. Pent up inside of my perfect house, I had no idea what the rest of humanity was facing out in the world.

All of a sudden a zombie came trundling out in front of my car. Noticing it, I instinctually swerved to avoid it, which proved to be a mistake. I slammed into the center divide at about 65 miles per hour, flipping a few times before coming to a stop upside-down. My arm was twisted in a less than glorifying position, and I had multiple gashes and cuts from broken glass. Worst of all was the fact that I couldn’t move my legs. I didn’t know what was wrong. There was blood all over the place, gushing like a fountain. So much crimson, disgusting blood. I began to hyperventilate, and soon I was hysterical.

“Help!” I screamed. “Oh, God, someone help me! Please!”

Bad idea.

The zombies, hearing my loud cries, began to migrate over to my car. Where I couldn’t move my legs. Where I was defensless.

I screamed more. I wildly attempted to get myself free, but I simply couldn’t. Eventually, as the first zombies began to reach in through the window, I accepted my fate.

Delirious with blood-loss, I found myself with a childish grin. I felt dizzy as I said my last words.

“Just don’t make a mess.”

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The God Ticket

April 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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My wife is going to kill herself in 5 to 7 business days.

I’d found the order for a jug of Xanaphril while clearing the internet history of porn and was contemplating it now. I’d known my wife Cindy had been unhappy but I guess hadn’t registered how much yet. Was this a cry for help? Should I say something or just let it fade into the background noise like all of her other passive complaints?

“Are you ever coming to bed?” Her voice bridges on a shout, causing me to start and close the browser window from habit. A shout. Her deafness is still in full swing, I think to myself.

Cindy had been diagnosed with a rare form of Ménière’s disease shortly after we’d married two years back. What had started as uneasy moments of vertigo and mild hearing loss in her right ear had quickly erupted into extreme ranges of deafness that would come and go randomly; sometimes affecting her for weeks at a time. Worse still were her ‘falling attacks’. I’ll never forget the first time she’d experienced one.

We’d been waiting in line for hours outside the Aladdin theater, shivering and keeping close to ward off the first snowflakes of winter. I remember she’d been talking on her cell phone when just like that she collapsed into the street as if she’d tripped – but we hadn’t been moving. It scared the Christ out of me; I thought she’d suffered an aneurism or stroke or even been shot. Understandably, these periods of outrageous vertigo and difficulty hearing the words from her own mouth were deeply frustrating for her and I’d tried my best to be supportive. But it was taking its toll.

I turn to look at her sullen face. I feel guilty to admit it, but I can hardly stand seeing her when she’s like this. A wise man once said that sadness is a disease. I’d go one step further and say that it’s of the infectious variety. After years of putting up with her, I could go for a handful of those pills myself.

“Ya, just closing down now.” I shut our laptop and slip into bed next to her. She immediately turns on her side facing away from me. Guess no sex tonight either? Ha, and here I had my hopes up, I think bitterly. Just as well. Hadn’t I read somewhere that if a man goes without long enough, he’ll start having crazy kink-fest dreams? I could go for some of that. Bring on the Asian Schoolgirl…minus the tentacles.

But my subconscious wasn’t interested in playing house.

I used to be into exploring all shades of ‘mental awaking'; from failed attempts at telekinesis to lucid dreaming and what I’d liked to call “The God Ticket” – astral projection; the ability to travel anywhere at will. It’d been years since I’d given it any thought until the depressing reality of Cindy’s illness had become more and more apparent. I was never able to successfully ‘leave my body’ but controlling the storyline of my nightly encounters provided a welcome escape. That was, until they took a noticeably violent and uncontrollable turn.

It takes me a moment to realize where I am, and when I do, my stomach clenches horribly. I’m back at University. And those eyes looking into mine… Susan’s. My ex’s. As is common in dreams, I know there are other people around us – that we’re walking to class inside the L.R. Harrison building in fact – but I don’t see anyone else. I can feel them looking at us but it’s

just her and those accusing eyes.

And then the events flash forward. It’s raining and we’re standing under a tree together. I’m hugging her from behind and singing a song about what we’re doing. Her arms lovingly press mine to her chest and she looks up at me again with an expression of betrayal.

“You said we’d be together forever, right? That you love me ‘past the stars’.” Her words form a knot in my throat. I had said that after all; even meant it. But then Cindy had come along and oh how much better things had looked on that side of the wall. Now there was regret and the awful ‘if’.

I want to tell her I’m sorry – that I still love her, but I’m having trouble making coherent thought and it doesn’t matter anyway because

Susan’s hair is practically glowing in the light of the moon. She’s face down on the cement and dear god there’s so much blood. I look at the palm of my hand and find it’s bleeding from some deep slash. She cut me, I think indistinctly, but there is no pain. I feel my body kneel over hers, turning her over. Her face is untouched and as beautiful as ever if not for the oozing gash at the top of her hairline. She opens her eyes again and I can see it – the pain, the question, ‘why?’. I scream my lungs ragged, but not a sound escapes my lips. I want so desperately to call for help, to comfort her, but everything feels distant and I’m not allowed to stop my hands from closing around her throat.

She’s goes on struggling for a few moments, never leaving my gaze when I do the unthinkable. My body leans forward, my blonde hair cascading over her face and at first I think I’m going to kiss her forehead, when instead my lips close around her right eye. Confusion explodes into horror as I feel every muscle in my mouth contract. Pressure builds inside the seal of my mouth until I can feel something round and wet pass from her body into mine. This shouldn’t be possible! I want to vomit. I want to run away. I want to vanish in a torrent of sobs for my lost love.

Then I bite down hard and

I open my eyes. Sweat coats me in a glaze even though the ceiling fan is running at full cycle. Our room is dim with the first light of morning.

“Jesus Christ. Jesus Fucking Christ, what was that about?” Not daring to speak above a whisper.

It had felt so real, even now as the distinctly dream-like elements began to stick out like accusatory fingers. I still feel the high from a liter of adrenaline pouring through my veins and consider calling her just on the off chance that I’d strangled and subsequently sucked the vision out of half of her face.

This thought calms me when I realize how stupid I’m acting. Besides, what new kind of depression would Cindy be thrown into if she caught me thinking about my ex, let alone talking to her again? No, the relief wouldn’t be worth another crack in our marriage. I roll onto my side and caress my wife instead. Her skin is as cold as a frosted window. My eyes fly open and it’s her. Susan.

I immediately leap from the bed, taking most of the blankets with me. Dear God, it’s actually her. She’s naked, her body frozen from rigor mortis in the same pleading position I’d left her in. For a moment I stand there, unable to fully comprehend what I’m looking at -what have I done!? – when my eyes stop on her face and her missing eye.

“What have I done? What have I done?!” The words leave my chest in heaving barks.

I’ve done it. I’ve actually murdered someone. You’ve spent your whole life reading and watching movies about people doing this exact same thing…and now you’re the killer.

I rub my eyes – at tears that refuse to appear.

And what do I do now? The guilt comes in torrents, as if from the beats of some ghastly heart. I could hide her. I’d have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life…but I could hide her, for now. My Susan, I’m so sorry.

I cross to her side of the bed, taking in her beauty for the first time since the last time I’d seen her two years ago. If not for her awkward pose, the dark patches of skin where her body meets the bed and. . .and the empty, half-lidded socket of her eye I’d stolen, she’d pass for. . .a dead body. I wish I could say that she looked like she was sleeping, but that’d be cruel. There is no elegance in death.

Above all else, the unnaturalness of that sunken lid was making me sick (Did I really do that?) and re-covering her with the bed sheet was a welcome relief. The shudder that comes from beneath the white fabric seems to agree.

A second rush of adrenaline washes over my face. I can taste something metallic like blood and my skin breaks out in feverish bumps.

Bodies sometimes move after death, don’t they? I’ve read about that! Sometimes they move and that’s just what dead bodies do.

I took a step back but then another thought crossed my mind: What if she isn’t dead after all? She knows I tried to kill her, so do I have to finish the job now or drop her off at the hospital on the way to prison?

I’m shaking now, I can feel it, literally see it from the way my hand quivers as I raise it. This is the part of the horror movie where everyone is telling me stop, to run away! I’ve always hated the cheap ‘jump’ scares, and here I am about to experience one up close – with my own eyes so to speak. Thinking about eyes makes feel light headed and I push it from my mind.

Slowly, I grip the side of the linen, never removing my gaze from the amorphous shape of my dead ex-lover. My future – everything – hinges on what’s under this piece of fabric. Sucking in a mouthful of frosty air, I slid the sheet back down her body. Down their bodies. There, right before me like the world’s most depraved magic trick laid the bodies of every person I’d ever murdered in my nightmares. My family. My friends. My ex. Their pale bodies tangled; bloodless and naked. Each bearing the unique method of murder I’d put them down with – some missing limbs, others charred and burned. My brother blindly watches me, his face and teeth having been smashed flat with a garbage compactor.

This time I did not scream. Instead, I was overcome with the dizzying sense that I was now standing on the edge of a cliff. You know the feeling you get? Where you’re so terrified of falling that you suddenly become sure that that’s exactly what you’re going to do? That was the feeling. And that’s exactly what happened next – I fell face first into the necrotic pasta I’d created. I opened my mouth, either to scream or to breath, I don’t know, but instead found the waxy flesh of my mother’s leg in my jaws. Vomit rushed out to meet it. I could feel the dead things all around me begin to spasm and writhe. A hand clawed at my thigh; another at my back. I looked up in time to see that

Susan was staring at me, her back arching up into a near sitting position before flopping down onto her stomach. Slowly, painfully – it seemed – she dragged herself over the pile of moving corpses until our noses were almost touching. I wanted hysterically to push her away, to escape, but my arms felt weaker and somehow shorter; my body frozen in paralysis. In horror, I realized the lid of her removed eye was opening and closing like a gibbering mouth and that with each retraction I could see into the private gore of her skull. I desperately tried to look away, but stopped. She’s trying to tell me something.

I could see her mouth moving but I couldn’t hear as if we were miles apart. Furiously, I stared at her lips, trying to make out a word – anything. Around me, the blindly searching hands had found the downy comforter and were in the process of pulling it up over us now in heavy jerking motions. To my left, the closet door slammed open and an avalanche of people I didn’t recognize flooded out. I could feel the blood pulsing in my ears but I still couldn’t put Susan’s words together. “Sea”? “Pay the Sea?” The blanket was crawling over the top of her head now.

Distantly, I realized that the other cadavers were speaking as well – their rotting lips whispering, again too quietly for me to hear. No, I have to focus! In another second, I’m not going to see anything! And there it was. In the last moment, as the fabric fell over Susan’s face – and my head – I’d caught one word: “Cindy”.

They were warning me. My wife was next to die.

* * *

“You were laughing in your sleep again,” Cindy’s voice, just beside me, makes me jump and nearly flip off the bed.

Was. . .that a dream too? Again I find myself in our room; the ceiling fan silent and unmoving. I sit up and hold my face in my hands. How much more of this can I take? Did I kill her or didn’t I? Guilt is still hanging over me like a corpse and I’m not sure if this is yet another dream or not.

Cindy’s burying her face in her pillow looking like she’d just woken from a nightmare herself. It’s obvious she’s feeling sick and there’s the distinct twang of vomit leaping from her hair. But her hearing was back; the worst was behind her again – at least for now.

“Did I say anything?” I ask this, but I don’t listen to the answer. I know what she’s going to say because we’ve had this conversation before.

“Ya…you said Susan a few times”.

A jolt ripples through me, but I do my best to hide it from my face. Usually there’s only the laughing – more of a snicker, really – but this time. . . I’d said her name. In the distance I could hear sirens whip-whirling. Were they meant for me?

I leaned over and gave Cindy the best side-hug I could manage; kissing her forehead. “Oh right, that was Susan from work. Her father just died and I’ve been thinking about the funeral.” It’s a bad lie, but it’s better than the truth. “I’m going to get a drink, want anything?” She shook her head miserably and I headed for the kitchen.

For a good few moments I stared dumbly at the cell phone in my hand, building up the courage for what I wanted to do. I can call Andrew. He’d still have Susan’s number and I can call her and I can go back to sleep. This is so stupid! You know that, so why are you doing this?

If I had to face the possible unthinkable, I wasn’t about to do it alone. I got a tall glass from the cupboard, sloshed a helping hand of vodka into it and filled the rest with orange juice. Dolefully kicking back a mouthful, I turned back to the problem at hand:

I dialed his number.

One dial tone. Two dial tones. Come on, buddy, I know it’s the middle of the night, but you have to sense the urgency I’m sending through this phone, right?

It rang three more times and then went to voicemail. Frustrated, I called again, but still no answer. I stopped, hitching in a breath. Now that I think about it, when was the last time I talked to you, man? With dawning horror, I realized I hadn’t spoken to him in over a month. Not him, not my family either.

In a panic, I dialed the numbers of every person I cared about, everyone that I had dreamed about with mounting dread. Not a single person I knew answered the phone. Of the strangers that did, they claimed they didn’t know who I was talking about – that the number must have been changed. Others came back disconnected.

So I had done it then. Murdered everyone I’d ever cared about, but why? And surely there must have been police investigations! Someone must have found a connection between a massacred family and their only remaining son! But then why don’t I remember anyone contacting me? Am I really that sick of a fuck?

Shock overwhelms me and I crumple to the ground, taking my empty glass with me. Numbly, I try to sit up and realize that I can’t. It’s starting! This must be it! I’m losing control of my body. Lying back down, I roll my eyes in the direction of the phone. I have to call the police. I can’t hurt another person! But the cell phone looks like it’s miles away. I giggle to myself at the absurdity of this and reach for it anyway. My arm stretches like taffy and

There’s a noise from the hallway. Cindy! Oh god, I have to warn her! Whatever is happening to me is almost complete! She has to run! God I can’t stop this monster inside of me!

“Shind-y. . . run for. . .hel-puh,” the words form as the spittle on my lips- indistinct and bursting on the ‘p’s’.

I try to focus on the pink blur of her pajamas when, without warning, she falls to the ground in a fit of retching. No, not now! You can’t get sick now, I need you to run! The world feels tilted on its axis and my body is impossibly heavy. One moment everything seems frozen in place and the next

She’s on top of me. I can feel the heat of her breath; the sour taste of bile cloying in the air. In a heaving belch, she vomits a thick stream across my face, soaking into my shirt and coagulating in my curly red hair. I watch as it runs down my side and pools next to the glass. The glass! The date her pills would ship…I’d made a mistake…had that been the arrival date?

She must have known I was a killer. She’s doing the right thing. The world is growing dim and I feel like I’m floating in a cold river. Breathing is becoming less and less natural for me – less important. She’s looking at me now, her face completely devoid of expression. With my last breath I prepare to whisper, “Thank you”, but then I see it – a cut across her palm. It’s something so simple, so mundane but I can hear the click of understanding as realization falls into place.

The killings won’t stop. I’d spent years of my life trying to escape my body to travel across this world as freely as a gust of wind. It had never occurred to me that I’d actually succeeded, and more. I’d heard it was called dreamwalking – actually living inside another’s dream. But that would be the ultimate freedom. That would be

“The God Ticket,” I mutter, barely audible.

She stops, only for a moment and then leans forward, her blonde hair cascading over my face and at first I think she’s going to kiss my forehead, when instead her lips close around my right eye.

Credit To – ARScroggins

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