Ikidomari (Part 1 of 2)

July 12, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Note: This is Part 1 of 2 in the Ikidomari series. The second part will be uploaded tomorrow!

Ikidomari 1

I hear voices, they’re all around me. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to never play that damn game. They say I’m crazy and maybe I am. Maybe whatever it is that haunts me, took my sanity and hid it away. Somewhere where it’s impossible to find it, somewhere dark and sinister. Maybe they buried it deep down into the core of the earth and it’s just sitting down there, waiting to be found. I sound crazy don’t I? You think I’m crazy and it’s okay because I think I am as well. I’m gonna share this story and I’m gonna share it as much as possible. I don’t care if you believe me, all I ask from you is to read this story and don’t make the same mistake I made. I’m sure you’ve heard of true hauntings such as The Haunting of Connecticut and Amityville and maybe you’ve seen the movie “The Conjuring” that was based on true events. You never heard of this one. Those hauntings cannot compare to what I’ve witnessed. Nothing can.

It was in 2005 when I came across some old abandoned apartment building. I had just finished the first semester of my senior year of college and was walking alone to my dorm from the bar. I was always alone, I didn’t have many friends other than Jake and his brother Joel, my roommates. But they were always busy doing something else with their girlfriends and I was always alone, hoping that a bottle of whiskey would solve my problems.

When I came across the old building, I heard this creepy and demonic melody playing from inside. It sounded like a music box and it was echoing somehow. I had this strange urge to go inside and find out where it was coming from. I threw my bottle of whiskey and it broke against the curb. I walked inside the abandoned building, something I would never do if I was sober. My footsteps echoed throughout the building as I walked the halls. Most of the windows were boarded and dust filled the air, clinging onto every object that existed. I could actually taste the dust as it broke into my mouth and into my throat, causing me to cough.

I moved at a leisurely pace, dust spiraled up into clouds as I wandered the halls, searching for wherever the music was coming from. I know it sounds stupid but I was being drawn to the sound. It had some weird effect on me. I walked into a room and the music had stopped. The room was just like the rest of the building. Old, dusty and dark. I used the light from my cellphone to examine the old paintings that hung on the walls. I noticed how weird it was that most of the rooms had furniture left in it. It looked as if whoever were living there just got up and left, leaving behind everything.

As I searched the room, I had this overwhelming sense that somebody or something was watching me. I felt like if I were to turn around, something would be there. I turned around but I didn’t see anything but, I still had a sense that something was there. Something was watching me. I then heard the creepy melody echo from beneath the floor and I had to find out where it was coming from. I don’t know why…it just seemed like I was being forced to the sound, like I had no choice in the matter. The melody was coming from underneath a dusty rug. I pulled up the rug, dust scattered in the air like a dust storm. I felt the floor lightly shaking and it made a sound similar to a heart beat. This sounds crazy but It was almost as if the floor had a pulse. There was a door on the floor that opened up, leading to some storage area. It was a deep hole, around 12 feet which is why there was a ladder made from rope. I climbed down the rope, another thing I wouldn’t do if I were sober. There wasn’t much in there, just some old books, a box and a creepy ventriloquist doll with long black hair and big round dark eyes. I noticed the strange melody was coming from the box. I picked up the box and started to climb the rope. I couldn’t help but to fear that something would grab me and pull me back down. I made it back up and I placed the game on the floor, shining light over it with my phone.

It looked like a brief case but it was made of what seemed like black stone with some strange word, “Ikidomari,” carved into the center. I brushed the dust off with my hand and I opened it. I noticed it wasn’t a box or a brief case, it was a board game. The structure of the board game was similar to The Game of Life but it had a cemetery theme and in the center of the board, it had what appeared to be a human heart inside a small glass dome. I’ve never seen anything like that before. It had six game pieces that took on the shape of tombstones and were made of real stone. On the right side, it had a deck of red cards and on the left, were black cards.

I noticed there were small writing carved in the inside of the game. “If you dare to play…beware of demons.” I figured it was all just for scare and so I did something that I wish I hadn’t done. I was just curious. Lonely, drunk and curious. There was a wheel at the bottom right corner of the game that had numbers ranging from 0-9 and the objective was to spin the wheel and move your game piece to the amount of whatever number you spun. I placed a game piece to the starting point and I spun the wheel. I watched as it spun around and around until eventually, it stopped at four. I was going to move my piece up four spots when suddenly, it began to move on its own. 1, 2, 3, 4 and then it stopped. I froze in fear for a few seconds, normal people would of probably ran off by then but for some strange reason, I just kept on playing, assuming there was a logical explanation for it. I’ve always been that way. I’ve always lived by what my father told me. “Believe in nothing you hear and only half of what you see.”

Aparently, when I spun a four, I landed on a black space. According to the game, black spaces meant you had to draw a black card. Black cards were more like tips or secrets, they weren’t always bad. I picked up a black card from the deck. The words were in Japanese but at the bottom of the cards, in smaller letters, they were translated in English. I looked at the card and read it out loud.

“Keep an eye on the doll.” I looked over at the hole in the floor and I stood on my feet. I slowly walked toward it, lightly shaking, my teeth were grinding against each other as I got closer. I leaned over the hole and I felt as my heart knocked on my chest, begging to come out. There was no doll. She was just…gone.

I quickly left the old building and ran to my dormroom which was just five minutes away. My roommates were all there with their girlfriends, sitting on the couch when I burst through the door, suffocating in sweat and fear. I told them about what had happened, without leaving out a single detail. They didn’t believe me of course, I’m not really sure if I expected them to but I sure did hope they would. They called me crazy, said I had way too much to drink and they helped me to bed. I hoped they were right, I’d rather be crazy than to know that what had just happened was real.

Almost a week went by and I had forgotten about it all. I figured maybe it was nothing after all and that I made a bigger deal out of it than I needed to. I stopped drinking, believing that it would never cure my loneliness. It was almost a whole entire week since the incident and I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about ever going back to that old building. I thought that my troubles were over but I found out that they weren’t even close to over. They were only just beginning.

Something strange happened to me, something only explainable in a Twilight Zone episode or a Stephen King book. I was in school as usual, walking down the hall to my class. It was strange because I was the only one in the halls and the lights were dim and flickering. I heard a whisper as it echoed from behind me.

“Ikidomari,” I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I had no idea what was going on or why it was happening until I heard the music. It was that same haunting melody and it echoed through the halls. I started walking faster, scampering down the hall but it seemed like I was just walking in circles. Everywhere I went, no matter how fast I walked, I was going no where. I kept walking until I saw somebody or something at the end of the hall. I couldn’t really see who it was because I was too far away but it looked like a woman. She was in a white dress and her head was titled at an unusual angle.

“Ikidomari,” she said more than once in a very unsettling tone that echoed through the halls. She had a Japanese ascent and I thought I was dreaming but I was very much awake. She continued to whisper. “Come back, Gordan. We’re waiting for you.” I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. She kept talking to me, I had no idea how she knew my name. “Gordan, I see you Gordan…come baaaack.” The most creepy part about her voice was the somewhat happy tone and the way it echoed. I turned to my left and noticed I found my classroom. I walked inside, everybody was looking at me like I was crazy. I guess they saw the fear in my eyes. I looked out into the halls and everything was normal as if nothing ever happened. My teacher scolded me for being late and I took my seat. I was clearly the only one who was experiencing that nightmare so I didn’t want to bring it up because I know that everyone else would say that I’m crazy and that I’m losing my damn mind. They wouldn’t have been wrong anyway.

I waited until I got back to the dormroom to bring it up with my roommates. They again thought I was crazy and was no help at all. I’ve heard the haunting melody every night while in bed and every morning while in school. Something was haunting me and I know that this sounds crazy but it was the board game. I didn’t know if it was cursed, possessed or what but it was haunting me and it was driving me to the brink of losing my sanity. It was nothing but that melody for a whole entire week until one day, something strange happened.

I was alone in my dormroom, the other guys were out on dates like every Friday night. I heard the melody as it squeezed through the cracking of my window. It echoed off the trees and right down to my soul. I then heard a knock at the door and it startled me because it was a knock that I’d never heard before. Every one of my roommates had a certain knock but that knock was more like a pound and every time I heard it, I felt my heart pounding along with it. I slowly walked to the front door and I took a deep breath before opening. My father used to tell me to count to three if I were ever scared and then fight the fear with all I’ve got. I took another deep breath, the knocking continued and I slowly began counting. 1…2(one more deep breath)…3. I opened the door, there was nobody in sight. I looked to the floor and there was an envelope. I picked it up and examined it. There was no name or anything. I opened it, my heart was knocking as I pulled out a black card. “Ikidomari” was written on one side and on the other, “We’re waiting for you.” They were haunting me, probably watching my every move for the past two weeks. They wanted me to finish the game and they weren’t gonna stop until I did. It was as if I ran into a dead end I couldn’t back out of.

I kept the card in the sweaty palm of my left hand and I waited impatiently and desperately for my roommates to arrive and they were just as annoyed as I was when they heard me talking about the melody again. I told them about the knocking, I told them about how the game was haunting me and the only way to get it to stop was to finish what I started. I guess showing them the black card was proof enough because I was able to get them to agree to go back to the apartment with me. They said the only reason they were doing it was to get me to shut up about it but deep down inside, I know they were doing it because they knew that something strange was going on.

We gathered some flashlights and headed out to the old apartments. Joel brought his girlfriend, Kenzie along with us. I didn’t think they all knew exactly what they were getting into. I didn’t even know really. The only thing I knew was that I had to finish the game or it would probably haunt me for the rest of my pathetic life.

When we arrived at the building, I had this strange feeling that something was watching us as we ambled our way inside. They followed me to the room, jokingly calling out to the ghosts that I believed resided in there on the way. I was startled by the appearance of the doll sitting against the wall, next to the old furnace. Her cheeks, if I weren’t imaging this, were smiling at me as I walked by. The game was just where I had left it and had started playing that creepy melody when I picked it up and placed it on the table. I was suprised to find that they were hearing it along with me. That was when I knew that I wasn’t going crazy. I wasn’t the only one. In a way, it was a huge weight taken off my shoulder.

“Ikidomari? What is that supposed to mean anyway?” Kenzie asked, looking at the carved writing on the board. She looked at me expecting an answer, I had no idea what it meant and I still don’t but, it can’t be anything good. We all took a seat at the table and all eyes were pretty much on me. I flicked the wheel and it spun, landing on 6. We all watched my game piece but, it wasn’t moving. Not like it did the last time. I spun again, landing on 4. Still nothing. I tried moving the piece manually but it was stuck to the board. It was like trying to pull a nail from a wall with your bare hands. I figured there must have been a reason for this so I read the rules that were written at the bottom left corner of the board. I wish I had read them before I played. The rules were very horrifying and they pretty much went like this:

Welcome to the game of Ikidomari. For your safety, it is highly recommended that you read the rules BEFORE you play the game. If you place a game piece on the board and you spin the wheel, there is no going back. You hit a dead end and there’s no way around it but to finish the game. The game will not end until there’s one person left alive, other wise it can NEVER end.

Note: This game is designed for more than one player so if you are alone, do NOT start the game. Consequences will be dire.

Note: The game pieces tend to move on their own so there is no need to move them manually. Not that you could anyway.

Warning: To whomever dares to play the game, be aware that there can only be one winner and that winner shall win the ultimate prize that sits in the center of the board. To those who fail along the way…Rest In Piece.

Warning: Cheating is NOT tolerated and will result in dire consequences and an automatic ejection.

When I found that the game meant everything that was said, the rules made it seem like this game was a death wish. I still to this day, wish I had read the rules first. I wouldn’t be here right now, surrounded by demons if I had. Everyone else I guess thought it was just a game. They had no idea how real the situation was. Since I aparently already took my turn, Jake volunteered to go next. He placed a game piece at the starting point and spun the wheel. He rolled a 7 and his piece slowly moved up seven spaces, landing on a light shade of gray(which by the way meant you didn’t have to draw a card). Joel went next and he spun a 5, landing on a gray spot.
Finally, it was Kenzie’s turn. She placed her tombstone on the board and spun the wheel. 4.

I knew instantly, that would be a black spot because I spun that the first time. Her piece moved up four spaces and she drew a black card from the deck. I took a deep breath, probably more scared than she was. When I saw her reaction, I saw the fear crawl within her.

“Look behind you,” she read out loud. We all took our flashlighs and pointed them behind her.

“What the hell is that thing?” Joel asked, not really expecting an answer.

“Wasn’t that thing over there?” Jake asked, looking at me and pointing to the furnace.

It was the doll. She somehow moved from the furnace to the rocking chair that sat behind Kenzie without anyone noticing. She was just sitting there, the chair rocking lightly back and forth. At that point, I’m sure everyone realised how serious and real the situation was. I heard their heart beats echo throughout the room. They were just as scared as I was. I agreed to switch seats with Kenzie who of course wasn’t very comfortable with a creepy doll sitting on a rocking chair behind her. Not that I wasn’t uncomfortable with it either.

We got back to the game, trying to ignore the creaking of the rocking chair. It was my turn. I spun the wheel and landed on 7. My piece moved slowly, I counted the spaces before it could stop. It landed on gray. Jake was next. He spun the wheel and landed on 5. His piece slowly moved and stopped directly in front of mine.

“Shit,” he muttered. He landed on a black spot so he pulled a black card out of the deck and read it out loud.

“It’s okay to be afraid…because you should be.”

We were indeed afraid and yet we were just getting started. The worse had yet to come. I took a deep breath, hoping nothing would viciously pop out at us. It was Joel’s turn so he spun the wheel and landed on 4. A gray space. Kenzie spun the wheel and landed on 0. Her piece did not move and it stayed put on the black space. According to the rules, that would still result in drawing a black card. She pulled a card from the deck, took a deep breath and read it out loud.

“She’s under the floor.” We were all silent and we listened as a voice echoed through.

“It’s dark down here,” The voice was echoing from beneath the floor. “I can’t sleep, Gordan.”

They all looked at me as if I knew what was going on. This woman or thing was haunting me. We heard a knock from under the floor, right beneath us. The air was so cold and we actually felt a presence run through us. It was a horrifying experience but we knew we had to continue the game. It was my turn and I quickly spun the wheel and thankfully, my tombstone moved to a gray space. It was Jake’s turn next. He spun the wheel, landing on 9. His game piece moved up nine spaces and…it stopped on red. We hadn’t had a red space so we had no idea what would happen next. All that we knew was that the red cards were considered dead ends and were unpredictable and possibly dangerous. We didn’t know at the time how deadly they’d be. Jake took a red card from the deck, we all took a deep breath as he began to read it.

A knock will rumble the room
Open the door or be doomed

We all looked at each other, our faces frozen in fear. Then came the knock. It was loud, more like a pound similar to the knocking that took place earlier that day in our dorm. It did rumble the room, and it echoed right through us. Our hearts, becoming vulnerable and frail.

“Open the door or be doomed,” I said, looking at Jake. “I’m sorry man, but you have to open the door.” He looked at me and I saw the fear leaking from his eyes. His face was pale as he took a deep breath and stood up. We watched as he slowly walked to the door. I realised nobody had shut the door and yet, somehow it was closed without anyone noticing. I had an overwhelming sense that something bad was about to happen. The room rumbled again as there was another loud knock.

Jake finally reached the door after what seemed like an eternity and he looked back at us. The longer he took, the more frightening the situation seemed. I couldn’t blame him though. There was no telling what could have been behind that door. It could have been something demonic, something sinister. He took another deep breath as he slowly opened the door. I listened to the sound as it creaked open and I swear, everything was in slow motion.

Credit To – Jake Engel

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Mescalune’s Mobile Cinema

July 8, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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Whether a precocious elementary schooler or a senior waiting to leave for college, all of us kids in Plainfield found ourselves counting down the days until Mescalune’s Mobile Cinema rolled back into town. There were no advertisements for it posted anywhere — especially not the public notice boards at the library or the town hall. Nor were particular return dates announced after the last screening. Nor did the mobile cinema have a set schedule by which to calibrate our internal clocks. We would always learn of its return from a rumor. Somebody would mention hearing of a showing two towns over, meaning our turn would come tomorrow night; or else someone would have heard on good authority from a friend of a friend that Plainfield would be the next town on the circuit, making next weekend the one we’d all been waiting for. And sure enough, one of those rumors would be true. We’d gather in the fields at the edge of town, and there would be Mr. Mescalune himself, dressed in his tattered top hat and patchwork tuxedo, standing outside the modified trailer that contained the rarest movie house in the world.

We would enter through the back of the trailer — if we were one of the lucky few to be admitted. Inside, the trailer contained a few rows of metal folding chairs welded to the floor, with a narrow aisle stretching down the middle. The chairs faced a stark white wall, onto which a projector dangling from the ceiling would beam whatever film Mr. Mescalune had to show us.

They were always worth seeing. Every one. Because you could see nothing like them anywhere else. Maybe we were biased, since Plainfield didn’t have a movie theater of its own. Or a roller rink. Or an arcade. Or anywhere else for kids to go for entertainment. Our parents weren’t big on such things. All the same, long after some of us had left Plainfield for greener pastures and had seen the kinds of movies everybody else had enjoyed, we had to admit that nothing was ever as exciting as the films of Mr. Mescalune.

We never knew exactly what to expect going in for a screening. Sometimes his films were no more than ten minutes long; others ran for over three hours. We could never recognize the actors and actresses onscreen — partially because we never had the chance to learn about and grow enamored of movie stars through magazines and gossip rags, since anything not a textbook would be confiscated at school. Mostly, though, it was because Mr. Mescalune’s films used no professional actors. Maybe he picked them for their looks, or for the sounds of their voices; maybe his casting selections had no logic whatsoever. It didn’t matter. The actors always showed real emotion in his films, no matter how large or small the role. You could tell they were giving it everything they had. You’d be forgiven for thinking they weren’t faking.

You could be sure of only one thing when you sat down to watch one of Mr. Mescalune’s films: somebody was going to die.

Their death wouldn’t always be gory. Sure, there were the bloody ones: the machete to the skull; the thousand strategic cuts of the razor; the gunshot at close range. Sometimes they went cleanly — garroted by a masked figure, for instance, or left twitching in a chair after drinking a glass of something toxic. Whatever the method, no matter how creative, the filmed death would be more realistic than you could imagine. And so too would be the performance leading up to it — the tears, the pleas, the screams.

That, we thought, was the chief virtue of Mr. Mescalune’s films. How real they were. How true they were. Having endured the blandness and falsehood of the whitewashed novels and television shows our parents forced on us, it felt as if we were seeing the world as it was meant to be seen for the first time in our lives. It was like being born, or reborn. We were all grateful to Mr. Mescalune for it. We greeted the end of each film with a standing ovation, and Mr. Mescalune, ever modest, would doff his grungy hat and give us a low bow.

We never told our parents about Mr. Mescalune. Not only because it would entail revealing that we had sneaked out of our rooms at night, and violated our curfews. We predicted that they’d claim he was the Devil, like they had with our trading card games and fantasy anthologies, and prohibit us from ever visiting him again.

He never charged us money for admission to his screenings. All he asked is that we enter his lottery. To each kid he admitted into the trailer, he provided a paper raffle ticket with a handwritten number on it. Once the film ended and our applause subsided, he’d reach into his hat and fish around inside until his gloved hand emerged holding a slip of paper. He’d read the number in his quiet, soothing voice, and check whether any of our tickets matched it. If none did, he would simply smile, shake hands with anybody who stayed behind to thank him for the show, and let us out into the moonlit fields, where the lingering crowd of the curious unadmitted anxiously questioned us about what we had seen.

For several years, we did not know what would happen if one held a matching ticket.

Then there came the night when Chris P— won the drawing.

Mr. Mescalune reached into his hat like usual, and we scarcely paid attention, accustomed as we were to the slim odds of having the right number. When he announced the winner, half of us didn’t even bother to glance at our tickets. Calm as ever, Mr. Mescalune repeated the number. That was when Chris, sitting in the front row, raised his hand. It was as if lightning had struck us, and melded us to our seats. This was something even more unprecedented than the films we came to see! We started clapping, and Chris stood and nodded to us politely as Mr. Mescalune came over to congratulate him. All of us were eager to learn what Chris’s prize would be, but Mr. Mescalune sent us on our way, keeping only Chris behind. Some of us waited outside the trailer for a long time afterward, but nobody emerged. Given the late hour, we had to head home, lest our families awaken and discover we weren’t where we should have been.

Chris’s absence from school the following day surprised nobody. Who wouldn’t take the day off after staying out so late? When he didn’t appear the day after, we were perplexed. Once an entire week elapsed, we were downright curious. Even so, we didn’t dare tell an adult. What would become of the mobile cinema once they learned of it? For that matter, what would become of us?

We didn’t glimpse Chris again until the next time Mescalune’s Mobile Cinema parked in the outskirts of town. Those of us who gained entry waited eagerly for the projector to warm up and give us what we needed to see. And when it finally flickered to life, dust motes swirling and sparkling in its beam, we beheld none other than Chris P— on the screen before us, sitting shirtless against a concrete wall. We erupted into thunderous applause. Our friend looked more alive on film than he ever had on the streets of Plainfield.

He looked up at the camera and stared forward, as if he were looking into each of our eyes. He knew who we were, after all — he knew we’d be there, watching, enjoying. We could feel that he dedicated this performance to us. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, tentatively, as though he had a monologue to recite, but couldn’t remember any of his lines. After a few attempts, he clenched his jaw, and fixed his gaze someplace beyond the camera. It was like he looked through us at that point. Like we were transparent. Or like we were ghosts. Like something that didn’t exist anymore, because we weren’t real enough to be worth acknowledging.

A shadow fell over the frame from the foreground, climbing up Chris’s face. At first, he stayed expressionless — resigned or stoic or simply refusing to emote. Then a low rumbling burbled over the speakers. Soon it gave way to a loud, unmistakable whir — the sound of a readied chainsaw. The tears began to stream from Chris’s eyes, as if they had a life independent of him. In another minute, the rest of him had caught up, and his body began to shake as he broke into convulsive sobs.

A figure wearing all black, with face obscured beneath a black ski mask, entered the frame. A chainsaw rattled in the figure’s gloved hands. Chris regarded the newcomer, and murmured something inaudible beneath the chainsaw’s whine. The words weren’t important, anyway. He could have narrated a shopping list, and it would have seemed imbued with purpose and meaning and vitality. He had us riveted.

The figure raised the chainsaw over Chris’s head. Our friend closed his eyes, trembling. The blade lowered toward his neck. The figure feinted once, twice. Then, in one powerful downward swing, the chainsaw bit into Chris’s spine. He yelped, but the sound was cut short as the blade did its work. His head flopped forward, then fell to the ground. The figure nudged it out of view, then left the screen.

For a minute and a half, the camera lingered on the headless body. The pool of blood widening beneath it was the sole sign of movement. Then the camera cut to black.

We could feel the realization percolating through us. What we beheld was no ordinary film. A scene that realistic could not have been faked. And gradually it dawned on us that Chris’s screen debut was not the exception, but the rule. Every film we had viewed at Mescalune’s Mobile Cinema documented the final moments of someone’s life. And we understood the price we paid for coming to see it.

We spent a few seconds figuring out how to react. We’d be lying if we said we hadn’t been moved. Somebody began a hesitant clap, and shortly thereafter, everybody else joined. The applause fed on itself, and grew. Some whistled. Others cheered. We were all on our feet within a minute.

And Mr. Mescalune stood beside the movie screen, and bowed, and held out his hat for the lottery drawing.

None of us were picked that night. We all went out into the fields, into the crowd, and relayed what we had learned. We let the news settle over us like fog. We didn’t talk about it, because there was nothing to say. Each of us mulled it over in our own personal silence. When we dispersed, all the stars in the sky glowed more brightly as we walked home.

Not one of us has drawn the winning number since Chris P— all those years ago.

But the night may yet come.

Because, even though we know the great secret of Mescalune’s Mobile Cinema, we have never missed a screening.

And the crowd that gathers at the edge of town for a chance to see one of Mr. Mescalune’s films is larger every time he visits.

Credit To – Lex Joy

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The Girl in the Window

July 7, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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Thank you all for coming here today on such short notice. It’s very kind of you, and I wish I had something better to say to you all, or at least something that won’t sound so crazy and so, uh, creepy. But it is what it is, and what it is, is something I have to do. Have to. Even though it may not help me. It’s what’s right is all. It’s the truth. So here goes.

I am not a hero. That’s the thing of it. What I mean is, I am not going to say that it wasn’t really me that was there that night or anything, or that I was in cahoots with that sicko, or anything like that. It’s not some elaborate hoax …in fact it’s even more horrific than you know. Also, I’m not being modest. I promised the truth and it’s hard, it’s hard to say this, but it’s just got to come out the way it is in my head. So I’m going to ask for your patience, and to hold your questions for the end.

As you all know, I drive a bus by that old house. It’s part of my route. And as you have all heard, I saw something suspicious that night, and decided to do my civic duty and here we are. But there is a lot more to it than that. What I saw was a hell of a lot more than suspicious, and when I went into that house, civic duty was the furthest thing from my mind.

You see, I had known something weird was going on there for months. What exactly, I did not know. What I mean is, I thought some completely different weirdness was going on. Nothing like…

I think it was early spring when I first saw the girl in the window. Cute as a button, young but not too young -I am not that flavor of pervert- and wearing nothing other than a white shift. I say I saw her, but I didn’t really. Not then. Back then, she was just kind of a hint of motion in the darkness. A bit where the dark wasn’t completely dark. Some motion that might have been the wind, or a bit of fog, or some papers blowing around. Indistinct. Easy to ignore, or to rationalize. But I guess my mind kind of took hold of that hint and built on it. Maybe that caused what happened next.

You see, what none of my fine customers will say, now that I am the darling of the press, is that I am a creeper. It’s on record at my job. I have been reprimanded for staring too long, or making flirty comments to the wrong people. I have never committed a crime, nor have I been actually punished. Never took it that far. But I have to say that, because you need to understand that I don’t date much. Ever, really. I am kind of a big guy, handsome enough in my way, and I even have women friends that hang out with me. Everybody says I am a nice guy, if a bit quiet, and it’s true. I let people slide on bus fare and make up the difference myself sometimes. I come help friends in the middle of the night when they are in trouble, and I don’t get stupid when I’m drunk.

But I don’t have girlfriends. Because I guess I want certain things too much and they sense it. They sense the desperation and the, the anger I guess. And they stay away. So I suppose I think about women a lot, and I imagine things. I think maybe at first I thought I was just imagining the girl.

It was like that for a while. The bus would take me by that house at night, and I would stop at the stop, and I would look around like I was looking for traffic or something on that lonely road, at that empty intersection. I would look around real slow, slower than at any other intersection. What I was really doing was sneaking a glance at that house. At that one room at the end of the new extension. At that window. Because inside that window I could see or imagine a little bit of motion. Some darkness that wasn’t completely dark. Something that kind of resembled a girl, dancing all slow and sexy. And when I did that I swear to you I could feel… something. A connection. Like I was feeding something, even if it was just my own imagination. And each time, it seemed like I could see a little more.

Yeah, it was weird and unexplainable. I mean, it wasn’t like the bus was on time every time; how could she know just when to be in that window? And why would she be dancing in the dark? But every time, it seemed like the room got a little brighter, a bit more real. I guess I figured she had a room light on a dimmer switch or something. I don’t know. But after a while, I began to make out details.

The girl, at first, of course. Long, jet black hair, with long bangs. I couldn’t see much of her face, maybe just an eye, or the corner of her mouth. Just enough to know, that when I looked at her, she looked right back at me. And smiled, just a little.

Yeah, I know how that sounds, but that is what I honestly believed back then. I never added up how I could see a facial expression that far away in the dim. Never wanted to, I guess. I was focused on other things.

I could see her slim body -not ideal, I usually prefer women with more meat on their bones- with her hands up above her head, doing that slow shimmy in that white shift that covered everything and hinted at everything. I was sure she wasn’t wearing nothing under it. I was sure she was teasing me. After all, what could I do? Pull the bus over and hop out, walk up to the door and ask for a date? I was totally safe to mess with. To make a fool of.

After a while, I could make out details in the room. A dresser. A bed. A single light fixture with a beaded chain. Old wood paneling on the walls. And after a while, her room went from being a dark room in a dark house, to being the only lit room in the dark house. She was keeping the light on for me, like it says in that radio commercial.

I guess at that time of night, it made sense for there never to be another car in the driveway or nothing. No clue that maybe she lived with somebody or anything. My mind took that and ran with it. Maybe she danced in a bar somewhere. Maybe that was how she paid for that ramshackle place. Maybe she had gotten tired of the usual customers and sworn off of men, so she lived alone. Maybe that had gotten old, and she had gotten lonely. So she was throwing a little bone -heh- to a lonely bus driver before she went to bed in that ramshackle house all alone at night.

It went on for months. It became the damned highlight of my day. It was our little secret, she and me. No one else on the bus really noticed her, or even if they glanced over at the little house and saw her dancing there, they never said anything about it. Maybe give a little jump and a shiver and look away. No, her teasing was all for me.

So I guess, in a way, it was inevitable.

One day I came driving along around the usual time, maybe a little early. It was deep dark, not just due to the hour, but because of the storm that blew into town that night. The bus stop up the road had been drenched; buckets of water pouring down from the heavens, and no one had been there. The bus was empty. It was just me.

So it was just me and her.

I knew my bosses would believe me if I told them the storm was the reason I was late to my next stop. I knew the accident camera on the bus wasn’t working. I knew that what I was about to do was stupid, incredibly stupid. I mean, what did I expect? Would she say, “about time” and pull me into her bed? Would we make small talk and find out we had a lot in common? The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. The angrier I got, the hornier I got. I stared through the rain, at what was just a blurry splash of light on the corner, due to the storm. And I pulled over.

I didn’t even pull my coat over my head or nothing. I just walked toward the house. It was like my brain was full of some angry static. I swear to you. I swear to you I have no idea what I would have done.

As you know, I am a big guy. Well, the doorbell didn’t work, and knocking politely didn’t work, and I found myself thinking about just shouldering the old door open and then …something, I don’t know what… I heard something.

Maybe it was just my imagination, twisting the rain and the wind and the trash blowing through the yard into something I wanted to hear. It was indistinct. But I swear to you it sounded like a woman’s voice. It sounded like the word, ‘help’. That was all the excuse I needed.

I don’t know why I was surprised that the inside of the house was dark. It had been dark every time I had seen it. But there was something. Something about, I don’t know, the quality of the darkness just seemed wrong, somehow. Too old. Too easy. I felt around and found the light switch. Clicked it on. Nothing. Storm put the power out? I wasn’t sure; there had been light from the one window seconds ago.

I put my cell phone on flashlight mode and swept it around. It was weird. The place looked abandoned, and not, at the same time. A layer of dust on some things, but not everything. Furniture in the places you would expect furniture to be, but they looked unused somehow. Ignored. There was a faint trail in the dust on the floor. A trail leading to that room; her room. I noticed that there was no light coming from the cracks in her door.

I mustered up a little gumption, and coughed loudly. I figured she must have heard me coming through the front door like a freight train, and I was not sure why she had not said anything. A bunch of thoughts went through my head, each contradicting the other. I spoke up. “Miss? Your power seems to be out. Uh, you need any help?” I sounded stupid and guilty and creepy, even to myself.

I felt a little like I was being drawn toward that bedroom on a string. My heart was pounding, about half of the water on my face was sweat. I didn’t know whether to stomp toward the door so she would know I was coming, or to sneak up on it all careful like, so I tried to do both at once. I musta sounded like a zombie shuffling around.

It took forever to reach that door.

I took ahold of the knob and twisted. It was locked. I hesitated. I listened. I thought. Maybe she was hunkered down in the dark, scared to death of me, some strange bus driver who had barged into her powerless house with her all alone and vulnerable in the dark. But maybe, just maybe, she needed my help, somehow. Could I come all this way and turn back now? I’d feel like a coward forever, and if she decided to call the cops on me, I had already done more than enough to get me arrested.

I swear to you I could feel it then. Like a string attached to my navel, or maybe a straw. I was being pulled into that room. Something was being pulled out of me and into that room. I was feeding something; maybe her lust, maybe mine, I don’t know. It took three tries, but I got that door open. And as it opened, I felt and heard something. A breath. An inhalation.

One moment, I was in utter darkness, except for the bluish white glow of the cell phone in my front pocket. The next, I was surrounded by a soft, warm, yellowish light. An old record player, just like I had imagined, was playing an old love song I couldn’t quite place. The bed looked fluffy and soft and inviting. The dresser clean but old, with a warped and blurry old mirror atop it, and scattered upon it was a tiny jewelry box and some make up containers.

In the center of the room, a beautiful as the night itself, was the girl. Petite, slender, in nothing but a white shift, with her long black hair obscuring her face. Her arms were up above her head as always, and she was dancing, twirling in that slow shimmy. She looked up at me, and she was beautiful, with pouting red lips and big wide black eyes. She looked at me and smiled, inviting.

I don’t think what happened next was her fault entirely. I had my part in it. I could feel that connection between us stronger than ever, like a pipe feeding from her shift-covered belly button into mine. A flow. And I think it was the darkness in me that made it bad. I wanted her, loved her a little, but that anger was there, too. And I think her anger fed into it as well and things got twisted.

Things went to hell.

You see, I don’t think they see the way we do. It’s not like they have rods and cones in their eyes and nerves and all that junk. I think they see spirit or energy or something. I think for a moment, she mistook me for the sicko. For the guy that had put her there, so long ago. She saw that darkness in me that was like his, and she got mad. And all of that strength that I had been feeding her through that connection, through my lust, I think it was that what made her strong enough to …change.

The expression on her face twisted. It became angry and lustful all at once. Her eye, the one I could see, grew. It was eating her face. It was an angry dark pit that she was being sucked into. That I was being sucked into. It was a hungry insatiable force, a scary dark place, bigger than the room or the house or maybe this whole damned planet. Her hair enveloped me, and the scariest part was that part of me wanted that hell.

That was when the sicko showed up.

In an instant, she was gone. The room was plunged into darkness, except for the bright white of the sicko’s mag-light shining in my face. He didn’t say a word, just cocked his gun, and that sound dropped the world into the pit of my stomach. I was going to get shot and die in this ramshackle house by the road, and no one was every going to believe that I wasn’t some sort of… I am not afraid to tell you that I felt tears start in my eyes at that moment. I thought about rushing him, but I could not see anything other than that damned light in my eyes, and I knew the instant I started forward, he would fire. If only he would say something, give me a chance to explain…but how could I explain? Why had I come here in the middle of the night? Where was the girl, who was she? I hesitated.

She did not.

Through our connection, I felt …something… recognition, hate, all of that. I felt something that I could no longer see, rush away from me. And into him.

He jerked, the mag-light swinging away from me. I was still dazzled, blind, but I felt through her that his gun was no longer pointing my way. I trusted that feeling and I tackled him.

I’m a big guy. You know the rest.

Except you don’t. I never wanted anything more in my life than to kill that man at that moment. But at the time, I didn’t understand why. I only knew I was feeling her anger, her embarrassment, her violation, her rage. And something in me, I don’t know, opened up. The lust went away, along with my rage, and I wanted just to comfort her, to absorb her sadness. To tell her that somehow, it was all going to be alright. To help her, not to help myself to her. I stopped myself from killing him. I stopped her from killing him.

It was then that my head began to clear, and I realized that I had just beaten a man unconscious in what was probably his house in the middle of the night. Except he obviously didn’t live here. I took his mag-light and shined it around. The bedroom where I had seen the girl was old, dusty. The dresser and the bed were there, but they had long since deteriorated. The sheets where ratty, with holes everywhere. The mirror had shattered years before. The light fixture above me had no bulb, and hung at an angle with something like a rusty wire noose dangling from it. The window …the window through which I had seen the girl for months, had a thick, dusty blanket nailed across it. Everything in the room was covered in dust, except the throw rug at my feet.

As you all know, beneath that throw rug was a trap door, leading into a soundproofed crawl space with three more girls, still alive, but starving and in danger of drowning from leaking, pooling water. I called 911 and thus became a hero.

What you don’t know is that I saw the girl once more. Twice, if you count the photo online of her, the sickos’ first victim from years before, her bones dug up from beneath the crawlspace.

The bus wasn’t involved this time. I shudder every time I reach that corner now, and I have been known to run that light if there aren’t any cars coming, and there never are. No, one time after that all happened, I drove back there in my own car. I had to know how much had actually happened, and how much was my crazy.

The whole house was dark that time, and I did not dare to go inside, although the police tape and seesaw barriers and the press had long gone. But I strolled around to that bleak black window where I had seen the girl, and I stared into that darkness. And she came to me.
She wasn’t distinct this time, I guess she had used up most of the energy I had given her or something. But I could see her pale face, her splayed hands against the inside glass of that window. Her one eye, staring at me. I was drawn to her, and I stepped up to that window, tears streaming down, glad I had saved those girls but ashamed of why. She was still angry at me, and I could understand why; she had seen the darkness in my soul, had felt it. I came right up to the window and I covered her hand with mine. If she had swallowed me into hell in that moment, well I reckon I would have deserved it. But she showed me a kindness. She whispered to me in that same indistinct but carrying voice I had heard before.

“Tell them the truth.”

And so I have.

Is this enough for her? Is she going to still come after me on some lonely night? Maybe. I’m not really doing this to save myself. Now you all think I am plum crazy, and maybe I am. Maybe now the press will stop calling me a hero, and all those girls who couldn’t give me the time of day before will stop buying me drinks at every bar in town. Maybe now I will lose my job, and not have to drive past that house any more, I don’t know. But I telling the truth is the right thing to do and now I’ve done it.

Thank you all very much.

Credit To – kitsune9tails

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I Want To Go Home

July 7, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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It was a dreary kind of day. It always was in this small suburban town. On the edge of this town,there resided a deep forest which gave a little life to the otherwise plain residence. The large oak trees swaying in the playful breeze, the few gentle rays of light peeking through the grey clouds were speckling through the forestry onto the foliage below, it is quite a sleepy little forest, the loudest sounds coming from the occasional wildlife passing through. That is except for today. Today all silence was broken with a loud pop and a flurry of fluttering wings followed by apish hooting and hollering. The culprit of these sounds? A group of boys who often frequented this otherwise quiet little forest. These boys had been friends since elementary school and it was common place for them to meet up after school and walk through to the edge of the local park into this forest. It was their “secret hideout”. Normally their games were innocent enough, kids just being kids goofing off and throwing sticks at each other. But today was different, today was “special”. The oldest of the group had just turned thirteen and had received a pellet rifle for his birthday. He was told repeatedly that it was not a toy and he could only use it with an adult around. He was even promised by his uncle that they would go out and shoot some targets at on Friday after school, but that was several days away and he was of course eager to show his best friends his newest treasure and what better place to do it then their secret hiding spot? So here he was proudly holding his recently fired .22 caliber pellet rifle smugly grinning at his accomplishment in hitting his first ever target. Before him just a few feet away in a mass of twitching black feathers was a small black bird, its spastic movements slowly ceasing.

“I can’t fucking believe you hit it dude!” the youngest of the three squeaked, excitedly running over to examine the fallen bird.

The oldest snorted “Of course I hit it, Uncle Joe used to let me shoot his real rifle all the time before this.”

He got a playful punch on his shoulder from the youngest boy. “Yeah right dude, I saw how your hands were shaking, you’ve never even used a pea shooter before.”

“Fuck you dude” the oldest replied with a wry grin.

The youngest chortled and rummaged through the leaves until he found a medium sized stick. He bent down to examine the animal. “Still Tommy,” he said turning the bird over, its head lolling limply over its snapped neck, now no longer moving. “It was a nice shot, you got it straight through the head, Aw sick its eye is even missing dude!”

“Just leave it the hell alone already Jake, let’s just go.” The last member of the trio was fuming. He had made it clear to his friends when Tommy brought out his smuggled birthday present that he was uncomfortable with them playing with the gun and was even more distraught of the idea of them hurting a harmless creature with it.

Tommy rolled his eyes. “Quit being a fucking pussy dude, it’s just a damn bird. What are you going to cry over it?”

James’s face grew hot “No! I-It’s just not fucking cool alright?! We already know how good your gun works can we just leave now?”

Tommy and Jake both gave each other knowing looks, letting out an exaggerated sigh, they both loved James, he was quiet and reserved, but smart and quick witted. However he was a rule follower and always got very nervous whenever the boys were doing something they “weren’t supposed to be doing”.

Tommy walked over to where James stood indignantly with his arms crossed and eyes glaring. He clasped a hand on his shoulder, James flinching away slightly, still miffed. “Hey dude, I was just messin with ya, Look I’m sorry I shot the thing, I was just really excited about this gun and when I saw the bird sitting right there on that low branch, it was like I couldn’t help myself you know? It was just right there calling to me like come on Tommy, shoot me shoot me!” He finished his sentence in a squeaky high voice drawing a giggle from James.

“Seriously dude, I didn’t mean anything by it and I promise it won’t happen again, let’s just walk around a little more and I’ll only shoot trees or shit like that alright? I promise!”

James looked unconvinced but sighed and nodded his head. “Fine, but you better keep your promise dude or I’m so kicking your ass.”

“I’d like to see you try Jamie-boy” Tommy replied with a smirk. “But seriously James, it won’t happen again.”

James knew Tommy could be an un-tactful asshole sometimes but knew he never did it purposely.

“It’s cool man let’s just hurry up, it’s getting late.”

James bent down and scooped up the broken bird and set it next to a tree where he brushed some leaves over it.

Tommy and Jake shook their heads, James was such a softy.

“Come on then slow poke, I know just the place to really try this puppy out!” Tommy began sprinting deeper into the forest, Jake and James following closely behind.

The boys finally reached their destination; it was a wide open area of the forest with the trees forming almost a perfect circle around it. There was a variety of stumps and fallen trees of all shapes and sizes, some seeming to come out of the ground like giant reaching arms, perfect for climbing or jumping off of. It was by far the boys’ favorite part of the forest.

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, this’ll make a great shooting range! James, I’ll even let you go first this time.” Tommy held the butt of the gun out to the boy but James just shook his head and shrugged.

“Nah, that’s okay, I think I’ll just watch you guys.” With that, James plopped himself down in the soft grass and began picking at the weeds that resided there.

Tommy shrugged, “suit yourself dude, hey Jake come here!”
The youngest stopped kicking toadstools off the tree stumps and ran over to Tommy and James.

Tommy slid his backpack off his back and tossed it over to Jake. “Here get these set up why don’t ya.”
Jake opened the backpack to find various bottles and cans. Perfect practice targets for a pellet gun.

“Fine I’ll set up the first round but you are setting up the next one.”

Tommy waved a hand nonchalantly in Jake’s direction. “Yeah yeah, sure.”
Tommy looked over to where James sat. James seemed to be finding whatever he was picking at in the grass to be very interesting. He sighed and moved closer to the boy.

“You sure you don’t wanna try? I know guns aren’t your thing and all but you gotta admit, this thing is pretty bad ass.”

“Uh huh.” Came a disinterested reply.

“You don’t believe me but just watch this!” Tommy looked up at a large twig that was hanging loosely from a branch a few feet above them. “I betcha ten bucks I can shoot that twig loose!”

James rolled his eyes “You don’t even have 5 bucks dude.” Still, curiosity won him over and he stood up standing beside Tommy. “Alright you win, impress me.”

Tommy smugly grinned and took aim at the softly swaying limb, licking his lips and breathing slowly to keep his mark steady. He was about to pull the trigger when a loud squawk startled him. He and James both looked over to a nearby tree to see a group of black birds staring back at them. James chuckled at Tommy who then received a glare from the older boy.

“Ha ha, very funny.”

James shrugged. “Karma’s a bitch dude.”

Tommy snorted “Karma my ass dude, they are just a bunch of dumb birds.” With that he lifted his gun again to his desired target. Before he could get a proper lock on it, the branch began to bob up and down slightly. He looked over to find that one of the birds had decided to use the branch as its perch, its beady little eyes staring into the boy’s. Tommy smirked. “Fine, if you have a death wish, who am I to deny it?”

He started to aim his gun slightly over to the right but James had been watching and knew exactly what his friend intended. He stomped over and grasped harshly onto the nozzle, aggressively pushing it away. A soft flutter of wings could be heard as the small bird flew off the branch into the trees.

Tommy was shocked and then angered by his friend’s actions “What the hell man?! Do you wanna get shot in the face? Let the fuck go!” He tried forcefully yanking the gun out of James grasp, but James had a firm grasp and was not giving in. James was seething, gripping the nozzle in a white knuckle grip. Tommy swore that if looks could kill, he would be dead a hundred times over by now.

“You fucking promised Tommy! You promised you wouldn’t shoot anything else! I’m sick of this bullshit dude, you weren’t even supposed to be out here with this dumb thing. ” He shook the nozzle in his hand for emphasis. “Tell Jake to pack up, we’re leaving.“

“Screw you man, the stupid thing was asking for it. You know, all day I was trying to be extra nice to you cuz I know you don’t like this shit but you are being a total stuck up bitch right now and it’s killing our mood. Know what? You can pussy out and go home by yourself. Jake and me are actually gonna have some fun. Now let the fuck GO!” With that Tommy jerked the gun sharply upward. James, whose resolve was slightly broken by Tommy’s hurtful words, let his grip slip causing the gun nozzle to slip out of his hands rather easily with Tommy’s excess force exerting on it. This caused the nozzle to swing higher. Tommy who in his loss of temper tried to get a better grip on the gun, accidentally put his finger on the trigger. With a loud pop everything went still. Tommy’s red face quickly turned pale, the sound of his gun slightly ringing in his ears. His anger quickly forgotten as he looked up to see James swaying heavily, a look of bewilderment in his left eye, his right was not visible due to the gushing crimson stream coming from it. He made a gurgling guttural sound before his knees gave out and he crashed to the forest floor in a heap convulsing and twitching.

Tommy was still comprehending what had just happened when he was startled by a large crash and clinking of metal and broken glass. He looked back to see Jake staring wide eyed in their direction mouth agape, the back pack unceremoniously laying on the ground, broken bottles and cans littered at his feet. Jake stood motionlessly as if he was still trying to comprehend what had just happened, and then broke into a sprint towards the boys screaming words that Tommy couldn’t quite understand, his mind was buzzing. He was sure it was something along the lines of “What the hell did you do?” He looked down again to the prone form of James. He was completely still now, no longer convulsing just very still.

Jake pushed past Tommy and slid to his knees next to James. Hands hovering over him wanting desperately to help but afraid he might hurt him more. Jake tried calling out James’s name, eliciting no response. He careful turned him over taken aback at the bloody mess on his friend’s face. He then began gently shaking him and tapping his face. When that too failed to gain a response, he became more aggressive in his attempts to stir the boy. Jake laid his ear on the boy’s chest. White face, he turned up to Tommy. “I-I can’t hear anything, His chest ain’t moving neither. I-I think he’s dead Tommy.” Jake’s eyes began brimming with tears.

That snapped Tommy out of the stupor he was currently in. He dropped to his knees next to James practically pushing Jake out of the way. He roughly grabbed the boy’s wrist pleading to any god that would listen that he would find a pulse. There was nothing. He grabbed his shoulders roughly shaking the boy. “Come on Jamie wake up. I’m sorry, God I’m so sorry! Just please wake the fuck up!” James head lolled lifelessly back and forth. The gore from his eye socket spreading further down his pale face.

Tommy was now breaking down into sobs. He’d killed one of his closest friends. He got up pacing back and forth reeling at the horror he now faced.

“We gotta go Tommy, we gotta go get someone.”

Tommy snapped his head back to Jake, his face twisted in a wild expression that made the younger boy flinch.“The hell we do, do you know what they’ll do if they find out what I did?! They’ll put me away Jake! I’ll go to prison!”

“B-ut it was an accident right? They’ll underst-“

Tommy strode quickly towards the small quivering boy and hefted him up by his shirt. “No they fucking won’t Jake! They won’t understand! I wasn’t even supposed to be playing with this in the first place! You know that! I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in prison!” Tommy forcefully let go of Jake causing him to stumble backwards and fall. He looked up at Tommy, his face was etched in fear, tears now streaming freely down his face.
“W-what are we going to do Tommy?”

Tommy glanced down at James’s limp form, studying the ruby red glistening on the boy’s face and shuddered. What would he do? What would James want him to do? He felt himself shivering but he knew it wasn’t from the cold.
“WE are not going to do anything Jake. YOU are going to go home and if you still think of me as a friend you won’t tell anyone about James. You said it yourself, it was an accident. Do you think James would want my life ruined over an accident?”

When Tommy didn’t get a response, he looked back over to Jake, the boy was trembling, lip quivering and wavering eyes gazing up at his, there was true innocent terror in those eyes, He knew his friend was fighting with himself on what the right thing to do was. Tommy held his gaze, his glassy eyes wordlessly offering an apology for what he put his friend through, what he was about to burden his friend with.

“Just go home Jake, as far as you know this day never happened.”

With that Jake carelessly scrambled up from his position in the leaves, not caring if he got a few scratches by doing so and took off quickly. After a few minutes when Tommy could no longer hear his friend’s hurried footfalls, he let out a heavy sigh and bent down to his burden at hand.

He circled around to where James head lay and hooked his hand underneath his armpits and began dragging the boy deeper into the woods.


After what felt like hours he finally reached his destination, what he and his friends had called “the pit”. The pit was a deep slanted ditch that led to what they could only assume was a very large tunnel,almost big enough to be called a cave. The boys could only assume this hellish dugout was created by some large animal. It would be a common game for Tommy and his friends to dare each other into getting as close to the entrance as possible without chickening out. Tommy had only ever gotten as far as sticking a foot into the abysmal darkness before scrambling out.

He slowly worked his way down the slope, his trek made awkward with James. By the time he made it down to the tunnel entrance, he and James were both covered in mud, the earthy smell of wet leaves and grass was heavy in Tommy’s nostrils.

Tommy looked into the open burrow. It looked more intimidating now with his impending task at hand. It looked like an open mouth of some horrible creature. He could swear he could even hear breathing echoing through the hollow space.

He looked down again at James. Despite being dragged through the forest, which was evident by the mud and grime on the boy, he still looked peaceful. If it were not for the gore on the side of his face, Tommy could have sworn he was just sleeping. Tears made trails down the boy’s grimy face which he furiously wiped away.
“I’m so sorry buddy, God I’m so sorry.”

With that he rolled the boy into the entrance of the burrow. He was startled when the boy’s body rolled forward further into the space without more coaxing on his end. He heard rapid loud rustling echoing through the tunnel which ended in a loud thump. He peeked his head in further and reached out. He felt nothing through the thick darkness. He had never realized that the tunnel went so deep let alone have such a steep entry way. He briefly thought how lucky it was that his friends were never brave enough to further down the intimidating burrow.

With his task done he let out a heavy sigh, muttering more grief filled apologies to his friend and climbed out of the ditch. Just before he reached the top he felt a warm breeze breathe from the tunnel. His hair stood on end as he could swear that with it, he could hear a voice whisper “wait”. The boy had never run so fast in his entire life.

He had almost reached the exit to woods when he heard crunching and felt something squishy underneath his foot. He looked down and felt his heart stop, he had stepped on the mangled body of the black bird he had shot earlier, its bloody eye socket staring up at him. Hadn’t James set the thing’s body closer to the trees? Why was it in the middle of the trail?
A strong wind shook the trees around him and once more they carried a voice that seemed to plead this time. “wait”.
Tommy was gone before the wind could die down.


Tommy slammed the door to his bedroom, wild eyed and heart pounding out of his chest, he could not stop pacing back and forth, the floor boards creaking loudly in time with his panicked breaths.“It’s done, it’s over. Nobody will ever know what happened.” He reassured himself. He ran a hand through his hair and pulled back to see it grimy with mud, sweat and what appeared to be, blood. A shudder wracked through his body and he fought the urge to vomit. He ran into the bathroom and spent a good while scrubbing himself almost raw to be sure he got any evidence of today’s happenings off of his body and he went to sleep. His mother came home a few hours later and quietly rapped on his door asking if he wanted dinner. He declined saying simply that he wasn’t hungry.

That night Tommy awoke to short sharp tappings at his window. He groggily looked up towards the sound and the tapping stopped. From what he could see, nothing appeared to be there. With a huff he flopped back down onto the pillow and tried to get back to sleep.

He was just about to drift off when he heard it again, only it was louder this time, and more aggressive. He wearily turned over again to see what it was. This time his eyes shot wide open. It was faint and the boy only caught it due to some passing headlights, but just for a second he saw what appeared to be light reflected off of two small beady orbs looking at him through the window.

“Tap Tap Tap.” He jolted again at the sound. He slammed down on the bed, whipping the covers over his head, he felt like he was suffocating with each shuddering breath under the heat of his comforter but he did not dare pull the blanket off. The Tapping was persistent and always in the same pattern. Sometimes the sounds were quiet, but sometimes it sounded loud enough that whatever was doing it would break through the glass. Mercifully, the tapping stopped and the boy was once again able to fall asleep.

Tommy again was jolted awake by banging, only this time it came from his door.
“Tommy, you better get up or you’re going to miss the bus!” He heard his mother call through the door.
He flew back the covers. The sun was shining warmly through the windows lighting his room up in a soft yellow.

“Was I dreaming?” Tommy thought to himself. He looked towards the window and froze. There was a small black bird sitting outside on his window sill just staring t him. It seemed eerily still not once turning its head in any other direction, it kept its beady eyes trained on Tommy.
The boy was unnerved but also angry at the thing for keeping him up all night. He stomped towards the window, but before he had a chance to open it, the bird flew away.He exhaustively rubbed his hands on his face and half thought about telling his mother he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t go to school, but decided against it. He didn’t want to bring up any suspicions.

He begrudgingly got dressed and headed out to the bus. As he was about to walk out the door, his mother called out. “Hey Tommy, Have you seen James? His mother called this morning and said he never came home last night, she sounded pretty worried. You guys were hanging out last night right?”
Tommy felt a lump forming in his throat, his hands slightly shaking. He swallowed thickly and answered in as a controlled voice as he could muster.
“N-no Ma, It was just me and Jake last night, he said he didn’t want to come with us after school because he wasn’t feeling well.”
His mother’s eyebrows furrowed in concern for her boy. He seemed so upset but she didn’t question him figuring he must be worried for his friend.
“Okay sweetheart, well try to have a good day at school today alright? I’m sure your friend will turn up.”
Tommy gave a curt nod walking quickly outside, fighting the sob welling in his chest.


School was absolute hell for Tommy, his teachers had all asked if they had seen or what they had seen James doing the previous day and to report anything suspicious if they did. Tommy could only think about his friend’s cold pale body slowly being feasted on by whatever creatures lie in the depths of the pit, that bloody eye burning into his own. There were a few times he wanted to just stand up in the middle of class and scream that he did it, he murdered James and left him to rot in some hole in the forest. That desire would quickly bet smothered by the fear of what the repercussions for committing such a crime would be.

Tommy had seen Jake only a few times, the boy looked as horrible as Tommy felt. His clothes and hair were completely disheveled and his face held a tiredness that shouldn’t belong on a child’s face. He ignored Tommy completely and the few minute glances Tommy caught from Jake were filled with sorrow and accusation towards him.


Tommy again skipped dinner that night, dismissing his mother’s worried glances with a quick “I’m fine, just tired” and threw himself on the bed not bothering to change out of his school clothes. He wept himself to sleep that night.

Unfortunately, his sleep did not last as he once again was awoken by that dreaded sound.

“Tap, Tap, Tap.”

This time however, it almost sounded like it was coming from inside his room.

“Tap, TAP, Tap.”

He hesitantly looked over towards the direction the sounds were coming from. It was too dark to see in the dark, but it sounded like whatever was making the sounds was coming from inside his closet.


He was shaken by the much louder sound and sat up completely. Just then a car passed by through his window casting a light in which once again caught the reflection of two beady orbs set deep in the closet.
Tommy was too scared to move and could barely mutter out. “G-go away, whatever you are, just g-get out of my room and leave me alone!”

Tommy felt an icy chill over his body as whatever lay in the closet answered back.


The voice was light and raspy, as if it were being carried on an unfelt breeze. The unearthly sound shook Tommy to his very core.

“Please Tommy, I just want go home. Just bring me home.”

Tommy hid once more underneath the covers shaking violently, barely suppressing the sobs wracking through his chest.

“I’m not angry Tommy, It waassss an accident. I just want to go home.”

“I can’t do that James, you k-know I can’t!” Tommy desperately pleaded through the thick fabric covering his trembling body.

“It’s sssoo dark and cold Tommy, I can’t seeee. I want to go home. Pleaassee, Bring me home.”

Tommy couldn’t control his sobs any longer and cried into his pillow. He stopped when he heard creaking slowly heading towards the direction of his bed. They stopped just by the side of his bed. He heard deep raspy breathing, and almost screamed when he felt a cold clammy hand slide under the blankets and gently grasp his wrist.

“I want to go home Tommy. Bring me home.”

It was said calmly but Tommy could sense a terrible anger behind it. He felt hot urine running down his legs as he shook all the more violently.
“Al-alright James, tomorrow I’ll g-go to the police, and we’ll bring you h-home alright? I-I promise!”

All at once, the cold pressure on his wrist disappeared and he didn’t hear another sound. He timidly peaked from under his blanket and felt an overwhelming relief wash over him as he saw that his room was empty.
He shakily got out of bed, his legs feeling wobbly and weak as if he had been running for the past five hours and slowly made his way to the bathroom to change.

Tommy decided he could not get back to sleep and crept down to the den were the family television was and flipped it to some infomercial. He didn’t care what he was watching, he just needed a distraction from his now buzzing thoughts. How was he going to tell anyone what had happened? What were his parents going to think? What was going to happen to him? The boy curled up in a ball shaking with distress and desperately tried to concentrate on the happy smiling people on the screen.


That morning Tommy was in a daze, he was surprised to find himself waking up in his bed. He could of sworn he had been watching infomercials downstairs a minute ago. Had last night all just been a dream? He heard his mother’s familiar rapping on the door and reminder that the bus would be here and slowly got up out of bed.
He warily walked over to his closet and froze. A chill swept over him as a familiar reflection of light caught his eye. He shakily crept over against his better judgment and moved over the clothing piled there to find the source. He let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding, a huge wave of relief washing over him. He pulled out the long shiny black metal that was his pellet gun and resisted the urge to whip the thing across the room, settling for shoving it underneath his bed.
“That must have been what I saw last night, the reflection off the damn things metal, everything else musta just been a dream.” After that thought, he was startled by the sound he had come to dread.


He whipped his head towards the window to find what he could only assume was the same bird from yesterday morning staring in at him. It held his gaze with its cold beady eyes. Tommy couldn’t explain it, but he felt like it was angry. Before he could get up, it was gone.


As Tommy wearily got off the bus he froze. There was a group of police officers standing outside the school talking to the principal. Tommy assumed they were probably here to help find James. Tommy’s grip on his school bag tightened and felt himself start to tremble.
“This is it, just go up to the cops and tell them what happened and this can all be over.”

Tommy couldn’t get himself to move. “Last night was just a dream right? James is long gone, nothing bad’s gonna happen if I just keep my mouth shut.” With that final thought, Tommy brushed past the police and endured what felt like one of the longest days at school he had ever been through.


As soon as Tommy got home, he started making his way to his room but his mother stopped him.“Honey, you aren’t planning on skipping dinner again are you? I know you are worried about your friend but you have to eat, keep up your strength you know?.“

Tommy said nothing just kept his head down and tried desperately to keep his composure.
His mother wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly.
“It’s okay honey, everything is going to be alright. How about we order pizza tonight?”

Tommy just slowly nodded his head.

“And remember, tomorrow after school, your uncle Joe is coming down from up north to pick you up to go try out your new birthday present. I know how excited you’ve been for that. You guys should have a fun weekend huh?”
Tommy felt his stomach drop, the absolute last thing Tommy wanted to do was to touch that thing again.

“Y-yeah. Sure it will be mom.”
His mother smiled. She gave his shoulder a comforting squeeze before fetching the phone to order the pizza.


After dinner, Tommy thanked his mom and then headed straight to bed. However, not surprisingly he couldn’t sleep. He was dreading what kind of horrible dream would haunt him tonight. He waited and waited until he heard his mom shut her bedroom door, she too going to bed but there was nothing. no horrid tapping, and no malicious eyes glaring at him in the dark. With an exhausted sigh, he closed his eyes and drifted to sleep.


Tommy’s eyes shot open, and his whole body immediately began to tremble, a whimper escaping his throat.

“You said you’d bring me home Tommy. You promised. You promisssseed”

Tommy screwed his eyes shut. “You’re not real, you’re not real, you’re not real.” He continued his mantra as he heard horrible scratching sounds make their way towards his bed.

”I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go hoooommee.”

The voice vibrated loudly throughout the room. With the last rasping word, there came a freezing chill that swept over Tommy. The boy couldn’t even find the strength to pull the covers over his head. He laid there trembling and sobbing.

It was then he heard the sound of fluttering wings and gasped when he felt something plop onto his legs. He could feel sharp needles poking into the thick fabric of the blanked into his legs, almost hard enough to draw blood. He could hear slow steady breathing, each breath beginning and ending in that horrible rasping sound.

Tommy himself was breathing so fast that he was sure he was going to hyperventilate. He slowly turned his head to see what hellish being sat on his legs. He felt his mouth open to scream but found that he couldn’t. Not with those glowing red orbs burning into his own.


Tommy did scream then.


Tommy’s mother stood in the hallway outside room 324 of the psychiatric ward in their town’s local pediatrics hospital. Her eyes were puffy and red from crying, a well used tissue crumpled in her hand. Her brother had a solemn and tired look on his face as he tried to console his distraught sister.

“I-I just don’t understand it doctor, how could he-“ She paused stifling a sob. “How could he do THAT to himself?!”

Joe glanced in through the small window of the ward that now held his nephew. Tommy was strapped down to a gurney, although he was not struggling, in fact he didn’t move at all. Just a few minute twitches, his lips muttering wordlessly. A thick band of gauze was secured across the boy’s eyes.

The Doctor held the mother’s eyes with an almost apologetic glance. “It is really difficult to say, violent psychotic breaks of this caliber usually come from severe mental illness or are a result of extreme trauma. Since there is no sign of mental illness in the family I have to ask again, are you absolutely sure nothing traumatic has happened to Tommy recently? I know you said he had been upset over his friend’s disappearance but has he been under any other stress?”

Tommy’s mother just shook her head, stifling another sob.

The doctor nodded grimly. “Alright well, I’ll go over his physical condition now. Aside from the self inflicted damage to his eyes, the rest of him seems to free of any signs of self-harm. We also ran a drug screen to see if any hallucinogens may have had a part in this behavior but his blood work came up clean…As for his eyes.” The doctor paused to take in the state of the mother before continuing. “Unfortunately as you know, he completely ripped out the optic nerve along with the entire eye in both sockets. There is unfortunately nothing we can do to repair his eyesight.”

Tears welled in her eyes and she gripped onto her brother’s arm for support as the doctor continued.

“As for his mental state, well…” The doctor sighed heavily. “Your son is completely catatonic, he hasn’t moved or said anything since he came in this morning in the ambulance. He won’t even react to pain or any other stimuli. We think it may just be shock but it’s hard to tell with a psychotic break like this. I’m going to be honest with you mam, I have never seen an episode like this in a child so young with seemingly no trigger.”

The poor woman squeezed her brother’s hand and looked up glassy eyed at the doctor.“What are our options for treatment?”

“Come, let’s go into my office to discuss those details, we can visit Tommy again in a bit.” The doctor gently ushered the distraught pair down the hall.


Meanwhile, in room 324 Tommy was lying still. His unseeing eyes staring up at the dim buzzing fluorescent lights flickering above his head. A bloody tear leaked down the boys face through the gauze. He opened up his dry cracked lips. His throat was raw from the screams that ripped through him the night before, however he was still able to mutter in a raspy voice:

“I want to go home.”

Credit To – MandaMute

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The Bellringer

July 4, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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The school bell in the old high school rung like it does every night at 12 but nobody knows who rings it. Nobody knows why either. Some say that the bells are rung to call all of the spirits to the school, but that might just be part of an urban legend. I don’t know why the bell rings, but I do know who or what it is that’s ringing it. But to be honest, I wish I didn’t know. I wish I was just like everybody else who is left to wonder every night at twelve, who is ringing that damn bell?

The school was shut down in 1992 after a series of mysterious deaths took place inside the school. Some people in the town believed that it was haunted by the spirits of the teens who were killed in the school back in 1972. Some say they heard whispers as they walked by and some say they’ve seen people staring at them through the windows. Nobody was ever brave enough to spend over an hour in the school. The longest anybody had ever spent was forty five minutes and that was during the daylight, but myself and my partner, Charlie had agreed to spend an entire night in the school for our webshow ‘Ghosts Seekers.’

We came all the way from Australia and arrived at the school at 11:30, just before midnight. We gathered all of our equipment. Flashlights, cameras and everything else we used for our ghosts seeking. We entered the building, kicking the pile of empty bottles and soda cans on the way. I was up for the challenge, but deep down inside, I was secretly afraid and I know that Charlie was as well. I wish we knew what we were getting into.

“Hello!” Charlie yelled, his voice echoing through the school. We had our cameras on record and our flashlights in our right hands as we walked through the halls of the abandoned school. Everything was calm for the first fifteen minutes until we heard the sound of a locker closing. The sound echoed throughout the building. Every sound pretty much had an echo to it. We decided to follow the sound down the hall where the old gym was. According to our research, eight students were killed in the gym and we thought that would be a good place to start.

When we entered the gym, we could immediately feel that something was in there, we didn’t need our EMF to be sure. The air was cold and the sound from our walkie-talkie’s were nothing but static. Something was interfering with the signal. We at least had some light from the moon that shined through the large windows so it wasn’t completely dark. As we were walking through the gym, the bell in the bell tower went off…it must have been midnight. I saw the bell tower through the gym windows and at the time, I thought maybe I was imagining things because I saw someone up there. It was a silhouette of what appeared to be a man. I shook it off and continued what I was doing.

Despite the obvious fact of a presence, we weren’t getting much activity in the gym. No whispers, no footsteps, nothing. It wasn’t until we were heading out that something happened. A basketball suddenly came rolling towards us from the back of the room, an area where the light wasn’t shining. It was an old dusty ball and I admit that it had me feeling really uneasy about the situation. I was a veteran at ghost hunting but I had never experienced something like that. It wasn’t much though, compared to what happened next.

We were walking through the halls of the second floor when I noticed something weird about one of the rooms. I looked through the rectangular glass and I noticed a tv was on. It was strange because there was no power in the school. As I continued looking, I was startled by a sudden darkness that covered my view. It was just completely dark, as if someone or something were blocking it off.

“Ay mate,” I said to Charlie. “There’s someone in there.”

“No way there is,” Charlie said before looking through the glass himself. We were both shocked and the reason for that was because we never actually saw a spirit before. All we ever saw were dark shadows in the footage we caught. But this wasn’t a shadow, this was something more sinister. According to our research, this was the room where the killer shot himself. He was dressed in all black. When I looked back inside the room, the TV was off and whoever was standing in front of the door, was gone. It was standing there for over a minute and I was honestly ready to make a run for the door but Charlie kept me from doing so. I wish he hadn’t.

We continued walking through the halls, by this time, we were hearing all kinds of noises echoing throughout the school. We heard footsteps, lockers opening and closing and we heard loud crash noises that sounded as if something was being thrown. It seemed like the more we stayed in there, the weirder things would get. Charlie thought that if we split up, we’d be able to get more footage faster. ‘The more footage we get, the less time we’ll spend in here’ he claimed. Though I agreed with him, I didn’t think it was worth it. Nonetheless, I found myself wandering the halls alone.

“See anything weird yet, mate?” Charlie asked through his walkie-talkie. Thankfully, I wasn’t hearing or seeing anything strange. I kept walking down the halls, my flashlight suddenly started flickering. The batteries were just put in there, there was no way it could have been dying, but it did and I found myself alone in the dark. Or maybe I wasn’t alone.

“My bloody flashlight died,” I said into my walkie. No reply. “Charlie? Are you there?”

Static. Nothing but static. I could hear someone trying to say something.

“He’s behind you,” whispers from the walkie. I turned around, but I didn’t see or hear anything. I stood there in the dark, amazed I had yet to piss my pants. A minute or two later, I heard a scream that echoed through the halls. It was Charlie. I didn’t know what to do. I screamed his name, I called to him over the walkie-talkie but got no answer. I froze in fear and I didn’t move until I heard a voice echoing through the halls. It sounded as if they were far away, like on the other side of the school.

“Steve! Where are you?”

“I’m over here!” I yell. “I can’t see shit, mate!” I start walking and then suddenly…I was grabbed and pulled into the corner. I was screaming, tried to fight him off until I realized, it was Charlie. “Don’t do that, mate!” I yelled. “I heard you calling me, why didn’t you answer back?”

He had a strange look on his face, I could see in his eyes how terrified he was. “That wasn’t me, mate.” He said. “I never called you.”

We decided that the fame, ratings or any of that stuff was no longer worth it. We replaced the batteries in our flashlights and walked back to the front entrance. We reached the entrance minutes later, but for some reason, the door was locked. We kicked it, punched it, rammed it with our shoulders, but it would not open. We were trapped and we realized there was probably no way out. Somebody or something didn’t want us to leave. So we decided to stay put. We had our backs against the door and we didn’t move. I was greatly regretting ever stepping foot in that damn school and I’m sure Charlie was as well.

I woke up about thirty minutes later, I must have dozed off. I looked around, Charlie wasn’t anywhere in sight. “Charlie!” I whispered into my walkie. “Where the bloody hell are you?” No answer. Just static. I stood up on my feet and I noticed someone at the end of the hall. They were just standing there, about fifty feet away. “Charlie? Is that you, mate?” I started to walk slowly toward whomever it was. I heard my pulse beating, echoing through the halls. My breath, swiftly moving in and out of my mouth. My footsteps, faintly touching the floor.

As I got closer, I realized it was not Charlie at all. I stood still but I could still hear my pulse beating, my breath still moving swiftly in and out. He was just…staring at me. He was probably staring at me the whole time I was asleep, the whole time I was slowly walking toward him. He was in some black janitor suit and his face was pale with multiple stitches all over. His eyes were dark, I saw the evil within. His head was tilted sideways as he continued to stare.

I didn’t understand what it was I was looking at. I’ve never seen a spirit so real before, but he wasn’t just a spirit…he was a demon.

“RUN!” Something from my walkie yelled and it most certainly wasn’t Charlie. I ran, I didn’t know where I was running to, I just ran and I didn’t look back. I ran into a classroom on the other side of the school and I locked the door, knowing that if whatever it was was a spirit, a locked door wouldn’t stop it but it made sense at the time. I stayed in there for about ten minutes, it was dark and I didn’t know rather or not someone else was in the room with me.

“Steve? Steve it’s me!” It was coming from my walkie.

“Where the bloody hell are you Charlie?”

“I don’t know…I…I woke up in some room.”

“What room? Where are you, mate?”

I could hear him weeping through the walkie. “Steve…I’m scared,” he cried. I started tearing up myself, I never heard him cry like that before. I’d known him since we were 14 and I’d never heard that.

“It’ll be okay Charlie, we’ll be okay,” I cried, hoping I was right. He was weeping uncontrollably. I knew that something was wrong.

“You don’t understand, mate.” He cried. “Look to the right corner of the room.” I lifted my flashlight, I didn’t understand what the hell was going on. I pointed to the corner and I literally froze in fear. I dropped the walkie to the floor. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t…he was dead. Charlie was dead. “I’m sorry, mate.” That was the last time I ever spoke to him.

I didn’t understand how he died, there was no blood, no cuts or anything. I guess he saw something…something that literally took his breath away. I didn’t even think about how I was talking to him over my walkie even though he was clearly dead. The only thing I thought about was that my best friend of twenty years was gone and I didn’t know what to do next. I thought about it and I realized it must have happened when we split up. His scream, I kept thinking about his scream.

I lay there with his body and I woke up hours later to the sun shining upon my face. I’d never been so happy to see the sun. I figured it was over. I pulled out my phone and I was finally able to call the police. They arrived, and I was finally free of that school and whatever haunts it. I drove away, never looking back. That school needs to be burned down and hopefully it can kill the demon that lives within it.

I can’t go anywhere anymore without feeling like I’m being watched. I was traumatized and I still am. I saw what can never be unseen and no matter how many hours of therapy I go through, I’ll never be the same person I was before. I wonder if anyone ever seen Charlie through the windows, or even heard his whispers as they walk by. If they had, I hope they weren’t scared because Charlie was a great guy. If you ever see him, tell him Steve said hi and that he misses him dearly.

I don’t think I will ever forget what happened in that school. I would never forget the sound of that bell and I would never forget the demonic face of the thing that rings it. I could see him now, standing up on that bell tower, waiting for midnight and waiting for…his next victim.

Credit To – Clyde Jacobs

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Dear in the Headlights

July 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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The last time we saw Eric, the group of us were hanging out in our usual restaurant, pissing off the staff as usual by being too rowdy and mostly drinking coffee. We did order big appetizers now and then, and we tipped well, so when they waitresses did give us grief, it was mostly good-natured. I think the group of us weirdos were their nightly entertainment, truth be told.

We didn’t all meet there every night, of course. Some nights nobody showed up and other times it was close to the whole group. This particular night I think there was a half dozen or so. There were perhaps a dozen of us total, depending on who you considered the core group and who you considered hangers on. Eric was in that grey area between the two, until that night.

From the moment he came in the door, we knew something was horribly wrong. He could barely stand, and he was white as a sheet. His hands were shaking visibly, and you could see white all the way around his eyes. We made room for him fast, and Juju ordered coffee for him twice; black, in case he was drunk, and decaf, in case he was pissed off.

He was pissed off. Scared, and pissed off.

He didn’t say anything at first; I am not sure he could even understand our questions. I got a real bad sinking feeling in my stomach and I squirmed away from the overstuffed booth. I went to the door to the parking lot and took a look at his truck. Sure enough, there was something smeared all over the front. But in the lighting there I couldn’t be sure if it was blood. Choking down bile, I took an old napkin out of my pocket and swept it along the stain. Whatever it was hadn’t dried quiet yet. It was reddish, but mostly clear and shot through with black. Oil? I went back to the booth to hear what he had to say.

He blinked, hard, like he was trying to wake himself from a bad dream, and took off his trucker’s hat -a rare enough occurrence that we knew it was bad- to comb his greasy fingers through his unkempt, straw-colored, dirty hair. Finally he spoke, furrowing his brow. His gaze became intense, angry. “She’s fucking with me.”

I saw one or two of the others kind of relax a bit. Girl trouble, they were thinking, was that all? But I just set my jaw and stared at him. After a moment, he saw my eyes over his coffee cup and grimaced; maybe at the horrible coffee, maybe at me. “Fucking with me.” he clarified.

“Ruby?” I asked. That was the name of the last girl he had gone out with. I think.

He blinked in confusion for a second. “Ruby? Aw hell naw. I might have wanted to run her over with my truck but I never…” he trailed off. I saw some of the gang glancing at each other around the table. They were catching on.

Cap adjusted his baseball cap. He put on a big smile and an exaggerated relaxed attitude, but he kept his voice low. “Funny you should say that, Rick. Kind of thought you might have hit a deer on the way here, the way you looked.” Nate glanced over at me right after he said that, but I held my gaze neutral. I could not be sure I’d seen blood on the front of his truck, and for that matter it didn’t look all dented up like it should have if he had grazed a deer. Besides, Eric was enough of a jerk that hitting deer didn’t faze him. Like most things, it just pissed him off.

Cap can handle himself in a fight, but the rest of us kind of braced. Juju looked at Eric all sympathetic, which was genuine, coming from her.

None of us expected Eric to start laughing. It kind of burst out of him, and we started to relax, thinking maybe this was some kind of ‘gotcha’. It was the kind of thing Eric would have pulled if he was a little smarter and a little less lazy. But the laughter went on too long, and it kinda started to sound like crying at the end there.

“Yeah, I hit a deer,” he said finally, as the laughter died out of him. “Dee Ee Ay Ar.” He let that sink in, while he drank his coffee.

Juju’s hand went to her mouth. She stared, silent, as the implications set in.

Cap’s expression grew dark, which was expected and bad. When he got serious, people got hurt. He was the main man to have on your side in a problem, but you didn’t ever want to be the problem. We weren’t sure just yet whether Eric was the problem, but the odds were not in his favor. Cap thought for a moment. “Is she in the truck?”

Eric shook his head, which Cap did not like.
“Is she lying on the road, Rick?”
A dark chuckle, and another head shake.
“Is she in the ground?”
Eric spoke this time. “Hell no.” He looked Nate right in the eye. “She’s up, walking around.”
Cap matched him glower for glower. “Is she hurt?”
Eric put down his cup and sat a moment, so we could all see the sincerity in his face. “No, she ain’t hurt, Nate. She ain’t hurt at all, because she’s dead.”

Now we all knew that what Eric was saying was impossible. But we also all knew he meant it. So that meant he had gone crazy.

We were all stunned into silence for a moment, and when the chatter started up, he held up a hand to halt it. He shrugged off his own anger – more like stored it away for a bit – and gestured for Eric to continue. We were his friends, after all, and we had all seen weird things. We had to make the effort to believe him.

“I blame Foghat.” He started with that, and a few of us chuckled and nodded. No one sane would ride with Eric at the best of times, but the song Slow Ride made him crazy behind the wheel. “I was taking the old valley highway into town specifically so I wouldn’t have to deal with idiots on the road. I guess I was a little loopy. It was a bad combination. There was no way anyone should have been on that road at that time of night, but there she was. A dear in my headlights.”

He gave each of us a sour look, and then continued. “You have to understand. It was not my fault. I was driving too fast, sure, and my reflexes were slow, sure. I admit that. But the thing is, she was too close to me too fast. Even on my best day, in broad daylight, at five miles under the speed limit, I still would have hit her. You have to understand that.”

We all nodded understanding we didn’t really feel.

Whether he swallowed our act or not was irrelevant. He continued; the pump had been primed. “I stood on the brakes, or as close to it as I could get without jackknifing the truck. I will never forget the way she looked. She had this funny expression on her face. Not fear, not exactly surprise. I saw it for a brief instant, and then her body bounced…” Unable to contain herself, Juju interrupted him with a quiet sob. Cap put his hand on her shoulder. I grimaced inwardly; whatever else happened, Eric was going to get a bust in the jaw for making her cry. But not here and now. Eric had the floor.

“I got out of the cab and ran back to the end of the truck. She… she was all broken and torn. Her eyes stared… I have EMT training, you know. So I checked. I checked for a pulse, you know. I wanted her to be alive so bad. If I had made a mistake, it would have been the other way. I would have thought she was alive when she wasn’t. But I didn’t make a mistake; I know that now.”

“My phone got no bars, which was no surprise. So I went back to the truck to get on the radio. Nothing but static, which was a surprise. It was weird. Even in the valley, I usually get reception on the radio. So what was I supposed to do? If I stayed where I was, I’d cause another accident, or someone would see her body on the road and swerve…”

“So I decided to put her in the truck. It wasn’t like I was going to make her any deader, you know? So I climbed back out of the cab, and looked to the back of the truck, and she was gone.”

“Now I know what you are thinking, because I was thinking it then, too. She was just stunned or something. She had gotten up and wandered off, maybe into the woods. I had to find her, or else she would just wander until she got eaten by a bear or something. I didn’t want her to suffer. So I set flares, went out into the woods with my lamp, and I must have wandered around yelling, “Hey! Girl!” for like an hour.

“I didn’t manage to do anything but spook myself. The woods were tall and black as pitch. Every snap of a twig was a bear or a wolf. My white breath puffing into the darkness was a reminder that I was alive, and that the girl was dead or dying. And the whole time, I was worried about some joyriding kids getting out onto that road and smacking into my truck or something.”

“I admit; by the time I got back to the truck, I was a wreck. I didn’t know what else to do, with no radio and no phone and no girl. I picked up my flares and started home. It was about a half hour later, when my nerves had just about started to calm down and my brain started to work, when I hit her again.”

We all glanced at each other. We could feel the crushing weight of guilt in his every word, so we could imagine what tricks his mind had played on that lonely road. In our glances, we conversed, with something like telepathy: should we stop him? Should we head out to the old road right now and look for the girl? In the end, we decided to let him talk.

“Just like before.” He was staring into his coffee like he could reheat it with his gaze. “Suddenly she was in front of me, too close for me to stop. My headlights washed over her, and this time I understood the expression on her face. It was glee.”

I couldn’t help shaking my head a little to myself. Rationalization. She had wanted to be hit, therefore it wasn’t his fault. I hoped to myself that therapy could fix denial this deep.

“The time after that, and the time after that, and each time, her face held more and more joy before it was mashed into oblivion. I started driving crazy slow, and finally traffic from behind caught up to me, a sea of traffic, honking, uncaring. I saw the exit to the diner, and here I am.”

Cap stood. He started pulling on his jacket.
Eric stood. He put a hand on Cap’s arm, but he pulled it back right quick when he saw the look Cap gave him. “You can’t go out there, man! You don’t understand what’s out there and neither do I!”

Cap simply said. “Sun’s up. We can find the body now. She’s got family somewhere. They deserve to know what happened.”

Eric ducked his head guiltily, then covered it with bravado. “I ain’t going out there again.”

“I don’t want you to. Stay here. Drink coffee. I will deal with this.”

Eric blinked, gratitude spread across his features, quickly followed by stubborn pride and …concern? I saw him try to think hard (also rare) and then he started laughing again. The sound was high, strained and completely fake. “I got you. Heh, I got you all. You should have seen the looks on your stupid faces. Hee hoo. Well, I’m going to be telling this one for a while. See you all later.” He squared his shoulders when Cap stepped into his path.

Eric looked away when Cap talked. “I am going up there anyway.”
Eric looked back at Cap. His eyes looked moist. “Not if I can stop you.” The two men squared shoulders at each other, and the thought occurred to me to clear furniture out of the way. It was at that moment that a couple of thankfully oblivious cops entered. Eric seized his chance and walked right out past them, almost brushing shoulders with them, and earning a suspicious glance. Cap, who had a long and unhappy history with cops, turned away. A moment later, Eric’s truck roared out of the parking lot, and I never saw him alive again.

Sourly, Cap came back to the booth and sat. “We should go out there”, “we should find that girl, say we happened upon whatever stain in the road there is where she got hit; followed it back to wherever her body is. It’s just the responsible thing to do.”

I nodded. “But we should hold up until those cops leave,” I said. “If the timetable on our story matches up with them being here, it could look bad.” Cap furrowed his brow, frustrated with having to wait, but he nodded.

For nearly an hour, we prodded our cold food and drank the bad coffee. The cops finally left; our communities’ finest were on the job again.

We settled the bill, and I stopped myself just before accidentally wiping my mouth on the sample of …whatever that I had taken from Eric’s truck. Whatever was on it was jet black now, with the barest hints of red. It was thicker now, congealed into something like syrup. It smelled strange; pungent but not completely unpleasant. It made me think of maggots. My stomach roiling, I discarded it in the nearest wastebasket.

It was at that moment that the little girl entered the restaurant. The waitstaff stopped and stared, stunned, as did we. She looked like seven kinds of Hell, and she was grinning as if she’d just been told to get ready to go to Disneyland. The only sound was static from the radio behind the counter.

Her feet were bare and covered, no caked, in mud. She carried a scuffed and torn pair of Mary Janes in one hand. Her clothes were nothing but rags, pasted to her form with a combination of mud and some darker substance. Maybe they had been a nice blue dress once; it was impossible to tell. You could even make out a pattern something like tire treads in places.

More disturbing to us who had heard Eric’s story was the fact that the girl, despite the condition of her clothes, looked perfectly fine. Every tooth was in place in her little head. Her hair was matted and streaked with mud, tangled with leaves, but it was all there. She didn’t have a bruise or scrape anywhere you could see. It was almost enough to make one think she was indeed part of some elaborate prank, if you hadn’t seen Eric’s eyes.

Her eyes were also strange. At first they looked like the perfect blue eyes you would expect on a little girl in a tv commercial, but after a moment you caught it. They did not track naturally; almost as if she were navigating by hearing alone, or some stranger sense. And she didn’t blink nearly often enough.

She pranced right up to the counter in front of us as if she was in her Sunday best; maybe she was. “Excuse me, miss,” she said cheerily. “Have you seen a truck driver come in here in the last hour or so?” The counter girl shook her head no, unsteadily. The statement was technically true. “How disappointing,” she said, flouncing a little in exaggerated frustration. “I really had been hoping to find my playmate. We were having so much fun.” I realized, as utter cold crept up my spine, that we weren’t looking at a little girl. We were looking at something that was pretending to be a little girl; something that had learned its mannerisms by rote, or which was recalling them from a distant memory.

Suddenly she cocked her head to one side, and made a beeline right for us. We parted like the Red Sea before Moses, and she proceeded to the wastebasket where I had discarded the sample. She plucked the napkin from it’s place and regarded it for a moment, not quite sniffing it, but with a similar cant to her shoulders. “He’s been here,” she said. “You can’t wipe me away that easily.”

With that she proceeded out the set of doors that Eric had used to reach the parking lot. She twirled in place a few times, and then headed off, skipping.

We all looked at each other. I think we all collectively decided, with something like telepathy, to act as if Eric had indeed pranked us with some elaborate joke. Juju tried to get him on the phone, but all of a sudden she couldn’t get any bars. We sat back down at the booth and tried over and over again. Eventually we got cell phone reception back, but calls to him went straight to voice mail.

We never did get up to the valley highway that day. I guess we figured there was nothing there for us to find.

Credit To – Kitsune9tails

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