Knock

July 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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We all have that one story, don’t we? The one you grow up thinking about, but never actually grow the balls to tell anyone. Well this is my story. I don’t know what I’m hoping to accomplish by telling you. Maybe I’m looking for someone to tell me that I’m not insane, or maybe once I put it on paper it will…Hell, I don’t know. Just someone read this…just please.

Let me give you a little background. Twenty years ago when I was eight years old, still living with my mom. My friend Dave and I decided that we would brave “The House”. Now, The House was an abandoned two story home, that had been empty going on ten years, save for the occasional drug abuser that would sleep in it. However that’s not what made this particular house special. The standing rumor is what made it interesting.

For as long as I can remember adults in my neighborhood had told us, the children, that it was haunted. I’m sure it was just their way of getting us not to play in it though. Regardless, because of that, the house had a sort of ominous aura that hung around it. Just looking at that decaying building would give you the shivers. Although despite our inherent fear of the place, Dave and I decided we would explore this house We would become legends in our own right, at least that’s what we hoped.

It was Tuesday all those years ago, well past midnight, and both of our parents had fallen asleep. The two of us decided we would sneak out, you know, use the night as our cover. We agreed it would be best to meet up in front of The House. Still, I wish we hadn’t agreed to do it.

There I was…alone, waiting in front of The House for my friend. I couldn’t help but feel small when I looked at it. It might have been old, and the wood may have been rotting, but man did it look enormous. I bet even adults felt dwarfed by it. To keep myself from chickening out, I decided to think about something else while I waited; it was a little cold that night, which was the typical weather after a hard rain. “Ah, crap.” I muttered, noticing the mud that covered my shoes. I should have paid more attention to where I was stepping. “Mom is going to kill me when she…” my voice trailed off when I heard a dull thud from behind me. Sounded like someone knocked a door.

Was…was it the house, or was I just imagining things? I spun around expecting to see a hairy monster behind me, instead it was just The House; broken windows, splintered wood, and roof that had more than a few holes in it. Just the usual, nothing to panic about. I should have been relieved, but I found myself slightly shaken. Soon I would be stepping into one of the most feared places in our neighborhood. I wasn’t even inside yet, and I could already feel the slight tremor in my hand.

Before I could reconsider the mission Dave arrived. I quickly stuffed my hands into my pockets to hide the quiver. I could see his small figure bouncing up and down. The little jokester was skipping across the street. My fears were immediately replaced with giddy laughter. “You’re such a clown,” I managed to say in-between my giggles. We both reached out and shook hands, like his father had taught us. Luckily he didn’t notice the tremor.

Dave used his hands to smooth back his black hair, kind of like a greaser would in a cliched movie. “You ready for this?” He nodded towards the door. Typical Dave, he always tried to look cool. Whether it be riding his bike with no hands, or sneaking into an abandoned house, he never failed to give off the “I’m a badass” vibe.

I tried my best to sound nonchalant, “Only if you are, Davey.” The comment awarded me a slight snicker. Dave hated it when I called him Davey. He said it sounded girly, and that’s exactly why I used it. Rather than shoot a retort at me, he simply nudged me towards the house, and we began walking to the door. Our small feet made quiet echoes in the street, I was worried we might wake someone. If we had any doubts about what we were doing, that moment would have been the right time to bail out.

Of course, as per the norm, stupidity got the better of us. The second our feet hit the old steps, we knew there would be no turning back. “Think we should knock?” Dave joked. Seeing him act all cool somehow gave me courage, and so I knocked. What I heard made the hair on my neck stand at attention. The same thud I had heard from earlier reverberated through the door when my knuckles landed. I gulped loudly, but maintained an overall calm composure.

The two of us breathed in deeply, turned the door knob, and pushed the door open. We received a long drawn out creak as payment. I thought I was going to pee my pants, and Davey looked like he was about to shit a brick. Somehow we managed to keep our undies clean. It was dark, real dark. Neither one of had brought a flashlight, we didn’t want to accidentally wake up a neighbor by shining a light in their house. Given the circumstances, we decided it was best to use moonlight.

Our eyes were met with a dimly lit house, it took a minute to adjust to. The house was littered with trash, covered in graffiti, and was seemingly falling apart all over. And yet it didn’t seem as frightening as we were led to believe. Sure the darkness made it look spooky, but as I looked at the cracked marble floor, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my house. “Huh, this isn’t so bad.” It was me who broke the silence.

“Do you think the ghost will be pissed that we tracked mud in the house?” Dave laughed and pointed at the floor. Little footprints followed us all over the house. “Remind me to clean my shoes before I go back home.” I giggled at the thought. Here we are in the big spooky house, cracking jokes about muddy shoes. It was all fun and games. After familiarizing ourselves with the first floor – which consisted of an empty living room, a kitchen with rotted food in the cupboards, a bathroom with a disgusting toilet, and a curious looking locked door – we decided to explore the second floor.

We ascended the stairs together, Dave leading with his brave face on. The wooden stairs were old, much like the rest of the house, and each step left us wondering if it would collapse beneath us. “Think the ghost is up there?” I asked, half sincere.

Dave chuckled at the question, “Ghosts probably aren’t even real.” We had reached the end of the stairs, and were on the top floor. It wasn’t a big second story. Two hallways, one to the right and one to the left. Four rooms for the two of us to explore. “Let’s go left.” Dave suggested. So we went left, and into the first door on the right.

The door was already open, so we just peaked our heads in. The first thing I noticed was the hole in the roof. Moonlight was shining through it, and it gave us a faint light to survey the room with. It wasn’t a very kind room, actually it was kind of like my room. Probably big enough to have a bed, dresser, maybe a desk could fit in it too. We couldn’t see inside of the closet though, the light didn’t quite reach it. Dave looked at me, and I looked at him. “I bet there’s something cool in there. Let’s go look.” Dave suggested with a mischievous smile. Not sure what we were hoping for exactly. A treasure in a closet or something?

Just before I stepped into the room, I heard the familiar thud noise. The one that was made before, and when, I knocked on the door. My heart felt like it was going to stop. The noise was distant, but there was no mistaking it. My first instinct was to run, but I couldn’t leave Dave behind; he of course paid no mind to it. Hell, he was already in the room walking towards the closet. And it was at that moment that things went to hell, I never even had the chance to warn him.

The second Dave stepped foot in the center of the room, there was a frightening crack. He didn’t have time to react. The wood splintered, the ground beneath him gave way, and he fell through the floor. I nearly jumped out of my skin. Everything in front of me was crashing down. The wood was so old and decayed that it couldn’t even support Davey. Dust and dirt flew everywhere, by the time it was over, it was hard to breathe. Wait…Dave didn’t make a sound. Did he die on impact? Was he okay? My mind had never asked raced so faced. “Dave!” I shouted in-between coughs. “Dave are you okay?!” I repeated the question a few more times, and waited. After an agonizing minute I got my response.

“I’m okay,” he answered weakly. “Not a scratch on me.” I peered down the large hole that was now in front of me. Dust was everywhere, but as it cleared I could see him more clearly; there was Dave and he was completely intact. “And guess where I am?” I sighed deeply, glad that he hadn’t lot his sense of adventure. “I’m in the locked room, get down here, I’ll open the door for you.” He wiped the dirt off of his forehead and motioned for me to come down. I obediently turned around and headed for the stairs, preferring to take the safe route down.

As I reached the bottom of the stairs I noticed something odd. Were those big footprints always there? Two frighteningly large footprints had been left on the floor. There was something odd about them though…they didn’t look human. Too big, four toes, and they were round. My imagination quickly got the better of me, and I could feel the panic rising quickly. I was starting to feel nauseous, even more so when I realized the footsteps were leading to the room that Dave was in. I glanced at the front door, it was open. I could leave right now, run home, and tell my parents to call the police; we didn’t have cell phones back then. But I didn’t do any of that, I just kept walking towards the locked room.

The door was open, and I could see shadows dancing on the door frame. There were two shadows, one big one small. The larger shadow was pounding into the smaller one. I could hear the blows landing. Thump…thump, thump thump. Each time it hit, Dave would whimper. I was frozen in place. The door was only a few feet away, but I couldn’t bring myself to take another step. I wanted to save my friend, but I just couldn’t move. I could only stand there and watch the shadows. “Please..sto-” Smash. The last hit was harder than any of the others ones, I could hear the bones break from where I was standing. Dave’s shadow stopped moving. The larger shadow picked up the frail little body, and began slashing into it with what looked like a blade. A dark liquid splashed onto the door, and started oozing towards the floor. I wanted to puke.

I could feel hot liquid running down my pants. Must have been scared enough to piss myself. I looked at the floor and saw the puddle that I had made. It was time to leave. I took one last glance at the door, and what I saw when I looked up still haunts me today. A large humanoid figure stood in the door way holding Dave’s body. It was too dark to see it clearly, but I got a peak at its eyes; its big blue eyes. Big and blue like the ocean, and the waves were rippling with rage.

I wanted to leave. No, I needed to leave but my legs refused to move. They were anchored to the floor, fear had stopped them completely. My heart on the other hand was moving, it was moving very fast. Reluctantly I stood there…staring at the monster that was holding my dead friend. It didn’t take long for our eyes to meet. We stood there in a eternal staring contest, I was too afraid to blink. I remember thinking that if I closed my eyes I would never open them again.

It was only after two long minutes that I could finally feel my legs again, so I slowly took a step back. The monster mimicked my movements by stepping forward each time I took a step back. My heart sunk when I realized what it was doing. Every molecule in my body was telling me to turn around and sprint, but could I really outrun this monstrosity? No, there was no way. I decided to keep my pace, buy myself time until I got to the door.

Once we reached the living room it dropped Dave, outstretched its arms towards me, and grinned. It was the single most wicked thing I had experienced in my life. The monster’s grin, from corner to corner, reached both of its eyes. His teeth were long, white, like a shark. We were almost at the door, but he was no longer mimicking my steps.

For each step I took, he took two. Step by step he was closing the gap. The moonlight from the window shined on his outstretched arm. Its hand was human-like, only there was something off about it. The nails were long, the skin was rotted, and some of the flesh looked like it had scratched off. It was enough to make me dizzy. Soon I could hear it breathing. Each breath was labored, it was almost wheezing. One more step and I would see its entire body in the moonlight. I didn’t want that.

The thought alone was enough to make me turn, grab the door knob, throw it open, and rush out of the house. I didn’t dare look over my shoulder until there was some distance between the two of us. I expected to turn around and see the monster lumbering after me, but surprisingly it wasn’t. The monster never came out of the house. It didn’t chase me down the street. It didn’t rip me to pieces. It just stood there, on the porch, waving goodbye. Its malformed hand slowly rocking back and forth, with the same deranged smile on its face.

A few days later, when the police report was made public, my parents told me that the monster was, “Just a hobo on drugs.” The police had found Dave’s body next to a dead homeless man. Apparently he had overdosed shortly after I had left. I try to tell myself that I was just imagining things, and that there was no monster, but I don’t know what to believe. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, I can’t get that fucking smile out of my head. I’m done with this, if I write anymore I’ll start having nightmares again. Food’s here anyway, I just heard a knock at the door.

Credit To – I_Own_Cows

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Phase 3

July 26, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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My name is Dr. Miranda Solomon. Until yesterday I was a clinical research scientist for Apollyon Pharmaceuticals. I believe it is morally imperative that I warn the public about a new drug that will soon be available. DO NOT, under any circumstances, take Cyvalopram, which is being marketed as an anti-anxiety medication under the trade name Calmoprax in the United States. Patients enrolled in clinical trials of this drug experienced severe side effects, including death. Worse than death, really.

The animal trials were promising. So were the initial phases of human clinical trials. Of the small groups who initially took the drug, only 8% of the patients experienced side effects, all of which were very minor: headaches, nausea, the usual things that are often listed in the warnings for many medications. It wasn’t until Phase 3 of the trials that the side effects became troubling.

The company enrolled a total 2453 patients at four clinical research sites across the United States. I made frequent visits to each site in order to monitor the trials. The problem began at Site 2.

A 55-year old male began experiencing severe insomnia after taking a 100mg dose of Cyvalopram once daily for six weeks. He checked into the emergency room of the county hospital, reporting that he hadn’t slept in ten days. He was also experiencing hallucinations and psychosis related to this lack of sleep. Upon admission to the hospital, he was prescribed several different sedatives, often in combination, none of which were effective. Within twelve hours, he fell into a coma. Brain death was pronounced five days later, and he was removed from life support. Vital functions ceased, and a resident called the time of death. The patient’s body was transported to the morgue. However, employees in the morgue reported hearing strange noises from one of the units several hours later. They opened the unit, and patient crawled out, disoriented and incoherent. This incident was captured on morgue security cameras, and I have attached the video file to this email.

The patient was rushed back to the emergency room, where he became agitated, and had to be restrained. He became increasingly violent, despite multiple attempts at sedation, eventually breaking free of the restraints and injuring several hospital staff members. Hospital security officers fired a total of eight shots at the patient, and he was pronounced dead (again).

I obtained the patient’s medical files, including the autopsy report. The initial cause of death was listed as “Undetermined–possibly related to acute insomnia.” The attending physician in the emergency room added a note that the resident who first pronounced the time of death must have made an error and had been put on probation. The autopsy findings included apparent massive alterations in brain chemistry, which left the patient’s body unable to produce any of the hormones required for sleep, or other normal functions.

Please see the attached file, “CRF0058469,” for greater detail about this incident, including the clinical trial records, patient medical records (including autopsy report), witness statements, and photographic records of the injured hospital staff members.

I presented this information to my superiors at Apollyon. Manufacture of the drug was halted, and a massive investigation began, the details of which can be found in the attached file, “Investigation.” No adulteration, contamination, or other problems with the manufacturing process were discovered. The R&D group was unable to determine whether the drug could have caused the hormonal changes the patient experienced. The clinical trial had continued during this time, with a warning for the staff to watch for any patients reporting insomnia, and remove them from the study. Manufacturing resumed, and at one meeting I attended, the Marketing VP said, “A lot of drugs cause insomnia. We’ll just put it in the list of side effects.”

I reported this incident to the FDA, and sent my contact all of the information related to it. He agreed with the company’s assessment that the incident “may have been an isolated adverse reaction,” and that “the evidence was inconclusive to support the hypothesis that the patient’s symptoms had been caused by Cyvalopram.” I received similar responses when I escalated the report to his superiors.
Two weeks later, Site 1 reported removing a patient from the study due to self reports of insomnia. This patient was a 23-year old female who reported three consecutive days without sleep. She had been taking a 50mg dose of Cyvalopram once daily for four weeks. Site 1 staff members told her to stop taking the drug, and sent her to the nearest emergency room for evaluation. She was found to be healthy, and sent home. However, the next day, her mother found her collapsed on the floor of their living room, apparently in a coma. She was transported back to the hospital, where she remained in a coma for six days, until she was declared brain dead. Cessation of all vital functions also ceased shortly thereafter. However, within four hours, she awoke, though she was incapable of coherent speech. She quickly became agitated and violent, and was restrained and moved to the psychiatric ward of the hospital. She was then removed to a maximum security psychiatric facility, where she remains. Please see the attached file, “CRF0098537” for greater detail.

In total, 27 incidents were reported, each with the same presentation and clinical course (see attached files). Though this is only 1.1% of the total study population, I find it deeply disturbing. I presented my concerns to my superiors, and to the FDA, but I was told that the percentage fell within acceptable limits for risk.

I disagree. If the study numbers are extrapolated, and the percentage applied to the entire population of the United States (approximately 313.9 million people, as of this writing), the projections become appalling: 3.5 million people could be affected by this drug in such a manner as I’ve described.

Despite all of this, Cyvalopram was approved for sale yesterday. The company has projected that it will break all of the previous sales records for anti-anxiety medications.

I’ve presented this information to government authorities, and to all of the mainstream media outlets. My phone calls and emails have been ignored; the reporter I spoke with in person at my local Fox affiliate laughed me out of her office. You’re my last hope of making this information known to the public. I hope you will post my remarks, along with the attached evidence, to your website. I have also created a video record of these remarks, which can be found at the link listed below.

I doubt you’ll hear from me again; I believe I’m being watched and followed by Apollyon agents. Please make sure the public knows not to take Cyvalopram.

Sincerely,
Miranda Solomon, PhD
Clinical Research Scientist II
Apollyon Pharmaceuticals

###

“This email, along with the files and video statement, was posted to an “alternative news” website last night,” the Marketing VP explained to the group of executives, after they had finished watching the video. “Mostly the site is full of crazy conspiracy theories, like “the President is a reptilian alien” and other bullshit, but this has been getting some traction. The video version of her statement has over 100,000 views on YouTube so far.”
“I’ve already got the lawyers on it,” the CFO said. “They’re going get YouTube to take the video down, and they’re making the usual threats to the conspiracy site.”
“But it’s out there,” the CEO said. “People have already seen it; copied the information to other places. What are we going to do about that?”
“Discredit her?” the Marketing VP suggested. “What do we have on her? Does anyone even know where she is?”
“Representatives of the company stopped by Dr. Solomon’s house early this morning,” the CFO said. “They found her dead. Gunshot wound to the head.”
“Self inflicted?” the CEO asked.
“Undetermined. They couldn’t find a gun anywhere.”
The CEO looked around the conference table. “Ok, which of you did it?” The executives laughed, though no one took credit.
“The team left a gun there to make it look like suicide,” the CFO said. “The local cops are so inept that they won’t look any further. Once she’s discovered, we’ll release some statement saying she’d been behaving erratically and was put on leave to seek counseling or something. PR, get your team started on that.” The VP of Public Relations nodded.
“Now,” the CFO continued. “I have some projections regarding the effect this could have on sales.” He clicked over to a PowerPoint presentation, and guided the group through several slides full of charts and graphs. “In the end, I predict only a 9% revenue loss for this product in the coming fiscal year, when compared to initial projections. That decreases to 7% the following year, and so on, as people forget about all this.”
“We will have to add “coma” and “psychosis” to the list of rare side effects, but overall, I think we should be fine,” the Marketing VP said.
“What a fucking shitstorm,” the CEO said. “But I guess that’s all we can do. Should we have breakfast brought in?”

Credit To – Amanda Butler

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Warning Sign

July 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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My wife and I were driving down a dark road, on our way to Colorado for our honeymoon. It had to be around midnight and I’d been driving for hours. My wife was fast asleep in the back seat and I had nobody to talk to, so I listened to the radio to keep me from dozing off. They were playing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys, a song that I’ve loved since I were a young boy. I was singing along to the tune as quietly as I could, trying not to wake my wife. That’s when it suddenly got foggy out, the snow that we were warned about started falling and the radio turned to static. The fact that we were the only ones on the road was very unsettling. We hadn’t seen another car since we drove by that gas station almost two hours before. It was frightening to say the least.

I continued driving despite the fact that I could barely see. Static continued to restrain the radio from playing my favorite childhood song. I don’t know why, maybe it was the fact that it was really foggy out, but I felt that something bad was bound to happen. The radio was getting louder even though I had turned the thing off. I was hearing voices, they were coming from the radio. I thought that I was hearing things because I was dreadfully tired. It sounded like a woman, her voice echoed out of the radio.

“Evil lies ahead,” she said.

I was looking down at the radio, trying to get it to turn off. When I looked up at the road, a woman in a white gown walked right in front of my car. It was unexpected, I looked away for only a second. I stopped the car and pulled over to the side of the road. My wife had woken up at that point. “I hit someone,” I told her. I was in shock and kind of nervous to get out of the car and see. My wife and I both got out of the car and walked over to where I hit her. She wasn’t there. We looked around but there was no sign of anything. No blood, no body…just nothing. I know I wasn’t going crazy. I saw her and I felt as her body rolled over the top of my car. My wife assumed that I wasn’t getting enough sleep so she suggested that she finish the dive to Colorado. I agreed and we got back into the car and drove off.

Almost two hours later, I was listening to the radio, unable to sleep, as my wife was driving. The radio again, turned to static and the clear roads were suddenly foggy. I immediately felt that something was wrong and that something bad was about to happen. I couldn’t really see anything but the road due to the fog, but I noticed someone standing in the middle of the road.

“Stop!” I screamed. She stopped the car, the woman was just ten feet ahead of us. “It’s her,” I said. “It’s the woman I hit.”

“I don’t see anyone,” she said, glaring out at the road. Somehow she couldn’t see her but I did. The woman was in a white gown and she was probably in her forties. I wasn’t losing my mind like my wife thought I was. The woman spoke and what she said had me shivering in fear.

“Evil lies ahead.”

I looked at my wife, she was oblivious to what was going on. I didn’t understand why she wasn’t seeing or hearing what I was but I wish she had, now more than ever. I tried to convince her that something bad was about to happen. I tried to convince her that someone was trying to warn us, but it was too late. We saw the headlights coming at the very last second.

I woke up hours later in a dark room. The only source of light was coming from the small rectangular window that barely invited in the sunlight. It was clear that I was in a basement but the question was where. The first thing I noticed was that my wife wasn’t with me. I quickly jumped out of the bed, just to fall right to the floor. My right leg was…gone. It was cut off from the knee down. It was then that I noticed how in pain I was. I screamed for my wife, fearing that something bad had happened to her. I lay helplessly on the floor until I heard the basement door creak open, followed by footsteps. I pressed my back against the basement wall and I wait for what seemed like an eternity.

“Mr. Edmund, you really should be in bed,” a man said, helping me to the bed. He was wearing a lab coat so I assumed he was a doctor.

“Where is she?” I asked. “My wife.” He put his hand on my forehead, noticing how high my temperature was.

“You should calm down Mr. Edmund, you’re burning up.”

“I want to know where my wife is,” I said. “I’m not calming down until I found out.”

He took off his glasses and put them in his pocket. “She’s dead Mr. Edmund,” he said. “I’m sorry but her injuries were too severe.”

I didn’t want to believe it but I had no choice but to. I thought about her as a memory, that’s all she’ll ever be now. I thought about the beautiful wedding we just had, how beautiful and happy she looked. She was dead and I felt like the four years that we had known each other was all for nothing. “Where is she?” I asked, wiping the tears from my eyes.

“She’s at the morgue, about thirty minutes from here.”

“I wanna see her,” I said.

“Mr. Edmund, you’re not in the shape to go anywhere,” he said. “Now eat up, I’m sure you’re hungry.” He put a plate on the nightstand.

“I wanna see her!” I yelled before he walked away.

He stopped and turned around. “You really shouldn’t yell, Mr. Edmund, he said. “You just might wake the dead.” He laughed before walking up the stairs. I got out of bed and hopped my way up the stairs just to find out that the door was locked. The guy was clearly hiding something and I had to find out if it had anything to do with my wife.

Hours later, as the day shifted into night, I was in bed, thinking about my wife when I heard the door creak open. I heard no footsteps this time. I got out of bed and crawled my way to the stairs. I looked up and I saw the door open but nobody was there. I hopped up the stairs and I walked through the door. I was in the living room and it was strangely decorated with old furniture. It seemed as if I went back in time to the 60’s. Something strange was going on and I had no idea what it was. It got even more confusing when I noticed the picture that sat on the table stand. It was a family photo of the man with a young boy and a woman who I assumed was his wife. It was the woman that I’d seen on the road. I don’t know how it was possible but it was her.

I had a feeling that my wife was somewhere in the house so I walked around to see if I could find her. I walked into the kitchen and I noticed a trail of blood coming from the refrigerator. I walked slowly to the door and I opened it. What I saw was just despicable and it painted a picture in my mind that I would have to live with for the rest of my life. There were limbs inside, cold bloody limbs. I would never have known that they were the severed limbs of my wife if it weren’t for the ring that I proposed to her with. I thought about the food I’d eaten earlier and I instantly vomited. I knew there was something about that guy, something seemed off. I heard the floor creak behind me and I turned around to see that phyco fuck behind me, swinging a baseball bat that I couldn’t dodge in time.

I woke up hours later back in the basement. The pain I felt in my leg was unbearable. I couldn’t move because my arms were strapped to the bed and even if I could move, I’d fall flat to the floor. My left leg was gone. He cut off my other leg and he was slowly killing me. My mouth was covered with duct tape so I couldn’t scream even if I wanted to.

“Oh good, you’re awake.” He was standing at my side, eating a piece of meat that I would assume was my leg. “You wanna know something?” He asked me. “You taste good.” I was just imaging my hands wrapped around his neck and slowly killing him. “Haven’t you ever wondered what you’d taste like? Well I guess you probably already know.”

He ripped the tape off my mouth, I didn’t even notice how painful it was. “I’ll fucking kill you” was the first thing I said. I wasn’t sure how I’d do it without any legs and being strapped to a bed but murdering him in the most vicious way was all that I could think about.

“I’ve eaten many people in my life, Mr. Edmund, but I would say you take the cake.”

“You’re sick and you belong in hell.”

“I’m already in hell Mr. Edmund,” he said with a creepy smile. “I killed myself back in 1964, right after I ate my wife and son.” I didn’t believe him of course, I figured it was part of his sick mind.

“Why don’t you just kill me? Get it over with.”

“Well Mr. Edmund, I learned that human flesh tastes a lot better fresh. So I’m gonna keep you alive for a while.” He stood from his chair. “Get some sleep Mr. Edmund, I think you’ll taste a lot better when you do.” He walked up the stairs and closed the door.

I was prepared to die, I’m honestly still surprised that I’m not now. There was a sudden knock at the door hours later and I yelled as loud as I could, hoping they could hear me. A group of men then came running down the stairs and they helped me out of the bed and out of that house. I was lucky that they spotted my car on the side of the road and followed the tracks that led them to the house. It was a miracle.

I was surprised to find out that the house was actually abandoned and that nobody had lived there since a doctor by the name of James Conway had brutally murdered and eaten his wife and child before taking his own life. The severed pieces of my wife were found in the old refrigerator and they weren’t the only ones found. There were many people who were reported missing in the area but were never found over the last 50 years. Nobody believes me when I told them that it was James Conway who killed my wife and ate my legs. I guess they believed that a copycat killer was on the loose. There were more victims after me and I’m sure there will be many more in the future. I’ll warn you though, you’re not safe in the northern parts of Colorado. If you see any warning signs, a woman in a white gown telling you that something evil lies ahead, drive the opposite direction and never look back.

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A Figure in Gray

July 15, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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A Figure in Gray

If you have spent any length of time in the United States, you owe it to yourself to play the 1985 arcade classic, Paperboy. In it, you assume the role of a preteen boy tasked with completing his daily paper route. For whatever reason, your hero’s beat is a particularly rough neighborhood. Its streets teem with aggressive drivers who would rather hit a cyclist than their brakes. On the sidewalks, bratty children steer kamikaze RC cars into passers-by — modern-day drone pilots in their larval form. Elsewhere, skateboarding adrenaline junkies find their greatest thrill in demolishing live obstacles like your paperboy. In some cases, your character will be accosted by a knife-wielding madman who comes charging out of a house and pursues at tremendous speed, inevitably catching your hero and robbing him of a precious life.

Taken as a whole, the game makes for an effective satire of Reagan-era America. It captures the needless paranoia of the suburbs, where people fear the harm some stranger or foreign power will inflict on them, without realizing the vanity — in all senses of the word — behind such a phobia. It shows the violence and cruelty of the average American percolating behind the facade of white picket fences and well-maintained lawns. Most importantly, it reveals how far some people will go to make a buck — or be compelled to go, for socioeconomic reasons beyond their control.

It would be troubling to consider these situations if the game didn’t make it all so damn funny. Odds are you will laugh too much while playing to think about many of the concerns the game raises. Perhaps it succeeds too well at its own satirical objectives.

You would be forgiven for assuming that the same merry cynicism found in Paperboy would carry over to its ’90s console sequel, Paperboy 2. Indeed, the second entry in the series contains every bit as much unnecessary peril — and consequent weird humor — as the first. You guide your choice of paperboy or papergirl through a suburban gauntlet featuring a whole new cast of memorable hostiles. A hermit holed up in a moat-ringed castle bombards you with cannon fire as you pass. Overzealous guard dogs chase you down the street. Roasting pigs, knocked off the spit by a misfired newspaper, do the same — evidently being grilled alive before your intervention, and none too happy with your interference. Runaway baby carriages, in a nod to the overpopulation worries of the modern world, mow you down if you are not attentive enough. Scarecrows, once hit with a paper, break from their stakes and ambush you, one hand raised in a Fascist salute all the while. The absurdity in Paperboy 2 runs high thanks to the game’s colorful cast.

Although perhaps “colorful” is not the right word…

As you play through the opening stages of Paperboy 2, you will notice one character who does not seem to belong, for he is, literally and figuratively, anything but colorful. He will first catch your eye because his palette is without color — he is the only person in the game rendered entirely in monochrome. He wears a gray sweatsuit. His neat and unremarkable hair is black. His stark white skin, however, is especially arresting, given the more nuanced flesh tones seen everywhere else in-game. His actions, too, are comparably bland. If left undisturbed, the figure in gray simply walks down his driveway, deposits a garbage can at the curb, then turns around and walks back to his house. If struck with a paper, he only freezes in his tracks. No attacks, no surprises. He is shockingly mundane in this world of cannons and mobile scarecrows.

If you have some knowledge of ’90s news curiosities, you might be able to excavate the unusual case of one Dennis R— from your memory banks. Assuming the national news outlets had the story straight, and reported it accordingly, Mr. R— was an actuary — or some other specialist whose profession hinges on the unchallenged yet specious assumption that the future will be like the past — who woke up one night, dismembered his infant twin sons and his wife of eight years, and brought their remains to the curb in a metal garbage can alongside all the other refuse of suburban life. The mechanical arm of the waste collection truck had not detected the can’s abnormal weight, and the landfill, too, was none the wiser. It was entirely possible that nobody would have noticed the absence of Mrs. R— and her children, had the local library not begun to seek compensation for a long overdue book that Mrs. R— never had the chance to return. Alas, Mr. R— was never properly sentenced, as he was killed in prison by other inmates before his trial could be finished.

Recalling this story, you might begin to sense a resemblance between the late Mr. R— and the figure in gray; indeed, after a cursory image search for his photograph on the internet, you would be impressed by how uncanny a likeness a few pixels can produce. You might even begin to suspect that the satire of the Paperboy series is alive and well in the second installment. Here the game designers have given you a world of crime and violence and fright, and yet the most horrible thing in it is something as innocuous as a man taking out his trash. Here all the paranoid suburbanites target a kid on a bicycle, as if he or she posed any actual threat, while the real danger lurks next door. You might speculate that Paperboy 2 is a satire of complacency, where prosperity and habit inure the average American against diligence and introspection, where the idealized image of the suburb discourages its residents from looking beyond the glistening veneer of civilization, and scrutinizing themselves or others. Even you, the attentive player, were fooled — did you think to inspect the gray figure’s garbage can for pixelated limbs? Of course not. Why would you? The world you find yourself in does little to suggest you should have. Therefore, through the inclusion of this nonchalant figure in gray, the game makes you complicit in the poisonous mindsets that suburban America incubates — a mature critique indeed for such an early video game.

Yet if you were to praise the developers of Paperboy 2 for their clever stunt, not one of them would take credit for it. For none of them would admit to drawing or programming the figure in gray. In fact, none of them would remember putting him into the game.

Credit To – Lex Joy

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Ikidomari (Part 2 of 2)

July 13, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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This is part two of two in the Ikidomari series. Please read the first part here!

Ikidomari 1

The doll stood motionless in front of the door, waiting to be invited inside, as the light from Jake’s flashlight shined upon its dusty wooden face. “It’s that damn creepy doll!” He yelled, quickly walking back to the table. I really didn’t understand how the doll was standing without anybody to hold it up. Most or all ventriloquist dolls required someone to hold it up but this doll stood on its feet with no problem. Maybe someone was holding it up, someone or something we couldn’t see. I believe the doll was alive somehow, either that or someone or something was moving it from place to place without any of us noticing.

Joel was up next so he spun the wheel. His game piece moved five spaces to another gray space. Kenzie spun the wheel and her game piece also moved to a gray space. It was then my turn so I spun the wheel. We just wanted to get the game over with so we were getting through quickly. We barely even talked to each other. I spun an 8 and my game piece moved slowly until it stopped…on a red space. I looked around at everyone, they all looked frightened, except for Joel who I guess still had the mentality that it was all just a game. I pulled a red card from the deck and took a deep breath before reading it.

Don’t be scared, we have just begun
The doors are now locked and there’s nowhere to run

Creepy riddles. I don’t know why but the fact that they rhymed was very unsettling to me. We all looked at each other, stuck in fear for what seemed like an eternity. We heard footsteps echoing through the halls, it sounded as if someone were running relentlessly around the building.

“What the hell is going on?” Jake asked, looking at me. Everybody looked at me as if I knew the answer. I had no idea what was going on, the only thing I knew was that we were in deep trouble. Jake suddenly got up and scampered outside the room and down the hall. We all followed him out, I tried to convince him that we couldn’t leave until the game was finished. It was frightening to find out that even if we wanted to leave, there was no way we could. The doors were locked and the windows were boarded. We were stuck there with no way out. The only way was to finish the game. While Jake and Joel furiously wandered the building in search for a way out, I was right behind them, trying to get them to understand that we had to finish the game or we would never get out. Things were starting to get out of control, Jake and Joel were arguing and it got to the point where I had to yell for them to shut the hell up.

“We have to finish the damn game,” I explained.

“That damn game is cursed and there is no way I’m playing it,” Jake said.

They were finally understanding how serious and real the game was. The melody started echoing through the halls, it was calling for us. It took me a while to get everybody to understand that if we do not finish the game, we’d die either way. It was a frightening situation we were in but finishing the game was the only way out. We all walked back to the room and back to the game. I noticed the doll sitting back in the rocking chair, I don’t think anyone else noticed.

We took our seats, didn’t say anything at all as we finally continued the game. One thing about this game is that it can literally drive you to go insane. That was happening to all of us. Since I drew the red card that locked the doors, It was Jake’s turn. He spun the wheel and landed on a gray spot. Joel was next and he spun the wheel. His game piece moved up five spaces, landing on black. He drew a black card from the deck and read it.

“Don’t be afraid…but there’s someone on the furnace.”

The only thing I liked about the black cards was that they didn’t rhyme. We flashed our flashlights at the furnace that sat on the other side of the room and what we saw will give you nightmares even if you aren’t asleep. Her face was insidious and she was just sitting there on the furnace, tapping it with her fingers. Her eyes were dark, you couldn’t see anything inside them but evil. Her skin was pale and rotten, you could actually smell her. There was blood lightly dripping from her mouth and It seemed as if her jaw was broken because it hung unnaturally low as her neck tilted to an angle that no neck should ever be, unless it was broken. She had a rope hanging from her neck and she wore a white gown. I swear, she was looking at me. I couldn’t really tell because her eyes were dark but I know she was looking at me. She still does. Every time I close my eyes…I see her. Her dreadful face and vile smell will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.

We continued the game, trying to ignore the smell, the tapping on the furnace and the fact that something sinister was just behind us. Kenzie was next and she spun the wheel, ending up on a gray space. I was next and also ended up on gray. Jake spun the wheel and we watched restlessly as it stopped on red. We were so worried about what would happen next that we didn’t notice the tapping and smell was no longer lingering and that whatever that thing was, was no longer there. Jake took a red card from the deck, I could tell how scared he was by the emptiness in his eyes and how slow he was moving. We were all scared about what would happen next.

She sits in the dark and she feeds on fear
Don’t be afraid or she’ll appear

Everything was silent, you could’ve heard the sound of our hearts beating against our chests if you were there. They were beating and begging for the fear to go away and no matter how many times I counted to three, the fear was like a never ending curse upon us. Our flashlights started flickering until they went out completely. The room was black and I was convinced that we were already dead and in hell. We heard the sound of heavy breathing and it most definitely wasn’t any of us. It was something more demonic and haunting. We heard the tapping against the furnace and the music started playing from the game, the creepy melody that echoed through the room. We felt a pulse and that pulse was coming from the heart that sat ghastly at the center of the board game. After a minute, everything became silent again but it was still completely dark. We sat in silence for about fifteen seconds before the hopeless screaming of Jake echoed throughout the room and out into the hall. The door slammed shut and we were stuck helpless in the room listening to the screaming of Jake as it faded out into the halls. Something dragged him away.

Joel pounded on the door as he yelled for his brother but there was nothing else we could do but continue the game. I tried to convince both Joel and Kenzie that Jake was probably fine even though I knew very well that he wasn’t. I just wanted to finish the game. We sat back down, saddened by the empty seat at the table. I didn’t know if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing because they said nothing about it but I saw that thing again, that woman, sitting on the furnace, tapping away. I ignored her and we continued the game, still traumatized by what had just happened. To make matters even worse, Jake’s game piece, his tombstone, moved suddenly to the bottom right of the board where other tombstones resided. He was officially out of the game.

Joel was next. He spun the wheel and barely missed the red by one space. Kenzie spun and her tombstone stopped on gray. I then spun the wheel and my tombstone moved six spaces to black. Black cards no longer scared me, compared to the haunting red ones, they were harmless. I took a card from the deck and read it, my voice, becoming frail.

“She’s watching you.”

I flashed my flashlight around the room, not really sure what I was gonna see. I saw the doll, sitting against the wall of the bedroom door. She was looking right at me. Her evil stare pierced into my mind as a memory. I ignored her, turned back to the game and we continued. Joel was next, he spun the wheel and landed on 6. We watched as his tombstone stopped at a red space. He took his time before drawing a red card from the deck.

They’re calling from the graveyard gates You’ve disturbed the dead
Lock the doors and stay away
They’re something you will dread

We looked around at each other, confused and worried. We heard the footsteps and the moaning, echoing from the halls. The smell of their rotten skin could be smelled from miles away. They were coming toward us, their footsteps and moaning getting louder as they got closer. The door was opening when Joel and I slammed it shut, just before they were coming in. We moved the refrigerator over to the door to keep them from breaking through and it worked out well. They were moaning, growling and hungry for flesh. There had to be at least ten of them. I wasn’t exactly sure what they were but they were clearly something possessed and, something dead. After a while, the moaning and pounding at the door had stopped and I guess whatever those things were, they were just entering the graveyard and laying back into their dreadful graves.

Kenzie spun the wheel after everything calmed down and we were finally able to breathe. Her game piece moved to a gray space. I spun the wheel afterwards, meeting a gray space as well. Joel was next and he spun the wheel, just missing red by one space. Kenzie spun the wheel, and her tombstone moved 8 spaces and stopped just in front of Joel’s. She landed on red. We looked at each other, the dead silence adding to the suspense as she took a red card from the deck. She read it slowly, her hands were noticeably shaking as she held the card in her hand.

She waits behind the bedroom door
Under the sheets, she walks the floor

“What the hell is that supposed mean?” Joel asked as if anyone actually knew the answer. The bedroom door creaked open, shining my flashlight, I saw a hand reach out of the door and it made a gesture that was basically saying “come here.” What happened next, I really didn’t understand. It was as if Kenzie was possessed or something because she got out of her chair and slowly walked over toward the door. I saw the emptiness in her eyes, it was like she had no soul. She was like a walking corpse.

“What the hell are you doing Kenzie?” Joel asked, worriedly. “Get the hell back here Mackenzi!” He stood from his chair and tried to stop her but it was too late. She was pulled inside and the door slammed shut. It was silent, other than the sound of Joel pounding on the door. We couldn’t hear a sound coming from the room. We managed to get the door open a few minutes later. We were hearing a creaking sound and that sound was coming from a rope that was wrapped around Kenzie’s neck and hung from the ceiling. She rocked slowly back and fourth and her jaw hung low in an unnatural position as if it was broken.

Joel pulled her down and tried to revive her but there was nothing, not even a trained doctor could do. She was dead. He was oblivious to the breathing sound that echoed through the room. There was something in there with us. Something sinister. The room wasn’t completely dark, we were able to see without our flashlights due to the moon that shined vividly outside the window that wasn’t boarded. We couldn’t see anyone but we heard it breathing. The smell was unbearable and it wasn’t coming from Kenzie’s corpse. It was coming from the thing that suddenly walked out of the closet and sat at the side of the bed. Joel and I just stood there in fear as she turned her head toward us, our minds, traumatized by her deadly dark eyes. She was tapping against the nightstand next to the bed and she had some dusty sheets that were once white wrapped around her shoulders. I realised it was that same woman or…thing that sat on the furnace. She just stared at us, the room was silent in the most horrifying way. The only thing we could hear was her heavy breathing.

“Shhhh,” she whispered, her finger pressed to her lips. “I love this song.” The music from the game was playing. She got out the bed and she danced around the room, the terrible smell followed behind her. Her voice was probably the most creepy part of it all. It was her creepy tone and the way it echoed.

I turned over to Joel, trying to understand why we hadn’t left the room yet. “Let’s get the hell out of here, Joel,” I said. He stood up off the floor and looked at me.

“My brother’s out there somewhere,” he said, wiping the tears from his eyes. “I have to find him.” He seemed unfazed by the creepy dancing woman in the room. He scampered out of the room and I helped him move the refrigerator from the door before we walked out into the hall.

“Jake!” His screaming echoed through the halls, probably waking anything that lived within. We searched through some of the rooms for about twenty minutes before that creepy melody from the game started playing again. I knew it was just a matter of time. He thought it was a good idea that we split up and that’s what we did. He searched the fourth floor while I searched the third.

I was searching through a room when my flashlight started flickering before it turned off. I heard footsteps, at first believing they were mine until I stood still and the footsteps continued. It was dark, the windows were boarded, blocking out any light from outside. Somebody else was in there with me and I know it wasn’t Joel because I heard his calls for his brother echoing through the hall. The door slammed shut and I felt a cool breeze run through me.

“Jake?” I whispered. “You in here?” Everything was silent, the only thing I heard was Joel yelling. I then heard a voice but it wasn’t very clear.

“He’s dead.”

It was a deep, dark and sinister tone. I couldn’t see anything or anybody but I felt them. I felt their presence. I was lightly tapping my flashlight, trying to get it to work. I closed my eyes and I started counting to three. I was lightly shaking and every part of me, it seemed had a pulse. 1…2(deep breath)…3.

The flashlight finally turned on and it flashed directly at some old dusty mirror…I saw her standing behind me. I felt her cold breath as it dissolved into my skin. I ran out of the room, literally as fast as I could. I was surprised my heart didn’t jump out of my chest because it sure did feel like it would. I walked back down to the first floor to the game.

When I stepped in the room, I noticed someone standing over by the windows. It was Joel. He was just standing there, in a fixed position, completely immobile. “Joel?” I walked toward him slowly. “You okay, man?” He turned around slowly, his face was so pale and he had bags under his eyes as if he hadn’t slept in days. I wondered if I looked like that.

“Did you find anything?” He asked, finally dropping back to earth.

I thought about the devilish woman I saw. “No…sorry.”

He sat back down at the table. I had a feeling that he didn’t care what happened next. Like he didn’t care to die. He didn’t seem scared or worried he was just…I don’t know. Two seats were now empty as we continued the game. Kenzie’s tombstone, I noticed was moved to the bottom right of the board, right next to Jake’s. I spun the wheel and landed on 2. That kept me on gray. Joel spun the wheel and was forced to draw a black card. He took a card from the deck and read it.

“She’s watching you.”

He wiped the tears from his eyes with his shirt and looked over at the bedroom door where Kenzie’s body still lay. “It’s her,” he said, crying. “It’s Mackenzie.” I turned around but I didn’t see her. Either he was losing his mind or she was actually there. I wouldn’t be suprised if she was. I spun the wheel and landed on the same space as Joel. That meant I had to draw a black card. I took a card from the deck and I read it.
“There’s somebody at the door.”

A loud knock echoed through the room as Joel and I froze in fear. Joel and I stayed put as the knocking continued until the door suddenly creaked open. We heard the footsteps but we didn’t see anybody. Joel spun the wheel, desperate to end the game. He was safe from the black and red cards as his tombstone stopped on gray. I spun the wheel, also safe from the cards. As Joel spun the wheel next, I saw Jake. He was sitting on the furnace, tapping away. His jaw hung low as if it was broken and his eyes were dark but I knew that he was looking at me. Joel had his back turned so he couldn’t see him and I guess he couldn’t hear the tapping. He was completely oblivious to Jake’s presence. I pretended like I didn’t see anything and eventually the tapping had stopped and he disappeared. Joel and I continued to land on gray until eventually, Joel was forced to draw a red card.

“This is it, isn’t it?” He said to me, his voice becoming weak. I didn’t say anything, I wasn’t really sure what to say. He took a deep breath and read the card.

Under the floor, you must peek
There’s something there beneath your feet

I remembered the hole in the floor where I first found the board game. I showed Joel to the door and he lifted it up. We flashed our flashlights inside to see what was under. What we saw can unfortunately never be unseen. Joel immediately looked away in distraught when he saw what was down there. It was Jake. His corpse was already being infested with flies and maggots as it lay down there, against the wall. There was no blood but it was clear that his neck was snapped and his jaw was broken because they were each in unnatural positions. Joel just stood there, his back turned from the ditch. He wasn’t crying or showing any kind of emotion. He just looked empty and exhausted. I sensed that something was going to happen and…it did. Something down there grabbed Joel by his ankle and tried to pull him down. I tried to help him but there was nothing I could do. The game wanted him and they got him. They pulled him under and the door slammed shut. I was all alone.

The melody started playing from the game and I walked over to it, not knowing what to do next. My game piece started moving to the center of the board and it stopped directly at the heart. The heart started beating, it had a pulse. The music got louder and louder, it was piercing through my head until suddenly, it stopped. My game piece moved all the way back to the beginning, where I first started. That was it. The game was over.

I left the building without ever looking back. I didn’t want to go back to my dormroom where I would be alone so I walked to the grocery store that was just a couple minutes away and I cried to everyone there that my friends were all dead. I know they all thought I was crazy but they called the police and the bodies of my friends were found later that night. I told them the story, I told them everything that happened but they never believed me. The game was never found but I know it was somewhere in that building, somewhere either within the walls or under the floors. Haunted by the demons within. I can hear the melody playing right now as I sit alone in my room, surrounded by white walls and cameras. They’re watching me. I can hear them, I can feel them, and I can see them. That game is somewhere in this world and I pity the poor soul who finds it. I learned to live with the haunting melody that echoes wherever I go. I sometimes put on my dancing slippers and I dance to the melody. I dance around and around and around. I dance to the sound of fear…because it’s the only sound I hear.

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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.

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