The “Dark Afternoon” Tape – Real or Hoax?

February 25, 2017 at 12:00 AM

DARK AFTERNOON TAPE

Not sure if this is the right place to post this story, but it’s way to creepy not to share it.

A friend of mine was at my house browsing the Dark Web with TOR (don’t ask what he was doing there) when he came across a site that supposedly showcased banned content from the regular web, like gruesome crime scene photos and such. Anyway, he searched around for a while when he came across a story with an audio clip that he thought looked cool. So he started listening, figuring it would be nothing special – until he heard it. The more he listened, the more upset he became. Suddenly, he stood up, took off the headphones and threw them on the desk. He looked really shaken. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “That ******* audio file!” So, now, of course I wanted to hear it myself. But he quickly deleted the sound file and closed TOR. I asked what was so bad about it and he said it was like hearing a real-life “snuff tape” only this was an entire group of people – including young kids! I said it was fake and he yelled back, “No! This **** is totally real!”

He quickly left, but forgot he saved the story. So I sat down and read it. This is the actual text, copied and pasted exactly as is. A real Creepy Pasta! I’m still to afraid to listen to the audio myself – if I could ever find it.

I did find a short movie based on the tape that shows a police photo of the real tape and it even plays a tiny piece of the actual audio at the end. It gives the town a fake name and changes some other stuff too, but doesn’t matter, it still sends shivers down my spine every time I watch it. Supposedly the actual tape is much more disturbing.

__________________

THE DARK AFTERNOON INCIDENT – REAL OR HOAX?
Editorial by **** ******
Associated Press: For Immediate Release

“As a journalist, I’ve investigated everything from political corruption to celebrity scandals to international cybercrime. But never have I come across something so bizarre and deeply disturbing as a simple audio tape.

I received it at work from my late aunt’s estate who possessions were divided amongst remaining family members after her death. Of everything she had, only one item was personally requested to go a specific family member, me.

It was a small box containing a tape labeled, “The Dark Afternoon”. I could not understand why she had wanted me to have the tape and no one else. Underneath it, I saw a note scribbled in her handwriting. My aunt wrote that the tape was an actual emergency recording made from the dispatch unit at the small town police station she once worked at in the early 1970s. The last sentence made the point that she personally knew a few of the callers on the tape. I thought, “So what.” I soon found out.

Curious, I played it.

An hour later, I was shaking, literally. It was without a doubt the single most disturbing thing I have ever heard. It’s something that gets under your skin in a way I cannot describe and I’ve seen plenty of gruesome things during my career. I’ve covered wars, crimes, you name it. Much is hard to stomach, but this was different. Maybe it’s the more intimate way you listen to it. Or the loud, in your ear, blood-curdling screams. I don’t know.

It begins with harsh static which is broken by a call from a citizen of the tiny town (which I will not name here) to report a dark, featureless form was outside their house. Standing there. Watching. Unmoving. The dispatcher tells the caller that it’s most likely some kid playing a prank, when a knock sounds on the callers front door. Here, the line goes dead. Creepy, but nothing extraordinary.

Then it happens. Call after call pours in. People all over town report the same dark forms have appeared everywhere. When the dispatcher tried to reassure them it was nothing to be alarmed about, the callers insist there’s something ominous going on and request an officer come by as soon as possible. But with only one officer in town there wasn’t much that could be done.

The callers report the figures were no longer standing there but closing in on them. You hear pounding on doors, windows shattering, sinister laughter, et. You also hear sheer panic and terror in the callers voices as this was happening. It’s very disturbing.

Then gruesome, bizarre things happen to each one. Things I don’t wish to recount.

Finally… there’s static until the tape runs out. All you’re left with is a mental picture of what you think might have happened. Your own imagination is always worse than any photo or video.

I told myself it must be a hoax, just a spooky “ghost tape” made to scare unsuspecting listeners. As a journalist I know there’s no way a town in Twentieth Century America besieged by ominous ‘things’ resulting in numerous deaths would not make the news.

Then, a thought occurred to me, could it be real? Maybe my aunt wanted me to hear it, to investigate it and expose everything on the tape in order to prove it did happen. And that’s what I did.

After checking, it turns out this small town did in fact experience an ‘industrial accident’ that unfortunately took several lives one afternoon during the early 1970s. Friends and family were told by authorities that the bodies of the victims were contaminated and not able to be claimed for burial. And they were right. They could not be claimed. Not because of contamination, but because none of the victims were ever found. No town, state or Federal records reveal that any bodies were ever removed from the town. They just vanished.

A deeper question now arose: Did the number, gender and ages of the people killed in the so-called ‘accident’ correspond in any way to the callers heard on the tape? Every. Last. One. This was no hoax or accident. It was something else, and my aunt knew it.

Needless to say, when I presented the recording and my findings to my press editors, they were more than a little skeptical. However, they were even more worried about the legal ramifications that might result from the town and state’s present authorities if they ever knew what I uncovered. I knew then and there they would never let me publish it.

But that doesn’t mean no one could hear it.

That’s what the Dark Web is for. Containing some of the most twisted things the human mind can come up with: Red Rooms, Murder-Cams, the Dark Web is also a place of anonymity. A place where both users and the sites they visit can remain hidden.

So it was here that I uploaded the audio in hopes that someone somewhere can finally shed light on what really happened on that Dark Afternoon. Do I really want to know?”

Credit: Brimar

A Scarecrow For God

February 23, 2017 at 12:00 AM

“Can I take your picture?” Larissa sat a few feet away from me on the grey velvet sofa as I aimed my iPhone towards her. I stared at the screen intently for a moment before shifting my focus, looking over the brim of the phone at her defeated, hopeless state portrayed by bloodshot eyes.
“What for? I don’t think it would be a very good one.” She found it difficult to speak above a tone of depressing mumble. “I’m not exactly prepared for a photo shoot right now.”
“Stop it. You look beautiful.” The chipper tone in my voice was a deceiving attempt to bring some semblance of elation to the bleak reality we had learned of our existence.
“It’s not insecurity. You know that.” Her looks were always something Larissa was confident in. That certainly wasn’t the source of her discontent. Normally we take pictures of happy times that we want to look back on and reminisce over. But neither of us were happy at that moment. Her face was a cemented lump of apathy that wouldn’t be going away anytime soon. “Why do you want a picture of me like this?”
“Because I want to remember what you look like.”

She would be gone soon. And there was nothing I could do to stop it. I really can’t say I blame her. Life had no purpose or meaning anymore. I was finding it difficult not to leave this world myself.

The eye in the sky destroyed it all.

Some said it was God. Technically they’re right, although their interpretation of “God” is a bit skewed and thus incorrect. They’re just making excuses. I don’t exactly blame them for their attempts to make sense of the eye. In a way I sort of envy their ignorance. I wish I could live in bliss like that.

Enlightenment is punishment.

Larissa and I were coworkers at Caltech. I was head of the astronomy and physics department there, a position I held for the last eight years where I was lucky enough to fuel and satisfy my fascination with celestial objects for a living. Since I was a young boy I looked at the sky in awe and dreamed of a weightless, floating journey through the stars. At night I’d sit on my porch with my knees pulled against my chest and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my hand looking at the moonlight shining on trees and the sparkling fireworks hovering above the earth.

A career in astronomy was all I ever wanted.

Larissa came on board a little less than a year ago. For the past six months we’d been something a little more than coworkers. Romantic interests…I guess? When you reach a certain age you sort of stop putting labels on things. I suppose you could call her my girlfriend. It sounds so childish saying that at my age.

Whatever you want to call it, Larissa had become another perk of my job. At 43 years old I had never married; never really had a serious relationship since my twenties. Routine, order and the stars were all the gratification I needed. It wasn’t until I saw Larissa that I realized how lonely my life had become. She was 8 years younger than I and had the same thirst for the stars as I did. It was all we ever talked about, and with me being somewhat more experienced in the field she clung to my every word, eating them up like she was putting sunshine in her veins.

One night I invited her back to my quaint home in Simi Valley. We sat side by side on the grass next to the large oak tree in my backyard with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches pointing out our favorite constellations. She rested her head on my shoulder and I knew I had found the person that I could share every part of my life with.

I loved her. Even though I couldn’t bring myself to say it.

Everything was right in the world. It all came together in harmonious delight when Larissa took over my heart. She filled a void I didn’t know I had and quickly became my satellite, going wherever I went and running circles around me.

All that changed two weeks ago when Keck Observatory contacted me for a consultation regarding an unusual discovery. The observatory, located at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, was managed by Caltech and the California Association for Research in Astronomy. The site housed the two most renowned and scientifically productive telescopes in the world, capable of reaching the outermost areas of space. Each telescope sat mounted on Mauna Kea as two large spheres 33 feet in diameter. Just after I had come on board in 2008 the telescopes at Keck captured the first images of exoplanets within an exosolar system 129 light years away from earth. The main star was named HR 8799. The visuals took over one hundred years to reach our planet, and we took pictures of it like a group of excited tourists.

“What did you find?” I asked Norah, the Director of Advancement at Keck, when she called.
Her voice trembled on the other end. “I don’t know…it’s…I’m sending you a picture. You won’t believe me if I told you.”
“Sweetheart, just tell me.”
I heard a deep breath flow into the receiver. “It’s…an eye.”
“You mean the helix nebula?” I asked, instantly reminded of the formation that looked eerily similar to an eyeball, resulting in the nickname the ‘Eye of god’. “No, but similar…only much larger. And it’s moving.”
“Moving? Like orbiting around something?”
“More like looking around at things. The pupil is moving.”
My face contorted from confusion. “What??”

It didn’t make any sense to me when I first heard it. Now, looking back, I wish I just ignored that call and went about my life. But I suppose that’s the nature of humanity, isn’t it? We’re all curious and desperate for answers.

Norah sent me two pictures of what was observed through the telescope shortly after we hung up. The first picture appeared to show ionized gas surrounding an interstellar medium creating the illusion of an eye. It was unique, although it was certainly nothing never seen before. But the second picture showed the medium moved slightly to the left as though it were a pupil looking around and studying the universe.

I wasted no time and booked myself and Larissa a flight to Hawaii. Part of my rush there was anticipation of studying the odd formation and try to determine why it was moving. Larissa could help decipher its origins. Plus, it was a nice excuse to take a trip to Hawaii together on company money. The next day after we landed, Larissa and I drove up the access road in a car I rented up to the summit. At the top, we were just above the clouds. Mauna Kea is the highest point in all of Hawaii and it’s considered the best location in the world for massive telescopes like these. There’s no obstruction blocking the view. I had visited the site a few times since I took over the astronomy department. Each visit was breathtaking.

Norah greeted us as we parked and led us through the observatory directly into the control room where a monitor was displaying the eye in the sky. In front of the monitor sat a couple of young men I had never met before operating the controls.

The pupil had moved further to the left since the last picture was taken.

“How much time passed between the two pictures you sent me?” I asked Norah.
“Couple of days. It’s moving very slowly.”
“Possibly. It could also be moving incredibly fast, we’re just observing a different gravitational time dilation through the telescope. How far away is this constellation?”
Norah took a deep breath and exhaled, maintaining her steady eyes fixed on mine. “Forty five billion light-years.”
“Huh? That’s inconceivable! The farthest object ever recorded is galaxy MACS0647-JD at 13.3 billion light-years away. And that was with the Hubble telescope! Keck doesn’t have that functionality!”
“Well, it does now. We enhanced its mirrors two months ago to increase magnification capabilities.”
My eyebrows uncontrollably shot into the middle of my forehead. “I don’t recall hearing the board of directors approve such a thing!”
“They didn’t. This was a privately funded experiment…one that worked.”
“Who funded this?” Larissa chimed in.
“I’m sorry, that’s classified information.”

I looked up at the thick metal beams and pipes of pressurized hydraulic fluids over our heads that held the massive telescope in place with indignant jealousy. The furthest reaching telescope ever created was partially owned by the company I held a relatively high position with. It was within my fingertips, yet I hadn’t even the slightest knowledge of it. Optical instruments like this were invented to expand humanity’s knowledge and answer some of the most complex and mysterious questions about the origins of everything in existence. And they were keeping the wonders of the universe a secret.

“So basically you have the most powerful scientific invention ever created by humanity here and didn’t think it was necessary to tell anyone?”
“It was an experiment. The funding was enough to cover the upgrade and reversion if it didn’t work. Part of the agreement was secrecy. We only started using it last week. We wanted to be sure it worked before making any kind of announcement.”
“This is not some rich kids Tonka truck, Norah. You should have gotten approval. Or at least mentioned it to someone.”
“There’s something I haven’t told you about this eye,” Norah continued, ignoring my discontent. “We saw something else.”
My intrigue felt like a rush of adrenaline. “What?”
One of the young men turned in his swivel chair and locked his wide eyes with me. “God.”

I instantly rolled my eyes. Throughout history when mankind has encountered something unexplainable it’s attributed to some sort of God or supernatural force only to be given a logical scientific explanation many years later. Why would this be any different?

“We don’t know that, Tim,” Norah shot at him.
“What the hell is he talking about?!” Larissa questioned.
I supported her demand. “Indeed! What nonsense is this young man referring to?”
Norah resigned momentarily, then turned her head sideways to address Tim. “Turn on the infrared.”

Tim flicked a switch on the control panel and about thirty seconds later the outline of a face surrounded the eye. Shades of red and orange overlapped each other, clearly displaying a nose, a mouth, and a second eye that was covered by a winking eyelid.

And just beyond the eye I could faintly make out more, smaller infrared outlines.

My world had crumbled at the site. One of my worst fears was a reality. “Turn that monitor off right now…” I ordered in a low growl. Tim sat motionless in his chair, frozen in perplexity. “NOW!”
He jumped at my outburst and fumbled to find the switch.
“What’s gotten into you?” Norah demanded, squinting at me.
“Who else knows about this?”
“The five of us in this room and ten other people. They all said it was God too.”
“Keep it that way. Tell no one. Tell that piggy bank of yours the modifications didn’t work and revert the telescope back to its original state.”
“Why? What is it?!”
I looked at Norah with a stern eye. “Humanity will tear itself apart over this.”
“Is it…God?” Tim’s hopeful expression was like that of a child. I couldn’t take that away.
“Yes.”

***

It wasn’t giant aliens, if that’s what you’re all thinking. An alien is a creature from outer space. These figures showing up on the infrared display weren’t in outer space. They were beyond it.

Norah and her team had built a telescope that had the capability of reaching the end of our universe. Forty five billion light years. That’s where everything ends. What’s beyond that has been a complete mystery. Until now.

It’s something I was frightened of when I first conceived the thought in 2004 after reading an article by Jim Holt proposing the idea of universe creation. Three years later, Lancaster University successfully created an entire universe in a test tube, simulating the big bang with low-energy whirlpools of helium. The result was a functioning universe no larger than a marble.

I had feared that our universe was created this way. And that day in Keck Observatory confirmed my fears. I saw our creators. Everything we’ve ever known to exist is all just a mediocre science experiment. At any minute they could pull the plug on us and wipe it all away.

We’re all living at their will inside a test tube somewhere.

We left Keck and returned to our hotel shortly after I pushed the telescope away from the eye and hoped it would never be found again. Larissa pestered me all night in our hotel room, doing all she could to force an explanation from me. I caved eventually, telling her about Lancaster’s test tube and how its origin is the same as ours. She wept the rest of the night.

All we know…all we believe…everything is a lie. The greatest lie ever told.

“I can’t live in a world without meaning…” She sat on my couch crying a few days after we returned from Hawaii. “I don’t want to wake up every day and think ‘Is this it? Is today the day they end their experiment and kill us all?’ That’s not a life I want to live.”
“Don’t let the stars die earlier than they’re intended to,” I urged. “Let me show you the sky…just one more time.”
Her bottom lip quivered as a tear ran down her cheek. “Even though you’re with me now, I’m light-years away from you.”

That night, while I was asleep, Larissa snuck outside and tied a noose to a thick branch of the large oak tree in my backyard and hanged herself. Her side of the bed was empty and cold in the morning. When I extended my arm to her side and found it vacated I already knew…she had taken her own life.

Each night since I sit on my back porch with her picture displayed on my phone, staring at both the stars and the shadows they create over my backyard. One shadow in particular dominates my focus. Deep down I know it’s unlikely the eye will see her, but personal conviction is a powerful prospect that shields truth. So I leave her there, oscillating in the wind. A dismal plea of desperation…the ominous scarecrow for our creators.

Credit: survivalprocedure

The House in The Shade

February 10, 2017 at 12:00 AM

These events took place when I was five years old, in the rural south. You see, back then, my family was always moving from town to town because of my stepfather’s work. Among the memories I have of this time include some family secrets that we still don’t really talk about. What I’m about to relate to you is one such untold secret we would rather forget.
The modest white house we had recently moved into was surrounded by two large willow trees that blocked out the sun, leaving our backyard shadowed and apart from the rest of the world. My two older sisters and I would often swing from their branches and climb their thick trunks while our mother and stepfather would sit on the porch and contentedly watch us play in the late afternoon.
We would ride bikes, swim in the inflatable pool, fly kites and run on the slip and slide, you name it. We were very active children and never left a beautiful day unfulfilled. Across the street were a few other homes, and the sweet old couple directly across from us would often sit on their own porch and wave and smile at us as they drank lemonade from a large pitched and sat in old wooden rocking chairs. Our mother often waved cheerfully to them when we were brought outside, and their smiles and sweetness always made the day more pleasant.
Until, that is, a few months after moving into the old white home our mother got the three of us together, telling us there was something we needed to talk about as a family. She told us sternly that we were no longer to wave at the sweet, elderly couple across the street. She went so far as to tell us not to even look at them, and if we saw them waving at us we were to come inside and tell her.
This was an odd request to us. Nothing about the elderly couple seemed threatening or off in any way. Hell, our mother was the one who was always talking about how sweet they were to be so friendly. So this request baffled us and continued to baffle us for the rest of our stay in this particular home, but we minded, and no longer responded to the couple across the street. Soon they had been easily forgotten as we got on with our lives in other homes in other towns.
That is, until I was sixteen years old, having a pleasant dinner out with my sisters and mothers, a rare occurrence for sure during this time of our lives. For whatever reason, over our evening meal the conversation turned to that quiet old white house and the elderly couple across the street.
As soon as the subject had been brought up, my mother’s joyful face had darkened. Her eyes fell to her lap and it took her a moment before actually addressing us. She told us that she had been afraid to talk about the subject all these years, especially while we were still living in the home, afraid of needlessly making us afraid of staying in the quiet house in the shade of the willow trees.
At that time, our stepfather had been working at the local Pepsi Company, a well paying job that allowed my mother to stay at home with the three of us while still making a modest living for our family. Apparently, one of his coworkers had actually lived in the house beside the willow home for nearly six years and had only moved out the year before.
My stepfather and the man were talking about the neighborhood and the house, when at some point my stepfather mentioned the sweet, elderly couple across the street that liked to sit on their porch in the evening and watch us kids laugh and play. The man looked genuinely puzzled. He said that my stepfather must be joking, just pulling his leg. My stepfather replied just as perplexed.
With a sober face, the coworker told my stepfather that there was no elderly couple living across the street. Sure, there had once been such occupants in the small home, but they had both died horribly nearly three years before from carbon monoxide poisoning. The couple’s stove had leaked gas for days before they finally succumbed to the poisoning, and it took longer than that for anyone to find the dead couple. The man knew because he was the one who crossed the street to check on them, only to find the ghastly scene.
He recommended we leave the house in the shade.

Credit: Frank Wagers

The Bus

February 7, 2017 at 12:00 AM

In 1975, my best friend disappeared. I’m going to tell you what happened. It won’t take long because the story is a short one, but that’s a necessity of the facts. Quite simply, there aren’t many.

Here they are:

His name was James Wade. He was thirteen years old. One night, he went to bed and the next morning, he wasn’t there. The front door was open and James was gone. The house – as far as anyone could tell – hadn’t been broken into and there were no signs of a disturbance. James wasn’t a troubled child and his parents were decent, loving and hardworking. They all lived together in a nice middle-class neighbourhood in the suburbs.

No one ever saw him again. The police had no leads, no clues and no suspects. The story pretty much starts and ends there.

Pretty much.

But not quite.

James disappeared on Wednesday night. I saw him in school earlier that day and he told me that, the previous night, something had woken him up in the early of hours of the morning. Exactly what, he couldn’t say. It was late November and when he’d gone to bed the wind had been shrieking with a vengeance but when he woke up, everything was deathly still. Maybe the sudden quiet woke him. Sleep is strange like that. Whatever, when he did wake, he woke with a crawling sense of dread, like he’d just surfaced from a nightmare and, as he lay there with his heart pounding in his chest and the silence pounding in his ears, he heard something.

Faint at first.

The low, heavy growl of big diesel engine. Somewhere close and getting closer. Then, as it approached his house, he heard a second noise. It took him a moment to realise it was a horn. Beeping gently like someone taking care not to wake the whole street, tapping out a friendly rhythm, a kind of toot-toot toot-toot but it was a horrible noise, James said, tortured and unnatural, like the honking of a dying goose.

He crept to the window and looked outside. Crawling down the empty street at the unhurried pace of an ice-cream van was an old school bus, a battered yellow GMC – one of those things that looks like a cross between a tractor and a horse box.

It looked like it had driven through a swamp. There were mud splatters radiating out from rusted wheel arches and dead leaves rotting in the windscreen grill. The windows were streaked with grime. At least one of them was cracked. Some of the body panels had been replaced and the bodywork was a patchwork of yellow shades, adorned with black lettering that was peeling away, hanging off the sides of the bus like shreds of torn skin.

James didn’t switch on the bedroom light and he didn’t open the curtains, he just kind of peered through a crack between the drapes. But when he did, the bus rolled to a stop. It stood there for a few moments, idling in the centre of the road.

Then, its headlights flashed.

By now, James’ skin was crawling in terror. Seeing an old school bus on a quiet residential backstreet in the early hours of the morning was a strange sight but it shouldn’t have been one that inspired blind terror. But it did. James could sense that something was very wrong. He dived back into bed and pulled the sheets over his head. He lay there for a while with his heart beating and sometime later, not long, maybe five minutes, he crept back to the window. The bus was outside his house. When he inched the curtains open, the horn went, beep-beep. A friendly beep. A come on, it’s time to go beep.

James went back to bed and this time he stayed there. The horn honked a few more times. A few minutes later, he heard the bus pull away.

On Wednesday morning, when I saw him in school, James had black bags under bloodshot eyes. He claimed he hadn’t slept a wink. He was clearly distressed.

I made a mistake, he kept telling me. I shouldn’t have looked, he kept saying.

It doesn’t mean anything, I told him. It’s just a bus.

But nothing I said seemed to reassure him.

I shouldn’t have looked, he kept saying.

And that’s where my story ends. Me and James went our separate ways at the end of the school day and I never saw him again. That’s it – no big reveal, no explanation, no twist, no climax, nothing. Unfortunately, life is like that – loose ends and unanswered questions.

I’m in my fifties now. Sometimes I get nightmares. Sometimes they’re the same and sometimes they’re different but even when they’re different they’re just variations on a theme. Here’s one: It’s late at night. My car has blown a tyre. I’m fixing it by the side road. I hear an engine. It gets closer and closer until I’m shielding my eyes from the glare of oncoming headlights.

A school bus rolls by.

As it passes me, I see a kid in the back window, banging the glass and screaming something that’s lost in the roar of the GMC’s huge diesel engine.

It’s James.

He hasn’t aged a day.

I’m not a superstitious man. There’s nothing in this story that can’t be explained rationally. Maybe the bus had nothing to do with James’ disappearance. Hell, maybe there was no bus – maybe he dreamt the whole thing. Even so, I’ve got two children of my own and when they were young, I told them an embellished version of this story – a story about an old school bus that cruises the streets at night. It moves slowly, like a stalking cat, its horn honking gently – a siren song to curious children and if any children get out of bed, go over to the window and look outside, the bus will roll to a stop. The next time they look out of the window, it will be parked outside their house. Soon after that, maybe even the same night, that child will disappear without a trace.

I told them that sometimes you can see the bus during the day. But during the day, it can’t hurt you. During the day it just travels from town to town. Sometimes adults see it too. It can’t hurt adults. Or maybe it can – it just doesn’t want them. Mostly, adults don’t even notice it but even when they do, they certainly don’t notice anything strange about it.

Because, although you can see through the windows, you can’t see inside the bus. You can’t see the children banging on the glass, crying and screaming and wondering why the hell you’re just standing there looking at them and why the hell you don’t do something. You can’t see the children who gave up hope long ago and now just sit there, staring into space or sobbing into their laps.

The children never get old. The bus never stops.

My children cried and wouldn’t sleep for a week. My wife was livid. I didn’t care. I’m not saying that what I told my children is true – it’s a bastardised version of what James told me with gaps filled in by my nightmares. Nevertheless, it seemed important to me that my children know that if they are ever lying in bed and if they ever hear the sound of an engine and a honking horn, they ignore it. Failing that, they should run out their rooms and come and climb into bed with me and their mother.

Anything.

Just don’t go to the window.

Credit: fytoftora

My High School Had a Second Basement

February 3, 2017 at 12:00 AM

I grew up in a small town in New Jersey and attended the local public high school. It was senior year, and my friend Jack was in charge of setting up chairs for an assembly later that day. I got roped into helping him, but it wasn’t too bad because I got to skip my fifth-period math class.

We eventually ran out of chairs, and one of the janitors gave us a big ring of keys and told us to get the rest out of the basement. Ever since I was a kid, I marveled at those rings with dozens of keys jangling together. They could take you anywhere. Jack made the mistake of letting me carry the keys down to the basement. While I was walking over to a stack of chairs, my foot hooked around the leg of a folding table, and I fell flat on my stomach onto the hard concrete, knocking the wind out of me. The keys skirted across the room and disappeared into the behind the row of metal folding chairs.

“Shit!” I groaned, bringing myself to my knees and hoping I would be able to breathe correctly again soon.

“You better find the keys,” Jack warned from behind an armful of folding chairs. “I’m going to take these upstairs. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Turning on the flashlight on my phone, I crawled around on my hands and knees on the dirty floor. Nothing. With a heavy sigh, I began to move some of the chairs out of the way to search along the edge of the wall. The keys were nowhere to be found. Just when I was about to give up, I saw a hole in the floor about the size of two fists behind where a group of chairs had been.

Not wanting to stick my hand into a filthy, strange hole in my school’s basement, I set my phone on top of it and took a picture. The angle was awful, but in the corner of the frame I could make out part of the keyring, which had caught on something jutting out from one side of the hole. Begrudgingly, I stuck my hand inside and fumbled around for a little bit until my fingers wrapped around the keys. As I was bringing my hand back up, I felt a stinging pain on the side of my thumb. I quickly pulled the keys up and wiped my hand off on my jeans. Coating the keys and my hand was a thick gray mucus. I gagged and made a mental note to have Jack return the keys. I discovered that the pain I felt was from a thin, inch-long scratch running up the length of my thumb.

I went to delete the picture on my phone when I noticed a blurry object resting at the edge of the photo. It seemed to be a tiny, hand-like structure with a small palm branching off into three bony fingers capped with razor-sharp claws.

I figured I would take one more picture to prove that my eyes were playing tricks on me, but when I saw the image, it took everything I had to refrain from sprinting upstairs and going home for the day.

My phone screen displayed an image of the hole leading into a small tunnel which soon opened into a good sized room below the basement. There were no doors or windows that I could see, and as far as I could guess, the only way in or out of that room was through the hole in the floor. Hundreds of what appeared to be needles poked out from the walls and ceiling. A few reached up into the hole, which is how I must have cut my hand.

Just as I was trying to think of a place I could go to get about six tetanus shots, I noticed that the large mass on the floor covered with that gray slime was actually composed of hundreds, maybe thousands, of tiny creatures. They were the same color as the gray mucus and had two stubby arms and three spindly legs that looked more like tendrils. Each one had a wide mouth full of rows of teeth that bore an unsettling resemblance to the needles coming out of the walls.

I showed Jack when he came back down, and we grabbed more chairs than was safe to carry up a flight of stairs and hauled ass out of that basement. We showed our friends the picture, which was then circulated throughout most of the school, and rumors about the room beneath the basement ran wild in the halls.

For weeks, I was plagued with recurring nightmares about the hole in the floor. It was always the same: I would find myself in that room of the basement, having lost the keys. It played out almost exactly the same as it did in real life, except, when I reached into the hole for the keyring, my hand was yanked inside. I was laying on the concrete, shoulder-deep into the room beneath the basement, screaming as millions of needle teeth gnashed the flesh on my arm, ripping muscle and skin roughly from the bone. The nightmare was horrifying, but on the nights when it seemed the most real, I often awoke to find small needle marks on my body.

I had this dream for months, and it was really starting to get to me. I began to see more holes in various places in the school. The needles in these reached almost to the mouth of the opening, and I didn’t need to look inside to know that I would find another sea of those writhing monsters within.

Graduation couldn’t come fast enough. While I was packing for college, I found one of those holes in the wall of my closet. I covered it with a whole roll of duct tape and nailed a piece of plywood over it for good measure.

I went to college in St. Louis, and moving halfway across the country helped a lot to put my mind at ease. When I visited home during Christmas break my freshman year, the hole in my closet had been plastered shut and painted over, leading me to believe it was just a normal hole my frightened mind had convinced me was something more.

I live in St. Louis now and have been adjusting to life in the “real world” pretty well. I just got a job I really enjoy and seem to be succeeding at, and I’m planning on proposing to my girlfriend soon.

I had chalked up the holes to stress and paranoia. I’ve had several new phones since then, and I haven’t been able to find that picture again. Maybe my mind had exaggerated the whole thing. I was comfortable believing that the whole ordeal could be explained by nightmares and anxiety, but when I was walking downtown today, I passed through an alley on my way home from a restaurant. There was something peeking out from behind a dumpster.

It was a hole leaking gray mucus, big enough for me to crawl into. The hole, on the side of an abandoned building in the older part of the city, went down into the ground. Long, shiny needles peeked out from inside and shone in the moonlight.

I sprinted all the way home. Leaning on the wall to catch my breath, I felt something sharp poke into my back. To my horror, I found a small hole beginning to form on the wall of my kitchen.

Credit: K. Brown

Creepypasta

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