ALEX & J002E3: Two Video Shorts

July 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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This is a videopasta post. If the embedded videos do not display for you, please click the links to watch them on YouTube.


ALEX
ALEX is presented in Spanish, with English subtitles (you can toggle subtitles on/off via the CC button).

In the old times of the academic career, we heard about an engineering student that, in his final exams, gets a call in the middle of the night from his mother to tell him the worst news: his brother had died in a strange accident. The next day the student disappeared and was never seen again in the classroom. No one —not teachers, peers or tutors— knew nothing of him since then and that event was wrapped by a mistery forever.

Not long ago, at an old students meeting, someone told me that he had been told that someone knew what really happened that night: actually occurred the terrible accident in which his brother died, and yes, that night the student spoke to his mother, except that was not her who made the phone call: was him who made it …


J002E3

J002E3 is in English, with Spanish subtitles (you can toggle subtitles on/off via the CC button).

During the manned missions to the Moon, the last-phase launchers—so-called S-IVB, giant structures of almost twenty meters long and seven meters in diameter—were crashed into the selenite surface to study their seismic impact or were sent to heliocentric orbit, where they would remain indefinitely.

But in 1969 something failed in the attempt to place the S-IVB of the fourth lunar trip in orbit around the Sun, and the launcher was lost in deep space, without a trace.

In 2002, the S-IVB briefly approached Earth. An amateur astronomer detected the rocket and was able to calculate its trajectory and estimate the date of its return several decades in the future.

It was named: J002E3.

Credit To – Vip Vop

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Mermaid

July 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I knew it, my friends all knew it, and everyone at school knew it. But, no one would believe us. School was quiet with the truth hanging everywhere. The other students silently drifted from class to class, no one really spoke all that much anymore. Between each period, there was a brief and hushed march of bodies before the halls died again.
All but a few teachers seemed to not really care- they enjoyed the silence. The teachers who did care did not know how to help, or even what to say.
It had started a few days after Zach Thompson drowned. His girlfriend, Mallory Andrew, said that someone dragged him into the sea; pulled him right off their boat. No one was there to see it, and she could not tell anyone what the person looked like, so when Zach’s body floated in, drowned but unharmed, everyone wrote her off. A few days later, Mallory went missing. No one had seen her since.
I did not really know Zach or Mallory. A few of my friends new them though, and they seemed nice enough. No one should ever have to drown. The thought of falling into the Atlantic, the darkness everywhere, the liquid pouring into my lungs… It terrified me. I hated to think what Zach felt as his legs flailed half a mile above the nearest ground. Did he just breathe in to get it over with, or did he keep holding his breath as long as he could?
My friends who knew them joined the first wave of mourning zombies that populated the high school. They all remembered listening to Mallory’s tear-stained story of the hand, and the splash, the screaming, the eyes.
A few days later, Matt Miller was found caught in the framing of his parents dock. Apparently, Matt had gone out in the night to look at the water and fell over. The police say that is when his shirt got caught.
I did not know Matt Miller that well either. He was never that nice to me. To be honest, he was an asshole. But you never hear about that stuff after the fact. You only get to hear the nice stories about what a great person they were. It was then that the school moved in a small fleet of councilors and social workers to help with feelings. The lines to talk to someone stretched out into the hall, at first.
It was maybe a week before Aubrey Strong drowned. She was found naked and bruised along the beach. Her lungs were filled with water. Her sister, Tammy, had been there when something attacked them. She told the police it had grabbed Aubrey and ran off. A few days later, Tammy’s story had changed from “something” to “someone”. Her body was found the next day at the same beach as her sister, still wearing the same clothes from school.
The city began hiring more lifeguards, strict curfews were put in place at all beaches, and students were questioned mercilessly by police and teachers. Students stopped going to the councilors. The meetings began to feel more like interrogations than anything else.
Then, Mark Sawyer and Ashley Corry died on the same night. I was with Mark Sawyer. He was my best friend. We were playing Call of Duty and eating pizza in his bedroom. He was winning. I had been tracking him for ten whole minutes across the desert and my sight was lined up on his guy’s back. Then, the lights went out. The T.V. made a weird whistling noise before falling black and silent.
“What the hell?” I said to him as he stood up and began messing with the light switches. He never had a chance to respond. I froze in terror when I heard it slap up the stairs and saw its hand reach around the door-frame. The smell- like under the docks. Mark could not move either as the net fell over him. I listened to him scream as he thudded down the stairs, one step at a time.
I ran home. I slammed my bedroom door shut behind me. I never said a word. The next day, Mark Sawyer and Ashley Corry were added to the list of people. Both of them were found in the shallows by a fisherman. Amanda Stoner had been with Ashley Corry when it happened. She spent all day being tossed around by councilors and police officers. Amanda told them about a man who ran at them and how they had struggled with him on the beach.
I could not speak to anyone; the words refused to leave my lips. Whenever I tried, I saw Mark fall beneath the net, his fingernails scratching at his bedroom floor, and then I saw him drowning, his legs kicking in an endless void of darkness. Did he breathe in, or did he hold on for as long as he could? The teachers looked on me with pity. They did not know what I had seen. The councilors made sure that I knew their doors were always open. They did not know I had been with Mark Sawyer.
I could not say a word to anyone, anyone but Amanda.
“Hey,” I said to her at a lunch table. We had never met. She was very pretty with dark hair and brown eyes and large, gorgeous lips; the kind of girl I would usually have to build up my courage to talk to; the kind of girl I probably just wouldn’t talk to.
She looked up at me- dismissive. Then, she saw a look in my eyes. She reached out and took my hand in hers. “You saw them,” she whispered.
I nodded. Again, Amanda told her story. It was just like mine… The hand, the screaming, the eyes…
From then on, the two of us were inseparable. I sat next to her with my beige lunch tray and that was that. We waited for each other on the bus in the morning, we met again after school. At night, when we had to leave for our own houses, we sat on our phones. Eventually, we even began to talk about other things, we tried to forget… We had seen them. Everyone who saw them disappeared.
As the month went on, the drownings turned into disappearances. For some reason, the creatures were no longer happy just killing. They now took their victims away, never to be seen again. The sea left us with a new empty desk every other week or so. Amanda and I were not sure why the creatures from the water left us alone. Maybe it was because both our houses were inland, or maybe because we were the only survivors who banded together.
Fall came and the leaves transformed into brilliant New England reds and golds, leaving a sad magic in the air. When our town’s annual October Festival arrived, most people could not find the heart to attend. Our tragedy had become so long lasting, we barely even made the news anymore when a new child went missing, and a melancholy sunk its fingers into the entire town. But, Amanda and I went.
We walked close, passing beneath the large banner that hung above the boardwalk. Pumpkins and gourds and bundles of straw festively adorned the walkway, placed along the streetlights and the porches of the homes that looked out over the sea. Fishermen worked at large vending stalls, and craft displays sold wares all the way down to the docks, punctuated by the occasional carnival game or food stand selling funnel cakes and grease. But it was quiet…
Amanda took my hand and pulled me along to everything she wanted to see. We had both seen it every year before, but that day was different. When she took my hand, I felt my heart leap back to life, and when I won her a giant teddy bear, I could not stop smiling; neither could she.
Then, something happened. We began to laugh. The people around us smiled, and the moment of happiness infected everyone. The vendors began shouting to the people passing by, proclaiming their fish was the best, or how you could not find a necklace like theirs. People began coming out of their homes, the carnival games had lines stretching back into the streets, little children laughed as their parents swung them between their hands, and everyone forgot…
That night, as the sun set behind us and people began heading home, Amanda and I sat on a black bench, barely big enough to fit us both and her teddy bear, looking out across the water. I did not even realize that we had been holding each other’s hands all day. Then, she leaned in and kissed me…
It was short and sweet and when she stopped she gave me a shy, embarrassed grin. It was the best day I could remember.
In the coming weeks, the temperature began to drop and the first flurry of snow descended on our town. The disappearances began happening more frequently and sadness evolved into pure terror.
With the attacks growing in frequency, many people began to leave, some not even waiting for their homes to sell, and others leaving everything behind. I came home one day to my parents beginning a stack of cardboard boxes in the living room. Neither of them said anything, we all understood. But, all I could think about was leaving Amanda behind.
That night, awoken by the sound of a frenzied dog, I saw something from my bedroom window as I looked out across an increasingly desolate town. The front gate of the yard had been opened, its lock twisted off, the black iron smacking into the fence as the wind swung it back and forth along its creaking hinges. It walked like a man, with a slow, heavy stride. The creature was tall and bulky, its wide torso resting on legs as thick as tree trunks. I could not get a clear look through the darkness, but its eyes, the size of a small dinner plate, reflected flashes of light from the street.
I dropped to the floor and peered from the corner of the window. I watched as the thing walked towards the front door, quietly fiddled with the doorknob, and then began pacing along the first-floor windows. At each one, it tested their weights, figured out which windows were locked, and which ones were not. Then, satisfied, it walked back through the gate, back to the water.
I told my parents I had seen someone sneaking around the house in the night. They called the police; the police took my statement and a description of a large man in the shadows. My mom began packing faster that day, and my father put a hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes and promised he would protect me.
I knew it would be back for me… Later on, just as the sun was beginning its decent, I packed a backpack, left through my fence with the broken lock, and headed for Amanda’s. The creatures had never attacked an adult, my parents would be fine. But for me, my home was no longer safe. They would drag me away like Mark…
“They scouted my house last night,” I said as Amanda let me inside. She was scared, we both were. She led me to her bedroom where we talked about my parents getting ready to move and she told me that her parents were planning to head up to New York.
“I can’t leave you,” she told me as we wrapped our arms around each other.
After dinner, she told her parents that I had left and hid me away in her bedroom. We stayed up late, lying on her bed, watching the movies she had on her shelves, and kissing whenever either of us built up the courage. Periodically, I would stand and look out her window to the town where the ocean fog obscured lights that lit empty streets. No one walked the stone pathways and most of the homes had all gone dark. If I stood at the right angle, I could spot the water from the ocean peacefully washing into the shore.
When we fell asleep, my arm was wrapped around her waist, and her fingers curled over my hand and rested in my palm…
The room was dark when I woke up to a dog barking in the distance. The light from the television cast the room in a pale, flickering glow. I reached out to touch Amanda, and when my hand felt nothing but the blankets, my heart began to pound in my chest. I shot up from the bed, the room smelled like stale water and the carpet was wet. I darted to the window, where along the beach I could see several figures dragging another…
Without a second thought, I raced down the stairs and slammed through the front door. By the time Amanda’s parents were flipping on the light in their bedroom, my desperation had carried me half way through town. Ahead I could hear the whispering roar of the waves, and Amanda… she was screaming.
“No,” I cried as my feet touched the sand. “Leave her alone!”
The creatures turned to look at me, stopping only a few feet before touching the water. Amanda struggled beneath the tangled weight of an organic looking fishing net, the rope of which resting in the clenched fist of the last creature. They were all large, muscled humanoids with massive webbed feet and hands. They stared at me with fish-like eyes and flattened faces; the cross between man and piranha. Each one carried a large spear that they aimed at me as I approached.
I stopped and lifted my hands into the air when one of them let out a hollow call like a whale and threatened me with a long, barbed weapon. The creature with Amanda protectively lifted her over its shoulder like she weighed nothing and held her away from me. One of the monsters moved towards me, its feet thudding against the ground and kicking up a wave of sand with each step. It stopped a foot in front of my nose and bared a row a sharp teeth, and with one of its great arms it motioned towards the net and then pounded its clawed fist against its scaled chest.
“No, no please.” I clasped my hands together and fell to me knees.
My begging did nothing as the creatures turned and continued their slow march back towards the water. I screamed for someone to help. When I saw Amanda struggle, digging her nails frantically into the sand I lunged forward only for the one who denied me to hurl my body away.
I smacked into the sand, shouting and screaming at them. Tears flooded over my face that twisted in rage.
“Take me,” I roared over the thunder of the ocean. “Take me instead.”
The creature I spoke at before turned to see me with my hands held out in front of me in surrender. It gave another hollow call halting its party.
“Take me,” I demanded again. It paused a moment, staring at me with its gigantic eyes. Then, it took a sharpened blade of corral and sliced through the rope that its companion held. Immediately, Amanda rushed from the net and flew into my arms. I held her for as long as I could, breathing her in, before the creature grabbed me by the arm and pulled me away.
Amanda screamed and chased after us only to be flung back by another of the terrible creatures. When she tried again, the one holding me aimed his blade towards her.
“Amanda, it’s OK,” I told her as my feet hit the water. “It’s OK.” The water came to my waist. “Promise me you will leave this place.”
She fell to her knees, sobbing.
“Promise me,” I yelled. She promised beneath a shower of tears and helpless screams. The water lapped at my chin as the monster continued to drag me below. I tugged back one last time to cry out above the cold blackness, “Amanda, I love you.”
Instantly, the surface shot away above me. I remembered Mark and so many others; how they fought helplessly as they vanished beneath the sea. Did they breathe in, or did they hold on for as long as they could? As I watched the world above me rip through my fingertips, falling deeper and deeper into the ocean, I could only think of Amanda. And I held on… I held on for as long as I could.

Credit To – Ryan Austin Gray

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Red Dunes

July 16, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The sun warmed my face through the car window as I drove down the isolated stretch of road. I looked back at my daughter in the back seat who giggled, waving her feet. I contentedly sighed and focused my attention back on the road. This would be my last trip with my daughter for a year since I was leaving for my tour of duty next week. We’d visited these sand dunes before as a family, but as I wanted some extra bonding with Lucy so my wife had allowed me to take her alone. Lucy really seemed to love them last time, climbing up and sliding down the bright red dunes of sand. I could still remember her happy laughter ringing in the air.

Spotting the hotel down the road, I turned in and carried our suitcase in one hand and held onto Lucy with the other. After checking in and finding our room, we sang songs together in the dark, laughing through the night until we both fell asleep.

The next morning, I woke up just as the sun was rising to prepare for the day. I filled a backpack with several bottles of water and all of Lucy’s favorite snacks. Then thinking about how my wife would chide me if Lucy got sunburned, I threw in a bottle of sunscreen.

After shaking my daughter a few times, she popped out of bed and danced over to the suitcase. She pulled out her clothes, and went to the bathroom to change.

I smiled, standing by the door to wait for her.

After Lucy was ready, I gripped her hand and we walked together down to the car.

Before I had even fully stopped the car, Lucy swung the door open and jumped out into the sand running toward the nearest dune. I took a quick glance to make sure she was safe, and then I stepped out into the sunlight. I stretched my arms out and closed my eyes, feeling the hot sun on my face. Our hometown was perpetually cold and snowy so this was a welcome change. I took a deep breath, opened my eyes and saw a man and his son walking toward the parking lot where I was standing.

“Good morning, sir. Leaving so soon?” I ask the man.

“Yeah,” he sighed. “This little rascal stayed up all night and now he can’t even keep his eyes open!” The man glanced disapprovingly at his son who slightly furrowed his brow before yawning.

“Kids,” I mutter, and we both get a chuckle. “Well, I’m here with my daughter,” I say, gesturing over to the sand dune. “We’re planning to stay for the whole day, and maybe a little of tomorrow.”

“Ahh,” mused the man. “Don’t go too far into the desert. I’ve heard that some tourists have gotten lost in there.”

“Really? How? ” I ask.

“Well, I’m not really sure about the details, but I do know that some people go out into the dunes and are never heard from again. We assume they tried to hike through it. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be fine, just stick near the edge of the desert.”

“Of course, I would never do anything to put Lucy in danger.”

“Great! Well, I really must be going. Have fun and good luck!” The man gave a little nod and pulled his half-asleep son towards their car.

I smiled towards their backs and watched them drive down the road before turning back toward the dune. Lucy was happily sliding down with another girl slightly older than her, her beautiful laugh ringing in the air. A warmness swelled in me. It was the knowledge that I could give her a happy memory. It didn’t matter that I had to leave her for a little while. She’d remember this.

Reaching into the backpack, I pulled out the bottle of sunscreen and a small jewelry box.

“Hey, Lucy! Come down here for a sec!” I call.

She popped out of the sand and flitted over to me, a big smile on her face.

“Sunscreen time!” I say cheerily, glopping the white lotion all over her face. I was never good at this.

“Daddy…” she whined, snatching the bottle away from me to apply it herself in the reflection of the car door. When she was done she tossed the bottle into the bag and was about to turn and run back towards the sand, but I stopped her by placing a hand on her shoulder.

“Lucy dear,” I say softly. My heart pounds in anticipation of her reaction. I pull out the jewelry box and hand it to her.
She slowly opened the velvet lid and looked into it with confusion. Listing up the small glass bottle topped with a cork, she flashed me another puzzled glance.

A little disappointed, I explained that I got her a little bottle to place some sand into as a keepsake and that she could wear it and remember me by it. She burst into a big smile and hugged me tightly.

“I love you, daddy,” she whispered in my ear. “I’m going to fill it up right before we leave so I can have some happy sand.”

I squeezed her tight and then let her run back over to her new friend. I watched them have fun together all day as I chatted with the other girl’s family. Time just flew by and soon enough, the sun was setting with a red glow.

We said our goodbyes to the other family and I turned to go to the car, but Lucy said, “Wait! I still have to fill up the necklace!” and ran off again up the sand dune.

I leaned against car and looked up and around at the empty stretch of desert surrounding us, completely devoid of other life. It was actually quite serene, hearing the soft breeze shift sand around. Suddenly, I felt an out of place shiver run down my spine. I didn’t know how I could tell, but I had the feeling that the desert was a bit bigger, the dunes a bit higher than the last time we had visited several years ago.

I looked up and saw Lucy at the top of the sand dune holding the necklace above her head, tapping it to level the sand inside. Then, just as she was replacing the cork, she let out a shriek and dropped the necklace.

“Lucy? Lucy!” I yelled. “What’s wrong?” I sprinted up the dune toward my little girl.

“I’m okay,” she said softly, holding her finger out at me. “Something bit me, but it doesn’t hurt anymore.”

I grabbed her hand and kissed it. “There, it’ll be all better. Oh right, your necklace, let me get that for you. Then you can fill it back up.” I trotted down the side of the sand dune and bending down, I scooped up her necklace in my hands. I then looked up to see my beautiful angel blowing away. My eyes widened and I froze there as her body disintegrated. First, a few grains of red sand from the tip of her head fluttered away, followed by a stream working its way down her body.

Snapping back to reality, my heart pounded in my chest as I ran back up the slope, reaching it just as the last of the sand was blowing away. I splayed my hands out, trying to grab a hold her, but the small particles just slipped through my fingers.

I fell to my knees, the wind howling around me, the darkness quickly approaching. All I wanted were some memories with my daughter. She was having so much fun out here and we only stayed because of my necklace. That stupid necklace.

I emitted inhuman, tortured sobs, clenching the necklace in my hands, and called out for her into the emptiness. Slowly, I fell to the sand, having lost any will to ever get up again. I could hear the unforgiving wind howl and the cold of night start to creep up. Eyes clenched tight from squeezing out sandy tears, I felt pinches up and down my legs. They hurt for a few seconds, but then the pain faded. Lightness streamed from my core throughout my body. My eyes still held tightly together, I felt the sensation of flying, no, soaring through the sky. Toward my baby girl.

Credit To – Mithril

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What You Don’t Know Won’t Kill You

July 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Kenny, I’m so sorry. Please forgive your Erica. I made a terrible mistake and I’m sorry.

Kenny is my big brother and my best friend in the world. We have a history of exploring the Great Unknown that goes as far back as childhood. The places that terrified most kids always seemed to call out to us, demanding their secrets be uncovered by those worthy to know them. We ventured deep into the abandoned sewer tunnels of North Hill and listened to the songs of restless ghosts. In the haunted woodland burial ground near Oakland Cemetery we found unearthed human bones, which we gathered and laid to rest. We were the only ones who ever went into the basement of the abandoned house on Werther Avenue, where a child-eating demon supposedly lived; we found no demon, but we did find a thousand dollars in a satchel stashed under the boiler. We had many “expeditions”, and somehow Dad always found out about them and grounded us the moment we came home.

I suppose I believed that knowledge was a ward for fear. I explored to understand the things that scared me — to look them right in the eye and know they were harmless. My obsession eventually led me to Winterfield University’s archaeology department, and to the journal, and ultimately to the events of this past Friday which continue to drag me into tearful fits.

I don’t expect anyone will ever read these pages. I’m only writing to preserve my last ounce of sanity for a few more minutes. The sway of the boat and drumming of the rain on deck are maddening to my ears, and the cabin is so claustrophobic I think anyone would lose her mind sitting in here for two days even if she hadn’t experienced what I have.

I’ll be okay so long as it doesn’t speak again. It’s been quiet since yesterday morning.

*

The journal’s author was the late Professor Blake Deforest, a renowned archaeologist whose explorations netted him an impressive collection of Mesoamerican artifacts belonging to an unknown Indian tribe. I’d read only a little about him in my youth: an infamous thrill-seeker and opium addict better known for his eccentricity than his expertise.

The majority of his treasures are small basalt totems stylistically similar to many Olmec statues. They represent a three-armed (or three-legged?) serpentine creature resting on its coils. Its face is nothing but a titan set of jaws full of long, pointed teeth. An amber gemstone crowns each totem’s head like a crystal ball on a dais, the opaque core of which creates an omniscient eye that stares directly at you no matter where you stand. All the totems present a malicious grin as with the knowledge of some delightfully horrible secret.

Deforest built his estate on a little hill in the nameless swamp hugging the shores of Lake Hela. After stealing a certain artifact discovered on one of his expeditions — a valuable, fist-sized stone — he locked himself in the mansion and spent the last days of his life slipping into madness. On September 6th, 1889, Deforest put a revolver to his head and pulled the trigger, spattering fifty years of archaeological experience all across his study walls. Police reports detailed a pathetically hurried and disinterested investigation, probably because the county politicians wanted the raving drug addict to disappear as quickly as possible. The stolen relic was never recovered.

The house has had three occupants since then, one as recent as 1976. All committed suicide.

The last of Deforest’s kin recently donated the property to the university, giving us permission to loot everything inside. When I became the head of the archaeology department the dean granted me complete access to all of Deforest’s resources — including that God-forsaken journal — and commissioned me to clean out Deforest House. If he hoped I would find the missing relic in the process, he gave no sign of it: everyone is convinced it’s on a permanent tour of the black market.

The small leather-bound book chronicles life on the Deforest property right down to the construction of the house. Deforest frequently mentions the stone, christening it the “Eye” for reasons he never explains, and goes on and on about his eagerness to study it, his theories of its pre-Olmec origin, its brilliant sheen in the sunlight, and so on and so forth.

A block of fifteen pages has been torn from the journal. The remaining pages show the rapid decline of the author’s mental health: paranoid hallucinations and dream-visions what could only result from heavy drug abuse, and other random nonsense impossible to interpret like, “Forever wandering the Red Horizon, one with the desolation, where the Cosmic Watchers stir; hungry gods of the pit! Still they call to me!” By the last ten pages nothing is even legible. Blake Deforest recorded his final thoughts in erratic scribbles only a lunatic could decipher.

Which says a lot about me. It seems strange that no one else ever tried to translate that madman’s scrawls, which I did out of nothing more than curiosity. I picked out the phrase, “it now sleeps beneath the cellar’s earthen floor,” and deduced what had happened to the missing artifact.

*

I recruited six of my friends as menial labor, including my brother Kenny because no one makes me feel safer in dark and foreboding places. We rented two trucks and emptied the house over the course of three weeks: its vintage furniture, valuable paintings, and rare books now adorn our library (those that we didn’t hock for school funds, anyway).

The swamp offered little more than murky puddles and murkier ponds, with less than a square foot of solid ground for miles, so when the weather got nasty we set up camp in the house, which was always unnerving. The marshland forest coils around the property as if trying to hide it in shame; even though it’s only an hour away from town, it feels completely isolated from the rest of the world. The house’s exterior is unremarkable except for the twenty stone steps leading up the hill to the front porch. From the bottom of these steps the manor’s outline resembles a ziggurat.

On our first visit the interior was as inviting as a quaint New England hotel; now the only decorations left are rusted wall-lamps and shadows thick enough to wrap around your shoulders on a cold night. Its empty rooms and corridors twist and flex like the innards of a creature that spent its last moments writhing in agony. The shadows knead the halls into the demented sort found in a carnival funhouse, or stretch them so they seem to go on for miles.

The air became more difficult to breathe on each visit, which I blamed on the building’s location or its advanced state of decay, though neither explanation relaxed the hairs on the back of my neck. I was always comforted to find Kenny and the others equally spooked.

Our most recent trip was to have been the last, so we took Kenny’s cabin boat to cut our travel time in half. If only we hadn’t been so eager to hold that relic in our hands we might’ve bothered to check the fuel gauge before embarking: when I fled the house I used the last drop of gas starting her up, and have sat here helplessly ever since.

The cellar was a mine tunnel, or a mass grave in waiting: an earthen floor spanning ten-by-fifteen feet, earthen walls held together with warped wooden beams. Except for the splintered pile of lumber that once served as a staircase, the room was empty. Armed with spades and an electric lamp we dropped in and set to work, twenty-minute shifts, three diggers at a time.

Two minutes later our dig came to an abrupt halt when Kenny, who’d started digging at the center of the room, struck something hard and wooden. The seven of us converged on that spot and dug like maniacs, expecting to find a treasure chest containing the Eye. What we uncovered was a four-foot-wide iron-braced trapdoor set in a stone foundation.

We paused and scratched our heads a minute. The cellar’s true floor had been curiously hidden beneath a fourteen inch layer of tightly packed marsh soil — days and days of obsessive work on Deforest’s part. It suddenly occurred to me that the journal — that is, the pages I had access to — never mentioned the construction of anything below the first floor.

We spent two hours shaving the cellar floor of its earthy coat and turned up nothing else. By then we were exhausted and figured we’d investigate the trapdoor the next day. Naturally Kenny and I were the only ones looking forward to it: oppressive gloom aside, every detail of the Deforest property tickled us with nostalgia as if it were a living synopsis of our childhood adventures.

In the meantime the weather bordered on catastrophic. Gale force winds ravaged the trees as snarling black clouds gathered over the lake — sailing would have been suicide. We unraveled our bedrolls around the electric lamp, enjoyed a modest supper of rations and hot cocoa, and after a few ghost stories my party retired for the night.

I have no idea how long I slept before the house’s unnatural stillness crept into the parlor and shook me awake. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something in the shadows was watching us. Each time I closed my eyes I saw Deforest’s totems sitting expectantly on the museum’s shelf, staring perpetually. Sitting and staring and smiling.

Dragged on a leash by some greedy curiosity I crept through the black halls and back to the cellar, keeping the lantern off until I reached the trapdoor to avoid disturbing my sleeping friends. With some effort — less than I had expected — I pulled the heavy trapdoor open, gagging as the smell of putrid water assaulted me. Beneath it a stone staircase descended into darkness.

Bile burned my throat. And I started down.

*

The stairway descended about twelve feet before it leveled off and the crushingly narrow walls opened into a sub-cellar, or what I had assumed was a sub-cellar until I took those first few steps toward the center of the room. The chamber was circular, little more than fifteen feet in diameter and crafted from muddy stone bricks the size of cinder blocks. Water covered the floor — rank seepage from the marsh above. Hieroglyphic carvings decorated the walls from floor to ceiling, all savagely defaced and impossible to read.

A large, mildew-stained creature emerged from the darkness, tearing a scream from my chest before I realized the demon was made of basalt and not flesh. Its features were perfectly intact, but rather than squat on its snakelike hindquarters like its smaller kin at the museum, it sprouted from the wall to form a chilling altar similar to those found in La Venta. With a shudder I turned my attention from the beast to the marred hieroglyphs on the wall.

On one side of the chamber was a mural like those found in Egyptian tombs, carved rather than painted, rich with detail and still mostly intact. The mural was six-by-ten-feet and depicted — how to explain it? — two-dozen tiers stacked like the floors of a hotel, with each tier containing a world that I can’t adequately describe beyond vague, horrified summaries. Many were so alien they gave me chills: a liquid planet, a world broken into fragments floating in nothingness, and a flat, endless desert to name a few. I think the mural meant to suggest coexistence, but separated the layers for clarity’s sake.

The creatures inhabiting those realms were the stuff of childhood nightmares, drifting along without purpose or cannibalizing each other with relish as they reenacted the ghastly histories of their worlds. It’s like each was another failed attempt by God at creating indigenous life. And it baffled me: Deforest, that attention-loving explorer, had hidden away a priceless treasure trove of never-before-seen mythology with the hope that no one would ever find it.

Human shapes inhabited the pan-dimensional apartment complex’s central tier. The characters dressed in an Aztec-style (were the Mystery Indians their relatives?) and seemed to stand in for the human race as a whole, acting out each chapter of the species’s evolution: harnessing fire, building tools and houses, learning to farm and hunt, forming societies, waging war, finding God.

The final act of the story of Man stirred my insides with an icy ladle: a congregation of bald figures, priests most likely, lined up behind a more prominent bald figure who knelt beneath a round, blazing object — something reminiscent of Ra and his solar disk. This didn’t disturb me quite so much until I looked up and found the same figure in the desert world — the world placed reverently at the top of the mural — lacking the solar disk and kneeling before the serpentine triped of Deforest’s treasure trove.

From that point things took a turn for the horrific. The other worlds began to seep into Man’s realm: first only one or two curious creatures, crossing the dimensional borders, looking around, snatching up a random object or person; then the landscapes bled into each other in patches, and otherworldly fiends came in raiding parties. Humans were tormented, possessed, transformed, or dragged into the other worlds and eaten. The once barren desert realm became populated with hideous human shapes, a mockery of the ones in the human realm. Finally the tier borders melted away completely, the worlds merged and all existence was pandemonium.

I identified this as the Mystery Indians’ nightmarish rendition of Ragnarok: the tiers of existence collapse on one-another while an apathetic cyclopean god looks on and laughs. That didn’t account for the priests, though, lined up and waiting eagerly for their turn with the solar disk. Maybe it was a common thing. A ritual sacrifice to the cosmic watcher; one where the lambs couldn’t wait to throw themselves upon the knife, to spend eternity with their hideous god in a heavenly wasteland. I shuddered again at the thought.

So where had the Mystery Indians vanished to? The other Indians must have annihilated them for their blasphemous religion. I’d just begun to wonder how many had migrated to North America when my foot accidentally met with a small, hard object and sent it rolling several feet. My gaze fell to the floor and remained there for ten minutes.

I knelt and took the carelessly discarded relic in my trembling hands, holding it before my face like a dazzled child would a Christmas snow globe. It had a haunting beauty unlike any jewel I’d ever seen: three inches wide, colored like a dark Oktoberfest brew, smoother to the touch than ivory except where hieroglyphics scarred its surface. I knew by its opaque core that it was the Eye. Laughing, I returned the statue’s grin to thank it for its lovely gift.

It had changed. Its smile was broader, more elated. It seemed to lean forward eagerly.

As quickly as my euphoria had enveloped me it recoiled in horror. The Eye was translucent, but the image on the other side was wrong. I had to hold the relic to my face like a monocle just to be sure it wasn’t [rest of sentence is too scrawled to read]

Sorry for my handwriting. Keeping my pen in hand is becoming difficult. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to revisit what I saw, let alone put it into words. Many details refuse to fully surface as though I’d experienced it all in a drunken stupor, but a cruel few tower before my memory with monumental clarity.

*

Metaphors only scratch the surface. A fish torn from the sea and tossed into a dry Martian crater all in one horrible instant. I didn’t belong there. My existence in that place was a blasphemy to the natural order of the universe.

How long did I lie there? How many days curled into a trembling wad with my head buried in my arms, after realizing the Eye — my inter-dimensional doorway — had abandoned me, like the rest of the earth. Eventually I gathered my strength and stood up, if only because I didn’t know what else to do.

The nightmare landscape was cracked, mars-red, spread out over infinite space, endless in scope and perfect in flatness as far out as the horizon except for a single lonesome crag of reddish stone in the distance reaching miles into the sky. Toward this formation I walked as nihilism swallowed the last ounce of my spirit. In every other direction the word “direction” had no meaning.

My shoes left no prints: despite its brittle appearance the ground refused yielding to my weight as if every last grain were frozen in time. A khaki sky seared overhead, devoid of clouds and sun; yet everything was brightly lit with a retina-crushing amber tint. In spite of the glare I felt no heat. No heat, no cold, no wind. No atmosphere at all. I don’t recall having the need for breath except when sobbing hysteria overtook me. My loudest wail vanished shortly after leaving my diaphragm, without so much as an echo. An impossible atmospheric stillness like that in a bad dream. Even with my hands clasped over my ears the silence penetrated and induced the sort of madness that is only partly relieved by long, anguished screams.

A red stalagmite stood twelve meters to my left where once there had been nothing. Its shape twisted screw-like up from the ground, but rather than come to a point it swelled into a bulbous mass. It looked like the petrified remains of some unnamable organism.

Acknowledging the stone polyp caused more to appear. My eyes would pan to a new polyp only to notice another in their peripheral, until I found myself in the center of a disjointed circle of seven or eight. Each was twisted into a different amorphous shape, but all stood about six feet high. They didn’t burst forth from the ground, or drop from the sky, or form molecule by molecule before my eyes — they just suddenly were.

A hundred yards to the west, assuming the crag was north, something moved.

It likely appeared out of nowhere just like the stalagmites, and induced enough shuddering terror in me that I wished I hadn’t seen it at all: charred skin as black as ash, broom handle limbs carrying it with the grotesquely awkward steps of a marionette. Even from such a great distance I saw the empty holes where eyes used to be, and the face permanently shriveled and twisted in anguish. A millennium in hell couldn’t wear a human being into such a shape!

The broken man halted in mid-step and remained like a statue for several minutes. It turned its head until its empty eyes fell on me. It stood and stared and did nothing else.

I turned back toward the crag and walked faster in case the shambling thing decided to follow.

After three days of walking with no apparent need for rest, the crag now towered close enough that I could distinguish a narrow cave entrance at its base. More stone polyps had erected like carelessly scattered billboards along my path, and still more appeared whenever I blinked, or rubbed my face, or lost my grip on my emotions.

Then I made the mistake of looking over my shoulder. Only ten feet behind me, where once there had been nothing but stone polyps, a myriad of deathly thin nightmare figures stood staring at me. I never saw them take a step or even so much as twitch, yet no matter how long I walked, the distance between me and the colony of broken men remained constant. They kept a semicircular formation, curving inward toward me, herding me toward the great crag’s gaping mouth. I was too scared to think better of slipping inside to escape all those dreadful faces.

Details of the inside return to me in an earth-tone blur except for the hole cut into the ground at the center of the cave, circular and as wide as a house. The sounds from its throat commanded me to draw nearer until I stood teetering at its lip, gazing downward with streaming eyes and trembling breath.

That abysmal pit! It must have pierced right into the planet’s core! God, if you could have seen them slithering and writhing in that white magma, thousands bobbing shark-like to the surface and scaling the walls of the pit in unnatural flight! And I, the fearless explorer, just stood there and watched with stone legs. Stood and watched as the first one emerged and arched its colossal serpentine body forward to get a better look at me, its three giant talons straddling the pit’s mouth, twenty tendril-like tongues licking its fangs.

The thing spoke to me in an awful language of thunderous, droning notes I didn’t understand. The star hovering over its head reached its tainted gaze inside me and fanned through my every memory, every experience, every personal guilt like pages in a book. As it did I saw things I can barely put into words, like I’d tapped into its mind and shared its omniscience: time and space conjoined, spewing eons of existence in front of me simultaneously like so much junk on a flea market table. The universe cried out, peeled back like a scab and revealed a squirming mess of worlds overlapping like projector slides, and somewhere within that churning brew of slithering bodies and impossible landscapes I saw earth peeking out at me; glimpses of human beings going about their daily lives while oblivious to the horrors sharing their space in the universe. They walked through alien pillars as if they were illusions, across great rivers of acid as if they were asphalt, side-by-side with ungodly creatures as if they didn’t exist! A hundred coexisting worlds mortared with a thin sheet of tissue paper that could be ruptured with the tiniest glance.

The monsters can’t be accurately described with human language. Even the depictions in the mural do them no justice. I came within arm’s reach of a flying, tentacled horror the size of a bus drifting across a noxious, luminous valley of slime. It came to rest on a black stone-like protrusion that may have been a boulder or the rooftop of a sunken building. I seemed to hover over the fiend like a ghost, so close I could reach out and touch it if I dared.

It looked up, startled. It stared into my soul with forty squirming white tennis ball eyes. It saw me.

I started screaming.

I’d been screaming for several minutes before I realized I was sitting on the tomb’s wet floor with my empty hands outstretched. In my panic the relic had slipped from my earthly body’s grip and now rested on the floor just out of arm’s reach.

It was calling. The Eye commanded me to take it in my hands again. The statue sat gritting its teeth in an angry grimace, and almost imperceptibly the shadows began to move. Just outside the lantern’s failing glow the shriveled faces of six broken men glowered at me. Then the lantern went out.

Something grabbed at me in the dark that may have been real or imagined, and I scrambled up the stairs and out of the cellar, flinging the trapdoor shut behind me. Every animal in the swamp must have heard me as I dashed back to the parlor, crashing through doors and into walls, screaming Kenny’s name at the top of my lungs and growing more frantic when no one replied. All I needed was for Kenny to hug me and pat me on the head like he always did and tell me everything was all right. But when I had crept away from our camp, in the darkness I never noticed that the other six bedrolls lay open and empty — that I had awoken in that house alone.

The Eye had saved me for last.

*

It’s calling again. It’s so loud it hurts. It’s like an eel slithering inside my head and it’s furious.

stop please

The house is pulling me back like with a chain. God if you only knew what I know! The things it showed me! The things I still see! The things I saw in the swamp! I can’t go back, not through that swamp!

They’re drawn to me because I crossed the barrier. They can smell me. I saw the broken men wandering the marsh, flickering in and out of existence like the picture on a TV with bad reception. Sometimes one, sometimes ten. They see me and they try to drag me back to their masters. I always outrun them but they stay longer and longer. Maybe one of them is K–[remaining text violently scratched out]

I see other things, worse than the broken men. So much worse. They’re searching for me, too. Using me as a beacon. I locked myself in here and I haven’t moved since. I’m afraid to look out the windows and see them slithering about in the marsh. They’ll see me and they’ll come.

I don’t want to see them. I don’t want to know anymore. Deforest didn’t want to know. He didn’t want anyone to know.

get out of my head

I cant go back It’s angry that I fled and if I go back I don’t know what it will do to me I don want to go back please whoever finds this please bury that room bury it so no one can find it don let it take you to that awful place

ragnarok

put the barrel in your mouth it’s the only answer but is so heavy

put the barrel in your mouth you coward

something just crawled on deck outside

i’m so sorry for ev–[remaining text is too blood-smeared to read]

Credit To – Mike MacDee

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The Prophecy

July 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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This is the eighth installment in the Tower of Sorrow series.
Part One: Yon Black Edifice Hath Called Me
Part Two: First Steps
Part Three: Tight Spaces
Part Four: The Driver
Part Five: Hittin’ The Road
Part Six: The Blue Bronco
Part Seven: And The Hole Goes Deeper

I can see that Conner’s gears are turning as he stares at R’luhgrah’nyth. I don’t think he truly understands just what’s going on or what’s at stake. I had figured that I shouldn’t expect much from a member of the human race, but Conner surprised me. After releasing him from the trunk of my car, I instantly understood why The Collective needed him. In many ancient prophecies, from worlds across the Multi-verse, it was written that the son of Azathoth would imprison The Great Old Ones and claim the Multi-verse as his own. In these dark times a being would emerge that could free the imprisoned Great Old Ones to reclaim their lost realms. Conner is that being. As the eons tick by, many have forgotten these ancient prophecies or have discarded them as fiction. R’luhgrah’nyth knew, and I can see now that he was right to send me for Conner.

“Jack?” R’luhgrah’nyth snaps. “Hello… Jack… won’t you join us here on Earth?”

“Sorry sir,” I say stepping forward, “how can I be of service?”

“I don’t think our guest here quite understands our situation. Could you perhaps enlighten him as to who we are and why we have summoned him?”

“Happy to sir,” I say with a bow. I can’t stand all this ceremonious bullshit. All the bowing and the “sirs” get on my damn nerves. What can I say though? These “men” saved my life and now, may have even found a way to stop the upheaval of all of existence. I think they deserve the respect, no matter how I feel about it.

“Yeah Jack-o,” Conner grins and leans back in his chair, taking down a nearly full tumbler of scotch, “tell me a nice bedtime story. I’m awful tired.”

Laughter erupts briefly at the sight of Conner’s drunken antics. I can’t help but smirk a bit myself. To think that this man could possibly lead us to victory, it’s laughable. I clasp my hands in the small of my back, take a deep breath, and begin.

“Eons ago, before the birth of your planet or your species, in a realm outside of this universe, sprawled the blind idiot god Azathoth. Azathoth became lonely within the void and begat Nyarlathotep (The Crawling Chaos), N’yog-Sothep (The Nameless Mist), and Syhan’ghft (Darkness). There were more generations to follow, begat of The Nameless Mist and Darkness, but not Nyarlathotep…”

“Stop, stop, stop,” Conner drones with a wave of his hand. “Can we just skip all of the “begats’ and ‘begots’ and all that?” He sits up straight and levels his eyes at me. “Besides the fact that this sounds stupendously boring, I can’t see how it explains anything.”

The genuine look of confusion on his face freezes my rising anger. I may as well be dealing with a child that lost his mother in the supermarket. In other words, deep beneath his confident façade, is a scared kid without a clue where to turn. So, begrudgingly, I pull up a chair across from him and have a seat. “Look Conner,” I say with a heavy sigh, “I’ll give you the cliff note version ok?” He nods his head, but never breaks his gaze. “I don’t know what your religious beliefs may or may not be, but I’m sure you know of the story of God and Lucifer, right?” He gives me a curt nod. “Well,” I pause purely for dramatic effect, “it’s all bullshit.”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” he sneers.

“Okay smartass. The story as you know it is a complete and total lie. ‘God’ and ‘Lucifer’ do exist, but they are one in the same. There is only one entity in both positions. Heaven and hell? The same place and all run by one being.”

Conner’s jaw slackens a bit and he shakes his head. “What? Seriously? Am I being punked right now? Is Ashton Kutcher about to pop out with a camera? ‘Cause I smell LOADS of bullshit.”

“Listen you impudent little shit! How much do you have to see to believe?! The Crawling Chaos is coming! He’s destroyed worlds upon worlds across the Multi-verse and your pathetic little mud ball is next if you don’t shut the fuck up and listen to me! He sent his minions for you once and will do it again. Heaven, Hell, God and Satan are all lies. All of the monotheistic religions are lies! All of the souls of those who believe belong to him. They feed his power and have given him the strength to imprison The Great Old Ones within their own realms. Now that they lie dormant he is free to reign. We must stop him and you are the key!”

Conner drops his head into his hands and sighs heavily. When he raises his face I can see the tears welling up in his eyes. Pathetic, dull, cow’s eyes they are. “H-how? How can I stop him? If he’s so damn powerful, powerful enough to imprison gods, how can I stop him? I’m only human.”

As I open my mouth to speak, R’luhgrah’nyth raises his hand to stop me, “If I may, Jack?” I nod my acknowledgement. “Listen Conner, we know this is a lot to take in. We don’t have all the answers, but what we do know, is that you are the key. The ancient prophecies don’t call you out by name. They don’t even say what species the zhro’ai will come from. All we know for sure is that ‘He who is visited by the hlirgh-nyth Nyarlathotep will have a great lw’nafh. During this k’yarnak within Shagg, the dreamer will visit Shogg and the palace of Nyarlathotep.’ We know this is you. We felt the cosmic vibrations emanate from your psyche the minute you stepped into Shogg.”

Conner shakes his head as if awaking from a daydream. He tents his fingers, leans over in his chair and says, “Look man, I can’t pretend that I understood much of what you just said to me. What I can say is that I need to sleep. It’s been a long day since your goon,” he juts a thumb at me, “dumped me in his car. Any chance you could give me a safe place to sleep?”

A huge smile spreads across R’luhgrah’nyth’s face. “Sure dear boy. No problem.” He stands and extends his hand toward Conner. Conner accepts and gives him one brief shake. “Jack. Go get a key from behind the bar and show Conner to his room would you?”

“Right away sir,” I give my best bow and take Conner by the elbow. “Come with me, please.” He fidgets a little, but doesn’t try to get away. I can tell from how much he is leaning on me that he’s pretty wasted. Partially dragging his weight I make my way to the bar and grab a random room key. I know the rooms here are filthy little holes that people screw in, but I doubt that Conner will notice or care. As soon as I get the door open Conner takes a few stumbling steps forward and falls face first onto the floor. “Nighty-night little Alice,” I smirk as I head for the door, “I have some other business to attend to.”

Credit to: J. Brown

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Nightmare Walking

July 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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Have you ever had one of those dreams, where you dream you’re doing something, only to wake up and realize you’re almost acting out your dream in real time? The most common instance of this is the ‘it’s completely normal’ wet dream, though there are many other common instances, especially in sleepwalkers, where you see yourself walking along a path, only to wake up and find yourself actually walking somewhere, and other similar scenarios. I, despite no longer being a sleepwalker, have one such story myself, from my childhood.

The year was 1996, I was 5 years old, and had recently lost my great grandmother. I was having these weird ongoing nightmares at the time, where someone would call my name, I’d get up, and walk in their direction, only to be brutally murdered in any number of ways. I remember being strangled, stabbed, hung drawn and quartered, fed to wild animals, and my personal favorite, being pushed into a wood chipper. Often, the voice calling me would be someone I actually knew, whether it be my parents, a friend from school, a teacher, my sister, or Lenny Kravitz asking me “Are you gonna go my way?” Even at 5, I had an appreciation for good music, but I’m starting to get off track.

Anyway, there is one particular nightmare that will forever haunt me. This time, it was my recently deceased great grandmother calling to me. “Wookie” she called… I was a really hairy baby, so that nickname stuck for a while with the grandparents, and aunties and uncles… “Wookie, come give Nan a hug, I have to go now.” I remember getting to my feet, and lazily dragging myself out of the room, in the direction of her voice. Like I said, my nightmares seemed to have an ongoing theme, so even though I was walking toward my great grandmother, I was expecting her to transform into a dragon and bite me in half, or for a ninja to leap from behind a wall and put countless shurikens into my skin, or even a tank just to drive through the wall next to me and crush me under its treads. I usually woke up instantly after dying anyway, so it had stopped being overly threatening. Anyway, I continued to walk down the narrow hallway toward the frail old lady, arms outstretched, when suddenly a loud explosion woke me from my sleep.

I woke with a start, standing in the hallway outside of my room, peering into the blackness of the quiet family home. I turned around, stumbling sleepily back into my room, remembering the dream like a far off memory, and directly in front of me, the window that once sat above my bed sat empty, shattered, with its glass fragments dug into my mattress, exactly where I would have been had I not been sleepwalking…

To this day, I don’t know what caused the window to shatter, nor how the glass had managed to embed itself so deeply into the bed, nor do I know if my sleepwalking was a lucky coincidence that saved my life, or an intervention from another being. If you’re looking for a nice clean ending where everything is wrapped up and explained nicely, I’m sorry to disappoint; I’ve been searching for the answers too. Regardless, sometimes the things that scare us most, are those that we’ll never be able to rationally explain.

Credit To – Uforia

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