“There might be some noise.”

November 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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“There might be some noise.”

That’s what she had said. A phrase that did not even begin to describe what we heard every night. Those agonized screams; nothing a human should ever make.

We had just signed the contract and wanted to go from house to house to introduce ourselves to the neighbors. Hers was the door to our right, the first door we knocked on. “J&K” was written on the doorbell in fancy letters.

She must have been around sixty but her pale skin and the large dark rings around her eyes made her look at least a decade older.

“I’m Kristina,” she said. “And I want to apologize in advance. My husband is not really well and sometimes there might be some noise.”

“No problem,” I said.

“Really,” she said. “Jonathan is not very well. But please don’t call the police on us.”

“Of course, we understand.”

“He is on his bed. I can show him to you.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “We will drop by another time.”

We turned to leave. She stopped us.

“Really, please believe me. He really is just sick. He is not dangerous.”

Claire and I exchanged glances.

“That’s okay,” Claire said. “Don’t worry about us.”

“Sure?” Kristine asked.

“Sure,” I said.

We felt her stare on our backs while we walked down the small path back towards the street.

The moving van came a week later. Our life was thrown into the center of the empty living room.

The day was soaking our shirts with sweat, but we were happy. A new place. The perfect place!

We had pizza and beer and walked in celebration around the house. Singing and dancing we enjoyed our new home.

That’s when we saw him the first time, in Kristine’s house. Ground floor, the window just opposite my new office.

He was wrapped into a blanket up to a chest. Blue pajamas. Wrinkled eyelids deeply shut. A white table with bandages and medicine stood to his side.

Jonathan. Hair and skin so gray that I wondered whether he had been alive when they built the pyramids.

The door in his room opened. We quickly walked on.

It was at precisely 11:45 pm. We were just getting ready for bed; Claire in the bathroom and I already on the bed and waiting for her.

Those screams. The word agony does not even begin to describe them.

There were no words; just guttural sounds, roaring and moaning, like an animal hoping for death.

His screams stopped exactly at midnight.

“Did it stop?”

“I hope so.”

“My god,” Claire said. “What’s wrong with him?”

I shook my head.

“No idea.”

“I hope it’s not every night like that.”

“I’m sure it won’t.”

I was wrong.

I used my office the next day. Only for a short while, but long enough to stare at the open window opposite my own and long enough to feel a nervous cold run up my spine.

Jonathan lay there all day. His eyes closed and his hands on top of the blanket. No sound. No move.

Still like a statue during the day. Screams of agony at night.

More and more I found myself in that office at night. I pretended to work but in truth I was watching.

At around 11pm Kristine would always enter the room. She held a bowl and then closed the windows and curtains. Fifteen minutes before midnight we would hear his screams again. From midnight on – silence.

We learned to listen to loud music. Drums and choir vocals worked well to cover the screams.

It was a Sunday, just two weeks after we had moved in. Claire had seen Kristine leave early in the morning. Kristine came back just before noon. I was outside when her car pulled into the driveway with boxes stuffed into the back of her car.

I took a few steps up her driveway.

“Do you need help?”

“No,” Kristine said. “I never need help.”

She walked around the car and stood in front of the back window.

“Anything else?”

“It’s okay,” I said.

“Jonathan is fine. You hear me? He is fine.”

“Okay.”

“We don’t need your help.”

“Okay.”

I turned to walk back to our house.

“And,” Kristine said. “As said, I’m sorry for the noise.”

That night I had the lights off and waited for her to come.

Kristine entered the room but her sleeve caught on the door handle. The bowl fell from her hands. That’s why she must have forgotten about the curtain.

She cursed and quickly left the room.

When she was back she had another bowl and set it down on the white table.

She pulled the blanket aside.

She placed a large strap over his chest.

She chained his arms and legs to the bed.

She placed another strap over his forehead and pulled it tight.

Kristine froze half-way while turning back towards the table. Quickly she ran towards the window. She glanced outside, first to the right and left, and then towards my window. Her eyes seemed to scan the darkness inside the room. Then she pulled the curtains shut.

It was another week later. Claire saw Kristine sitting on her own doorstep. Kristine was holding her side. The left side of her face seemed limp.

“Are you okay?”

“Sure,” Kristine said. “I’m always okay. Just a bit dizzy.”

Claire walked up the driveway.

“Do you need help?”

Kristine jumped to her feet but quickly felt for the wall.

“No!” she screamed. “We never need help!”

The door slammed shut behind her.

Claire was upset and angry. And still she was worried too.

I wanted to get our minds of those things. We watched TV rather than the window.

We only noticed half an hour after midnight that we hadn’t heard any screams.

I checked the window. He was there, on his bed, soundly asleep.

The room was dark. I guess that’s why I only noticed it in the morning:

Red stains all over his clothes.

The police said that half their basement was filled with empty baby food glasses.

They found Kristine’s upper half on the living room floor. A stroke, that’s what they said.

They found Kristine’s lower half on the bedroom floor, right next to him.

His body, they said, was long cold. Still they couldn’t find a cause of death.

Their burial was a week later. Urns buried in deep holes.

There were not many people at the burial. No friends, no family, just neighbors. It was one of the other neighbors that told me about it. He said he heard it from a friend.

He heard that the cremation was done faster than is customary. Normally they take two or three days.

But for Kristine and Jonathan, he said, it was done the next day.

“They didn’t even wait with the cremation until morning,” he said. “They did it just after midnight.”

Credit To – Anton Scheller

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The Eyes of Twenty-Two

November 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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I was a mailman.
I got crates of mail twice a week on Monday and Thursday, and then I had to sort them and deliver it all on Tuesday and Friday respectively. All in all it was a pretty simple job and in general I found that it helped to clear my head. I sorted the mail, took it to my designated neighborhood and then walked around while I listened to music and shoved envelopes and whatnot into all kinds of mailboxes.

The first street of the neighborhood started out fine. I grabbed the first bunch of letters and counted down (because I started at the end of the street with the higher numbers).

30.
28.
26.
24.
22.
20.

And so on. I had the world’s greatest trouble finding out which house was which because the inhabitants apparently thought themselves too good to put their house numbers in plain sight. Some numbers were skipped altogether. I managed to make it through and when I was done I put the street behind me and moved on to the next one.

The next time, I arrived at the same street. I did my routine, started at number 30 and made my way down while being polite to the people I met and the kids riding their bicycles through the street.

When I reached number 22 and I’d shoved the mail into their mailbox, I caught a glimpse of curtains falling into place and a figure behind the window scurrying away, as if they’d peeked out to see who it was.

I thought nothing of it, because it wasn’t the first time someone had glanced through their window to check whether I was a burglar or a salesman. So I put it behind me and moved on to the next street.

This continued for a few weeks. Every time I reached number 22 of that street I would just catch someone moving away from the window as I was about to move on to the next house.
Then, after having been the mailman of that neighborhood for about two months, it started getting… stranger.

Whoever was behind the window at number 22 grew bolder. Before, they would run off as soon as I looked in their direction, but gradually he or she stayed behind the window for longer periods of time. I still had no idea who it was because they always stood behind their curtains. The sheer type. Just translucent enough to make out that there was a figure there but not enough to clearly see who it was.

After a while I grew frustrated. Everyone else in the neighborhood now recognized me as their mailman and they all greeted me in a friendly way. Except for the people at number 22.
They still acted as if I would break through their front door and rob them of their valuables and their lives.

It was the first Tuesday of the fourth month, after passing by number 22 and seeing the man or woman staring at me, that I decided to react. I lifted my hand and casually waved while putting on the most friendly smile I could manage. The person stood still, and then he or she was gone.

I didn’t recall seeing them walk away, but the damage was done. My frustration with number 22 was born and I knew that this was the one house that I had come to dislike above all others in the neighborhood. I buried my frustration as best I could so as to not ruin the rest of my day, and I moved on with my route.

On Friday I was fated to return. The street was empty but everything else seemed the way it always did. Only this time, when I reached 22, the curtains moved before I even got to the mailbox. From the bottom left corner of the window, a pale, ashen face slide from behind the sheer curtains and I froze.

Empty, expressionless eyes set in deep eye sockets stared at me as if my soul was the next thing on the menu. The woman staring at me had long, dark-brown hair that fell around her withered face like straw and she had bags under her eyes of a color I’d never seen before. A sickening blend of purple and dark green; as if she hadn’t slept for months.

Her mouth opened and produced an faintly audible, dry sound that filled me with a sense of danger. I could feel my consciousness slowly slipping away and it wasn’t before long that I was completely zoned out from reality.

When I came to my senses she was gone and I can’t tell you how fast I shoved the mail in the mailbox and practically ran away from the house. I briefly wondered if I’d hallucinated the whole ordeal and during that entire day I thought I could see her dead, empty eyes staring at me from every window I passed by.

The next Tuesday I approached the street with more than a little caution. As I reached the first house, I figured it would probably be best to get it over with as soon as possible. So I started making my way down the street faster than I ever had.

30.
28.
26.
24.
20.

I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at the house I clearly recognized as number 20. My eyes flicked back and forth between 24 and 20 and I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was seeing.
I must have been standing there for a while because by the time I snapped out of my utter confusion there was a teenage boy on a bicycle standing next to me. He looked up at me and asked “Are you okay, mister?” while staring at me with a confused look.

“I’m fine kid,” I replied, my voice trembling slightly while I glanced back at where number 22 should be.
“I’ve got some mail here for number 22, don’t suppose you know where I can drop it off, huh?”

Before my very eyes I could see the kid’s vibrant, childish expression change into the same dead and empty gaze the woman from number 22 had given me. The whites of his eyes filled with black and his eyeballs seemed to visibly sink back into his skull. When the kid opened his mouth, a voice crawled out of it that sounded like the screeching of the Devil himself.

“22 does not exist. Neither do you.”

He didn’t say another word and just sat there on his bicycle, staring at me while I stumbled backward. It took a few seconds before my instinct kicked in and I ran away. I ran as fast as I could and even when my legs became deadly tired I kept on going until finally, out of pure exhaustion, I fell to my knees in the middle of the street.

In my peripheral vision I could see the curtains of every house around me falling back into place and shadowy figures scurrying away from the windows. In my panic I hadn’t paid attention to where I’d been going, but now that I was on the ground I got a good look at where I was. Exactly where I had run away from.

The boy’s black, empty eyes got a good look at me too. It was the last thing I saw before I found myself behind a window; peeking at people who passed by my door and scurrying away whenever the boy rode by on his bicycle. I recognized the street as being the same one I’d delivered mail to. The front lawn was all too familiar to me. The lawn of number 22.

And then it all clicked.
The window was the locked door to my cage, behind which I would suffer for all eternity while He drained me of everything I was.

I had become one of many.

Credit To – Ouroboros

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The Cram Session

November 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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“It’s called Tetrapranzamine,” Ron, my dealer of choice, told me. “Just 100 mgs is guaranteed to not only have you up all night studying but it will improve your concentration and your retention in the morning. It also has no hangover. It’s a true wonder drug, man! My distribution guy swears by it!”

I know, I know, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. Ron had never let me down before, though, and I was desperate. I’d already cut half of my philosophy lectures and cramming for this test the next day was the only way I could preserve my C. True, Ron admitted that neither he nor his guy had ever used Tetrapranzamine themselves, but I couldn’t imagine a single low dose of stimulant doing that much damage to me. Worst-case scenario, I planned to go to the hospital and lie about mixing coffee and Adderall again or something.

Oddly, I began to feel something within seconds of taking the pill. The colors in my dorm room started to become incredibly vivid. Everything looked like it had a thick black outline drawn with a marker.

What’s more, I started to remember things from my past that I’d forgotten for years. I remembered nearly dying of the measles at age 3. People I met for a few minutes at a party once suddenly felt as though I’d known them all my life.

“This is amazing! Ron was right about the improvement to concentration and memory,” I thought. I got right to work on the textbook even though the colors were beginning to give me a headache. I was elated and convinced this was going to be an easy test for me. Maybe if I’d gone to the hospital right then they could have done something for me.

I was half way through speed-reading Berkeley’s Three Dialogues when I first blacked out. I must have still been aware at some level because the moment I woke I knew that I’d been out for exactly 2.4403 hours. I was concerned but convinced myself that I only fell asleep. “Ok. Maybe the drugs don’t work that well,” I joked to myself.

I was reading my second assigned journal article on Empiricism, and just past my third blackout, when I began to see them. They were like tiny cracks at the edge of my vision. It was as if the windows of my eyes were beginning to fracture. I tried to ignore them and get back to my reading, but the cracks began to grow. My field of vision began to split into segments until there were so many cracks that I could barely see. I stumbled into the bathroom to try and wash my eyes out.

Then it hit me. It was like some kind of otherworldly surgeon cut my head open and reached inside to implant an electrode on my brain. My entire body began to shake violently as I fell to the floor. My mind’s eye flooded with memories.

Somehow, I remembered being in the womb. I heard everything the doctors and my parents said despite the fact that nobody filmed my birth. I even somehow remembered my conception.

Then I remembered what came before. I saw a vision of myself, Ron, my friends, some cousins, and at least thirty people I’d never seen before standing nude in a flat grassy field under an overcast sky. We all swayed and nodded as though we were half asleep, occasionally murmuring to each other in a language I had never heard in my life. Then a horn bellowed.

A gargantuan black creature rose out of the ground. It had nine heads like the Greek Hydra but each of them was a like the head of a skinned bear covered with teeth and horns jutting in random directions. It had random numbers of eyes that were either compound like an insect or human but glazed over with blood red cataracts. It’s body was like some sort of ape but its hands and feet were these twisted, disgusting masses of burnt, oozing flesh that it should not have been able to walk on.

We all fled from it as it gave chase with an almost irreverent silence. It moved so quickly it was like it was everywhere on the field at the same time. The people I had never seen before were each snatched up in turn and devoured in hideous crunches. I and the people I knew only made it out by jumping into shafts in the ground that randomly opened and closed. At first we screamed in fear on the way down but soon we began to regress into fetuses and take our places in the wombs of our mothers.

Somehow I know this was not a mere hallucination. The Tetrapranzamine had cracked my mind open and given me a vision of what we all knew before birth but were mercifully allowed to forget.

I also know that that thing is waiting for the ones that got away. We can’t hide out in this shallow pocket reality forever and the creature knows this. It’s waiting. It knows it will get us all eventually.

I’ve missed the test but there’s no point in asking for a redo. I’m nearly blind, now. I’ve had six more blackouts since the vision, each one exactly 9.5842 minutes longer than the last. The blackouts are getting more regular, too. It won’t be long till I don’t wake up.

I’d kill myself, but I think my time would be better served on the phone with Ron. I’ll try to tell him not to ever take Tetrapranzamine or sell it to anyone else. I doubt he’d believe me, though. I know I wouldn’t. He’ll probably just have to find out the truth for himself like everybody but me does.

Credit To – Cosmo Fish

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Detachment

November 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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Ever since I can remember I have had a strange fascination with mirrors. The idea that there is a piece of glass which reflects everything you see. I still wonder what the first man thought when he was saw his reflection in still water. Did he instinctively know it was him? Or did he spend a few minutes moving his arms around until he realized that this other man matched his movements completely? Whatever the case, my natural curiosity for mirrors led to one of the most unbelievable moments of my life.

It was 7 years ago. I was a ten year old who had just moved from the cozy suburbs to a large ranch house, smack dab in the middle of 10 acres of land. I had many memorable experiences in that house and on the surrounding property, getting bitten by a racoon, having late night airsoft wars; but there is one that I have never told. One that is set apart from all the others.
We bought that house as a fixer upper, and since I was a ten year old with a taste for adventure, I claimed the lone upstairs bedroom as my own. The room was complete with dated brass fixtures, thick teal carpet, and it’s own connected bathroom.
Over time as I have thought through this story in my head, I am still surprised that I didn’t notice anything when I first went into that bathroom. I didn’t have a dark foreboding, there wasn’t anything stand out creepy or weird about it, just a room. A sink. And a mirror. The mirror was massive. It sat behind the sink so you couldn’t help but see yourself when you walked in. It had a slight yellowed tint, and was covered in dust and grime. But nothing really seemed out of the ordinary, nothing that would signal what was to come.

The first two nights spent in that bedroom were completely normal, nothing strange except the occasional midnight creak or moan from the ancient air conditioning unit. But on the 3rd night, laying in my bedroom bed, it started.
I woke up suddenly, the groggy feeling of heaviness that accompanies being woken from a deep sleep. I slowly started to gain consciousness and my ears strained to hear what could have woken me. That’s when I heard it.

Drip…. Drip…. Drip….

I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized I just must have left the bathroom faucet on. I sat up, turned on my dim bedside lamp, climbed out of bed, and stepped into the bathroom.

As I set my foot down on the tile, I was surprised when I discovered it strangely chilled. I continued in, not thinking too much of it, and turned the bathroom light on.
My reflection greeted me. I was in my Mario pajamas and my hair was a bed-heady mess. I smiled at how silly I looked. I looked at the faucet handle and sure enough, it had been left ever so slightly open. I turned it all the way closed, turned off the light and went back to bed. As I was drifting off to sleep I made a mental note to ask my dad if he could tighten the faucet in the morning.
Though, by the time I got back from school, as you can expect from any 5th grader, I had a million different things on my mind, and completely forgot. Instead spending my time at Goodwill with my parents looking for the perfect costume for halloween, which was coming up in a few days.
That night though, it happened again. I awoke suddenly, with the same strange heaviness that covered my body the night before. Instinctively I strained my ears, and I heard it again.

Drip…. Drip…. Drip….

I sat up, annoyed. I was sure I had double checked the faucet before I went to bed. I turned on my bedside lamp, walked across the carpet and set foot on the bathroom tile. My foot recoiled instinctively. The tile wasn’t just cool anymore, it was actually cold. Too bothered to care, I turned on the light and jumped at the sight of my reflection. I still wasn’t used to seeing anybody else (Even if it was me) this late at night. I guess all that TV before bed was starting to take it’s toll. I turned the faucet off, and the dripping stopped.

The next day I got my dad to tighten the faucet handle. He walked in with the tool bag, appeared to be tightening something, than walked out.
It turned out that everything was already tight, and he told me to make sure to check the faucet before I went to bed.
So, that night before I went to bed, I walked into the bathroom, the frigid floor greeting my bare feet once again. I looked at my ever present reflection, feeling a dull sense of unease for whatever reason. I didn’t look my reflection in the eyes very long, I still don’t know why at that point I felt uncomfortable with it. I checked and double checked the faucet handle, nothing was dripping.
Feeling relieved that I could finally get some uninterrupted rest, I layed down in my bed, turned off the light and drifted off.

I awoke again, my body felt even heavier than usual, my mind seemed groggy, everything was completely black, I think my head was still under my covers. My ears pricked up, listening.
I still get shivers thinking about this part.
I didn’t hear a

Drip… Drip… Drip…

I heard

Psshhhhh

After spending a few moments trying to decipher what this sound was, I realized it was the faucet.
The faucet was on completely. No longer a drip but a steady stream.
I tried to sit up, but it took a few tries to get my bearings after being awakened from my near catatonic sleep.
I attuned my ear and made sure what I heard was what I thought it was. Yes, the faucet in my bathroom was completely on. I gulped.
I stepped off of my bed, my feet being cushioned by the dated carpet. The light from my bed lamp was dim, only casting enough light to light up my floor, the bathroom was still pitch black. I stepped in.

This time when I placed my foot on the floor, it wasn’t just cold, it was freezing. It felt like the tile had been in a deep freeze.
Unsure what to do, I stepped in fully, goosebumps shooting up my calf, and turned the light on. I don’t know what I expected to see, but what I saw was me.
I looked deeply into my own eyes, feeling a sense of distrust. I still don’t really know how to explain it, but the only closest word I can think of, is detachment. Like looking at a photo of yourself when you were younger. You know that’s you, but you feel…. detached.
I reached my hand slowly towards the faucet handle, still meeting my own stare. I slowly started to turn the handle, my eyes meeting my own. The water poured less, less, less and then finally the handle clicked to its full rotation, the water was off. My hand remained on the faucet I started at the eyes of my reflection, and that’s when it happened.

It blinked.

I saw my reflection blink.
I let out what I thought would be a scream but ended up just being a sudden and horrified gasp.
I ran out of the room, down the stairs and straight to my parents bedside.

They were a little surprised that I ran to them crying because I hadn;t for years, but they could tell I was upset so they let me sleep in their room.
All I could muster out that morning in explanation was “Nightmares”
I didn’t dare tell my parents, I don’t know if it was my childhood fear of not being believed, or what. I think part of me was still trying to convince myself that it didn’t happen.
I tried telling myself that my eyes were just playing tricks on me, anything to convince myself that I didn’t really see “my” reflection blink. Anything to convince myself that that mirror was just another mirror.

That evening, was halloween. I was invited by some of my new fifth grade friends to go trick or treating with them, but after a few hours we had to stop early due to a giant rainstorm kicking in.
When I returned to my house, pillowcase full of candy in tow, my parents greeted me with news that send shivers down my spine.

They were going on a date night.

I tried to explain the various made up excuses I had for them not to go, I even tried to use the lightning storm outside as an excuse, but nothing worked. And I didn’t dare tell them the real reason.
They patiently explained how I was 12 years old, they’d only be gone for a few hours, and I had their phone numbers if I needed to call.
Once the door shut behind them, my heart dropped. I was alone. With the mirror.

I spent the first hour or so downstairs. I tried to get the tv to work, but because of the storm outside I was only getting static. That’s when I made my decision.
I still don’t know what drove me to go back into the bathroom.
I’ve tried to explain it as childhood curiosity, temporary insanity, and a few other things. To this day I still don’t understand it.
Whatever the case, I found myself climbing up the stairs to the top floor where my bedroom was located.

I waked into the bedroom, and as if on cue, a particularly loud clap of thunder made the windows rattle. I turned on my bedside lamp, and sat on my bed staring at the bathroom doorway.
I pulled out my still full candy bag, reached my hand down into it and pulled out a few tootsie rolls. I ate quietly, hoping the sugar would give me courage.
I walked into the bathroom, turned the light on, and looked my reflection dead in the eye.
Time seemed to stand still.
My reflection no longer felt like me.
Looking at it made me feel almost offended, that there could be something so similar to me, but so different.

Everything got very quiet.

I could hear my heartbeat loudly in my head.

My reflection was moving.

Its arm, to be specific. I only saw it out of my peripheral vision because our eyes were locked, but it was definitely moving.
What felt like a electric current shot up my body, my hair stood on end and I was frozen, staring, every single muscle in my body tense.
I tried to scream but I couldn’t move.
My reflection still stared back at me, it’s face neutral.

It was moving it’s hand towards the faucet handle on its side, it got closer and closer and then I felt something on my hand, strained my eyes to look down just a tiny bit and realized my own hand had grasped the faucet handle on my side.
It had moved it’s hand to the faucet handle and I had too. I tried to pull my hand back, but I couldn’t.
It was as if the signals from my brain weren’t being communicated to any parts of my body. I willed my body to move, but nothing happened.
My reflection’s face looked at me knowingly, then moved its head slightly closer to the mirror, and parted it’s lips, revealing a devilish grin.
I felt my own face contort, matching its features.

BANG A clap of thunder rattled the mirror.
My whole body felt heavy as I stared at this smiling abomination, somehow controlling my body.
It’s free hand started to move up, and though I couldn’t break the stare with its eyes, I could see out of my peripheral vision that my hand was also moving up. Our hands simultaneously started moving towards the mirror. I tried to fight back, to pull away, but it was useless.
As my hand got closer to the mirror, I felt a vibration emanating from the grimy glass surface, but it pulled my hand closer still, it’s horrifying smile still stretching my face.

BANG an even louder clap of thunder rumbled the very ground I was standing on.
As my hand got closer and closer to the mirror, my fingertips started to feel incredibly cold. I was trying with all my might to pull my hand away from the mirror, my fingertips were grazing the surface of the mirror, and then I felt it. An icy coldness, a tingling sensation, on the tips of my fingers, and I could see, my fingers had partially gone through the mirror, to the other side.
My heart dropped.
And that’s when I realized it was trying to pull me over to its side.

BANG the loudest lightning strike of them all shook the house, and in an instant, darkness. The lighting had killed the power, and to my delight I could no longer see my reflection, only pitch black darkness.
I pulled my fingers out of the glass, I could control my body again.
I turned my head away from the mirror my body scrambling to be anywhere but in that bathroom. I dove out of the bathroom, hitting my shoulder on the door on the way out, then landed not so softly on the floor. The colors of my room got distorted, everything was purple, then green. The room was spinning and my head felt light, I tried to get up but my body wouldn’t listen. That’s when I blacked out.
That was the last night I set foot in that bathroom. Heck, that was the last time I even set foot in the bedroom.

It took less work than I thought than to convince my parents to let me sleep in the game room.
Eventually though, our family decided to move. We renovated the whole house. We tore up the dated green carpet, we repainted all the rooms, and we removed the big, grimy, dusty mirror in the bathroom.
I refused to help.
The day went by so fast, as I was kept busy clearing out the garage, but I specifically remember the workers carrying the mirror towards the back of the pick up truck my dad had borrowed.
First they tried to break it to fit easier in the truck, but nothing worked.
They tried hammers, axes, but nothing even scratched it.

My final memory of that mirror, was of it standing upright in the back of the truck. Still dusty, grimy and dirty, but other wise completely unscathed. As the truck drove away the mirror happened to be angled perfectly to see my reflection once again.
I saw in the mirror, a kid standing alone in a drive way. Staring with eyes wide, full of fear.

That was the last time I saw the mirror.

Credit To – Duncan Key

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Panic Button

November 5, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Before I start, I have to admit something. I’m only telling you this because I think that it is important. But I swear, what happened was real. I just hope that you don’t judge me based on what I’m about to share.

The thing is, I live in a mental institution. I am clinically insane. 10 years ago I was diagnosed with severe paranoia, hallucinations and multiple other disorders, and I was locked up in here because my parents couldn’t cope. I don’t hold anything against them. I mean, it’s not their fault that their daughter is crazy! They tried their best, bless them, but sometimes people need specialist help, and I was one of those people. Looking back, I was a lot worse then than I am now, but I’m starting to stray away from the point.

I’ve moved from institution to institution over the years. Some of were burnt down by inmates, some were shut by the government but there was one place, the last one that I stayed in, that shut for a much more horrifying reason.

It was called the Oaktree Institute, but we patients called it OTI. It was situated in a secluded part of the countryside near a dense stretch of woodland. The building itself built in the 19th century and was originally a fancy mansion for some rich family, but after the last heir died without a will, it was seized by the government and converted to an asylum; but they don’t call them that nowadays. Back in the day, it probably would have been a nice place to live, but now it’s once pristine appearance had slowly deteriorated over time.

The ornate gargoyles that once stood on the roof had been weathered by wind and rain but most of them had chipped and fallen apart anyway.
Green ivy twisted up and inside the cracks in the yellowing stone walls that once would have been marble white. It was in desperate need of restoration, but a global recession meant that any scheduled work had to be cancelled due to lack of funding.

Inside, the furnishings and decor were very dated, but clean at least. The wall paper was that horrible 70s yellow stuff and the carpets were faded and worn. The canteen was a bit better at least; it was originally the nursery room for the children that had lived there. Polished oak covered the floor but the walls were ornately decorated with beautiful frescos of stories from The Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales. Delicately painted on the ceiling were pictures of cherubs and angels holding flowers and hearts. It was a peculiar room, for in old houses such as Oak Tree Manor, nurseries were usually upstairs or in the attic, but here they’d built it on the ground floor. It was right next to the kitchen, and when it’d been converted to a mental institute builders had knocked through the wall to the small kitchen. I’d never been in the kitchen – only staff were allowed there – but I often ate in the canteen. Only a few of us ‘inmates’, as we were sometimes called, were allowed to eat in there as many of my fellow ‘inmates’ were too dangerous to have contact with others, but fortunately I wasn’t one of those people.

Also on the ground floor was the staff quarters and a visiting hall; no one ever came to visit me though. On the first floor were two wings; the Williams wing and the Mattenson wing. They were both for male patients and were named after two of the previous benefactors to the institute. There were another two wings on the second floor which were for female patients. They were called the Victoria wing and the Golding wing. I was in the Victoria wing, which was patriotically named after the monarch at the time, Queen Victoria. My room was right by the stairs to the attic. The attic was where the dangerous patients were held. I could often hear them wailing and banging through the ceiling above me at night. I had asked to move rooms but there were no others spare apparently.

Other than the psychos making noise above me, it was a nice room. I had my bed in the corner of the room opposite the door and a TV on the wall facing my bed. In the other corner was a bookshelf full of numerous novels and other such things. It probably just sounds like a normal bedroom room to you, but trust me, it wasn’t. The door was made of iron and every night the nurses would bolt it shut to lock us in. Next to the door was one of those two way mirror things. From inside the room it just looked like a normal mirror but on the outside it was a window that the doctors and nurses could see through. I didn’t like it at all, but at least they covered it up at night so no one could spy on us. It was sort of like a prison really, except for one thing;

If we needed to get out, there was a button above the bed that called the nurses to our rooms. We were only supposed to use it if we were having a panic attack or hallucinating or something like that. It was a panic button. I’d always thought it kind of useless for me as I’ve never had the need to use it before – I’ve never been particular scared of my hallucinations or had any bad panic attacks – but there was one night that changed my opinion of that button forever.

It was particularly stormy that night and the howling winds and battering rain made the old house creak and sway. I decided to stay in my room and read a little; that night I’d chosen “Alice in Wonderland”. It’s not a particularly difficult to read book, but rumbles of thunder and cracks of lightning hindered me from becoming fully immersed to the point where I eventually gave up and I settled down in bed. As I was tired, I drifted off almost immediately though, since I’m a light sleeper, I kept being awoken by random noises and the wails of the crazies upstairs. I know it may seem a bit off for me of all people to mock others and their mental health ailments, but if you’ve been locked away for as long as I have, you’d become mean too. But I digress; allow me to continue to bore with the seemingly unnecessary details of that night. After the wails of the criminally insane above me finally desisted, I managed to sleep for another two hours before I was next woken up; this time it was the night nurse locking and bolting the door. An uneasy feeling arose in my stomach from anxiety and paranoia that prevented me from returning to the world of sleep.

I lay awake for several hours, left alone to my empty thoughts and the storm raging outside. I found the echoes of raindrops vaguely comforting for some reason. The noises were consistent unlike the other noises that I heard in the night. The monotony of the pitter pattering sent me into an almost hypnotised state. They’ve done studies on that you know. Volunteers were strapped to chairs and were blasted with sequenced lights and radio static. These stimulants seemed to induce a sleep like phase on the subjects and I suppose that was what happened to me that night.

It didn’t feel like normal sleep; it was almost as if I was semi-conscious yet the telltale dreamlike elements were still there. I could hear the storm outside, but I could also hear alarms and eerie chanting that sounded distant and muffled. Naturally at the time, I assumed that I’d dreamt these noises or that I’d at least hallucinated them. But then I heard another noise. It was a sharp, loud noise that drew me to wakeness. There was an urgency in the noise that set off warning bells in my head. When I was finally fully conscious, I managed to decipher the sound.

It was tapping. It was fingers tapping in glass. Suddenly, I was blinded by a dim light that lit up my room that was once blanketed in darkness. On the wall next to my bed I could see a looming shadow with long bony tendril like fingers dancing up and down. Involuntarily, I shuddered, and the tapped stopped. I thought that it was all over, and that I’d just hallucinated a little;

But I was wrong.

The absence of sound was replaced by earpiercingly painful screeches. I groaned a little as the daggers of sound shredded my eardrums. My mind started to wander and I involuntarily began to imagine horrifying things. They were huge, dark shadowy things with pale faces and knives for hands slowly creeping towards me. Fear started to grip me as my thoughts felt more and more real. I didn’t know what to do. It was like when you’re a little kid, and you hear a strange sound so you automatically assume its a monster. That’s how I felt. Like a small, helpless child cowering under her duvet covers. The screeching grew louder and louder and I almost let out a wail of desperation. “Why was this thing taunting me?” my mind sobbed. I curled up into a foetal position and started to cry. I felt utterly hysterical.

But then something snapped inside of me. A voice of reason whispered amongst the swelling masses of terrible thoughts. “You’re hallucinating,” I thought to myself. Then it didn’t seem so bad. As the panicked part of me slowly drifted away, I felt a slight pride as a rolled over in bed, no longer afraid of the hallucinations that had haunted me.

Something was still troubling me though. It was the light. The light that had casted shadows in my walls. Now, I’m not afraid of light of course, but it was where the light was coming from that made my blood run cold.

The mirror. The two-way mirror. It’d been tampered with so that I could see the other side. Pressed up against the glass, was a sickly grey face on a bald, misshapen head. It’s eyes we’re bulbous and bloodshot and had a terrifying gleam to them. Below that was its mouth with triangle shaped teeth stained a worrying shade of red. The thing snarled at me with a smile. It was enjoying watching me suffer. It slowly lifted a hand and started to tap its long, yellowing fingernails against the glass.

I couldn’t breathe. I literally froze. I was panic stricken and the only way to cope with the emotions I felt was to wail loudly in the hope the someone would come and help me. I wanted to hide, to get away from it, but I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I thought that if I even blinked for a second, it would get me.

As I slowly moved my hand from out of the covers, the creature bared it’s teeth at me and hissed causing me to recoil in terror. I wanted the voice of reason to come back. Just to have been told that none of this was real would have made the whole situation more bearable. But the problem was that it felt so real . I lifted my arm out again and slowly reached up to the panic button. I was sure that the moment I pressed it, everything would be ok. As I poised my arm to push it, I noticed the creature grin. Not the evil grin that it had smiled before, but a more “genuine” as such grin. It was as if it wanted me to press the button. My mind was so jumbled that I didn’t realise it in time. I pressed the button, and heard it click. Breathing a sigh of relief, I expected a nurse to come rushing into me with my medication.

But then it clicked.

Something clicked in my mind.

I remembered something that I was told by the head medical practitioner here when I first arrived. “For ease of access,” I remember him saying, “upon pressing the panic button, the door to a patients cell will automatically unlock.”

And then it clicked.

The door clicked open.

Credit To – Skylaria

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Hell Lives Inside

November 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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A shiver of terror runs through me, and I’m awake, gasping. I lay still, fists clenched in my sweat soaked sheets, shaking from the nightmare. Forcing my eyes open, I confront the darkness. My breath hitches in my chest as my eyes desperately search for something to focus on, but there’s nothing. This is what they call “cave-darkness” my mind tells me. An absence of light so profound your brain goes a little haywire. I don’t know how long I’ve been down here, minutes, months or years. I sleep, I dream, I awaken, I relieve myself, I scrape moss from the floor for nourishment and water from the walls for hydration. Then it’s back to sleep. My bones are sharp, and my skin hangs from my wasted body, like an ill-fitting wet-suit.

Nightmares fill my every sleeping hour, and most of the waking ones as well. My hallucinations have reached the point where I can feel the demons hot breath on my cheek, smell the rotting of the flayed and tortured creatures that hunger for flesh in the dark corners of my cell. I don’t know how I got here. I just awoke one day, still in my bed, in utter black. Normally, I had my fear of the dark under control, but this darkness was different. Not just the absence of light, but the presence of something else, an inky black terror that seeped into my very bones. I wonder if this is Hell, if maybe I was a bad person, or if there had been some kind of twisted mistake. I hoped for so long it was a dream, but can a dream stretch for eternity?

Delirious, I stumble from the damp, reeking bed and crouch beside it, my hand still on it. I had gotten lost once, stumbling around my tiny prison, smashing into the jagged rock of the walls in panic. When I finally fell to the floor I could feel the pain, and the hot, sticky blood that came with each fresh wave of agony. I let unconsciousness take me, falling straight into the night terror’s claws, and when I awoke, I crawled across the floor, groping with my hands until I found the cold metal of the bed-frame. The dream. It’s always the same, and always different, composed of my deepest fears and the darkest of sins. Every situation is new, a fresh horror born of my imagination, but the feeling is the same. The same terror, unnatural, freezing me in place, an unwilling subject of the acts of horror and atrocity committed.

A wall of metal gears, ripping through a town in a spray of gore and rock, killing all before it, then coming for me. A spider, inflated, huge, wrapping me up, when she stops and explodes, showering down smaller spiders, with needle sharp fangs. A child, viciously torn from my body by a madman wielding modified surgical tools. Animals, abused and killed, then revived, eager to visit the sins of those who killed them upon me, not caring where their “pound of flesh” came from. My family, set ablaze, screams tearing through the crackle of fire. Dolls, come to life, with jagged porcelain hands, slicing and tearing, clowns with jagged red mouths and empty eye sockets armed with acid-filled water balloons and garrotes. A parade of fears, and always the helplessness. I wish for oblivion, for this torture to end.

I wonder how I’m not dead already, from starvation, or infection. Sometimes my hallucinations aren’t as bad as dreams, but I can’t shake the feeling that they’re only there to disorient me. To give me false hope, my mother’s voice, telling me to hang on. My father, weeping. My husband telling me to come back to him, and worst of all, my children, calling out for me. At first I tried to search for them, but I was surrounded by rock, a silent crushing tomb. I lay in the bed, fighting sleep, then succumb.

The dream is different, of course. I’m sitting on a hill, lazily flying a kite. My lucid mind is wary, searching for danger, and finding none. I turn me eyes back to the sky and assess the dark clouds. A drop of rain strikes my face, and I flinch, but it is only rain. No acid, no pain where the water struck. Thunder rumbles, and my mind clicks. I turn back to the sky, and try frantically to pull the kite in. The rain makes the kite string strangely slippery, and as I examine it more closely, I realize it is thin copper wire. As I’m staring in horror, the wind abruptly tears the wire I had managed to gather from my hands, and I attempt to let go of the kite completely. Nothing. My fist remains tightly clenched around the wire. A flash, and I tense, but there is no jolt. I stare upward, frozen in place, bracing for the pain. And it hits. A white-hot flare runs through my nerves, searing me from the inside out. Again, and I close my eyes, wishing for death. The last time, I suck in my breath as my body is flooded with the agony, and open my eyes.
A blinding light hovers over my head, and as I try to turn to the side, something stops me and triggers my gag reflex. I retch and spasm as voices around me bark concerned orders at me, and each other. “Stop moving Miss. You’re OK, but you have a tube in. There’s been an accident”. An accident? My mind reels, and I have so many questions, I try to talk around the tube, and gesture frantically with my hands. The heart monitor beeps erratically, and the nurse comes around to my side. “Here sweetie, this will help you sleep. You need rest now.” I struggle harder, my blind panic back. I don’t want to sleep. I can’t bear to dream. What if I open my eyes and I’m back in that cave? Darkness claims me, and for the first time in an eternity, I have a dreamless sleep.

When I open my eyes, the tube is gone. Light is streaming in the window, and despite my aches and pains, I feel great. My husband is sitting next to me, and jumps from his chair upon seeing my open eyes. “I knew you’d come back to us”, he says, wiping tears from his face. The door swings open, and in the doorway stand my parents, grandchildren in tow. I look at my kids, and begin to cry. I never thought I’d see them again. They rush into the room, and jump onto the bed. I feel no pain as I hold them, and my son tells me he loves me, and missed me. My daughter admonishes that if I ever go away again, she’ll run away from home. I laugh, and promise them I’ll always stay with them. My parents smother me with hugs and kisses, then shoo the children out of the room ahead of them, so my husband and I can speak.

I ask him how long I was out, and he tells me “two days”. My mouth opens in shock. I can’t believe that eternity was only 48 hours.He looks me dead in the eyes and tells me “You died. Your hear stopped for a full 3 minutes, and when you were brought back, you were comatose. Then, yesterday, your heart failed again, so the staff resuscitated you again. But this time you woke up!” The horror that fills me is profound. Was it hell? Was it an elaborate dream? I resolve to never tell anyone of that dark, rancid cave where my subconscious was held prisoner.

Life goes on, and I recover almost completely. Physically, it’s like nothing ever happened. The nightmares still occur, but less. It may be that this place exists only in my head, a hell perfectly suited to me, and now that the pathways have opened, I’ll always carry that darkness inside of me.

Credit To – Danielle Elizabeth

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