Stairs

July 28, 2014 at 12:00 PM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.2/10 (372 votes cast)

My house is old. It’s by far the oldest house on our block. We tried to liven it up, to make it comfy, and and we did a pretty good job. We put colorful rugs on the freezing concrete, lamps in every corner. Every room was nice and modern-except the basement.

When I was a little kid, I would sprint up the stairs coming up from the basement. I don’t know what I was afraid of. Maybe a ghost, or a monster in the dark behind me, waiting for me to turn around so it can catch me and… I don’t know what it would do.

But now, as a seventeen year old boy, I’m walking up the stairs from my basement, and my childish fears, long repressed, are coming back. I tell myself to shut up, but that dark part in the back of my head tells me to run, to get out NOW. More than anything I want to rocket up those stairs as I did as a child, but I force my feet to take even, normal steps. I feel the overwhelming urge to look behind me, but I also want to win the battle of paranoia that’s going on in my brain.

So I slowly walk up the seemingly endless staircase, my palms sweating and my heart racing the entire way. But about ten steps from the top, I feel an ice cold hand close around my ankle.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.2/10 (372 votes cast)

The Apollo Inventus

July 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (82 votes cast)

I hope to God, that this is the right thing to do. This is what he told us to do. This is the precaution he told us to take. That’s what I’ll tell myself to help me sleep at night.

***

The following is the main body of the transcription of the Apollo Inventus flightcrew personal communications as recorded on the Personal Data Storage Device (PDSD). Collected tapes containing voice recorded ground elapsed time (GET) were forwarded to the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas after retrieval. Transcription of these tapes was managed by my peers at Test Division, New Apollo Spacecraft Program Office.

The Apollo Inventus mission was flown December 17, 2009 and its status is still currently under evaluation [June 17, 2014].

Communicators in the text are identified as follows:

CDR Commander Padraig F. Dennison

00 00 00 24

“You lied to me. You’ve been lying to us all. You sent me up here thinking you knew what it was. You sent me here as your goddamned guinea pig. You knew I’d die up here, but I won’t; I can’t. It’ll never let me die. It told me that. It told me everything. It told me what you know about it, and what you think it is. You were so wrong. You’ve sent me to hell without realizing, and it’ll keep me here forever; for eternity. I’m a prisoner, like you. This is happening because we broke the rules; the ancient rules set out by its ancestors. The rules are just for us, and we’re not supposed to understand them. We’re meant to obey them; we’re meant to die by them. It wants to contain our cancer, before we spread it. It knows what happens. It wants me to tell you, so you never try anything like this again. This isn’t what we’re supposed to do. This isn’t for us, it never will be. It’s important you understand that you can never come back here again. It’s important that you understand why that is.”

00 00 01 32

“I first became aware of extreme disorder about 4 hours after touching down at Autumn Base, and it was about 12:50 am on the monitor when the first incident started to occur. I spent the first 3 hours after touching down trying to re-establish communications with Houston, but it is my guess now that I was just being ignored. I was preparing tools and finishing the final calibrations and I had just put my suit and helmet on. I was about to leave the Inventus to conduct the geological tests outlined in my brief when I noticed that outside the craft, through the port hole on the exit latch, there was a dense layer of dust, hovering in a kind of stasis off the ground. This was at about 12:52 am. It was like a sandstorm, except everything was still. Then everything got dark, like a thick fog had rolled in, and then the tremors started. It was like the ground had a pulse and it rattled the shuttle violently, at intervals, maybe 2 seconds in between. There was a noise, too. It was like something was resonating through me from the ground, a kind of low humming noise, and it got louder and louder until it was like it was coming from inside my own skull. And then I saw him.”

00 00 02 15

“I watched his head come into view in the porthole gradually, as he climbed the last few steps on the ladder up to the hatch, and then he just watched me. I watched him back through the window; hoping to God It was some sort of hallucination. I tried to see his face, but I couldn’t see into his helmet through his dark visor and the mist. Then he brought a rock over his head, and began beating the porthole window with it. Between that and the tremors, I didn’t know what to do. What could I have done? They don’t prepare you for that kind of stuff in training. The first thing I did do was try to wake myself up, but obviously I wasn’t dreaming. I was terrified the tremors or the astronaut would cause some sort of irreversible damage to the shuttle, so I tried to take off; I tried to abandon my mission; I tried to get out of there. When I went to set up for lift off I noticed the banging on the window stop. When I turned to see what was happening at that point, there was a sudden, stronger, deeper movement in the ground. And then everything went black.”

00 00 03 12

“I wasn’t sure how long I’d been out for, but my oxygen gauge was telling me I’d used about 70% of my reserve; I don’t remember exactly how much. I woke up outside the shuttle, on the Moon’s surface, about 50 meters away from where I’d landed. That was my first time ever stepping foot on the Moon. I had no idea what was happening. I still didn’t know at that point whether I was hallucinating, or whether I was imagining things, or I don’t know what. The tremors had stopped and it seemed the dust and rocks had settled back on the surface while I was unconscious. The mist was gone too, and that humming noise. It was as if nothing had happened; just dead silence. I spotted the Inventus in the distance and started making my way towards it. Then as I got closer, I noticed a strange rock between myself and it. It was paler than the rest and longer too. Looking at it, it was noticeably distinctive from everything else; lying kind of skew-ways and lumpy. Then I saw it wasn’t a rock at all. It was the man, the astronaut from before. I stopped and watched. I tried to get a grasp on reality. I figured it couldn’t be real; what I was experiencing, but he stayed lying right there, motionless. And then he started to get up. He got up slowly, stopping on all-fours for a while, before getting completely to his feet. Then he started on his way back to the shuttle.”

00 00 04 18

“I kept about a 10 meter distance from him up to the ladder. When he got to it he started doing what I was hoping he wouldn’t do. He climbed it, halfway, and reached to the entrance latch. Then he got back down and lifted another rock. That’s when It happened the second time. The dust and rocks rose off the surface for as far as I could see. The deep pulse in the ground started beating again and that thick, dark fog just kind of materialized. I could barely see 5 meters in front of me. And that sound too, but it wasn’t really a sound. It couldn’t have been a sound. It was as if it was originating inside me; like it was vibrating through me. I could feel the hum in every inch of my body, and it got gradually louder. The astronaut seemed as concerned as I was. He got back up the ladder and started trying to break through the porthole again. My fear of being stranded out here gravely outweighed the fear of the astronaut, so I went after him.”

00 00 04 45

“When I got to the bottom of the Inventus’ ladder I reached up and wrapped my arms around the man’s suit, and with my body weight I dragged him off the and onto the ground. In a kind of desperate attempt, he swung at me with his rock hand. It struck my elbow that I had raised to it and I took that as my opportunity. I managed to prise the rock from his grip – I remember it being pretty weak – and then he stumbled back and took a moment to what looked to me like he was trying to catch his breath. He just stood there silently, kind of leaning forward a bit. That didn’t tell me much at the time. I stood there for a second too, as the adrenaline peaked, just looking at him in confusion, and fear. I was trying to see into his helmet, to see who he was… or what he was. Then he started coming towards me again, slowly, but intently. I put my boot out and planted it into the stomach of his suit, just to keep him back, but his legs folded and he landed face down in the dust. I watched to see if he was going to get back up, but he didn’t. Then my gauge pinged again. I had very little oxygen left in my tank at that point. I had to get inside the shuttle; I knew it was my only hope of getting out of that mess, whatever grossly underestimated mess I thought I was in at the time. I turned and put my boot on the first step of the ladder. I could see the man behind me in the reflection of the Inventus. I turned around to look at him one more time, before I climbed the ladder to the hatch; I don’t know why. He was sitting upright, his arms limp at his sides, staring at me through his dark visor, but there was something different about him that time. Then the ground gave that same, sudden grinding movement… of monumental proportion, and everything went black again.”

00 00 06 01

“I woke again on the ground outside the shuttle. My eyes burned and my ears were ringing. I had to fight with all my strength to not vomit inside my own helmet; I felt like I’d been brought back from the dead. I lay there until I could think straight, and then I noticed my gauge had been pinging while I was unconscious. I saw that my oxygen levels were critical. That was when panic started to really set in. I got up slowly so I wouldn’t pass out and spotted the shuttle about 30 meters away. I was so desperate to get back in there. I was desperate for oxygen… and to get away from this place. It was obvious something unprecedented was happening, even though I didn’t know what exactly. I had to get back before the tremors started again, and the fog, and the blackouts. I knew I was in a terrible situation, but I had no idea how bad it really was; how bad it was for all of us. I got to the shuttle eventually. There were moments I thought I would pass out, but I managed to get there. It was getting harder and harder to draw breaths and my head was getting hot. I climbed the ladder halfway and checked the entrance latch. It was locked. ‘The man’, I thought; ‘The man was using a rock, that’s the only way to get in’. I wasn’t thinking straight. I was desperate. I had my mind on the oxygen reserves inside; I had my mind on my family, on home.”

00 00 07 05

“This was meant to be a textbook mission. I mean… I was meant to come home! When I asked why it wasn’t going to be public, you told me it was for security reasons, and other reasons that weren’t relevant to me. I trusted you; why shouldn’t I have? I put my faith in all of you. I knew it was important, I understood that I was doing something that others couldn’t know about, but you kept so much from me. I put my life in your hands and you threw it away like it was nothing, and for what? You manipulated me. You threw me to the wolves. I wanted a story to tell, but not like this. I want to go home. This can’t happen to me… why did you let this happen to me?” [Sobbing and uncomprehend-able muttering from Captain Padraig F. Dennison until 00 00 14 19]

00 00 14 30

“After remembering the astronaut while standing at the locked hatch, I remember getting dizzy. I got off the ladder and found the easiest rock to carry, like I had seen him do, and then everything lifted off the ground again.”

00 00 14 42

“The rocks and dirt just hung there motionless like before. The fog materialized and everything got dark… and hazy. The hum started vibrating through me, louder and louder, and the surface started to pulse; that same primal series of beating coming from deep inside its core. The thought did cross my mind at the time, that it was as if it was alive. I got back onto the ladder, trying my best to hold on; the tremors were rocking the shuttle intensely now. Then I got to the top. I got to the hatch and looked through the porthole, and I saw myself. Not like a reflection, like a man inside the shuttle, only it was me. He stood there in his suit and helmet and just returned the stare. I saw the oxygen tanks on the racks to his left, and the screen that read 12:53 am to his right. I could see what was happening now; it had happened already before. I was not able to breathe at that point, and the pinging from my gauge was deafening. My tanks were empty. I held my last breath and with the rock I started hitting the window. I was trying to break it; there’s an emergency release on the other side, but then something grabbed hold of me around my waist. It was the same man as before. It was me. He pulled us off the ladder, away from the latch; away from the oxygen, and onto the ground. My chest burned, I couldn’t hold it any longer. I swung at him with the rock but he easily blocked it. Then he took it from me. I felt the blood rush from my head. My eyes leaked tears into the helmet and my vision spun. I stumbled forwards and felt him kick the last breath out of my lungs.”

00 00 15 56

“I lay there flat on my stomach, in agony. My eyes felt like they were going to pop, and my chest was clenching up so hard I thought it would burst. I felt its pulse rattle my helmet at 2 or 3 second intervals. The humming noise got louder and louder until I felt like it was shivering against my soul. My vision faded and I felt my life stutter. I felt it leak out of the cracks in my broken spirit. I felt it with every convulsion, and then it spoke to me.”

00 00 16 22

“It spoke to me without words, but I understood. It was instantaneous, like a flash, but less than that. All at once it told me. It flooded me with its knowledge, its evil, and it was terrifying. It’s not a God, but it is a creator. It’s a creator AND a destroyer; a manipulator. It’s an observer, an instigator. It’s our mother and our father, but it’s not our friend. Its nature is insidious. You lied to me. You’ve been lying to us all. There’s no flag up here. There are no footsteps, or milestones; I was the first. We have no history up here, we have no right to. You had no right to come here at all. It wanted to show me, so I could tell you. It wants to send a message. There are rules that you don’t understand. Rules that are beyond what we will ever be capable of understanding. But you need to know they’re there. The Earth is our prison; a cage. IT is our warden. That’s why it floats up here, watching us. You weren’t meant to leave. You’re never meant to leave! This is our punishment, and has been since germs turned to fish. You knew it was alive. You were trying to contact it. You fools. You sent me here to poke it, to see if it was awake. You thought maybe it could help us; it will help you die alone on your miserable blue sphere, away from the rest of the universe.”

00 00 17 52

“You’ll come back for my tapes, you’ll want them. It wants you to have them. A group of you will go public with them shortly after the investigation, and leak it all. This will trigger a series of events that will lead to the end of man. It will decide to speed up this process when it begins, and then it will take all of you as well, to where I’m going shortly. I hope we do burn together some day. It knows everything from now until the end, and now I do too. You need to destroy these tapes, discredit the transcripts. Do this by any means necessary before they can be leaked to the public. Make it so that nobody will ever believe their authenticity; it’s the only way. Then you need to leave this place alone. It will keep me forever, as a reminder to you. I don’t need food or air anymore; I’ll never die. It did this to me; YOU did this to me. There’s nothing for you here anymore. This place has a deep, dark evil living inside of it. It’s alive; it’s conscious. Please, never come back. Never leave Earth again.”

00 00 18 54

“At this present moment I’m just lying here recording this message, waiting for it to send me away. It brought me back from the edge just as I was about to die. It filled my lungs with air, and I almost choked on it, like I’d forgotten what it was. Soon I won’t need it anymore; I know that it’s only temporary. My eyesight and hearing came back almost immediately. Its pulse deep inside the core still rattled my helmet, and the hum still resonated inside my skull. I sat up slowly, through the floating layer of dust and saw the Inventus and the man on the ladder. I knew exactly how it would happen; it had happened already before. He climbed the last two steps and turned back to look at me through the layer of floating debris. Then the ground tensed and heaved, and they were gone.”

Notes:

Recording stays active after the speaker has finished until 00 00 27 53 before being manually terminated by the speaker. The sound recorded during this period mainly consists of the speakers breathing and sobbing. A snippet of an adult male’s voice can be heard just before the recordings termination. The location of Captain Padraig F. Dennison by his own account during the period of time which he records these messages would have made it impossible for noise outside of his space suit to be picked up by his Personal Data Storage Device (PDSD). The voice heard in that snippet has been confirmed to not belong to Captain Padraig F. Dennison.

It should also be noted that during the retrieval mission conducted by the Apollo Memory, no trace of the Apollo Inventus shuttle was found at Autumn Base in relation to where Captain Padraig F. Dennison’s suit was found and where he claimed to be speaking from in the recordings. Captain Padraig F. Dennison’s space suit was found in close proximity to Autumn Base and the tapes were collected from there. Captain Padraig F. Dennison’s body, however, was missing from the suit and was never located by the flightcrew of Apollo Memory. The crew reported that Captain Padraig F. Dennison’s space suit was completely intact on inspection, but that the lunar surface area where it was found on appeared to have suffered extensive burn damage in a 3 meter radius from an unidentified source.

***

I am still gravely unsure as to whether or not I am leaking this, or discrediting it. What I am certain of however, is that regardless of whether or not it comes for us, I will burn with Padraig F. Dennison someday for what I’ve done to him, along with everyone else directly involved in the Apollo Inventus mission. I feel that I may be joining him a lot sooner than I had previously anticipated.

Forgive me please, if I’ve damned us all. Forgive me, Padraig F. Dennison.

Credit To – Coffeey

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.6/10 (82 votes cast)

ALEX & J002E3: Two Video Shorts

July 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.1/10 (77 votes cast)

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

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.1/10 (77 votes cast)

Mermaid

July 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.6/10 (263 votes cast)

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

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.6/10 (263 votes cast)

Red Dunes

July 16, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.0/10 (98 votes cast)

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

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 6.0/10 (98 votes cast)

What You Don’t Know Won’t Kill You

July 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.1/10 (178 votes cast)

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

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.1/10 (178 votes cast)

This website contains fictional content that may be too scary for younger readers. Please verify that you are either at least 18 years of age or have parental permission before proceeding.