Underground Families

October 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The Shadow Web is the side of the internet that can’t be found using typical search engines, but instead can only be accessed using downloaded programs that grant you anonymity. It contains some of the sickest filth you could ever (and not ever) imagine, and is the topic of this traumatic tale.

*The Hidden Wiki is a Shadow Web site that informs you of many of the different, sick sites the Shadow Web has to offer.

I explored the Shadow Web once.

Getting there was difficult. All the programs that let you run around on the web anonymously have rather convoluted installation instructions, and I’m not the tech-savviest type, so it was a struggle. But after a few frustrating hours, I managed to do it.

My first stop was, no doubt, the coveted Hidden Wiki*. You hear about it all the time, and it really makes you curious to see it for yourself. People talk about how sick it is- how you need to be extremely careful of what you click. They’re 100% right. I avoided so much, but still would wind up seeing an image or an article I really hadn’t wanted to see. Things that no one should see. Disgusting, pure evil things that shouldn’t exist. I’d been on the Shadow Web for ten minutes and was already expecting the FBI pounding on my door, and here my only crime was curiosity.

Weird comparison, I know, but the Shadow Web is sort of like doing drugs. You’re alarmingly paranoid at first, constantly questioning your actions. Hell, my friend called me while I was on it and I about had a heart attack I was so sure it was the police.

But after a while, you sort of relax a little. Feel a little more confident. After a few days of being the most cautious I’ve ever been in my life, I started feeling more… adventurous. Started clicking links and exploring the interesting-looking sites. Human experiments, killers-for-hire, black market sites… Seems weird to explore these sites, I know. But the sites are so cheesy half the time, it’s hard to believe they’re real. You can find half these websites on the normal web, too. They’re pretty much always fake.

I completely avoided porn links. There are so many sick, sick sites featuring minors- the Shadow Web is where pedophiles get their endless supply of child porn, after all. Even porn sites claiming to feature only people 18+, I simply didn’t risk. I didn’t risk most of the snuff film sites, either. Though I admit I did watch a video or two, purely out of curiosity. (Worst decision ever. Don’t watch them.)

It’s when several weeks of regular Shadow Web access had passed that I began feeling extremely confident. I’d gotten to a point where I could easily and automatically avoid links I knew led to bad things. I’d explored a few seriously gruesome sites, with no police visits. I was cocky. I was curious.

I joined a forum.

It was a pretty tame forum, compared to the others I’d stumbled across. This one was for, as they called themselves, “Underground Families.” Literally, it was a ton of people who lived underground or in completely isolated areas with their families, all over the world. And they weren’t like the backwoods inbred families you see in horror movies, or giant religious communities like the one discovered in Texas. Most of these families were pretty small in numbers, usually living in some warehouse or basement, or even a normal house, in some cases. What brought them together was that they never left their homes… ever. They were living completely secluded lives- only socializing with their own family and the people on this forum.

There was no talk of torture or human trafficking or kidnapping. No talk of murder or inbreeding. Seriously, they appeared to be totally normal families, who honest to God just wanted to live alone. Stay “off the grid” so to speak. Really not all that weird or uncommon, actually.

I’d joined the forum purely for access to the all the topics (you had to be a registered user to view them.) I wasn’t planning on talking to anyone.
But one user caught my eye. He seemed to be extremely popular on the site; he’d posted several threads, and had way more thread views and replies than most of the others. He replied to everyone- even silly remarks you’d think would have gotten lost in such heavily populated threads.

Not wanting to bring attention to myself (the community was actually a decent size, but I still felt like they’d easily sniff out a newbie like me and begin questioning my authenticity), I messaged him privately.

“Hi! Sorry to message you out of the blue like this, but I’m new to the forum and didn’t feel totally comfortable posting yet.

I’m trying to write an unbiased article for online publication about Underground Families, and was hoping you could tell me more about your life. I’m ultimately hoping to give public insight about family life in seclusion, compared to, say, one person who lives alone. I’m also interested in the reason behind your family’s decision to live underground. If you’re interested and willing to offer your views, I have several questions ready! There’s absolutely no obligation to answer any of the questions you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable answering, and none of them are personal towards you specifically or would take away your anonymity. Thank you!”

So I’d lied about the article thing, but I had a gut feeling that if I’d tried to talk to him pretending to be a member of an underground family myself, he’d call me out immediately. You can’t just read a couple posts about something you’ve never heard of before and then blend into their community seamlessly. Besides, this way, I could ask all the questions I wanted without fault. My motive was presented up front- he could either say yes or decline. No harm done either way.

Several days passed with no response, so I stopped lurking the forum as often. After a while, I only checked it once every couple of days. Eventually, a week passed, and I’d basically moved on altogether.

The second week after sending that message, I did get curious again, so I went back to the forum. But it was gone. The entire thing was gone. Did I have the right web address? Yeah, definitely the same. Where was it? The site wasn’t just taken down- the entire page was disabled. Just got an error message- this site doesn’t exist. What?

Was it because of my message? Did he report it, the owners get spooked, and the whole place got deleted?

There wasn’t even anything bad on that forum. Why would they react so seriously to one message? They were on the Shadow Web- all presumably browsing completely anonymously like I was. Surely I couldn’t have been the first curious person to find it and ask questions.

I started digging around the Shadow Web. A whole community wouldn’t just delete themselves- they’d create a new site, right? I did find a couple of websites describing the Underground Family lifestyle, but no forums. They seriously deleted the whole thing? Maybe a new one was being created as I searched. I decided I’d wait a week, and then search again. Give them some time to rebuild, if they even planned to.

As I waited, I grew bored. The Shadow Web is virtually endless, but to avoid any confrontations with the FBI, the sites you feel comfortable visiting are extremely limited. The normal web would never satisfy me again- I was able to tell that the first day I’d used the Shadow Web. But by now I’d gone through all the tamer websites I could find. I just wanted more interesting stuff. I was just curious. I wanted shock value.

So I began digging a little deeper. Visiting more “iffy” sites. Still avoided all the porn the best I could, but I did wind up on some seriously nasty pages. Found one site that sold small objects made of human skin. Actually seemed relatively legit, so I didn’t stay long on that one. Found another site that sold cyanide capsules and other drugs/guns.

I even came across a site called Suicide Voyeurs, where basically, people filmed their suicide live and users could pay to watch. It even went so far as to hold contests: a “suicidal” (the person planning to commit suicide) would, live on camera, present several options for killing themselves, and paying users could vote on which method was ultimately used. Of course, that information was all written in the site’s FAQ; I wasn’t going to pay to watch a suicide, so I have no idea if it was legit or not.

The week finally came and went, so I searched again for the Underground Families forum. Again, no luck finding a forum. Apparently they really had deleted it. Or hidden it way better.

I was about to give up the Shadow Web altogether when my eye spotted a site called “Road to Nowhere.” I’d actually seen this name when doing my original search for the underground families forum the week before, but hadn’t thought to click on it. So, I clicked on it this time.

It was a website, not a forum, but with a familiar theme. It showed some pictures of families hanging out in places that appeared to be furnished basements or rooms with cement floors. The pictures were usually a little dark, often kind of grainy, but the families seemed happy and close. Most of the people (and kids) in the pictures were smiling or talking- and not like cheesy stock photos, but like actual candid photos. Maybe some of them hadn’t even known their pictures were being taken.

I explored around, and it turned out that the site wasn’t quite like the forum (where users shared stories and experiences), but more like, a dating service of sorts. Except, instead of finding dates, you found families to join.

Families posted pages advertising themselves, anonymously of course. They’d describe their appearances, size of the family, how big their “home” was, their religion, goals, hobbies and interests, the works. Then they’d say exactly what they were looking for.

And when I say exactly, I mean exactly. Right down to things like, “You must have prominent cheek bones. We all have cheekbones.” And “You must be 5’10”.” Even things like “You must have a deep, soothing voice. Perfect for telling bedtime stories but also for effectively scolding.” These families meant business. Many said that if you didn’t meet every single aspect they were looking for, don’t bother replying. Others were more open to compromise, but even then not by much. It was pretty weird, to say the least.

I dug deeper into the site, even more intrigued. Then, literally by accident, I found a hidden link. It was the period at the end of the third sentence on one of the families’ listings. Why there, I don’t know. Maybe the link changed daily to a different random period somewhere else on the site. Either way I clicked it, and was taken to a new section of the site.

A forum.

Except this forum wasn’t anything like the first one. This forum didn’t have happy, close-knit underground families joking and bonding with one another. This forum was serious… dark in tone, blunt in its cause.

The website was for families looking to welcome a new adult to their home.

The forum was for families looking to welcome new children.

There were only two sections in the forum: one for families seeking children, and one…

…for families advertising theirs.

One thread in the second section was titled “Third Was Fake.” It was by a woman, apparently single. She’d “already ‘taken in’ 2 kids” and had “mistakenly decided to ‘take in’ a third”, and it just “wasn’t working out.” She said she hadn’t realized the third, a 4 year old boy, had had his hair dyed black by his “previous family”, who I guess had given him up because he “cried more than their other child.” None of it made sense to me, but looking through her thread, it was filled mainly with sympathy posts.

I kept scrolling, each reply being worse than the last. People sympathized with her struggles, but she wasn’t getting any takers for the boy. One user commented saying how “difficult it is, finding families for children over 2.” From the other posts, I learned that crying children can rarely be “rehomed”, because apparently crying is one of the many “negative” child traits underground families don’t want. Others include “large feet”, “narrow mouths”, and “bony limbs.”

Between the website and the forum, it suddenly dawned on me why everyone had listed such meticulously strict traits and qualifications.

They all wanted their families to appear biologically related. Right down to temperament and personality.

Maybe for some other, much sicker reasons, too.

I went back to reading the replies. I was getting to the more recent posts, like in the last week or so. It was obvious the woman was growing increasingly frustrated with her lack of luck. Finally, she posted a time limit.

“If no one takes him by August 3rd, I’m going to dispose of him.”

Today was August 1st.

A few people replied with things like, “Aw, poor little guy. But, you have to do what you have to do.” No one seemed concerned for the boy. Only sympathetic towards the “mom.” So I did something I never, ever should have done.

I messaged her. Privately, as with the man on the last forum.

I said I’d take the boy.

I wasn’t expecting a reply. Hell, I half expected the site to suddenly shut down like before. So imagine my shock when, not even fifteen minutes later, I get a message back.

“Thank God. Disposing is such a mess, and my other kids haven’t witnessed one yet. Tell me about your family.”

Short and to the point. It seemed most of the posts were written like this- short, precise, and to the point. I tried my best to reply in the same manner, making up a family on the spot and praying she didn’t ask too many more questions.

“I’m a married mother of one. Our daughter is six. The boy looks like he could be her twin. We’ve discussed, and are willing to try and appease his crying habit.”

I’d seen the word “appease” thrown around on both this forum and the last one, and I had a feeling it referred to something a lot more sinister than it sounded.

The woman responded back with an email address I could reach her at (an anonymous one, of course), to discuss the finer details and eventually an “exchange location.” I agreed and promised her a prompt email.

Then I sat at my desk for a moment, thinking what on Earth I had just done.
Do I call the police? If I show them all of this, will they forgive the fact that I’ve been browsing sick and twisted sites on the Shadow Web for the past month and a half? Or will trying to be a hero for this little boy wind me up in prison?

I was scared. Extremely scared. Terrified of being exposed. This would definitely make national headlines- maybe even international ones. Everyone in the world would say “Yeah, she saved a boy, but what was she doing on all those other sites?” My friends and family would know I watched that 2 minute video of some Indian man being beheaded with a hunting knife. They’d know about that live torture site I’d hung out on for 2 hours. I hadn’t watched any of the videos- they were pay-to-watch anyway, and even if they weren’t I still wouldn’t have. Right? No… maybe I would have.

My curiosity had landed me in hot, unforgiving waters, and given me a black and white choice as punishment.

Save the boy but face public humiliation and possible prison time for my sick curiosities…

…or delete anonymous browsing altogether, never look back, and convince myself the boy’s fate was out of my hands.

Top Story: 4 Year Old Found Dead After Anonymous Call to Police.

“A woman’s anonymous phone call to police headquarters around 4:30pm last Friday may have resulted in the death of a young boy thought to be a victim of a large-scale underground child trafficking trade. Tom has the story.”

“Thank you Beth. An investigation of a 4 year old’s discovered body now shows that the boy is the same child who was kidnapped from a daycare three years ago- a crime that had left such mystery and sorrow in its wake that the daycare had been forced to shut down just weeks after the incident occurred. Hope of locating the boy was slim, until an anonymous phone call to the Rosendale Police Department came in late last Friday afternoon.

Here’s the call…”

911 Operator: “911, what’s your emergency?”

Caller: “I think a boy is about to be killed.”

911 Operator: “What? Tell me where you are.”

Caller: “N-No, no I can’t. Okay so, I was… I was on this website-“

911 Operator: “What website?”

Caller: “A website for families. Underground families. Where they kidnap children and, and look, I-I think-“

911 Operator: “M’am, please slow down. What’s this website’s URL address? Where are you?”

Caller: “Look! A woman is taking a boy to the corner of *blurred* and *blurred*. He was kidnapped. She had kidnapped him. If you don’t go get him, she’s going to kill him. She’s going to kill him at 5 o’clock if you don’t go get him!”

911 Operator: “M’am-! M’am!”

*beep* *dial tone*

911 Operator: “M’am-! ….Hello?”

“Upon further investigation, it is believed the boy was being traded through an underground child trafficking ring, but the details are still being worked out. The name and whereabouts of the anonymous caller are currently unknown, but police believe the call was made from a payphone just down the street from where the body was found. The police are unsure if the caller was part of the trade.

An alert was called and responding officers were immediately sent to the location provided. They arrived a little before 5pm and waited, but no woman or child showed.

The next day, on August 3rd, they returned to the spot for a follow-up and discovered the deceased body of the 4 year old left in a nearby dumpster. Cause of death has not been officially released, but investigators suspect it to have been by strangulation. The boy otherwise showed no signs of trauma or abuse. No clues to his killer were left, and investigators are still working to determine where he’s been over the past three years since his disappearance. Back to you, Beth.”

“Thanks Tom. Absolutely tragic.”

“Yes it is.”

“In other news…”

Credit To – inubasket

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I Felt It

October 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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When I was fourteen, I had a best friend named Boone Hicks. He was real sweet looking, with long blonde hair, Irish green eyes, and an elvish face. He was a little on the short side, only about five feet tall, and we hung out mostly indoors because he was so fair skinned. His parents didn’t like him too much, though, and he spent most of his time at my house, but I never minded it.

It was when his aunt announced the gender of her unborn baby that things started to get weird. “When the doctor told me, I was so excited,” His aunt Caroline said, rubbing her belly affectionately. “I just knew it was going to be a girl.” We were all at Boone’s house, sitting in the family room; he had invited me over to meet his aunt. Boone just kind of stared at her with his piercing green eyes and a blank expression.

“No, it’s going to be a boy.” He said, still giving Caroline that heavy stare. She gave him a questioning look.

“But the doctors said it was a girl.”

“I guess there was a mistake,” he said, his expression never changing. “It’s going to be a boy.”

His aunt stared back at him with a worried look. “Are you feeling okay, Boone? Why are you saying these things?”

“I felt it.” He said simply, shifting his eyes to the floor. His mother threw the book she had been reading earlier at him, hitting him in the chest. It fell to the floor, but he didn’t even look at it.

“Boone, hush up, you idiot! Quit trying to scare your aunt!”

“Hang on, Julie,” his aunt said, holding a hand up. “What else did you, uh… “Feel” about the baby?”

“Well, it’s a boy,” he said, causing his mother to roll her eyes. “a-and it’s going to be born a month early, January third at eleven thirty A.M to be exact.” He went into another stare, eyes back on his aunt. “You were thinking about naming your girl Addison, but you want to name your boy Aiden now.” His aunt went wide eyed.

“H-how did you know that?” She asked, furrowing her eyebrows at him. “I haven’t told anyone about that!”

“I felt it.”

“No!” She yelled, grabbing his shoulders. “How did you know that?”

“I told you, I felt it-”

“Quit saying that, you freak!”

“Hey!” I said, interfering the fit that she was about to throw. “It was probably just a coincidence that he guessed his name, I mean, how many choices are there, really? You said you wanted it’s name to start with A, right?” I asked, recalling something Boone had told me a couple weeks earlier. “Besides, you haven’t even figured out if he was right about the birthdate or gender. Everyone just needs to calm down.”

Caroline looked at me for moment, and I honestly thought she was about to slap me. She just stood up. “I’m leaving.” And she did just that.

“Boone, you screw up! Get out!” Mrs. Hicks yelled, shoving Boone and me out the front door. I decided to let Boone sleep over at my house that night.

“Dude, why’d you do that?” I asked him as we walked down the road, the sun setting in the distance. “I think that was a little much.”

“But Viktor,” he said quietly, sounding a little like he was about to cry. “I felt it.”

I felt shivers rack my spine at that moment, and I slept as far away as I could from Boone that night. A few months later, his aunt gave birth to a baby boy, one month early, on January third at eleven A.M, and she named him Aiden. I don’t think he ever saw his aunt Caroline again.

Months passed and we soon forgot about the scare Boone had given his aunt. We went on with our normal lives, hung out and played video games like old times. That was, until my accident.

I was walking home from school one day, alone because Boone was home with a cold. The school was only a couple blocks from my house, but I decided to stop by a gas station and get a Pepsi before heading home. Too do that, though, I had to cross the street. Keep in mind, I was fourteen. If I didn’t see a car passing straight in front of me, I was not going to wait before running across the street. I began jogging across the road without a second thought. All I heard was squealing tires and a crash, then nothing. When I came to, I was being wheeled into a hospital room and poked with needles.

I don’t know how long I had been in there when one of the doctors came into my room. “Excuse me, sir, but someone’s here to see you.”

I expected it to be my parents, but it was Boone who came through the door. He rushed to my side, tears in his eyes. His hands hovered over me, like he was scared if he touched me he would hurt me. He finally settled one on my forehead. “I knew I’d find you here,” he mumbled, lips trembling. “I felt it.”

I shivered at those words. I didn’t know what was going on with Boone, but it was scaring me a little. “Did you call my parents?”

“Yeah,” he said, sitting in one of the plastic chairs beside the hospital bed. “They’re on their way.”

“Boone,” I started, turning my head to look at him. I couldn’t move my left leg, and I had a killer headache. “What are these “feelings” you get?” I had to ask; it was eating at me.

“I don’t know,” he mumbled, playing with his shirt sleeves. “I’ll just be sitting there and all the sudden I know about something before it happens. Or before anyone knows about it.”

I looked at his Irish green eyes one more time. They looked far more frightened than I felt. “That’s… That’s really cool.”

He grinned at me, then my parents came in, bawling and yelling about how I should’ve watched for cars. I was put in a cast later that day, my left leg was declared broken, and I had a minor concussion.

It was a year later before Boone had anymore “feelings”, but his last one haunts me to this very day.

It was a perfectly normal day, just like any other, except for the fact that Boone had been exceptionally quiet at school. I asked him about it at lunch, but he shrugged me off saying he hadn’t got much sleep the night before. I wasn’t convinced, but I dropped it. Boone didn’t walk home with me that afternoon, but I didn’t run across the road again. I went home, did homework, ate dinner, and went to sleep like always.

I awoke to tapping on my window at what my clock said was two in the morning. I moaned, rubbing my eyes and rolling over to face the window. Boone stood outside, in his pajamas, motioning for me to come over. I sighed, falling out of bed and shuffling to the window. I unlatched it and yanked it open, popping my head out. “What is it? Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“Come on,” he motioned for me to climb outside. I raised an eyebrow at him.

“What?”

“Shhhhh! Come out, we’re going to the police station.”

“What the heck are you talking about?” I asked, closing my eyes. I just wanted to slam the window in his face and go back to bed.

“Just trust me!” He gave me a pleading look and I grudgingly put on my shoes.

“Fine,” I snapped, climbing out of the window and hopping to the ground. “But if my parents find out, you’re dead.” Boone didn’t say anything, just began jogging towards the police station.

You should have seen the look on the police officer’s face when Boone asked him to do my finger prints. He looked at him like he had two heads, but took me into a room and did as Boone said. After I washed the ink off of my fingers, I came back into the front room where Boone was saying something to one of the officers. When I got closer, I heard him telling him to compare my fingerprints to the ones of a missing persons case from eleven years before. I stopped dead in my tracks. He had to be crazy.

I felt something like a weight drop in my stomach and I thought for a second I was going to be sick all over the police station floor. I started shaking, then I tore out of the door before they noticed I was listening. I left Boone at the police station that night, running all the way home. I climbed through my window, collapsed on my bed, and cried myself to sleep.

It was a few weeks later when my “parents” were sent to court, and then sentenced to prison for kidnapping. Apparently, my name wasn’t Viktor. It’s Garret, and I was taken from my parents when I was only four years old. The police found my real parents, who I met the day my “parents” went to prison. They were bawling and hugging me, saying they thought they’d never see me again. They told me I’d be moving with them several states away, back to my home in Montana. I’d be leaving Boone.

Our goodbyes were short, and they ended with a long hug and a few tears. I would never forget Boone Hicks and the impact he had on my life, and as I watched him waving goodbye to me when I boarded the plane to Montana with my real parents, I didn’t have any questions about how he knew I’d been a missing person’s case. I knew he felt it.

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The Pursuit Institute

October 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The Pursuit Institute by Liam Vickers

Two years ago, a bunch of my friends and I went on a school sponsored trip to Alaska set up by the Pursuit Institute. I was placed in a group with nine, no, ten other students, and two adult chaperones. Another group was also made up of similar numbers, and each group would start at one location and then we would switch places halfway through. The trip would consist mostly of hiking and backpacking in Denali where we would camp in tents and then hiking near the Kenai Peninsula where we would stay in a cabin.

We arrived in Anchorage at about 2:00 in the morning, but it was still light out as Alaska never really got dark that time of year. Our groups parted ways after claiming our baggage, and my group began our trip by driving to Denali National Park where we would be spending the next several days. We all had a great time and before we knew it, it was time to meet up with the other group and trade places for the second half of our trip.

We converged in front of a supermarket and the two groups swapped stories and shared some laughs. It was all fun, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was . . . wrong with the other group. Their stories would be incredibly vague or they would just stop halfway through as if they caught themselves from mentioning something without even realizing it.

It was all incredibly eerie but no one but me seemed to notice. When I tried to question them further or go into detail about their trip they would simply become dazed and say that it was really all just a blur. Then, getting defensive, they would ask me details about our trip so far. I scoffed and tried to remember a specific event only to find that . . . I really didn’t remember much either. In fact, as I began listening to my groups own stories, we were being just as vague as them! It was all so strange that no one, not even I, immediately noticed that the other group was short one kid.

Suddenly though, it hit me.

“Where’s Josh?” I asked the group. Everyone turned to face me, their eyes seemed glazed and cloudy as their faces reflected my own confusion right back at me. What they said next made my blood run cold.

With such genuine seriousness that it couldn’t have possibly been a joke, one by one, they asked, “Who the hell is Josh?” Even the adults looked puzzled.

Giving a nervous laugh, I turned to my own group for support only to see that they were looking at me with the same expressions. Confusion was plastered across every one of their faces, looking at me with blank eyes. Then, suddenly, confusion turned to laughter as if they realized that I had been joking.

“Haha! Nice man! You had me goin’ for a second there!” Matt said as the mood quickly lightened back up. I laughed with them and pretended that it had been a joke, but all I felt was a horrible sickness rising up inside me.

That’s when a kid from the other group said, “Haha, but seriously, what’s with YOUR group? You guys are acting all weird and . . . where is Sarah?”

“Haha, very funny.”

“Yeah real original.” Members of both groups snapped back at him, almost in unison. No one named Sarah had even been in our group, and even I was pissed that he was making fun of me. That is, until I saw the look on his face.

When no one took him seriously, his appearance was bleached to a deathly pale tone and his eyes widened, shifting from side to side nervously. Then he looked at me. Our eyes met and we both knew that something was horribly wrong. Although we couldn’t really be sure that the other was telling the truth, we both seemingly knew someone who was now forgotten. We simply stood there for what felt like forever, staring at each other.

He looked horrified, I’m sure I did too. Before I got a chance to talk to him however, we were shoved into our separate cars and were on our way to our new destinations, their group to Denali, ours to the Cabin. I doubted talking to him would’ve done any good anyway though. What could either of us have said? He didn’t remember Josh and I sure as hell didn’t know anyone named Sarah.

The more I thought about it, the more I began to convince myself that it must have been a joke by everyone to screw with me. A group joke that everyone was in on except for me. Josh was probably just hiding in the car, laughing his ass off. I felt like such an idiot for believing that that another kid had experienced what I had when he was really just flat out mocking me in front of everyone! I buried my face in my hands. Part of me was angry, but I was mostly relieved. It certainly made more sense to think that it was all just a joke on me. I was actually impressed that they’d got the adults in on it too.

But, overall, I was still pretty pissed and I decided that the next time I saw the kid who mocked me; I would punch him straight in the face! How dare he mess with me by making up someone! Sarah Duffy, yeah right!

My mind froze . . . Duffy? He had never said a last name. Where did I get that from? And why did it sound so familiar?! What startled me was that I even had a face to put with the name! My mind suddenly exploded with pictures and memories.

Sarah! She was my best god damn friend! How the hell did I forget about her?! I was clutching my head and gasping for air as everyone in the car looked at me and began yelling for me to calm the hell down. I couldn’t calm down though, my mind felt like it was being smashed with a sledge hammer and the more my memory cleared, the worse it got. Pain, the likes of which I had never experienced before, racked my body as I curled into a ball shivering and straining to maintain consciousness. The memories continued rushing back into my head, threatening to split my mind in two until, suddenly, it was over.

I sat up, and, bleary eyed, looked around me. Everyone stared right back at me, terrified.

“Guys, Sarah! Sarah Duffy! Please, dear God, tell me you remember her!” I practically screamed.

Their faces once again switched to anger.

“God damnit John!” One of the adult chaperons yelled, “We thought you were having a seizer or something! If you pull one more stunt like that for the sake of a joke, we’ll send you straight home! Are you okay? What the hell was that?”

I began tearing up, “You guys don’t know Sarah? She- . . . she was my friend! She was YOUR friend for Christ’s sake!” I began searching for a specific memory. “Kevin, you made fun of her goofy hair right when we got off of the plane in Anchorage!” I cried, “Please, for the love of god, tell me you remember that!”

No one said a thing. They all just stared at me with judgmental expressions.

“That joke has run its course.” Kevin said coldly.

Not a one of them showed any signs of recognition, but I knew she was real! Or had been anyway. What the hell had happened to her? I strained and tried to remember the last time I had seen her, but any recent memories were still illusive and blurry.

No matter how hard I tried, all thinking about it did was bring back the headaches and pain. Finally, I was forced to stop or everyone would begin to seriously worry about me again.

I just sat in the car for the next several hours of the drive and stared out the window at the bleak, grey surroundings, as rain ran down the glass. It had been raining since we arrived in Alaska, and it showed no signs of letting up for the next couple of days at least.

Finally, we arrived at the entrance to the trail that would take us to the cabin the other group had stayed at. We unloaded our packs, strapped them on, and set out on our 7 mile hike to where the secluded lakeside cabin lay. It was about 2:00 in the morning, but since it never really got dark out, our plan was to hike in immediately and get there by 5:00 so as to have a full day ahead of us.

That being said however, the constant rain and low-set clouds made for poor visibility and the hike in was a struggle to say the least. Through the thick fog, it was near impossible to even make out a tree branch before it struck you in the face, seemingly out of nowhere. Being mindful of possible grizzly bears, we took care to keep our group loud so as to scare them off. About an hour in, we were all singing “Journey” at the top of our lungs when I suddenly fell to my knees, and then collapsed to the muddy ground, clutching my head. I had once again been trying to remember when I had last seen Sarah when it all came flooding back in a horrific wave of grotesque images and unimaginable terrors.

There we were, at the Denali campground. The torrential rain pelted down and the sky was so dark that for the first time since we had been there, it actually seemed like night. Everyone was settling down under the tarp around the campfire, and many people were already asleep in their tents. That’s when Jenna asked if anyone had seen Sarah as she still hadn’t washed her dishes.

“I’m pretty sure she went to bed already,” I said, “I don’t want to be creepy, but I’ll go check to be sure.”

I reluctantly walked away from the warmth of the fire and into the oppressive darkness and driving cold rain. As I approached her tent, I could tell that she wasn’t inside as it was unzipped with the door lying wide open. I immediately ran to close it.

What an idiot! I thought to myself, the tent is completely soaked inside now!

That’s when I heard her muffled, agonizing scream. It came from somewhere in the woods surrounding the campground and I, without thinking, immediately ran off into the forest after her. After shoving my way through thick spruce and willows, I reached a clearing where I could barely see Sarah’s body on the ground as some . . . thing, which was mostly obscured by trees and underbrush, was ripping her open. She was screaming with all of her might but the thing’s bony hooked hand was covering her mouth. Its long fingers curled almost all the way around her head. The sound of her death was horrendous as bones snapped and skin was peeled away. I wanted to help, but couldn’t bring myself to move.

Sarah was long dead by the time I realized that the creature, was beginning to . . . wear her. It had hallowed her out and was now sewing her lifeless corpse onto itself. I was still paralyzed with fear when it suddenly turned towards me.

Sarah’s grotesque, shredded carcass was now horribly reanimated, and it began crawling towards me like some kind of broken marionette as her dead eyes looked straight ahead, yet saw nothing.

I finally broke out of my trance and began frantically sprinting back towards camp. Sarah’s corpse could’ve easily caught me crawling, but the thick underbrush forced it to stand up awkwardly and begin a demented walk in which everything moved all wrong. This fortunately gave me enough time to reach the safety of the campfire, although, when I arrived, I had no idea what I had been running from . . . or really any of what I had just done.

No one asked me if Sarah had really been asleep, because none of us knew a “Sarah.”

And that thing, pretending to be her, cringing at the light of the fire, slowly slunk back into the dark of the forest.

I bolted upright to people yelling, cursing, and struggling to their feet. I had been near the front if the group, so when I feel to ground, many people behind me tripped over my body and then tripped the people behind them.

“Oh God! I’m sorry you guys!” I cried, “The uh, the ground is really slick here!”
Grumbles were heard and several insults flew my way but we all eventually got up and continued moving. My mind was racing. The fact that I could remember Sarah when no one else could must have had something to with seeing the creature before it stole her skin.
For me, it must have just been the initial shock that caused the lapse in memory. It was for this same reason that I could remember Josh while the other kid didn’t.

My blood froze. He didn’t remember Josh because his memory had blocked the horror from him . . . because he had seen Josh being taken in the exact same area in which we were now hiking! And our bear calls were bringing it right to us!

Breathing heavy, I slowly turned my head around to look behind me.

Sure enough, following from quite a distance, and just barely visible in the bleak grey fog, I could see the silhouette of some sort of fucked-up human impersonation; grotesquely stumbling along just behind our group . . . wearing the decaying face of Josh. Its limbs swayed and bent in directions impossible for a human to imitate, and there were seams where the skin split away and was held together with nothing but a few fleshy strands. When the creature saw me looking, it darted away off the path, but I could tell that it was still following us. It was waiting for something.

I doubted it would attack us with such a large group and I was sure that no one would believe me, and so I was forced to simply continue hiking.

Finally, we reached the cabin and everyone tried to get some last minute sleep before we started our day. Everyone but me. I KNEW that thing was sulking around in the darkness of the woods surrounding the cabin, waiting for one of us to go out alone.

Morning came and everyone quickly prepared for our hike of the day. We would be hiking up a mountain which required some intense bush-whacking just to reach the base thus realistically making the trip at least 4 hours both ways. We packed our lunches, consisting of nothing but protein bars and water, and zipped up our raingear as the weather was still nothing short of a downpour. The sky remained a depressing grey and light thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance.

That’s when someone said what I had been dreading. The worst case scenario.

Ashley stepped forward and apologetically said, “Sorry everyone, but I feel . . . just terrible, I think I’ll stay behind on this one, you guys go on ahead, I’ll stay here at the cabin.”

“No!” I cried, “You have to come with us! We have to stay together!” Everyone turned and looked at me.

“Jesus John, if she’s not feeling well, let her stay.” Pam scorned.

“Ah,” I stammered, “That’s not it! I just . . . Uh, fine! I’ll stay too!”

“You don’t have to do that John.” Ashley said, “I’ll be fine here alone.”

“No you won’t!” I wanted to scream, but I had to calm my nerves. “Naw, I didn’t wanna go on this dumb hike anyway.” I laughed, “You guys have fun though!”

Everyone looked at me weirdly, and then glanced at each other, before shrugging and heading off into the woods. I wasn’t sure if we would be any safer with just the two of us, but what else could I have done? We would just have to buckle down inside the cabin and hope for the best. As soon as the others disappeared out of sight I turned to Ashley and said, “Alright, we need to get inside the cabin now.”

“I appreciate you staying with me and all . . . but you’re kinda freakin me out.” She said.

“Haha, sorry,” I awkwardly laughed, “It’s pretty damn wet out here though, we should really inside?”

“Yeah, that’s a good plan,” She stated slowly, “I better lay down for a bit.”

That’s when I saw him, or . . . It . . . standing twenty or so feet behind Ashley. Josh’s decaying corpse; horribly stretched and disfigured in order to cover whatever thing was wearing it. Ashley saw me looking and turned around to let out a strangled squeak. “Wha . . . What the fuck is that?!” She screamed. I said nothing and simply grabbed her arm, taking off running to the cabin, slamming the door behind us. The thing didn’t run after us, rather, it began slowly walking towards the cabin. It knew we had nowhere to go. I locked the door and scrambled to barricade it with anything I could find.

Now there was nothing to do but watch its demented impression of a person as it crawled ever so slowly towards the door. Its hands dragged along to muddy ground and its fleshy skin hide swayed ever so softly as it staggered.

“What the hell is that?” Ashley kept repeating over and over between her ragged breaths.

“I don’t know,” I stammered, “I just don’t know.”

“What does it want?!” She screamed as it reached the door and tried the handle.

“I assume, it wants a new . . . Coat.” I said through clenched teeth.

She drew a breath and fell to the ground before looking up at me, horrified. The thing moved away from the door and now stood a few inches behind one of the windows, staring in at us. Its cold gaze could be felt from behind the dead eyes of Josh’s face and we could hear skin widening as it smiled. It was messing with us.

Ashley broke down and began weeping, “Leave us alone!” She cried, “Get the hell away!”

The thing did nothing and simply stood there motionless. Then, it slowly lifted up one of its hands and began lightly rapping on the window.

Knock, knock, knock. A slow steady rhythm.

It had no intention of breaking the window or anything. It just wanted to let us know that it was there.

Not that we needed the reminder. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. This continued for several hours as the sunlight slowly faded and the rain and wind picked up. Soon the sound of it knocking was almost drowned out and I was having to strain to see it in the dim light. Heavy sheets of water whipped around and obscured its form. At one point I let my eyes wander for too long, and when I looked back, it was gone. The knocking had stopped. I bolted upright just in time to barely catch a glimpse of it disappearing around the side of the cabin.

“This is bad.” I said, “I think it’s tired of waiting.”

Ashley let out a squeal and buried her face in her hands. I wasn’t sure if it could get in from somewhere else but it clearly knew something we didn’t.

“It’s ok,” I said, thinking fast, trying to pep talk myself more than anything, “all we need to do is wait for the others to get back! They should be here any minute now!”

“Who?” Ashley asked.

“The rest of our group!” I said, “Kevin, Lauren, Pam? Those guys! Remember?”

“I- . . . I Don’t know who you’re talking about.” She stated, looking at me puzzled, “It’s always been just the two of us.”

My heart practically stopped, and as I sunk to the ground in despair, I began to hear knocks . . . all around the cabin.

Credit To – Liam Vickers

This story is a Crappypasta Success Story – it got such a positive reception over at Crappypasta that it’s being moved here to the main site. You may read the original Crappypasta post and comments here. Congratulations to the author and thanks to the Crappypasta community for the save!

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Tales from a Glass Crypt, Volume 1

October 4, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The submission is an interactive choose-your-fate adventure built with Twine, with music and illustrations:

Click here to begin your adventure!

Credit To – Written and illustrated by Romie Romak, sound design by Taylor Shechet, music by GRYPT

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Don’t Answer Your Cell Phone While Driving

September 26, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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You’re speeding down a country road late at night through a slowly building fog, speeding because you’re tired and want to get home. Normally you wouldn’t even be here, but a colleague suggested this shortcut. You’re a lawyer at a firm that deals with work injuries, involuntary manslaughter, car accidents, and the like. Despite having your headlights on, visibility is starting to cut out as the fog slowly gets thicker. You’re just beginning to consider slowing down when your phone rings, interrupting your thoughts.

The man on the other end is gibbering about having been in some sort of car accident. You get calls like this all the time. The man is panicky, as they always are, and you’re waiting for him to take a breath so you can ask who he is.

The man’s voice suddenly stops, but you sense there’s something wrong, and so don’t say anything. After several seconds, he whispers, in an obviously terrified voice, “Who is this?”

You’re about to answer when suddenly, out of the fog, a body approaches and strikes your car. You slam on the brakes as the body arches away and disappears in the fog. You just hit somebody with your car.

This is bad. You were speeding through a fog with no visibility while talking on a cell phone. Your firm handles cases like this, but all you can really do is damage control. You start racking your brain, looking for an excuse that a court might buy when the thought comes to you: You may have just killed someone!

You jump out of your car, and, hanging up on whoever had called you, frantically try to dial your law firm’s senior partner. Really, you’re just punching numbers. You’re pretty panicky, and you just run straight ahead, looking for the body to see if whoever you just hit is still alive. The phone picks up on the other end, and you say, “Oh my God, I just hit someone with my car! I might’ve killed him! There’s this fog and it’s dark and I didn’t see him and I might have killed a man! What do I do? I can’t find his body because of the fog! What do I do?” You babble on for a few more seconds as you run down the road, looking for the body.

Suddenly you stop talking because you experience a shock of déjà vu — not a “sense” of it, but a “shock”. The words that you’re saying, the panicky, desperate descriptions you’re giving over the phone — these are the words you heard right before you hit the man. This is the phone call you received while driving down the road in the fog.

Into the phone, you whisper, “Who is this?”

On the other end, you hear a sharp bark, and the sound of tires squealing. Several seconds of silence. Then a car door opening, and the phone goes dead.

And where’s the body? You should have found it by now. You turn around to see how far you’ve come from your car. You can see the headlights about fifty meters away.

And they’re getting closer.

Credit To – Jim S.

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A Girl at Vale Station

September 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Michael ran.

He ran towards the subway, desperately hoping it won’t leave before he gets there. The next one won’t be around for another 10 minutes; such is the case with these late night trains. It has been a long day for him, and there was nothing more Michael want than release by sleep right now.

He made it in just before the doors closed and he managed a smile: a small victory amongst a lost day. He dumped his backpack on the chair beside him and took another seat himself. There were very few people in the train: some late night businessmen and workers rushing to get back to the welcoming comfort of their own respective beds. Michael’s eyelids did not agree with his brain to sleep when he gets home as he nodded off as soon as the train began to move, with the steady nod and hum of the train cradling Michael to dreamland.

He woke up to an empty train. Michael was puzzled: even this late in the night, there are people getting on and off at each station in this busy city. As he scanned around, however, he realized that there was indeed no one left on the subway in this carriage or the others. He glanced at the map of stations that showed which station they were approaching with a light. To his surprise, none of the lights were on. The train was speeding along even faster now. The world outside was a complete darkness. Only the occasional jerk told Michael the train was still moving forward. Michael tried his cell, but got no signals. He remembered that it was underground and felt slightly foolish. The train was just in a really dark tunnel that had one or two unfortunate bulbs blown out. There was nothing to fret over. Already, the forward jerk that signaled the train stopping began and Michael stood up to wait for the doors to open.

Yet they never did.

He waited, but the doors simply remained closed. There was no one on this abnormally small station platform. Some time ago the train must’ve re-surfaced, for he could see the city light in the distance, yet Michael knew the last station was underground. ‘Perhaps the train pulled away into a maintenance area’ he thought, until he saw the name ‘Vale’ station imprinted in bold letters on the far wall, like they have at every other station. But ‘Vale’ was not on the map. Before Michael could get a better look around, the train jerked again and it began to move forward once more.

A girl sat down in the next carriage.

Michael didn’t notice her at first, for he was embroiled in trying to find out where he was. Even though they were outside now, the location system did not seem to work; his phone still had no signal and it was already 11 p.m. Fatigue was about to overtake him when he noticed her. She was dressed in a shabby grey dress, her straight obsidian hair obscuring her face. She faced downwards, as if the cure of cancer was growing between her toenails. He could have sworn there was no one in the carriages around him when he looked through the glass doors on either side of his carriage, but maybe the tiredness clouded his vision. Then the girl tilted her head, paused, and then turned completely upright to stare right at him. Michael worked as a camp director on a really remote place before and felt crept out before, but this stare truly chilled him to the bones. The stare was vacant, not at all helped by her abnormally large, grey eyes and her large pale face. Her mouth was either so small that Michael couldn’t see it or it didn’t exist at all. Even though she was at the far end of the other carriage and the train was moving at breakneck speed, Michael felt an imminent sense of danger. He shrugged it off as paranoia at night.

He shouldn’t have.

The train was pulling into another stop after what seemed to be an eternity. Michael made the mistake of looking outside and there she was. Standing on the platform, beneath the big words ‘Vale’ station, was the girl with the shabby dress. He tried to avoid eye contact, but noticed through his peripheral vision she was still staring right at him. He quickly turned around as the train moved again, and there she was sitting there staring, now just a few feet away in his carriage.The train began to speed up again. There was simply no way. She couldn’t have moved so fast. The doors never opened. She looked up and stared at him blankly.

“What the fuck do you want?” Michael’s voice was smaller than he’d anticipated.

She stared.

Then she stood up, and Michael almost fell: where her mouth should be, there was nothing. It was just smooth, pale skin. Her face twisted into what would be a smile if she had a mouth, and Michael watched in fear as she strode towards him. ‘She must have been in some sort of accident; maybe she just wants help’. Michael thought, trying to comfort himself as he back away ever so slightly. ‘It’s just a dream.’ He thought, ‘She doesn’t want to hurt me; we don’t even know each other. She must-‘

The train rode silently on.

Michael woke with a start. He looked around, puzzled as to why there was no one else left on the train. He felt the train began to slow down and he stood up to wait for the doors to open.

They never did.

Credit To – Bill Yang

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