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Turn It Off

August 25, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 9.1/10 (407 votes cast)

I rested my arms behind my head, skim-reading the credits of a movie I’d just watched. After seeing them through about half way, I lifted myself from the sofa and walked to the kitchen, stretching my arms out above me. I opened the fridge door and found a full cartoon of juice, so I sat down on the kitchen counter by the window, cracked open the lid, and took several long, noisy gulps. When I couldn’t drink anymore, I gasped to let in new air and wiped my mouth on the back of my hand. My evenings were uneventful around this time in summer. It was 9:15pm on a Saturday in July; school was out for the holidays and my parents had gone to visit my aunt and uncle who lived by the coast, they would still be gone for 2 more weeks. I declined the invitation to join them, I didn’t dislike the place or my relatives, but we usually stayed there so long that I’d miss most of summer break, and I’d truthfully rather spend it with my friends in town. I was a good kid who knew how to wash clothes and use an oven, and generally not an idiot, so they let me stay at the house so long as I kept it clean.

As I sat, I looked out into the garden to check for anything scary in the dark, it was empty and black. I kind of wished we had a pet, a dog or a cat would be nice about now, but their hair always made me sneeze and my eyes go red and itchy. With that in mind my dad said no, even though I wouldn’t mind it. 9:22pm, I put the rest of the juice cartoon back in the fridge door, and went back over to the window. Hoisting myself onto the counter again, I glanced out to the garden and identified the shadows one by one to make sure everything was in it’s place. The bushes were their usual shape, two small trees stood together by the back fence and a metal table with 4 chairs sat casually on the patio. I liked to check these things, which is largely why I wasn’t scared of the dark. I would always get up to investigate small noises in the night, and I hated sleeping with my face to the wall. If someone was in my room at night, I’d rather know about it so at least there was the faintest chance of getting away somehow. This meant that my worries were quickly put to rest as I either found nothing downstairs but the radiator popping with the heat, or opened my eyes to see an empty bedroom. Not knowing what could be making the odd noises coming from the kitchen, or on the stairs, or in my room is what makes my skin creep.

9:30pm, I got down from the counter and wandered back into the living room to turn off the TV, and decided to take the rest of the juice upstairs. I went back into the kitchen, opened the fridge door, and stopped. Turning my head to focus outside, I could see someone was standing in the garden. I shut the fridge door and turned off the light so they couldn’t see me so easily, and moved slowly to lean on the kitchen counter to get a better look. All the doors were locked and all the neighbours were home, I took a moment to remind myself this. Still, my heart quickened a bit as I stood there straining to see his or her shape in the darkness at the end of the garden. I had to keep glancing away to keep their fuzzy outline clear in my vision. They were standing very still, and were a little thin, but that’s all I could see, I couldn’t tell anything else.

‘Oh.’ I said aloud. It was the garden umbrella leaning up against the back fence, I forgot that we used it for barbeques. I smiled at myself, pleased that I didn’t get too worked up and went upstairs to my bedroom. I laid on the bed and propped my head up on a pillow, opening my laptop on my stomach to see if anybody was online. Apparently someone else was bored and saw my name pop up.

Chris: Hey!
Me: Hey, you ok?
Chris: Yeah, bored, are your parents still away?
Me: For a couple more weeks
Chris: Why don’t I come round?
Me: I don’t want to be rude, but I kind of can’t be bothered to hang out tonight lol, thanks though
Chris: I know what you mean, it’s cool, what about tomorrow?
Me: Yeah that sounds better
Chris: Cool, I’ll be round about 1, I’ve got some family stuff to do in the morning
Me: okay
Chris: Do you still have a tent btw? We can camp in the garden or something.
Me: Aww a slumber party, I love you too bro x
Chris: Whatever lol, you got the tent though?
Me: Yeah somewhere, let me check. Brb.

I got up from my bed and headed to check the cupboard under the stairs. I didn’t know where the tent was but it seemed a good place to start. I opened the cupboard door and started shifting coats aside, some cardboard boxes were stacked up at the back and might be hiding it, so I started unstacking them. I took out a couple of the easy to reach ones and had a stroke of good luck as the tent bag came into view. I leaned over the other boxes, and picked up the bag, and took the big garden umbrella that sat beside it too, just in case it rained tomorrow. I paused. I put the tent down.

It took me a couple of seconds to get back to the kitchen window and focus on the darkness outside. My eyes weren’t yet adjusted to the dark, so I couldn’t see all the way to the back fence. Turning off the kitchen light I leaned on the counter and continued staring at the same point. The other garden features began to fade into view one by one, fitting my previous mental image. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to see, the darkness gave way to the familiar forms I knew, but after a while, I was certain there still stood a figure against the back garden fence. It hadn’t moved. I stood there for 15 minutes looking at it, I couldn’t tell it’s shape properly, but it did look like someone standing there. I decided it wasn’t a threat; I thought if I was in any real danger I would’ve been a lot more worried by now, that thought kept me calm. But I also wanted to find out what it was. I couldn’t stand there forever, I jogged upstairs, picked up my laptop, and brought it down to with me to the counter.

Me: Could you come round now?
Chris: Oh?
Me: Yeah, I think I can see something in my garden.
Chris: What Is it? An animal?
Me: No it’s tall, I thought it was an umbrella.
Chris: And now you’re sure it isn’t?
Me: I don’t know, I thought it was someone, but now I’m sure it’s not a person. It just looks weird and I don’t think it was there before.
Chris: Before when?
Me: I don’t know, earlier today maybe? I can’t remember.
Chris: Are you scared?
Me: I’d feel better if someone else was here
Chris: Well I did offer to come round, and I am bored…
Me: So yeah?
Chris: Yeah, I’ll come soon
Me: Cool, thanks, use the front gate.

I sat there watching the black shape lean against the fence for another 10 minutes, eventually, the doorbell rang. I opened it and Chris ran in, and bear hugged me.

‘It’s been too long!’ Chris mock-cried.
‘Yeah it must have been a whole day.’ I retorted, smiling.
‘The torment!’ He replied, pretending to ignore me.
‘Look, come over here.’ I said, pushing him off and walking to the kitchen. I switched off the light and pointed in the figure’s direction. ‘Look’.
‘Give me a sec,’ Said Chris, ‘I can’t see properly…’ A minute later he noticed, ‘That black thing?’
We both stood there looking at it for a while. I half expected it to be gone when he looked. He leaned over the counter.
‘It’s just a big plant or plank of wood or something, Let’s go watch TV.’
‘Will you check with me to make sure?’ I asked.
‘Do you have a torch?’ he returned.
‘No.’ I admitted.
‘Well, we could check if we keep the kitchen light on and open the back door a little.’ he offered. I thought for a second and agreed, but said we should stay right by the house.

We slipped on our trainers and opened the back door, stepping onto the patio I felt the air was heavy and warm that night. Chris walked behind me. We stood very close to the door, peering at the back fence.

‘Should we-‘, I had just started to speak when he quickly stepped into the house again, still looking at the fence.
‘What?’ I asked following him in. I turned, and realised that the figure was gone. It was obvious from the light coming from the back door, that the fence and the rest of the garden was just as it always was.
‘Where is it?’ Chris said.
‘If it was leaning against the fence, it probably fell over into a bush or something.’ I tried to convince us both. We stared out for a few seconds longer, and decided that we were too nervous to go and check. I don’t usually give into my night terrors, but now they were just beginning to click into my head.
‘Can you stay over for the night?’ I asked Chris.
‘Um, yeah, sure…’ It didn’t sound like he really wanted to. He kept his eyes on the fence.
We both went inside and locked the door before going up to my room. I got out a sleeping bag for Chris, and drew the curtains without looking outside into the garden again. We talked about stupid stuff for a couple of hours to take our minds off the garden, and fell asleep.

In the morning, I found Chris’s sleeping bag empty. I called out to Chris and he said he was downstairs, so I threw on a T-shirt and went down.
‘Sleep well?’ I asked.
‘Yeah pretty well, but I kept thinking about the garden and stuff. Hey, did you find that tent?’ He returned.
‘Er, yeah.’ I answered, remembering that shape which I had forgotten about until now.
‘Well, I was thinking about the camping thing, and thought maybe we could bring the tent to my house. It would just make a change you know?’ I didn’t have to ask him why, I wasn’t to keen on staying in my garden after last night. Wait, last night… Come to think of it, the sun was up and I wanted to check the garden while it wasn’t pitch black. I asked Chris and he hesitantly agreed.

We put on our trainers and stepped out into the garden. I don’t know what we were so worried about, it was bright and colourful. The plants and bushes around the edges of the garden smelled good, and there was a bird in one of the small trees singing out for it’s mate somewhere. We walked to the back fence to find nothing out of place, and looked over the bushes in front of the panelling to check if anything lay behind them. We found nothing. I walked around the edge of the whole garden once more while Chris tried whistling to the bird. It cocked it’s head from side to side trying to figure him out. It was a warm day, perfect for camping that evening, I decided.

We talked as we filled a couple of rucksacks with sleeping bags and some food from the kitchen. We didn’t want to set up a fire, so we packed some tinned hot dogs, bread, a packet of tomatoes, and chocolate, as well as some bottles of water. ‘There’s a forest just next to my house which is actually pretty good,’ Chris explained ‘Our garden backs onto the edge of it. I stayed in a tent there once with my dad for my first little camping trip when I was like, 7. I remember I was so excited at the time, I thought we were really roughing it like some hardcore mountaineers.’ Chris laughed at himself. ‘If we get too cold or need more food we can just go to my house. My parents are out so we’ll have free run of the place anyway.’
‘Yours are away too?’ I questioned.
‘It’s their anniversary so they’re out for the night,’ he explained, ‘They’re staying in a hotel the next town over, they’ll be back in the morning.’ Apparently leaving your kids behind was in fashion this summer.

At about noon we left my house with the 2 rucksacks, a sleeping bag for each of us, and the tent, and made our way to Chris’s house. It was fairly close by, and a part of the same pleasant neighbourhood. We talked and joked a lot walking side by side, nodding and greeting a couple of familiar neighbours as we went. It was a crazy nice day, the sun was almost too much, it was hot on our necks, and the trees by the sidewalk seemed to glow green from underneath as the sunlight passed through the leaves. A sprinkler offered us some water as we walked by one house, and it felt good on my hot arms. I was already sweating by the time we got to Chris’s place, we hadn’t been walking for more than 20 minutes. We didn’t go inside his house immediately because it was so hot, so we went straight to his garden and dumped our bags in the shade. He wasn’t joking, the gate of his garden backed straight onto an impressive forest. very tall, thin trees stood high above the house, and continued as far as I could see. Some bushes and shrubs littered the forest floor, but most of it was either grass, or fairly smooth sections of dirt. I didn’t see how this forest was classed as ‘small’.

‘Looks good right?’ he boasted.
‘It’s awesome.’ I admitted, opening the gate and surveying the area. I walked out in between the trees and found a flat spot for the tent. I turned around to ask Chris’s opinion, and paused, a little disappointed. It didn’t feel like real camping when his house was so obviously in our faces.
‘Let’s go a little further in so it at least feels legit.’ I said, and walked back to pick up my bags, Chris objected to carrying his ‘heavy shit’ any further. We walked in a straight line from Chris’s house, and kept checking behind us until the house was just about obscured by trees in front of each other. We had only gone a very short way in but the forest was already thicker and greener, there was even a long rope swing hanging from one of the trees, but it looked too old to hold our weight, so we decided to keep our spines unbroken and give it a miss. I unpacked the tent and set it up with Chris’s help, and we threw our sleeping bags inside. I laid down inside to test it out. It was so warm and humid I had to adjust my breathing for a second. I stepped out again, and asked Chris if he had a torch for the evening.

‘I can do better than that.’ was his response and he took off towards the house. I was too hot to run after him, so I opened my rucksack and cracked open a bottle of water, downing half of it and putting the rest back in the pack. I Laid down on a patch of grass and looked up at the canopy. The leaves were shifting gently in a breeze I couldn’t feel from down here, and I watched them sway and mesh together until I heard Chris return.

‘Did you get a torch?’ I asked closing my eyes. The sun shone through my eyelids and coloured my vision red. I listened to the soft sound of his footsteps on the grass as he walked past me towards the rope swing. ‘That’s not going to hold you,’ I warned as I heard him tug the branch with a small creak. He tugged it and it creaked in response. I listened. He tugged it once more, and again. There was a moment of silence as I guessed he was still weighing it up, and then another tug. He continued to tug a few more times, and the creaking followed each one. I was sure it wouldn’t hold his weight, and I smiled predicting one big creak and a snap as the rope or the branch broke. I waited as some final tugs were made. Creak, creak. I waited still. Creak, creak, creak.

‘Yo!’ I heard Chris’s voice coming from his garden, I sat bolt upright almost spraining my neck as I snapped my head sideways to face his house. He was jogging through the trees holding an electric lantern. I switched my gaze in the other direction towards the rope swing. It was hanging still, nothing nearby. I stood up and turned full circle, nothing in any other direction.

‘What…’ I mouthed to myself walking towards the rope. I tugged it gently, it didn’t creak. I pulled it harder, it didn’t creak. My mouth went dry. I jumped up, grabbed hold, and yanked it down. The branch bent a little as my feet touched the floor, and still it didn’t make a sound. I kept hold of it as I stared up towards the branches, but eventually the rope gave way under my weight somewhere in the middle, and a soft thud fell on my ears as the thick rope fell in front of me. Chris was rattling the lantern as he came by.

‘I’ve never used this before, I got it for Christmas from my cousin. She buys some weird presents. Ah, I see the swing is dead, lets have a proper burial in memory of all the joy it gave us!’ I didn’t respond. I continued looking up at the branch with half a rope swing tied to it.
‘…Hey, are you good?’ Chris followed my gaze.

‘I thought you’d already come back,’ I said immediately, I wasn’t the type to let things slide with an “oh… it’s nothing.”
‘What?’ He replied.
‘Someone walked by me and was messing around with the rope swing.”
‘Who was it?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Are they still around?’
‘I don’t know! I had my eyes closed and was laying just there,’ I pointed, ‘but then I heard you shout, so I looked around and there was nothing here. I heard them walk by my head.’ I felt a bit sick.
‘Look, calm down a second’. Chris began. ‘It’s the middle of the day, we’re 30 feet from my house, and even if it was a person, so what? It’s just some public woods, anyone can come through here.’
That made some sense, and he was right about it being public. But then where were they? I glanced around one more time, however the trees quickly layered up and I couldn’t see far at all. I guessed it was possible for me to lose track of someone here in a short distance.
‘Okay.’ I said ‘Man… I can stay alone in the house for weeks on end, but I can’t handle a short walk through the woods on a summers day.’
‘That’s why you’ve brought some muscle!’ Declared Chris, wielding the lantern above his head, and I laughed.

We spent the day walking around the forest, and returned to the tent to get some water when we were too hot. We talked about school and what our plans were for the future. We talked about dreams we’d had, and ghosts, and creatures that lurked in the dark. Neither of us were too scared of things like that, but they made for good camping stories. Chris told a particularly good one of a woman who lived in the woods. She had the head of a cat and if you heard her raspy meow, that meant she was trying to find you. If she stopped meowing, it signified you were found, and she was quickly making her way towards you. It made my skin crawl a little, and we stopped telling stories soon after that.

The light of day eventually faded, and it was getting hard to see, so we headed back to the tent for the night. The impressive heat during the day had killed our appetites, so we left the food for now and decided we’d eat it in the night if we got hungry. Chris hung the electric lantern at the front of the tent, flicking it on as he did so. It was surprisingly bright, and spilled a yellow light onto the ground and onto the trees that faced us. The warm glow looked dramatic, but whatever was beyond the light was hidden in blackness. Our immediate area was clear, but after a few paces the light seemed to stop dead. It looked weird. Chris ducked under the tent opening and I followed him. The sleeping bags looked inviting as the heat from earlier had gone and it was too cold for shirts and shorts. We got inside and took the lantern with us.
‘Can you hear meowing?’ I said, my head tilted as I strained to hear.
‘Yeah, I can hear some bullshit too!’ Chris smiled and zipped up his sleeping bag. Damn, I thought I had him, oh well, I zipped up my own bag and we laid there talking for a little while, and then the exhaustion of such a hot summer’s hit us and we fell asleep.

I had a dream that we were walking to Chris’s house again, but there were more trees than before, and it was getting dark very quickly. I blinked, and suddenly it was night, with the forest sprawling in every direction. The rope swing hung in front of me. I turned around and Chris was gone. I heard a creak behind me, a feeling came over me like I’d missed a step on the stairs. For some reason, I couldn’t turn around. I started walking straight ahead, and the rope swing soon came into my view again, I was aware I was in a nightmare. The rope swing slowly lifted itself up into the trees and I watched it disappear. I walked over and stood beneath where it had been, and there was a rustle above me. As I lifted my eyes to the canopy, a black figure with the head of a cat came hurtling downwards with it’s mouth open horrifically wide, one of it’s teeth touched my left eye, and I tore myself awake, gasping as I sat up in the tent. My back was damp with sweat and Chris was asleep next to me, the lantern was still on and I could see our backpacks at the end of the tent. I took a moment to breathe and then let myself lay back down, my head thumping on the floor a little too hard. I winced and reached for the bottle of water to my side, downing a few mouthfuls. I couldn’t fall asleep with the glow of the lantern on my eyelids, so I sat up and searched the tent for it. I quickly realized the light was coming from outside.

‘Chris?’ I said, still confused from sleep. He mumbled something in reply. ‘Chris, where’s the lantern?’
‘Uh…Somewhere….’ He said slowly and sleepily, before turning over.
Looking around again, the light was obviously coming from outside. I weighed up the options. Either some murderer had snuck into our tent and done nothing but take the lantern outside. Or, we didn’t actually bring it into the tent and I had remembered wrongly. That sounded more convincing. So I knelt by the tent door and unzipped it. From the opening I looked around, it wasn’t immediately obvious where the glow was coming from. Why couldn’t I see it? I looked up. The lantern was resting 20 feet in the air, hanging in the dark. Goosebumps swept across my skin and I zipped up the door before shaking Chris.

‘Chris, please wake up!’ He heard the urgency in my voice and sat up.
‘What? What’s wrong?’ Chris said, rubbing his eyes.
‘The Lantern’s hanging outside.’
‘But I brought it in.’ He assured me. I felt sick as my reasoning broke. We both looked at the front of the tent.
‘We should go back to the house.’ I said, my resolve buckling. I was just a kid in a forest who’s parents were away.
‘I’m not walking through the dark.’ He replied, Chris was now looking worried.
‘We’ve got a Lantern-‘ I stopped myself. We looked at the front of the tent again. We couldn’t sit there forever. We were getting scared as we sat there doing nothing, so this was the plan; we weren’t going back to sleep, we would get the lantern back somehow, leave everything here, and spend the night in Chris’s house.

I hated being the one to go first. I wanted to turn back even just crouching by the tent entrance. Unzipping the fabric door I looked around, nothing. I peered over the tent behind us, nothing in sight. Literally nothing, everything was black outside of the light. I took a step out and it was cold, Chris said the same as he stood right by my side looking over his shoulder. He turned back and saw the lantern in the air.
‘Oh my god.’

We stood there looking at it for a few seconds that seemed to crawled by. Eventually I worked out which tree it was hanging from, the broken rope swing at my feet confirmed it. Way up out of reach, the lantern hung above our heads, tied to the other end of the rope that still dangled from the darkness. I couldn’t work it out, it was high up, too high up for even a ladder. The trees were thin and bare besides the leaves that made up the canopy, There was no where to climb. Picking up the length of rope that had snapped off earlier, I bundled it up and tied a knot, and aimed at the lantern. I took a step back and jumped, tossing it into the air. It caught the lantern on it’s side and sent it swinging. It threw shadows rocking around us, I suddenly wished it hadn’t hit it. The light made the shadows lean from side to side with the lantern. The horrible, unnatural swaying made me panic and my eyes became wet as fear took a solid hold of me. I picked up the rope again, and lobbed it desperately at the lantern. I missed, and the bundle of rope sailed off into the darkness. Helplessly I turned to Chris who had already grabbed his backpack. He span around and threw it with a yelp, and it hit the lantern dead on. it fell and thudded to the floor with a crack, but the light was still on, I ran to pick it up.

I turned to Chris and almost cried with relief.
‘Okay go, go, go, let’s go!’ I urged, and he started jogging quickly towards his house as I followed. We half ran, half stumbled off into the dark, checking over our shoulders and working ourselves up as our thoughts were consumed by everything that may be waiting in the trees for us. I don’t know how long we were moving, but it soon became apparent that Chris’s house wasn’t in this direction.
‘For God’s sake, where is it!’ Chris said, tension taking hold of his voice, ‘We’ll have to find the tent and try again.’ A couple of tears were forming at the corners of his eyes. They were probably on mine too, but my heart was thumping so hard I didn’t notice.
‘Okay.’ I took a breath and we turned around, heading in a straight line directly behind us. What if we didn’t find the tent? I couldn’t stop myself thinking that over and over as we retraced our steps. We walked for what seemed like twice as long, before the light finally fell on the side of the tent.

We ran up and stood close to it’s side, looking around to try and figure out which direction we should go. The silence was like the build up of a nightmare, right before some horrible thing lurches out at you, screaming. The comparison made me gag and I scrunched my eyes shut, the hair on my skin lifting. My temples were so hot it felt like my brain was thudding against the inside of my skull. I couldn’t begin to guess where the house was. We could see about ten feet from the lantern, and then pitch black, there were no clues. Every direction looked wrong. Chris took the lantern from me and walked in a small circle, straining his eyes to try and see. I stayed put.

‘Chris, Turn it off.’ I whispered to him hurriedly
‘What?’ He asked
I stepped quickly and quietly towards him, bringing my face to his.
‘There’s something in the tent.’

His gaze shifted past me towards the tent and he stood there staring. We were standing on the left hand side of the tent, and from this angle I could just about see the unzipped door hanging open, but I remembered leaving it that way. So that wasn’t what was making me clench my teeth together. A few feet away, my rucksack sat outside on the dry earth, with the food I had packed, now neatly arranged trailing from it. Our sleeping bags were also nicely laid out, end to end, making the line of belongings lead straight into the mouth of the tent. I took a careful step forward so the light could pass more easily through the fabric. It couldn’t have been a trick of the light, something big and dark was obviously crouched, with what I guessed was it’s front, facing the open door. I hated myself for not seeing it sooner. It didn’t move at all, or seem to breathe, it just sat, waiting for us to investigate the display it had made.

‘Turn it off.’ I whispered again. Chris continued staring, deaf to me.
‘CHRIS.’ I pleaded in a whisper.

A voice from nearby joined in.


We both heard it and the blood fell in our veins. It came from the tent. A slow, strained, rasp of a voice that sounded like a parrot copying a new word. The sound clicked across my skin and crept into my ears. The light flicked off with a click that was too loud. Chris grabbed my shoulder, and I clenched my fists closed, painfully tight. We stood there in complete darkness, I didn’t want to move and I didn’t want to stay. My brain fought for control as my legs waited for a decision, rooted in place. We breathed shallow, quiet breaths, blackness pressing on our eyes like water. Sweat ran down my neck, I couldn’t see the tent.

‘Chrisss.’ Something said. ‘Turn it offff.’

My stomach flipped inside out as the thing in the tent played with my words. I quickly grabbed Chris’s hand, yanking him in the opposite direction. I ran like I never had before, Chris’s legs thudding alternately with mine. The sprint continued for about a minute, we lost ourselves as we ran through absolute darkness. I forgot where we were and I couldn’t see what was in front of my face. I ran head on into a tree, and my forehead struck it’s side with a sickening, hollow knock. sparks lit up inside my eyes as I chocked back the pain. It hurt so much I couldn’t breath. Chris tried to pull me on, but I buckled to the floor on my knees and threw up. As I collapsed onto my back, my head went numb, Chris lifted me up.

‘Please don’t stop, please, please!’ He begged, I couldn’t reply. ”Please, please keep going!’ I forced my legs to take my weight as I locked my knees upright, leaning on Chris. My body felt empty and a little blood rolled down my forehead and into my brow, I wiped it away as I tried to grasp the situation again, but the pain was too much.
‘Wait, I can’t!’ I begged, ‘Just wait, just wait…’ We stood together in the inky woods, but we could have been anywhere. I couldn’t see Chris as he huddled next to me, it didn’t feel like darkness, it felt like someone had wrapped my head in a blanket.

Neither of us said a word as we waited, but our breathing was loud, and I wondered from what distance it could be heard. Reality began to return to me, and the pain was now just about bearable, I straightened up, grasping at what was happening, the pins of fear sank into me a second time, and I started counting in my head. One minute passed without any sound in the world. The wind was dead, and the birds might be too. another minute went by, I continued counting. Three minutes. We were still alone, was it even looking for us? I reached for Chris’s arm in the dark, he jumped when I touched it, but I steadied him with the other, he was still holding the lantern, good. We had light on our side, now if only we could use it. I went over the events hurriedly in my mind; the lantern was hanging from a tree, we got out of the tent, then couldn’t find our way home. By the time we returned to the tent, something was in it, but then why did it take the lantern and do nothing while we slept? If It was sheer luck that we were alone when we were trying to get the lantern, I wondered just how small the possibility was of us getting a second chance.

I stayed silent for a moment and then whispered as best I could. ‘Chris, we need to turn on the lantern. We need to fucking get away from here, we can make a run for your house but we need to see!’
‘No! please, we have to stay here!’ Chris tried to whisper too. ‘We can wait for morning if we have to, you can’t turn it on.’ I could hear in his voice that a sob was breaking through. ‘Just keep quiet! You fucking have to, Please!’ I parted my lips to try again, but as I did, I heard something. A very faint clicking sound from somewhere in the dark. It was almost inaudible, but it was there. An irregular, stuttering, clicking sound. It sounded fingernails on a wooden table. And it was moving. It came from in front of us, I was sure of it. A steady ‘click, clack click,’ filled my ears as we tried gauge the distance. It was drawing closer. ‘Click Click Clack.’ It stopped. I was glad for the first time in my life that I couldn’t see what was waiting in the dark, perhaps that meant we were also hidden. As my thoughts fired off in every direction, I gave the thing in the darkness the image of the cat-headed woman, and it terrified me. I was just waiting to hear that meow. But my ears were met with something else.

‘Chris.’ I tensed my throat and tried not to cry. ‘Chris.’

It said his name twice, and I cupped my hand over my mouth, the horrible, scraping dialogue sounded a few steps away. The words were said oddly, with no meaning behind them. They were just sounds that this thing had picked up, and was now using them to catch us out in the dark. Chris let go off my hand and I heard his foot plant softly on the grass behind him as he prepared to run. ‘Don’t you dare.’ I tried to project into his mind. ‘Don’t you make a sound’.

‘Chris. Pleeease.’

It sounded so wrong, drawn out like a door slowly opening. Chris let out a whimper as it called him. I froze and waited for something, anything to happen. There was a long silence and I held my breath for as long as I could. I couldn’t wait anymore. Very slowly I reached out to Chris and put my hand on his shoulder, and very carefully we both lifted our feet and managed to step without making a sound. We back stepped away from the voice and didn’t stop moving, but ever so carefully. So, so slowly. I didn’t care how long it would take us to get somewhere, if it took us an hour every step, we were going to get out. Chris backed into a tree, and gasped audibly. The clicking started up immediately, ‘click click clack click’, it rolled on, consistently moving towards us. I didn’t know what to do, All I could think of was to screw my eyes shut and try not to scream. As we stood there, the clicking came to a stop an arms length away from where we stood. Silence.

‘Chrisss. Turn it on. Pleeease.’

Fear took over, Chris switched on the light and tore off in the other direction without looking behind him, I wheeled in place and held that lantern in my sight like nothing else existed. We didn’t dare look at the thing, but we could hear it. Our footsteps thudded on the grass, and the thing pursued us with a ‘taptaptaptap’, now like scurrying little claws on hard earth. As I ran desperately to catch up to the light, the sound suddenly rose up behind me and over our heads in between the trees. This wasn’t happening, it was going to drop down on us. ‘Turn!’ I screamed. I didn’t care anymore, if we were going to get out with our lives, we were going to have to run for them . We suddenly changed course, the tapping stopped for a moment, long enough for us to gain a few feet before it came in our direction again. My legs were cramping horribly and Chris was gasping hard, We couldn’t keep this up. Where were we? I saw the light from the lantern come to an abrupt halt up ahead, I didn’t have time to stop, and braced myself to thump into Chris, but the light passed beneath my feet. He had dropped the lantern. I turned my head and watched it recede into the darkness, it was immediately too far for me to go back, the thing would be on me in a second.

‘Chris!’ I was crying and swiping tears from my cheeks as I ran, preparing for my face to connect with a tree at any moment.
‘Keep Going!’ I heard Chris from up ahead, ‘there’s a light!’ My vision was bleary from tears but could see it, an orange glow hanging in the air in the distance. Another one? What was happening? I wanted to scream at him to avoid it, but I realized it was a street light. My legs felt like I was running through water, but I pushed them harder with a goal in sight. Gradually and painfully the light drew closer, as did the clicking. This thing could move like nothing I knew. I saw Chris’s figure pass underneath the street light and then he was gone again. ‘Don’t stop!’ I yelled as I approached the edge of the forest, and my legs adjusted as the forest floor gave way to solid footing. I could see a row of more streetlights leading off to the right, and Chris’s figure was passing regularly underneath each. When I was sure I was completely out of the trees I didn’t stop, I ran under several more street lights putting as much distance as I could manage between us and the edge of the woods. I realised after a while that the clicking had stopped, I needed to see we were ok. I turned my head and looked back along the row of lights, keeping my gaze on the first light. my pace slowed as the pain in my head and legs came back. There was silence once more, and the lights revealed an empty pathway. I jogged on and kept my eyes on the glow, expecting to see something at any minute. but it lit up nothing but concrete and the edge of the road.

‘Is it there?’ The question pulsed in my mind over and over. As I turned my head to continue catching up to Chris, I caught sight of something pass under the first street light. An almighty shock went through me as my fears were confirmed, I let out a cry and picked up the pace once more, sprinting between the lights. The image was burned into my mind. I hardly caught a glimpse of the thing, but it was white, and massive, it almost brushed the street light as it went under it. It had a long, upright body full of kinks, like it had just unfolded itself, and that’s all I was able to tell. It must have had a face and limbs, but I didn’t have time to see.

I didn’t look again, the path gave way to more lights and soon I could see the glow of windows in some houses either side of the road, I recognized where we were, close to my house by some miracle. A little further and we would be there.
‘My House!’ I yelled, and Chris listened, turning left onto a side street and dashing down. With panic on my side I reached the turning and looked down the road to see Chris jumping the fence into my garden.
‘Hurry up!’ I heard him scream. Reaching the fence I planted my hands on top, hoisting myself over and shredding my elbows in the process. My ankles stung as I thudded into the garden, and sprinted towards the kitchen door. Chris stepped aside gasping for air as I fumbled the key into the lock and wrenched it sideways. We both flew into the kitchen and slammed the door behind us. I locked it from the inside and we both sprinted upstairs into the bathroom, locking it behind us.

‘What was that!?’ I managed to say in a panicked whisper, wondering if it would get in. ‘Did you see it?’
‘No.’ Chris crouched under the window, letting tears roll.
‘Shit! It was so tall it- It was- I couldn’t-‘
‘Don’t tell me’ Chris cut me off.
I mulled it over again and again as we sat there, minutes slowly ticked by into hours. My head was fizzing all the while and I could still hear it’s voice, that disgusting voice. My elbows and fore arms were sticky with blood and we both looked at the floor, the occasional sob coming from the two of us. Our hearts banged in our chests, and we spent the night that way.

Light streamed in from the window, but we didn’t unlock the bathroom door until noon. We crept downstairs, the kitchen door was still locked and nothing was in the house. I looked out of the living room window, another perfect day. No people walked by, but the sprinklers were on and I could hear birds again. It helped to calm our nerves.
‘That tent can stay there.’ I said at last.
‘Yeah.’ Chris Agreed. We stayed in the living room with the TV off all day, we didn’t know what to do, and talked about if we should call the police or something. The day crawled by as we tried to rake our thoughts together and think of what to do next. but all that went through my mind was what had just happened, not what we should be doing. By the time it was dark at about 9pm, the phone rang. It was Chris’s parents asking if I had seen him as they were getting worried, they had just got back from out of town. I let them know he was ok, and asked if they could come and pick us both up from my house because something had happened. They wanted to know what, but I said we’d both tell them when they get here. They said they’d be here soon. Relief washed over us as adults were on there way to make everything alright. They would believe us, we didn’t lie about these things. Even if they were sceptical, they’d at least believe that some dangerous animal was in the forest and that was good enough for us.

I went into the kitchen to get some juice from the fridge and realised I hadn’t had a drink all day. I could hear water dripping in the sink, so I turned the faucet tighter and glugged some juice. As I headed towards the living room, the water started to tap again. I flicked the light on and realized it wasn’t coming from the sink, or anywhere in the room for that matter. It sounded like it was coming from further away. I looked out into the garden, and could just about see a fuzzy, tall silhouette leaning up against the back fence in the dark. Actually, the tapping sounded more like clicking. The figure slowly moved away from the fence and clicked across the grass towards the house.


Credit: Polum Chill

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The Heaven Project

August 24, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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I awoke in a dark room on a cold, hard floor. It’s difficult to tell how long I’ve been laying here, but the creaks in my bones and aches in my muscles tell me that it has been a while. My mind feels empty, blank, desolate. I quickly glance around, surveying my surroundings. From what I can tell, I am in a windowless room, which would explain the darkness.

I push my self up slowly and rise to my feet. At first I stumble a bit and nearly fall over but I luckily catch myself. ‘Have I been kidnapped?’ I wonder. The room appears to be completely empty. No chairs or bindings or anything one would expect to see when they’ve been kidnapped. I feel slightly relieved and began to shuffle over to the walls of the room. It is fairly small, about the size of a bedroom.

Through the darkness I can make out the shape of a door. I fumble for the handle blindly and finally feel my fingers close around it. I flinch a bit at the handle’s icy coldness but nonetheless attempt to turn it. Nothing. The damn thing won’t budge.

Pain suddenly shoots through my skull like a bullet. I remember the headlights, the car crash, the fear, and most of all the pain. I clutch my head and squeeze my eyes shut, hoping that the white-hot pain will subside. I stumble away from the door and land flat on my rear. After a few seconds, it finally fades away and the horrifying realization begins to dawn on me. “Am I dead?” I wonder aloud.

As if to answer my question, a door swings open and blinding light filters into the room. I shield my still sensitive eyes from the glaring light. Two men step in. One is tall and has a shock of blond hair and deep blue eyes. The other is shorter and has shaggy brown hair and quick green eyes that dart around. They are both wearing suits and have what appears to be wings protruding from their backs. They’re each grinning widely at me, revealing their pearly white teeth.

“Welcome to Heaven, Jason Gray.” the tall one says in a voice smooth as silk.
“Heaven?” I ask. The angels nod, their grins still present. I lose myself in thought. How did I get to heaven? I wasn’t a particularly bad person when I was alive, but I wasn’t religious either. “Why am I here?” I asked, confusion clearly written on my features. “Because everyone goes to heaven. Hell is just a little lie to push you in the right direction. Ultimately, everyone ends up here.” the tall one explained calmly. It seemed as if he had to explain this to people a lot.

“We’re here to take you on a tour of heaven!” the shorter one says, bouncing up and down in excitement. “A tour?” I ask, standing up once again. “Follow us.” the tall one says, striding out of the room. I notice as they turn their backs that the wings are stitched on. The sutures appeared to be sloppy and rushed as if the patient was moving around a lot during the procedure. What kind of place is this?

A bright white light floods my vision as I exit the room. I quickly turn around and see that the door I had just come through was gone, vanished as if it had never existed into the first place. The short one giggles a bit at my bewilderment and motions for me to follow. Turning my gaze forward I can see a factory of sorts. There are other angels dressed in work clothes pushing carts full of lumpy objects everywhere. It is difficult to tell what the objects are.

I see a quite pretty female worker push a cart nearby me. Her hair is the shade of an autumn afternoon and her eyes are like sunlight shining through a glass of whiskey. I flash her a quick smile and she turns to smile back. Oh god. Her face. Half of her face appeared to have been burned off. Her teeth and gums are clearly showing, pearly white bone with glistening pink flesh encasing them. It appears to be the only part of her tortured face that isn’t marred.

I quickly avert my eyes from the grisly sight, choking back vomit. My guides take no notice of my repulsion, or if they did they didn’t show it nor care. “What exactly is this place?” I manage to choke out. “Heaven.” they both reply in unsettling unison. I shake my head. “No, it’s supposed to be all pearly white gates and cherubs, right?” My guides both look at each other as if they’re the parents of a child who’s asking why the sky is blue. “All will be explained soon, Jason.” the tall one said. Their ever-present smiles are beginning to unnerve me even more. I would answer them if I wasn’t so occupied with choking down my own stomach acids.

I continue following them because that’s the only thing I can think of doing right now. The more I look, the more the shapeless objects in the carts are beginning to look human shaped. No, it can’t be. But, then again it wouldn’t be surprising at all in the midst of this chaos. A million questions raced through my mind but my lips couldn’t form the words to voice them.

My terrifying guides lead me through seemingly endless hallways that twist and turn like an impossible labyrinth. I search for any landmarks that would give me a clue as to where I am in the event that I need to flee, but they all appear to be the same colorless halls with exactly seven doors. I absently wonder how the angels find their way around here.

The two angels suddenly stop in front of a door. There is nothing special about the door, it looks the exact same as all the others. The short one grasps the handle and holds the door open for me. Peering inside I can see what appears to be a surgery table complete with a tray of all the instruments a surgeon would need. My eyes drift to a pair of wings that are hanging on the wall from a hook. Putting two and two together, I quickly jerk back. “No, no, no, no.” I sputter, backing away as quick humanly possible until my back hits the wall.

“Backing out isn’t an option.” the tall one says. He grasps my arm firmly and begins to pull me forward. My feet dig as best as they can into the slippery floor in an attempt to stop myself. His friend is still waiting by the door patiently. It appears as if they have had to deal with this many times before as well. As much as I try to fight my way out of the tall angel’s crushing grip, I still find myself inside of the room.

Next thing I know, the short angel is at my side and helping the other ease my protesting form into the surgery table. I thrash wildly against the leather straps but to no avail. “Let me go!” I screech. “Please calm down, all will be explained now, Jason.” the tall one states in a somewhat hollow tone.

“Go to hell!” I yell at it through gritted teeth. “I’m afraid I cannot do that. We have already explained that there is no Hell.” the tall one says calmly. His nimble fingers carefully select a scalpel. “Ooh, can I do it this time?” the shorter one squeals. The tall one rolls his eyes at him and reluctantly hands him the scalpel. “Try not to mess up like last time.” he warns. ‘Last time?’ I wonder, my eyes going wide with terror.

The shorter one giggles like a child and begins approached with the blade. He props the surgery table up and opens up a slot that gives him access to my back. They really did plan for this. “You see, Jason, you have been fortunate enough to be selected for the esteemed job of being an angel.” the tall one explains. I can feel the shorter one beginning to slice away my shirt. “But why me? I’m not even religious, I don’t even believe in any of this crap!” I protest. The shorter one begins making precise incisions near my shoulder blades. I flinch at the pain and grit my teeth to prevent a cry from escaping my lips. “And that is exactly why you’ve been selected for this role. Because you never devoted yourself to God during your time on earth, you now must do so here.” The scalpel bites deeper into my soft skin so that I can feel small rivers of hot blood beginning to trickle down my back. “Those who were religious in their time on earth have no need to devote themselves. As such, they finally get to fully become one with God as they wished in Heaven.” the tall one continues.

In the corner of my vision I can see the shorter one taking the wings off of the wall and bringing them over to me. He carefully picks it up and begins positioning it by one of the incisions. However, I barely took notice of this because I was too busy mulling over what the tall angel had meant by “fully become one.”

I was interrupted from my thoughts by the feeling of a syringe being inserted into the side of my neck. “It’s better if you’re asleep for this part of the procedure.” the tall angel explained. Before I could retort, black spots obscured my vision and the whole world seemed to tilt before me. It was only a matter of seconds before I was plunged into complete and utter darkness, freed from pain.

I am driving my car along a road that seems to have a sharp turn every few minutes. It’s nighttime and I’m driving away from my girlfriend’s house after we had a particularly nasty argument. I had just found out that she had been cheating on me with some cocky bastard and was planning to never return to her house. My phone buzzed in the seat next to me, its screen lighting up to alert me that I have a text. No doubt, its her. ‘r u still mad at me???’ she wrote. ‘What do you think?’ I answered mentally, still keeping my hands on the steering wheel. ‘I’m really sorry’ the text read. Oh, so now she was using correct grammar. The bitch must be feeling really bad now.

More and more texts began to pour in, lighting up my phone’s screen. I did my best to keep my eyes on the road but the texts kept beckoning to me. I succumbed and grabbed my phone with one hand to text her back something nasty. However, this happened just as I was approaching a turn. My eyes widened in shock and terror as my car plummeted off the edge. I clearly felt the dread and anticipation sitting in my stomach like acid before the world went black.

I awoke with a start, my chest heaving and sticky with sweat. As the horror of my nightmare began to wear off, I became acutely aware of two heavy objects on my back. It felt as if my spine was going to collapse from just the sheer weight of them. I craned my neck to see what the objects were only to be met with the grisly sight of two stark white wings protruding from my back.

“Oh, you’re finally awake.” the all too familiar voice of the tall angel said. “I did a good job, right?” the shorter one inquired eagerly. His question was responded with a sigh and a resigned ‘yes’. “How long was I out?” My voice sounded hoarse and foreign as if it hadn’t been used in quite some time. “Time is irrelevant.” the taller one said. He walked over to the chair I was currently strapped into and carefully undid the bindings. “We’re going to show you to your job now. Follow us.”

I rose from the chair, wincing at the searing pain in my back this brought me. I could feel the sutures begin to bleed slightly, sending a trickle of warm liquid down my exposed spine. With heavy feet and shaky legs followed my guides, unsure of what else to do.

They led me down the colorless halls that I still couldn’t navigate. My mind felt numb, probably from the pain blooming from the area around the wings. I could do nothing but follow them blindly like a dumb sheep. It was difficult to tell how long we walked before we reached a metal door, so very different from the others. Time seemed to be nonexistent here. The fact that every hallway looked the same and seemed to never end did nothing to help.

Without any flair, the tall angel opened the metal doors and held it open for me. Despite this polite gesture, I didn’t walk in. I didn’t WANT to walk in for in front of me was a slaughterhouse. Angels dressed in bloodied aprons toiled over hacking off human limbs with bone-saws. Wide, artificial grins were stretched across their perfect faces. Some of them even hummed as they worked, flecks of crimson staining their pearly white teeth. Some of them turned their heads to stare at me and gave me a wave.

I tried to back up but found myself bumping into the chest of the shorter angel. He gripped my shoulders so tightly it seemed as if he wanted to break my skin. “Go on.” he sang before shoving me roughly inside. Before I could make a run for it in the opposite direction, the metal doors slammed shut behind me, sealing my fate.

I wanted to scream, cry, and crumple to the floor on the spot all at once, but my body remained frozen. It was like I was watching everything happen rather than actually being in the moment. The tall angel came back into my line of sight, holding out a pristine apron to me. “This is for you.” he stated calmly. Knowing what wearing that apron meant I would have to do, I shook my head quickly and felt tears rising in my eyes. “No..please..” I choked out uselessly. He shoved the apron into my arms and put on one of his own. It was significantly dirtier than mine, bits of viscera clinging to it. “Come on, we can’t dilly dally. We’re on a very tight schedule.”

‘A tight schedule?’ I wanted to ask. Before I could voice my question, the doors on the opposite end of the room fell open. Everything went silent and still as a hunched figure shuffled into the room with the aid of a cane. He was an old man with wrinkles riddling his face like countless rivers. The only sign of hair on his body was a long, graying beard that nearly dragged on the floor. Dark crimson stained it, complimenting his bloodshot eyes that slowly moved around the room. Although I was far away from him, I could smell the pungent stench of decay emanating directly from him.

His eyes finally met mine, causing me to freeze. I felt trapped by those all-knowing eyes of him which seemed to pierce my very soul. They were entrancing, in a sense, and I found myself unable to look or move away as he started hobbling over to me. “Jason..” he rasped in a voice that sounded as if it hadn’t been used in decades. I nodded, that being the only thing I was physically capable of doing. “Welcome.” He flashed me a smile, revealing his rows of yellowing crooked teeth. Quite a few of them were missing. From this close proximity, I could clearly tell his breath was positively rancid. A terrifying thought shot through my mind. Was he..?

“Yes. I am God.” he stated plainly, answering the question that had been running through my mind. “And this, as you have probably learned, is heaven.” He laughed as he gestured to the macabre display around him. It sounded more like a wheeze than an actual sound of amusement. “You’re surprised, are you not?” I nodded once more. He waved his gnarled hand nonchalantly as if dismissing my confusion. “Most are. Which is why I shall explain.”

He looked away from me and started pacing back and forth. As soon as his eyes left mine, I felt as if an enormous burden had been lifted from my shoulders. “Tell me, Jason, why do you think I created humans?” Speech had returned to me, and so I put it to use. “I’m not sure.” I answered lamely, feeling relieved to just hear the sound of my own voice. My mind raced to remember what little I had been taught in Sunday school, but only fragments came back. “Uh..Adam and Eve, right? You wanted them to..tend to the garden or something?” He chuckled once more, albeit darkly. “Not quite, not quite. That’s human’s interpretations of it. Think larger, Jason. Think beyond what you have been fed.” I struggled to understand what he was getting at, but found that I was unable to do what he requested. “I can’t.” I replied simply, my voice strained.

“Of course you can’t.” he replied almost immediately. “Your minds have been engineered to work a certain way and you can’t change that by sheer willpower.” He sighed, not in a particularly sad way. “This may help. Why do you raise pigs?” I was a bit taken back by this and furrowed my brow. “To eat?” He smiled and nodded at the ground. “Yes, exactly. You raise them only to slaughter them in the end. Although you may give them pet names and grow attached, the end result is always the same.” My blood ran cold as I slowly started to piece it all together. His analogy could only lead to one chilling explanation that I didn’t want to acknowledge. Yet, it was so plausible that it was impossible to ignore. The bodies, the slaughterhouse, the overall atmosphere of the damn place.

“We’re…pigs.” I choked out. “Yes, precisely.” came his reply. Although my eyes were dry, I couldn’t help but feel a sob rise in my throat. “Why?” I asked. “Why would you do this us? People love you! People dedicate their entire lives to you! Wars have been fought in your name! How could you could just betray us like this?!” He raised a steel gray eyebrow at me. “Betrayal? Is that how you view it?” he asked. I didn’t respond. “I created you. I gave you everything that you possibly ever needed. Is it so wrong to want something in return?” I weakly raised my head to look at him, still pacing, only now somewhat angrily. “I loved us..” I said quietly, my voice barely a whisper.

He turned his head to look at me and gave me an almost patronizing smile. “Oh no. I don’t love humanity nor do I loathe you. You see, at the end of the day, you are nothing more than mere livestock.” With that statement he picked up a spare saw off of a nearby table and shoved it into my shaking hands. “Now, work.” He turned on his heel and started lumbering towards the exit. Halfway through, he paused and turned back to look at me. “And do me a favor, and do smile.” I gulped and opened my mouth to protest, but found that I had no free will of my own anymore. Blinking tears from my eyes, I forced a smile onto my face, and set to work along with the other angels.

Credit: Kuroha

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August 21, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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Greenhorn: By CreepyQuantum

The hot coffee touched his lips as he made every effort to wake himself up on this abnormally cold Friday morning. “Long day ahead of you, huh?” Tom’s wife, Anna said, walking into the living room wrapped in a blanket.

“Yeah,” Tom responded, “there is a new case that was given to me last night, some freak killed his wife and two kids and then fled into the Malheur National Forest. I’m the leading investigator.” There was evident disgust in his voice. She put her hand on his shoulder.

“I love how you take these cases personally. It shows your caring nature.” A smile emerged on Tom’s face as he placed his hand on hers. After a minute, she turned back to the hallway and slipped into their bedroom. Tom looked at his watch; it read 5:49 A.M with a final gulp of his coffee, he was on his way out the door to the car. Tom had lucked out; getting a house five minutes away from his office, he could stay home later before heading out. The short drive was normal at first. In the morning, the quick drive through Baker City Oregon had few obstacles and nearly no traffic excluding the occasional car that drove by. Suddenly, about two minutes away from his office, Tom noticed an orange flashing light ahead. As he approached, he noticed that there had been a car crash, a car was flipped off the road, and there were two people there directing the few cars that passed by. Thankfully, since there was such little traffic, it caused no delay in his commute, and Tom arrived at work on time.

Sliding his ID card across the scanner, Tom stepped into the large, brick building that he had known for the last eight years. Typically, Tom was the first one to the building, so it was a surprise when he saw his boss and co-worker standing in the office room. “Tom! It’s about time!” His boss, James exclaimed. Tom took a double take on his watch and reassured himself that he wasn’t late. “I called you three times and left a message each time!” Checking his pockets, Tom realized that he didn’t have his phone with him. “Dave is gone…” James said with tears in his eyes. A feeling of shock went over Tom’s body as he heard those words. The second in command and the head investigator had always been a kind man; he was very loving to his family, friends, and anyone he met, it didn’t seem right that someone like him could be taken from life so early.

“Wow, I-” Tom tried to utter up words, but he was left speechless.

“I need you to go to Malheur,” James spoke abruptly. Tom froze. He had never left the office for any case or investigation. He was always leading the team in information, but he never had any field work. “Dale here will take your spot in this case.” Tom was speechless. “We need you to do this.” there was a sense of weakness in James’s voice that Tom had never heard before, leading him to accept the request. “You will still get Jeanne and Cory to accompany you as well as the BCPD. I wouldn’t send you out there alone against a possibly armed suspect.”

“How did he-”

“Car accident” James cut Tom off. Now get ready, you are heading out once Jeanne and Cory get here. In a trance, Tom walked to his office and slowly opened the door and immediately sat in his seat. Nearly asleep, he was startled by a knock on his office door.

“Come in,” he announced to the unknown guest. Jeanne and Cory stepped into the door

“Are you ready for your first action case?” Jeanne said with a bright, white smile. Tom forced a smile on his face.

“Yeah!” He replied, sitting up. The three left the building and entered the large, black SUV and drove off.

The two-hour drive was quickly over, with a shake of his shoulders, Tom was awoken by Cory, who quickly spoke. “We’re here! Make sure you’re wide awake!” with that, the three exited the car and met up with Baker City Police Department.

“There is one main trail that goes right through the forest, but the suspect could be hiding anywhere,” Tom spoke for the first time in a while. “He is about 5’7” with short blonde hair.” He continued. Everyone looked at him and took note of the information and continued with their conversation. The group of seven made their way to the entrance of the thick forest.

Upon entering the forest, the group was instantly hit with a strange feeling. They all knew everyone felt it, but they all also decided to ignore it. They were on a hunt for a dangerous man, of course, they’re going to feel uneasy. Peering into the sunrise-lit forest, the group assured they had everything they needed and entered, guns ready. “Let’s split up here.” a cop said once they were a good ten minutes into the forest. “If you see or hear anything, announce it on the radio, and we’ll all get to you as fast as we can.” everyone nodded in agreement and took different angles into the dense, twisted forest. Though the sun was rising higher overhead, it appeared to be getting darker, Tom looked up to see if he was under thick tree branches, but he could visibly see the blue sky, rubbing his eyes, he continued. Walking for what seemed like an hour, Tom noticed something. It looked like an old building!

“Hey guys, I see what appears to be an old building!” No response. “Guys? -” Quickly there was a voice on the other side.

“Don’t go near it, turn away now.” Tom was astounded at the deep, mysterious voice that answered him.

“Are you sure? He could be hidi-”

“Yes, I’m sure. Leave now!” With that, Tom lowered the radio, he was about to turn away when he noticed a man stumble out of the building. The man looked up at Tom and stopped all movement. In an instant, the man rushed Tom, who instantly drew his gun.

“Stop right there!” Tom announced. This was clearly not the wanted man, but this man was very rugged looking. He wore tattered clothing; his face dirt masked his rough face and his long, greasy hair swung in the wind. “Stop!” Tom announced one more time before the man noticed the gun and froze.

“You’ve got to help me.” The old man spoke, tears in his eyes. “They won’t let me leave, I have tried so many times, and they always find out.” the man dropped to his knees. “They probably know we are talking right now.”

“Who is this they you’re talking about?” Tom asked skeptically. Before the man could answer, there was a loud yell, thundering from the direction of the building.

“No. No-no.” The old man yelled. “I’ve got to go. Take this, read it, get more people, save me, you can’t do it alone. Come back, I’ll try to survive for a little longer.” The man tossed Tom an extremely old folder. Tom was very confused but said nothing as the man ran back to the building. He quickly decided to turn away and head another direction.

After walking a good distance, he met up with Cory and another officer. “Any luck Tom?” Cory said, tossing him an energy bar. Tom didn’t reply. “Dude- what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“N-Nothing. Just tired.” He said, unwrapping the energy bar. The two looked at Tom suspiciously, then went back to their conversation. Tom’s mind was wandering while he adjusted the folder under his jacket. Should he tell the others what he had just seen? He decided he would examine it at home first. “So, why was it so important to avoid that building?” Tom muttered.

“What building?” Cory asked.

“Didn’t you hear me on the radio? I came across a building, but someone told me not to go near it.” Tom replied intently.

“Uh, I didn’t hear you,” Cory replied, looking at the police officer who shook his head. “Neither of us did.” Are you sure you’re okay?”

Tom knew the voice didn’t sound familiar; it must have been one of the other police officers whom he didn’t know. “I just feel a little sick.”

“Well, we were just about to call it quits for today anyways,” Cory replied.

The three signaled by radio to meet back up at the vehicles and one by one over the radio replied: “copy.” None of which sounded like the voice over the radio. Everyone was at the vehicles, they all had an upset look on their face. “Well,” started Jeanne, “Same time next Monday.” We will meet up on the other side of the forest, hopefully, cut him off.” Everyone agreed and got into their vehicles and drove off.

When Tom finally arrived home, he went straight to his office room, laid out the folder and got a cup of coffee. His wife worked later and usually got home at around midnight, so he used this alone time for whatever he wanted. The folder contained many loose, tattered paper that was worn but clearly legible. The paper wasn’t lined, but rather rough as out of its time. He grabbed the one on top and began.

I don’t remember what happened, all I know is I woke up here. I sat up and was extremely dizzy. I started writing this a couple hours after I woke up because whatever is going on should be documented. I’ll update on anything I find out.

Crawling around the dark room, I found a bowl of food. It tastes awful, but it’s nice to have something in my stomach. Also, there is a sink with water that I can drink out of! At least, whatever this is, I have necessities. I also noticed there is a door; I’m unsure if I am supposed to open it or not, but the confusion is killing me. Tomorrow I will open the door, I am getting rest right now.

There was a small gap between paragraphs.

I opened the door! Peering outside, I saw trees I also observed that I am currently in a nice, wooden house.

Tom paused to think, that house was extremely old and worn down, how could it have been considered ‘nice’? Tom continued reading.

I stepped outside and breathed the nice fresh air. I didn’t see anybody around still, so I decided to walk around and see if I am the only one. I noticed a couple other houses and what looked like an abandoned mine shaft. I decided to check out one of the other houses and upon arriving I had an unnerving feeling that I was being watched. Chills were sent down my spine, and my skin became as coarse as sandpaper. I peered over my shoulder and saw nothing. I turned the other way and… I swear I heard a crash come from the mineshaft, but I was too frightened at the time to check it out, so I decided to run back to the house I awoke at, and here I am. If anything happens tomorrow, I will keep you updated.

I swear I am not losing it… I know I hear noises. Distant clashing sounds, murmured chanting noises, even quiet breathing. There was more food in my bowl this morning. I haven’t left my house today. I’m not sure what anyone wants with me; I am just getting into my adulthood. I never did harm to anyone.

That line baffled Tom: “I’m just getting into my adulthood…” this time frame didn’t seem to make sense. He decided to call that a night. Hiding the folder in a secret compartment under his desk, that not even Anna knew about, he crawled in bed and awaited his wife’s return. When she finally arrived, he greeted her by taking her bags and jacket and leading her to the bedroom. She was always exhausted after work, so he tried to make it as easy on her as possible. “How was work?” She asked.

“It was different,” he said, recalling the strange man.

“What was so different?” She replied.

“Uh- I’m not used to field work.” He chuckled.

“Oh? You had to go out today?” She asked. He sat down and told her all about the accident and the resulting incidents, leaving out the strange man. After that, the two went to sleep. When Tom woke up, Anna was gone, there was a note on the table. “Hey, I will be home late today, Susan just invited me to her baby shower so I will be gone all day. Love you.” He sighed, but quickly remembered about the papers and made his way to his desk. He found where he last left off and continued.

Oh my gosh… I saw the source of the noise; I knew I wasn’t going crazy! It was terrifying. I thought it was going to kill me! I have never believed in the superstitious or anything, but this has absolutely baffled me. It looked humanoid, but there is no way anyone would call that thing a human. I saw it as I was walking back to the other house, determined to enter the other house to see if there were more like me. But on my way there, I saw it. It stood at the opening of the mine shaft staring at me; it looked at me so menacingly that I thought it would kill me. My feeling was strengthened as it approached me. I tried to run, but I couldn’t! I am too weak with one meal a day, and the thing must be so fast! It grabbed me by the back of my shirt and threw me down I started backing away on my back as it cocked its neck, examining me. Its eyes were pure white, appeared to be free of pupils or anything but it appeared to be staring me down. Next thing I knew I was waking up in what I now call, my house. I am too scared to leave, I am not sure what they did to me, but there is a small pinhole in my arm like a thick needle was inserted into me. This can’t be real. I will update tomorrow.

Tom sat back in disbelief. This couldn’t be real! There was no way. The old man played a trick on him. However, he was still interested, so he grabbed the next sheet of paper.

Today one of the things came into my house and, again, I blacked out. This time, however, I woke up in a very dark, damp area. Stone surrounds me, so I am assuming I am in the mine. But why? Thankfully there is a torch next to me, honestly writing these events is the only thing I can do to keep myself sane. I need to look for a way out, though.

Tom stood up with the paper to walk into the other room and continued reading.

I looked and looked and couldn’t find anything! I am beginning to feel claustrophobic an-

Sorry, I never finished that last sentence, as I was writing, I saw white orbs approaching from the distance. That’s all you can see from them in this absolute darkness; their skin is just as black as this cave. However, it grabbed my arm, and I expected to black out, but I didn’t! It pulled me up and led me to an incline, and we proceeded. I’m not necessarily smart, but this place seems much deeper than any other mine. Maybe I am wrong, and they are very deep, but we walked for what seemed like half a day before arriving at sunlight. Once we were there, the thing pushed me out and stood in the darkness of the opening of the mine. I wasn’t sure what it wanted me to do, so I headed back to the house. You know what? I am tired of this, why don’t I just run away? I’m bound to find some civilization. Tomorrow I am going to leave.

Tom flipped to the next page.

No, no no! Upon trying to flee, I heard a god-awful screech emanating from what I am assuming to be the mine shaft. I had a feeling they knew I was frightened. So I turned back and ran. Upon entering the small community, I noticed a small sign near the entrance that read: Greenhorn Oregon. I had often heard of Green Horn! That would explain the mine because, in the mid-1800s, it was a very active gold mine town. However, federal government foreclosed it in 1901 because of “land issues.” just five years ago.

Tom froze. Those three words danced on his tongue. “Five years ago.” For the second time, the time frame didn’t add up. This man was in his forties or fifties in 1906, and then 96 years later, still looked the same? This was obviously a hoax. But something deep down told Tom otherwise. He thought back to the encounter with the man; he looked absolutely frightened, and the screech he heard! It was definitely not human! Tom was a very logical thinker; he couldn’t stand not understanding just what was going on, so he continued.

It feels like it’s been fifty years since I have written in this paper. I was taken down in the mineshaft but never returned. Only saw the creatures when they brought me food or water, for a while I decided to try to end it all and not accept the offerings but I quickly found out that wasn’t an option. I would black out and wake up feeling full and no longer thirsty. These things want me alive… Why? I have navigated around this large, open cave system. I have found multiple human skeletons wrapped in mining uniform. Were these miners killed down here? They all appeared to be in a pile, though; it appeared as though they were brought down here and tossed after death. Being in total darkness with only a dim lamp is one of the worst experiences ever. I am not sure how I am not frail like an old man, I have got to be well over 100 years old, and I feel the same as I did when I got here. I know I don’t seem surprised at this but, after all, this, nothing surprises me anymore.

Intrigued, Tom wasted no time reading on to the next entry.

I finally found the incline the beast led me up before! I am free! I wandered slowly up the slope for what felt like days, but I made it. Finally! The sun burnt my eyes and skin at first, but I got used to it, as I walked by a building I saw my reflection in the window, I hadn’t changed in all that time! I have gotten used to the strange, unreal occurrences lately but how have I not aged in the slightest? Pondering that among many other questions, I entered my house again; it’s nice to lay on my bed. I hear something… I think one is coming for me. I’ll write as soon as I can.

I’m not sure how much time has passed, but I know I have been out for a very long time. Upon awakening I looked outside my door and noticed movement out in the forest, it was a man! The first human I have seen in decades! I almost wanted to yell for him, but I didn’t want to get the thing’s attention, let me now note that there are at least three of the creatures, I have seen three at one time. But back to the man, he was an average height man, with blonde hair, looking as if fleeing from something. Though he was coming towards my house, he should have been fleeing away, he pulled a knife out from his pocket and rushed me, I didn’t know what to do, so I yelled at him. He got to my door, and I slammed it on him. There were thuds on the door before it finally burst open. I was on the ground, I had no way of protecting myself, I backed into the corner but before the man could kill me, he froze as a pitch black hand coiled itself around his neck. He gasped for air but the thing quickly crushed his throat. I was amazed. Why did it save me? Why am I so important to them? The creature stared at me with those spiteful eyes as if to say “I want to kill you, but I can’t” then walked off. I am done writing for today.

Tom looked at the next journal entry.

This morning I found a small article that gave me many answers, it claimed that the mine was shut down not because of “land issues” but because the miners stumbled across something amazing. An entire underground civilization! Lost through time and government secrecy. They quickly told the government which occupied it with an army. This Army apparently cleared the place of the creatures and burned all the bodies. They wrote that the creatures were “savages, eyes adapted to pitch black and skin darker than sin itself.” That mine was so deep not because miners dug all that way, but because these creatures have lived here for ages! This answers so many questions! But I am still wondering, why do they want me alive? I am not sure. But tomorrow I am going to make another break for it, what are they going to do, kill me?

Dropping the papers in shock, Tom was unable to believe what he had just read, he quickly called up the other six people and told them to meet up at the place they had the day before because of an emergency. They all did without hesitation. “What is it?” Jeanne asked frantically. Everyone looked at Tom because that was the question on all of their minds.

Tom simply replied with “Follow me, and make sure you’re armed.” The group complied yet looked at each other, exchanging worried glances. Walking through the thick forest, Tom found himself lost. He took a break and looked around. At first, he didn’t notice it, but at a second glance, he saw what looked like a body in the distance. Running over there immediately, he found a body of a rugged old man, throat crushed still with fresh blood. “No no no no,” Tom repeated. The group quickly put the body In a body bag and looked at Tom.

“How did you know there would be a body?” They asked.

“I didn’t..” he replied. He looked up and saw a large fence around what appeared to be a small civilization. Tom slowly walked up to it. “This wasn’t here before” he muttered to himself. Looking along the fence, he saw there was a large yellow sign further down so he quickly went over to it. Before he arrived at the sign, he noticed a hole in the fence. It looked as if the fence was physically torn; like something with immense strength tore a hole in the metallic framework. He backed up. The sharp, broken edges of the torn fence appeared to have a black flesh-like substance on it. “Oh god no,” Tom said, “Let’s get out of here!”

As he was running, he heard a police officer say behind him, “Private government property due to land issues.” Tom froze. Slowly turning around, he saw the man reading the large yellow sign that the man had indeed read correctly.

“Let’s go!” Tom said. “Now!” everyone looked at Tom in confusion.

“Why do you drag us out here and immediately want to go?” Cory said.

“Just listen to me!” Tom replied still backing up.

“Let’s check this place out!” a voice came up from the crowd.

“It says not to! You’re a cop! You should abide by the rules!” Tom replied.

“Listen, son, I’ll tell you a little secret. This is Greenhorn! An abandoned town that was a big gold mine! There could be bounties of gold in here! I’m not leaving!”

“You are going to die…” Tom said. He knew if he said why they wouldn’t believe him. The officer looked at Tom in disgust.

“I always knew you were crazy.” Frustrated, Tom turned and left to go to the cars and wait. He sat in his car for about three hours. Tears built up in his eyes, he wanted to believe they were just occupied with searching the place but he knew the truth– they were dead.

A week later word in the newspaper was that six of a seven-person group were missing on a manhunt. A second group of investigators found a body in a body bag that forensic scientists were shocked to say had no DNA records on file. They also found a fenced in, a government-owned ghost town. They didn’t want to get mixed up with the feds so they ignored that area completely. Tom decided to tell his wife about everything. She was absolutely shocked. He told her he wants to go look one more time to see if the government was there or not. Against her will, he went there. He lied behind a stump and watched, nothing seemed to happen. Though every time he looked at the mine he was struck with fear. Just before he was about to call it quits, he noticed something that made his heart sink. Something was moving in the mine. He didn’t move. Not out of interest or curiosity, but he was physically paralyzed with fear. The figure emerged out of the mine, holding a stack of something. Managing the courage and motor skills, he pulled up his binoculars to see what it was. His jaw dropped and he vomited instantly. There were six bowls with what appeared to be human flesh in each of them. The creature carried it to the house that the old man had existed before, went in, and returned without the bowls. The creature walked back to the mine and disappeared. Tom fled as fast as he could and returned home, he told his wife the truth that there were no government officials there though he left out any details. He knew deep down that the rest of his group were living there, and probably will be for the next couple centuries.
Chapter 2

Two years after the Green Horn case, Tom found himself promoted in the workforce to the highest ranking official in his office. He was very glad that this assured he would never have to go out in the field again; going to Green Horn scarred him for life but he was coping with it. He reluctantly didn’t tell anyone of the possibility of the group remaining alive in fear that it would ultimately lead to even more unnecessary deaths. So he set to move on and try to forget; he successfully accomplished both goals.

Tom’s life was great, he was now making a good salary, he and his wife Anna had just had a child, and they had recently bought a brand-new truck. Tom loved his new job, being as organized as he was, he could find any folder anyone needed and get information to whoever needed it, he was the perfect man for the job. But it was his promotion, ultimately, that led to his ultimate fate.

Tom worked at his new job for three years, being very successful and far more efficient than his prior. He had access to every case current or in the past. One day, he was searching through old folders and he found one labeled “Greenhorn” Tom froze. The case that he had worked in was labeled “Malheur forest killer.” He remembered because it was he who named it! Tom’s heart began to pound when he realized he wasn’t looking in a case file drawer, but an evidence and articles drawer. He slid his hand on the old, course folder, debating on whether or not to unlock its secrets for the first time in a very long period of time. Taking deep breaths, he grabbed the folder, memories flooding his brain as he began to feel great sorrow that his colleagues could possibly be alive, being tortured as he sat there. He dropped the folder and began to weep.

After taking a moment to collect himself, he opened the folder and saw a photograph. It showed five men surrounding the body of what must have been one of the creatures of the mine. The thing was awful, all five men had saddened looks on their faces and he couldn’t help but to feel bad for them. He noticed in the pictures the bulbous, white eyes looking towards the camera on the dead creature. The next piece of evidence he found was a small letter that reads:

After examining the body completely, we have come to a conclusion that these creatures have independently evolved with humans, they haven’t had the same environment as us and, therefore, have evolved far different traits. As for DNA, they are astoundingly close to ours, far closer than even the most similar of apes, but their small differences aren’t so small. They have some chains of DNA that aren’t even carbon-based, they’re silicon-based! I mean, this accounts for about .0001% of their DNA but it is absolutely baffling! Their Bone structures are similar to ours but they have longer arms and legs. Their brains seem to be high functioning like a human’s which is very frightening. I would ask that you bring one to me alive so I can run tests on it. Thank you,
Dr. Jefferey M. Hawthorne

Tom found himself recalling the man whose story he had read three years ago. This evidence was helpful in filling in the blanks. He searched through the papers again, finding more photos of the creatures until he came across a photograph of a dead man that looked to be a miner, his neck was visibly crushed. The caption of the photo read: Jeff A. Dalmer, a twelve-year miner was killed by one of the creatures down in “Hell Hole.” Tom thought to himself, “That name seems fitting.”

Placing the photo into the pile of papers he has already examined, something caught his eye, it was named “Short story of a Hell Hole survivor” he grabbed the small booklet and opened it, and started to read.

I don’t know where to start, so I’ll dive right in. I have been a miner in greenhorn for about seven years now, we moved here due to high chances of finding gold. This was the biggest mistake of my life. We discovered it in 1871 when we miners were working on deepening the mine shaft, we hit a hollow portion of the wall. We called all of the miners over and began to pick at the hollow wall and believe it or not, it led to a chamber of some kind! Amazed, we made a stable doorway and stepped into the chamber which smelled of sulfur and damp air.

It was almost immediately that one of the guys yelled “Gold!” We all rushed over to see if he was bluffing but he wasn’t! There was the largest gold ore vein that I’ve ever seen right there in front of our faces! Not only that, but he found the opening to an extremely long cave-like hallway that seemed to go down for miles. We all decided to go to the surface to alert our managers of the finding but Adam, the man who found the gold, insisted on staying, so we let him. As soon as we reached sunlight we heard what sounded like a guttural moan followed by a scream of terror! Grabbing their pickaxes, a group of people ran back down to see what the commotion was while I and two others continued on our original mission. When we told him what we had found, his face went pale. At first, he was reluctant to tell us why he reacted so poorly to it but he finally caved and pulled out a folder. He told us how the natives warned the settlers about an underground people that are to not be disturbed. There are often paintings depicting tall, black creatures with white eyes standing over bodies of the natives. This was enough for me, I decided to get my family and move out of here, so I will store this in the library and hope someone finds it and I hope this can help in any way.

Tom was amazed at what he had just read. It was insane that this was even possible because before he had never heard of Green Horn and he definitely wouldn’t have guessed about the cave creatures. He gazed over to see another photograph, but this one was different. It showed a pile of miners, they all appeared to be dead and tossed into one heap of death. That is when he recognized the section of the chamber that they were located in; that had been where the skeletons were! The bodies, however, were not the most frightening aspect of this photograph, standing on either side of the pile were the creatures, looking into the camera as if they were proud. “Who had taken the picture?” Tom asked himself in his head. That’s when he found the Article about Adam. It was said that Adam, the man who had initially found the gold, wasn’t actually killed but protected! He was set to retire very soon, he was at the age of forty. Green Horn civilians reported seeing Adam trudge out of the mine in the middle of the night only to bring boxes of stuff down into the mine.

Adam’s family were mourning the death of their beloved when he seemingly walked past his own funeral. When people tried to stop him, he looked at them with such malice that it would make a grown man shudder. He apparently had pitch black eyes, opposite of the creatures, and surrounding them the skin was a rosy shade of pink. One man tried to grab him but Adam shoved the man off with enormous strength and went home, came out with a box, and returned to the cave. Tom froze when he read the last line of the article, “Adam was said to have a very deep voice that sounded inhuman, and when anyone wanted to enter the mine, he would yell from the bottom of the mine in his fiendish voice to not enter.

Tom sat back in disbelief, had it been Adam that told him not to enter? And how did he know the people were approaching? Things made less sense now than ever. Tom looked over to the folder and saw something that shocked him. “An estimated 8 miles deep into the earth’s crust.” Tom thought to himself that should be extremely hot! But he quickly shrugged it off as another of the creatures’ adaptation to their own environment. That was the final piece in the folder, satisfied, tom replaced them all and placed the folder on the desk.

On the ride home, Tom’s mind was racing, thinking about the creatures and everything that he had gone through. He claimed multiple times to Anna that he was having terrible dreams of the creatures and that they keep looking at him as if they were looking into his soul with those pale eyes. This is where the story comes to an abrupt end, however, I wish there was more to say! However, the story from Tom’s point of view came to an abrupt end once he grew tired of the horrible nightmares. Tom’s lifeless body was found hanging in his bedroom by his wife that night. Greenhorn is completely forgotten now, it’s not necessarily off limits but it is warned to never go near it. That’s the story of Greenhorn, take from it what you will. There isn’t anything more to say except the elephant in the room; don’t ever go near Greenhorn Oregon.

Credit: CreepyQuantum

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What Haunts the Fields

August 18, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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“In the midst of the fields, they say are where the bodies were found. They were nailed to a stick of wood and used as scarecrows, but not before their bones and organs were removed and replaced with straw.”

“Is the story true?” Jonas asked.

“Of course not, my boy,” Hicks replied, laughing his way into the kitchen.

Hicks was a sixty year old man who had lived across from the fields his whole entire life. Jonas was a young seventeen year old male who was hitchhiking along the road that sits just outside Hicks’ home. Hicks felt bad for the boy, so he allowed him to stay in the spare bedroom of his home, in exchange for work around the farm. He’d only been there for four days and everything was well, but there was something about the fields that gave Jonas the creeps. It was the way the crops swayed inconsistently with the wind. It was the smell that would linger around the fields and make its way toward the house. But most of all, it was the stories that Hicks would tell him about the fields.

Every night before he’d go to sleep, Jonas would take a peak at the fields. He’d never see anything other than crows, but one night he saw something else. It fled across the fields and disappeared into the distance. He didn’t get a desirable sighting of the thing, and that’s what scared him the most. The only thing he saw was a dark shadow. He didn’t look away, even after the thing had already disappeared, he kept his eyes gazed out at the fields. He thought about what Hicks had told him.

Dying is not exactly what people are afraid of, it’s the fear of the unknown. Nobody knows what comes after death, so they fear dying in every way possible.

In this situation, Jonas was fearing the unknown. If he had gotten a more desirable glimpse of the thing, he’d know what it was. It’s the fact that something is out there and he had no idea what it was. That’s what scared him the most.

The next morning, Hicks and Jonas both were distressed to find some of the crops in the fields to be destroyed. Thinking about what he saw the night before, Jonas was convinced he knew what had destroyed the crops. He informed Hicks about what he saw. “It’s the damn crows,” Hicks said, ignoring what Jonas had told him. “It’s always the damn crows.”

The hours went by, slowly but surely. Jonas was just finishing up work in the barn and heading toward the house when he’d heard something shuffling through the fields. He was curious, but yet afraid of the unknown. He walked cautiously into the dark fields, the moon being his only source of light. He had a pitchfork in his hands and he held that pitchfork in a defensive position as he shuffled through the fields. He heard something; he knew it was out there. Even when he was standing completely still, he heard something moving through the fields; he heard it snickering, he heard it breathing. There was something out there, but he couldn’t see it and that’s what scared him the most. Fear of the unknown.

As Jonas stood in the center of the fields, he realized he was lost. He smelled something, something deadly. He shuffled through the fields a bit more and that’s when he found it. Not the thing, not what haunts the fields, but he found a man nailed to a piece of wood as the straw hung out of his gut. His skin was desiccated and the bottom portions of his legs were removed, just above his knees. He thought he heard him breathing, but no, the man’s been dead for over a month. He heard something else. He looked to his right and that’s when he saw it. Not waiting for a second, he took off running. He ran through the fields, not even worrying about the fact that he was lost. All he could think about was what he saw. Despite the fact that he’d seen it, he still did not know what it was. Fear of the unknown.

He kept running, shuffling through the fields as horrified as he could be, until he ran into Hicks who’d gone out to look for him. He followed him back to the house, explaining to Hicks everything that he saw. “He’s out there!” he yelled. “I’ve seen him!”

“You calm the hell down, boy!” Hicks yelled. Jonas had become silent, but still shaking from fear. “What haunts the fields is not a he and it’s not a who. It’s a what, it’s an it, it’s a thing.”

“It killed a man,” Jonas said. “It’s out there, we have to call the police.”

“There ain’t nothing no police can do,” Hicks said. “We’ll be safe, just as long as we stay from the fields at night.”

“What does it want?”

“It’s the damn crows,” Hicks replied. “It’s always the damn crows.”

Jonas went to bed that night, unable to sleep with the haunting images of what he saw earlier that night on his mind. He spent most of that night, glancing out the window, fearing that what haunts the fields is still out there. It wasn’t until he began dosing off that he saw it again. Its beaming red eyes could be seen from miles away, but it was much closer than that. It was standing near Hicks’ tractor, staring into the fearful eyes of Jonas before it fled into the fields and disappeared.

The next day, Jonas still could not get the images of that night off his mind. From the dead man to the beaming red eyes of the thing, he was being haunted by the images. When the night rolled along, Jonas made sure to get inside the house before sundown. He was all alone that night; Hicks had left hours before for a supply run. Just a few hours after sundown, a scream had echoed from the fields. It was a woman. Jonas thought about it and he thought about it hard. He decided that it wasn’t right for him to just stand there and listen as the woman screamed for her life. He grabbed a shotgun belonging to Hicks, not even sure how to use it. He ran out of the house and into the fields, screaming out for the woman. She was no longer screaming, hadn’t screamed in minutes. He got to the center of the fields and that’s when he saw her. She was nailed to a stick, straw hanging out of her gut. The bottom portions of her legs were removed and were also filled with straw. He thought that she was breathing, but no, she was dead and again, it was the thing. With it’s beaming red eyes staring back at him. Jonas took off running, able to find the house minutes later. He ran inside and locked every door and every window. It was coming after him and he knew it.

Eventually, everything had become silent. The only thing he could hear was the beating of his own heart. There was a knock at the door and his heart was getting louder! Another knock and his heart was getting louder! Again, another knock and his heart was getting louder! He knew that it could have been Hicks, but he also knew it could have been the thing. His chest was getting tighter as he took a deep breath; the fear was growing more intense as he didn’t know who it was outside the door. Fear of the unknown. He walked slowly to the door, dragging his feet as he got closer and closer. He looked through the peephole, but all he could see was a bright red. It blinded him for a few seconds, but he knew what it was because he stared into that red a few times before. He ran from the door; unsure of what to do, he hid inside his bedroom closet.

Everything was quiet for a minute, the only thing he could hear was his own breathing. When the front door creaked open, the fear got more intense and his chest, even tighter. He tried with everything he had not to make even the smallest sound. The sound of footsteps wandered through the home and made it’s way toward Jonas. They were getting closer and the closer they got, the louder his heartbeat would sound. His bedroom door creaked open, whatever or whoever it was, was in the room. Its breathing, he could hear its breathing as it was louder than it had ever been before. The closet door creaked open and Jonas was certain he was the next to be nailed to a stick and displayed as a scarecrow. However, it was Hicks who stood in front of him.

“What are ya doin’ boy?” he yelled, taking the gun from Jonas.

“It was here!” Jonas said. “It was outside the door!”

Hicks shook his head as he was snickering, a sound so familiar to Jonas. “You got it all wrong, my boy,” He said, “Ya see, I left out a very important part about what haunts the fields.” He got closer as Jonas backed up against the wall. “It doesn’t just kill anybody. It picks up hitchhikers and it takes them to his home where it tells them stories about the fields.” His eyes become a bright beaming red. “Do you know what it does to them next?”

“No,” Jonas cried.

“It guts them, it stuffs them with straw and then it nails them to a stick out in the fields,” he said. “Do ya know why it does that?”

“No,” he cried again.

“It’s the damn crows,” he said. “It’s always the damn crows.”

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August 8, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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This is a video pasta. If the embedded video is not loading for you, please click the link above to go directly to the video’s YouTube page and try watching it there.

Credit: frostedminifears

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Rating: 6.3/10 (127 votes cast)
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