Monster Painter

August 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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My name is Ingrid Ramirez, and today on this frozen, storming January day, I was standing before the coffin that contained my son, Alfie Ramirez. The coffin had a wooden, polished finish with flowers placed on top of the lid, like it would help hide the truth on why my son’s coffin had to be closed. It didn’t help; I knew exactly why his coffin was closed. It was an image that I would never be able to forget for the rest of my days. My son was murdered; torn apart by someone, or something, from head to toe. It took the coroner 2 hours to find every piece that he could of my Alfie…

Held tight between my breasts was Alfie’s video camera; it’s all I will ever have of my son. The Police gave me the camera hours after they informed me of Alfie’s murder, since they could find no evidence on it. They still could not answer why Alfie had brought the camera with him if he did not record anything…

Time went around me in a blur; all I could see was them lower my son’s coffin into the cold, uncaring earth and cover it with wet, sloshy mud. Alfie did not deserve that. I could not tell you how I ended up back in my home, sitting at my empty dining room table. I must’ve sat there for hours without a single movement. That is, until an overwhelming urge came over me: I wanted to see the videos my son had recorded. My eyes were too puffy and irritated to cry anymore, so I wouldn’t have to worry about crying through the videos. My chest would shudder like I was going to cry as I opened my laptop and plugged his camera into a USB port, but nothing came out. A file explorer popped up called “Alfie’s Videos” and I saw rows of videos he had captured ever since I gave him the camera on his 18th birthday.

I spent hours going through every video. As a storm raged outside, I sat there lost in the memories of Alfie. From the time he first moved out of this house and into a collage dorm, to meeting his first roommate, Mario. I smiled as he showed me his life through school, majoring in film. He met several new friends while he was there, all of whom I had once known. Some videos had were of him and his friends doing silly college things, like the notorious Spring Break beach parties, to pulling hilarious pranks on each other. I never felt so happy to watch these videos; for a moment it helped me forget the pain…

That is, until I saw it.

Next to his last recording, a strange video appeared. It was completely black and had the caption “The Monster Painter” under it. I felt a sense of dread; my heart raced as I slowly clicked on the video. Did the police see this? It wasn’t there before, was it? The video engulfed my entire screen and the scene began to play out. The video began with Alfie filming himself and his friends walking down an empty street. They were loud and obviously drunk, laughing and tossing their beer bottles into the forest; in the distance was the newly finished lake house down by the river. Why were they heading there?

As if answering me, I heard Alfie’s voice. “To all of my followers out there, this is Alfie Ramirez, and here with me on this cold, spooky night are my friends. My roommate and partner-in-crime, Mario,” he turned the camera to an attractive, Hispanic teen. He was arm-in-arm with two ginger headed boys. “With him are Chaz and Floyd, the infamous ginger brothers.” The two stuck their tongues out in a vulgar manor, shouting about how “crunked” they were (whatever that meant). He moved the camera to his right at one other boy, who looked like he was mildly irritated at being filmed. “And this is Garth, our brother from Africa.”

Everyone laughed as Garth took a swing at Alfie. “Shut up, Alfie. It’s not polite to be racist.”

Alfie chuckled as he turned the camera back to Mario, who was walking in front of the two gingers now. “Alright, Mario, tell our fellow viewers what we are doing here tonight.”

“We are here to see if this lake house is really as haunted as they say it is,” Mario turned and began walking backwards, his shoes crunching on the gravel road as the Lake House in the background grew ominously closer. “They say that sometime back in the 90’s; a beautiful French immigrant named Deanna Levasseur was burned alive here in town of Ipswich. She moved here with her family, but shortly after she did her parents died of a horrible car accident. She lived alone, secluding herself to her home by the river. The town found her to be weird, but they were happy because she was famous for painting portraits of strange creatures she saw in her dreams. Her fame brought the town tourists and it began to prosper. Until one day, on a same cold winter day like this, her house was vandalized by the local gang. They stole her valuables, ruined her life’s work, and set her home on fire. The police and fire department tried to save her, but she perished in the fire along with her precious paintings. They gave her the title “The Monster Painter” shortly after she died and buried her ashes at the edge of the river. And just last year, city hall allowed contractors to build this beautiful house over her grave site.”

Alfie zoomed in on the house. It was a massive, beautiful two story manor that was half way over the water. It had a lot of glass walls for better viewing of the lake. No lights were on and the house looked completely empty. Alfie zoomed out and began filming Mario again, right as they were approaching the front door of the house. “But freaky things have been happening ever since the workers built this place.” Mario continued his story. “People have gone missing and most were found dead… with their bodies hardly recognizable. They finished production of the house and have been unable to sell the place, due to a lot of local superstition and reports of the freak “accidents” associated with the house.”

Right as Garth started to pick the lock the two gingers moved Mario out of the way and grinned into the camera. “And that’s what we’re here to prove! That there is no such thing as monsters!” Chaz shouted a bit too loudly into the camera and Floyd agreed with him. Garth got the door unlocked and opened the door slowly. As he did, all the boys grew slightly quiet as a small breeze escaped from inside the house, blowing into their faces. They grew a bit nervous so Alfie went in first, declaring that the last one out of the house got five hundred dollars as winning bet. That seemed to motivate the other boys and they trudged into the house. Alfie filmed the interior of the empty dining room to his right then the hallway, which was also bare- but he abruptly turned the camera back to the front door as a loud “SLAM” echoed through the house. The front door had slammed shut. The boys began shouting a bit, trying to open the door, but it was locked.

Alfie turned to look behind him as a strange sound skittered from behind. He shouted at his friends to look as his camera caught the inside of the house… that was no longer vacant. All down the hallway were paintings of grotesque, hideous creatures that looked way too realistic for any normal person to endure. Even seeing them through the camera sent a chill down my spine. I watched my son and his friends reluctantly move down the hallway, into a fully furnished living room. If the house was empty… where did all of the furniture, and those paintings, come from?

Needless to say, I forced myself to keep watching as Alfie filmed the layout of the living room. I could hear his friends scurrying about, using the light from the fireplace as they looked through everything they could to try and find something that would open the front door. Alfie, however, was more focused on one particular painting.

It hung above the mantel of the fireplace- much larger than the previous ones, encased in a detailed shiny gold frame. The monster in the painting was crouched on top of a huge boulder; its body human-like, it had several tails that fanned out in all directions. The monster was pure black, but had outlines of crimson red, which glowed in the light of the fire… its mouth and eyes glowed exceptionally bright. Its feet were obviously animal like, the claws digging into the boulder. Its long, pointed ears were folded back menacingly as the creature was looking up at something unseen. Its mouth looked like it was a part of its face, since skin was being pulled apart to form the smile. Wide, hollow red eyes stared upwards as one hand was reaching up with large, extended talons protruding off the end of those long, boney fingers. Alfie moved the camera down after looking at the painting, seeing that there was a nameplate on the bottom frame. He zoomed in on it: It read “Acid”.

A blood curtailing scream suddenly made Alfie turn back around. The boys were stunned to find that one of the gingers, Chaz, was nowhere to be found. Frantically, they made an attempt to find Chaz, but the sound of a door slamming shut somewhere in the house made them stop. They got so quiet, the only thing you could hear was the popping of the fire. They heard the scream again; this time, they all ran for the front door. Floyd hysterically threw himself at the wooden door, trying to break it down while Alfie placed the camera down and joined the other two in grabbing the dining room chairs. They went over to the glass wall that viewed out to the surrounding forest and began beating it with their chairs.

What freaked me out was as I watched my son and his friends try desperately to break the glass, I could see a pale, feminine face in the reflection of the glass. She had long black hair; the left side of her hair had a small braid in it. Her skin was pale, but not quite white. Her eyes… they were black- soulless- with piercing blue irises that glowed with a blaze so sharp, the blood in my body stopped.

Alfie was shouting at Garth about something; it snapped me back into what was going on in the video. Every time they slammed the chairs on the glass, it would crack, but after doing so, the cracks would reverse and disappear. It did that with every single hit- the boys stopped when they heard Floyd shouting. Alfie dropped his chair and ran back for the camera, turning it back in the direction of the front door. What I saw made me cover my mouth.

Floyd was being pulled on his belly screaming as a massive, humanoid monster was dragging him towards a dark spot next to the door. The monster was massive, over 7 feet, with enormous arms, spiked tendrils coming off its back and spikes running down the middle of its featureless face. One of those horrible spiked tendrils was wrapped around Floyd’s ankles, shredding his pants and skin. The frightened boy began clawing at the floor, desperately trying to stop himself from his doomed fate. His nails began to tear, his fingers leaving behind a bloody trail as he was engulfed into the darkness. His screams echoed through the house as Alfie and the remaining two took off down the hallway and passed the living room.

Floyd’s cries didn’t stop until the boys ran into a random room. They slammed the door shut, barricading it with everything they could physically move (which was a dresser and a vanity). Mario was freaking out, sobbing uncontrollably and gripping his hair. Garth was crouched on the floor, rocking back and forth slowly, wishing he had just stayed home. Alfie was sitting on the bed, the camera lowered down into his lap, facing the far wall. His panting was loud and he was obviously shaking. A long moment passed, the three boys got really quiet, not daring to speak. Creaks and moans could be heard outside the door, coming from somewhere in the house. Mario had his head against the wall, covering his ears with his hands. Alfie moved the camera a bit, adjusting the lens when Garth suddenly gasped. “Oh my god, guys! It’s Chaz!”

Alfie turned the camera in the direction Garth was pointing. There was another painting of an extremely big creature with seven eyes, hunched over, with big spikes running from its head down the length of its back, and a mouth that split down the middle of its face. It stood there, mocking Shakespeare’s pose of holding a skull. Except… it wasn’t a skull. In the monster’s massive hand, was Chaz’s severed head. I saw that the painting said “Drogon”- but it wasn’t long before the monster came to life. It looked at the boys, chuckling sinisterly as it began to reach out of the painting. The boys cried out, wasting no time in throwing the vanity and dresser out of the way and squeezing out of the room.

“Head for the basement,” Mario shouted as they ran back through the living room and into the kitchen. A door was wide open; I could only fear that it was the basement. Alfie and Garth followed him through the door, slamming it shut behind them. It was blacker than pitch; all I could hear was the sound of their shoes stomping against the staircase- then silence. Alfie fiddled with the camera, probably trying to find the night vision.

“Oh my god, we are all going to die…” Mario sounded like he was about to cry, whispering the same thing over and over again.

Garth shuffled in the darkness as he made a scoff. “Will you shut up, Mario?! You’re not helping.” He made another annoyed groan as a panting sound began to get louder. “Damn you, Mario, I can’t think with you breathing down my neck!”

It got quiet. The night vision turned on, revealing Mario standing next to Alfie. Alfie grabbed Mario’s arm and tugged on him, whispering that it was just him. Mario looked spooked, but then his face began to twist into horror; he was standing next to Alfie.

“Uh, Garth… I’m over here…” Mario looked in Alfie’s direction as Alfie turned the camera towards Garth. Garth’s face looked confused- terrified when he realized that it was not Mario who was standing behind him. From the darkness came two, long boney hands that grabbed Garth’s head. Before he could scream, a sickening crack was heard. Garth’s head was no longer facing the screen.

Alfie recoiled in revulsion, taking Mario with him just as a creature stepped forward, hissing at them. I gasped; it was the same monster from the painting above the fireplace! The boys stumbled as fast as they could up the stairs, wasting no time in helping each other out of the basement. Alfie slammed the door shut before barreling into the living room. Alfie turned the camera back to the fireplace; the monster was, of course, missing.

He followed Mario up the stairs, neither one of them stopping until they were at the end of the hallway, right in front of a big window. The only place left to go was right, down another hallway where a red door waited ominously. Mario was trying to catch his breath when they both looked over sharply, seeing the shadow of creature stalking up the stairs, hissing. “There is no way I am dying here.” Mario muttered. He took a few steps back, facing the window.

“Mario, what are you doing?!” Alfie reached for Mario. “Don’t do it man!” Mario shrugged off Alfie’s warning and ran for the window. Alfie shouted for him to stop, but it was too late. Mario rammed into the window using his right shoulder, managing to shatter the window open. His body got about half way out the window, when the glass began to reverse back into place. Alfie made a small noise as he saw Mario’s body perfectly suspended through the window. Slowly, Mario’s body began to slide down the glass; the right half falling to the ground below, while the left slid to the floor. I could hear Alfie sobbing a bit; he wasted no time in running away from Mario’s sliced body just as the creature turned the corner to run after him. He ran all the way to the red door, opening it quickly.

I caught a two second glance at the room he entered, which was nothing but a pure white room, before he turned around and slammed the door shut. The creature smacked into the door, beating on it and making frustrated roars. Alfie was breathing really hard in the audio, sobbing every so often. I reached out and touched the screen gently with my fingertips; I couldn’t imagine what he was going through…

A noise behind him made Alfie turn around. In the middle of the empty room was a large chair. There was a woman occupying it, with her back to him. Alfie, to my surprise, walked right up to her, going around to the front of the chair. She had a long, tattered rag for a shirt, tights, and black metal boots. In her hands was a long, jagged paint brush, the handle looked to be made of bone. Alfie was still panting, shaking a bit now as he recorded her. She was looking off at the floor, as if she didn’t notice he was there.

“Who are you?!” my son spoke, a hint of anger in his voice. “What do you want?! You murdered my friends!” she did not answer him. “Answer me!” he sounded a bit more demanding, shaking the camera slightly.

The woman stared up at Alfie, her eyes stone cold. “What is your greatest fear?” she asked, her voice distorted.

Alfie took a step back, obviously affected by those eyes. “Screw you, lady! Just leave me alone and let me leave!”

The woman then turned her head away again, this time to look at a massive shadow that had appeared from nowhere on the floor. She dipped the paintbrush carefully into it, pulling it up in a large black blob. She flicked it off her paintbrush and the ball of shadow began to rapidly take shape. It transformed into the monster Alfie had just escaped from. The monster grinned mockingly at him, growling in amusement. Alfie took a step back, his breath hitched; he turned to turn away- only to be face-to-face with the woman.

“Don’t Scream.”

Was the last thing she said before the camera began flickering, followed with the scratchy audio of flesh ripping and screaming. I placed my hands over my ears as I fought the urge to vomit. His screams went on and on until the screen went completely blank. I was sobbing now. Now I knew just how Alfie died, and who, killed him.

My screen grew brighter and I forced myself to look at it. On screen, lying in a pool of his own blood was the lifeless head of Alfie. His eyes were wide and vacant, a permanent scream on his face. I began to breathe fast, my heart racing as I heard the sound of heels clicking on the floor. They grew louder until they suddenly stopped. The camera was lifted and turned, to reveal the face of that woman: The Monster Painter.

She stared directly into the lens… right at me. I began to hit the escape button, but it would not work. My audio began to make a loud, ear piercing screech as she kept staring at me. I tried everything to close my video viewer, I even unplugged the camera, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, I slammed my laptop shut- which ended the stare of those eyes and that horrible sound. I pushed my laptop away from me and sat there for a long time. Everything had gone… strangely quiet. The storm was bellowing outside, yet I could not hear any thunder. The hands of the clocks were moving, but I heard no ticking.

I forced myself out of my chair, dragging myself to my bedroom. In a blur, I had gotten ready for bed. My mind was racing with all the things I had seen… could something like that really exist? Would anyone believe me if I tried showing that video to the police? How could they have missed that? So many questions ran through my mind as I crawled into bed. Sleep was much more powerful than I anticipated, for in a blink of an eye, I was out. I didn’t wake again until I felt something strange… like something was very wrong. My room had grown increasing dark; I could not see anything passed my nose. My heart began to flutter in my chest; lightning abruptly flashed, illuminating my entire room.

And there she was.

Standing on my wall, a foot above my head, was the monster painter. She was staring straight through my eyes, as if she was looking straight into my soul. I could feel it bubbling in my chest, that feeling everyone gets when they are overwhelmingly terrified. I began to heave as I breathed, my fingers gripping my sheets.

Her melancholy face was unmoved as I peeked to the foot of my bed. A small noise escaped me as I saw that monster; that multi-tailed beast who had slain my son. Some kind of force made my eyes move back to look at the woman. I could feel that urge again overpowering me, making my chest burn and my eyes tear up.

“Don’t scream.” She whispered as lightning flashed, distorting her face into that of a monster.

I screamed-

Credit To – Ignis

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Written in the Stars

August 2, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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“Cheryl! That’s great news. I didn’t even know you were psychic!” exclaimed Marian, her face alight with excitement.

“I’m not psychic, Marian.”

“Oh, of course not. That was silly of me. You can just read the future in the stars,” the last syllable trailed off, a hint of mysticism in the woman’s voice.

Cheryl sighed, taking a long sip from her wine glass before continuing. “Actually, I’m fairly certain I could not even find the Big Dipper if I had to. You don’t really need any skills to be a horoscope writer. Just a laptop and a wealth of pithy sayings.”

Marian’s face fell, and Cheryl cringed inwardly. She knew Marian took these sort of things very seriously, with her Tarot and Energy Crystal readings—or whatever was in fashion this week. But Cheryl’s internal skeptic could not stomach reinforcing the charlatan façade of newspaper horoscope columns.

When Cheryl spoke again, her words were clipped, cautious. “It’s not wise to play with things like this.” Her face brightened, “But, I bet whoever hired you could see your potential. We all have some latent psychic ability. I bet they saw straight through to yours!”

“I got hired by an old hippy in a two dollar suit. But, you’re probably right. I’m sure the man has seen his fair share of things.”

“I bet you are going to be amazed once you unlock your potential. Did I tell you about the time my spirit guide taught me to—“

“Yes, a dozen times, each as wonderful as the last,” Cheryl smiled at her old friend. No matter how bizarre the woman was, and how illogical many of her beliefs were, years of friendship and support kept them together. And she could not overlook how Marian’s months of kindness had saved her from a few major catastrophes recently. “Now, can we just drink to the fact that, in a month, I’m actually going to get a paycheck again?”

Marian raised her own glass, beaming with pride and excitement. As much as Cheryl had dreaded outing herself—and, she had assumed, the field of horoscopes—to her friend, it had not been so bad. “To new opportunities and the development of all our hidden talents,” Marian finished with a wink and a long drink from her glass.

Cheryl leaned back in her seat, feeling a weight sloughing from her exhausted shoulders. It had been a long day, and she still was uncertain she could stomach the reality of shilling such snake oil for a living, even if it was necessary to keep the lights on in her ratty apartment. The wine did not necessarily help with that decision, but it did serve to push it just a bit farther away.

“So, how are you going to do this? I mean, until you figure out how to use your gifts, of course.”

The tenacity with which she clung to horoscopes was astounding to Cheryl. She had assumed that once Marian discovered her plain, non-psychic, skeptic, logical friend got a job writing horoscopes, they would laugh together about all the wacky decisions Marian had made over the years based on those newspaper inserts. No such luck.

“Mar, seriously, I’m not psychic. I just slap some words onto paper. You read them and plan your life around it. Then I get paid. No psychic abilities, no star reading required.”

Marian looked slightly off put, her face twisting briefly into an irritated smirk. “Don’t doubt yourself. If you don’t believe, don’t think you can do it, get out. These aren’t powers you want to be messing with, Cher.”

Cheryl realized it was a hopeless battle, one Marian could not afford to lose to reason. “I know. You’re probably right. They must have seen something in me, but I guess it just takes time.” The lies were bitter as they dripped from her lips.

Marian reached across the table and took her hand. “The journey can be difficult, but I know you can do it. I’ve sensed you were special since I first saw you snotty and muddy on the playground. You’re going to help a lot of people, Cheryl. Just remember that.”

Cheryl forced a smile and emptied her glass. When she grimaced, she was not sure if it was from the wine or the pit settling into her stomach.

_

“Your kindness to those you meet will reap great rewards. Be patient, and watch for your return.”

“This week holds many opportunities for fun. Enjoy yourself, but don’t forget to take time to recharge!”

“Remember that problem that just won’t leave you alone? Expect news to clarify your path.”

“An unexpected inconvenience may bring unexpected rewards. Look for—”

Cheryl tapped a pencil on the edge of her laptop slowly, her eyes distant as she tried to find a new and creative way to end Capricorn’s latest memo. After only a couple months, she felt she was doing nothing but rehashing the same, empty promises week after week. Nonetheless, it was keeping food and lights on in her fridge, so it was hard to complain. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and all that.

Her phone buzzed on the coffee shop table. Marian had been giddy at seeing the weekly horoscopes since learning about her friends new job, and she never failed to try to get a sneak peek into the future.

“Coffee, Cheryl?” she asked, skipping routine greetings.

“I’m already at the coffee shop, so why not?” sighed Cheryl, glancing around the sparsely populated bistro.

“Sound like someone must be honing their gifts, eh? Get a little star magic to help you out?”

Cheryl rolled her eyes. “I just like to work in coffee shops. No stars needed. It’s like finding a bear in the woods.”

Laughter filtered unevenly through the phone. “You could predict lottery numbers five times over, and you still wouldn’t believe in any of this, would you? Your note last week scored me a great new pair of heels on sale.”

“Guess I’m just looking for more proof. When do you want to get coffee? The stars are phoning in, so I’m going to have to take them on the other line.”

“I’ll be there around three. Ask the stars if there are any ways to sneak around this traffic jam, if you could.”

Cheryl glanced at the clock. Forty-five minutes would, likely, give her enough time to finish writing and fleshing out the next edition’s worth of swill. “Will do, Mar. See you then. Half caf mocha, as usual?”

Marian gasped. “Well, look at you, Ms. Cleo! I’ll be there on the dot.”

Cheryl knew that meant Marian would be about fifteen minutes late, and so mentally gave herself the chance to relax. What would Marian’s upcoming horoscope say? Cheryl smiled to herself, thinking of all the ridiculous lies she could put into print if she so desired. She wondered if psychics had any sort of immunity for libel, and if any sort of protection extended to the capricious comments of a small town horoscope writer.

“Marian: You will come into an unexpected sum of money,” she typed lazily, smirking at the cliché. “But be wary of unknown strangers. While he may appear to be Prince Charming, you may be courting the Beast instead! A great tragedy awaits you at the end of your week. Make sure your house is in order.” Cheryl chuckled to herself in the coffee shop, laughing at the morbid horoscope. She would love to see Marian’s face if she actually read that in the final edition. She would certainly get fired, but it was almost worth it just to shake her friend’s conviction in the poppycock.

Cheryl stretched, went up for a refill of the house roast, and settled in to finish explaining fate for a few thousand loyal readers. Her next line came to her in a burst of inspiration.

“Look for chances to stretch and grow in the next week. Don’t let your cynicism get the best of you!”

_

Cheryl’s phone chimed, chirping happily with its message. She rolled over groggily, checking the lock and grimacing as she realized she had slept well past her normal wake time this Saturday morning. The plan had been to be up early to start her work, begin looking for more freelance opportunities, but that had fallen prey to a late night bottle of wine and sappy rom-com marathon.

With sleep-addled lack of coordination, Cheryl clumsily gripped her cell phone and gazed blearily at the screen. A new voicemail from Marian. She stiffly pushed the button to listen, begrudgingly entered her password, and closed her eyes as Marian’s chipper voice filtered through.

“Hey Cher! You’ll never guess how great this week has been. Or, maybe you would. Maybe you even knew all about it!” The voice on the other end chuckled, then got back to the message. “I met this guy, and he’s great. I was out shopping for a new entertainment center for the apartment—I can hear you rolling your eyes already, but I got some money back from my bank for some misapplied fees. Anyways, I met Adam and he’s totally swept me off my feet. He’s a total Prince Charming. I know, I know, it’s only been a few days. God, you’re such a killjoy even when you aren’t on the phone.”

Cheryl chuckled to herself, burying her head beneath her pillow and reveling in the soft darkness. Marian’s voice continued its chipper monologue. She had always opted to ignore the “brief” part of the voice mail request.

“Anyway, that’s why I’m calling. He wants to take me hiking this afternoon, told me to cancel any plans I had later. He said he had something really incredible planned for me tonight. I know, I hate cancelling on our plans this late, but…”

Cheryl had known her long enough to hear the shrug on the other end. “I know you’d understand. We can go out tomorrow. I’ll call you in the morning to set a time. Don’t work all day!”

With that, the robotic messaging voice took over, prompting Cheryl to delete the message. After doing so, the phone was again silent, and she tossed it back on her nightstand. Cheryl could not help but feel a bit irritated and grumpy about this change in plans. It was likely the grogginess, but she felt a bit petulant. They had been planning to try out a new Thai place her paper had recently reviewed well, and she had been looking forward to the outing. Especially now that she could pick up her own dinner tab. Still, there was something else. A subtle sense of unease that had settled firmly over her during the message. Something simply was not right, but she could not put her finger on it.

Cheryl sat beneath the pillows and blankets, poking at this uncertain feeling until the heat became stifling, and then begrudgingly swung her legs to the floor. She had hoped to fall back asleep, but her investigation of the edges of this anxious knot made that impossible. It was probably just a lingering artifact of sleep, some half-thought idea that would fade with activity. At least, that was her working plan as she tried to get ready for the day.

The feeling sat in the pit of her stomach, a flutter of flimsy wings, but then carefully began to climb its way up, beating along her insides. As she did some morning yoga, it snaked into her chest and wrapped around her lungs. It felt as if every breath was just a bit too short. Still, she could not identify the mystery source of unease. Something was wrong, but she had no idea what it was. Surely she was not this jealous about her friend having a date?

A shower was the best remedy for clouded thoughts, and so she spent some time under the stream of nearly scalding water. It did not shake loose whatever had set her nerves on edge, and the feeling just continued its steady creep upwards. Now she could feel its fingers clawing at the back of her throat. They left her gulping at her morning cereal, trying to force it past the blockage.

Not yet done, it finally made its way behind her eyes. There this unshakable sense of wrong sat, pressing against her lids. She felt like her eyes were ready to burst with tears, but they never came, never relieved that distinct and unpleasant pressure. Something had been wrong ever since that voicemail. Cheryl could not help but feel she had seen this movie before, and forgotten the ending.

She ran through her emotions, but none seemed to quite fit the feeling that had grown within her. It was not jealousy, frustration, anger, disappointment, sorrow, or fear. It certainly was not happy, surprised, or excited.

Well, sitting and staring at it certainly was not helping. Cheryl pushed back from the breakfast table and dropped onto her couch, pulling her laptop close. She still had work to do today.

Normally, such feelings faded as she worked, dulled by the pressure of the moment by moment tasks. Today, the feeling stayed. It laced its fingers into every keystroke, stroked her mind seductively. It was this terrifying feeling that, if she could only focus well enough, she would realize what the feeling was. Only there as also this subtle fear that it would be too late.

Finally, the restlessness gripped her phone and dialed Marian’s number. It cut straight to voicemail.

“Hey, it’s Marian. I’m either out or screening my calls. Leave me a message, and I’ll get back to you. Probably.” The machine beeped.

“Hey Marian. Got your message, already picking out my bridesmaid dress,” the joke felt hollow and did nothing to relieve the discomfort. “Just call me when you get in so I know he did not throw you in some ravine or something. Talk to you later.”

Leaving a message was supposed to make her realize how silly this was, but it did not. If anything, it made the feeling heavier.

“You’re being ridiculous. Get some work done,” she chided herself, opening her horoscope document. She needed to type some up, and she was finally feeling like she had gotten the hang of it. They almost seemed to write themselves recently, which was pleasant. She hoped it would provide the needed distraction so that she could shake this feeling. Perhaps, she mused, she had a nightmare. There had been ties in the past where she had felt lingering effects like this from some forgotten dream. Surely that was it. A little mundane work would do the trick.

The document flashed open full of lines and lines of her predictions. She kept a running list, assuming she might at some point recycle some, once enough weeks had passed. Fortunately, she had not had to do that yet. New ideas just kept coming to her. Still, it was fun to smirk at her past predictions, enjoying a brief chuckle at the gullibility of some.

However, this time her eyes stuck on one she had never submitted. She re-read her fake post for Marian, and the feeling finally became real. It took on its form, icy fingers piercing through her panicked heart. Money, a man, and finally—“A great tragedy awaits you at the end of your week.

Cheryl thought her heart might have stopped, but it was only the impossible stillness of terror. This was not happening, she told herself over and over again as her eyes sat glued to the screen. These sort of things did not happen. Ever. It was just a weird coincidence.

It took until the news reports began to come in about a body found in the bottom of a nearby canyon for the reality to sink in. Reports of foul play followed close behind, and Cheryl knew.

It’s not wise to play with things like this,” Marian had warned.

And Cheryl had not listened.

Credit To – Katherine C

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Too Bright

July 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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My older brother is a cop. Naturally, he has a protective instinct over me, his little, only, sister. The cop factor does not help. I was always babied by my family, but me and Greg, my brother, always had a closer bond. Whenever one of my other brothers picked on me, he would get super mad at them. When I was about 12 years old, he met his fiancé and got serious with her. I was so worried she would steal my brother away, and I would never see him anymore. He quickly reassured me, and I soon began to think of his fiancé as the sister I never had.

Anyway, as I said, he is a cop. He worked crazy hours, normally coming home around 3-4 in the morning. Every night, upon arrival, he would shine his too bright flashlight into my room. My bed is against the same wall as my door, so I never saw him, but I always knew it was him. He did it just to check up on me, I was sure. I didn’t mind being woken up, and appreciated the comfort it gave me. Oddly enough, I don’t think any of my other family members being woken with beams of light at strange hours. I chalked it up to the fact that I was the only one who left my door open at night. For a while, I enjoyed the nightly ritual.

However, towards mid January of my senior year I was stressed. College was a looming monolith that I could not handle, my boss had me working 6 days a week, requiring me to wake up at 7 am even on the days I didn’t have school, and I needed the sleep I could get. What was once a small, almost funny comfort to me was now one of the biggest nuisances of my life. When I was awoken by the small beam of light, I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep, and my frustration only grew as I brooded into the early hours of morning. One night, I snapped at my brother to stop as the light appeared. He didn’t answer, and I was worried I hurt his feelings.
“Oh well” I thought. At least he would get the hint.

But it didn’t stop. Finally, after a few more nights, once I saw the beam, I got up to confront my brother. When I walked into the hallway, it was empty. I ran to my window only to find that my brother’s car wasn’t there, meaning he wasn’t even home from work yet.
I confronted my brother the next day. He said he stopped shining the light in on me months ago, because my mother hinted at him that I needed the sleep.

We never figured out where the light was from, and I started sleeping with my door shut.

This is a Crappypasta Success Story – a story that was rewritten with the feedback received on Crappypasta and accepted for the main site. You can see the Crappypasta posting for this story here.

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The Uninvited Guest

July 31, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Paolo fed me one last strawberry from the painted clay bowl. He let the juice drip down my chin and then kissed away every last trace. For a moment I was lost in the beauty of his herculean bronzed skin and the sound of the ocean crashing on the shore. A warm breeze blew into our gossamer paradise as Paolo began to remove his white linen shirt…

The sudden darkness shocked me as I awoke from my dream to sweat drenched sheets. I was alone in my bed and my heart was pounding. I threw off my heated blanket and slid closer to the frosted window to cool off. The glowing red clock on my husband’s side of the bed read 3:04am. Charley was not in bed sleeping next to me as he should have on this wintery Tuesday night.

I strained to hear the sound of his Playstation in the living room. Sometimes he would play in the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep.

I could hear no sounds and could see no trace of light glowing from the crack under the bedroom door. The only light source I could see was from the red alarm clock shining against the closed closet door.

I climbed out of bed to search, checking the bathroom, living room and kitchen. Charley was not on the first floor.

That left only the basement if he was indeed in the house. I ascertained that his car was in the driveway and that all of the doors were locked.
Standing at the top of the basement stairs, I was still disoriented and only half awake when I realized that all of the lights were off in the basement. That was truly odd because Charley always insisted that we keep one of the lights on down there.

“Charley?” I meekly called out into the darkness below.

“Charley?”

I received no response and my panic was growing. Where could he have gone? He would never have left without telling me.

We had just moved into this house about six months ago and I was still nervous about being in it alone. And I never went into the basement at night.

Taking a deep breath and pretending not to be scared, I started down the
basement stairs. As soon as I made it to the arid bottom, I flipped the light switch on.

The sudden surge of bright light blinded me for a few seconds. Once my eyes adjusted, I immediately saw Charley, asleep in his recliner. I exhaled deeply and chuckled.

“What are you doing down here?” I asked as I shook him awake.

Charley opened his kind eyes and smiled at me. “It was too hot and you would not stop talking in your sleep. I just needed some…” The sudden sound of creaking from upstairs stopped his train of thought and made us both look up in alarm.

“What the hell?” I asked. Charley jumped up from his chair and leaned toward the stairs to hear for more sounds.

Slowly we began the ascent from the basement to the kitchen. The lights were still off as Charley pulled a kitchen knife and began to survey each room in the house. I followed along behind until I noticed cold air coming from the front room.

My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach when I saw the front door open.

Cautiously, I looked outside and saw only one set of snowy footprints leading away from the door and disappearing into the clear streets.

Unable to speak, I pointed the footprints out to Charley. He grabbed his cell phone and called 911 as he shut and dead bolted the door.

I could hear him speaking with the operator as I slowly made my way back to my bed to sit down, still stunned, knowing someone had been in the house. But why? And where? That’s when I noticed the red glow of the clock alarm was no longer shining on the closet door. The closet door.

The closet door was wide open.

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The Oath

July 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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A solitary wooden cabin hid itself deep within the rustling forest. Enclosed all around by towers of gnarled ancient trees, the thick black of night helped the cabin to completely disappear from sight. A glowing fire crackled in the hearth within the cabin, casting its dim red and gold light all about. Iron pots and pans hung from the mantelpiece as a thin boiled stew boiled in a pot over the fire. The wooden floor boards creaked as Agitha lightly padded across the room to mix the stew.

The pungent aroma filled the cabin as Agitha did a taste check, savoring the concoction from her rusty ladle in hand. She stirred in more salt as the wind outside tore viciously throughout the forest. Chill air whistled through the holes of the cabin as the howls of wind rose ever louder outside. She resumed her seat in a rickety wooden chair in the corner of the room. Spread out across the table before her was an assortment of small corked glass bottles and viles.

Agitha’s mother had practiced the art of witchcraft all her life. Since Agitha had grown old enough to walk, her mother had taught her all she knew with the aid of multiple incantations and spell books. When her mother had passed away years ago, Agitha had continued mastering the craft. It was how they made a living. Behind the small cabin was Agitha’s garden. It was divided in two parts. The left all herbs and spices needed for spells, the right all vegetables grown with magic to produce such flavors that no townspeople could duplicate it within their own crops.

Determined locals from the village would risk traveling thirty miles through the forest over fallen moss covered logs just to seek her assistance. Millions of spindly branches ripping at them with every step, and skittish yellow eyes peering out at them through the fog all the while. Desperate young women begging for love spells, older gentlemen after fame and power in town politics, jilted lovers demanding revenge, middle aged women longing for a child. They all brought large baskets laden with offerings upon each visitation. Fine black lace dresses, ruby rings, pearl necklaces, perfumes or the standard pouches of gold coins were her favorites. However, fire cast loaves of bread still powdery and warm or, the most expensive cuts of meat from the butcher’s shop sufficed.

The most desperate people would spare no lavish expense upon Agitha in the hopes of attaining her help. As secluded as her home may have been from the outside world, she still managed to receive an extensive amount of these urgent visitors. Earlier that day she had had a knock at her door. A shy young woman had stood on her doorstep, misty eyed as she had extended a wicker basket towards Agitha. The witch had looked upon the girl pensively for a moment before she sharply threw the handkerchief covering the basket aside to check the contents.

A dark bottle of red wine, a block of cheese, seasoned almonds, a thin bottle of narcissus petals in fragrant oil, and a pair of silver earrings. The earrings were shaped like two dangling snakes, their emerald eyes glinted as if they were truly alive. Agitha had thrown the cloth back atop the items and instantly knew the desperation for help in this girl was great. “Your desire?” Agitha had questioned. The young woman’s unkempt black bun of frizzing hair and teary eyes lead Agitha to guess this woman had been plagued by some form of tragedy. It turned out that the young woman’s brother of nine years was on his death bed. She sought out his full recovery.

It was nearly midnight now as Agitha’s bony white fingers set to work with the ingredients before her. With a small pair of metal pinchers, she extracted two dragonfly wings from a small vile-for a swift recovery-and dropped them into the clay bowl in front of her. She uncorked another bottle and added five drops of sparrow’s blood for life force. Half a cup of rejuvenating river water, three drops of honey for sweetness of life, half a vile of jasmine for soothing, frog’s legs to spring life back into the boy, and a hair from his head that had been carefully concealed in a napkin. All these were mixed together with great care in the silence of her small cabin.

Now she needed to await the glow of the moon to show in the night into the bowl to complete the potion. The glow would help restore the glow into his youthful cheeks as the final touch. Next, she would boil it all and then pour the steaming potion at the base of one of her pink roses outside. The rose would then be dug up by the roots, a small cloth would be tied round the roots to keep them intact, and then the entire flower would be ground down and swallowed by the spoonful. After just one spoonful of the enchanted flower, the boy’s health was guaranteed to improve immediately.

Agitha would have her pet raven deliver the rose to the young woman’s pillow that night. She had specifically instructed the woman to sleep with her window left open that night to ensure the delivery of the rose. Agitha cleared away all of the viles and bottles to their respective shelves, removed the stew from the fire, and peered out her front door at the night sky. The wind had blown through the sky and the moon had begun to show from behind the purple swirls of clouds above. Grabbing the smooth clay bowl, she walked out of her front door into the night.

Carefully, she raised the bowl and its contents before her at shoulder level. Gazing up, she gently sighed over the bowl and then blew an intentional soft puff of air over it. Instantly, the clouds cleared and the moon cast its soft light down upon her. “Perfect,” she thought to herself as she gently smiled. The milky illumination of the moon lit up her form. Her dark brown hair had been secured atop her head and covered with the hood of her cloak. Her fair skin beneath the light of the moon seemed to emit light in the middle of the dark forest as if magic was radiating from her very person.

Agitha peered down into the bowl as she turned to open the door to her home. But wait! What was this? She let out a startled yell, nearly dropping the bowl but caught it just in time. She was sure she had seen the face of a man in the reflection of the bowl. With one hand on the door knob, she put her back to the door and looked about her in confusion.

The trees continued to rustle as the wind blew back her hood. Loose strands of her wavy hair danced about her face as she continued to look around. But she saw no one. Turning around, she slammed the door behind her. What was that? Who had she seen? Shaking her head, she busily set her focus on the potion now boiling in a small black cauldron. Maybe it had just been her eyes playing tricks on her.

She allowed her hair to cascade down her back in a waterfall of wavy brown tresses as sipped at some chamomile tea to calm her nerves. Her pet raven Cunningham watched her silently with one eye from his suspended cage near the cupboards. Once the potion had boiled and she had properly prepared the rose, she opened Cunningham’s cage. Perched on her finger, she opened a window. She inserted the stem of the rose into Cunningham’s beak and let him take flight as she promptly shut the window behind him.

She walked across the room and pulled out a large fur skin rug from atop a shelf and unfurled it luxuriously over the floor boards near the fire place. She rested her head against a red satin pillow as she burrowed herself into silk lined fur blankets of black panther skins. A sailor who had traveled abroad had purchased the furs from Amazonian tribesmen in the jungles of South America long ago. He had paid Agitha his most precious and exotic furs in exchange for the hand of the woman of his desire. After he had swirled three drops of his blood into the love potion to complete the spell, he had managed to somehow trick the woman into drinking the enchantment.

To his delight, they had wed one week later. It was too bad that not three weeks into their marriage, the wife had flown into a fit of jealous rage and hacked him to pieces in his sleep. Magic spells guaranteed the specific desire was obtained, but overall long term outcomes after the magic had done its work, well that was always unpredictable. The flames from her fireplace flickered in the reflection of Agitha’s large eyes as she lay there motionless amongst the soft furs. Shadows lingered all about the room watching over her silently from the corners of her home.

The front door suddenly burst open causing Agitha to shoot up at once. Heart pounding, she laughed to herself as she realized a particularly strong gust of wind had blown the door open. Parchment papers fluttered and spell books flapped open on the table as she went to shut the door against the wind. Dragging a large chest full of precious garments and jewelry she had come to acquire over the years, she set it against the door to ensure it did not open again. As Agitha turned around to face the room, a hand seized her by the throat.

She was violently thrown back against the wall as she clasped at the hand wrapped around her neck. Gasping for air, she gazed up to see the strong hand currently choking her belonged to a man. “Do you know who I am?” he whispered menacingly at her. She shook her head no, still gasping for air as she clawed away at his hand. His furrowed eyebrows rested above large, completely black, ferocious eyes. As she looked into his eyes, a flood of terror came over her.

His lips parted into a demented smile that made the blood in her veins stand still. She began to feel weak from lack of oxygen, but just as she nearly fell faint, he released his grip from around her throat. Gagging and coughing, she sank to the floor trying to regain her breath. He looked down at her silently, the evil grin still fixed across his face. Agitha finally managed to splutter, “Who are you? What do you want?” He tilted his head back as he maliciously laughed without resignation. The laughter boomed through the cabin and made her head pound.

Abruptly, his laughter ceased and he stooped down to meet her gaze, his nose nearly touching hers. His black hair was slicked back and glistened in the fire light. He chattered his sharp, perfectly white teeth at her slowly; reminiscent of a wolf preparing to feast on its prey. “If it’s riches you want, I have plenty,” offered Agitha in alarm. “Take it all.” She hoped her offer would suffice and that he would soon leave. “I don’t want any of your things,” he replied in a tone slightly above a whisper. Slowly he went on, “I’ve come here to collect,” and here he paused as he raised his eyebrows with a look of amusement. “What? What do you want?” she persisted growing angry at this lunatic who had broken into her home.

She was becoming more furious by the second. If this stranger thought he could enter her home, harass and rob her as a thief in the night, with no consequences…Well she would be sure to use one of her most heinous spells to make him suffer one-thousand different ways. She would leave him begging for death by the time she was finished repaying him for all of this. He continued to watch her as he backed a few inches away from her face as he let out a snicker of laughter.

“This is why I like you. That fire you have within,” the man said with a small chuckle as he waged a finger at her condescendingly. “I know what you are thinking,” he continued. “No amount of Egyptian’s alligator tears, bat’s blood, or ground stoned powder from mountains at the ends of the earth will even slightly affect me. You cannot so much as lay harm to the smallest fingernail on my hand,” he sneered as he raised a wiggling pinky finger in mockery.

His crisp white suit was unblemished from head to toe. She wondered how he had traveled out so far through the woods without the faintest trace of his journey showing on his attire. Even his polished black shoes were immaculate. Her bosom rose and fell as she breathed heavily in anger. Her hair was in disarray and had fallen over now covering half of her face. “Oh, don’t be that way,” he teased vindictively as he cleared the hair from her face. She dodged his hand as she glared at him with contempt, yet remained silent.

Now at the mercy of this powerful stranger, she was unsure of what to do next, so she sat and waited. “Why do you think you and your mother have been so skilled at witchcraft?” he abruptly questioned. What an absurd question she thought to herself. How did he know anything about her or her mother? Who was this man? The fire had begun to dwindle down. The room went black, but they remained where they were.

His eyes began to radiate a red light and suddenly flames burst from the hearth. The fire was crackling loudly in the hearth once more. “Your mother, when she was a young woman, she desired to be a highly skilled witch.” The man now stood over Agitha as she looked up at him. He went on, “She made the devil a promise in blood. If her wishes were granted to her and she obtained the skills she so dearly desired, she vowed to give her only daughter to him in marriage.” Agitha remained frozen, eyes widening as she came to the realization of what he was revealing to her. “So now,” he said as he eyed Agitha’s delicate form clothed in her silk and lace maroon dress, “I have come to collect.”

“No,” whispered Agitha as one of her hands clasped her neck in alarm. “Oh yes,” retorted the man. The smile had gone from his face, and the greedy blank stare of a vicious animal was facing her now. He grabbed her left hand with his left hand and held them up intertwined together. A dark voice rumbled all about them, “A life begun in an oath of blood, now sealed to end in an oath of blood!” A green flame enveloped their hands as Agitha screamed and fought to break away. The nails of his right hand grew into claws as the house shook all around them.

He pierced her left wrist in the flames and caught some of the crimson drops in his mouth. Smashing his open mouth into hers, his sharp teeth ripped into her lips as blood smeared across their mouths. Her silver snake earrings had come to life and bit at her neck repeatedly with their piercing fangs. Releasing her from the kiss, he hauled Agitha across the room to the fireplace where the violent red flames were now shooting out twelve feet tall. Releasing their clasped hands, he raised both arms and shouted over the rumbling of the house and the roaring of the fire, “We are sealed together as one forever now my love!”

She stood hunched over in pain from her left hand crying and screaming repeatedly in anguish, “No!” He grabbed her by the left wrist and smirked as he admired the small diamond skull with ruby eyes that had been permanently welded into the flesh of her wedding finger. The ring’s band was made completely of piercing black thorns secured tightly to her flesh, and blood oozed down her hand as she ran for her front door. She let out a final scream of terror as he caught her by the waist just inches from the door. With a final twisted smile, he flung her into the flames.

The fire instantly enveloped her and she disappeared. He took one last look about the room and then followed her into the eternal flames of the nether world. The fire instantly died, the rumbling of the cabin ceased, and darkness fell upon the silent cabin. The next morning, the faint light emitting from behind the gray clouds shone through the window shutters that had blown open the night before. A few drops of blood stained the floorboards near the smoldering hearth. It was at this time that Cunningham had returned and perched himself atop the windowsill. Seeing that his home was now devoid of his master, his long wings flapped as he took flight and disappeared into the surrounding forest mist.

Credit To – miss ivory

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The Dumfries

July 29, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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“Don’t let them have anything to eat,” Mrs Dumfries said, rummaging through her handbag that weighed down her shoulder.

“I’ll be fine,” I said, trying to give a reassuring smile.

“Of course you will. Nothing will go wrong, I’m sure,” Mr Dumfries nodded.

“And they have to be in bed by seven, not a second later.”

“Yes, Mrs Dumfries,” I said, trying to not sound impatient. She looked around the room one more time before looking at me again. “And don’t let them watch TV. They got nightmares from last time you let them. Having to console two terrified children for weeks was–”

“I’m sorry, Mrs Dumfries.” I remembered the last time I’d babysat her children. I let them watch Saw right before going to bed – never let two seven year-olds watch Saw.

“We’ll be late, honey,” Mr Dumfries said, tapping his Rolex. “He’ll be fine.”

He was wrong. As you’ll find out, I wouldn’t be fine.

I was fifteen and Mr and Mrs Dumfries had asked me to look after their two kids whilst they went out for the night. After the last time’s Saw debacle, I didn’t think I’d get another chance. So when they asked me out of the blue, I jumped at the opportunity to earn £20 for sitting in their living room whilst occasionally checking up on the children.

The door slammed shut and the requests started to fly.

“Mummy said we could have ice-cream,” said the blonde-haired child.

“No, she didn’t, Harry,” I told him, lying back in the sofa. I turned on the TV, being careful not to land on any scary programs.

“But we want it!” screamed the brunette child, stomping her feet.

“Tough, Sarah,” I said, sighing and turning the TV off. “Let’s do something else instead, then.”

The house in which the Dumfries lived was from the late 19th century, and was very large. The kids liked to play hide-and-seek, but the house’s endless labyrinth of corridors and its nooks and crannies meant it was almost impossible for me to find them. That night, we decided to play.

“…Nineteen, twenty. Ready or not, here I come!” My voice boomed. Looking around, I was greeted by absolute stillness. It was just dark outside, and the only lights on in the house were the ones in room I was in. As I walked into the next room, I felt something brush past me. “Gotcha!” I screamed, turning round to see what had touched me. Nothing. I paused for a moment. I blamed it on a draught from the old, rickety front door and continued deeper into the house.

The shrilled, terrified cry of Sarah startled me. “Help!” she bawled. I started to run towards her voice, the old floorboards creaking below my feet.

“Sarah, where are you?” I shouted, opening the door to a cupboard. In it, Sarah was standing on her tiptoes, her hands covering her eyes. “What is it?” I asked, trying to see the source of her horror. She pointed to a large, black dot on the floor. “A spider? Seriously, Sarah?”

“Its teeth are humongous!”
I remember laughing, and with one quick movement I crushed the spider under my shoe. “There.”

“No!” she said as she began to cry again. “That’s a bad omen.”

Harry walked into the cupboard, jumping up and down triumphantly. “I win, I win!”

“That’s enough of that game,” I said, turning the cupboard light off and rubbing his hair.

“No, let’s play again!”

“No,” I said adamantly.

You can’t win with children, so we played again. This time Sarah was the seeker. I decided to hide in a small wardrobe in the spare bedroom upstairs. I shut the door behind me and I was plunged into darkness. I sat down on the cramped floor and took out my phone. No battery – great. I stood back up to find somewhere else to hide, perhaps with a little light. I pushed on the door, only to find it didn’t budge. I pushed again, fumbling in the blackness for a handle of some sort. Shit, I thought.

“Harry? Sarah? Could you come here please?” I called out, knocking on the wood. Nothing. “Hello?”

“Yes?” a quiet voice replied.

“Harry? Open the door?” I knocked once again. This time, something knocked back.

“Harry, this isn’t funny! Open the fucking door!” I was pushing hard against the wood now. “I swear to God, I’ll kill you, Harry, once I get out. Let me out!”

I could hear cackling now. A deep, throaty chuckle resonated around the room. The door to the room opened. I stopped tapping on the wardrobe now, and instead I had covered my face with my hands, and scrunched my eyes up tightly, blocking out what little light was seeping into the cupboard. The cupboard door opened, and a cold hand touched my arm.

“Brad?” Harry asked, tapping me. I opened my eyes, shaking like a madman, to the sight of Harry standing over me. His face was a mixture of perplexed amusement. “Are you okay?” he said, a smile creeping over his lips.

“Yeah… I, did you…?”

“Did I what? Sarah found me.”

“No, I… where’s Sarah?”

Harry shrugged, and hopped out of the room happily. I slowly got up out of the cupboard, taking one last look around the room.

Later that night, after the children were asleep, the phone rang.

“Hello?” I said, putting the phone to my ear.

“Hide the kids,” replied a throaty voice.

“Excuse me?” I said with a small catch in my throat.

“Look out the window.”

I dropped the phone, not daring to look out the window. Instead, I went into the corner and curled up into a ball. I don’t know what I thought was there. I felt a presence, and a stream of cold air hit me as the front door burst open. I was crying at this point, bracing myself for something to grab or hurt me.

“Leave me alone!” I screamed, tears streaming down my face. Instead of the icy grip of a murderer or whatever I thought was there, there was laughing.

“You stupid prat!” sniggered a voice: Mrs Dumfries. “What are you – five?”

“I can’t believe you fell for it,” said Mr Dumfries, his face red from amusement.

I couldn’t believe it. The Dumfries had done everything.

“That’s what you get for showing our kids horror movies, Brad,” smiled Mr Dumfries, “Karma.”

“You…” I couldn’t spit out the words. I fell for everything they did. I believed I was going to die. “How could you…?”

“It’s called payback, Brad. Our children were in pieces for months. Harry wet the bed every single fucking night. Sarah woke up with night terrors, screaming about her arm getting sawn off. And you’re asking how we could do this?” Mrs Dumfries ranted.

“I was sorry! I didn’t mean to harm them.”

“But you did,” Mrs Dumfries spat back.

“And we don’t mean to harm you,” Mr Dumfries said coldly.

“W-what?” I stuttered.

“Sarah had dreams of her arm being cut off. Every night we’d have to console her. She swore that her pain was real. Imagine feeling that pain, Brad.”

“I don’t–”

“You will,” smiled Mr Dumfries. He slowly opened his bag, not losing eye contact with me. He pulled out a saw.

“What the fuck?!” I screamed, trying to push past him. Mrs Dumfries kicked me in the groin with her heel and I fell to my knees, as if begging for mercy. “Get off me, you crazy psychos!”

Mr Dumfries placed the saw against the pale flesh on my arm, and began to push down hard. “No!” I cried, blood spurting from my arm. I tried lashing out, thrashing with all my strength, but Mrs Dumfries seemed to be superhuman. I started to feel dizzy. The pain became unbearable, and the last thing I remember seeing before I blacked-out is the crazed face of Mr Dumfries burst out laughing as he waved my mutilated arm in front of me.

Credit To – MrG

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