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Laboratory

July 17, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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The building was bland, and had an unwelcoming feel to it. Though I suppose making a laboratory pretty on the outside wasn’t the prime concern of whoever had built it. It functioned purely as a means of… well, conducting science experiments I suppose.
My car pulled into the carpark and found an empty spot, then I turned my engine off.
The leaflet had come in the mail several days ago, addressed to myself, asking people to come forward and help the scientists and their experiments – to offer my opinion on their work so I may help them identify what the public’s needs are, and if what they’re doing is the right thing.
Sniffing, I pulled myself out of my car and slammed the door shut behind me. Immediately I was hit by frozen December air so that my eyes watered and breath escaped in plumes. My hands took to shivering so I thrust them into my pockets – it didn’t help.
‘Right. Let’s do this then.’ I mumbled, and started off towards the building. The main reason I was here, being out here on Saturday of all days, was the fact that the leaflet guaranteed a reward for any that came forward. Perhaps they meant a cash prize? I wasn’t sure, it didn’t seem to specify exactly what the prize was, but I had nothing better to do today anyhow. No wife and kids to look after, just a cat that I still hadn’t bothered to name yet – that sort of shows how lazy I am, doesn’t it? I’ve had it for a year.
As I neared the building I could see people through the dark tinted windows, people inside were wandering around and making gesticulations with their hands, busy with their work. It made me feel a hell of a lot better, because from the outside one would assume this place was deserted. The sort of place that you’d feel really uneasy being around in the middle of the night. Though now I supposed the exterior was the least of the concerns of the scientists working within. I stepped up to the large double doors and stepped through.
There was a man standing just inside the door, holding a pad and pen and wearing a white lab coat. He had a mottled grey beard, thin eyebrows and Einstein-like hair, not to mention two grey eyes that seemed to drill right through me. Despite all this he was smiling, which I immediately felt was very uncharacteristic of him.
‘Welcome!’ he said, ‘you must be James! I’m Dr Harrod.’
‘Nice to meet you.’ I replied, offering a hand, though he didn’t take it. Instead he rummaged in his coat and pulled out a pair of yellow, elastic gloves.
‘In case of contamination, you understand,’ he said; I nodded and took them.
‘How did you know who I was?’ I asked, pulling them on. ‘Are there many others coming today?’
‘Several others have come, yes. Process of elimination I suppose: I have a list, see?’ He waved the pad quickly in front of me, but I didn’t catch any writing. Then he placed the pen and pad on a table nearby.
‘Anyway, welcome to Eaglebound, one of the last remaining science laboratories in this area.’ For the first time I looked past his shoulder and cast an eye around the large room I had entered.
There was a floral pattern engraved on the tiled floor in the form of little squares. The large image of an eagle and some sort of flower dominated the rear wall above the reception desk… and the people. Dozens of workers speed-walking to and fro; most in lab coats, though some were in suits and casual attire. Nearly all of them were either carrying notes, test tubes or unmarked boxes – busy with their own work. The only person who wasn’t moving was the scowling female receptionist, glaring through spectacles, who reminded me strongly of my now-deceased mother.
‘Don’t mind them,’ Dr Harrod smirked, ‘we’ve got work to do downstairs, do some observing, right?’
‘Yes,’ I replied, slightly overwhelmed. Dr Harrod then set off at a brisk pace, and I had to break into a jog to catch him up.
‘So, I’m going to be helping with the experiments?’ I asked breathlessly. He rounded a corner quickly, dodging a man in a suit and a woman shouting into her phone. Then doctor entered an empty elevator, and after nearly tripping over someone’s feet I managed to jump in beside him.
‘In a way,’ he replied, hitting the button marked B: the basement. He produced a key from his pocket and fitted it into the slot. As he turned it to the right and it emitted a sharp click, the doors grinded shut and immediately the hubbub on the floor outside ceased.
‘So… what does my job entail?’
‘Well,’ he sniffed. ‘You won’t be helping exactly, but observing. Providing your personal opinion, good or bad, on what we’re doing here. It gives us a consensus society’s attitude to our experiments, and how we should change things. After all, the public eye is a powerful thing – we don’t want to offend anyone.’
‘Ah,’ I said, casting an eye around the steel elevator. ‘What sort of experiments do you do?’
‘We attempt to make life easier, and grant future generations with new means of getting about quicker, facilitating bonds, and developing obscure ideas.’
‘Um.’ I wasn’t quite sure what this meant, so decided to keep my mouth shut. I’d always had an avid interest in science, so figured not to prod any further and just enjoy the experience as it unfolded.
After a few moments seconds I thrust my hands back down into my pockets – still cold from the temperatures outside – and listened to the somewhat rhythmic hum of the elevator.
‘Did you read about the reward?’ Dr Harrod said.
‘Oh,’ I replied, looking at him, I didn’t think he would bring it up. ‘I was wondering what that could be.’
‘Everyone wonders what it is,’ he laughed, ‘and everyone is always surprised when it’s revealed. I’ll let you know when the tour is finished.’ Again, the laugh seemed forced, more condescending than anything else. The way a criminal in a film would laugh moments before killing the much-loved hero.
At that moment the elevator grinded to a halt and the doors opened. I was shocked with the sight that greeted us: we were facing an empty corridor that looked in complete disarray. The off-white walls were decayed in places, with bits of moss beginning to take them over. The floor was dirtied with footprints and dust. The white lights hanging overhead would occasionally flicker. And the smell… as soon as the doors had opened I was greeted with a very musty, strong stench that reminded me of urine and a doctor’s waiting room.
‘Here.’ Dr Harrod said, producing a hospital mask. I took it and pulled it down over my face, immediately the stench was replaced with the smell of perfumed fabric.
‘What is this place?’ I said, feeling a little uneasy.
‘Oh,’ Dr Harrod murmured, stepping forward and walking down the corridor a few steps. ‘This is where we conduct the experiments, invent new things and whatnot. Sorry about the state of things, we’ve been meaning to get some cleaners to come down here.’ He turned back to me – I was still standing in the elevator.
‘Come on,’ he gestured sharply, gesturing with a gloved hand. His somewhat happy personality had shifted into a more serious one. His once smiling mouth had transformed into a solemn line, emotionless. His cold eyes were suddenly menacing, and for a moment I glanced at the elevator buttons and considered heading back up to the ground floor.
‘Come on, what are you waiting for?’
‘Right,’ I sighed, stepping into the hall, the elevator doors grinded shut behind me.
With Dr Harrod leading, and me taking small, ginger steps, we made our way down the corridor. It was as we moved forward that I noticed a series of doors along the walls, all a dark grey colour. They seemed menacing and cold, like these doors were looming guards looking down at me from all angles. A sent of claustrophobia seemed to be closing around me, and I felt myself sweating.
As we continued forward a little further I noticed a figure step into the hall at the far end. From the looks of him he was about twenty, and even from here I could see his sunken eyes, frowning face and hunched composure. After a glance down to us he disappeared into one of the other doors.
‘Right,’ Dr Harrod said, stopping in front of a door marked 9. ‘In we go.’ He opened the door with a gloved hand and I followed him into the room.
As I cast my eyes around the anxiety that had been brewing inside my stomach settled down. My stupid little fears and the bad vibes I’d been getting from Dr Harrod suddenly seemed very childish – these were scientists, after all. They knew what they were doing, surely?
The room was quite large, and in good condition too, nothing like the corridor outside. The walls were adorned with colourful, smiling faces, and the floor was a patterned carpet. There were a couple of women too, some appeared to be scientists. Most were dressed in casual wear, just strolling around. And then there were the children. Lots of kids from three to about six, shouting happily and playing with toys that the scientists had provided. The children had been separated into two little playing pens, surrounded by a little wooden fence.
‘Ah! Dr Jennings, how are the children?’ Dr Harrod said, walking swiftly past me over to one of the women. She’d been smirking at a two year old shaking a toy, then looked up to greet Dr Harrod with a hug. She had tightly fastened brunette hair, and wore jeans and a flowery green top. A nametag on her chest had her name imprinted in red letters.
‘They’re absolutely fine,’ she replied, then glanced over at me. ‘Is this James?’
‘Yeah,’ I said, offering a hand, she didn’t take it.
‘I’ll leave Dr Harrod to explain our work to you,’ she sniffed, and turned on her heel. She began walking to a door at the far end of the room which I supposed opened up into some sort of work area. On the way she gestured with her hands at the other supervising women – all of which followed her lead. Before long Dr Harrod and I were the only two people standing in the room apart from the giggling children.
‘Right. Let’s do some observing, shall we?’ he breathed.
‘Two questions,’ I said. ‘How did Dr Jennings know my name?’
Dr Harrod scratched his temple.
‘Like I did, with a list. This place is forbidden to other workers, so all staff need to be notified if someone is visiting.’
‘Right.’ I mumbled, casting an eye over to the children. ‘And also, where are these children’s parents?’
Dr Harrod looked taken aback at this question, then quickly regained his composure.
‘Oh, well, they’re at work and what have you,’ he said, reaching into his pocket for something. He pulled out a small, square, greyish device that had upon it a single white button.
‘But it’s Saturday,’ I said, slightly confused.
‘Oh.’ Dr Harrod thought for a moment. ‘I meant, work as in… housework. Parents leave their children here for the day to get a load off their minds and relax. It’s completely fine and well-organised, they know exactly what we do down here. In fact…’ He glanced at his watch. ‘They’ll be coming to pick them up in about three hours.’
I wasn’t sure about this answer, it seemed very… improvised. But I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
‘So what do you do here?’ I asked.
‘Room 9 is for child conditioning. Some of these children have been raised in specific environments in order to control their behaviour. With the technology you see here, we could create a violent-free world for future generations. And if any violence were to occur…’ He motioned toward the button in his hand. ‘We can stop them very easily.’
‘Ok,’ I said slowly, unsure.
‘Let me show you,’ Dr Harrod grunted, and walked over to one of the children – a small boy playing with a toy truck.
‘This is Tommy, when he was born we implanted a chip at the base of his brain in a location that governs motor function. Meaning that if this child was behaving inappropriately, perhaps causing harm to others – we can do this.’
I watched as the doctor pointed the device at the child and pressed his thumb firmly down on the button. For a moment nothing happened, the child just sat there, staring up at the doctor. But then… sickeningly, the active toddler stopped moving and looked rather pale. His eyes seemed to defocus and for a moment I thought he was about to vomit, and then suddenly the boy slumped to the ground in a heap. But his eyes remained open, staring at me, and starting to glisten with tears.
I gasped, horrified.
‘He’s fine,’ the doctor said calmly. ‘The chip had merely set in motion a temporary state of paralysis. As long as this remains pressed, he can’t move a muscle.’ Dr Harrod then released the button and the child sat up, blinking in confusion. After a second he began to cry.
‘He doesn’t look fine to me,’ I snarled.
‘It scared him, certainly. How would you feel if you suddenly found yourself unable to move? But that’s precisely what’s brilliant about the chip. What if when this boy reached thirty years old he decided to rob a bank? Take someone hostage, hold them at gunpoint? We could simply click the button and everything would be sorted without the need for further violence.’
‘The parents allowed you to do this?’ I asked, uncertain. Despite the inhumanity, the doctor made a good point.
‘Imagine a world without crime…’ the doctor continued, ignoring my question. ‘If every child was implanted with this chip, then all we’d need was one of these buttons on our keychains, and every attacker would be rendered immobile.’
I stared down at the toddler. He was once again playing with the truck, albeit much slower.
‘Come,’ Dr Harrod said. ‘We’ve seen enough of this room.’
He walked back to the door from which we had entered. For a moment I watched the toddler some more, then turned around and followed him back out into the hall. As he closed door number 9 the many women that had been monitoring the children starting filing back into room.
‘Time to show you experiment number two,’ Dr Harrod said, and started off down the hall. ‘Though I won’t be showing you all of them, we don’t have enough time.’ I reluctantly followed and glanced back at the elevator at the far end.
‘All of these experiments are for science, right?’ I said, walking behind him.
‘I assure you,’ Dr Harrod replied, ‘that everything you see here will one day benefit future generations, even if little sacrifices must be made. Remember that.’
After a few moments we came to halt in front of door number 15.
‘You know what,’ I said, glancing down at my watch. ‘I think I might head off now – think I’ll call it a day.’
‘I’m afraid you can’t,’ Dr Harrod said sharply, suddenly very stern. A wave of sickness crept up my throat. ‘This is a strict, confidential floor, and that lift can only be used a certain number of times a day, all people that enter must be monitored carefully.’
‘Couldn’t we end the tour early?’ I asked, but he shook his head.
‘The reason you’re here is to provide your opinion on what we’re doing – bad or good. Now, if these tests make you uncomfortable, tell us. You can leave after you collect your reward at the end.’
Suddenly the idea of a ‘reward’ didn’t seem very appealing.
‘But-’ I began.
‘Please head into the room,’ he said, pushing the door open.
I stepped inside reluctantly, and was greeted with complete darkness.
‘I can’t see,’ I breathed, lifting my hands up in front of me.
‘Look, back here,’ Dr Harrod said. He grabbed two little masks that were resting on a rack just by the opening of the door and handed one to me. After pulling it over my head I realised that they were night vision goggles. The room lit up in a green haze; then Dr Harrod shut the door behind us.
The room was nearly empty, except for a very large box that dominated the centre, made out of what looked like a dark metallic material. We both approached the box slowly, and when we were standing a few inches away, Dr Harrod reached up and pulled open a sliding window so we could peek inside through some glass.
‘This room is completely sound proof, and lets absolutely no light in,’ Dr Harrod whispered. ‘Food and water is provided three times a day by one of my colleagues – and other than him, no one else is allowed in here.’
Though I wasn’t really listening. There was a dark silhouette sitting in the centre of the room that was giving me chills up my spine. In the haze of green I could make out a skeletal face, with long arms and spindly legs. This figure had a gaping mouth with broken teeth, and wispy to no hair. We stared for several seconds then its head cocked to one side.
‘See that?’ the doctor continued. ‘Due to the lack of sound and light, the subject has developed a heightened awareness for vibration – drawing on the only sense it has left… touch. I’d venture that he may have detected our footsteps as we approached the room.’
‘Wha-what does this experiment show? Who is he?’ I blurted. The figure in the box slowly creaked to its feet.
‘His name is Malcolm, and has been raised in complete isolation from birth without sound, sight, education, you name it. Have you ever heard of a blind man with an acute sense of hearing? What if we could harness these powers, and develop them? What if we could raise a person who had abilities others could only dream of? A person who could perhaps discover what we could not?’
The man… Malcolm, shifted again. He dropped to his hands and knees and started lurching forward like an animal, and approached the window we were staring through. I took a step back in fear.
‘This isn’t science,’ I choked. ‘This is cruelty.’
‘No,’ he snapped. ‘This is essential. You don’t think science, inventors and people who strived to discover more never made sacrifices? We have to do these things because otherwise no one will. The only new inventions would be new models of the iPhone. So please, if you will, follow me to the final experiment.’
He reached up and dragged the cover back over the window, and as he did the dark figure, Malcolm, raised his head into view and smashed both hands against the glass. I didn’t hear a sound. Then he was once again shut in his prison of eternal darkness.
‘Like I said,’ Dr Harrod sniffed. ‘Soundproof.’ Then he took off back towards the door, pulling his night goggles off and dropping them onto the rack as he did. I followed him, pulled off my goggles and stepped out into the corridor. I squinted in the light.
‘Follow me,’ he said, and took off quickly. I followed slowly. Once I got out of this place I’d go straight to the police, and explain what was happening down here. Everyone working in this place would be thrown in jail.
‘I’m going to leave after this, ok? I’ve had enough.’
‘Fine,’ the doctor replied, and stopped at a door marked 33.
‘Before you go in,’ he mumbled, ‘just remember, this is all for science.’ This didn’t make me feel any better, and as he turned the door handle slowly and pushed the door open I felt my knees begin to shake. It’d gotten to the point now where I was unsure if these were even real scientists, and that the experiments they were conducting here were in fact simply to satisfy their morbid, demented minds.
‘Please step inside,’ he said calmly. And I did, stupidly.
The room was quite small and bluish, it reminded me of a doctor’s theatre – the type where they conduct operations. There were several doctors wearing masks, seated around the room, one of them was glancing at his phone with his legs crossed. In the middle were several turquoise curtains surrounding what I presumed to be a hospital chair.
‘Our final subject,’ Dr Harrod announced, several of the doctors looked up.
‘Did you know,’ he began. ‘That if you were to lose a finger we could replace it with a toe?’
‘Yes,’ I replied slowly. ‘I’ve seen… programmes where they do that, yes.’ We took a step towards the curtains in the middle. My stomach turned over and I felt myself going dizzy.
‘Say someone was in a horrible accident,’ Dr Harrod murmured, ‘and they lost half of their hand. We, using excellent technology, could construct the person’s hand using the tissue from his foot. Isn’t that brilliant? We can perform eye transplants… kidney transplants, you name it… What if…’ The doctor paused.
‘What if what?’ I said.
‘What if we were to place someone’s eye on their shoulder, and craft an eyelid out of skin tissue, then link it up to the synapses in the brain? What if we took their arm, and placed it in the middle of their chest? What if we took their lower jaw, sawed it off and fashioned it onto their leg for a better kick? What if… we took some of the internal organs and made them external? Think of how much oxygen would be supplied to the lungs if they were fastened to the outside of the chest? We could create the next stage of evolution.’
‘What’s behind that curtain?’ I stammered. ‘What have you done?’
Dr Harrod stepped forward and whipped the curtains away.
But there was nothing there, just an empty hospital chair. I was slightly confused for a moment, but then it dawned on me in a sickening wave.
‘You came here to help us with our experiments, James, so that’s precisely what you’re going to do. The reward is aiding us in our experiments.’
I felt a sharp pain in my left arm and whipped it away in time to see a doctor standing next to me – he was holding an empty syringe.
‘Put him on the chair,’ Dr Harrod snapped, and several of the doctors grabbed my arms and legs. I thrashed as much as I could, but the room was already going blurry and my muscles were beginning to weaken.
‘We’ll talk again after the operation,’ Dr Harrod smiled, pulling a sharp scalpel out of his pocket. ‘That is… if you still have a mouth.’

Credit To – Meek

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The Balcony

July 17, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 7.1/10 (147 votes cast)

I sat, staring blankly at the screen, for how long I can’t be quite sure. Desperate for something to watch, read, listen to… In search of some stimulation that might exhaust my mind to the point where going to bed seemed like a good idea. I closed my eyes and strained hard – pressing for some idea of what to type in the search bar but nothing came.

It wasn’t apparent to me how long I’d been sitting there, postponing sleep, gazing with glazed eyes at the monitor and refreshing the same social network feeds over and over again, waiting for some fuckwit I didn’t know or care about to update the world on their life happenings. Nothing changed, though – it was well past 2 am and most people were rolling over, ripping up the sheets and drooling on their pretty pillowcases.

Somewhere between the ears a sharp pain fired off and I realized I had a headache. Oh great… again. I reached for the bottle of ibuprofen sitting conveniently by my computer mouse and washed two of them down with the last mouthful of my warm beer. Refresh. Nothing happening. Couldn’t think of a song to listen to. Refresh. Same thing. No ideas for articles to read. Refresh. Nothing. They’re all sleeping, dammit. I snapped the laptop lid shut. Went to look out the window.

There was a streetlamp directly across the street from my little apartment, which I suppose was the reason I hated going to bed so much. One of the reasons, anyways. There wasn’t much to look at outside, either. Thin blanket of snow on the ground. Still cars in the neighbor’s driveway. Couldn’t see the stars… must have been cloudy. The apartment was even less interesting. A pile of half-read novels lined up on the shelf, arranged by size from biggest to smallest (dimensions, not pages). Drying rack full of dishes that were probably dry by now, but that could wait until tomorrow. Old flower-patterned couch made even more garish by the bright, blue and yellow striped blanket hanging over the back. And the walls…

The walls were the thing I hated most. Painted in that inoffensive, bland, mind-numbingly expressionless light beige that seemed to be omnipresent in every fucking apartment I’d ever been in. What I wouldn’t have given to paint those fucking walls. It would have been worth it, even if the damned landlord kept my damage deposit.

Leaving the window, I paced along the wall, dragging my hand as I had done over and over again, in moments of boredom. Around the kitchen/living room – divided by a half wall and made distinct by a clumsy architectural divider that reached off from the main wall by a couple feet – and around the corner to the short and narrow hallway that lead to my bedroom on the left and bathroom at the end. Strolled lazily into the bedroom, flicked on the light, looked around, flicked it off, and walked out again. Stopped for a quick piss in the bathroom. Frowned in the mirror. Then made my way back to the chair. I started flicking through the books on the shelf, but I couldn’t decide which one to read, so I gave up and sat down on the horrendous couch, staring out the sliding glass balcony door.

And that’s when I saw it.

At first, I thought my glasses were skewed, and I took them off, gave them a ritual wiping in my t-shirt, and put them back on again. No, it was still there. Hmph… that’s weird… It wasn’t anything shocking, nor was it one of those things that causes you to jump up in outrage – it just seemed a little bit… odd.

I had been looking at the picture frame sitting on the half wall that stretched partway across the floor between the kitchen and living room, which was perpendicular to the couch I was sitting on – and something about it didn’t look quite right. The picture frame was alright. The half wall looked right – as much as any half wall can – but there was something funny about were it joined to the outer wall of the apartment. I couldn’t be quite sure what it was, exactly, but it seemed like the outer wall was a good foot or more farther from me on the kitchen side than it was on the living room side.

I gave it a frown, then a giggle. Obviously, the landlord had done a bad job with the renovations and had done some miscalculations, and the inner paneling on the kitchen side was curved on one end. I didn’t know much about carpentry, but I had a basic understanding. Yeah, that’s it.

I got up, walked to the fridge for another beer and glanced at the wall again. My explanation didn’t convince me, as the wall looked flat as a wall could be. It was the damnedest thing, because from the kitchen side, the wall looked perfectly normal. Maybe it was the other side that was off. But I strolled back to the living room, and the wall on that side looked normal too. It didn’t make sense. I decided to forget about it, and set myself back on the couch and opened my beer – but there it was again. The wall in the kitchen looked farther than it should be, or the living room wall looked too close… it was hard to tell which was the case, but something was off, that much was certain.

I took a gulp of beer and got up again. I walked over to the corner in the kitchen and ran my hand along the wall near the floor. It certainly looked like things were joining up at right angles. I did the same on the living room side – it looked perfectly normal. I even grabbed a book and stuck it between the floor and the wall, and slid it across on both sides, and in both rooms the book fit snugly where the floor and wall met. Then I did the same, between the wall and the room divider. Perfect right angles. I sat back on the couch again, and now it seemed even more apparent.

It was as if the kitchen was longer than the living room, and impossibly so, as they both shared the same square space and outer wall of the building. It didn’t make sense. The wall to the left was definitely farther than it was on the right side of the half wall, but how could that be so? I shuffled my way around the rooms, observing the dimensions with squinting discretion, from every conceivable angle. No curve, no obvious deviations. If I could believe what my eyes were seeing – and I had no reason to doubt them before now – the kitchen should be protruding from the side of the building by about 12-15 inches.

I was flabbergasted. It just shouldn’t be. Even the thickness of the walls, which I guessed at about six inches, wouldn’t account for such an error. It wasn’t the way that geometry worked, but when I looked again from the couch the difference between the distances on the two sides was impossible to ignore. What the hell…

Surely, I thought, that there was some mistake, and the wall was joined awkwardly and I just hadn’t noticed it before. I’d have to go out on the balcony to reassure myself, and take a look at the outside wall of the building. My balcony ran the entire length of the kitchen/living room wall, placing the discontinuity about halfway down its length. Surely the exterior of the wall would reveal an outward jump. Now it made sense. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before. I slid open the glass door and tip toed out into the winter air, the thin snow layer crunching and squeaking under my socks.

But to my surprise, the wall was entirely flat. I flicked on the balcony light to be sure. Perfectly flat. Straight, with no visible joins or angles anywhere. I pressed my hands hard against the cold vinyl siding and ran them from the sliding glass door all the way to the railing at the end. Defeated, I made my way back inside, and slid the door shut. I peeled off my wet socks and hung them over the edge of the bathtub to dry, and retreated to the couch once more, rubbing my cold feet.

It was at this point I started to feel uncomfortable, in a way that was almost indescribable. The very image of what I was seeing didn’t make sense. It was such a departure from simple logic that my brain couldn’t concoct any sort of explanation at all. The sensation that trickled over me was something that I can only describe as the opposite of deja vu. The sheer unfamiliar and nonsensical nature of the wall was all I could think about. I had to prove to myself that it wasn’t real.

I stomped down the hall to my bedroom, bare feet slapping on the floor, snatched my belt off the dresser and brought it out. I moved the chair, slid the kitchen table out of the way, so I had a quick, clear path around the half wall. I even took the picture frames off the half wall, and laid them on the table. Nothing to get in the way.

I started on the right side. I let the belt buckle touch the outer wall, and pulled it tight. The distance from the the wall to the end of the divider was about half the length of the belt. I pinched my fingers hard on the belt, marking the length I had measured. Now… I marched around, to the kitchen, put the belt buckle against the wall and pulled the belt tight.

Impossible, I thought. It was truly impossible. The belt wouldn’t even reach from the wall the the end of the divider. I leaned against the wall, my mind whirring with thoughts, questions. The one thought that dominated my being was that the space I was standing in, leaning against that wall, should not exist! If common sense were any sense at all, I should be on the balcony right now, staring at the vinyl siding on the outside of the building. A sudden feeling of dread washed over me – I felt hot and sick and shaky. I started to wonder what might happen If i were to close my closes, but at that thought, the fear become so intense that I jumped away from the wall and ran to the bathroom where I promptly retched up my beer and what undigested remains there were of my supper.

What was happening to me? I had to sleep. Yes, that’s it. I was exhausted, and it had been a long week. Maybe it was the headache pills, I thought – I had downed them with alcohol, after all. And mixing drugs with booze can do crazy stuff, right? I closed my eyes hard, nodding my head and trying to convince myself that I had to be hallucinating. I was sleep depraved. I needed sleep.

I flushed the toilet, brushed my teeth, splashed water in my face, and turned to look down the hall. I realized then that I had left the balcony door ajar, and the cold winter air was putting a chill in the apartment. I started, but stopped again, when my peripheral vision revealed to me something which unnerved me in a way I had never known. It was at that point which I began to think I was losing my mind.

On the left side of the half wall, the kitchen stretched on, far beyond the physical limitations of my building, and filling that impossible space was – and It frightens me say it – a perfect mirror image of my own. The table, chairs, cupboards, and even the overflowing drying rack lay in perfect reverse imitation of my own, real kitchen. It was as though the wall of the kitchen had been replaced by a reflective surface, but as far as I could tell, this was not the case.

I breathed deep, shaking uncontrollably as I made my way slowly down the hall to the kitchen. I stopped halfway, at the linen closet which sat opposite my bedroom door, and grabbed the broom. I unscrewed the broom handle and clutched it tightly as I would a spear. It did nothing to make me feel safer.

I moved slowly – one foot at a time – holding the broom handle out in front of me and breathing heavily. As I got nearer, though, I could see that the discontinuity did not only mirror the kitchen – it was the entire apartment.

When I reached the point where the wall had been, I stopped and stretched out my hand. Nothing but empty air. This couldn’t be a hallucination, could it? No – something else was at work here. Something frighteningly real.

There was a draft moving through the air, flowing like a soft wind, and I realized that the sliding door to the balcony must also be ajar over there. I should close it. That seemed to make sense, at least.

I prepared myself to enter the space that should not be. Something about it still made me afraid to close my eyes, so I decided to try my best not to blink before walking over. Come on, you got this. I had a goal now. Simple enough, but still, that small purpose helped quiet the thoughts in my head a little. I swallowed, breathed deep, and walked into the impossible room. Made my way past the chairs, the books – even the fucking picture frames were there, but something about the pictures wasn’t right, and I averted my eyes as I passed. I turned right around the half wall and came to face the balcony door. I was right. It was open. However, what I saw beyond the door was not what I had expected. I had prepared myself – by taking into account the twisted anti-logic of the discontinuity – to encounter a second balcony. This was a whole new deviation. Nonetheless, I made my way through, back into the real living room, and slide the balcony door shut.

I sat on the couch again, picked up the half-drunk beer, and took a gulp. Spilled some on my shirt. I didn’t know what else to do but try and understand the situation as best I could. There was no balcony anymore. From where I sat, I could see the second kitchen to my left, beyond the real one, and through the sliding glass door I could see the opposing living room, couch and all – even the bloody half-drunk beer sitting on the coffee table. If I told myself that the kitchen wall and the balcony door were mirrors, I could nearly believe I was still sane. Yeah, I thought, it’s just a mirror. Just a big fucking illusion. Reflection. There’s the coffee table… my couch… my beer… all that’s missing is…

I heard a noise behind me, coming from what sounded like the bedroom. A faint “thwump”, like the sound of something soft clumsily hitting the floor. I froze. I could feel my eyes tighten. My pulse throbbed sickeningly in my neck. I could feel the cold sweat seeping through my clothes. I had to escape.

I clutched the broom handle as tightly as I could and ran for the front door. I grabbed the knob, whipped open the chain lock, and twisted it open in a frenzy. Tears filled my eyes and the scream my body had tried to produce had stopped at the dry lump on my throat. I slammed it shut again, as hard as I could have, and locked it. I pressed my back against the door and let myself slide limply down, down, down onto the floor. There was no exit. Outside the door had been just another entrance way like my own. An exact reflection.

And then I heard the noise again… thwump… coming from the bedroom. And again… thwump… louder this time. Thwump. The bedroom door opened slowly. Thwump. They were footsteps. Thwump… thwump… They were coming down the hall.

I do not know what gave me the strength to move in that instant. Some primal instinct, some basic will to survive kicked in. I would not sit sobbing in a corner, waiting for whatever cruel and impossible fate awaited me. I would not.

I launched myself from the entrance way, and made for the balcony door. I flew across the kitchen. Grappled the half wall and swung my weight as best as I could across the living room floor. I snatched the sliding door handle, heaved it open, and burst into the room that should not be. I drove it shut behind me, flicked the lock, and ran left, around the half wall to face whatever it was that had come from this impossible place – not daring to blink until I passed the boundary back into the real kitchen. I stopped short. The wall had returned. Solid. Real. I would have to go back through the balcony door again, but at least I had the upper hand – the door was locked from this side.

I clenched my fists so tightly around the broom handle that my fingernails must be drawing blood from my palms. My eyes were stinging now, but I still dared not blink. I could not let the perverse logic of the space get a chance to warp itself again. Not while I was still inside it.

Then, there was another noise. Not the muffled footsteps from before, but a clear, sharp “tick.” The sound of metal and springs and intricate precision.

The sound of the balcony door being locked from the other side.

No… I rushed to the sliding door and unlocked it, but it wouldn’t budge. I could see the lock switch on the other side – the real side – and it was engaged. I screamed. I swore. I cried. I yanked and tore and heaved and kicked and pounded the door, over and over and over. There was no use. No matter how much force I put on the damned door, it wasn’t going to move. It didn’t even shake. As long as it was locked from the other side, I would never be able to open it. I was defeated. My eyes were still open – I refused to let myself blink, and my vision had gone horribly blurry. They burned like fire from the air and my hysteria, but I couldn’t blink. I could not let that happen. I had to keep the real world in sight.

And then I saw the figure.. I watched with horror through the glass as the figure reclined on my couch. They picked up my half-drunk beer and took a long swig. They were looking in my direction. Staring out the glass of the sliding door right at me. By now my eyes were aching so badly and my vision so impaired that I could scarcely pick out any details, but I knew what it was. The realization of it was the end for me. I have not felt true, unhindered hope, or joy, or contentment since that moment, and I fear that I never shall. The figure on the other side was me.

It might have been an hour, maybe two, maybe three that I knelt there with my forehead against the glass. I never did let my eyes shut that night. I held the lids open for so long that my sight left me entirely. I do not know when it was that I finally slipped into unconsciousness, but it was not of my own free will.

When I awoke in the morning I found myself staring out onto the balcony. The sun was glowing through the trees and I could see crows flying in the distance. I slid the door open and fell out onto the snow-covered wood and stayed there for a very long time, watching the ice crystals melt in my breath. By the time the cold drove me inside, the sun was well up and cars were moving on the roads.

In the weeks and months that followed I paced in and out of that balcony door so many times a day I would lose count by noon. I didn’t want to stay in that apartment one moment longer, but the madness of the discontinuity wouldn’t let me leave. I was obsessed with finding a way back to the world from which I had come. The breaking point came sometime in March – I can’t remember when, exactly – when the landlord came pounding on my door, responding to multiple noise complaints. I had been attempting to tear down the kitchen wall with a framing hammer. There was a commotion, and I had a few very long talks with police, but eventually the landlord agreed not to press charges so long as I moved out immediately and paid an extra three months rent to cover the damages. I took the offer. I convinced the cops that I didn’t know much about renovating, but I was sick to death of that fucking paint and had to do something about it.

It’s been a few years now, and I’ve distanced myself from that place. I’ve since gotten a new job, made disastrous attempts at love. I’ve made things work as best I can, going from one day to the next. I’ve come to think of this world as real – I have no other choice. I will never return to the other side. Not now. As time goes on it becomes ever harder to remember that it ever existed in the first place. To this day, I can’t bear looking in the mirror. I seems to me that behind the eyes of my reflection there is some hint of malevolence… though at times it looks to me more like gloating.

I remind myself every morning that I am real. I am here. Wherever here is. Impossible or no, this world is mine now. I’ve come to see the obscure beauty in it. There is one thing that reminds me of the world I thought I knew, though – it happens every day when I watch the sun rising. I always expect it to come up in the west, but it never does.

It never does.

Credit To – Keith Daniels

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Warning Sign

July 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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My wife and I were driving down a dark road, on our way to Colorado for our honeymoon. It had to be around midnight and I’d been driving for hours. My wife was fast asleep in the back seat and I had nobody to talk to, so I listened to the radio to keep me from dozing off. They were playing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys, a song that I’ve loved since I were a young boy. I was singing along to the tune as quietly as I could, trying not to wake my wife. That’s when it suddenly got foggy out, the snow that we were warned about started falling and the radio turned to static. The fact that we were the only ones on the road was very unsettling. We hadn’t seen another car since we drove by that gas station almost two hours before. It was frightening to say the least.

I continued driving despite the fact that I could barely see. Static continued to restrain the radio from playing my favorite childhood song. I don’t know why, maybe it was the fact that it was really foggy out, but I felt that something bad was bound to happen. The radio was getting louder even though I had turned the thing off. I was hearing voices, they were coming from the radio. I thought that I was hearing things because I was dreadfully tired. It sounded like a woman, her voice echoed out of the radio.

“Evil lies ahead,” she said.

I was looking down at the radio, trying to get it to turn off. When I looked up at the road, a woman in a white gown walked right in front of my car. It was unexpected, I looked away for only a second. I stopped the car and pulled over to the side of the road. My wife had woken up at that point. “I hit someone,” I told her. I was in shock and kind of nervous to get out of the car and see. My wife and I both got out of the car and walked over to where I hit her. She wasn’t there. We looked around but there was no sign of anything. No blood, no body…just nothing. I know I wasn’t going crazy. I saw her and I felt as her body rolled over the top of my car. My wife assumed that I wasn’t getting enough sleep so she suggested that she finish the dive to Colorado. I agreed and we got back into the car and drove off.

Almost two hours later, I was listening to the radio, unable to sleep, as my wife was driving. The radio again, turned to static and the clear roads were suddenly foggy. I immediately felt that something was wrong and that something bad was about to happen. I couldn’t really see anything but the road due to the fog, but I noticed someone standing in the middle of the road.

“Stop!” I screamed. She stopped the car, the woman was just ten feet ahead of us. “It’s her,” I said. “It’s the woman I hit.”

“I don’t see anyone,” she said, glaring out at the road. Somehow she couldn’t see her but I did. The woman was in a white gown and she was probably in her forties. I wasn’t losing my mind like my wife thought I was. The woman spoke and what she said had me shivering in fear.

“Evil lies ahead.”

I looked at my wife, she was oblivious to what was going on. I didn’t understand why she wasn’t seeing or hearing what I was but I wish she had, now more than ever. I tried to convince her that something bad was about to happen. I tried to convince her that someone was trying to warn us, but it was too late. We saw the headlights coming at the very last second.

I woke up hours later in a dark room. The only source of light was coming from the small rectangular window that barely invited in the sunlight. It was clear that I was in a basement but the question was where. The first thing I noticed was that my wife wasn’t with me. I quickly jumped out of the bed, just to fall right to the floor. My right leg was…gone. It was cut off from the knee down. It was then that I noticed how in pain I was. I screamed for my wife, fearing that something bad had happened to her. I lay helplessly on the floor until I heard the basement door creak open, followed by footsteps. I pressed my back against the basement wall and I wait for what seemed like an eternity.

“Mr. Edmund, you really should be in bed,” a man said, helping me to the bed. He was wearing a lab coat so I assumed he was a doctor.

“Where is she?” I asked. “My wife.” He put his hand on my forehead, noticing how high my temperature was.

“You should calm down Mr. Edmund, you’re burning up.”

“I want to know where my wife is,” I said. “I’m not calming down until I found out.”

He took off his glasses and put them in his pocket. “She’s dead Mr. Edmund,” he said. “I’m sorry but her injuries were too severe.”

I didn’t want to believe it but I had no choice but to. I thought about her as a memory, that’s all she’ll ever be now. I thought about the beautiful wedding we just had, how beautiful and happy she looked. She was dead and I felt like the four years that we had known each other was all for nothing. “Where is she?” I asked, wiping the tears from my eyes.

“She’s at the morgue, about thirty minutes from here.”

“I wanna see her,” I said.

“Mr. Edmund, you’re not in the shape to go anywhere,” he said. “Now eat up, I’m sure you’re hungry.” He put a plate on the nightstand.

“I wanna see her!” I yelled before he walked away.

He stopped and turned around. “You really shouldn’t yell, Mr. Edmund, he said. “You just might wake the dead.” He laughed before walking up the stairs. I got out of bed and hopped my way up the stairs just to find out that the door was locked. The guy was clearly hiding something and I had to find out if it had anything to do with my wife.

Hours later, as the day shifted into night, I was in bed, thinking about my wife when I heard the door creak open. I heard no footsteps this time. I got out of bed and crawled my way to the stairs. I looked up and I saw the door open but nobody was there. I hopped up the stairs and I walked through the door. I was in the living room and it was strangely decorated with old furniture. It seemed as if I went back in time to the 60’s. Something strange was going on and I had no idea what it was. It got even more confusing when I noticed the picture that sat on the table stand. It was a family photo of the man with a young boy and a woman who I assumed was his wife. It was the woman that I’d seen on the road. I don’t know how it was possible but it was her.

I had a feeling that my wife was somewhere in the house so I walked around to see if I could find her. I walked into the kitchen and I noticed a trail of blood coming from the refrigerator. I walked slowly to the door and I opened it. What I saw was just despicable and it painted a picture in my mind that I would have to live with for the rest of my life. There were limbs inside, cold bloody limbs. I would never have known that they were the severed limbs of my wife if it weren’t for the ring that I proposed to her with. I thought about the food I’d eaten earlier and I instantly vomited. I knew there was something about that guy, something seemed off. I heard the floor creak behind me and I turned around to see that phyco fuck behind me, swinging a baseball bat that I couldn’t dodge in time.

I woke up hours later back in the basement. The pain I felt in my leg was unbearable. I couldn’t move because my arms were strapped to the bed and even if I could move, I’d fall flat to the floor. My left leg was gone. He cut off my other leg and he was slowly killing me. My mouth was covered with duct tape so I couldn’t scream even if I wanted to.

“Oh good, you’re awake.” He was standing at my side, eating a piece of meat that I would assume was my leg. “You wanna know something?” He asked me. “You taste good.” I was just imaging my hands wrapped around his neck and slowly killing him. “Haven’t you ever wondered what you’d taste like? Well I guess you probably already know.”

He ripped the tape off my mouth, I didn’t even notice how painful it was. “I’ll fucking kill you” was the first thing I said. I wasn’t sure how I’d do it without any legs and being strapped to a bed but murdering him in the most vicious way was all that I could think about.

“I’ve eaten many people in my life, Mr. Edmund, but I would say you take the cake.”

“You’re sick and you belong in hell.”

“I’m already in hell Mr. Edmund,” he said with a creepy smile. “I killed myself back in 1964, right after I ate my wife and son.” I didn’t believe him of course, I figured it was part of his sick mind.

“Why don’t you just kill me? Get it over with.”

“Well Mr. Edmund, I learned that human flesh tastes a lot better fresh. So I’m gonna keep you alive for a while.” He stood from his chair. “Get some sleep Mr. Edmund, I think you’ll taste a lot better when you do.” He walked up the stairs and closed the door.

I was prepared to die, I’m honestly still surprised that I’m not now. There was a sudden knock at the door hours later and I yelled as loud as I could, hoping they could hear me. A group of men then came running down the stairs and they helped me out of the bed and out of that house. I was lucky that they spotted my car on the side of the road and followed the tracks that led them to the house. It was a miracle.

I was surprised to find out that the house was actually abandoned and that nobody had lived there since a doctor by the name of James Conway had brutally murdered and eaten his wife and child before taking his own life. The severed pieces of my wife were found in the old refrigerator and they weren’t the only ones found. There were many people who were reported missing in the area but were never found over the last 50 years. Nobody believes me when I told them that it was James Conway who killed my wife and ate my legs. I guess they believed that a copycat killer was on the loose. There were more victims after me and I’m sure there will be many more in the future. I’ll warn you though, you’re not safe in the northern parts of Colorado. If you see any warning signs, a woman in a white gown telling you that something evil lies ahead, drive the opposite direction and never look back.

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The Hoof Lady

July 16, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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[Editor’s Note: The following is a written account transcribed from a true story told by Brandon Starcevic at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow3ziEqAyEI. Full credit belongs to him. Any alterations to the narrative are purely cosmetic, for better readability.]

Here we go. Okay.

My name is Brandon Starcevic. I’m from the Northwest Territories and I live in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Everybody thinks since I joined the military, this is where I was posted. I’m here because I had to get away from something in my life before this.

We’ll start from the beginning.

In about Grade 11 I was going to school, and I had quit working so I could focus on my grades (which didn’t really help). My little brother though, he had quit school about a year or so before that — it just didn’t agree with him — and he was working at a chicken barn. Every day his friend would come and pick him up in the morning and drop him off at night, and he would be covered with dirt, poop, stuff like that.

One day towards the end of Grade 11 he came home and he said, “Mum, I’ve been offered another job but at the same place. It’s property manager of the chicken barn. They want me to live out there, and I said I wouldn’t move there unless you and Brandon got to move there too.” He didn’t wanna live there all by himself.

My mom asked how many bedrooms and how big is the house, and he said it’s a fair-sized house, three bedrooms, technically four. But the thing is, it’s really grimy and dirty and the old property manager just skipped town, just left everything. The good thing is, though, the chicken barn owner said they would pay for brand new appliances, paint, supplies, and they would get the floors redone and everything professionally. So all we would have to do was paint the walls and clean the place up — take care of the property, make sure nobody comes on, cut the grass, and that’s pretty much it. She said, “Well let’s go have a look.”

So we drove out of my town of Hay River, Northwest Territories to the little sub-town of Enterprise about thirteen kilometers out. It was just a little road, a little turnoff in the middle of nowhere. I had been by there many times to go camping, picnicking to the waterfalls, or just leaving the NWT to go on vacation, and I’d never noticed it before — a little road just off the side of the highway. It had a little wooden sign that said “62 Miron.” That’s it.

So we turned into 62 Miron, and you drive down and you see tall, white birch trees all the way down. It’s a narrow road and it looks like it goes nowhere, and then all of a sudden you get to the end and there’s a left. You turn left and there you go. There’s a large opening and on the left is a very large but long yard, and all the way around the yard are unkempt hedges fifteen feet high. In the middle of the yard there were saplings growing. You drive on a dirt road and on the right side, just a little bit in, there’s a house.

It looks fairly new. It’s backwards, though. When the house was originally built, it was facing down a hill towards the river. The river was far away, but in between the river and the house were all the fields. But now the trees on the hill were as high as the house, so you looked at trees when you were looking out the front. So the back of the house was the front. It had a little deck nine inches high, just a wide platform.

If you looked past the house there was a road that went right and down, all the way to the bottom of the hill, and there was a large field that opened up. And there’s a huge chicken barn, compiled of multiple smaller barns. The original barn was decrepit and…just creepy. It was dark all the time, no lights in it, and if you walked through it — because you had to walk through it to get to the upstairs chicken barns (the two newest ones) — all you could see halfway through was a white line right down the middle at the end. It was a set of doors that were used for loading, and once in a while you could swear that the white line would disappear, as if something walked by. It’s just your mind playing tricks obviously.

But yes, very large, four sections to it, two new parts — the egg packing part, and a back barn — and then the creepy one.

The property was called de Lancie’s Estate. Apparently an old guy named Arthur de Lancie used to own the place. More of a rich farmer, so that’s how you get something to be called an estate I guess.

The house when we got there was just disgusting. Grime and filth all over the walls. There was cat shit, cat litter, rat shit, rat pellets, poison…grease inside the filter of the fan above the stove, the yellow stove…the yellow fridge…everywhere was just disgusting. The carpet was thick laden with dirt embedded into it. But we ended up getting the place pretty tidy.

I’ll describe the layout of the house. As soon as you walk in the door, there’s a landing. Directly ahead of you is a couple stairs going up, and just to your right is a couple stairs going down. If you look directly across from the upstairs, there’s a room. It’s not the biggest room, but it’s a room. Next to that on the right side would be the master bedroom. It was the corner of the house. Across from that would be the bathroom, and at the end of that short hall was a pantry closet. My little brother said my mom could have the master bedroom because he really wanted her to stay there. He would take the bedroom next to it.

If you go left instead of right you would find the kitchen, and a half wall past that would be the dining room. To your right would be the living room, which also had the front-of-the-house window and the front door (but there was no porch or balcony or anything — the door was just shut and locked). The dining room had that ’80s panelling, that false wood look, and we painted over that. The linoleum was replaced, the carpet was replaced, all professionally done after we’d cleaned out the entire house and gotten the appliances removed. It looked brand new, but it wasn’t until you went downstairs that you realized how old the house was.

So if you round the landing and you go downstairs, directly across from the bottom was a wood shop — what I assumed was a wood shop, because you walk in and there’s this narrow wooden bench that was all warped. It was a very narrow room, but if you went right from the stairs you would see two giant plastic tanks full of water. That’s your water; you had to get a truck to come out and fill them up once or every two weeks. It wasn’t terribly expensive. Then you had your water heater, your washer and your dryer. To your left and behind you is that little cubby hole under the stairs, where you put your Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes, all that stuff.

Right next to that, to the left would be the first room. The carpet was still perfect. The walls were white and had a strip of children’s wallpapering. There was an old chalkboard, and a little kid’s picnic table. It was nice. That was to be my room, I chose it when we first saw the place. By the time we’d just about finished cleaning, it was summer and coming onto my grad year. I was gonna be spending a lot of extra time at home studying. It would work out really well, no distractions.

But then my brother, the oldest one, moved to the Northwest Territories. He wanted to find work up here, so he stayed. And him being the oldest, me being the second youngest and smaller than him, he got to pick that room. What was I to do? Beat up my big ol’ brother? Nah, wouldn’t happen.

So beyond that room, if you keep walking down to the end of the hallway, the hall stops. If you turn right, there would have been a door. But there was a basement pole on one side of the opening, so you couldn’t put a door there. You walk in and on the left there’s just a wall. It’s all wavy though from time and humidity, and that wall was connected to another wavy wall, and that wall was connected to a wall that had a little door. A creepy, tiny little door nailed shut. I’ll tell you more about that later. The floors were old, worn, wooden planks, some with holes in them.

If you turn right when you go in the room there’s a little propane furnace, and right next to that is a 6x6x6 foot cast-iron, turn-of-the-century wood furnace. It had the big spring handle, and you’d slam that door shut, and…yeah. It’s like something out of a horror movie. In between the furnaces and the walls you can go all the way to the back, and there’s a space behind them. Light never went there.

So that was gonna be my room. Yippee.

I went and grabbed the old carpet that was torn out of the living room. Perfect size, because that was right above me. I steam cleaned the carpet and trimmed it to fit. I put my bed on the left side against the wavy walls, because they were less creepy than the furnaces and little tiny nailed-shut door. I found a big steel rack with shelves, and that was my dresser. I put that in front of the little door in case anything tried to get through it. Ha.

There was a little light in the middle of the room: clink. You had to pull the string. I wished there was a better way, but I had to reach up — clink — and jump back into bed.

So we had the place all set up. Grade 12 had started, and I had to catch the bus as it passed our place. If I didn’t, I would have to look for a ride. After so many times and so many friends, you feel like you’re using them, and that nobody’s going to drive every single day just for you (and I didn’t have a car). So I took the bus home. It was just easier that way. I had time to study, time to do whatever I wanted to do out there. But then I got a bit squirrelly. Nothing to do, really. Watch TV, do your homework.

So one lunch, I went to the town library. Small town, 2000 people at most. I walk in and say hi to Ms. Barnes (I’ve known her since I was a kid) and told her I kind of wanted to read. She gasps and goes, “Oh my, I’ve been waiting to hear that your whole life!” She knew I didn’t read, and I added, “…but I don’t really wanna read. Does that make sense?” She says, “One second,” runs around the corner, and comes back with a stack of CDs. It was the second Harry Potter book on audio.

I brought them back home, went down to my room with a ghetto blaster, and just laid on my bed and listened. Across from the doorway I’d put a full length-mirror, and since I couldn’t put in an actual door, I’d hung a wolf fleece blanket there. One day while listening to Harry Potter, I saw something in the mirror.

As soon as somebody walks down the hallway, the blanket billows out from the air draft. But I sat up and looked at the blanket, and it was completely still. I looked out and there was nobody there. It had either been a woman in a white dress, or a man in a white robe walking by the mirror. I got all creeped out, and I went upstairs, told my brother and mom: Oh yeah, he’s smoking weed, mind’s playing tricks on him…

This is the first time I’ve told it by myself, and I’m having a bit of a hard time.

Um…okay. One time during winter we were watching a movie in the living room, and my mom wanted to watch it in her bedroom. We had satellite in the living room, and we could have all the rooms set up with satellite, but we’d all have to watch the same thing because we didn’t have the luxuries of a splitter. Just a manual splitter. She asks if I can go on the roof and bring her cable over to the splitter.

“Yeah, sure, no problem Mom. Just hold the flashlight and the ladder for me.”

So we walk out in the snow. The ladder was already there because I was supposed to paint the outside, but never did. She holds it for me, shines the light up, and I climb up on the roof. I untwist her cable from the antenna (you get like, thirteen channels out there with an antenna), and start pulling it through the snow. Then I get to the east trough and it’s stuck. It’s really stuck. Frozen. I tell my mom, say I need a hammer, can she go get me one? She said okay, and you hear crunching as she takes off.

Around the front of the house, in between the house and the trees, there’s a good seven feet of perfectly cut space. The light from the living room and bedroom windows lit up the trees, but it only went so far. If you were on the top of the house where I was, you could only see the trees and the darkness. All of a sudden I hear a crunching in the snow at the bottom of the hill. Fuck, there’s some animal. It’s coming up the hill, and it’s starting to break branches, it’s running. It’s not being quiet, you can hear the branches breaking and the trees shaking, and it’s coming closer and closer and closer.

I’m thinking I gotta yell to my mom that it’s coming, and it’s almost right there. I’m looking down into the trees, I’m looking and I’m looking and I’m waiting for it and suddenly it stops just out of my sight. I can’t see it but I know it’s right there, I can hear it, it’s so close.

And then it starts at the bottom of the hill again. Something’s crunching through the snow, something’s breaking the branches and it’s coming up the hill, it’s coming up the hill, and it’s coming closer, and my heart’s racing and I’m looking for this thing, I’m waiting for it, and I’m starting to freak out. How am I supposed to get down? And there’s running, and it’s coming and it gets right there, it’s right there and I’m waiting…and it stops. And it starts at the bottom of the hill again.

All of a sudden this hammer flies up beside me. I grab the hammer and say, “MOM THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE BUSHES!” And I smash the ice and I throw that cable, I just let it go and slide down the ladder and I run inside. I’m freaked out, and I tell my mom and my brothers about it. My mom said that her and my oldest brother had come home one night, and they were parking beside the house near the hill, and they heard something in the bushes too. So they started parking across from the house, backed up against the hedges.

You know, there’s wolves. There’s one person for every four wolves in the Northwest Territories. And seven bears. Or the other way around. Anyway, there’s a lot of animals out there that can kill and eat you. But how it came up the hill was extra creepy.

There was another time — this is where my family gets involved. We were in the midst of a blizzard. Blizzards are pretty normal up there. They happen several times a winter in the NWT. They’re a few days long and they’re cold and you don’t go outside, and if you do, you’re layered and you don’t go very far. Especially us, we lived in the middle of nowhere. There’s no driving in town, there’s just too much snow. We gotta wait for the graders. You usually know when the blizzard’s coming, so we went to the video store and rented lots of movies. Because you never know, right, and it’s nice to watch movies with hot chocolate and popcorn.

So we’re in the middle of watching a scary movie. My oldest brother had a girlfriend over, and there was my little brother, my mom, and me. We were watching Pumpkinhead 2, and it was just like in the movies where you’re waiting for something to jump out, they’re trying to get the timing right to catch you off guard, and all of a sudden:

BANG BANG

from behind me. I jump and we all scream and turn on the lights. I was sitting on a chair by myself against the wall. We all turn on the lights, somebody’s gotta run down to the porch, turn that on, run back up and you gotta look out the windows. And there’s nobody. If somebody had come in the middle of a blizzard, they would had to have driven. And there’s no tracks, it was already snowed over, even our own tracks from parking.

Well, you know, we could have left a rake out, or a tree branch could have fallen, or a bird could’ve hit the house. Anything, right? We all kind of calm down a little bit, turn off all the lights, and play the movie again. It was not even a minute later, when it seemed like it was in that same lengthy part where the music’s going and there’s something about to happen, and from the front door we hear BANG BANG BANG, and then from the roof, BANG BANG BANG, and then from the walls all around us, BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG. The whole house is shaking everywhere.

We jump up, we’re all screaming, and we turn on the lights — I don’t even know who turned them on — and everything just stops. We’re all just shaking, looking at each other.

Well what could we say? We look out the windows, no tracks, nothing. The ambiance of the entire house was weird. So we put on a comedy, grab something to eat — comfort food to make us feel better. That was it.

We all knew something was going on. I knew something was going on.

I talked to the manager. He had worked there since he was a kid. I asked him what that little door was there for. He just says, “Come on.” We walk down the hill and get about halfway down to the chicken barn. He suddenly turns into the bushes, and there’s a little steel shack in the middle of them. He pulls out this big ring of keys, fumbles around and opens it up, and he goes, “That’s weird, the light’s on. I haven’t been in here in years.”

We walk in and it’s like a mineshaft. There’s one light in there, there’s a little wooden shelf, and then there’s literally a shaft underground. It had the pillars and stuff, and it went all the way up the hill to that little door. It was caved in a bit. He said what you’d do is you’d fill that room — my room — full of wood in the wintertime, then fill this room down here, and when you ran out of wood, you would go down the shaft and bring that wood back up into your room. But the door is nailed shut because apparently Arthur de Lancie died going through the shaft. That’s where it’s caved in.

Oh, that’s cool.

It was summertime one day, and I walk into the dining room and my little brother is sitting there, just staring at the dining room window. “Brandon!”

“What?”

“Look out the window.” I look out the kitchen window, and there was an old lady just standing there looking at the house. I’m like, “How’d she get here?” He goes, “I dunno. Go talk to her.”

“You!”

“No, go go go! Go talk to her.” Okay. So I go down the stairs and I open the door, peek out, and she’s still looking at the house.

“Excuse me, ma’am?” She gets startled, and I’m like, “Uh, this is private property.” I notice there’s a car there, so okay, she drove here, she’s not a spirit. And she’s like, “Oh, sorry sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude or anything. I used to live here when I was a little girl. I grew up here and wanted to see it again.”

I say, “Oh wow, that’s neat, how old were you when you moved away?” She answers, “About five or six.”

“Would you happen to be related to the de Lancies?”

“Yes,” she says, “actually my father built this house. His name was Arthur.” Oh god.

“Did he die here?” It just came out of me, and it felt rude after the fact, but not when I said it.

“Yes, he did. That’s why we moved away, because when my father died getting wood, my mom had a little breakdown. She couldn’t live here anymore.”

She said she remembered her room, the wallpaper, the little chalkboard, the picnic table.

“Picnic table? I think you might wanna come see this.” So this little old lady came with me, and I helped her down the stairs and brought her to the wood shop where I’d put them. She said, “That’s them! Those are mine!” I said she could have them, brought them up to her car, and put them in her trunk. She took off.

Yeah, that confirmed that my room’s connected to a guy’s deathbed.

So it was the middle of winter again in the Northwest Territories. Very, very cold. Very frozen and everything is just stopped. Dark nighttime. Dark all the time. I was going to bed and it was really cold in my bedroom. It’s warmer upstairs because the thermostat’s upstairs, and heat rises. But it was extra cold and the furnace should have turned on by now. When it turns on, it doesn’t blow into the room, so I have to take off the cover and put it up against the larger furnace. You can’t see anything because the pilot light’s hidden. But when it lights you get these bunch of little flames, and it just lights up my whole room, and you get the heat.

I turn off the light, and the furnace still isn’t on. So I throw the blankets on me, and I’m thinking it’s pretty cold. But I feel like I’m starting to fall asleep. You ever get that feeling where you have a blanket, and a cat jumps on you, and it’s got that soft padding? Well I felt that on my feet, and I froze. Because I don’t have a cat. So what I did is, I became a small child and pulled the blankets over my head and held tight. I tucked the blanket everywhere around my body.

This feeling went up onto my shins…and then up onto my knees…and then up onto my thighs. But it wasn’t just my thighs, it was still on my knees and my shins and my feet. And then it crawled up on my hips. By this time it felt like some one was crawling on me, and I felt like it was a woman because I could feel their body parts on me. She was crawling onto my stomach, and onto my chest, and she just stopped.

I was frozen. What was I to do? My mind was racing and racing and racing, and all I could think was, Mom. I need Mom. I need to run and scream and yell and go to Mom and turn on every light in the house and I couldn’t…I couldn’t grasp onto my thoughts in my head. They were just going so fast, racing, racing. My body in comparison was so frozen, tense, terrified of whatever was on top of me. There was a feeling of knowing that there was something not right about…not just the fact that there was something unknown on me, but there was something wrong, there was something bad on me. Something terrifying.

I feel it still.

I was laying there, freaking out, thinking of what to do, what to do, gotta scream, gotta run, gotta go see Mom, do something…all these thoughts, and I can’t breathe now. I don’t know how long I’d been laying there, and I couldn’t breathe because I was running out of oxygen. All I could think was, I gotta breathe. So I took forever to turn my head to the side, and sooo slowly brought my hand to my face, and brought the blankets around my lips. I gulped in the cold refreshing air. It was such a relief, but only enough for me to forget for a moment.

And then the furnace must have turned on, because I could feel warm air on my lips. Then it started pulsating. Like breath.

I pulled the blankets back under my head in an awkward position, so tense I couldn’t move. My mind was still racing millions of miles a minute. I didn’t know whether I was there for hours or minutes or seconds, or if it was daytime. I didn’t want to look.

I’ve got to do something, so what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna jump and I’m gonna run, I’m gonna scream and go to Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom…and all of a sudden

…I’m sitting there driving my old truck. I’m in the middle of the highway in the middle of nowhere, just darkness. All I can see is the road, the ditch, and the trees in front of me. And I know where I’m going: I’m going home. I don’t work in town, but it’s not far away. I can feel the vinyl seat below me. It’s kind of chilly but the heater half works, and the orange light on the radio glows but the music doesn’t work, so all I can hear are my own thoughts and the truck.

I’m driving along, kind of feeling tired, when I hear a faint noise behind me. It sounds like a horse on the highway, but it doesn’t have that same rhythm. Instead of clop-clop, clop-clop, it’s more like clopclopclopclop. It’s running, something is behind me running on the highway, really fast, with hooves. I can hear it coming, getting closer and louder, and I’m starting to freak out, starting to speed up a little. I keep looking back but there’s nothing there, nothing behind me.

It’s getting closer and I can feel it now, it’s almost here. I look over, and it was as if the moon had come out from behind the clouds, lighting up the entire sky. That didn’t matter though, what mattered was what was next to me, running beside me at impossible speeds, staring directly ahead.

It was a woman with dark, curly, greasy hair. Gray, wrinkly, wrinkly face, black eyes. Hairy chest and gray skin, and once you got to her waist it was just thick, black hair. And she had hooves, running impossibly fast next to me. At this time all I did was lean forward, my lip touching the steering wheel, stepping on the gas as hard as I could. I would look over, look over, look over, I couldn’t help myself, and she was just staring ahead, running as fast as I was going. The engine roared as we went, and I looked, and she slowly turned her head towards me. Her black eyes glimmered as she reached her arm out and pointed ahead. I’m roaring, and I’m flying, and I’m coming down

…and I’m walking with my friend down the street. It’s darkness all around us, all you can see is streetlight, streetlight, streetlight, and a tiny little gas station, just the front of it illuminated. My friend there got hit by a moving van while riding his motorcycle, and he hops when he walks. We’re talking and laughing, having a good time, and he points and he goes, “Look.” We’re getting close enough to the gas station where we can see this shadow of a person huddled up against the wall, just out of the light. He goes, “Hey buddy, you okay?” Suddenly it jumps up and all you can hear is a clop on the cement. I don’t know why, but we start chasing it. We’re both running around and around but it’s always just around the corner. He says, “Stop! You go one way, I go the other way.” We split up, running and chasing after this sound

…and I’m standing there in the middle of the highway, looking at a house. Small house, screen door, a woman sitting on the porch. It’s lightly raining, and there’s this little girl jumping in the puddles. She has this little yellow slicker, with a little yellow rain hat and little yellow rain boots. She’s jumping and laughing in the water. There’s still color, but everything was a bit gray. I couldn’t move or say or do anything. It’s like I wasn’t there, I didn’t exist to them, I was just watching them. She’s laughing, and the mother’s laughing too. She’s smiling and clapping, the little girl’s having such a great time, when I hear this phone ringing in the back of the house. She says, “One second, Mommy will be right back.” She goes and opens the screen door, closes it.

Then it was instantly pouring, more rain than I’d ever seen pour down in my entire life. And it got darker. This little girl is having a blast, a shrill laugh coming out of her. These puddles she’s jumping in were so big. All I can do is watch as she jumps into a large puddle, and it comes up to her waist, and she jerks. And she jerks again, and all I can see is her falling slowly backwards. Just as her little hat disappears under the water, the door opens and her mom comes running out, and she starts screaming, “Kaylee! Kaylee!” while looking around frantically,

…and I’m laying there back in my bed. Petrified, fear-stricken. I couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything. There was something on top of me. I knew there was something on top of me and I had to do something about it. I had to build, build, build this courage, build this something inside of me that was stronger than me.

I knew what I was gonna do. I was gonna grab my blankets and push with all my might, as hard as I could, and run as fast as I could down the hallway, up the stairs, and into my mom’s bedroom, turn on all the lights I can on the way, and slam the door behind me. Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom. Finally after…I don’t know if it was minutes or hours or days, I built enough courage. I grabbed the blanket and I pushed as hard as I could, and pushed, and it was like everything was in slow motion. The blanket slowly fell, and just at that moment the furnace turned on, a roar and a flickery display of lights.

As the blanket dropped I could see the silhouette of a woman at the end of my bed. She had the black hair, gray face, everything. She was drifting slowly backward off the bed, but then stopped — and flung herself toward me.

I woke up and it was daytime. I hurriedly went upstairs and told my mom, my family. They half believed me because of what had happened to all of us. Within two weeks I joined. I looked and looked, and it wasn’t until I found a trade fair, but I joined the military and went to basic training. I moved here, and I’ve been here, happy, but still worried that something’s always behind me, always around the corner. The worst is going upstairs. You open the door to go into the stairwell, and right behind you, just as the door is closing, there’s always something that maybe snuck in with you. And just as you’re leaving, there’s always something that maybe snuck out with you, too.

Credit To – Brandon Starcevic

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A Figure in Gray

July 15, 2015 at 12:00 PM
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A Figure in Gray

If you have spent any length of time in the United States, you owe it to yourself to play the 1985 arcade classic, Paperboy. In it, you assume the role of a preteen boy tasked with completing his daily paper route. For whatever reason, your hero’s beat is a particularly rough neighborhood. Its streets teem with aggressive drivers who would rather hit a cyclist than their brakes. On the sidewalks, bratty children steer kamikaze RC cars into passers-by — modern-day drone pilots in their larval form. Elsewhere, skateboarding adrenaline junkies find their greatest thrill in demolishing live obstacles like your paperboy. In some cases, your character will be accosted by a knife-wielding madman who comes charging out of a house and pursues at tremendous speed, inevitably catching your hero and robbing him of a precious life.

Taken as a whole, the game makes for an effective satire of Reagan-era America. It captures the needless paranoia of the suburbs, where people fear the harm some stranger or foreign power will inflict on them, without realizing the vanity — in all senses of the word — behind such a phobia. It shows the violence and cruelty of the average American percolating behind the facade of white picket fences and well-maintained lawns. Most importantly, it reveals how far some people will go to make a buck — or be compelled to go, for socioeconomic reasons beyond their control.

It would be troubling to consider these situations if the game didn’t make it all so damn funny. Odds are you will laugh too much while playing to think about many of the concerns the game raises. Perhaps it succeeds too well at its own satirical objectives.

You would be forgiven for assuming that the same merry cynicism found in Paperboy would carry over to its ’90s console sequel, Paperboy 2. Indeed, the second entry in the series contains every bit as much unnecessary peril — and consequent weird humor — as the first. You guide your choice of paperboy or papergirl through a suburban gauntlet featuring a whole new cast of memorable hostiles. A hermit holed up in a moat-ringed castle bombards you with cannon fire as you pass. Overzealous guard dogs chase you down the street. Roasting pigs, knocked off the spit by a misfired newspaper, do the same — evidently being grilled alive before your intervention, and none too happy with your interference. Runaway baby carriages, in a nod to the overpopulation worries of the modern world, mow you down if you are not attentive enough. Scarecrows, once hit with a paper, break from their stakes and ambush you, one hand raised in a Fascist salute all the while. The absurdity in Paperboy 2 runs high thanks to the game’s colorful cast.

Although perhaps “colorful” is not the right word…

As you play through the opening stages of Paperboy 2, you will notice one character who does not seem to belong, for he is, literally and figuratively, anything but colorful. He will first catch your eye because his palette is without color — he is the only person in the game rendered entirely in monochrome. He wears a gray sweatsuit. His neat and unremarkable hair is black. His stark white skin, however, is especially arresting, given the more nuanced flesh tones seen everywhere else in-game. His actions, too, are comparably bland. If left undisturbed, the figure in gray simply walks down his driveway, deposits a garbage can at the curb, then turns around and walks back to his house. If struck with a paper, he only freezes in his tracks. No attacks, no surprises. He is shockingly mundane in this world of cannons and mobile scarecrows.

If you have some knowledge of ’90s news curiosities, you might be able to excavate the unusual case of one Dennis R— from your memory banks. Assuming the national news outlets had the story straight, and reported it accordingly, Mr. R— was an actuary — or some other specialist whose profession hinges on the unchallenged yet specious assumption that the future will be like the past — who woke up one night, dismembered his infant twin sons and his wife of eight years, and brought their remains to the curb in a metal garbage can alongside all the other refuse of suburban life. The mechanical arm of the waste collection truck had not detected the can’s abnormal weight, and the landfill, too, was none the wiser. It was entirely possible that nobody would have noticed the absence of Mrs. R— and her children, had the local library not begun to seek compensation for a long overdue book that Mrs. R— never had the chance to return. Alas, Mr. R— was never properly sentenced, as he was killed in prison by other inmates before his trial could be finished.

Recalling this story, you might begin to sense a resemblance between the late Mr. R— and the figure in gray; indeed, after a cursory image search for his photograph on the internet, you would be impressed by how uncanny a likeness a few pixels can produce. You might even begin to suspect that the satire of the Paperboy series is alive and well in the second installment. Here the game designers have given you a world of crime and violence and fright, and yet the most horrible thing in it is something as innocuous as a man taking out his trash. Here all the paranoid suburbanites target a kid on a bicycle, as if he or she posed any actual threat, while the real danger lurks next door. You might speculate that Paperboy 2 is a satire of complacency, where prosperity and habit inure the average American against diligence and introspection, where the idealized image of the suburb discourages its residents from looking beyond the glistening veneer of civilization, and scrutinizing themselves or others. Even you, the attentive player, were fooled — did you think to inspect the gray figure’s garbage can for pixelated limbs? Of course not. Why would you? The world you find yourself in does little to suggest you should have. Therefore, through the inclusion of this nonchalant figure in gray, the game makes you complicit in the poisonous mindsets that suburban America incubates — a mature critique indeed for such an early video game.

Yet if you were to praise the developers of Paperboy 2 for their clever stunt, not one of them would take credit for it. For none of them would admit to drawing or programming the figure in gray. In fact, none of them would remember putting him into the game.

Credit To – Lex Joy

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The Mask of Edward Marquis

July 15, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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From the Case File of the Marquis Manor Massacre
Suspect: Nicholas Jacobs
Investigator: Michael Wells

The audio tape clicks on and a voice comes in…

It does not matter what more I say or add to my testament. You and the others will not believe me, and perhaps it is better this way. The saint in me feels that my being behind these walls is a small price to pay… but the devil ever seeks freedom does he not? Very well, Mr. Wells, I shall tell you what really happened that night…

It was late April, year 2005, when the now late Mr. Edward Marquis agreed by letter to allow me to view that strange oddity he had secreted away from the rest of the world. He simply referred to it as “the mask” in all of our long correspondence to one another. To say that I was excited to finally view the object would be a gross understatement.

It wasn’t until I got to his mansion and seen the grave expression on his face that I question my motives to see the object, and hopefully purchase it. I have always had a bit of obsession with occultism and the macabre antiques tied to it. I have heard stories of the mask, rumors with no real meaning, that is, until one lead me to Edward Marquis.

He at first disavowed all knowledge of the object or the cult that it was tied to it. It took months of prying at the old man to finally hear his confession and it seemed thick of regret. I was ever the fool in those days.

Edward met me at the door, stating that he called his staff away for the evening so that it would just be the two of us; I remember feeling that my friend had an overbearing taste for the dramatic. He offered to show me his gallery of art works and curios, an offer I accepted for we had the same tastes it seemed. After about an hour of dusty tomes and paintings we retired to his study for brandy.

In this time I tried greatly not to ask about the mask or press my viewing of it and my patience was waning. When I had finally brought up the mask he was startled, swearing off all knowledge of agreeing to allow me to see it. After several moments of discourse about the dangers that it possessed, warnings I now wish I headed, he took out a small chest from beneath his desk. It was an elaborate affair, lacquered ebony and polished iron bands, small etchings covered the boxes entirety. I found it odd that the box had no lock on it, yet had a ring for one; the small things that I dismissed astound me now.

He sat there for a while staring at the box, then started, “What do you know of the mask, my dear boy? What have you heard?” So I recanted the little snippets of lore that I was able to gleam together in my years of study on the cult. He laughed at me. “They believed there to be a fallen angel of sorrows that would save all mankind from sadness, grief, and despair, I pity their naivety. They also believed there to be another entity, a demon of hatred that would always battle with the angel. This mask was made as a vessel for these entities, in hope that they could pull them here, into our world.”

He placed the box upon the table before me and slid it towards me. Simply, he commanded, “Look and see,” and I was compelled to obey. The lid seemed heavy; unnaturally so, as if it weighed several times more than it should, but still, it slid open with wanting. Within the box was a parcel wrapped in linen. I glanced up to my host for confirmation that this is what I sought, he nodded and smiled. It was his first smile since I arrived, and I thought I saw moisture build in his eyes. With nervous hands and almost giddy heart I carefully, slowly, unwrapped the linen. What was within was an object of horror and beauty, simple, yet complex in its simplicity. It was a mask. Smooth with no real facial features, save two eye holes. One side was pure white the other was black. Beneath each eye was a line of the opposing color, as if it were weeping, and the white side had a black smile colored in while the black side had a white frown. In essence, it resembled one of those comedy and tragedy theater masks, but it was so much more. It chilled me to the bone and elicited a yelp for joy.

I was so entranced by the mask, lulled into its beauty, I almost didn’t hear Mr. Marquis weeping. I… remember asking what was wrong, but my eyes didn’t leave the mask until his reply was forced and choked with laughter. “He… made me do it,… boy,… I didn’t want… to do it, but he made me.” As he spoke a red drop landed upon my hand, drawing my attention to the ceiling. I vividly remember the taste of bile as I retched into my mouth at the sight. Five bodies, assumedly the staff, were chained tight against the ceiling, ripped to shreds, their faces locked in expressions of horror.

The sound of scraping metal drew my eyes to Edward. His face… it was twisted… frozen in a snickering grin, mouth wide, teeth black, and he was crying, but his tears were black. He looked like the mask, or rather, half of the mask, and he held a long knife in his hand, drying blood still on it. “Isn’t it lovely…? They will never feel sorrow again…” He began to laugh again, but his voice was… different, as if he were someone else. “So, how about it, Nicholas, you wanna smile for Ed,” he asked just before then lunged at me. I scrambled out of the way, for some reason grabbing the box. As he fell to the floor, I startled him and began bashing his had in. What happened next is vague and I can just barely remember that I was laughing. It was several hours later when the police picked me up on the side of the highway, covered in blood, clutching my mask in my hands…

A second voice comes in….

Your mask, Mr. Jacobs?

The first returns…

Why, yes, Mr. Wells, it is my mask after all. Now tell me, Michael, wanna smile for me?…

Laughter fills the remainder of the tape…

Credit To – 3wingzblack

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