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The Flesh Market

May 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Have you ever visited Edinburgh? Beautiful city, no matter what time of year you go. The castle that sits at the centre of the city is awe-inspiring, looking down on the surrounding area from the Mount. The peaks and valleys of the land have resulted in a city that flows with the landscape. Streets that surround can be steep, with the numerous sprawling alleyways even steeper. It is here that we find Fleshmarket Close.

It could be mistaken for any other darkened causeway in the city. It sits among the shops and tourist traps, relatively non-threatening, and can be used as a short cut to get down to the station if you are in a hurry. The name has been justified, through some who point out that fleshmarkets were a local term for butchers, and through others who suggest it a hangout of women of the first vocation. These are incorrect. There is a market on the close, but flesh is not the product. It is the currency.

Market hours are dusk until dawn, and the entrance fee is one mouthful of your own blood. Prepare a glass, and progress down the alley. As you get halfway down, swig from the glass and spit it against the wall. The blood will bubble and spread across the wall, coagulating into a hardened scab. This will then start to flake and scatter. A rather anti-climatic door will be revealed beneath. Stepping through is disorientating as logic will tell you you are stepping into a building. The space you are stepping into has no walls, with darkness shrouding the edges. It is at the penumbra that a number of stalls are set up, run by individuals who look like market traders from across the globe, from Arabian merchants to Cockney grocers to New York street con-men. All of their clothes are splatted with blood and offal

These figures will entice you to come speak with them and will gesture to numerous signs around their stalls regarding the sales they are currently having. Upon approaching one of the stalls they will start to pressure you to make a deal with them. You are certainly welcome to do so, and the products that are available are certainly worth consideration.

Starting at the cheap end of the spectrum, you may wish to offer one breath. A lungful will net you knowledge of the weather for the next day. In itself a rather pointless purchase in this age of smartphones and the Met office, but centuries ago invaluable. Taking this offer will result in the seller reaching out with his hand flattened, then quickly grasping it into a fist. The air will literally be stolen from your lungs, and cause a few moments of gasping as you catch your breath.

Are you attached to your fingers? How attached? I mean, do you reckon you could do without your little finger? This sale will provide you instant forgiveness from any one person you desire for any wrongs you may have encroached against them. Agreeing to this one will cause the trader to grin and shout “One Yubitsume Special, coming right up”. They will lunge forward and grab your wrist, pinning it to the table. Don’t resist, because no-one likes a tough sell. A flash of steel and you will be minus one digit. Just remember you can only pay twice.

Now make no mistake, it will hurt. There will probably be a lot of blood, and if you don’t take care of the wound, it may even get infected. As the price goes up you may want to consider taking precautions regarding what you trade. Tourniquets and sutures would certainly not go amiss.

Now some of the trades will seem familiar and may hark back to stories and legends that have existed for millenia. This is is the influence the market has had on our culture, leaching in over the centuries. A pound of flesh will make it impossible for the next person you make a trade with to renege on the deal. Especially useful if you don’t trust the company you keep. It has no use within the Market as all of the traders here are trustworthy, and will honour a purchase to the letter and the spirit. Best to leave this transaction until last.

How about one of your eyes? Depth perception is over-rated any way. Offering up one of them will allow you to converse with our avian friends. You will be able to call down the birds from the trees, and they will be able to answer any questions you may have. It is advisable that you avoid ravens. They have their own agenda, and it is not in your best interests. The salesman will grab you around the throat and slowly prise his fingers into the socket. A snap of the wrist and your visual organ will rest in their palm. Another snap, and it will disappear.

It is at this point where you may want to consider stronger measures to ensure your survival of payment. In this strange little world or ours, the market is hardly the strangest. Artifacts and incantations exist that can allow the body to continue to function long past the point at which mortal coils would be shuffled from. One or two can be picked up here, but few are willing to live without their sexual organs. It seems eternity is that little bit colder without the ability to get your rocks off. I’m not going to go into the details as to how they are taken, suffice to say that it is unpleasant and messy.

At this point the prices become a little more …..Vital. What would you take for your stomach? In this deal it would merit you the ability to understand the desires of anyone you talk to. Whilst you converse with them, your mind will be filled with the images of that which they covet the most. This would provide a significant advantage to any budding salesman, and the deal has been taken up by several of the stallholders themselves.

Some may argue that such a gift would be more poetically suited to the heart. That vascular muscle, however, is apart of an altogether different deal. By bartering with your heart, you can guarantee the happiness of any given individual for the rest of their life, however long that may be. The removal of these types of organs can be significantly painful, but the dealers will allow you a moment to prepare yourself before they will produce a short, keen blade. One practised swipe later, and they will be digging into your tissues. They have unerring accuracy and a level of cleanliness that rivals any surgeon.

Now it is acknowledged in some places that once the deal has been sealed, a buyer may have second thoughts and may want to back out. This is not one of those places. Most of the contract is left unspoken, but you are expected to have done your research. The buyout clauses are a killer.

Whilst most of the body can be put on the table, there are limitations.The fact of the matter is that the brain is the seat of sentience, and cannot be fully placed in. I say fully, there was one individual who offered to lobotomise the part of the brain that holds memory as a part of the deal. The problem is he cannot remember what it is he received in return. I hear he suffered night terrors for the rest of his days.

Now at this point I offer a warning. Up until now I have detailed the price list for your own body parts. What ever you do, do not attempt to purchase anything in the market with organs of another. Every figure in the market will stop and stare at you, and the one you attempted to defraud will scream “THAT IS NOT YOURS TO TRADE!”. What ever it is you have tried to barter will, that body part will be taken from you as punishment. A very literal eye for an eye.

Despite whatever theological perspectives you may hold, offering your own soul will elicit the same result. There have been many theories postulated for this response, but the honest answer is we just don’t know.

The market has been trading in blood and bone for as long as civilization has existed, though the entrance has moved from city to city. Many have visited and shook hands with the butchers, though not quite as many got those hands back. A smart man would wonder how it is that these individuals are capable of honouring the deals they broker. A smarter man would ask himself why his body parts are of such high value in this economy. Just understand that it is supply and demand.

And as long as there are fools willing to supply, you shouldn’t need to concern yourself with who is doing the demanding.

Credit To – The Silicon Lemming

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Angel Eyes

May 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“Anna! Wake up! My angel is here!”

“What?” I eased one eye open until I was squinting at my brother. I would have opened them farther, except I couldn’t. He was shining a damn flashlight in my face.

I shooed my little brother away that night, barely even bothering to look. That was the biggest mistake I have ever made.

My mother had always been… “abusive”, for lack of a better word. She would yell at us, demean us, there was never a shortage of nasty words. As far as verbal abuse goes, Mom was dead on. Physically is where the line gets blurry. She hit us, for sure. But the times she did were few and far between, and honestly didn’t really hurt us. Mom’s abuse was mostly mental.

The worst was the time Brian let the puppy out. He had just gotten the dog for his 7th birthday, we hadn’t even had a chance to name it yet. He said he “thought it would be a good idea to let the puppy go exploring”. The puppy was hit by a car almost instantly. Mom dragged Brian out to the curb and screamed at him to look at the dog, then threw him to the ground and left him sitting there, crying. She stormed upstairs and disappeared into her bedroom. Later, she came down dressed in her work clothes, ordered me to keep an eye on my brother, and informed me that she’d be working a double shift and wouldn’t be home until the early morning hours. Then she drove off without saying another word to Brian.

I went out to him and asked him to come inside, offering him an ice cream from the freezer. He stared at the dead dog for another minute, gently crying and holding his scraped knee. Wordlessly, he came inside.

I couldn’t get him to talk to me at all that night. He sat on the couch, blankly staring at the cartoons I had put on, and I eventually got bored watching him. I went to my room and talked on the phone with my friend Lisa for a good hour. By the time I came out, Brian wasn’t on the couch anymore. After a minute of panicking and searching the downstairs rooms for him, I heard his voice.

Listening carefully, I realized it came from outside the house. He was sitting on the curb, next to the dog, looking up and to his right, as if he were speaking to someone slightly taller than him. Relieved, but still angry, I went out to him.

“Brian! What do you think you’re doing???”

“Sorry… I saw… There was a lady next to the dog. She said she was an angel. She said she was helping him.”

“You can’t see angels. They aren’t re-… They’re invisible. They watch over us, but they’re air colored.”

“No they’re not. They’re white.”

“Yeah, but they’re invis… Ugh. Whatever. Just get inside, it’s time for bed.”

I got him in his pajamas, not bothering to make him brush his teeth or shower. I was only 13, I wasn’t about to force him to do anything. Brian and I shared a room, which I hated. So I went to sleep in Mom’s room until she got home. She got back at around 3am, and kicked me out of her bed. Sleepily, I snuck down the hall to our room, when I heard Brian’s voice.

“Is it beautiful there?”

I stopped dead in my tracks, and listened. I thought maybe he was using the phone, which he wasn’t allowed to do so late at night. I also realized the light was on, it was shining out from under the door.

“It sounds really nice. But the puppy is dead. He’s hurt really bad. How can he be happy? Won’t he be sad forever?”

He paused.

“Oh. I get it. I guess. Can you tell me more stories about heaven, though?”

I listened for another 5 minutes, but he didn’t say anything else. Eventually, the light turned off. I snuck into the room, quietly, to see that Brian was either already asleep or pretending to be.

Ignoring him, I crawled into bed and went to sleep.

The next morning, Brian had all sorts of stories to tell. He just wouldn’t stop talking the entire time we were getting ready for school.

“And there are these really pretty, tall flowers that are even bigger than me, and animals ALL over the place, because all animals end up there, even my puppy. Oh!! And my puppy! He isn’t hurting at all anymore!!! You don’t hurt when you go there, nothing ever hurts again, and-”

He was interrupted by Mom, who was coming down the stairs. “Jesus Fucking Christ, will you shut the hell up, kid? I swear to God, if you say one more word about Heaven I’m going to send your dumbass up there”.

Mom made herself some coffee as Brian and I sat in silence. She poured it in a thermos and then pointed to the garage, gesturing for us to get in the car. We did.

As we drove to school, everyone was silent. Until Brian, very softly said “she says you’re not supposed to use God’s name like that”.

“What did you just say to me? God damn, kid.”

Brian exploded. “YOU CAN’T SAY GOD’S NAME LIKE THAT!!!”

Mom exploded right back, throwing the thermos over her shoulder at Brian. It smacked him right underneath the eye, and coffee poured out of it onto his shirt. It wasn’t hot enough to burn him, it was barely even lukewarm, but he screamed anyways.

“Shut the hell up!! You’re not fucking hurt!”

Brian pouted and quietly whimpered for the duration of the drive. We got to school, and he jumped out of the car.

“Wait,” Said Mom. She pulled his soccer jersey out of the trunk and handed it to him. As he changed out of his freshly-stained t-shirt, she said softly, “I’m sorry, Brian. But you shouldn’t talk to me like that.” He nodded at her, still teary-eyed, with a slight red mark on his cheek where the thermos had hit him. He ran off towards his class.

“Bye, Mom. Love you.” I said. She nodded back, a little teary eyed, herself.

I know Mom always felt bad when she exploded. She just got too angry sometimes. Still, if she could have just controlled her temper… Brian would still be here. But then again, if I had done a few things differently, Brian would be here, too.

When she picked us up after school that day, she was as nice as she could be. She bought Brian’s favorite chicken sandwich meal from the fast food place across town, and even went out of the way on the way home to get our favorite kind of cupcakes from this special bakery. Brian seemed happy enough, but he stayed silent as he ate, and as we all sat in the living room together watching his favorite movie, the one about the lost little clownfish.

Mom fell asleep on the couch, and Brian whispered for me to come to the room with him. I went, and we sat on my bed.

“Anna. My angel says she can make it so I never have to hurt again.”

“Brian, don’t start this again…”

“Please, Anna! Listen!” he begged. “I don’t want to be sad anymore. I don’t like when Mom gets mad. The angel says she can make it so Mom will never be mad again, and I’ll never get hurt again. And I want her to do it for you too. She says she can, she says you’re still innocent enough to go too.”

“And where are we going?”

His face lit up. “Someplace wonderful. And it’s not like we’ll never see Mom again. The angel promised.”

“It sounds like you’re talking about Heaven. We can’t just run away and go to Heaven, Brian. You have to die first.”

“Anna…” He said condescendingly. “Of COURSE we’re not gonna die. My angel said so.”

“Yeah? And how can you just trust everything she says?” I sarcastically started rattling off clichés. “You just know? You can feel it in your soul? You can see it in her eyes?”

“No”. He said matter-of-factly. “She doesn’t have eyes”.

I scoffed and rolled mine. “OK. That’s enough, Brian. Angels have eyes. Go to sleep.”

“Not these kinds of angels. Not the kinds in charge of showing us Heaven. They use their hearts to see, just like we’re supposed to.”

That rendered me speechless. He beamed at me, and said “I’m going tonight. I’ll wake you up when she gets here.”

He did wake me up that night, and I pushed him away, thinking he was just playing make-believe, and that he’d go to bed soon enough. But an hour later, I heard my mom scream, and the door slam.

I found Mom out by the curb, sobbing uncontrollably. There was a car up on the sidewalk, parked on top of our mailbox. And Brian was in the street, lying in the exact same spot his dog had been in.

I… I’m not going to describe it. I’m sure you’ve seen a squirrel in the street before, all stretched out and dirty, flattened in some spots and swollen in others, bleeding everywhere. Roadkill is bad enough to see. Well this… this was my brother.

A drunk driver had hit him. The driver was arrested, and my brother was buried, closed casket, two days later.

The preacher at his funeral talked about Heaven. He talked about how all little boys and girls go there. How they never suffer, they never hurt, they never feel pain. And he talked about how they are not truly dead, but they live on in our hearts, and have their new life in heaven.

I’m not sure what would have happened if I had gotten out of bed that night. I don’t know if I could have stopped him from going outside. I don’t know if I would have ended up splattered across that curb too. I just wish I could forget the whole thing. More than anything, I wish I could forget that blinding, white light that shone in my face when I peeked at Brian in the middle of the night. It had to have been a flashlight. It really couldn’t have been anything else. But whenever I look back at the memory, I can almost picture a pair of dark, red lips, a sliver of a nose… but no eyes.

I can’t remember any eyes.

Credit To – Rebecca Mendez (Bex)

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Knocker

May 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“Okay, so get this. My dad comes upstairs last night, right? He walks in and he’s like ‘how do you put pictures in an email? There’s this thing that says attachments but I don’t want to attach anything I just want to send pictures.’” My best friend and I laughed at the misfortune of the older generation as a whole. We sat on our beds, states apart, internet friends brought together by the magic of technology. It was a Sunday; cold, rainy, and it was late. The digital display on my bedside table gave off a red 1:58am. Inwardly, I groaned at how late it was, even though I had nowhere to be the next day.

“Hey dweeb, shouldn’t you be getting to bed? It’s like 3am there, isn’t it?” I looked at my friend’s face on my laptop screen briefly before turning my attention to the potato chip bag to my right. Grabbing the bag, I tilted my head back and poured the salty snack into my mouth, golden and greasy crumbs tumbling down my face and chest. “Damn it,” I muttered.

My friend shrugged, also glancing at the clock visible on the wall behind her. “Eh, summer break for a reason right?” My clock now glowed an angry 2:00am. “Hang on,” my friend said, climbing off of her unmade bed to peer out her door and down the stairs. I directed my attention to my crumb covered face and chest, brushing them off and onto my equally unmade bed. When I looked back up, Natalie was holding her laptop, carrying it down the dark stairs. “Someone’s knocking. Plus I’m hungry, so I’m taking you with me.”

“Kay,” I said, switching tabs to check my facebook feed. As usual, nothing exciting. I switched back to the Skype window in time to see her peer out of the peep hole in her door and shrug.

“I don’t even see anyone,” she said, busying herself with looking through cupboards for a suitable late night snack. I heard the faucet turn on. “Do I want mac and cheese or?”

“Obviously.” 2:10am. This time I heard the knocking too.

“Are you kidding me?” Natalie said, this time opening the door. Looking past her, I couldn’t see anyone. She shook her head and shut the door. “Who the hell does this at 3 in the morning anyway? Like, are you serious right now?” I shrugged in response and watched her put a pot of water to boil on the stove. Another knock. I could almost feel the anger radiating through the screen. Natalie threw the door open and shouted into the night, “WHAT?!”. I winced from her volume, knowing full well how fantastic her temper could get. Again, I strained my eyes to look past her, but there was no one to be seen.She shut the door, and as soon she did, another loud series of knocks came from the other side of the door, making it visibly shake. I watched her freeze and back away from the door. She slowly turned to face the webcam. “I swear to God, I just checked and there was no one out there,” she whispered into the mic.

“Natalie…” I whispered, watching the door slowly slide open behind her. The lights in her kitchen flicked off suddenly, giving me only one brief glimpse of her panicked face. After a second, I heard a spine chilling scream, so filled with agony and distress that it made me weak. “Natalie!” I screamed, hands flying to my mouth to silence myself. My screen suddenly filled with a new face, someone with a makeshift mask that appeared to be made out of a white sheet, an unsettling smiley face drawn on in black marker, lit only by the backlight on Natalie’s computer. That was the last thing I saw before the video call was disconnected. I panicked, slammed my laptop shut, and began searching my bed for my phone. Unable to find it, I ran out to the kitchen and snatched up the house phone, dialing 911 with frantic, shaking fingers.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“I-I’m calling t-to report…to report…”

“Hello? Stay with me.”

My eyes flickered to the clock on the microwave. 3:00am.

There was a knock on the door.

Credit To – Ashleigh Margaret

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“Letter from the Ritual”

May 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Part I

Dear Emma,

It is five thirteen in the morning and this is all your fault. I’m at the top of Orpheus Street right now, waiting for a bus in the freezing cold. All the stars look bleached out in the dead black sky. This is the worst idea I’ve ever had.

I did see an opossum this morning, though. That was awesome. And mildly terrifying. Have you ever seen one of those? Be thankful if you haven’t. They have these tails. These long, weird tales. Not enough attention has been focused on opossums as nightmare fuel potential. Believe me, that potential exists.

Sorry. I have a tangent problem. You know that.

So, anyway, this is your fault. You’re the one who you kept telling me to read more creepypasta. Grow a pair, Stuart, you’d say. It’s just a scary story on the internet. That’s all. Read it. It’s not going to kill you.

Well, today is the day I find out.

Last night, I was alone and bored and trying to scare myself. My dad’s out of town at some convention in Las Vegas. I know I didn’t tell you. I’m sorry. I couldn’t. I know you, Em. I know you’d try to make me have a party and that’s the last thing I wanted. You know me. I hate everybody.

I keep having horrible thoughts of my father engaging in embarrassingly sordid and pedestrian Las Vegas behavior with all those other middle aged conventioneers. I see them as a drunk, bald, self-perpetuating conga line. Feral disasters away from their homes and flailing at girls half their age.

I thought after my mom died, I would have a better relationship with my dad. But all he does now is work. It’s like he’s terrified to have a conversation with me. I understand: I’m his devastatingly witty, charming, and well dressed son. I’d be intimated of me too.

But how charming can I be, you ask, if I stay in on Friday nights reading creepypasta alone? Still charming, girl. Still quite appealing.

These infuriating tangents will be the death of me.

Anyway, I read a ritual pasta last night called “Café des Poètes.” Have you read it? It takes forever to get creepy and winds up being more sad than anything else, but I liked it anyway. After I finished reading it, alone in my bed, my room lit up by my laptop, I thought, well, why not? What would happen if I followed the pasta directions? Has anybody ever done that? What do I have to lose, Em?

So that’s why I’m here, waiting for a bus. The pasta said it will appear after I wait for twenty minutes. It’s been fifteen. I haven’t seen a thing.

This letter I’m writing you, by the way, is part of the pasta. I’m supposed to stop and write a letter four times during this to my one true love. Hope you’re ok with being my true love. I don’t think Tad Zio is even aware of me. Also: he’s very straight. So tragically pretty and so mundanely straight. Slings and arrows we live through in this life, girl.

I don’t see a bus anywhere. This isn’t even a bus line. I’m beginning to think this pasta — spoiler — might not be true. There’s supposed to be a dude waiting with me on the corner, too. I’m not supposed to talk to him or look at him. Since he’s not here, that currently isn’t an issue. Which is good; this corner is actually pretty creepy. The streetlights are broken, kind of flickering, there’s this fog everywhere and it is frigid. Much colder than I thought it would be. I’m not wearing the right kind of clothes for this —

Oh. Oh, fuck. Oh, holy fuck. Someone is walking up to the corner. Holy fuck. They’re standing right next to me. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Oh, I wasn’t prepared for this. Not at all.

They aren’t saying anything. My hands are shaking. It’s hard to write. I can see my breath but I can’t see theirs, Em. I can’t see any breath.

There are lights. Coming from up the dead end street. It’s a bus. Jfc it’s a bus. It’s got black windows. The door just opened. I’m going in. Jfc.

Part II.

I’m still alive. I’m a diner, I guess. It’s a weird diner. Like, really weird.

I’m losing it, Em.

This place — let me describe the bus first. The bus: Jesus. The bus. The pasta said I wasn’t supposed to talk to anybody on the bus. Not hard. The bus was a horror movie.

The lights would go on and off in the aisle. When the lights were on, you could see the other passengers. I liked it better when you couldn’t.

There were probably fifteen other people on the bus. That *shudder* thing waiting with me at the bus stop didn’t get on. I had to walk past it to get to the bus door. It didn’t move. After I sat down in the bus (I gave the driver a dollar, I went to the thirteenth row, I followed the directions), I looked out the window. Even in the dim not-quite morning light I could see it. It was tall and black and moved in a weird way. Like all of its bones had been broken and put back together. Or maybe like it had stolen other bones and put them inside of it.

I saw it crawl into the sewer entrance. I don’t know how it fit. It bent, I think. And then the bus was gone, driving through what should have been recognizable streets. But they weren’t. They weren’t at all.

The pasta said my phone wouldn’t work. And it doesn’t. It just keeps telling me it’s searching for a network. So I have to try and remember these bullshit instructions perfectly. And it sucks. All the ritual pastas I’ve ever read are blending together. I can’t remember what I’m even supposed to say at this diner when they ask me for coffee.

But oh god: the bus.

These things in the seats. They had hoods up. Black clothes. But I saw things. Tentacles. I think I saw tentacles. I heard gurgling. One was dripping, for god’s sake. And the smell. The smell. The smell.

The bus driver stopped twice. At the third stop, I remembered I had to get off. I didn’t want to get off. I didn’t want to walk by those things. I finally stood up. They all looked. I didn’t. That was in the instructions: don’t look the passengers in the face. I tried to forget the instructions added, “if they have one.”

The aisle to the front of the bus felt like miles. Maybe longer? What’s a league? Is that strictly an underwater measurement? Whatever. It took longer than forever.

And then one of them said my name. Quietly. Very quietly. It said my name and my birthday. It said the name of my old dog. Its voice sounded like a toy someone had left out in the rain. They all began to repeat a litany of me, all my secrets, all my stories, all my life’s moments in a horrendously low clatter, and I just kept going until I got to the door.

I jumped out and the bus creaked away. The sky had gotten darker instead of lighter. I was on a street corner, surrounded by office buildings and closed storefronts. The diner I was looking for was across the street. I could hear traffic but I couldn’t see any. The diner sign buzzed a dizzy neon. I crossed the street and went in.

Now I’m here, waiting for a waitress. That’s the next part. There’s a couple of other people in here. They’re just staring at their cups of coffee. I’m not looking at anyone. The air is blue from cigarettes but nobody in here is smoking. Explain that, please. Explain anything.

I don’t know what’s going on. The waitress is coming. That’s what she said. Ha! That’s for you, girl. I’m trying to keep it together.

Part III

The waitress asked me what I would be drinking. Her eyes were sown shut. Thick black strings were sewn in and out of the lids. They blended in with her eyelashes. She sounded like she was she was on a three second delay. I could see her teeth when she talked. I could see all the stitches in her mouth too.

I told her I wanted my coffee black. Just black. She asked me if I was sure. I saw her pupils flitter back and forth. I repeated that I wanted it just black. She walked away. Her legs had awful scars up and down them, the way people used to draw on nylon lines.

The coffee came. I didn’t drink it. I’m pretty sure that’s what I was supposed to do. It’s hard to remember. An old man was sitting at the counter. I could tell he was watching me. I was remembering what you told me your therapist said, about how if you control your breathing, you can control your anxiety. Your therapist seems cool, Em. If I live through this, Ima need his number.

The old man stood up and walked over to me. His beard was yellow from nicotine. He put his hands on the table and his thick discolored nails tapped against the surface. He asked me what I wanted. I told him I what I was supposed to say: I wanted to know the words that would wake the dead.

He told me the address of a mailbox. I was to drop this letter in the mailbox. If I had followed the directions, I would then wake up in my bed. This whole thing would feel like a dream. But a week later, a letter would arrive in the mail. I would open the letter and read it in front of a picture of the one I wanted to return from the dead. And then they would.

But if I hadn’t followed the instructions correctly, my one true love would get this letter I’m writing in the mail the next day. And as for what would happen to me?

The old man smiled. His teeth fell out of his mouth, yellow and brown stained, clattering against the battered black and white tile floor.

You’ll find out, Stuart. You’ll find out.

I’m writing this in the back of a cab. There’s no meter. I gave the address of the mailbox. The city lights are bouncing against the windows. I’m I’m trying not to look at the driver’s eyes in the mirror. I’m getting ready for the end.

Part IV

This is the last part.

I’m at the mailbox. It’s in the middle of an empty lot. The taxi dropped me off here and idled for a moment; its hazards blinked and flashed. Tall weeds burst out of the pavement here. I see things that look like rats scurrying about. I hear the clicks of their nails on cement. The lot is in the middle of a series of abandoned buildings. There are things moving around behind the broken windows.

Dogs are barking somewhere. I can’t see them, but I think they’re getting closer. I circle around the mailbox three times. I repeat the words the pasta said three times: “See, the cruel Fates recall me, and sleep hides my swimming eyes.”

I think it’s from a poem, but when I googled it last night I couldn’t find a thing.

The echoing barking from the dogs is getting closer. I’m almost done with this letter.

I don’t want to finish. I don’t want to put this in the mailbox. I don’t want to find out if I was right or wrong, if I remembered all the things I was supposed to do, if I said all the right things at the right time. Because I can’t imagine I did. I think I was supposed to say something to the cab driver. I’m worried I was supposed to do something else in the diner. Should I have sat in the fourteenth row on the bus as opposed to the thirteenth? All these parts could have gone wrong.

I can see the dogs now. And I was wrong: it’s just one dog. I mean, it’s not a dog, not exactly. It has too many heads for a dog. It’s snarling and I can see its teeth. They’re bright white, like bleached out stars in a dead black sky. I feel the heat coming in waves from under its spiky fur. It paces the perimeter, staring at me with all those dead computer screen colored eyes. I know have to stop writing. I know. This is the last part.

If you’re reading this, you know what happened. I’m pretty sure you’re going to be reading this. I was supposed to tell the cab driver thank you. I didn’t say anything to the cab driver. I just remembered.

I shouldn’t have done this. I just wanted to bring my mom back. That’s all. I shouldn’t have tried. We’re alive and then we’re dead and we shouldn’t pretend we can change a single fucking thing ever.

I’ll miss you, girl. Aways remember to look good. Fuck those wannabe normcore bitches. Look fantastic. And don’t read scary stories on the internet.

And this wasn’t your fault, Emma. I think I wrote that it was. It wasn’t. Don’t feel bad, Em. I’m going to mail the letter now. Don’t feel bad.

Credit To – Kevin Sharp

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The Crying Lady

May 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Family reunions for me were never a bore. Most of my cousins were my age and they were absolutely crazy. They did what they wanted and never took no for answer, even if I disagreed completely. Their parents had given up on them a very long time ago and had simply resigned to keeping them out of jail. Like they’d ever get caught. Sure, they got a bit rowdy at times and we’d ended up running from the cops more than once but I honestly wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Out of all of them, I was the one with the strictest parents and the best grades. It’s sort of sad to say, but I almost envied them and their free, hippie lifestyles. I say almost because in the back of my mind I knew they were headed down a long dark path to the bottom while I was working my way up to a high paying job and a house with a pool (it might be a kiddie pool but it doesn’t really matter). I never really understood why they kept me around, especially since they considered me so serious, maybe it was because I usually kept them out of trouble.
Who knows?
I didn’t care, anyway, especially when we were too busy drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. The reunion had been over for a few hours already and most of them had left, except for Christie and Lia, who had stayed behind to keep me company while Edgar came back from the store. Out of the bunch, they were probably the craziest but also the ones that liked me the most.
“Have you ever wondered,” Lia breathed out thoughtfully, “if all that shit our mothers used to scare us with was real?”
“It’s not real and you know it.” I laughed and grabbed another beer can. “How many times have you sneaked back home through the river?”
The grin she gave was absolutely devilish and we all burst out laughing.
“I know, but I wonder sometimes.” She took another drag before she looked at the two of us. “Sometimes I think I hear her crying.”
Christie laughed while I rolled my eyes. Lia’s house was right next to the river and at night, when all the noise of the town had died down you could hear it rushing by outside. It was said that a very long time ago a very beautiful woman fell in love with the mayor’s son. He fell in love, too, but she was from a poor family and he was not so, like a bad drama, they carried their relationship on in secret. He bought her a house, it was small but very nice and the river was right outside, which the woman loved. As their fake marriage progressed, the woman became pregnant and was quick to share the news, much to the man’s displeasure. He became distant and stopped visiting her; he never dropped by, not even when the baby was born.
The woman was furious, I would be too, and she stomped into town with the baby swaddled up in her arms. She was determined to stomp up to his large townhouse and demand that he acknowledge his son. She had just reached the town square when she heard the bells signaling the beginning of mass so, since she was a religious woman, she stopped in to pray before she unleashed all her rage on the man. I don’t understand why she decided to stop, she could have saved herself so much pain if she had never seen the wedding taking place that day.
The man, the father of her child, was standing before the altar with the richest lady in town, getting married. Rage filled the woman and she stormed off, her baby crying as her movements became rougher and rougher. She couldn’t stand it, the thought of having to raise a child that had been fathered by such a heartless demon man. Her house was just up ahead and the river called out to her and in her fury she thought she could rid her child of his father by washing him. If he was clean he would only belong to her.
Once she came back to her senses and realized that she had drowned her son, she killed herself as well and let her body float down the river where the horrified townspeople had to fish her out. It’s said that they couldn’t bury her because her death had been unholy, and because of that she was trapped on earth, searching for her dead baby.
Our mothers used to scare us with that constantly in an effort to make us come home before sunset since she only appears, crying, at night. That story used to terrify me as a kid because they’d never specified what she’d do to you if she caught you. Would she eat you? Take you away? Drown you?
“Get it together, it’s probably just a donkey.” Christie took Lia’s cigarette.
“No, it’s not, shut up,” she snapped before she polished off her beer.
We had just begun to talk again when we heard a scratch at the window. For a second I thought it was one of Lia’s boyfriends coming to serenade her but as we grew quiet, the scratching intensified.
“Wrong room!” I called out, trying to keep my voice steady.
There were a few more scratches but they were different. We’d scratched that same mosquito netting a few years ago to scare my aunt and our fingers had not made a sound as strong as the one we were hearing now. It sounded like talons being dragged down over the thin wire mesh. Christie grabbed my hand as Lia stood up and reached for the curtains. We were drunk and our minds were beginning to terrify us, especially since we’d just spent a few minutes remembering old legends. Was the devil knocking on our window?
“Maybe it’s an owl.” Lia backed off when the scratching ceased only to jump when we heard the same noise coming from the next room.
There was a moment of silence before we all stood up and walked over in unison, making sure to flip on all the lights we passed. The room next door was rarely used and as soon as we opened the door, the terrible scratching stopped only to pop up again in the front hallway. I don’t even know why we followed it, but Lia led the way and Christie grabbed my hand as the scratches went from the window to the door. They didn’t sound like nails or fingers and I felt the desperate urge to climb into my bed and pray, maybe that would send the devil away.
“Hand me that broom.” Lia pointed at a long broom leaning against the wall next to me and I wordlessly handed it to her before I backed up a few steps. I don’t know how she managed to be so brave, maybe it was the alcohol, but she opened the door with the broom held high and poked her head out menacingly only to scowl and slam the door again. “You’re such a prick, Edgar!”
I relaxed almost instantly when I heard the obnoxious laughter of my older cousin coming from outside.
“Come on! Don’t tell me you were actually scared.” He knocked on the door again and Lia opened it. He was standing there with a grocery bag and a metal fork he’d probably swiped from the kitchen. “At least you don’t hold a grudge.”
He laughed again and handed me the bag, which contained a big bottle of tequila, the cheap kind because he wanted to get drunk fast and sleep in tomorrow. “Pour me a cup.”
I frowned at him and gave it back before I made my way back to the room. Lia had already set up the shot glasses and pretty soon we were drinking them down like water, which was a very bad idea. Edgar was in the mood for craziness and once the bottle was half way empty and we were all having trouble standing up straight he decided to present us with his grand idea.
“So, you know how you guys were talking about the crying lady, how about we go out there and look for her, maybe we’ll finally be able to get the full story out of grandpa.”
Our grandfather had seen her once, or at least we’d heard he had. He didn’t really like to talk about it and no one had ever been able to pry the story out of him.
“Hell no!”
We answered in unison and he sat back down with a frown before he continued to drink with us. It took a while, but eventually Christie was down for the count. She’d curled up with a pillow and fell asleep right as we polished off the bottle. It was nearly four o’clock and we were starting to debate on whether we should go to bed, go see if there was anything left over from dinner, or go take a drunken drive around the empty streets (keep in mind we were totally gone at this point). We were babbling by this time and we were absolutely down for anything, anything at all.
Edgar noticed and took advantage.
“Come on you guys! Let’s go look for her! It’ll be an awesome story tomorrow.”
“We could scare the children!” Lia was laughing and I joined her.
“We could write a book!”
This went on for a while but the point is that we agreed to a very stupid, stupid idea. Edgar grabbed the broom Lia had threatened him with earlier and led us out to the front door, making sure to leave it just a tiny bit open, and down to the path that led to the river. It had been raining quite a bit over the past few days so the ground was muddy and we took quite a few tumbles. After a particularly nasty one that left my head spinning I wanted to stay there, and slowly crawl my way back to the house so I could sleep the alcohol off, but Lia didn’t let me. She grabbed my arm and we both stumbled after Edgar who was already yelling out into the night, his words slurred.
“C’mon, Lady! I’m waitin’ fer you.” He brandished the broom up above his head. “I’m here to help you find yer baby.”
A cold breeze swept through us and I shivered. Something had happened and my fuzzy brain was having trouble understanding it. The sound of the river magnified for a terrible second before it died down again. Edgar was still screaming and brandishing his broom while Lia was squeezing my hand, her unfocused eyes scared as they looked around. She knew this was a bad idea but she wasn’t going to admit it, especially since she’d agreed so enthusiastically just moments before. I was already moving my feet, pulling them out of the sticky mud so I could walk back to the house. The breeze had died down and I jumped when Lia’s nails dug into my arm.
I turned around and saw Edgar fall, his broom forgotten next to him as he scrambled towards us. His movements were desperate and he kept looking around, as if the lady had finally appeared. He was still on the ground, panting and crawling before something I couldn’t see picked him up by the back of his shirt and stood him up. His eyes were wide and terrified and I struggled to stomp past the mud and reach the grass where I would be able to run back home. My heart was in my throat and it almost exploded when something heavy knocked me down onto the ground.
I thought it was Lia and that both she and Edgar had concocted this terrible prank to scare me out of my wits but I could hear Lia screaming somewhere ahead of me. I opened my eyes and saw the night sky above me before something flickered in my vision. It looked like a thin black scarf, like the ones the old ladies wore to church on their heads. The scarf hit me in the face and I recoiled violently. It was soaked with cold water.
“You taste familiar.” The voice was raspy and slightly nasal, barely above a whisper and as it spoke I had the disgusting sensation of a tongue on my cheek. It left a slimy trail down my face and I retched.
I screamed and opened my eyes to see a white, bloated face with dead fish eyes staring at me. The teeth in the woman’s gaping mouth were yellow and had moss growing in between them. She reeked of dirty river and her cold hands were pushing me down even as I struggled. Somewhere in my addled mind I had the good sense to start praying which only made her talk again.
“He never helped me, so why would He help you?”
She stared down at me again and cocked her head to the side in a very grotesque manner. I could hear the squish of her swollen skin as well as the crack of her brittle bones.
“You don’t have children for me?”
The way she said it made me glad that I didn’t have any kids because I was sure that she would have killed me to take them. Had she asked my grandfather the same thing?
The thought struck me suddenly and I shook my head violently while I mouthed a silent no, too scared to actually speak. She was beginning to drip on me, the river water seeping out of her clothes and her skin as she leaned in closer, the foul smell of her mouth making me gag.
“Then I’ll have to take you.” Her cold, brittle nails had just started digging into my skin, preparing to tear it off and devour me when a broom handle went straight through her. She didn’t dissolve like I would have liked but she did wail out in outrage, which gave me enough of a chance to scramble back far enough for Lia to pick me up. Edgar was already running and we stumbled blindly after him. My heart was threatening to explode as the wailing behind me escalated, crying out for her child, for me.
I dared a look behind me and I saw her black silhouette standing at the edge of the river bank, unable to step foot into the grassy path that would take us back home. Her white skin was still leaking water and her eyes were crying black tears, her hands were stretched out toward me and I turned away just in time to see Edgar drop the broom and push open the door. We all fell in and laid there in a shivering pile, unable to sleep, or talk until the sun rose.
I prayed for most of the night, completely shaken and terrified. No wonder my grandpa had never wanted to talk about his own encounter. Besides being purely terrified, I also had this dreadful feeling that my grandpa had given that woman one of his kids so she would let him go. I don’t see how he could have gotten away otherwise, I barely did and that was mostly because I had been close to the path.
I went home that same day and I tried my absolute hardest to forget all about that night but I just couldn’t forget what the woman had said. Had my grandpa really traded one of his children for his life? It was a horrible thought and it only magnified when I walked in on my mom flipping through a very old picture book, her hands running softly over the old Polaroids, her eyes a bit misty as she remembered the olden days. I sat down next to her and watched as she paused, her eyes lingering on a picture of a tiny boy with curly hair. It was her brother, Lionel, who had gone missing during a flood in the sixties.
My stomach dropped to my knees and all I heard for a horrifying second was that raspy, nasally, watery voice speaking down at me. “You taste familiar.”
I never went back to my cousin’s house after that and I never looked at my grandpa the same way ever again.

Credit To – NeonBee

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Deprivation

May 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The first to go was my sight.

When thinking of the experiment in my mind, I was hoping that my sight would be one of the last senses to switch off. I wasn’t sure if the drug shut them off in an order, or if it was more of a random cycle. I it would only be temporary, but I prepared for an uncomfortable, but potentially interesting experience. I had been fascinated with sensory deprivation for a long period of my life, but a chlorinated pool wouldn’t satisfy me. I wanted something that would truly degrade my senses. I had acquired an experimental sedative, one that was used for a complete paralysis of sensation. I wasn’t a big-name scientific researcher, but I was curious, perhaps to an extreme degree.

My sight didn’t immediately die, but faded out. It appeared as if I was slowly shutting my eyes, still being able to feel myself blink, until all I could sense was darkness. Though I expected the thoughts, I began to sympathize to how a blind man would feel with that sort of limitation. It could be different for one who was born with the condition, but feeling my eyelids move across my lifeless eyes was rather haunting. I almost wished my sense of touch would go next.

My mind didn’t have any images to process, so I began to process my own. I would describe it similar to how, if one closes their eyes, they see faint, but recognizable shades of color – perhaps resembling what was in vision beforehand. With my vision gone completely, the faint colors made their own shapes, sometimes appearing to be silhouettes of people. I talked to myself to help keep these controlled, as they began to make me feel invaded.

The next to go was my hearing, in which my self conversation became completely useless. I first thought that my speech was growing weaker, but I realized that the volume of all sounds was fading, just as quick as my vision. When it too had left me, I heard only a single sound, or at least only thought of one.

There’s a familiar, god-awful ringing that many have claimed to hear on a regular basis, sometimes for short periods, others for as much as days. This can be an actual ear condition, but given how my hearing had diminished, I was sure that it was being produced my own thoughts. The ringing intensified, and began to sound inconsistent. At random, short intervals, the ring would change into (what I would think to be) a loud microphone screech.

Then I assumed that the next to go was my taste, though since I hadn’t recently consumed any food or liquid, I felt little change. I did lose a feeling inside my mouth, but this was being drowned out by the illusions being presented by my loss of sound and sight. More figures appeared in the blackness in my vision, and they then appeared to move. Their steps were jagged, and their ligaments contorted; staggering as if they were an abstract painting in motion. The ringing in my ear continued to grow more acute, more concentrated at intervals. The noises in my head were nearly in sync with the movements of the colored shadows, being the most evident when they were closer.

As my senses began to feel more hijacked than depraved, I recognized that my sense of smell was fading, though, like my sense of taste, this passed by me nearly unnoticed. I was far too distracted with what my mind was creating. There was only a single figure left, centered in the darkness. It stepped forward slowly, with the ringing now blaring through my head. My hearing didn’t feel gone anymore, but blocked out by the constant noise. I began thrashing at my surroundings, shouting for help that I wouldn’t even be able to witness. The shadow was tall, with some limbs wider than the rest of its body. Its legs still waved when it walked, twisting as I began to make out what I thought were its eyes.

The last sense to go was my touch, and this had proved to be the worst to suffer. As I could feel my body growing invisible, I flailed frantically, knocking into objects. I threw myself to the ground, and began to scrape my body with my nails and teeth, desperate to bring a sense to by mind.

After what felt like only a few seconds, with every one of my senses shut down, the ringing in my head ceased, and turned to soft, unrecognizable whispers. These, like the ringing, grew louder as the figure continued to approach. I could only watch as it came closer, and just as it appeared to only be a few feet in front of me, I saw its face.

I saw its eyes. They were black lenses, flashing with dim colors and swirling in a dark vortex. They locked onto me, and as I looked into them, the surrounding darkness became more like the eyes themselves – a chaotic, sickening void, with no calm in its storm. The whispering had passed and had changed into a violent screech. It was comparable to a low-quality, distorted microphone scream blasted on the highest volume.

In the midst of this mental suffering, which I was praying would end at any moment, I had the foolish, insane idea of speaking to the nightmare. I asked what it was, and what it wanted.

I had merely thought of the words, and its screeching ceased, only to begin speaking in the whisper it had made before. This time, I could understand every word:

“I am what remains when everything else has vanished. I am what is left watching you as you are distracted, made blind by everything else you sense and experience. I’m what you sometimes witness for a split-second, only to pass off as your imagination. I wait patiently, eager for the moment where your soul is left exposed, without a shell to protect you.”

The whispers made me convinced that my hearing had returned, that somebody in reality was whispering right into both my ears, as I continued to look to into the being’s tormenting eyes. It began to reach its jagged, deformed hand near my face, as if to grasp it. As I felt my spirit and sanity begin to collapse, the shadow began to dissipate, and fall back into the void that was now becoming brighter. The whispers and screeches fell back quickly.

Like my body was waking up from a violent dream, my senses quickly came back all at once. My energy had been massively drained, like I had just ran in circles for hours. I was only lying down on my living room floor, with the objects and furniture in shambles, wrecked from a struggle. My body was covered in bruises and scratches, covered in a thick layer of sweat as I panted from what had just gone through my head.

My ordeal was over, as the pill was only temporary. I looked at the clock, trying to remember when I had started the experiment. The entire event had only lasted four minutes, as the researchers had originally promised.

I spent the next hours trying to recollect myself, disturbed from what had took place. Although I seemed safe, I still felt a feeling of dread as I tried to remember everything I experienced. I tried to pass the experience as a fabrication of my own mind; that losing all my senses had caused my feeling of paranoia and fear to materialize into a vivid terror that would only vanish when my senses recovered.

What I can’t forget, however, was those words. Its words. The distorted being had vanished, but was it because my senses now blocked it out of my mind? I only wished that I had never been too daring to ask the question I had. Had I only kept silent, I would have passed this event off as my own intensified imagination – another horror only created, then destroyed by my head.

I want to be able to think that. But I can’t, because every time it comes to my mind, I can only think of it right in front of my face, invisible, waiting for when my body is dead and my mind is a target of havoc.

As always, I see the faint colors when I close my eyes, sometimes shaping themselves in a familiar, distorted figure.

Credit To – Emeryy (Richard S.)

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