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Beautiful

July 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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There are milestones in your life that you never forget, and renting your first apartment is one of them. What can I say about mine? It was quaint, cheap, and had enough space that I could fit a bed if I really crammed the mattress against the wall. It wasn’t the glorious, romantic idea of moving out, but I could afford it, and that’s what really mattered.
I remember taking the rusted key from my broad-shouldered, heavy bearded landlord, and oddly enough, I couldn’t keep the sting of cold electricity from running up my spine. I’m not superstitious, but I’d be a liar if I said that it didn’t frighten me. I should’ve left there; just let it go and walked away, but I didn’t.
“It’s a nice room. I really can’t understand why no one would want to rent it.” He answered, a frown of confusion lining his features.
I remember giving a shrug, thanking him politely, and scooting my way out the door.

Making my way up the stairs, I glanced between the cracks of each step to see the pebbled sidewalk below. Several of the boards were wound tight with duct tape, holding them together. Even the slightest bit of weight caused them bend precariously, giving an aching squeak. It would’ve been so easy to break them, but luckily, I didn’t.

I opened the door. It was solid wood with a faded brass mailbox, though one thing that caught my eye was a post-it stuck right at my eye-level to welcome me to the building. Apparently, there was one other person living in the building below me, though my landlord never remembered seeing them.
Welcome! I hope you find the apartment to your liking. ~ Your Neighbor Downstairs.
Taking the small piece of paper, I stuffed it in my pocket, before reaching for my key. Finally, it seemed like I found someone who didn’t creep me out, though the good feelings didn’t last long. As I slid the key into the lock, the brown rust specked off onto my hand, and I sneered in disgust, pulling back to brush it off.

With a forced crack of old wood, I saw the inside. Yellow tiles lined the floor, and a white, cracked ceiling was above me. It had a bedroom, a bathroom the size of a broom closet, a living area with a window that only showed the bricks of the building next door, and a filthy kitchen, complete with overflowing ant traps.

Giving a sigh, I could only stuff my hands into my pockets, crinkling the post-it, before setting down my bag. The apartment had already been paid for, and I couldn’t back out then… or rather I refused to, being the stubborn pain in the neck I grew up to be.

I stayed there for several months and after a cleaning storm and some furnishings, it began to look like a home. During the day that is. At night, my apartment was always a different story.
I’d lie in my bed, pull my covers up to my chin and get the most anxious chills. My hands would shake, and my stomach held the warning pressure of an exploding bladder, but that was never the case. Sometimes I’d be paralyzed with fear, never understanding why. In the darkness, all I could see was the white lights of my digital clock, and the single red eye of the smoke detector perched on the ceiling.

I tried to think nothing of it, but the feeling only began to get worse.
One night, as I lay in bed with insomnia’s cloudiness filling my head, I heard noises from beneath my bed. I was used to it, often-hearing music, or the sound of clicking, as my downstairs neighbor used his computer at every hour of the day. I knew the sound of typing keys, and sometimes I’d see the blue glow coming from his window when I came back late at night. However, that night, something about it made me nauseous. I listened to it, squirming with an antsy disgust.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

I threw my legs over the side of the bed, and stood up. I had to stop that clicking. It was driving me crazy, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I couldn’t remember a time when I had been that angry, but lack of sleep tends to do that to people.
I made my way down the stairs, each one giving the horrid grinding sound of duct tape rubbing against itself, but I didn’t care. I was tired, angry, and I’d stop that clicking, no matter what it took. With each step, I felt my heart pounding, but the antsy feeling began to consume me. I didn’t know if I was going to vomit or pass out, but I refused to do either until that clicking was gone.

Going to the door of my neighbor, I was inches from the door handle, when I heard the sound of breaking glass and a scream of pain. Through my hazy mind, I threw the door open and made my way into the apartment. It was dark, and I could barely see anything, though the notes of a song I couldn’t name reached my ears. I saw the familiar blue glow coming from one of the rooms, and I followed it like a moth to a flame.

What I found has burned itself into my mind, and I’ll never forget it. On a wall, wasn’t just a small laptop, but several monstrous monitors that spread across it, there were nine of them, all neatly lined up to surround a single, decrepit swivel chair placed by a desk, with a keyboard.
I reached over, my mind forgetting any weariness it was suffering before, as I touched one of the keys. I recoiled quickly, finding it newly sticky, and I felt my stomach pushing towards further nausea, but within seconds, the monitors lit up bright, leaving me temporarily blinded and blinking back spots. Once my sight returned to me, I stared at the monitors as one by one, they loaded to show different places in my apartment. Bedroom, living room, bathroom, kitchen, front door… they were all there, and I began shaking, looking around for any sign of the neighbor, I’ve never met.

Everything was dead, and I felt around blindly for a light switch, only to find that there was none. The computers seemed to be their only source of light, and I tore my eyes away from them as soon as I could manage it.
Granted, the clicking had stopped, but the music continued to play, coming from the bedroom. The same song looped itself over and over, each time the guitar began with its cheerful chords frightened me further.
I ran as fast as I could towards the door, nearly tripping over pizza boxes and carelessly discarded books. All I knew was that I had to get away from it; the blinding monitors, the overwhelming stench of mold, the sticky keyboard…

Everything that happened for the rest of that night happened in a blur of panic. I packed my bags, and left as soon as I could. Apparently, they never found the creep, he escaped before I could get into his apartment. The only trace of him was that broken basement window, and blood-soaked shards of glass.

My stomach turns just thinking about it, now, to be honest.

One thing I do remember from my experience happened as I went to leave the apartment and my creepy neighbor for good. I had my bags thrown over my shoulder, weighing me down to exhaustion, when I saw a small square stuck to the inside of my door, staring me in the face just daring me to leave.
Written in maniac scrawl were song lyrics that still keep me from listening to the radio. I’ll never forget it. The song that had been looping in the monster’s bedroom that night gave me one more challenge, before I opened the door, never to look back.

If only you saw what I can see,
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately.
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe,
You don’t know,
You don’t know you’re beautiful.
That’s what makes you beautiful.

Credit To – Kim Gabriele

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Power Cut

July 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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James arrived home late at night. He unlocked his front door and stepped into the darkness of his apartment. “Hey honey, I got that early flight home! I’m in the bedroom, there’s been a power cut.” James was surprised but happy to hear his girlfriend’s voice. She had been away for a few days on a business trip. “Ok, I’ll be right there.” He stumbled through the darkness and into the bedroom. He carefully made his way over to the bed before sitting down. “Hey sweetheart.” he said as he felt his girlfriend’s arms wrap around him. “Jesus Abigail, you’re freezing.” He shuddered as he felt her cold skin against him. “I know, the heating has been off for hours. Come on baby, get in bed and help me warm up.” She said, attempting to put on a cute voice. James got undressed and placed his phone on the bedside table before climbing into bed. He removed his glasses and moved close to Abigail. He was startled for a moment when his phone began to ring. He picked it up and looked at it but didn’t recognise the number. He brought it to his ear and answered. “Hello?”

“Hey honey it’s me, I’m still at the airport. I couldn’t get that flight but I’ll be able to get one soon. I’ll probably be home by morning… Hello? James?”

He felt an icy hand grip his shoulder.

Credit To – Jonthulhu

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My Face

July 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I’m not sure why I’m writing this right now. I’m not even sure if I am writing this now or, if I am, whether the words I’m seeing in my mind’s eye are the same as the words my hands are typing. I suppose the only way to find out is to check tomorrow and see if this is still here. If it is, and it still looks like this, then I’ll know it wasn’t some dream I was having with my eyes open.

‘Dream’. Even looking at that word right now makes some guttural part of me tense up. I’m not surprised though. After all, my dreams are the reason I’m even awake at this hour. Everyone else in the house is asleep right now. Well, except for my mum, but she always wakes up at 4 AM like clockwork. Hell, she doesn’t even need an alarm.

I’m looking back at what I’ve written so far and I realise I’ve been rambling. I tend to do that, simply because my thoughts just get scattered like dandelion seeds when I don’t completely concentrate. There’s only so much concentration you can give something when you keep getting flashes of terror every time you blink. It might just be that I’m doing it so that I can stay awake as long as possible by writing. Either way, I should probably at least explain what I’m babbling about some time before my parents find me awake like this.

I’ve been a student at London University for a year now, studying psychology. I would be in my second year, but I had to stop mid-way through, so this year is a resit. I was hoping at some point to be a counselling psychologist, to help people get past their problems without being the guy who forces a prescription down their throats.

It went fine for the first semester; I even managed to make a few friends, which is an achievement for someone as socially awkward as me.

For the first few months I would hang out with a small group of people, all of whom shared my weird interests: we’d talk about the usual nerdy pop-culture we’d digested that week, about how we all threw our shoes at the television when a certain character from one of our shared favourite TV shows was killed off very ignobly and needlessly by a bear, that kind of shit. Of course, as close as we got we never saw each other outside of lecture days, which suited me just fine.

I remember exactly the day that my current “predicament” started. I only call it that because even now, six months later, I still don’t know what the Hell it is.

It was February 2nd when we received a foreign exchange student from Canada. I’m not going to name him here, partly because he wouldn’t want me to and partly because I don’t want this to come back to him. It was clear on his first day that he wasn’t the talkative type, so it wasn’t surprising when he started gravitating towards our little clique. He seemed enthused about what we were saying, sure, and he even managed to get some of the references we flung out about some of the TV shows that was more localised to Britain, but none of our geeky bullshit would ever stimulate a reaction with him quite like his extensive knowledge of urban legends. I’m not talking “Sewer alligators of New York” kind of legends either: I’m talking about the kind you see on the darker underbelly of the internet; the ones that make your palms sweat and give you a nervous tick while you read about them.

The first time he ever mentioned his . . . “hobby” was after a lecture we’d been given on the neurotransmitters involved with fear. Our lecturer, on one of his slides, put up a rather disturbing image of a dog with a malicious grin across its muzzle in an effort to demonstrate one of the technical variations of fear. Needless to say, it worked.

After we left, our new Canadian friend told me and the group that he knew where that image came from, and then went into great length on the mythos surrounding what he called “Smile.jpg”. At one point, I remember him using the word “Creepypasta” and one of my friends, who we’ll call “Michael”, inquired, after the obvious quip about haunted ravioli, what he meant. After a quick explanation on what he meant, our friend continued on to say that, according to the Smile Dog myth, everyone who saw that image and didn’t pass it on to someone else would be plagued with nightmares from the creature in the picture.

After joking away the macabre subject and going our separate ways, I took the Canadian aside, curious about where I could find the original story. At that point, I thought it might give me a good laugh, and when he told me to listen to a narration on YouTube for the best effect, it didn’t take long to find what I was looking for.

Of course, being the cynical asshole I was back then, it did make me giggle a little to think that something as simple as a photoshopped picture of a husky could inspire such fear in people, but ever more curious, I kept going into the topic of Creepypastas to see what else I could find. Most of it was the same shtick about being stalked by creatures with no face or eyes as big as dinner plates with claws the size of your arm, or the trope about some kid picking up a bootleg copy of a nostalgic game only to find out that the main character had been warped into some sadistic shadow of its original self, but some of them actually sent a real, visceral chill down my spine, which really surprised me.

I think by about 2AM the next morning, I’d watched about twenty different videos of narrated Creepypastas and I was about ready for bed. I didn’t have anything resembling an early morning lecture the next day, but I knew I’d have to be up and about by around ten o’clock.

Now, I always considered myself a rational human being, not prone to believing in boggarts and the sort, but for the life of me I swear I couldn’t keep my eyes closed for five seconds without flinching from some gut feeling that there was another presence in my room, and in my mind’s eye it kept metamorphosing from one form to another, and after around half an hour of my futile attempt at sleep I decided that enough was enough and that I should go into the kitchen and get something to calm myself down.

As soon as I put my hand on the wood of the kitchen door on my way back to my room, a sense of danger jabbed at me inside my stomach, just like it had before in my room. I got that same irrational feeling that I wasn’t alone, and I spun around, my eyes scanning every facet of the brightly lit kitchen, even checking the doors of some of the cabinets, and saw nothing. I sighed, knowing that my binge on horror stories was getting to me, and that it was my own fault for listening to so many of them, especially so late at night, so I went down the corridor and back to my room.

As I opened the door, I did my best to swallow down the feeling of dread that was accumulating in my gullet like a stone, and when it was open all the way, I had to take a step back for a second. My breathing picked up as I stared wide eyed at the empty space where my bed once sat. Everything was gone, from the crates underneath to the posters on the wall, leaving a barren, white-walled corner.

As I stared in disbelief I heard a soft, muffled whisper of a chuckle from one of the nearby rooms.

Thinking that maybe one of my roommates was playing a prank on me, I smiled and looked back at the door behind me that led to Jenna’s room. Jenna was the only person I got along with on my corridor, and she even showed up in some of my lectures as her sociology course sometimes overlapped with my own.

I quietly knocked on the door, and when I heard the lock click I came in ready to confront her. “Alright, Jenna, I know you took my bed, so. . . .” my words died in my throat as I looked into Jenna’s room, or what should have been Jenna’s room. As I gaped blankly through the doorway, I saw my room exactly as it was, right down to the last detail, and sat on the bed was a young man with bedraggled red hair, exactly the same as mine, looking down at the floor. He was making some sort of sound as he held his face in his hands, and to this day I still don’t know whether it was laughing or crying, but it was a wheezy, choked noise that ran through me like a cold breeze.

I dared not move. I didn’t even blink, though my eyes were becoming itchy and irritated.

I blinked once, and in that short time between closing my eyes and opening them, something flashed against the inside of my eyelids too quickly for me to figure out what it was, and when my eyes opened again, I was face-down against the keyboard of my computer, which had grown tired of waiting for me to turn it off and gone into standby.

I let out a haggard, relieved breath. It was only a dream. Just a bad dream.

I was reassured the next night when my dreams returned to normal. Hell, I don’t even remember what I was even dreaming about that night. All I remember is waking up the morning after like I always did and getting on with my day. It was a long lecture day, though, and I remember being almost completely wiped out when I left the lecture hall at 6PM, cursing my allergy to caffeine. I would’ve killed for an espresso right then.

I remember feeling slightly on edge as I walked the path back to my hall of residence. I put it down to the cold winds and the darkness at the time, but I couldn’t shake that ominous feeling I held in my gut as my eyes darted around the darkened campus grounds. It was that same feeling as in my dream, that feeling of being watched.

I heard a sound against the wind buffering my ears. It wasn’t quite a giggle, but it wasn’t quite a sob, and it seemed choked and gargling, as if both had been stuck in the throat of whatever had made it and formed some odd chimera of the two.

The hairs raised on the back of my neck. I knew that noise.

The sound was getting closer with every quickening step I took, and no matter how hurried my stride it gained on me. I knew I’d look like a pussy to whoever was watching, but I had to run.

The sound was right in my ear by the time I touched the front door of my hall.

I jerked awake and looked around at the emptying lecture hall. I’d dozed off again.

I was, as you can guess, as unnerved as they come when I left the lecture hall. My hurried pace was brought into question several times by my friends but, unwilling to talk, I brushed off their questions. Placated by my repeated insistence of “It’s nothing, really: I’m just being silly”, they decided to leave me be and go off, disgruntled, in another direction.

It was about quarter-past -six when my hall was in sight again. That was when I heard that noise, that goddamn choking laugh again echoing in the distance. This time I knew not to take my chances. I bolted, and as my legs pounded and my body lurched forward from abject fear, I heard the giggle slowly ascend into a mangled cackle that grew louder and more fervent as I ran.

I didn’t even make the door before I felt a hand clutch my throat.

I awoke again in my room and looked at the clock, which had long since abandoned trying to wake me up, I recoiled in surprise: I’d woken up at 8:30 PM. I had to check twice to make sure it was in fact evening time and not just early in the morning, but it was.

I’d slept through an entire lecture day. Up until that point I’d never done that before in my life. Hell, I didn’t even take sick days when I was a kid, but now I’d missed a whole day for no reason.

But still, from the dream, I would’ve sworn I was in the lecture

The worst part was that that was the pebble that set off a snowball.

My dreams became worse and worse for the next few weeks. I’d awaken several times every night in a hard sweat and have to gnaw a little at the same spot on one of my fingers just to make doubly sure I was awake. If it drew blood, real blood that I could taste, and I felt real pain from it, only then would I calm down. I had a bandage on my finger for weeks, and people were starting to notice.

That man . . . creature . . . thing that I saw sitting on my bed was there in every single one of my dreams. It would always just appear in random places in my dream environments, always keeping its face obscured in its hair and always laughing that wheezy, throaty laugh, sometimes approaching me, other just keeping its distance and watching.

It was almost as if it was toying with me, playing on my subconscious irrational fears for sport.

Thanks to those dreams, my sleep patterns were getting so erratic that it even got to the point where I was awoken by security after having slept for five days straight. Jenna had called them after having missed me at a lecture and not seen me enter or leave my room at all that week, not even to eat or go to the toilet.

Missing lectures was starting to become a habit, and my grades were beginning to suffer from it. That only served to aggravate the problem, it seemed.

My coursework and assignments were beginning to suffer as well, but in the most disturbing ways. I’ll give you an example: at the end of February, we were told to carry out an assignment essay on the relative effectiveness of talk therapy on alcoholics and other chemically addicted people. I remember specifically that I’d finished it right down to the references and saved it before putting it away for later submission.

Being a meticulous student, I had the urge the next day to check it again to make sure I hadn’t missed any key points or references.

It wasn’t there. I checked the recycle bin frantically, thinking that maybe I’d accidentally deleted it, but it wasn’t there either.

I did find something else in that folder, though. It was a gigantic, unpunctuated wall of rambling nonsense, as if someone had gotten jacked up on cocaine and decided to write an essay on whatever random word would pop into their head until they got bored. Interlaced with the text were several disturbing images of the corpses of small animals, ranging in size from mice to squirrels. In each picture, the animal’s eyes had been removed.

When I checked the timestamp, it read “27/02/13, 15:45”, the exact same date and time I saved my last draft of that coursework.

As time went on, it was as if my idea of reality was beginning to unravel around me. As my constant nightmares began to erode my fondness of sleep, it got more and more difficult to tell when my dreams stopped and my waking moments started. When I was in the middle of working on something, I’d begin to see hands reaching for me that vanished when I turned to look, and when my stubborn refusal to sleep faltered, I’d hear a low chuckle in my ear and bolt awake again, terrified that it was too late and it had already dragged me into another dream. Sometimes it really was.

At one point, I was getting so distressed by these dreams that I began entertaining the possibility, against my better judgement, that it could have been that fucking dog in the picture my lecturer used in his fear presentation. After all, the Canadian told me that it’s supposed to haunt your dreams, right? Looking back on it now, it seems stupid, but I was desperate enough at one point that I actually had an email ready with a random ‘Smile.jpg’ picture I’d lifted off Google Images just in case.

I didn’t need to, it seemed. It showed me its face a month into the “predicament”. It’s a face that still haunts me this very second, and I see it against the blackness of my eyelids every time I close them.

It happened when I awoke one day after a peculiarly dreamless sleep. I tried not to think about it too much in case I jinxed something, but I let myself feel a small sense of relief.

It was patently obvious that I was in dire need of a shower it seemed, as I’d been wrestling with my “predicament” for weeks now, leaving little time for hygiene. As I walked into the shower room, I caught a glimpse of myself in the small mirror and nearly jumped out of my skin.

Having simply mistaken my reflection for someone else, it didn’t take long for me to calm down and assess my appearance: my eyes had devolved to pinkish orbs of irritated veins hooded by purplish-black bags of skin that attested to my lack of proper sleep and the utter destruction of my body clock. I’d grown a thick, prickly beard of red hairs across my chin, and my hair now lay dishevelled and greasy across my shoulders in long curtains. I chuckled: this shower was a long time coming.

That shower got rid of aches I didn’t know I had. I felt like a new man after I stepped out of the steaming glass cubicle to towel myself off. By this point, the mirror had fogged up beyond being a mirror, so to help get my hair in some semblance of order I decided to wipe it off and sort my hair out then and there.

I froze. The blood in my veins screeched to a halt, and my breath caught in my throat like a vice.

The figure that stared back at me from the now cleared mirror was not my reflection. It wore my face, but I swear on my life it wasn’t me. Its mouth nearly touched its earlobes and was contorted into a horrible rictus grin filled with yellowing teeth. The skin of its face seemed stretched over, like a mask, and its hair stuck to its scalp with a layer of shining grease.

It didn’t have eyes. The sockets were just empty, featureless craters, made all the more haunting by the sagging black bags beneath them.

Despite this fact, it still managed to look at me in a way that made my windpipe tense up like it had hands squeezing it.

It laughed. It laughed that same gargling chuckle I’d heard countless times over, but this time it felt as if, between its maniacal giggles, it was forming words with its croaking wheeze, repeating the same fragmented sentence over and over.

“Missed . . . you.”

I blinked, and the words were scratched all over the walls. Missed you. Missed you. It covered every bare patch of wall, scrawled frantically.

It was then that I finally snapped. I punched the mirror as hard as I could, knowing it had trapped me in another nightmare, and kept punching until most of the glass was either on the floor or sticking out of my hand.

It was only after the last of my anger had given in to a crushing sense of defeat and I slumped down into the corner that it dawned on me.

My hand was hurting.

I flipped out. According to Jenna, when I asked her about it earlier this year, I was inconsolable for the rest of the day. I was just sat in the shower room next to the pile of broken mirror shards letting my hand bleed out as I held my head in my hands, trembling and muttering in tongues. I apparently wouldn’t even let the paramedics come near me when the ambulance Jenna had called finally arrived. Of course, I remember none of this.

My parents, being the insufferable worrywarts they are, have insisted I live at home while I resit my freshman year so they can keep an eye on me. They’ve thrown me into a therapy program too, for all the good it’ll do me. Kind of ironic, if you think about it: I was going to be a therapist, but now I’m sitting here on the other end of the stick.

I did have a mirror in my room, one of those old vanity mirrors you sometimes get on top of chests of drawers, but it’s been covered up at the request of my therapist.

After I told my parents what I saw in the mirror, they went white and looked at each other as if I’d just threatened them with a knife. Then, with great reluctance, they told me that when I was just turning four I’d had an imaginary friend that looked exactly like me with what I described as “a nice big toothy smile”.

I called him “Timmy-Tom”, and explained that he was born without eyes, so naturally the best thing to do was find him a pair that he liked. It started out with household objects like sequins, buttons and marbles, so my parents never paid much heed, but soon it became apparent that these weren’t what he was looking for.

That was when they found me cutting out the eyes of a squirrel, and fearing for my sanity they had me . . . as they put it, they had me corrected.

Even now, months into my therapy, I still have those dreams sometimes: sometimes I’ll wake up in my old bed back in the halls of residence, wondering if everything up to that point was just another twisted dream; sometimes I’ll wake up in a padded room, the screams of other broken souls ringing through the little viewing slot in the door, and wonder if I’ve always been there. That last one seems to be its favourite place to send me.

It doesn’t matter where I wake up though. It will be in there with me when I do, giggling that mind-curdling giggle just to let me know that I’m still at his mercy, that I’m still its plaything.

It’s here now, just sitting in the darkest corner of my room watching me write this with that distended grin spread across its face, across my face.

It’s wearing my face.

It’s not even giggling anymore, it’s just . . . it’s just sitting there.

It’s still wearing my face.

It won’t stop looking at me with that goddamn eyeless smile.

It’s STILL wearing my face.

Maybe it just wants my eyes. It has the rest of my face, so why doesn’t it have my eyes?

Either way, if I didn’t have eyes, I wouldn’t be able to see it anymore. Maybe it’d get bored and go find someone else to drive insane.

Now there’s a thought.

Credit To – DementedEmperor

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Remember To Turn On The Lights

July 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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I walked into the bed and breakfast tired as ever. First I entered the bathroom, turned on the light and washed up. I was too exhausted to turn on the rest of the lights in the room so it was a little dark. My bag was thrown under what appeared to be a full length mirror. There was not enough light to make out all of my features, but I could make out the basic shape of my body in the reflection. It’s not like it mattered. I was going to bed anyways so I didn’t need to check myself out. I could see my reflection out of the corner of my eye following me as a shuffled around the room, as it should. As soon as my head hit my pillow I was out.

A few hours later I was feeling a bit chilly. I felt a breeze on my face. I thought that someone must have left the window open. When I got up and scoured the walls for a window all I found was sheetrock covered in tacky wall paper. To get a better view I walk over by my bag and turned on the light switch. When I looked toward my bag to get a jacket, I found the source of the breeze.

That was no mirror, it was a window, and it was open. What ever was on the other side of that window was now in my room…..A heard a noise coming from the bathroom.

I found myself wishing I had turned the lights on sooner.

Credit To – Infinita Furor

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July 2014 Creepypasta Book Club: Cults, Conspiracies & Secret Societies – PLUS “The Secret World” Giveaway [Winner Chosen, Congrats to Kristela!]

July 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Welcome to possibly the longest-named post on the entire site! It fits, because this is going to be a long post – I’ve got a lot of ground to cover about the whole book club idea before we begin. Exposition, go!

Today we’re going to start the “creepypasta book club” that was discussed in previous announcement posts. If you’re not familiar, the idea is to read some books together that will help cultivate inspiration and nurture more original ideas in our writers. I don’t believe that I’m overestimating when I say that lately, a solid 75% of the incoming submissions are simply retreading the same few topics – I suppose that, for whatever reason, serial killers, haunted games, and fanfics of previously-created Creepypasta “characters” are extremely trendy right now.

The problem is, though, that after the 5000th rip-off of Jeff the Killer or the latest attempt to copy-and-replace Ben Drowned with the writer’s favorite game franchise, these stories get mind-numbingly boring. New ideas and inspiration are CLEARLY necessary now, because I for one am absolutely sick of reading about serial killers. I’m not sure if it’s just because they’ve been so in lately in pop culture (what a strange thing to say, but it seems to be true – Hannibal, Dexter, Jeff the Killer, so on and so forth), but we’ve gone way past the point of oversaturation.

You guys need to find something new to write about.

So that’s where this book club idea comes into play. Every month, I’ll select a general theme and give you guys one or two books to read. Now, to avoid confusion, this won’t be about reading already established “creepy” fiction like King or Chambers. Though we may do that another time, the book choices for the inspiration club will be, primarily, nonfiction (though some selections will definitely be “nonfiction” – we’re going to indulge in some pseudoscience and conspiracy books because, after all, we’re trying to get ideas for fiction anyhow). This will hopefully allow you guys to expand your comfort zone of creepy into realms like secret societies, cryptozoology, high-risk exploring like mountaineering, ancient cultures and pseudeoarchealogy, aliens, mysterious disappearances, and more.

The other added benefit of using nonfiction is that spoilers won’t be a concern. Since this post’s comments will act as the discussion forum for our book club, we need books that people can easily discuss at all sorts of different points of progress without ruining each other’s experience.

So, yes, to alleviate some of the confusion and concerns that initially came up when I presented this idea:

THIS POST is your book club. The comments here are where you should air out all your thoughts and ideas that spawn from reading the suggested books. There’s no requirement for how fast you progress through the book(s), whether you read both books or only one, or even if you finish the book(s) or not, so please feel free to jump in and discuss the books whenever you’d like.

If this takes off and you guys want it, perhaps in the future we can try and organize some sort of chat at the end of the month, but for now please don’t worry about that and just post here whenever you have things to talk about regarding this month’s books.

Okay, all that said – here are the two books I’ve selected for July 2014. As stated in the title, this month we’re going to explore the world of cults, conspiracies and the theorists who love them, and secret societies.

It should be said that these books were chosen with mature readers in mind. If you are under 18, please do check with your parent/legal guardian before reading these books. I’d really prefer to avoid a pitchfork-mob of angry parents who find this topic inappropriate for their kids. I’d also like to say that the opinions expressed in the books are, of course, the opinions of their authors and the people profiled only – I’m not advocating or co-signing any of the groups covered in these books. I’m not telling you to believe in the Illuminati or anything, I just think such topics are a cool and fun thing to learn about and will probably inspire some people to write better pastas.

The first book is by Jon Ronson, a British author/humourist that I personally really enjoy. Them: Adventures with Extremists is exactly what it says on the tin – Ronson meets and spends time with a lot of famous faces in the world of conspiracy theories and extremist beliefs. David Icke, Alex Jones, Omar Bakri Mohammed, and more – as Ronson says, the only criteria was that the people/organizations he features have been called ‘extremists’ at some point in their careers. Each episode gives you a look into the beliefs, day to day lives, personalities, and habits of the the various extremists that he profiles. If you’re interested in writing a character-driven story about conspiracies, cults, or societies, this book will be helpful. It also tends to be rather irreverently funny, which is a plus.

As a bonus, Jon Ronson was recently on WTF with Marc Maron, where he gave some behind-the-scenes details on this book (they also delve into The Psychopath Test, another book I’m considering for future months if this book club turns into a long-term thing) as well as more personal opinions and anecdotes. You can stream/download the episode here for now (it will eventually become a premium-only episode, so keep that in mind – based on the pattern, I’m guessing it will go premium-only sometime in August).

If you want to go more in depth, the second suggestion is Arthur Goldwag’s Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies: The Straight Scoop on Freemasons, the Illuminati, Skull & Bones, Black Helicopters, the New World Order, and Many, Many More.

Unlike THEM, this book isn’t really a narrative – rather, the author has researched many of the world’s more infamous and interesting cults, conspiracy theories, and secret societies, and he’s done nice write-ups on each. The entries are organized thematically and can easily be read out of order if you’re so inclined. Beyond the organizations in the title, he also covers the origins of the Assassins (it’s not just a random word), Area 51 and all it encompasses, the Yakuza, the Kennedy assasinations, etc etc and so on. This book is really useful and interesting if you’d like to get a sort of crash course in this month’s topic.

Lastly, to celebrate the first book club post, I’m giving away ONE online game code for Funcom’s online game The Secret World.

Since the raffle is over (congratulations to Kristela A. for winning!), I’m putting the rest of this entry under a cut. The main page has so many stickied posts at the moment that I think it’s necessary to de-clutter wherever I can.

July 2014 Discussion Post: Creepy Anime & Horror Manga

July 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Previously, we’ve talked about the best creepy video games, your favorite scary movies, the top paranormal podcasts and radio shows, and, of course, your best-loved books in the creepy/horror genre. This month we’ll be continuing the community recommendation series, with the spotlight on creepy anime and horror manga.

So please tell us (with links if possible!) about all of your favorite creepy, horror-themed, or paranormal anime and manga series.

I have to admit that my experience with anime and manga is pretty limited, so I don’t have many initial suggestions to kick-start this post – sorry! I do have a few books, sites, and streams that I have enjoyed, however, and I’ll link them here to get the ball rolling. As always, affiliate links may be present in this post – if you do purchase anything via any of our links, thank you so much for helping to support the site!

ANIME
Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories is an interesting series of short episodes (around 5 minutes each) that relays classic Japanese ghost stories and urban legends. Crunchyroll does offer a free 48-hour trial, which will allow you to spend a night or two powering through this series.

Another is one that I haven’t personally watched, but it seems to be very popular. It’s described as being about a boy moving to a new school, meeting a mysterious girl, and realizing that his new class is cursed by a string of creepy deaths. As before, this is available on Crunchyroll (and I’m sure many other places, I’m going to try and stick to legal/licensed streams for the OP).

Hell Girl: Two Mirrors and Hell Girl: Three Vessels, available at Crunchyroll. From Wikipedia: “It focuses on the existence of a supernatural system that allows people to take revenge by having other people sent to Hell via the services of the mysterious titular character and her assistants who implement this system.”

As more people suggest anime for this list, I’ll edit it in here.

MANGA
Junji Ito – Gyo, Uzumaki, Museum of Terror, Tomie, etc – Pretty much everything by Junji Ito should go on this list, I’d think. Like so much of the internet, I first encountered him when someone linked me to The Enigma of the Amigara Fault, the infamous “this hole was made for me” story.

Death Note – Well, this is an anime too, of course. I’ve seen this brought up and discussed very often here in the comments, so I can’t really leave this out! The basic premise of Death Note is that death gods kill people when their time comes by writing their names and cause of death in their notebooks, and one day a bored death god allows his notebook to be obtained and used by a human.

As more people suggest manga for this list, I will edit those suggestions in here.

Other various fansites/tumblrs/etc for this topic:
Spiraphobia
Horror Anime & Manga on TVTropes

Feel free to suggest more relevant sites as well.

Have fun and enjoy the creepy!

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