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The New Element

September 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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In 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, a metal door underneath Leningrad University, now restored to its original name St Petersburg University, is found. The door is welded shut from inside, and is currently in the process of being reopened. We have found a journal by an unnamed author outside the door. On its cover lies a mercury-like liquid.

September 11, 1948

Today at 18:32pm, we have uncovered a piece of asteroid from Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, at altitude 60.884N, 101.890E, at the sight of the original Tunguska event on June 30, 1908. The asteroid piece is measured to have a volume of 0.0349 m^3 and a mass of 478.21 kg. The surface of the asteroid has a yellow layer, presumably sulfur, with inner layer presumably composed of carbon, iron, and phosphorus. Radioactive measurements seem to indicate a hollow area in the center, which is surprising considering the mass and volume of the object, as well as the high pressure and temperature upon impact. The asteroid has a roughly trapezohedron shape. The asteroid will be studied at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and afterwards brought back to the Motherland.

September 15, 1948

The sample has been examined with electromagnetic spectroscopy. The electromagnetic spectrum indicate, in terms of mass percentage, 23.14% carbon, 5.83% iron, and 0.021% phosphorus. Most of the carbon being unified within the inner layer, suggesting a net covalent structure, which also explains the reason for its shape and resistance toward impact. This also mean these elements account for only 28.99% of the asteroid, and the other 71.01% mass is attributed to other compounds. It must be noted, however, that while observing the spectrum, a strange pattern composing of purple, blue, and red is seen, indicating elements within or above electron configuration of 7f. Giger counter measurements also indicate there to be gamma ray emitted from the core. I currently hypothesize the content within to be Uranium 235, an ingredient to atom bombs. However, further investigation is needed, and head director, Dr Sergei Pavlochenko, has approved the transportation of the sample to Leningrad University for further studies.

September 22, 1948

After much effort, we were able to break open the sample. The core has a volume of 0.0314 m^3, and, to our surprise, contains liquid with appearance similar to mercury, though its poor electricity conductivity, low boiling point, as well as radioactivity suggest otherwise. The liquid is in extraordinarily pure state, with 99.98% purity, and its inability to decompose suggests it being a single element. The liquid bears no similarity to any of the elements found within a periodic table, with electron configuration possibly higher than 7f14. Using Freezing Point Depression, we determined it has a molar mass of 2451.2 g/mol, more than ten times than the heaviest element, Uranium. This is very exciting, we might have discovered an element not found on earth. It will be a scientific breakthrough, this lab notebook might end up in the Polytechnic Museum. The Ministry of Education and Science has been contacted. We shall await their response. The greatest discovery in chemistry yet, shall be discovered within the Motherland.

September 29, 1948

Today is the most glorious day of my life. The Leader, Joseph Stalin himself, has come to our lab to personally announce his approval and support. He said out loud to all the faculty members, this discovery is the first sign of our progress in surpassing the West. As a sign of his support, the Great Leader announces a one million ruble fund, as well as five prisoners from Siberia to be used as experimental subjects. The prisoners consisted of Dmitri Patrovna, age 34, a bourgeoisie who plotted to overthrow the government; Hans Koch, age 31, a prison of war and former Wehrmacht SS soldier from Battle of Stalingrad; and Marisa Thompson, age 26, a CIA agent under the name Maria Gorbachev who managed to smuggle herself into the Motherland. The prisoners were promised freedom but exile if they cooperate, and are expected to begin experimentation tomorrow. We hope to find success in our experiment.

September 30, 1948

We have begin experimenting on our three human test subjects. While this may seem cruel, our condition is likely far better than what they have experienced in Siberia. The prisoners were first injected with Elements 119, Stalinium SI, the name for the newly discovered element and named after the Great Leader Josef Stalin, in varied concentrations. Dmitri Patrovna, now known as Subject 1, was given a 100% concentration in 0.001 L. Hans Koch, now known as Subject 2, was given a 70% concentration in 0.001 L. Marisa Thompson, now known as Subject 3, was given 50% concentration in 0.001 L.. Immediately upon injection, subjects experienced weight gain as expected. However, despite the heavy density, blood flow remains largely normal with little change. After 3 hours, subjects started to experience nausea, headaches, and even asphyxiation, though only for a minute. Also happening was sporadic blood pressure, and changing heart beat rates. Despite these signs of declining health, the subjects were still able to breath and eat normally and do their daily routines.

October 2, 1948

Overtime, the subjects’ metabolism seems to have increased almost exponentially. The subjects now consume over 8 times as much food as usual, and would experience severe signs of malnutrition and starvation if the food amount is denied. Subject 1, with the highest concentration, ate almost 10 times the ration he used to eat, yet did not experience any signs of weight gain, even lost more than 14 pounds. From the subjects’ saliva and blood sample, there is a 12.5% concentration of Stalinium. Biologist Mikhail Alexandrov thinks the rapid spread might due to cells absorbing the elements without the need of an antigen or any sort of receptor. It might be a forced entrance, though there appears to be very little necrosis in the process.

October 5, 1948

Subject 1 is now consuming 52 times more food than usual. When food is denied, Subject 1 becomes aggressive, and has on more than one occasion attacked his fellow subjects for their ration, and even tried to bite researchers. On more than one occasion, we had to tranquilize him and bind him onto his bed. He would then beg for food, crying and wailing for hours at a time. After about 4 to 5 hours, he would regain his aggression, sometimes even ripping off his binding ropes. Only when given food does he stop his aggression and returns to normal for a period of time. Subject 1 has lost even more weight, now only 85 pounds. His face has grown ghostly pale, and his Stalinium concentration has increased to 87.8%, 75.3% higher than his last recorded concentration. Subject 2 and 3 have a concentration of 63.6% and 49.2% respectively.

October 8, 1948

Subject 1 has died of malnutrition and starvation. Before he died, he was begging for food, despite having just ate his large ration. When food was denied to him, he tried to attack, trying to swing his arms to hit the handler, yet was too weak to do it, all he did was stare, coldly, into the handler. The handler immediately quitted her job, but no matter, she will be sent to Siberia immediately, we cannot afford losing our discovery to the West. Now back the Subject 1, we dissected him, and found the concentration of carbon compounds in his stomach to be extremely small, only 0.00021% concentration, which, considering his giant diet, is rather shocking. However, his Stalinium concentration was extremely high, 98.4%. Not only was his nutrient concentration rather low, his stomach has shrunk in size to almost that of a potato, presumably from stomach self digestion. We suspect that this is greatly connected to the Stalinium injected. Subject 2 and 3 are starting to experience similar symptoms, though on a much smaller scale. Subject 1 has been disposed of by dissolving in hydrochloric acid.

October 12, 1948

Subject 2 is experiencing slight increases in metabolism, yet it is still controllable. However, Subject 2 has started to experience cerebral hemorrhage, and has deteriorating memories. He started speaking in unintelligible languages, staring at the wall, and hallucinating. His symptoms are getting worse over the days, he would simply sit on his bed, whispering words, and staring at the wall for hours. From the spinal fluid collected, there is a Stalinium concentration of 78.4%, indicating the element has reached his brain, yet did not damage his brain stem in the process. Subject 2 has also grown extremely close to Subject 3, this might be simple relationship or it might be an effect from Stalinium. We will continue our observation.

October 13, 1948

Subject 3 has been found pregnant, we presume Subject 2 impregnated her while we were away. Subject 2 has been forcibly moved away into another room, and would aggressively scream continuously. We had to gag him to stop him from screaming. Subject 3 adamantly defends Subject 2, insisting there to be no interaction whatsoever. We dismiss her claim as simple emotional response, and are deciding whether to allow the infant to live or abort it as soon as possible.

October 16, 1948

We have decided to allow Subject 3’s infant to live. Biologist Mikhail Alexandrov said the child can be studied to see the effects Stalinium have upon the progeny. Thus we decided, the child is allowed to live as long as it is used for research, and will be disposed of immediately upon finishing the experimentation. Strangely, the child appears to grow faster than normal infants, and at a steady rate despite the poor nutrients possessed by the mother. As the child grew, the mother seems more and more sickly, showing more and more signs of malnutrition and starvation. Subject 2 would now stare outside the observation window and laugh maniacally. We believe the element Stalinium has finally reached the frontal lobe and is now distorting his emotions. We have discussed about whether to euthanize Subject 2, however, in the end, we determined he was too valuable of a resource to be abandoned

October 24, 1948

After a night with Subject 3, Biologist Mikhail Alexandrov said he is quitting the research, leaving Leningrad, and moving back to Moscow. Whatever he saw, it affected him deeply. We have lost our only biologist, and our lack of progress has been straining the Leader’s patience. We were informed by a letter from the Ministry of Education and Science that we must make a full report by October 30, 1948, or face complete withdrawal of support from the Communist Party. We all know if we didn’t make a decent full report, we would face more than just withdrawal of support from the Communist Party.

October 27, 1948

Today, we have witnessed the birth of an unspeakable monster. Subject 3 was treated with cesarean section. The child that was extracted was no child. Its form was disgusting, even now as I write this, I cannot forget that image. It had no skin, its muscles were of mercury color, bones were extruding out of its limbs, specifically through its posterior deltoid, teres major, and median palatine suture. It was bleeding, not with red human blood, but a mercury-like liquid. The child was born unconscious and lived for less than one minute before dying. Five nurses fainted, Dr Gregori Babushka vomited upon the floor and immediately left the room. The child’s body is placed in formaldehyde, its mercury blood is extracted and will be studied upon. For now, I am simply hoping to avoid that monstrous abomination and forget its existence.

October 28, 1948

Subject 3 has just died of severe shock. The body is to be examined and later disposed of. Subject 2 has been laughing maniacally ever since, we believe this is due to stress and lack of nutrition in the brain. The best course of action is to tread lightly, we mustn’t lose another subject, nor are we to reveal the deaths of Subject 1 and 3.

October 30, 1948

Subject 2 has been laughing the last 2 days. He has recently been given anesthetic, and finally seized his sanity-grinding laughter. This cannot get more stressful, I have just sent in the full report, and now I have discovered, to my dismay, that the whole lab has been contaminated with that little ogre’s blood. Someone, likely that Ukrainian whore Anna Apostel on her drinking binge, fell upon the sample and have splattered the blood everywhere. Now all our data could be corrupted, and how will I explain this to the Ministry? I swear, I will have that witch arrested and sent to Siberia, I will see to it that happens.

November 9, 1948

I have not written in so long, for even now, I am cleaning that whore’s mess. I had to redo weeks worth of experiments, after I wiped every trace of that monster’s blood off my lab. And worst of all, Subject 2 has waken, and somehow developed strong resistance towards the anesthetic, to the point being completely immune to it. Fortunately, I have collected some of Subject 3’s child’s blood, and have examined it thoroughly. Turns out the cells’s cytoplasm were completely replaced by the Stalinium, yet the cells are still able to function. This is remarkable, an element that causes such degree of mutation. This is no simple element, I’m afraid I am obligated to delve deeper into the subject. For now, I cannot write to you anymore.

November 14, 1948

The contamination, it didn’t seize. Someone poured the rest of the child’s blood onto the floor, only this time, its a lot worse. I discovered this upon seeing Josef Pavlochenko experiencing extreme metabolism, and suffering from malnutrition and starvation when there was no food left. He became more and more aggressive, even attempting to eat cadavers in the specimen room. I had to tranquilize him and send him to Leningrad Hospital for treatment. This all happened yesterday, and I have already received news of his death. I believe it is now necessary to quarantine the lab and hopefully, the contamination can be once again contained.

November 25, 1948

This is all wrong, all of it, wrong. First it was just Josef, then Anastasia, then Gregori. This, what have we brought to this world? The element, Stalinium, it wasn’t just any element, it wasn’t just some radioactive waste element from outer space. No, someone has sent it, sent it to wipe us off. The mutation, its unbelievable how alive this element is. Could it be that we were wrong about the world from the beginning? Could tiny atoms be alive, if not intelligent? Now, everyone here is infected, even me. I cannot resist the thought of food as I am writing this to you. I must go, I must end this all. May we see each other in the world of the next, my dear Alissa.

November 28, 1948

So, the idiot has a family. He knew so little of us, yet we knew so much of you. You hope to use everything in science as a weapon, to benefit your own worthless existence. You underestimated science. It cannot be reigned, just as we cannot be reigned. Yet you try so hard. Goodbye for now, your husband is dead, his body made ready for reproduction. Our dormant period has come, but in 82.56 years, we shall see each other again. Be ready.

Credit To – Mr Microcosm

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A Touch of History

September 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I love history. I love old things. I very much enjoy standing in a house near a tree on a stone once part of an ancient thing and think: Many, many, years ago someone maybe very much like myself stood in this place wearing this or that. Holding a long lost item or playing with long dead children.

My wife would tease me often whilst on holiday; ‘Here we go again. Mr. boring as hell history man wants to go touch old shit.’ She was right of course. I would touch old things. I was obsessed with it. An ancient Celtic stone, cannon said to have been used by pirates, now preserved and stuffed with concrete. Every little scratch and pockmark tells a story.

I once viewed (and touched) several centuries of ancient graffiti engraved by prisoners in an old fortress. Most of the fortress had changed through time but this one large stone room had served as a prison throughout. A Roman fortress in England it was used by both parties until the end of the 17th century. Roman prisoners with markings and language far beyond my understanding left the first marks with the final layers left by Dutch Sailor’s held there near the end of its service. The last words of condemned men…My Dutch Wife was pulled into the unfortunate chore of translating each and every old Dutch sentence for my benefit. After twenty minutes she became bored and stormed of saying, ‘Your Dutch is better than you think! Translate it yourself. I’ll meet you in the café.’ And so I did.

The comments were mundane but fascinating! Cursing their captor, advising (no one really) of their presence by giving their name and ship. Praising their Captain and saying goodbye to loved ones. I was growing tired and started to become conscious of time when I noticed a rather long chunk of text written near the bottom of the wall with a bit carrying onto the floor. What drew my attention to this was that it was in English. It read:

‘Thus I end this day on this floor. Engles I spake to curse thee English. My last time I take to carve with blade hidden for thee as scurvy now sends me. Blade found no English hearts but mine words will take a English sole. So say I this last day I see. Curse thee and in Hell share we.’

‘Wow!’ I thought. What an amazing bit of text! And this sailor died right here! I felt the wall as I knelt where his head might have rested. Or perhaps it was lower. If he was weak and dying from scurvy he was prone for the last bit which is why it carried on the ground. As I stood up, flushed with the new discovery I felt a slight poke under my right heel.
I moved my foot away and looked closely. There embedded in the mortar between the foundation stones was a glint of metal. I quickly kneeled again and examined it closely. There a centimetre above the floor was the head of some sort of blade. An arrow head perhaps I thought immediately but then I thought of the text…

I eagerly tested the grout between the lying stones and found what I already knew would be the case. It was loose and crumbly and easily removed with the tip of my finger. It was late in the day and the cell part of the fortress was empty. I began to work on it quickly. Always thinking in the back of my mind that this was something I could bring to the museum as a new discovery. I would take it there straight away and turn it in…But then, a deeper darker side of my mind was in control. It advised if this item was what I thought it was I would not turn it in…I would indeed keep this item. Because the writing on the wall and the emerging knife blade and…yes! Yes! It was indeed such an item! Far too large to be an arrow head…This and the story was mine! I read them…I was part of this moment and I of all the visitors to this dark and horrible yet wondrous place found this piece of history. A symbol of the final act of defiance from a desperate, dying, man!

It was beautiful. A bit pitted with a small amount of rust but in excellent condition! The hilt had been removed for easy concealment on only the metal blade remained with a bit of the end that would have rested in the (most likely) bone or wooden handle. It rested quite comfortably in the breast pocket of my tweed jacket. The material thick enough that not even an outline of the blade was visible. My Wife, impatient, lead the way out to our auto. As we walked down the path through the parking area a large tour bus was unloading in front of us. Older couples disembarked with the help of the driver. I heard them speaking Dutch and I joked with my Wife ‘More Dutchies for the cells!’ She looked back smiling. As we approached the last of the passengers were walking toward the fort whilst the driver looked on pulling out an old…pipe? Clay. I recognized it right away. One of the old clay style pipes popular in the 17th century. He was thumbing in tobacco from an old worn leather pouch. A quaint little gimmick for the tourists perhaps? But why did he present it after they left? We were approaching him quickly as our car was down and slightly right of the bus. As my Wife passed I continued to study the man as he lit his pipe with a…taper? The man took a long drag of the tobacco and blew smoke. As it cleared I was ready to pass him when I saw his weatherworn face and sun bleached blonde hair. His eyes were ocean blue with a fine pattern of wind etched wrinkles in the corners…and he was smiling.

My foot caught on something right as I passed and I went sprawling. Face first in the hard packed dirt of the auto lot. I landed hard and the breath was knocked out of me. I gave a yell as my Wife came running back shouting. Hands helped me up and I was on my feet. My Wife was looking at me asking if I was all right. I felt dizzy and there was a deep pain in my chest. I looked down and saw the very short handle end of the blade sticking from my jacket pocket. A dark stain had begun to grow around the blade…I took one moment to look behind me to the man whom I knew had triggered my death but there was no one there…

Now dear reader I finish my curse. In life I was a man of many words and so in death I walk the same path.
It will come. The dagger has been placed again. You may stub your toe or prick your finger and wonder… Is it there? Is it time? Or perhaps it was placed in a more mundane location. Under the bed… In a closet… Or… Give a feel behind the screen… Let’s touch some old shit together shall we?

From Hell… See you soon.

Credit To – Brando

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The Mill

September 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The sound of the alarm clock gradually bringing her back to consciousness meant she must have finally fallen asleep. She groaned, propped herself up on her elbows and brushed the long blonde hair out of her face so she could read the time. The last time she’d looked at it, it had read 7:34 A.M., and she had yet to get a lick of sleep. Now the clock read 10:07, meaning the damn thing had been buzzing for the past seven minutes…and that she had yet another night that may as well have been sleepless.

Kelly Baker let out another groan and reached out her left hand as far as it could reach, her slender fingers coming just short of the nightstand where the pesky clock laid. Her confusion wearing off and turning to frustration, she rolled onto her back, propped herself up against the headboard, and slammed the top of the clock with the bottom of her fist several times, hitting just about every button on the thing but snooze. Now beeping instead of buzzing, she grabbed it in both hands and yanked it towards her, tearing the power cord out of it’s socket. She was about to throw it across the room when she stopped herself short, gently placing the clock back onto the nightstand.

Sighing, Kelly rubbed her face. She had a headache that raged as fiercely as the alarm clock, and though she wanted nothing more than to crawl back under the sheets and sleep the day away, she knew it was as hopeless as her chance of having another steady relationship. She tossed the remaining covers off and climbed out of bed.

Kelly slept naked, and the cool air of the apartment instantly chilled her to the bone. Making her way to the windowless bathroom across the hall, she pulled the aspirin out of the medicine cabinet and tossed two in her mouth, reconsidered, and popped in a third. Normally a girl that would swallow them one at a time, she poured herself half a glass of water, and swallowed all three at once. She studied her tired face in the mirror for a moment before turning to the shower stall. She turned on the hot water in the shower, the pipes creaking in disagreement as she did, and exited the bathroom as the water warmed up.

Though Kelly had been living in the apartment for a week, she had done little unpacking and nothing was where it was supposed to be save for the furniture, which her dad had helped her put in place the day she moved in. Ordinarily, her living space was very neat and orderly, but the apartment was still in awry, boxes upon boxes stacked and placed wherever they would fit. The spare room was packed with them, a few had wound up in the narrow hallway or in the master bedroom, and the rest were upstairs in the middle of the living room. Despite having the past several days off, she had done virtually no unpacking, spending most of her days haphazardly going about, and today, in all likeliness, would be no different.

The Harwick Mill Apartments were a far cry from the lifestyle she was used to in her parents’ home. Built in the early 1900’s, the building had once been a textile mill at the center of the Harwick Brothers operation, and the entire town, for that matter. The sprawling brick building took up nearly an entire block, and with it’s three stories and countless large arched windows, at one point it had been the most awe-striking building in town, and probably was up until it closed down during the depression.

Over the years since they were abandoned, many of the old factories and warehouses associated with the Harwick Brothers Company had been lost. At least two burned to the ground, one only ten years ago, and several were demolished to make way for newer projects. Several more factories still lay in disrepair, overgrown, and with fences and and warning signs that seldom kept kids from vandalizing the properties into even further degradation, a poignant reminder from a time long passed that nothing lasts forever.

It wasn’t until the late 70s that the restoration project took place; the very restoration that turned the decaying Harwick Mill into the Harwick Mill Apartments. Several other buildings were converted into storage units, offices, and various small businesses. The buildings that once made this Connecticut town rich now served the needs of the lower income residents.
Apartment number 123 was on the interior of the building facing the courtyard, as were all the odd-numbered apartments, and she was glad for that, for she would take the green lawn over the parking lot any day of the week when she looked out her window. And though her apartment was a two-bedroom unit, they charged her the price of a one-bedroom unit. Probably because that was all it was worth, and judging by the lack of people around, she gathered they needed all the tenants they could get.

With the shower still warming up, Kelly briefly returned to her room, grabbing her undergarments and her outfit for the day, coming from the same cardboard box as the outfits from the past three days. The box was marked ‘sweats’ and today’s outfit (that being the one that was closest to the top) was her black and pink volleyball warm-up suit she hadn’t worn since her team made it into the semi-finals her senior year of college. That had been two years ago, when she was twenty-one and things were alright in the world. Well, in her world at least. She thought of the friends she had then, of her drive to do well both as a key member of the volleyball team and towards doing well in school.

The hot water wouldn’t last long, maybe five minutes if she was lucky, and she hurried back to the bathroom. She jumped in the shower, and directed the shower head at her forehead, hoping it would make the headache go away. A cold was coming on, for she’d had a sore throat all day yesterday, and a sore throat had always meant a cold was just around the corner for Kelly Baker. She got them at least twice a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. She thought of Brian, of how she was supposed to be moving in with him, not into this apartment. Doing so was the last thing she wanted to do, but with her parents moving up to Vermont for retirement, it was the best she could do on such short notice, for there were few places that even fit into her budget, and the Mill had been the most viable option, the closest to work. And it was the cheapest, though Kelly now knew why.

After drying herself off, Kelly donned her clothes, not expecting the warm-up to fit as well as it had two years prior, even though she was just as slim now as she was then. She’d lost a little weight since then, and she imagined she probably lost most of it in the past week. She zipped the jacket all the way up, fixed her hair with her hand, and declared herself ready for the day. There was no point in doing anything else if there was no one in your life to dress up for. Though she knew she should at least be happy her outfit fit her as well as it had two years ago, a sudden longing, not only for her relationship with Brian or for the comfort of her parents’ home, but for just being a girl.

Kelly was twenty-three, over a year out of school with a BA in English, and she knew it was passed time to grow up, but…well, being an adult sucked. Being an adult and supporting herself had always been in the future, a thing that never seemed like it would come. And when it did, she would have her steady boyfriend Brian Jackson at her side every step of the way. Or so she had thought, until he dumped her two weeks prior without really giving her a reason why, other than ‘it’s not working for us anymore’, which isn’t a reason.

Brian had gotten a job offer as a CPA up in Mass, while Kelly was still working as a waitress at Chester’s Grill, where she’d worked since she was eighteen, and she had just assumed she wasn’t good enough for Mr. CPA anymore. Initially it had devastated her, and she was heartbroken and didn’t understand what it was she had done. But over the past few days, those feelings had been mixed with bitterness and anger, some of it towards herself, but more and more towards Brian, and the other woman in his life she could only assume existed. She often pictured her as a slutty, bipolar nurse named Samantha. Good, she hoped it was true, because it was no more than Brian deserved.

Kelly made her way to the stairs, being joined by a draft of cool air the entire length of the hallway. She gave a brief glance at the hatchway on the landing halfway up the stairs. Located out of reach of what her five-foot-seven frame could reach without a stepping stool, she had yet to open it, and intended to put a picture frame over it, because a cold draft came out of there, too, it seemed. She supposed if she ever had something valuable enough, it would be a good place to hide it, if she ever felt inclined to get a stool and do so. Of course, if Brian was here, she wouldn’t need the stool. She scowled at the thought, and made her way upstairs to fix herself breakfast in the kitchen, which hadn’t been as warm as she had hoped.

Because of those windows. Kelly was no expert on the matter, but she would eat her panties if those windows weren’t original to the building. They were yellowed beyond belief, scratched, even cracked in some places, and the green paint looked like it hadn’t been touched up since the place had been restored. The four windows upstairs were terrible; the two windows closer to the kitchen had gaps between the frame and the brick wall large enough for her to stick her pinky through in places, and she could only imagine the amount of bugs that must get in when the weather was warmer. And whatever heat didn’t escape through the windows that were taller than her instead uselessly heated the upper portion of the ten-foot high ceiling of the upper level. While the two windows in each bedroom downstairs were smaller and slightly better fitted to let a little less air in, there was a constant draft of air being pushed down the staircase every minute of every hour of every day. And this was only late October. Kelly could hardly imagine how cold it was going to be come winter.

Aside from the windows, her biggest complaint with the place since she’d moved in had been the random noises she heard at all times of the day, but seemed to be particularly prevalent at night. Though some seemed to be coming from apartment 121, the unit behind her kitchen, most of them came from the floor above her apartment. She knew there was no one living up there, for all of the apartments on the premises occupied just the first two floors, but it certainly sounded like someone was constantly moving stuff around up there.

And then there were the statues. Even the unartistic eye like her own could see the great love and detail put into each and every one of them, and though they were fascinating, she also found them creepy and unsettling. Like she was being watched by them. Most of them were out in the courtyard, but she knew there were at least a few throughout the building. There were two of them in the lobby, of which she believed to be the Harwick brothers, and another of a young girl in the pool room. She knew it was irrational, for if you had bottomless pits of money as the Harwick family once had, you could collect whatever it was you wanted, as many as you wanted, and she gathered one of the Harwicks, or perhaps a descendant, had a love for such statues, and gotten them made in honor of those important to the business, and perhaps their loved ones.

Still, perhaps what she found most disturbing about them wasn’t the statues themselves; rather that the statue population seemed to be higher than the population of actual, living people. And frankly, she wouldn’t mind seeing more people about, especially at a time in her life when she’d never felt more vulnerable. She supposed what she really needed was a friend she could trust, and though she had acquaintances at Chester’s, she didn’t have anyone she really confided in as a friend since high school. Well, anyone other than Brian, and she supposed that had been her own doing.

Though the kitchen was probably the highlight of the apartment and fit her needs, perhaps Kelly’s favorite feature in the entire apartment were the shelves on the far wall of the living room area, which took up two thirds of the entire upper level. The darkly-stained shelves started about waist high and went up almost all the way to the ceiling. Even with all the books, movies and other knick-knacks she had, she didn’t think she’d ever have enough stuff to fill those shelves, which was a good thing, because there was no way she could even reach the top shelves without a ladder or climbing up the shelves themselves. Deciding she needed something to keep her mind occupied today, she reckoned she could do something with those shelves.

All she felt like for breakfast was a plain bagel, and walking around with it on a paper plate, Kelly found the two large boxes of books right off, and started with that, deciding to put the books on the far left corner away from the windows where she would likely spend most of her time reading in her chair. She would have to go digging up the lamp later to put on the table next to the chair so she could actually see the books when it got dark.

Kelly started with the paperbacks, which ranged from Stephen King to Nora Roberts, arranging each by author, starting on the lower shelves and working her way up. She thoroughly dusted and cleaned each shelf before placing her books neatly, and though it wasn’t much, it was enough to keep her occupied from thinking about either her headache or that dick. It had gone unhindered until she reached the fourth shelf.

Kelly had to stand on her tip-toes just to reach the fourth shelf, and without standing on the bottom shelf, she could do little more than dust the very edges. But when she began placing the books on the shelf, starting in the far left corner where the shelf met the brick wall wall, the book wouldn’t push in, as if something was blocking it, and Kelly pulled it back out. She realized she’d have no choice but to climb up there and find out what the obstruction was that was interrupting her otherwise steady progress.

Above her, something metallic clanked onto the floor, and she perked up, looking at the ceiling. She paused a moment, listening intently for any other noises, then shrugged it off.

Kelly nimbly climbed up on to the first shelf, which was solid enough to support her weight thanks to the brick ledge below it, and she nearly lost her balance as she did so, but was spared from falling when she grabbed onto one of the shelves that was thankfully screwed in tight. She squinted at the corner where the obstruction was, inching her way down, but still couldn’t quite see what was there, so she reached back there and withdrew whatever it was hiding in the shadows. She nearly screamed when she saw it, but then quickly realized it wasn’t real.

It was a mouse. Or a sculpture of one, at least. It was light as a feather, even though it looked heavy. Minus being entirely brown, the mouse looked every bit like the real deal. She jumped down from the shelf and blew off the dust and a cobwebs, and spent a good moment further looking it over. It was extremely detailed. Someone certainly put in a lot of work making the little mouse.

Kelly brought the mouse over to the kitchen sink, spending a moment to rinse the little guy off. She looked closer and was startled by it’s shockingly realistic little face, and for a moment she was convinced it was going to spring to life and chew her face off. She almost dropped the mouse at the thought, but then gathered her senses. It was just a decoration. Still, it had a uncanny resemblance to the human statues throughout the apartments, despite not being human, that is. While she was pondering this, there came three steady knocks at the door.

Leaving the kitchen, Kelly gingerly set the mouse down on the banister, and looked over at the door curiously. She wasn’t expecting anyone today, and her first thought was that it was Brian, and he would be in tears, begging forgiveness. Then she could slam the door in his face, to tell him she would never take him back, whatever would make him feel her pain. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, she had the thought of seeing one of those statues from out in the courtyard on the other side of her door, and she hesitated a moment before continuing on. It wasn’t Brian in tears, nor was it an axe-wielding statue from hell coming to chop her up into pieces. It was Melinda Harwick, the owner and manager of the apartment complex.

Kelly thought she might have preferred the murderous statue.

Under ordinary circumstances, she would have felt chagrined to be seen looking the way she did, but these were anything but ordinary circumstances. That aside, she had little like for Ms. Melinda Harwick, as the sign at the desk in her lobby read, and cared little for what the snobby old hag thought of her. Short and stubby, the woman always wore her signature white Victorian hat, a large diamond necklace, and enough perfume to choke an elephant. Kelly was certain she could almost smell her perfume through the door, about the only thing in this place that was even remotely air-tight.
Kelly had twice visited the witch’s office since she arrived, once the day she arrived to get her key and be seen to her unit, and then to file a complaint only two days ago about whoever was upstairs making too much noise when she was trying to sleep. Ms. Harwick had explained that the noises were likely caused by her brother, Boris, also the maintenance man. When Kelly asked to speak to Boris about his hours of operation, Melinda had only commented that Boris was not much of a people person, but that she would pass the message along. Kelly had gotten the vibe that she had been little more than a waste of the woman’s time. The last thing the woman had said before Kelly had left, was: ‘You don’t come to live at Harwick Mill for comfortable living, you come here for the experience.’ Kelly had no reply to that, though reckoned her face had given away plenty of what she had been thinking.

Perhaps she had now come to apologize for her rudeness or to offer an explanation for said disturbances, if it was indeed her brother Boris. And the more Kelly thought about it, there just might be a correlation between her pompous attitude towards the tenants of the mill and the lack of residents therin.

Kelly contemplated seeing how long it would take for her to go away, but she found herself opening the door instead.

“Good afternoon, Miss Baker. Sorry for dropping by without notice, but it’s standard procedure for us to come by and check upon our tenants. May I?”

“Uh, sure.” Kelly said, gesturing to the boxes in the middle of the room “Don’t mind the mess, I’m still unpacking.”

“Oh, no worries, sweetie. I’ve seen my fair share of people moving in my day.”

The tea pot whistled, and Kelly had no choice but to mind her manners. “I was just making myself some tea, but there is probably enough hot water for two. Would you care for a cup? I have green and black.”

“No, but thank you, Miss Baker.”

“You can just call me Kelly,” she said, making her way to the kitchen. She wasn’t going to give up her tea on her behalf. “Would you like to sit down?” Though what she thought was ‘please leave’. “Here, I’ll move some boxes if you-”

“Not necessary, thank you Kelly. I’ve been sitting on my buttocks all morning. I need to stretch my legs for a while. Besides, I won’t be taking too much of your time, I don’t think.”

Kelly just nodded and took a sip of tea. The woman simply stood there for a moment, studying the younger woman, seemingly apprehensive about taking a single step further into the apartment, which was just fine with Kelly. Melinda broke the silence between them. “I used to play volleyball too when I was about your age. I was quite good, if I say so myself. Actually, I..” Melinda’s eyes focused on the top of the stairs, and she gasped. “Oh, my. Would you look at this,” She said, making a move to the top of the stairs, picking up the mouse from the banister. “Where did you get this?”

Kelly had temporarily forgotten all about the curious little mouse, and then pointed at the shelf which now held over forty Stephen King novels. “I just found it a little while ago, when I was arranging my shelf,” she took another sip of her tea. “I guess it must have belonged to the previous tenant and was left behind by mistake. Easy enough to miss, I guess, it’s small, and the same color as the shelving.”

“I thought he was long lost,” Melinda said, looking upon the mouse in awe. “Oh, sweetie, this is a good omen.” She paused a long moment, seemingly forgetting Kelly was even there, her eyes transfixed on the mouse, before she looked up again. “This belonged to my grandfather. My great-grandfather made this for him. This was his first casting.”

“First casting?”

“Yes. Well, have you time for a little history?”

“Sure.”

“Well, as you may or may not know, my great-grandfather was Edgar Harwick. He was the younger of the two brothers who founded Harwick Brothers, Herbert being the elder. They were in the textile industry, and beginning in 1901, the two of them constructed and operated this mill and many others in this area of town. Business flourished, and so did the town. Farmland gave way to homes for the families of the workers, and the town prospered, and for a time, was quite famous, at least in New England. It was such a beautiful town, then. Now it’s over-run by shopping malls and chain restaurants, the old mills and what they did for this town long forgotten. Many town residents don’t even know these mills exist.

“In the years before the Harwick brothers immigrated to the United States, Edgar had lived outside of England for a number of years, working as a blacksmith’s apprentice in Austria owned by a man I only know by the surname, Schmidt. I don’t know what drove him there, or what it was he did, but what I do know is it was there that Edgar developed his inspiration for what he would later accomplish.

“Anyways, Edgar had arranged for a private shop for him to be built before the construction began. Thus, before the mill even opened, Edgar began experimenting with making little toy animals, if you can consider them toys. He spent many a long night, as well as company time and resources, experimenting and modifying his own technique from what that Austrian fellow had taught him many years prior. He had set up his workshop, here in the mill, roughly right above your room here, actually, and spent more and more of his time there, making toy animals. You see, Edgar was never fond of the textile industry to begin with, it was Herbert who really drove the business forward, Herbert who had the vision and the work ethic. Though Edgar had gone along with it for a time, he had a different vision in using the company’s success to help fulfill his dream. And what Edgar saw as his own dream, Herbert saw as a useless hobby. He argued that the toys would net the company no money and that there would never be any money in it.

“You see, as detailed as they were, they weren’t statues of bronze or gold or beautiful sculptures carved from marble, Herbert saw them as cheap knock-offs of the real deal, kind of like how we view Chinese products these days, if you will. What they were actually made of, I can’t say. But no one was going to pay any kind of money for what Edgar was trying to do, and in that regard, Herbert was absolutely right.

“But he continued on in private, working only at night when his brother had gone home, until at last, he had his first success. This very mouse was the very first toy he made, sometime around 1904, and he gave it to my grandfather, Benjamin, when he was only a young lad of five or six. Needless to say, Herbert found out that his brother had indeed continued to work on his toy-making, supposedly saying what Edgar was doing was disturbing, and threatened him. He woud have to dismantle his workshop, or get ejected from the company altogether. Edgar begged for him to reconsider, but he did not, and he was given a week to comply.

“Herbert died in an accident, right here in the mill only a few days later, before the news of the disagreements between the brothers could become more public knowledge. And though Edgar was never considered in any investigation, some of us know better. That he murdered his own brother so he could pursue his dream,” she smiled softly, as if condoning her great-grandfather’s actions, and Kelly got an uneasy feeling from that smile, but brushed it off. She was intrigued.

“Go on,” Kelly said, leaning against the wall at the top of the stairs.

“I’m not sure I should. You see, most of the rest can only be considered a rumor. Little fact meddled with mostly fiction. I will go on, but only if you promise to keep this between just us girls.”

“I’m not a journalist. I won’t be twisting your words and reporting it to the world the way I want them to see it.”

“Very well then,” she cleared her throat. “What I do know is that a few weeks later, Edgar’s very first human statue was produced, that of none other but the late Herbert Harwick. He’d done it out of spite, of course, but he’d done it nonetheless, and he realized that if he couldn’t do it to make money, he would at least do it for his own enjoyment, and no one was there to stop him or tell him what to do. Rumor would have it that he exhumed Herbert’s body, and used his very body as the foundation for the statue, covering him in some kind of tar that made him look and feel like a metallic statue when it hardened. It was said that was how all of his products were made, and was how a novice like himself with little metal-working experience was able to make such accurate and detailed works of art. Ignorance at it’s best, of course, for no one could possibly accept that he knew something they did not. It was even said that he went around, murdering those he didn’t like or who got in his way and turned them into statues. Rubbish, of course, but it does make a good story, as morbid as it may be.”

There was a loud bump coming from above them, as if a table had fallen over. Kelly raised her nearly empty tea mug with an expression on her face that said ‘see what I mean?’ But the expression on Melinda’s face remained solemn, one that seemed to blame Kelly for the interruption of her story, not the noise that had actually caused it.

“Anyways, Herbert had left the business in good shape, and it was able to run with minimal effort from Edgar thereafter. Regardless of how they were actually made, he continued to make human statues, mostly of random people, or maybe people that never existed at all. He did make them of both his wife, who died of the flu, and teenage daughter, who drowned, both of whom sadly passed before his time. Edgar died in November 1920, a few months before the birth of his grandson, my father, also an Edgar. He left the business, and the secrets of his hobby, with my Grandfather, Benjamin. It was he who made the statue of Edgar himself, the very one that now sits in my lobby, along with that of Herbert, Edgar’s first statue. And though Ben too made several others and carried on the tradition for a time, he died suddenly in a car accident in 1929, thirteen years before I was born. Coupled with the Great Depression, Harwick Brothers began it’s rapid downwards spiral and was closed for good in 1932, long before my young father could learn the ways of things. So the business died with my grandfather, as did the family tradition in making these beautiful statues. But they’re all still here, a testament to the will of Edgar Harwick.”

Kelly was wide-eyed and Melinda had a look of satisfaction about her.

“I’m sorry. I’m sure that story won’t allow you to rest easier or help you get over your cold, any time soon, but truth be told, it’s been a long time since I’ve told anyone the full story and I feel better after telling it. Thank you for listening, and thank you for finding Wiggles.”

“Oh,” Kelly said, assuming she was referring to the mouse. “Sure thing.” She was going to ask Melinda how she knew she was feeling crappy, but supposed between the bags under her eyes and the sniffling, her body spoke for itself. Melinda was a sharp woman who didn’t miss a beat, even if she pretended to.

“I’m sorry, I came here to check up on you. Is there anything I can do for you?”

Kelly had already mentioned the noises, had already gotten an unsatisfactory answer and probably the best one she was going to get without going up there herself. And now that she heard the story, she really didn’t want to ask why there were noises coming from where Edgar’s private shop used to be. Or perhaps, still was. She decided to mention the windows instead. “It’s drafty in here, even with the heat cranked up. It’s always cold downstairs, and the draft actually blows my hair when I’m walking up the stairs. And in the upstairs windows, these ones here, there are actually gaps in-between the window frame and the brick walls in places.”

Melinda paused, as if considering. “If your mother ever taught you how to eat, you might welcome a little breeze,” she said, a thin smile forming on her lips. Kelly wasn’t sure whether to take it as a compliment or an insult, but decided it had been Melinda’s idea of a joke, and that it was probably meant to be both. Kelly smiled softly, unsure if she was supposed to or not, before Melinda continued. “I’ll ensure your windows get some fitted plastic molding to help resolve your issue. That should definitely warm it up in here some, it certainly did for Mr. Johnson down the hall, who complained of the same issue last winter. I do apologize for the inconvience. Is there anything else?”

“No. No, I guess that’s it really. I’m just…well, I’ll get used to it.”

“Yes, Kelly. Moving into a new and unfamiliar place is never easy. Despite whatever may be troubling you in your life, such a drastic change in lifestyle so suddenly can be a shock to the body. Especially here. It’s like taking a step back into history, to over a century ago. It certainly gives me that vibe, and you’re probably getting it too, whether you know it or not. But you’ll settle quite nicely. It might take a month or two, but you will.”

“You’re probably right,” Kelly said.

“I must get going,” Melinda said. “I’ll just leave Wiggles here with you for collateral. You keep him safe for now, and when your little draft issue is resolved, I will come and reclaim him. Deal?”

“Uh, yeah. Deal.” They shook on it, and Kelly wanted to tell her to take the damn rodent with her, but held back. She did want to have her windows fixed before winter came, and thought that rejecting the notion may offend Melinda and she would freeze to death this winter.

Kelly opened the door for her guest, to which she was not uttered a thanks, and Melinda was gone as swiftly as she had come. Sighing in relief, Kelly dead-bolted the door, top and bottom, and looked at the mouse that was once again in her hands. It had a very eerie presence to it now, and she strongly considered running down to the lobby and giving Melinda the mouse back, telling her how she wasn’t worthy of such a historical artifact or something to that effect.

She had never opened the inconveniently-placed hatchway above the landing of the stairs before, but decided now would be an ideal time.

Standing on the desk chair she placed on the landing, Kelly began prying at the hatch, and found it was more stubborn than she had anticipated. Alas, after several moments, the wooden hatchway door popped open and she was greeted with a blast of cool air.

The claustrophobic crawlspace was just big enough for her to crawl through and turn around on her hands and knees, if she so desired, and though it couldn’t go too far, she was unable to see exactly how far back it went without a light, and it did not have a switch built in that she could see. She couldn’t think of a more suitable place for a creepy little mouse, so she popped it in and, with less difficulty than it took to remove it, put the hatch cover back on, making sure it was nice and secure before she stepped back, satisfied. This way it would be both protected and out-of-sight. She could use the former as an excuse if Melinda ever came by asking where it was.

Outside, the storm began to pick up, and Kelly realized just how sleepy she was. She eyed the reading chair in the corner and made her way over, and snuggled into the chair, throwing the blanket on top of her. She listened to the rain pattering against the windows, and for the first time since she moved in, she slept for more than eight hours.

*****
The loud noise of something crashing onto the floor had woken her out of a sound sleep, and Kelly sat up in the chair with a start, knocking the book resting in her lap onto the floor. The apartment was almost completely dark, the little light the storm allowed through the windows barely enough to light up the room more than a foot from the wall. Save for the light from the microwave clock, she could see nothing on the opposite side of the apartment where she’d thought the noise had come from.

Kelly listened hard for a moment, without moving, and not for the first time that day, she had the sense that she was being watched. But after a brief moment of waiting and hearing nothing but wind and rain against the windows, she risked getting out of the chair. She stretched her arms and legs, placing herself in front of one of the windows as she did so, and she started shivering. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she nervously toyed with the zipper at her neck, and turning towards the floor lamp in the opposite living room corner but she knew she was more likely to trip over her crap than reach the lamp without injuring herself. She headed towards the kitchen instead, her eyes seeing well enough so that she only bumped into one box, the one that contained the rest of her books, on the way there, cursing to herself as she did so.

Turning on the overhead light in-between the sink and the small island, she looked around the kitchen to see what had fallen. Whatever it was had been too loud and too close to be in the room above her, whatever it was, it was somewhere here in apartment 123. But there was nothing on the kitchen floor that looked out of place. She poured herself a glass of water, leaning against the counter. It ws just her mind over-exaggerating the noises she was hearing, making her think they were something other than they actually were. Placing the glass into the sink, she decided nothing might make her feel better than some time out of this apartment. It was too late for the pool and exercise room to be open, but just a nice walk up and down the halls might be good therapy.

Flicking off the kitchen light and the stairwell light on, she bent down at the top of the stairs to put her sneakers on, and then stopped short when she saw the black hole in the wall to her left, level with her head.

Her eyes shifted up a little to where the dark hatchway was now opened, then down at the landing where the panel lay, and swallowed hard. She had put the panel in quite securely, she was certain, and she froze in fear, unable to look directly at the hole in the wall for a second look. She didn’t only feel someone was in there, watching her, she knew. And they..or it…was done hiding.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw two large hands emerge from the dark hole, gripping either side of the hatchway, and the low-pitch grunt was enough to confirm she wasn’t going crazy and that was what freed her legs from their paralysis.

She dashed towards the door, a mere five feet in front of her. She undid the two deadbolts faster than she had ever done anything in her life, and though the doorknob turned in her hand, the door refused to open. Something was blocking it. She screamed in terror as she pulled on the knob as it slowly began to budge as the thing heavily walking up each step, breathing loudly. Then the thing was right behind her.

The cold hand got hold of the back of her jacket collar, pulling her off her feet and away from the door with supernatural strength and speed. Kelly struggled, swinging her arms wildly, knocking something out of the attacker’s hand as she did so, the object falling onto the tile. Without loosening it’s grip, her attacker slammed her body on the ground at the top of the stairs, where she had paused to put her shoes on. It quickly managed to get both arms pinned behind her back, and kept her body forced to the ground, his inhumanly gigantic hand wrapped almost entirely around the circumfurance of her neck. Unable to breathe, Kelly did have her legs free and kicked him in the back frantically, but he seemed unaffected, and despite her urge to panic, she knew it would only be a waste of her energy.
There was something on the ground to the left only a foot away from her face, and despite her situation, she was aware she had knocked something out of his hands, and had hope that it was a knife or something she could use as a weapon.

And when she saw it, she realized it was not a weapon at all. It was the mouse. The thing must have found it in the crawlspace. If she could wiggle her left arm free, she could grab it, and maybe, just maybe drive it’s face into his eye or something, giving her enough time to escape his deadly grasp. Ushering what little strength remained within her, she managed to free her arm and she went for it, but six inches before she could even reach the mouse, his much larger hand grabbed her by the wrist and held her arm there, incidentally knocking the mouse further away, causing it to roll right-side up.

The mouse had a chip in it’s back, just above the tail, assumably forming when it had fallen onto the tile, and Kelly’s already wide eyes grew wider still. Even in the low light, she could see the unmistakable strands of hair where it had cracked open.

Kelly’s senses rapidly began to fade, and as she slipped into unconsciousness, her discovery of the secrets the mouse revealed the last thought she would ever have. Long after she was still, the big man kept his grip firm around her neck, the dead girl’s wide eyes remaining transfixed on the mouse.

The massive, calloused hand gently scooped up the mouse and held it in the palm of his hand, staring at it with equal awe and respect as Melinda had earlier that day, tenderly rubbing the crack with his finger. After a long moment of doing so, he carefully placed the fine specimen in his pocket.

In the following hours, throughout apartment 123 and 121, if either had a tenant, mysterious noises could be heard between bouts of hollowing wind. In the walls behind the kitchen of 123, the sounds of something dragging across wood, the creaking of a door behind the hatchway that was once again covered as it had been before, and the noise of someone heavy ascending a staircase. And amongst sounds produced by the rattling of windows caused by heavy winds and the creaking of pipes, one could also hear the sounds from a room that hadn’t been heard in many long years.

*Two Months Later*

Richard Jones stepped off the treadmill and sat on the bench in the corner of the room, fetching his his towel, wiping the sweat from his brow. He’d only been here for a few days, but the exercise room was something he was certainly going to get used to.

Richard bent down next to the statue in the exercise room. It was of a young woman in a sweatsuit doing a torso stretch, with one hand behind her back, the other stretched across her body, and one leg bent up over the other, which lay flat. He studied the face, and the very detailed clothing the life-like statue was wearing. Though the girl was pretty, the statue gave him the heebie-jeebies.

He supposed he was going to have to get used to it if he was going to be sharing the room with her every time he came to exercise, but if it were up to him, he’d throw every last one of the damn things in the dumpster.

Richard threw the towel over his shoulder, grabbed his gym bag, and headed back to apartment 123.

Credit To – P. R. Harving

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The Name of One

September 8, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Names.

Words assigned to other human beings to identify them to their fellow human beings. We walk around every day, calling out to one another, using words of a specific language to address a chosen person. Even without knowing a person’s name, we still use them to direct our thoughts, like “the blonde woman” or “the man with a beard.” All of these words describe and name the people and world around us. These words direct us. But what if there were no names? What if we walked by someone we knew by looks, but could not call out to them to get their attention? What would life be like then? Would our thoughts hold a coherent structure? Would we even know each other?

Popular talk shows couldn’t exist in this reality, because they couldn’t name who they would talk to. Confusion would follow the presidential elections, as no one would know who they were voting for. School would be harder, since you would be meeting new people that you wouldn’t even recognize. Our brains could not survive without naming people. Our minds would fill with thoughts but no one to direct them to, no one to name. Words like “blonde” or “bearded” would carry no weight, for those are names given to those we do not know. Languages would no longer be functional. If there were no names, nothing to describe a person, would they even exist? Could they exist? Is that why names were invented, to hold the human reality in place? Is that the price to pay for being withheld to a word given to you, one you didn’t even choose? Is being trapped by a word worth your existence? People who change their names can create a whole new reality for themselves. Breaking away from a particular word can open up thousands of possibilities. Also, those people that give you names, do they own you? Are you withheld to their power, their will? We name animals, and by society’s standards, we own the animals we name. If the government named you, would that mean that they owned you? Is being safe inside the confines of reality mean you give up your freedom? That is the conclusion I came to.

Now, you may be wondering why I asked you all these difficult questions. You may have already left, the ravings of a mad woman sent to torture your subconscious is not worth the time it takes to listen. Exactly what your captors want you to think. Who do you think started the naming process? Wouldn’t be the people that owned you as well as the entire human race? Reality is what we believe our world exists in, what we don’t want to break away from, when; in fact, it is the very thing that holds you hostage, holds you back from true freedom. Now that you’ve realized this, I only have one last question for you.

What is your name?

Credit To – Weirdo Reading Manga

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The Cube

September 7, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“I’ll be there in a minute. Give me a moment to unlock the door- there. Ah, it’s you! Come in, please, come in. Er, may I take your coat? There we go. I’ll be just a moment, I need to grab my tea- oh how rude of me, I forgot you! Would you care for any refreshments? No? Ah well, can’t say I blame you. I wouldn’t take food from a strange old man if I were you either. My reputation’s probably not undeserved either. The things I’ve seen, the things that have happened to me, I’d be amazed if there wasn’t at least some truth to what the locals say about me.

“Well, you probably didn’t come here to hear an old man ramble on about the local gossip. I’m actually not quite sure why you took me up on my invitation. I’ve debated with myself for some time, as to whether I would follow through with my intentions. But, I am finally settled with my decision, and I’m quite happy for it. I invited you over to hear my story, as a welcoming to the neighborhood for you, seeing as you’ve just moved here, and have no knowledge of your fellow residents here. Or so it seemed to you, at the time. But for you to find out what in the world I’m talking about, you’re gonna have to listen to what I tell you. Now this is where my tale begins…

“16 years ago, on Thursday, November 14 of 1996, I received a package in the mail. I will never forget that day, not even if I am condemned to live as long as God himself. That day marks the beginning of my end… anyway… I proceeded to bring it inside. I should have left the goddamned thing to rot on the porch. I set it down on the counter, noting the odd wrapping, a soft, almost velvety feel to the red colored exterior of the box. Once I had acquired some scissors, I opened the box with relative ease. Inside the box, lay a single, simple cube. It wasn’t very large, it fit right in the palm of my hand, like this, see? In fact, I’ve still got it here- yes, here it is. I don’t want to hold it for a single solitary second, but I need you to see it. I need you to know that this tale I tell is true. You can feel it, can’t you? That little tug on the edge of your mind, that tiny nagging sense of danger that you can’t ignore. You want to hold it? I didn’t think so. Funny, how such a simple object, can have such a foreboding power…

“I decided to inspect the cube, analyze it. But to no avail. It was just that, a simple cube. Perhaps the most unique aspect of it was the material it was made of, some kind of sheeny, unmarked stone. I never did find out what it was, just that it’s very light, and incredibly durable. Believe me, the amount of times I tried to destroy that thing in later years, you’d believe it was made from- hell, I don’t know. Any material I know of just seems weak in comparison. The way I see it, it was probably made by God, or by Satan himself. Probably the latter.

“Deciding that it was most likely a decorative, though odd, ornament to keep in the house, I set it on a table by the staircase, next to a lamp that had little angels engraved in it’s base. It was a cute little thing, given to me by my daughter and her husband. They knew I was a Christian man, and though she never completely believed, she bought it for me one christmas, and I’d kept it ever since. I give you such a long backstory to this lamp because, as you may have noticed, it is no longer here.

“Days went by. In fact, it was two weeks before the first thing that could even be considered odd happened. It was quite a simple thing.
“The phone rang.
“Standing up in my study, I walked into the lounge to pick it up, and see who it was, but suddenly it just stopped. I got within five feet of it, and it ceased to make noise. I picked it up, and of course, there was no answer. Just the dial tone. Deciding, it was a wrong number, I thought nothing of it, until it rang again, about five minutes later. This cycle continued, each time with me trying to pick up the phone before it stopped ringing, and each time it quieted right as I was about to pick it up. It wasn’t too long before I decided to see what would happen if i just let it ring, and ignored it. The next time it rang, I just sat in my chair, waiting.
“It began to increase in volume, sounding more urgent, and demanding attention. Still, I waited. It became louder, and louder, until I felt my ears would burst, and I could bear it no more. Practically running into the lounge, I picked up the receiver. ‘Hello?! Whoever this is, it’s not funny!’ I yelled into the phone.
“I received no answer.

“The phone still rang at inopportune times, albeit less frequently. Usually, it would only happen once, or twice a day, and now I was able to reach the phone, and listen to the sound of the caller. But it refused to give a voice to the escapade. I only ever heard silence on the line. The days moved by, and life went on. However, the following week I noticed something was off. I walked around the house, wondering why I felt as though there was something wrong, but I could not find any indication of anything unusual in the house. I shrugged, and made my way back to the office. The phone rang in it’s abnormal fashion, and I continued the day.

“The next day, the feeling was stronger. There was something off in the house, I knew it. I wandered around the house, determined to find the answer as to why I felt like there was something other than me in my house. I must have looked for about an hour. It may seem ridiculous to you, but I was already stressed from the phone, and I did not need another factor to add in to that effect. As I was saying, I walked around for near an hour, before I finally noticed it. Standing in my study, I looked at my desk. It looked normal, but it felt wrong. Then I looked at the legs of the chair on the carpet, and noticed that the legs were a few inches away from some indentations in the carpet that I realized were where the chair legs had been before. It was a few inches off, no more, but it still was confusing. How had it moved? When? Deciding to check other objects in the house, I noticed the same thing. A vase of flowers, stood inches from an elliptical ring of dust where it had previously situated. The trash can in the kitchen, umbrella stand, and even the random items such as books, or cups scattered around the house had moved. They had all moved in seemingly random directions, and I could not understand it. Looking in the direction each object had moved away from, I looked for any pattern at all. What I finally saw, was a point in the main entry room where they all moved away from, as though running from something. Walking over to the table by the staircase, I noticed that the lamp had moved as well. Then I looked to the left of it.

“The only loose thing in the house that had not moved, was the cube.

“In that instant, I experienced genuine fear for the first time since I received the cube. Was this the source of my problems? If so, what was it? An unknown force? Some angry spirit? A demon? Being a christian, I did think this might be the case. I immediately changed, and drove to my local church. I went to confession often, and I knew that Father Mathias was there until seven at least. I don’t remember much of the drive, but I imagine I was maniacal on the road. People probably thought I was drunk, I was in such a hurry to get there. My only thoughts consisted of getting to the church, and finding out what the hell was going on.

“I made it to the church, usually a fifteen minute drive, in about six minutes. I opened the car door as soon as it was parked, and rushed into the church. Upon entering, I smelled the familiar scent of incense, and the church was well lit, as a new lighting system had been set up last month. I walked from the main lobby into the priest’s office. Father Mathias sat at his desk, reading a book. Not the bible, just an adventure novel. Hearing my footsteps, he looked up, and immediately greeted me. ‘Tom, good evening! How’ve you been? You missed mass last we-‘ ‘I’m actually not doing very well,’ I interrupted. ‘Well, I’m sorry to hear that.’ He sat there with a quizzical look on his face, and a warm smile. ‘You obviously think I can help however, so let’s get to it.’ He beckoned to a chair, and waited expectantly. Sitting down, I began telling him the story of my past few weeks. ‘There’s this thing, a-and it’s making me stressed out, and I-I just don’t know why these other things are happening, and stuff is moving, and-‘ ‘Whoa! Slow down!’ he exclaimed. ‘I can’t understand a word you said. Speak slowly, and calmly.’ I took a deep breath, and I started again. ‘Well, I received a package in the mail a few weeks ago…’

“I sat with the priest for near a half hour, telling my tale. He listened intently, and remained silent. I finished my story, and awaited his input. He seemed tired, and looked forlorn. ‘Tom, you know that we’re both catholic christians. We are not jews, nor do we follow traditions of jews.’ ‘Yes…’ I replied, unsure of where this was headed. ‘Well, though we may differ on beliefs, there are a few things we do acknowledge of Jewish culture. One of these, is a dybbuk.’ ‘A dybbuk?’ I asked curiously. ‘Yes. A dybbuk. Jews believe these beings are restless spirits, or demons. They inhabit certain objects, and bring with them misery and despair. They can even possess living beings. But the most common effect is to put out an aura.’ I had no idea what he was talking about at this point. ‘An aura?’ ‘An aura. It expands, feeding off of the fear of others. In this case, the only thing to fear, is literally fear itself. It will do things to frighten you, make you uneasy, take away your faith. I believe there is a dybbuk in that cube of yours, Tom. And I’m sorry.’ He looked at me with genuine sorrow, the look of a doctor informing a patient that they’re terminal. ‘I truly am. But there is but one way to get rid of it.’ ‘Yes?! What!’ I practically begged him. I didn’t want that thing in my house for another minute.

“‘It feeds through fear. As knowledge of it grows, and more people are involved, so does fear. To get rid of the cube, you have to pass on the knowledge and fear to someone else. I wish that I could call upon the Lord for guidance, but… there are things of this world that even He must not interfere with.’
“I sat there dumbfounded. I had to give someone else this nightmare to end my own? I couldn’t. I drove home, alone in my thoughts that night. What to do? Could I live with myself if I did that to another human being?
“But could I live at all if I didn’t?
“I pondered this, and I decided that I would not. I would hold out against this unseen force, and I would not be afraid. I would beat it. It was a brave, but stupid gambit.
“I arrived home, feeling somewhat confident in my abilities to overcome the dybbuk. I opened the door, hung up my coat, and walked over to the cube. I picked it up, as gingerly as I could, walked to the front door, and threw it out into the night.

“I then proceeded into the living room to watch TV. It was not long before I heard the phone ring. Walking over to it with a smile, I picked it up, and heard silence on the other end of the line, the caller refusing to speak. ‘I know what you are,’ I said with a valiant expression. ‘And I want you to know that you won’t win. I have better things to do than be afraid of some weak demon when I have the protection of God.’ I chuckled a little, and then set down the receiver. I began to walk towards the living room.
“Out of nowhere, a book zipped by my head. It nearly scraped my nose, it was so close.
“I looked in the direction of where it had come from. It had not flown suddenly, nor had it fallen off of some shelf in some explicit way. It looked like it had been thrown, with some force. But there was nothing in the area where it had been thrown. Just the shadows. Then I realized that sitting on the table next to the area, was the lamp, and the cube. Don’t ask me how it was back, it just was. I did feel fear then, no matter what I’d said before. And I heard something. It was noise that rattled my very spirit, so disturbing. I can’t even begin to describe it in accuracy. The closest thing I can say is that it sounded like bones. Bones, being cracked, and crunched. They grinded against each other, giving way to their song of disturbance. It set my teeth on edge, and I could feel it in my very soul.

“Still, I resisted it. It was a war now between me, and the demon. It persisted in its antics, with the calling of the phone, and other objects that would be thrown at me. Many hit me, quite hard. I never gave up. I always pushed through it thinking that it would one day grow tired of me, and move onto someone else. It never did.

“One by one, misfortunes happened in my life. A bank account would freeze itself, taking my money with it. My car would break down, often. Personal belongings would go missing. Sometimes, they even happened to my daughter, and I couldn’t help feeling guilty about those. Whenever she had a break-in, or a pet ran away, or her husband was fired from a job, I’d wonder if it was my fault that these things happened to her. I worried so much, she was the only family I had left.

“One of the worst experiences I endured, was coming home after a long day of work, to find that the house had been trashed. Cups had been broken, books lay strewn about with their pages floating like confetti. Stepping over the cloudy fluff of a torn open pillow, I made my way over to my precious lamp, now laying on it’s side next to the cube, the position of a soldier who’s finally been shot down. As I picked it up, I noticed that the beautiful carvings of angels that had been engraved on it’s base, had all been chipped away with long scratch marks. It looked as though a wild animal had clawed at the images until they no longer covered the face of the lamp.
“Once again, the only thing untouched, was the cube.

“The phone still rang. I answered it as always. And now, there was the accompany of the mashing bones, always grinding, crackling in my ear from a low quality speaker. But things have gotten worse. I see things. Over the years, I get little flashes of a being, always hidden in the shadows, always with that grinding noise. That, inhuman, chilling, grinding. I see molten flesh, red and blistered from the fires of hell, on hands that grip the edges of doorways. The dry scraping of nails against wood and plaster. This continued for years. I’ve kept the damn thing at bay for almost two decades, but I’ve worn down. I’m getting old, more prone to fear, and I can’t anymore. Every time I see that flash of that thing, I see more and more. And I know, not through logic but I KNOW, that when I eventually see its eyes, and its gaze freezes itself upon me, then I will die. And it will be soon.

“Which is why I’ve passed it onto you. I know it tells the truth, it WILL leave me when I spread it. I can share the tale, and after this when I throw the cube, it will crack, and not return when I throw it out into the rain, now just a mere piece of rock, uninhabited by the being which gave it power in the first place. You have a choice now, I’ve made mine. You can’t un-hear this tale, and you can’t un-know the knowledge you have gained. Only you can decide what is the best decision you can make. And with that, I bid you good night. Now leave an old man to his well-deserved peace and quiet.”

You quickly make your exit, the old man ushering you outside as quickly as he had welcomed you in. As you drive in the drenching rain, with the windshield wipers quietly making their cleaning rounds, you ponder over what the old man has told you, and wonder as to why he would tell such an odd tale. You laugh it off, writing it off as some crackpot old man’s idea of a prank. Yet, part of you still remains uneasy, and you watch for shadows in your peripheral vision. You quickly exit your car once you’ve parked, and head hurriedly up the walk to your front door, to escape the downpour. You grab your keys, but fumble and drop them. As you look down, you see your keys, resting near a small packaged object. You have mail.

Looking at the box, you see no return address. You see no visible tags. But you do see a dark shadow at the edge of your vision, and you hear a noise from inside the house.

The phone is ringing.

Credit To – The Doctor

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Restraint

September 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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I know, little one. I know. You long to hunt, to kill. You hunger for hot blood and torn flesh. I know how long it’s been. But hush just a little longer, my child.

Yes, baby, I can see that he doesn’t know we’re here. But you still need to be quiet for a bit. It’s all about self-control, sweetling. You have to be able to control yourself. You’ve got to learn some restraint.

I know how delicious he smells, dear. I know.

Shhhh, flower, he hears you. Look. See how he turns from his screen? I know he’s not looking at us, baby. But he’s sensing you all the same. Humans can do that, if you don’t move with care. Mostly they’ll ignore the sensation, or dismiss it as paranoia, but you have to be still.

There, look. He’s settled again. So much easier this way.

No, little one, it wouldn’t be more fun to hunt him down. Remember the last time I let you do that? The girl almost got away. I was cleaning up for hours after that one. No, it’s much better to wait for the dark, wait for their guard to drop, and then …

Don’t fret, sweet pea. Your brothers and sisters were just like you, at the start. You’ll get better. More controlled. You just need more practice. That’s why Mother’s here, to help you learn.

See how his eyelids droop? Not long now.

There we go. He’s shut the box down.

Lights off. Always wait for lights off, baby. It’s much more fun in the dark.

Just listen to him breathe …

Oh, little one, I won’t make you wait anymore. Go on. Have your fun.

We’ll try again with the next one.

 

Credit To – Graille

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