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Mould

April 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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To whoever may read this. The following is an account of some of the melancholy events that have befallen me in my dark tinged lifetime in my own words. I hope that some of you may for a moment put aside the pressures and events in your lives that may have some actual importance and listen, or read rather as I recount the tale of my life. In particularly my life insofar as it relates to a certain devil house which once constituted my family’s estate. It is a grim tale, and not for those weak of stomach or depressed by nature. Before I begin I suppose I must give you some information on whom life you are about to see inscribed on paper. I am 25, a failed writer and somewhat of an English scholar, I say somewhat as I never finished formal education, or at least not as much of it as I really should have. I now find myself as a failed writer and a journalist who hates his job. I will not use my name in this story for fear somebody may use it in order to find me and therefor the horror which I will now die attempting to keep from the world.

When I was a child I lived in a small thatched cottage in rural Devonshire, England. It is an eerie old house, the type that would look quite at home in some cheesy horror story. During the autumn and winter thunder storms where common in my area and on a dark night with the wind howling, the rain belting and with lightning chipping away at the surrounding mountainous countryside it could be quite a sight. It was also strange old place, the sort of house where you would wake up early in the morning with your heart thumping and beads of warms sweat streaming down your face onto your soaked sheets without any memories of a nightmare or any sign of what could’ve woken you. The sort of house were you could be alone in a room but even if you lock and bolt the doors you would find yourself sub-consciously glimpsing over your shoulder as if the very walls were sprouting unseen eyes and watching you.

There was always certain malice about the place. You never felt truly alone. It was never a place I could call home but I don’t think I was the only one. The house seemed to reject any sentient life that dared step foot into its dank rooms. It made you feel unwelcome by projecting its own darkness unto whoever entered it as if left tainted by the hateful heart of some previous deceased owner. We knew nothing of the houses history with my parents having only purchased it in the early 50’s. We had no significant contact with the houses previous owners other than to exchange money and legal papers. So when my father and mother (who was pregnant with me at the time) moved in they knew nothing of the place but we could always tell it was old. I don’t know quite how old enough to have seen a lot in its time.

There may well have been a whole village there when it was first built. But now there is only the house and the desolate country side that stretches out for miles each side. There it stands like a sentinel, standing erect in that untouched area of countryside, keeping its cold watch, ready to stop anything from touching its strange serenity. But there was also something meek and pathetic about the house, like it was the last survivor of some near apocalyptic event in which all its brethren was wiped out, now doomed to stand its lonely vigil until the its very earth gave way beneath it. Sad, alone, weak, with a crooked old heart filled with hate. I believe my poetic side is reading too far into it, so I will stop boring you with my romanticising and instead get to the bulk of my tale.

I lived in that house for all of the first 18 years of my life with my mother; a quiet and nurturing woman, my father; a rather traditional English gentleman, he commuted to the small village a few miles away where he worked in the isolated village’s bank. I also had a younger sister who was eight when she vanished. My sister disappeared from our family home on the 4th of November 1970 I was only ten myself when it happened. I don’t remember the details of what happened. I only remember that one day she was there and the next day she was gone, leaving nothing but a distraught mother and numb father to prove that she had ever been there at all. My parents called the police at a payphone in the village (because after a particularly brutal storm the week before knocked out the phone lines [at that time there was no internet and I still can’t figure out how we even had electricity and a phone line]).

The search went on for a few weeks after she disappeared but nobody was ever recovered. The police gave up the search reasoning that she had run of during the night for some childlike adventure those young ones raised in rural environment’s tend to go on and had fallen or gotten lost. There had been heavy rain and decent wind speeds on the night she disappeared so it wasn’t hard to imagine a young girl running through wet rocky area in pitch black tripping and breaking her neck or falling down into some crevice. The police knew there was no hope of finding her alive and this was long before the time of Facebook missing person’s campaigns. So the police stopped the search in the knowledge that all they would be doing by sending more officers into a secluded rocky area in harsh conditions would be risking more lives. So my sister was essentially classed as missing and presumed dead.

Although I might not remember the events surrounding her disappearance, what certainly stuck in my head were the events leading up to and the aftermath of her disappearance. My parents took her disappearance harder than I did. I was too completely young to comprehend what was going on and neither of my parents really felt like explaining it to me. All I understood was that Sal was gone and now mummy and daddy are sad. My mother took it hardest of all. She had clearly always wanted a daughter and my sister had been extremely close to her, following her around almost everywhere. It didn’t take long for my mother mental state to Deteriorate to a startling degree after my sister’s apparent death. She completely withdrew into herself.

She never spoke to anyone, not even my father. Yet, sometimes I would hear her talking though, but not to any person. To my young mind it almost sounded like she was, well, talking to the walls. Like she and the house were engaged in some deeply private conversation in hushed tones. What really stands out in my memory today is the fact that I could hear two distinctly different voices. At the time I assumed that she was either speaking with my father or talking in funny voices (I mean, at the time I saw nothing wrong with this).

In retrospect however neither of these things could be true, with my father apparently always having an alibi and the fact that that voice could not possibly have been my mothers. Not only was it in a completely different frequency, it also didn’t sound human. I know that sounds cliché but by inhuman I don’t mean it was the deep guttural growl of some demon or animal. There was something pure yet scratchy about its voice. The closest thing I could compare it too is the noise thick foliage makes when a strong wind blows. Something in between a whistle and a scream. Only a year after my sister’s disappearance my mother also vanished late on an October night. The investigation was short with the obvious, be it brutal verdict being that she had slipped of in the middle of the night without the intention of returning. There are many caves, hills and streams in the surround area a person could use to quietly take their life and never be found.

My father became cold and distant after my mother’s death. He was hit hard by my sister’s death but with the loss of my mother he felt he had nothing left to live for. I could tell he still cared for me and did not act distant to hurt me. My father was an honour bound man, there was no way he would take his own life but at the same time he had no hope, everything he had loved and tried to protect had been taken away from him in the course of one year. He never turned to alcohol or quit his job. He never left the house and lived in it every remaining day of his life. He just stayed in his own honour bound limbo until he died 20 years later. Once I hit eighteen I left to make my own way in life, although I wanted to be there for him I sensed he didn’t really want me there.

And so I lived a normal life. I got a decent job as a mechanic and bought myself a decent sized bungalow in a small town in Hampshire; I lived well but not in luxury. I then discovered my father had passed away aged 64 leaving the house and what humble possessions he had left to me. After I left home me and my father had never patched up our relationship, in fact I hadn’t spoken with him in 11 years and had only found about his death one I was approached about his will. I had over time blocked out the events of my childhood. Not even because I found them traumatising, but more because I thought them to be unimportant, particularly when I was younger. The moment I heard about my father’s death all the memories (many with new detail and context the older me could pick out) came flooding back. At that moment something happened; I was not filled with some strange curiosity, some urge to go back there, I was not suddenly aware of some great truth I had left unseen, not even the lightest flame of interest was ignited in my heart. I quickly, quietly and above all simply; lost the ability to live a normal life.

I can’t explain it, it wasn’t something understood by my higher thought processes. I simply could no longer continue with my endless dull routine of; work, eat, sleep. I found myself unable to focus on any of these activities. I found it especially hard to do them in any order uninterrupted. I was just accompanied everywhere by this nagging sense of insecurity follow me through life with the continuous sub-conscious feeling that returning to the site of my family members death’s would somehow ease my mind. I was not sure that it would and I wasn’t nervous about doing it either. It was just a vague hope, but a necessary one. A hope that, in the end, became just as nagging as the problem to which it was supposedly the solution. I eventually decided to claim a few weeks of work to visit the home (if I can even call it that) I grew up in.

It was a Monday I left for the house. I had no significant other and only a handful of friends so I had no-one to really miss me. My limping old ford twisted its way over the desolate Devonshire countryside until I finally came to the remote hilly area my childhood house was situated in. It hadn’t changed a bit. Then again I shouldn’t have been surprised, why should I expect an area which looked like it hadn’t changed in perhaps thousands of years to have changed purely to stroke what little sense of nostalgia I may have had. I had no pleasant memories of that place. I was always a quite reserved boy. Not meek or sickly but simply more at home with his own thoughts than out playing in the green wasteland that stretched out for miles around my childhood friend.

As I walked up to the gate of the house I finally saw something to assure me that I was in fact returning to the house rather than letting the creeping feeling I never left takeover. There at the gate stood an old wiry hazel tree which I remembered from my youth. Now however the branches where torn and crooked and the tree was a sickly shade of grey. I looked to have taken a lighting strike some years ago. The entire tree was fried and the top of the trunk had been totally blown off. I hated that tree, as a small child I found its dark bark would sometimes make shapes that, too a young child, resembled a human face all too much. Now the once healthy young tree stood crippled and hunchbacked leering down at me with its dark mangled faces. I opened the gate and it screamed as I pushed it open as if the house was warning me not to take a step close.

As I got a closer look at the tree I noticed multiple small patches of a pure black mould growing out of the holes in the wood. It looked smooth and thin and whistled at me as I walked past. I got the strangest feeling as I walked away from the tree. I felt as if the tree was watching me with its many strange faces. I could feel its eyes scorching the back of my neck. It felt as though I had woken the tree from a great slumber and now as it came around the frustration I felt in its gaze transitioned into something else. It was something primal, common to all higher thinking beings to some degree. Something we all keep locked away in the backs of our minds as we have no use for it. It’s the way a predator eyes its prey. Not even prey its hunting, just something that, under other circumstances it would be hunting. It didn’t take long to realise I had awoken the house and now it was watching me.

I was never one to keep diaries. I never felt the need or had the patients and commitment to keep one. At this point in my life however, for those few days, I did keep a diary for the sake of documentation. It is less my diary and more the diary of that house. So for now I will recite to you an abridged version of that very diary. I will hand over to my younger self for now.

1st November 1991

The journey here was uneventful. The round between my current home and this house is basically a remote country road so no terrible traffic. I think I’ve brought enough food to last me a week. I have a small-fridge which I’ve already plugged in and I can use the water from the tap in the kitchen with the cups I brought. It looks like we’re in for a storm in the next few days. Being here got me thinking about father and what it must have been like alone. The phone doesn’t work and there’s no-one living for miles. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for an old man living here alone. It makes me feel bad I wasn’t there for him but I know I wouldn’t have been welcome. I would only have made things worse.

It doesn’t feel like I’m home, in fact it feels as if I’m invading somebody else’s sanctuary. They say father died from some sort of reaction to an unknown contaminate, signalled by a black rash. So I’m being especially careful not to touch things when it’s not necessary. Years of poor upkeep mean the house if full of damp spots since the thatch on the roof hasn’t been changed in years so the one upstairs room I’m staying in has water stains down all the walls. I hate to think what it’s going to be like if it does rain. There’s one window looking out onto the front garden and the rolling hills and rocky crevices beyond. The walls are covered in small black spots of mould on the damp patches. What shocked me however the fact that there was mould on the window. There it was. Multiple small black smudges on the windows.

I was immediately` fascinated by this phenomena and upon finding the mould was thankfully on the other side I took a closer look. Each smudge was around the size of my thumb. What was strange about them was the fact that each of the smudges on closer inspection seemed to have spiral patterns were the glass showed through. This gave the weird effect of making smudges resemble fingerprints as if some unseen figure had been prodding at the window. Anyway, I’m now going to prepare some canned beans and go to sleep. I decided that since it was still here I would sleep in my old bed. I am staying in my old room so there’s no point in buying a sleeping bag with my childhood bed being right there.

2nd November 1991

I woke up at around three in the morning last night to a sound that resembled something hitting the window with an impact considerable enough to cause a loud smacking sound but not quite enough to break it. My first though was that a bird must have smacked into the window. It was pitch black outside after all. I flicked on the light and went to the window to discover what unseen event had startled me so much. When I opened the blackened curtains I was greeted by quite an unnerving site. New mould had grown on the window. This time it was a far larger single patch of mould that looked like a bunch of small patch’s stuck together. They all shared the strange marking I had seen on the other one with the spirals. There seemed to one large circular one with five small oval shapes coming of it. I very quickly realised what this looked to be and jolted backwards the moment I did. It still seemed to be on the outside, which came as some relief for some reason. I decided I was tired and my mind must be exaggerating just how much this silly patch of mould looked like a hand. I was about to turn off the light to go back to sleep when I caught one last look at the old hazel tree, and too my weary eyes it almost looked like it was looking back up at me.

When I got up this morning I decided to have a look around the house. All the rooms look exactly like they did when I left. In fact it looks the exact same as it did the day my mother disappeared. It must have reminded my father of her, keeping the place like this. The only new object in the house is an old photo of my mother and sister sitting alone on the dusty, mouldy mantelpiece. What I did find however is a door outback which appears to lead underground. I don’t recall us ever having a basement but I never went out back and I don’t see when we would’ve used it so it would hardly surprise me if we did have one and I just never came into contact with it or don’t remember ever having. I tried to pry the door open but it just wouldn’t budge as if something was holding it shut from the other side.
I went for a walk around the countryside, something I never did while I was younger. I’ve never felt as alone as I do here. The beautiful terrifying desolation of this place is palpable. The loneliness is the kind of loneliness you feel when the whole world turns on you and you have nowhere to hide. When the very earth itself seems to look up at you with a mix of disgust and contempt. Half ways through my walk it began to rain. By the time I had jogged back to the house it was belting down with the first signs of dark lightning storms moving over the empty tundra. I was soaked when I got in and intended to take a bath. When I got to the tub I found it still filled with the last disgusting remnants of the last water poured into it. The thought that this may have been the last bath my father had ever taken sent shiver running down my body. So I dried of and settled for some new clothes. The more I think about it the worse an idea this trip seems.

I still don’t know what I hope to achieve with this. I came on the logic that I should pay my final respects to my father. But that’s not what I’m here for and I know that. I just think that if I can get down into that Basement maybe I’ll find the answer I seek, even if I’m not even sure what the question is yet.

3rd November 1991

Last night was hell. I couldn’t sleep over the persistent feeling someone was watching my slumbering when no-one is there. In the middle of the night I became aware of the sound of something greasy squeakily rubbing against my window. I waited for the noise to stop and got up. I turned on the lights and opened up the curtains. Despite the heavy continuous rain the dark imprint of a hand seemed even more pronounced and there was a new pattern. There the black mould was, forming a human face. I almost yet out a yelp when I saw it. The face was large, as big as both my hands side by side. It looked human but there were things wrong with it. The eyes seemed that littler bit too small for the face, the nose was invisible and the mouth was stretched into a long crooked grin, a grin I might almost call hateful. It might have only been mould but looking into the things “eyes” I could have sworn I sensed malice. Reached out to touch, to see if it really was there and it wasn’t something the exhausted imagination had pulled from the darkest part of my psyche.

Much to my horror it was wet. Not even wet, but slimy and smooth. It was on my side of the glass tonight. I jerked my hand back. It felt like rubbing thousands of tiny smooth strands of seaweed. I felt a throbbing pain in my middle finger where I had touched it. When I looked at it I did not see a normal finger, where I had touched the mould the finger had gone black and grey. The nail had curled of and when I prodded it with a pencil it slid straight off. I was too tired for everything that was going on so I went back to sleep and just as I turned the light out I could sworn the face’s sadistic smile had widened.

The day went by without anything eventful happening. I woke up and attempted to nurse my finger. The pain had stopped and I ran it under cold water, to no avail however. The skin itself was black and shrivelled and there didn’t seem to be much I could do for it other than bandage it up with my small portable first aid kit. I figured that since it was no longer causing me any distress and it didn’t seem to be spreading I would risk the seven hour drive to the nearest hospital. With my finger like it is now I decided it wouldn’t be worth it. I would just keep it clean and keep applying fresh bandages and antiseptic. Until I find the answer. I need the answer and I’m not stopping until I find it. I won’t leave until I’m sure I understand this house. I took another look at the basement door. After years of decay and rainfall a small corner has snapped off, I managed to take it by the sodden wooden corner and pry it open. Its smells like decay down there but I can’t stay in this house, not for another night.

I went into my bedroom earlier and upon looking at my bed I noticed that on the walls above it are two large patches of black mould. They appear to be in the shape of humanoids in the crouching position looking down at the bed. They appear malnourished and misshapen. Like the pale imitations of the human for you might see in a child’s painting. The wretched creatures seem to be looking straight at the bed ready to spring from their position at anyone who falls into their trap. Any tired ignorant person. Me. I don’t know what they would do if they caught me off guard sleeping but I know it wouldn’t be good. I can’t sleep in that room again. I have decided that I will go down into the basement, get my precious answer and leave this cursed place.

4th November 1991

I am lost. Last night, in the middle of the storm I entered the basement of the house. The first thing that hit me was just how warm the air was. It felt like a hot, humid summer’s day down there despite the fact it was a chilly autumnal night outside and it was blowing a gale. I closed the door to attempt to block out the guttural pounding of the rain. As it shut I continued down into the darkness with no company other than the antique miner’s oil lamp my father kept on the mantel. I was bloody lucky there was oil in it. I just then noticed the smell. It was something in between meat, a green field and a rotting apple. It was strangely pleasant yet sickly sweet and totally sickening. They as I stepped down the final two steps I noticed the first of the carcasses. It was a rat nothing more. It looked relatively fresh, as if it had died only a few hours beforehand. The only off thing about it was the layer of black mould encasing its body. I had never seen mould like this. It was so thick it looked more like moss.

As I took a few steps I began to notice the shapes of other dead creature. They were lined up along the room like the trophies of some strange biologist. Who chose to, instead of preserving his specimens in vinegar encase them in this strange mould. There were animals of all types in there. Small birds and rodents to larger mammals like badgers and foxes right up to sheep and goats. All in differing states of decay but all sharing the same ominous layer of soft black mould. As I waved my lantern, at the end of the room something stirred. My mind was whirring as to what could’ve possibly have killed all these animals and brought them down here. A large predator? A Maniac? My own father? As well as what the mysterious mould was doing. My brain put the movement down to something being blow by a gust from the on-going storm outside. However whatever was moving continued to stir and grabbed my attention when it slowly but surely began to rise, like a child taking its first steps.

This pulled me back from the world of possibilities I was considering at the time. They shape raised itself unto its hind legs, it appeared humanoid. Like everything else in the room it was covered in a thick layer of mould, but was older than anything else in the room though. The skeletal shape beneath the tangled mess of fungus looked weak and incomplete. It swayed slightly as if the bone itself was crumbling. To reach such a state of decay would take some time. Perhaps around twenty years. As that creature turned to face me the other creatures in the room began to rise. I felt the rash on my finger begin to throb and burn as I saw the black shadow of another skeletal creature standing next to its larger counterpart. It was much smaller. It resembled the decaying bones of a small child. I had seen enough. I only had time to weakly utter one final word to the creature “Shit” as I bolted for the door. I panicked at first as I struggled with the old wood but my panic was short lived as I began to feel the door crumbling open. And so, I ran. With the shambling creatures slowly awakening behind me and getting up to lumber after me.

I jumped in my car and drove. Ignoring all my possessions I left in the house. I just drove. As I looked back at the house one final time in my wing mirror I saw the door to the basement still wide open with silhouettes poking out from the darkness that, from the distance, I could almost mistake for a woman and child standing and holding hands as the wind, rain and lightning beat the countryside around them.

That was too fucking much for me. I drove back to my hometown and am now spending the night at the house of my friend Jess. I cleaned and replaced the bandages on my finger. To my horror I also discovered that during my scramble to get out I had ripped my jeans and exposed the skin underneath to the mould. The rash grew for a couple of hours and stung like hell before calming down. It now covers most of my kneecap. I’ll go to hospital to get it checked out in the morning. For now I just need to sleep in a safe environment and gather my thoughts. Had I found my answer? Was I happy? Was I safe? I don’t know but I doubt it. All that I do know is that I’m far away from that house, and that’s all that matters. I think this will be my last entry.

And so it was. I got it looked at the hospital the next day, they were baffled. This sort of reaction only ever occurred due to the bite of some exotic insect, not some common English fungus. The reaction died down, although the black hue never went away. I stayed with Jess for another couple of months and over that time one thing led to another and over the course of many months we became more than friends. We got married in the spring of 1992. Spring, a fresh start for me, away from the endless fall of that house. We had two beautiful sons and have lived a happy life in our small town for twenty odd years. But I know I need to go back. The house kills and the mould feeds on decay left behind after death. It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship I suppose. The house is a predator that never lets go of its prey and I am its prey and the mould only lives on dead things. I was dead from the moment I touched that face. Therefore the mould will have me one way or another. I doubt I’ll come back and if so I’m sorry I couldn’t have been a husband to my wife and a father to my sons for longer. But I don’t want to take them down with me. I have to go back to that house and face it alone. Because lately, my rashes have been burning. And even more recently, I’ve seen the strangest spots of mould on the walls.

Credit To – CreepyZalgo

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The Shadow Beneath Whelford

April 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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December 25th, 1976. 11:00 PM. Christmas was winding down for most residents of Whelford. For its burgeoning police department however, the night was just beginning. A call had been received reporting flashing lights and loud noises coming from the abandoned coal mine, which lay just inside the border separating Whelford from the neighboring hamlets. The captain at the time, John Ford, had driven out to investigate along with another officer, anticipating nothing more than a group of teenagers out on a dare. Christopher Raymond was not included amongst the original dispatch, though he wished he had been. Most of his coworkers would’ve relished a day off on Christmas, but for the newly recruited officer, what should have been a day of merriment and celebration had, as per usual, turned into an excuse for his family to rag him out for his life choices. “Why would you ever leave Boston for this cow town? Why did you marry that Mexican whore? Why haven’t you and the whore given me a grandchild?” They never came to visit of course. It was a matter of principle for the elder statesmen of the Raymond family to avoid the perceived filth of Whelford. The lack of a physical presence from the parents didn’t make the obligatory Christmas phone call any less insufferable. The worst part of it was that his family was correct in at least one of their assumptions. Why had he up and left a promising position in a big city organization for a tiny no-name town out west? His wife’s status as a Mexican citizen didn’t bother him as much, and he was in no hurry to produce an heir to the now “corrupted” Raymond line, but the initial question still gave him pause. So when Christopher’s phone rang at 11:20 PM, with a frantic sounding sergeant practically begging him to drive down to the office for briefing, it was less of an unpleasant interruption and more of a godsend.

30 minutes later, Acting Captain Christopher Raymond was on the scene at Cunningham Mine. Everything was shaping up very conveniently for him to play hero. Both members of the original investigative team sent to the mine had completely lost contact with the outside world. The new recruits from Worcester and Boston were not arriving for another few days. And out of all available field agents, he had been summoned to follow up on this case. As he approached the mine, Christopher knew he had to force the uncomfortable sense that this was all too good to be true out of his brain. He was finally getting a chance to prove himself! An opportunity to get his foot in the door in this still foreign environment! Still, “that feeling” remained. The feeling that despite everything falling into alignment, something was off. It was a sort of paranoia that was a key tool in any effective policeman’s belt, yet it was especially pronounced for this occasion. “No time to worry now.” The officer’s thoughts dug their way through his brain and out his mouth for the first time in a very long while. He was quite correct in his assumption. The gaping maw of the mineshaft awaited him.

The scene that lay before the new captain as he entered the mine would not have been out of place in a geological freak show. The mineshaft was constantly shifting, wide to narrow, tall to compact. Every now and again a faint rumbling could be heard from somewhere deep below his current position, but this was the only thing he had noticed thus far that was even close to a clue. The more he wandered, the further he threw himself into the guts of the Earth, the more Christopher wanted to return to the surface. He was normally unfazed by the darker places of the world, but Cunningham Mine had a certain bleakness about it which chilled him to the core. Still, there was a job to be done, and he was not going to leave until his compatriots had been found. Taking a left at a rotting support pillar, Christopher called out, “Officer Ford! Officer Shepard!” His request for the missing officers’ presence yielded no reply. Right turn. The once-blinding cone of vision provided by the flashlight was now beginning to dim. Onwards, onwards, onwards, down into the endless, twisting halls of the mine. Faster now. “Officer Ford!” A rumble from below. “Officer Shepard!” A scraping noise from behind. Another right. And another scrape. Something was here. Down a slope. Faster. He could hear a squelching sound, closer than before. It was closing in. Christopher whipped around, gun in hand and…nothing. He turned forwards and began to run, then stopped himself. Had to stay calm. He began to explore once again, more prudently this time. Diligence and patience were key in these situations. Left. “Officer Ford!” Still nothing. Christopher rounded a bend and found himself facing a long hallway, a faint light at the end. Finally, a breakthrough. Once again, he began to run. As the light closed in, it became clear that this was the entrance to a room. A safe haven. And if luck was on his side, some answers. The light drew closer and closer, until finally – “Jesus Christ!” Officer Raymond skidded to a stop at the entrance of the room. Something was not quite right.

It was a bizarre sight indeed. Before him lay an abyss, the likes of which he had never seen before. It couldn’t have been a dynamite blast from long ago, gone badly wrong – the gap in the ground was almost ethereal in nature. The stone which made up these walls was different than the pale granite that comprised the rest of the mine. This made the smears of bright red strewn across them all the more striking. Pentagrams, pentacles, and far more ancient insignias from a dark, lost age adorned the sides of the artificial cavern. A doorway across the pit led deeper into the mine, but this chasm was clearly an impassable obstacle; a detour would need to be found. As Christopher cautiously wheeled around, taking care not to lose his footing, a muffled cry came from above. He shifted his gaze to the ceiling, and suddenly, the mission was complete. The missing officers had been found. Dangling from the top of the room was a sea of sickly-green pods, each containing the body of an individual who had found himself unlucky enough to venture into this primordial chamber. Hundreds of the pods, mashed together, swayed back and forth in the nonexistent breeze. Christopher could do nothing but stare, paralyzed by consternation, as the abominable container closest to him was ripped open slowly, the material comprising it stretching and straining against itself like a revolting sheet of plastic film. From inside of the shell emerged former Whelford Police Captain John Ford. Initially bewildered by his surroundings, Ford quickly remembered the purpose of his escape.
“Raymond! Get the hell out of here! They’re-” The ex-captain was cut off by a droning, guttural groan stemming from the hole which he swung perilously over. “Just go! It’s too late for us!” As if to prove Ford wrong, dozens of other pods began to open. Unbelievably, the bodies of the miners who had initially stumbled upon this unfortunate room had been perfectly preserved. Their wails echoed through the room and down the hallway – “Help! Help!” “For the love of God, get me out!” “Save us!” Their rapid movements only worsened their situation- one by one the pods dropped like icicles into the abyss. With each falling pod, the hideous noises from the pit became louder, and began to shake the room with increasing measures of violence. Yet still, Christopher was rooted to his spot. An unnatural gust blew in from the hallway behind him, and he was momentarily engulfed in a blinding cloud of smoke. Just as suddenly, the smoke cleared, the cavern was still and silent once more, and from the apex of the room, a booming voice both angelic and demonic, divine and unholy, rang out to address Christopher with three simple words – “Don’t look down.” This was enough to snap him out of his reverie. The pods were falling at a faster rate; the whole mine seemed to be collapsing. Ford was right. It was time to leave. Christopher bolted back down the hallway, feverishly working up an escape plan. Left turn. Right turn. Another left. The violence of the quaking seemed to increase tenfold with each passing second. Everything was slowing down. The hallways were spinning. Well aware that he was losing consciousness, Christopher attempted to stumble just a bit further, but to no avail. He fell to his knees, desperately grasping for a last moment of life. His vision blurred. His mind emptied. A shadowy figure skulked forward from the end of the hall. The blackness seeped in. And the mine was no more.

How Christopher had managed to end up in his bed by 7 the next morning was a mystery only to him. According to his fellow officers, he had never left it. There was no “John Ford” or “Haley Shepard”, nor had there ever been at the Whelford Police Department. The mine had been caved in for decades now, and Christopher had never gone there to investigate anything. He hadn’t come into work in the past few days in fact, and it was a relief to find out that he was okay.

This, at least, was the story he got. The town had a certain stillness to it that it had lacked before. The rowdy were docile, the children had calmed, and by the time he returned from grocery shopping that afternoon, Christopher knew that something was wrong. He had to have been to the mine. All of the memories were so vivid. This merited further investigation. Upon arriving at the mine for (supposedly) the first time however, the story perpetuated by those down at the station seemed true. A heap of rubble and wood blocked the entrance to the mine completely. He strolled up to the ruined doorway. Maybe he was just going crazy. But he had to be certain. His ear pressed up against the cool stone. And in a flash, his suspicions were confirmed. In that instant, Christopher Raymond ran from Cunningham Mine and never looked back. It may have been a trick of the mind, or perhaps just the wind. But from that point on, he would never deny that he heard something when he placed his ear up to the entrance of that accursed mine – the piercing screams of those still trapped in the recesses of a place that something beyond time, or space, or human comprehension called home.

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Out of Body Experience

April 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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My life ended in mid-December, the 17th to be exact. I survived a little after that, but that was the last day I lived freely.

I was goofing off on the internet that day, kind of flicking through my newsfeed, reading interesting news stories, that sort of thing. Sometime after one thirty, I found an article on lucid dreaming and out of body experiences.

I skimmed through the article. The author mentioned astral projections and plane walking a couple of times, and other similar terms. I’m not a hardcore naturalist who believes that everything has a natural explanation, but telepathically visiting alternate planes seems far-fetched, especially when it comes from someone trying to sell you something. Still, I was interested. It sounded similar to lucid dreaming, which I’d had fun with once or twice. I thought of them as just a biological glitch.

It’s not like it’d be a challenge to find how-to guides for out of body experiences on the internet, so I won’t bother being super-secretive about it. The goal of out of body experiences is to get your body to go to sleep while retaining consciousness. When you go to sleep, your brain shuts off movement signals to the physical body so that you don’t hurt yourself while you dream. Out of body experiences utilize this feature of the brain to make mind think it’s moving while keeping the body stationary.

The concept arrested my mind. I couldn’t let it go, and I found myself looking forward to the night. I waited for the day to pass, and when night came, I set up safety measures; if something did go wrong, I didn’t want to be stuck in dreamland for an eternity. I set my alarm for an hour after I planned to have my out of body experience, so I wouldn’t be stuck for too long. Hopefully the sound would bring me back to my body in case I couldn’t get back.

So at eleven o’clock, I went to bed and slept. I had trouble falling asleep, but eventually I dropped off. I slept for a few hours, then woke up and went through the process of getting an out-of-body experience. Once I was ready, I took a few seconds to collect my thoughts, then tried pulling myself out of my body.

Once I started forcing myself to move, my perspective altered, and I could see myself from the side as though through a different set of eyes. I could still see with my eyes, but I had a second view from an outside perspective, watching myself. I could still feel my body, but it was distant. I forced myself to sit up and to my delight, I felt myself moving but my body remained still. Through my outside view, I could see a ghost detaching itself from my body. I was elated.

My pleased surprise only lasted a few seconds before I felt my body freeze. Just as I realized that my trick had really worked and that I had no control over my body, an amorphous red cloud filled my vision. It hovered over me for a second, then disappeared as I inhaled.

My body reacted instantly and began seizing up. The spasms made all of my muscles clench, relax, and clench again. In my trance I think I counted four convulsions every second, but I’m not sure how long they really lasted. It was terrifying; I knew I’d set my alarm clock for ninety minutes after I’d begun my lucid dream, but I couldn’t last that long. At the rate I was convulsing, it would only be a few minutes before my heart gave out.

The red cloud obscured my vision, both from the outside perspective and through my eyes, and even worse, I was paralyzed. I tried to force myself back into my body to stop my seizure, but I couldn’t get in. Then I heard the voice.

It was like a grating rumble rasping deep in its chest, but it also had an animal quality, burning with anger. Not a shrieking fury, but slow, deliberate menace.

“My…Name…Is…”

The voice filled me with terror. I wanted to run as far from it as I could get, but I was frozen. Names had power. I didn’t want to hear it, I didn’t want to know it. Just as it spoke its name, I shouted my own name through my convulsions, drowning its voice out. It stopped speaking, as though surprised it had been interrupted. It growled softly as the red smoke began to dissipate, and I fell into my body again. My seizure stopped and I woke up.

I don’t know how long this experience lasted. I’m guessing about twelve or fifteen seconds, and probably no more than a minute. My chest hurt and my muscles trembled, but I was alive. I was rattled, but I managed to convince myself that something went wrong and I created a nightmare. Maybe my fears of what could happen surfaced subconsciously, I reasoned. Whatever the case, I decided not to exploit any more “glitches” in my nervous system and went back to bed.

I slept through the night, though I was uneasy. The next morning, I awoke and convinced myself that my experience had just been a fluke. And I had more pressing matters on my mind. It was exactly one week before Christmas and I had no idea what I was getting for my family, so I showered, dressed, and headed out the door. The events of the previous night quickly fell to the back of my mind as my car entered the rumbling traffic.

At least that part of my day was a success. I bought most of the presents for my family and girlfriend, and I just needed a few for my other friends. As I was browsing the aisles of Wal-Mart for a good pair of headphones, my arms suddenly felt like they’d been encased in ice. I jerked in surprise and the feeling vanished. As it went away, I heard a deep, indistinct whisper. There was no one nearby, unless you counted the seventy-something woman a few feet to my left. I shook my head, thinking I’d felt a draft of icy wind, and continued shopping.

I went to bed that night and found myself unintentionally entering that half-awake state, but I felt vulnerable. I didn’t want to push myself out of my body, but I felt myself slowly rising out of my body. Terror shot through me as I sensed the red smoke hovering over my body. It felt like it was trying to pull me out. As soon as I realized that, my eyes shot open and I came back to my body, shaking from fear.

I didn’t sleep that night. I knew that my oppressor was still there, and I got more tired as time wore on. I would begin to fall asleep, then jerk awake as soon as I felt myself being pulled out of my body. At first I tried to ignore it. I knew it was coming for me, but I started eating real food and drinking caffeinated drinks, which helped. Morning was an immense improvement; I didn’t feel so tired with the sun up already. As soon as it was light out, I went outside to get some winter sunshine, enjoy some Christmas movies, and finish Christmas shopping. I couldn’t hear anything through the day, but I had a feeling that I was being followed. I tried to blot the fear from my mind as I returned to my home.

I felt jittery. I knew I had to go to sleep eventually, but I didn’t want to think about it. six or seven, I began to microwave something when I began hearing the voice in my mind. I dropped the plate in my hand and it shattered.

“My… Name… Is…”

Its voice now held contempt as well as that bitter anger. I yelled my name out loud when it was about to announce its own, hoping that it would drive the demon away like last time. For a moment I thought it had gone away. I relaxed but then heard its laugh, deep and slow. It was unsettling, like hearing loud, harsh music. Its laugh rolled on for several seconds, then it spoke again.

“Your… name… is… worthless…”

“My… name… is…”

I said my name again, this time more forcefully. Its chuckle lasted longer this time, but then faded to nothing. I listened intently. I couldn’t hear anything, but I knew it was still there.

I finally moved from my frozen position. Leaving the broken plate and splattered food, I rushed to my computer. I began searching the internet for the thing, but there were too many possibilities. It could be a demon, an asura, a ghost, or any one of hundreds of other of spirits described by the cultures throughout the world.

As I clicked on another link, I heard its laugh again. A chill invaded my body and I heard its voice.

“Hear…My… Name…”

“Shut up, shut up, shut up!” I screamed.

It laughed again.

“Your… Name… Is… Worthless…

“Your… Commands… Are… Void…”

“My… Name… Is…”

I tried to ignore the terror inside me, but I shouted my name again. I had a sense it was shaking its head as its laughter faded.

What sort of demon places such importance on names? Names were supposed to give you power over the demon, not give the demon power over you. What kind of mythology was this from?

I returned to my computer and began a new search.

* * *

It came to me several times in the following hours and whispered its name. Finally, I stopped trying to drown it out and listened. When the demon spoke its name, it was so soft I couldn’t hear it. It sounded like softly hissing static, a name composed of indiscernible sounds. As soon as I stopped blocking out the demon’s name, it began whispering mine.

Nothing happened as far as I knew, but I grew even more nervous. My searches weren’t helpful, and I couldn’t hear the demon’s name well enough to get a clue what it was.

My body felt weighed down. If my eyes were closed any longer than a blink, sleep washed over me. I couldn’t sleep, though, because every time I began to drift off I felt the terrible presence hovering over me. I’d jerk awake and begin another string of searches. It spoke probably four or five times an hour, and whenever it whispered its name, I strained to hear it. It was still an indistinct hiss.

Sometime in around three in the morning I realized I could hear its voice in the real world. I heard it when the wind blew past my window, when the furnace kicked on, when water ran in the bathroom. And it grew louder as the night wore on. I began blasting my music, but I could hear its rough voice in the static between songs. The demon’s voice grew louder and louder until I could hear its muttering in the background of my favorite songs. I stopped listening to music at five in the morning, but I could still hear the voice in the computer’s fan and in the creaking of the house.

The morning was worse. I rushed to the library as soon as it opened and began researching out of body experiences, religious beliefs on demons, ancient religions, and the like. Nothing helped. The things I found helped me understand the science of the thing, but there was nothing to explain hallucinations after waking up, unless I was taking hallucinogens in my coffee. As I burned through the pages, I could see the dark red smoke in the edges of my vision. When I glanced at it, the smoke would vanish. I would go back to reading, and it would rematerialize. By the afternoon I saw the smoke hang in the air for a few seconds before fading to nothing. Evening came and went without relief, then I decided to go home. I was rattled after my day in the library, and not much better off. As I drove back to my house, I could hear the demon’s voice grumbling in the engine, saying my name, muttering threats, and grumbling its own. When I turned off the car, it didn’t even bother masking its voice anymore. I could almost hear its name now, but it was still distorted. Worse, I could feel its frozen breath tickling my ear and smell its dusty, rotten breath.

I scoured the internet all night, going to several forums for supernatural and paranormal. Few people had heard of demons like this, and they couldn’t advise a defense other than a crucifix, holy water, or salt, but I doubted they’d work. I stayed up all night hoping for someone knowledgeable to show up on the forums. I was disappointed.

About two hours ago, the kitchen lights started flickering. The pencils in the jar have started rattling softly, and I swear I can see the cans of tipped-over energy drink slowly rolling toward me. Not only can I hear its voice, but I can also hear a faint, high-pitched keening, like a distant boiling kettle. And footsteps. Heavy, inexorable footsteps, coming closer, and when I turn to confront my enemy, I only see indents in my wooden floor.

It’s six in the morning now, still dark, and I’ve reached the limit of my endurance. I have to fight it. I’ve chosen my best defenses in an attempt to ward it off, but somehow I doubt they’ll work. I’m alone, I’m exhausted, and I’m done fighting. I’m sorry everyone, but I just can’t…

Stay…

Awake…

Credit To – Crow

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Chalk 2 – Cult of Chalk

April 16, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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[Please read the first in the Chalk series here! -Derp]

You would think that being a cult investigator would be so exciting that I couldn’t get bored. The problem is that I get completely obsessed with something, learn everything about it, and when I figure there’s nothing new to see I lose all interest. It doesn’t matter how freaky the subject is or how dangerous, there comes a point where I get the sense that I’ve seen it all, done it all, and it’s time to move on.

Devon and that night at the warehouse changed all of that. I discovered that there was something I hadn’t seen yet, and it was bigger than I could have imagined. In my defence, though, nothing could have prepared me for this.

When I first got hooked on the dark and dangerous world of cults my mom completely freaked. “Kevin,” she said, “you’ll just end up shaving your head, selling everything you own, giving all the money to some degenerate, and then you’ll kill yourself so that you can join the mothership or something!”

Later I found out that, as crazy as that sounds, people really do that. They do it every day, all over the world. There is some serious brainwashing going on out there.

I didn’t want to worry my mom, but I was just too fascinated. The strangeness of seemingly normal people randomly tossing their lives out the window was just too much to resist. I told her that the surest way to make sure I never became a victim was to learn everything I could about the subject. Eventually she grudgingly agreed to let me take a few courses.

If the courses had been good I might have been satisfied and moved on, but they were a total bust. Documentation on this stuff is pretty sketchy and usually takes the form of dry police reports or glossy made-for-TV documentaries that skip most of the details. It’s all pretty surface-level, and doesn’t explain how or why any of these people do what they do.

Eventually I decided to dive in and do my own research. I got good at hunting people down who were currently or had been in cults, as well as family members of people who had joined cults and disappeared forever. When I found them, I interviewed them, and eventually had enough material to start writing books about it. I was never really popular, but I hacked out a modest living.

At first it was great, but, I’ve got to be honest: it’s just the same old story every time. Some guy looks for people who are insecure. They’re easy to find; they’re everywhere. He tells them that not only are they special, but that he has the secrets to unlock what’s special about them. He tosses out a bunch of pop-philosophy that he read out of a magazine to get them thinking that it might be true, and they start believing in him in the hopes that he can make the world a less intimidating place.

Then they’re welcomed into the group with open and loving arms, and it’s all chanting and social pressure. They start getting social validation and encouragement every time they obey orders without question and voice their agreement with the leader. If they disobey or question the leader, well, maybe they’re not such a great person after all. The group turns against them until they fall in line, and when you’ve been insecure your whole life and finally find a group of people that accept you, you fall in line real quick.

To seal the deal they’re encouraged to avoid contact with outsiders so they don’t get “contaminated”. The group becomes their whole universe, and nothing makes sense outside of it. Then you just mix in a little group-hypnosis, a low-protein diet, the occasional drug-induced “mystical experience”, and voilà: you’ve got yourself a brainwashed cult.

I’d start one myself but, damn it, I’m just not depraved enough yet. Maybe someday.

I had seen it so often that it had gotten boring, but then I met Devon. Now, I know that it’s a horrible cliché having your mother call you up out of the blue to set you up on a blind date. Her friend’s cousin’s daughter has “a great personality”. It’s an old story, but that’s ma for ya: a true classic. Truth is, I love her for it, and considering how long it had been since I had a date at all, I was open to seeing anyone even if their “personality” weighed 100 pounds more than I do.

So you can imagine my surprise when I met Devon. She was a stunner: a tight 5 foot 3 inch package with long black hair that shimmered and flowed past her shoulder blades as she moved. The killing blow were her dark eyes: they looked right into you. There was something about the way she moved, the way she smiled, and the easy way she laughed. This was a woman that was confident, had herself together, and was enjoying the hell out of life. The effect is more seductive than anything you can imagine, trust me.

She was way out of my league. I mean, I’m not ugly, but I’m not the kind of guy anyone would pick out of a crowd. Average guys don’t get these 10 out of 10 girls. So, when I met her, I figured it would be our first and last date. You can imagine my surprise when, at the end of the night as I was dropping her off, she stopped mid-sentence and kissed me.

“Sorry to kiss you out of the blue like that,” she said.

“It’s OK, you can kiss me like that any time you want,” I said.

We went on a few dates and things went well. She laughed at my jokes and ignored the drooling stares other men gave her. She was witty too, always with a quick turn of phrase or clever observation. Her sharp features and pale skin went well with her dark hair and eyes, and that stare she’d give me sometimes just melted me to the core.

She recently quit her job as a lawyer, and was trying her hand as an artist. When I asked her why she just said: “There are more important things, you know?”

Still, the better things went, the more doubt built. I just had to know: why was she bothering with someone like me?

Eventually I just decided to put her on the spot. We were walking home one night after a few drinks and stopped on a foot bridge over the highway just to watch the streams of cars come and go. It was just something to do to pass the time, and she was funny like that: she never really needed entertainment. I swear we could be staring at a brick wall and she’d be just as content, as long as we were together.

After awhile I asked: “Seriously, why are you dating me?”

She laughed: “You’re a great guy Kevin, why wouldn’t I be?”

“No, seriously, I mean… why did you agree to go out on a date with a stranger you had never met anyway? You must have guys falling all over themselves trying to get your attention.”

“Well sure but… I don’t know.”

For the first time I saw her hesitate and look away, holding something back. I knew I was on to something.

“Was it a bad relationship or something?”

“No, no my relationships have been fine.”

“Well do you have some dark secret, like a criminal record? Or you’re an asylum escapee? Or you’re really a dude?”

She laughed, and said: “No no, I’m fine, and I’m all woman for your information!”

I think I must have shown some visible relief because she laughed again. I guess I had been pretty worried that she was going to turn out to be a cannibal, or worse, a man.

“Well then… do you just go out on every blind date that your mom sets you up with?”

“No, I never do.”

“So then why did you agree to go out with me?”

I had her then. She bit her lip and looked down at her feet. I waited.

“Well I… heard you wrote about cults.”

“Oh! You’ve read my books?”

“No. Well I mean yes, I picked them up after our first date, but that wasn’t why…” She just trailed off there, still looking down and avoiding eye contact.

Something was really bothering her, but I couldn’t figure out what. I’ve interviewed dozens of people involved in cults, possibly hundreds, but this wasn’t the typical level of anxiety or sadness people usually wore on their faces when talking about this stuff. This was more just… concentration. Like she was just trying to get the words right.

She had never been tongue-tied before. She still had too much of that lawyer in her. I decided to give her a little time to come around to it, and watched the stream of headlights below us.

“I know someone Kevin. Someone you really need to meet.”

Oh no. Not this. I know this speech.

She continued: “Look before I go on I need you to trust me that he isn’t a cult leader. He doesn’t manipulate anyone or keep anyone from contacting the outside world, and doesn’t even ask for money! He’s just… ”

I had meant to let her finish, I really did, but anger got the best of me: “Are you serious? Are you really being serious right now? Every single person who has ever been in a cult has sworn that it wasn’t a cult! That’s how they all work! They don’t ask for anything and have this big outer layer where everyone comes and goes, but once you’re accepted into the ‘inner circle’ then everything changes and it’s goodbye bank account, hello poison Kool-Aid!”

“Kevin will you please… please just let me explain. Please can I just have the floor for 5 minutes?”

Her eyes were pleading. I couldn’t say no to them, so I put my hands on the railing and stared out at the line of red tail lights, grinding my teeth.

“Ok, first a quick yes-or-no question: have you ever heard of a guy called Chalk?”

I shook my head.

“Alright, there’s a reason for that. Chalk isn’t a fake prophet come to get people’s money. He’s the real deal, Kevin. Not exactly a ‘messenger from God’ or anything, but you would not believe the clarity he brings to your mind!”

I wanted to tell her that that’s why they call it “brainwashing”, but I bit my tongue. She had over 4 minutes left.

“For example: would you believe I used to be shy? I mean crushingly shy, like I wouldn’t talk to anyone? It made my job as a lawyer really, really tough, and with his help I was able to become so much better at what I did. I got so good but in the end, I realized I just didn’t need it anymore to prove that I’m worthwhile. There are more important things. And you know what Chalk said to that? He agreed, and recommended I take some time out to find what I’d like to do instead. Now I ask you: if he was some kind of power-hungry cult leader, wouldn’t he have wanted me to stay a lawyer to look out for his best interests?”

I had to admit, she was making a good point… but it could have either been a stupid rookie mistake or an advanced long-term play on his part. It didn’t really change anything.

“The reason I decided to date you was because of something he said once. He said that one day he would love to meet someone who was an expert in cults so that they could judge him. He would answer their questions fully, go on record, and let them decide for themselves. So I thought… I thought…”

She thought… what? I lost my composure as the realization hit me: “Oh my god that’s even worse! So you’re saying you’re dating me to recruit me?”

“No! No that’s… I’m not explaining this…”

“Devon, let’s go meet him. Right now.”

“What?” She looked surprised.

The fact was that I was furious, and someone was going to pay. This bastard, whoever he is, reached out to me through this amazing woman and toyed with my emotions. I wasn’t going to let that slide.

I had my handy Olympus digital voice recorder in my pocket that I carried around for interviews, and I was going to put this cult leader on YouTube for everyone to hear… with my commentary picking him apart, of course. And if I happened to find an opportunity to break the guy’s nose when I was done, so much the better.

Despite it being around 11 at night, Devon said that Chalk should be available. We caught a cab and she gave the driver directions to a warehouse down by the pier.

In the cab, Devon seemed to suddenly transform. She had been understandably upset on the bridge, and flustered that I had caught her in her little manipulative scheme, but that all changed now. She let out a long, satisfied sigh and leaned back in her seat, looking out the window and ignoring me. There was a small smile that played on her lips, almost like she had won something. Like she had beaten me.

My sense of humiliation grew, and I just got angrier as I became more and more convinced that she had played me every single step of the way.

Were any of the things she told me true? Was the whole “shy thoughtful moment” on the bridge just a big put-on to bait the hook? Was she really in control of the conversation the whole time, just pushing my buttons, provoking me into reacting?

It didn’t matter. I was going to meet this Chalk, and expose her little god for the pathetic fraudulent degenerate he was. Then we’d see if the little bitch smiles so smugly.

When we got there we entered through an unlocked door that faced the street. It was dark inside, with only a few lights were on inside the warehouse illuminating the centre of the room. A man was on his hands and knees in the open space creating a complex pattern on the floor about 50 feet wide filled with arcane symbols and various languages.

A young woman met us at the door. “Hi, is this Kevin?”

I wasn’t surprised that Devon had told them about me. It is a cult, after all.

In the dim light I could see that she was a young woman, maybe a college student, and her expression didn’t give a hint of a threat. Still, I’ve seen that before in some real psychos, and considering how much of a fraud Devon was turning out to be, I wasn’t about to let my guard down towards her.

When neither of us spoke she smiled warmly and extended a hand. “I’m Amber. Welcome, you’ve been expected. From what I’ve heard you’re probably pretty pissed right now aren’t you?” Her expression implied that there was a joke in there somewhere, but not knowing what else to do, I decided to grit my teeth and stick to my manners. Show no weakness.

I shook her hand. “Hi Amber. Well I… I mean… I’m just a little confused, let’s say. Could I talk with Chalk?”

“Of course, go right ahead,” she said. She waved me towards the man in the centre of the room.

I took a few steps before I realized that Devon wasn’t following. I turned around and she just stared at me blankly. Of course she wasn’t following. She had done her job and delivered me to her leader, so that was it. There was no reason for her to bother with me anymore.

I should have just kept walking, but I couldn’t stop myself: “What kind of bitch does something like this? Dates a guy and plays him for weeks just to set up some meeting?”

“I understand, but there are more important things. Chalk will explain,” said Devon.

“Chalk will explain. Go now, he’s waiting,” said Amber.

I wanted to scream at her, to hit her, to make her feel some of the anger and pain that was boiling inside of me, but it hit me: this is the lion’s den, and I’m going in completely unprepared. In fact, now that I had the chance to think about it, this is not the way I do things at all.

When doing interviews for my work I would usually have left a message with a friend about who I was meeting, where I was going, and how long to wait until calling the police if they don’t hear from me. I would have also written a note with the same information and left it on my desk for any investigating officers to discover later. I would have also definitely been going under an assumed name.

Tonight I don’t think I even mentioned to anyone that I was going on another date with Devon, and I could feel eyes in the dark corners of the room watching.

I bit my tongue, turned around, and walked on. The danger of the situation meant I had to try to bottle these emotions and keep my cool. I admit, I wasn’t finding it easy. I promised myself that I would make the bitch hear me though, sooner or later.

The man in the centre of the room looked like he was just finishing up his work, putting the finishing touches on the design in the middle. He stood up and dusted off his jeans. When he looked up at me he shook his hair from his face and simply waited for me to join him. He had angular facial features, a wide smile, and wore a tweed vest over a purple button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

As I passed over the patterns I began to notice some distant similarities between some of the symbols in occult texts such as “The Lesser Key of Solomon”, as well as a few Egyptian heiroglyph references, but for the most part they were a language and art style I had never seen. Either he had pulled from some pretty obscure source material for his holy scribbling, or it was just art made to look like language.

Even if it was nonsense, one thing was definitely true: there was something gorgeous about it. The characters (if that’s what they were) seemed to have a compelling flow to them, a churning that pulled at the concrete they were drawn on. It was just chalk on a warehouse floor, but somehow it really did seem like magic. It was almost like there was a humming, or some kind of vibration coming from the patterns as I stepped on them.

The sceptical side of me was screaming to ignore stupid, fanciful thoughts like these. I bit my cheek on purpose then, hard, focusing on the pain, focusing on my anger, and looking away from the swirling patterns on the floor. The man in front of me was my objective. Focus on him.

When I was just a few feet away I stopped. “You Chalk?”

He nodded, but said nothing. He had a pair of glasses on that were reflecting the light so I couldn’t see his eyes.

“So? You wanted to speak with me, right? You know you could have just called, instead of sending someone to trick me into coming. I don’t like being played.”

He didn’t flinch or speak or even raise an eyebrow. He just stood there, smiling.

A part of me found his calm stillness in the face of my aggression unnerving, but I wasn’t going to give in. You have no idea who you’re dealing with buddy. I don’t get intimidated that easy. I pulled out the Olympus and said: “I’ll be recording this. You don’t mind, do you?”

Oh please object, please give me a reason to start arguing with you…

He slowly shook his head once.

Fine. Now if I could get him to speak.

“So how long has your little group been in operation?”

I waited but… silence.

“No? OK well, how big is it then? What’s it called?”

Again, silence. It was making me feel uneasy and a bit paranoid. Why was he just staring at me? Was I missing something? Is he setting me up for something?

“Look, I was told that you wanted to be judged, that you were going to give complete answers. How am I going to get these answers unless you start talking?”

“You haven’t asked the right questions,” he said. His voice was difficult to describe. I’d say it was like wind through the leaves in autumn or the babbling of a brook but, to be honest, I can’t quite call it up in my mind. It was a human voice though, I’m certain of that. I’m certain.

I stood there thinking for awhile, trying to work out how to navigate this man. He was like a statue of a person, rather than a living being. I couldn’t even see him breathing. I had ventured beyond the world of generic degenerates and into some real psycho territory.

Well, if he’s a cult leader, he’ll only really be interested in spreading his little twist on philosophy and holy doctrine. If the preacher wants to preach, then let him preach.

“What is it that you’ve been teaching people?”

“Do you want me to tell you, or do you want to know?”

It only took me a few moments to realize that his question was a trap. Word games like this almost always are, and if a cult leader asks you an either/or question you can be sure you’re being manipulated. Now it’s just a matter of working it out to use it against him…

So, if I choose “I just want you to tell me” he’ll say something like: “well if you aren’t going to try to understand what I tell you, why bother?” Classic dodge.

If I say “I want to know” then he’ll tell me about the long, long journey ahead in order to truly comprehend his teachings. That way he can drag it out over months, giving me tiny bits of his holy doctrine each time and promising me more in the future, all the while making me participate in ritual after ritual to break me down.

Either way, he doesn’t want to give a simple answer to a simple question.

I decide to stick to my guns: “I want to know, but I want to know right now. Tonight. Within the next hour, ideally.”

He smiled a little more broadly and said: “Your offer is accepted.”

He took off his glasses, and the world went black.

Gravity is gone, and just like that, I understand everything in existence.

It hurts of course. Hurts like hell. Hurts like someone is reaching into my skull from a thousand different angles, piercing my skin and hacking away chunks of bone.

The cerebellum goes first; a smooth chop just up beneath the base of the skull. Just like that I no longer have any sense of what it is to work a human body. I still feel it though. I still suffer from it. I just have no notion of how to control it.

A hundred needles pierce the back of my head, destroying my concept of vision. The needles become drills and they bore in further, killing my ability to speak, wiping out my ability to understand abstract concepts. Pain is left, however. Pain and confusion remain, overwhelming and all-encompassing.

Knives stab up through my chin and sinuses and up up up into my temporal lobe. I can’t remember who I am. Every record and memory stored in my brain is forever obliterated. There is no moment before now, nor is there one after now. I am the eternal essence of suffering and confusion.

When the concussive force of the sledgehammer crushes the front of my skull the confusion disappears. I am simply pain. I have always been pain.

Agony is the universe in its entirety, and it is infinite and eternal.

Then, out of the fabric of pain, a new concept is offered. There is a record of a man named Kevin. I can use that record, pretend to be him, and escape this universe. I can exist on a whole new level of reality.

My guide and saviour will be Chalk. He will bring me forth into this new plane of existence, one filled with thought and new feelings other than pain. Once there I will help him exchange energy. It will be my infinite pleasure to do so, and in exchange he will give me experience beyond my imaginings. He will show me how to puppeteer this body, and how to operate the brain to make-believe I’m a convincing “person” named Kevin.

I do not hesitate in my acceptance of the offer.

As I am created anew by Chalk, I am told that he would normally complete this process without pain over the course of months. At first I don’t understand until he teaches me what months are, and what it is to be without pain.

The sheer wonder of it is beyond anything I was ever capable of imagining. To exist without constant, never-ending suffering, is just incredible. Even this is merely a step on the road to something greater. A thing called “death” awaits me that will provides the promise of absolute oblivion. It will be here in just a few decades at most – barely a blink compared to the eternity I have anguished. My only disappointment is that I have such a tiny blink of time to serve my savior.

When I am fully reborn, Chalk is smiling at me, and I at him. I notice this body is still standing in a warehouse, holding Kevin’s recorder out. I hit stop on the recording, and then delete it. It seems blasphemous to have a record of this moment beyond that which has been shared between us so intimately.

“How can I serve you?” I ask him. Speech is a wonder. Breathing is a wonder.

He points down at our feet. We have been standing on a beautiful image of Kevin’s mother. No, I must learn to say “my” mother. That is my mother on the kitchen floor, covered in blood, her head nearly but not quite severed from her body. That is Chalk and I standing next to her.

I know that I must make this art become reality.

As we walk to the exit there are two beings Kevin thought he knew: Amber and Devon. Those aren’t their names of course, just as Kevin isn’t mine. We are greater than that: we are servants of Chalk.

Other servants are also in the room, ones that Kevin had only guessed at. They are standing in small groups, taking up residence in the shadows to watch our savior work his art on the floor. There are even more servants out there in the world, each with their own make believe character to play, although how many of them are out there I cannot know.

Kevin would probably object to what we’re going to do to my mom, but it’s fine. I can do things that Kevin wouldn’t do, as long as those things are in the service of Chalk.

After all, there are more important things.

Credit To – Sidney Crawlspace

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Nightmare Night

April 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The night seemed relatively calm, promising rain later on. The clouds were dark and had been carrying their burden the entire day. Rob hoped the storm would pass over, or they would be able to make it through. His stomach rumbled hungrily, and his eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. Micah wasn’t interested in driving while he slept, so they had to find the nearest motel.

One appeared on the side of the road and left them with a couple hours to drive in the morning. It would be better than taking shifts when they were both exhausted from sitting in the car all day. Rob waited in the SUV as Micah, his cousin, went inside to find a room. His brown eyes scanned the line of worn doors, wondering how old this motel could be. Who would stay here anyway? He figured it would be within their budget, considering its appearance.

Once they unpacked, he wanted to find somewhere to eat. Granola bars and peanut butter crackers were not going to cut it, and they stopped only once for a quick snack.

He glanced down to his phone, noticing the missed calls at the bottom. Rob didn’t want to talk to either of his parents right now. Both of them would surely be at the funeral, and they would be able to speak then. His Aunt Tessa recently passed away from sickness; everyone in the family expected it. She has been in poor health for some time, but it was one thing for her to be gone. Thanksgiving would be very different this year, and he couldn’t imagine what her family must be going through. Losing her so early must be awful.

Micah knocked on the window and nearly made him jump. He rolled down the window and stared at his cousin, noticing his anxious expression. “Did you get us a room?”

“Yeah, I got us a room. It’s cheaper than I expected,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders.

“Is there anywhere we can go eat? I could use a drink,” Rob mumbled, rubbing at one of his eyes.

Micah nodded slowly and turned around, staring across the street. “The woman said there’s a bar over there. We could walk, but this place makes me nervous,” he stated, crossing his arms.

Rob rolled his eyes, pressing a button on the dash to open the trunk. “Everything makes you nervous,” he insisted, turning the car off.

“No, but there were two cops in there asking questions. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was jumped and killed. This area doesn’t look safe,” Micah grumbled, grabbing his suitcase out of the back. “Here,” he said, handing Rob his suitcase

Rob took it and closed the trunk. “Would you like to drive? I have no problem sleeping.” he asked sarcastically. He followed Micah to Room 14, ignoring his sigh for now. He wanted to get this funeral over with, so he could go back to his apartment and forget it. Death always has a way of lurking around and finding ways to cause trouble. He was very glad that he convinced Micah to come with him. They both live in Georgia, so he had someone to drive with him to Michigan.

A breeze passed by, rustling the limbs of a few dead trees. It didn’t appear the motel cared much for a garden, but then again, it wouldn’t improve their business after the building’s condition. “C’mon Micah, it’s cold,” he urged.

“Give me a second. I can’t see a damn thing. None of these lights work.”

Rob stared to his right, spotting the only working light. It just barely clung to the overhang and flickered on and off. How does this place pass any form of inspection?

“There,” Micah said, pushing the door open.

Rob stepped inside and wasn’t surprised to smell smoke. He rubbed at his nose and walked over to the window, jerking it open for some fresh air. Doubting it would help at all, the cigarette smoke probably clung to the sheets, carpet, and cushions by now. “I think we’ll have to worry about not suffocating rather than being jumped.”

“I’d really rather not,” Micah mumbled, setting his suitcase down. “Let’s just get something to eat. Hopefully it will air out by the time we get back,” he suggested.

Rob grabbed his wallet and retreated out of the room with his cousin. They made sure the door was locked tight, but if someone really wanted to break in, the window would be open. Both of them were too tired to care, and something as petty as clothes didn’t matter to him right now.

The bar’s parking lot appeared full, so they could expect a crowd of rowdy patrons. This would be their only option because neither of them was fit for driving at the moment. Rob entered first and smiled when there wasn’t a large line ahead of them. The parties filed inside, and Rob dragged Micah over to the bar, scanning the rows of alcoholic beverages. He could really use a beer right now and ordered one when the bartender came around. Flashing his ID, he took the cold beer bottle and put it to his lips while Micah settled for something a bit stronger. “Watch it, cos,” Rob teased, smirking.

“I need this. Don’t let me drink too much though.”

“That’s not fair. Someone has to stay sober,” Rob pointed out, narrowing his gaze at him.

“The first one to get drunk wins,” Micah challenged, taking a sip from his glass.

“What’s the reward?”

“Freedom until morning, and the loser gets to drive. Don’t forget that,” he added, grinning.

Rob rolled his eyes and took a sip from his beer. “Whatever, go ahead and drink all you want. There’s no point in trying to forget about this funeral for even a little while.”

The bartender returned and asked them what they would like to eat. “A cheeseburger and fries,” Rob replied, glancing to his cousin.

“Do you have wings?” Micah asked, shooting the man an amused look.

“Of course, sir.”

Rob handed the man their menus and tapped the counter while they waited. It would probably be a half an hour before they got to eat, but he was too tired to strike up conversation. They already spoke during the ten hours of driving; there didn’t seem to be anything else to say. A policeman managed to catch his eye once he walked in with an officer and frightened woman trailing behind him.

He nudged Micah in the ribs, watching the three make their way to the back. “What do you think about that?” he asked, wondering if they were same policemen.

“That was the officers I saw earlier. I warned you this place isn’t safe. Someone probably came here, pissed someone off, and got murdered outside the motel. Makes sense, doesn’t it?” he pointed, trying to ignore it.

“You and your conspiracy theories. The lady was probably too young to be drinking,” Rob corrected, slipping off the stool. “I’m going to wash my hands. Do you need to come with, or will you be fine by yourself,” he asked, teasing him again.

Shaking his head, he turned on his heel after Micah dismissed him. He wanted out of this sketchy place as soon as possible, and they both knew who’d be sleeping drunk tonight. Rob found the bathroom and tried the door, frowning when it was locked. This bar didn’t even support more than one toilet. Rob waited patiently until a man came out and entered silently, debating on holding his breath. He stared at himself in a cracked mirror, brushing his brown hair around.

“Do you know anything about Joe Arnolds?”

Rob looked over his shoulder and spotted an open vent near the ceiling, telling himself to hurry up before he contracted a disease. The water surprisingly ran out of the faucet even though the metal was slightly rusted.

“Excuse me? Do you expect me to know each and every one of my patrons by name. I can’t help you,”

Rob’s gaze narrowed, and he tilted his head to stare at the vent. Was that the policemen in a different room?

“Well, you better figure something out, Mr. Loper. We have a killer on the loose, or have you not been paying attention to the news?” a gruff voice informed.

“What do you want me to do about it? It’s your job to protect the public,” Mr. Loper accused.

“The autopsy report came back and revealed high levels of alcohol in his blood which leads us to believe he was drinking before he was killed. Are we wrong in thinking that? We have already spoken to Mr. Riley, the other bar owner in a 5 mile radius. Don’t think we are singling you out. He was staying at the Hilltop Motel which is just across the street. Do I need to explain what happened to Joe, or would you like his girlfriend to tell you?”

Rob listened to the conversation in the other room, forgetting about washing his hands. They are staying at the Hilltop Motel; Micah was right even though he was joking. Was someone really killed there? Silence passed, making him feel uneasy the more he thought about it. Loud crying could be heard from the other room, presumably the victim’s girlfriend.

“H-he’s dead. Why can’t you just help? Joe…he was skinned alive! T-they found his body, and all of his skin was gone. Someone skinned him! Don’t you get it!” she shouted, sounding outraged.

“Leslie, it’s okay. We’re going to find the monster that did this. Just tell Mr. Loper what you saw, so he can ask his staff,”.

“We were staying in the motel just across the street. I heard him get out of bed, and I assumed he was going to get something from our car. When he didn’t come back, I went looking for him. He was dead in the alley…with a women standing over him. It was so awful! I don’t know what it was, but it’s neck was so long. It’s fingers were tearing at his skin,” Leslie persisted.

Rob’s eyes were wide as Leslie started to sob again. The water spilling out of the sink broke him out of his reverie, and he swiftly turned the faucet off. “What the hell?” he asked himself, hearing the conversation continue. He was ready to pack up and drive the next four hours to Michigan. This crime happened so close to them? Suppressing a shiver, he tried to block off the rest of the conversation. He didn’t want to know what else they were talking about in there.

Leaving the bathroom, he walked back to the bar and sat down next to Micah. “Where have you been? You’re supposed to be my drinking buddy.”

“Sorry, I just-,” Rob began, debating on telling Micah. “There was a long line, and there’s only one toilet. Someone was throwing up,” he lied, grabbing his beer. Micah would only freak out if he told him what he just heard, and they couldn’t pack up now. They both were tired and drank a little, or in Micah’s case, he has almost finished his second round.

“That’s pretty gross, man. Here’s our food though,” he said, nodding towards the waiter.

Rob took his plate gratefully, trying to push those horrible thoughts out of his head by eating. With every bite, he started to lose his appetite more and more. All he could think about is the monster that Leslie described. He mentioned the victim was drunk, so was this person or thing smart enough to take advantage of that? Rob told himself to keep an eye on his cousin, and there was no way he’d attempt anymore drinking tonight.

He finished quickly and waited for Micah to stop poking around at his wings. “Can you just get the rest to go?” Rob urged, pausing to stare at the policemen. The two cops walked towards the door, leading Leslie with them. He could see her red eyes and tear streaks, realizing death was all over the place. Where would it strike next? They should have left earlier this morning; a one hour difference would have gotten them away from this dangerous place.

“Would you relax? I want some more to drink. You can go back to the motel. It’s just across the street.”

“No, I’m not going to leave you here by yourself. You’ll probably stumble out into the road by the time you’re done,” Rob said bluntly, sighing. “Just get a beer or two, and let’s go back,” he suggested.

Rob watched as Micah called the bartender over and started to fish through his wallet for some money. He put a twenty down and waited for his cousin to hurry up. Shaking his head at the entrance to the bar, he held the door open and made sure to stay beside Micah. He had been drinking some really strong stuff after all, but at least he would have some peace and quiet in the morning. Micah is going to be out like a light.

As they approached Room 14, he asked Micah for the keys and unlocked the door for his cousin. “Go sit your ass down and finish up,” he ordered, holding the heavy door open for him. His nose wrinkled at the lingering stench of smoke that refused to go away. A banging noise made Rob poke his head and stare to his right, noticing two figures up ahead. One of them was obviously drunk and the other was a small woman whom seemed to be struggling. “I’ll be right back Micah.”

He walked over to the two slowly because he didn’t want to startle them. “Need a little help?” Rob asked the woman, smiling faintly as she turned around. She seemed really young and quiet smaller than the man. The man seemed to be putting most of his weight on her too.

Her startled eyes looked over him before she visibly relaxed. “No thank you, sir. We are almost to our room. I really appreciate the offer though,” she replied, smiling.

Rob shook his head and crossed his arms, thinking this woman was something else. “Are you sure? It’s really no trouble.”

“I’m sure. This isn’t the first time. Trust me. I know how to take care of him,” she insisted, laughing lightly.

“Well, goodnight to the both of you,” Rob muttered, stepping back a few feet.

“Goodnight.”

Rob watched the both of them hobble down to a room and stop in front of it. He could tell the woman was very determined, so he left her to taking care of her companion. Walking back into his room, Micah was sprawled at the desk chair, working on his beer and wings. “Should I even bother asking you to go to bed?” Rob asked, locking the door behind him.

“Nope, but don’t worry about me. You get to drive in the morning though. I’m just glad.”

Turning his head, Rob noticed the time and went to the bathroom and changed into some comfortable clothes. He brushed his teeth even though he didn’t trust the water coming out of the faucet and returned to find Micah passing out while eating a wing. “Seriously, cousin?” Rob muttered, walking over to him. He wiped his hands and mouth off, forcing Micah to get into bed. “I’m not doing this again,” he warned, moving over to his bed.

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite,” Micah answered, rolling over into his covers.

“I hope not,” Rob said to himself, pressing his head into his misshapen pillow. He would be surprised if both of their beds weren’t completely infested with the little critters. Sleeping quickly became difficult for him; Micah seemed to be sleeping well, considering the loud snores coming from his direction. The pillows had lumps in them and to say nothing of the mattress, and of course, the AC didn’t work. Also, the room smelled even worse than before which is probably because he was laying in the foul and smoky sheets now. He was going to get up early and take a long shower before they went anywhere.

Rob finally fell asleep around one in the morning when a sharp noise woke him up. He couldn’t tell what it was exactly, yet it would not go away. Rolling over, Rob buried himself under his covers and heard it once more. “Micah, go to sleep,” he demanded and propped himself up. His cousin was sleeping soundly which made him frown. They did have a window open, and he just hoped somebody wasn’t being loud. He didn’t feel like walking to the front desk to complain; Rob doubted they would do anything about it anyway.

He tried ignoring it until it happened again but louder this time. “You have got to be kidding me,” he grumbled, sliding out of bed. Rob unlocked their door and poked his head outside without seeing anything. “Hey, keep it down!” Rob called, hoping they would hear him. Another bang made him groan and turn on his heel. He hated rude people and planned to give them a piece of his mind.

Slipping on his shoes, he grabbed his phone off the nightstand along with the room key. He shot a quick look to Micah before walking quietly outside, closing the door softly. Rob crossed his arms and tried to ignore the chilly weather, hearing the window whistle through the dead trees. He listened for the noise again and stopped in front of the room it seemed to be coming from. “Be quiet in there,” Rob demanded, frowning when he heard another bang. His eyes narrowed because it came from further down. Trudging to the end of the rooms, Rob flinched when the noise originated around the corner. “What are you making all this noise for?” he asked, turning the corner.

A dumpster sat in the corner and was surrounded by old cardboard boxes. Just to the left of the dumpster laid two figures with one on top of the other. “What the hell are you doing?” Rob shouted, wondering if this person was being attacked. He looked down at his phone and had 911 at the ready, jogging closer to see if he was mistaken. It never occurred to him to be afraid or think logically in this situation. This person needed help.

Rob skidded to a stop and stared at the scene before him. It was the man and woman from before, and he almost assumed the drunken man was doing something sick to the small woman; it was the other way around! “What are you-?” Rob began to ask.

She turned and stared at him with emotionless eyes, resembling a doll’s blank stare. Her face was pale and dark lines crisscrossed one of her cheeks. All at once, her neck stretched before his eyes with more lines going back and forth across it. Were those stitches?

Rob stumbled backward, running into a tin trashcan and knocking the lid off. “Shit!” he shouted, seeing as she stood and turned her attention to him. She moved stiffly like something is wrong with her limps, and Rob couldn’t tear his gaze away from her distorted form. All he had to do is press a button on his phone to call for help, but he couldn’t even think straight. His brown eyes shifted to her bloody dress and spotted the bloody knife clenched in her hand.

“Help me!”

He noticed the man on the ground, moving slowly. The man was still alive? Rob stepped backward quickly, knowing he had to do something. A wooden board next to the dumpster caught his attention, and he sprinted like never before to reach it. He grabbed it and swung it behind him immediately, catching the creature in the torso. The woman fell to the ground, and if he didn’t know any better, he would have said that he broke her. Not even a second later, she would have plunged that knife into his back; if he hadn’t reacted as quickly, she would have killed him!

Rob quickly moved over to the man and saw how several patches of skin were missing on his right arm. “Holy shit,” he said under his breath, realizing what the woman would have done. He pulled his shirt off instantly and started to wrap it around the man’s arm to stop the blood from coming.

“I tried to run away. I tried to run. She…she-,” the man mumbled frantically.

“It’s okay,” Rob reassured, glancing anxiously over his shoulder for the woman.

“Tomino is a sweet girl. She’s my friend,”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Rob asked, wondering if that was the woman’s name. What was she? “I’m going to get help. Don’t worry,” he assured. Rob stood and grabbed the wooden board, retreating to the spot where he left Tomino. She no longer lay there, sending waves of panic through him. Where did she go? Did she run away? Would she be back?

Rob went back to the man and kept his hand pressed on the wound to apply pressure. More blood leaked from the man’s head, making him think she bludgeoned him with the knife. How was this man supposed to fight something so awful? He would have never been able to react in time while he was drunk. “I’m calling help. It’s going to be okay,” Rob repeated, calling 911 on his phone.

Those moments alone with the man were the worst of his entire life. He was sure Tomino would be back to murder the both of them, but he was only comforted by the 911 operative whom he forced to stay on the line with him. The sirens in the distance appeared shortly, and Rob had to shout a few times to get someone’s attention. He was not leaving this man alone even for a few seconds.

The police and emergency crew took over for him. The man was placed on a stretcher and loaded up into the ambulance, disappearing within a few minutes while the policemen remained behind to receive a statement. Rob explained everything to the police, adding they should ask the victim for his statement as well. He also mentioned what the man called her, Tomino, and wondered if it would help the investigation at all. It might be the woman’s actual name, but Rob couldn’t be so sure the monster even had a name. How could such a thing exist?

He didn’t sleep well that night and shut the window, preferring the smoke over something slipping inside. Rob woke very early and showered for nearly an hour, standing in the cold water and trying to erase the memories from the previous night. He kept trying to tell himself that he saved a man’s life, yet he still wished he never left his room. The police would be able to catch Tomino now, and he hoped the crimes would stop in the future. This might be the chance the police have been waiting for.

Rob packed everything into the car and woke Micah up early without breathing a word to him about last night. If he found out on his own, he found out, but Micah quickly placed his head on a pillow and was out. Rob left the motel quickly, speeding down the deserted highway for several miles before slowing down. He just had to get through Aunt Tessa’s funeral and return home, yet something told him that he wouldn’t be at peace until Tomino was caught.

Credit To – Ariel Lowe

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Breach

April 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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There are no more happy endings.

The forest across the canal loomed towards him. The worst ice storm Detroit had seen in a century had done its work well, transforming the entirety of the park into frozen sculptures. The trees seemed to grasp at the air as they swayed in the howling wind. Many of their branches had already broken under the weight, falling heavily onto the icy stream below.

He eyed the forest, standing on the other side of the worn stone bridge, hands buried in his pockets. He’d seen the bridge before in pictures and its utter mundaneness came as something of a surprise. The stones embedded in the concrete were ancient, stripped of the snow that had recently covered them by the wind. Whatever handrails had once guarded the edges of the bridge were gone, long since rusted away. Except for the thick, slushy trail of blood that ran up the center of it, there was absolutely no indication of what he knew was waiting for him on the other side.

He had an idea who the blood on the bridge belonged to. Lucille Gale had been the last of seven young adults who to have disappeared in a month. The first six had been found already, their bodies discovered in various locations along the bank of the Detroit river.

The first of them had his skin completely removed, expertly flayed off. The second was so badly ripped apart that it had taken a week to identify her. The third was found lying in an alleyway with lungs full of water and seaweed, a full hundred meters away from the river.

It wasn’t until a fourth teenager was found with her skeleton missing that his organization took interest. They’d swooped down onto the case overnight, so desperate to get him onto the scene that they’d sent him there via translocation. From the moment he emerged from the Detroit alleyway, shaking off the horror of what he always saw when he translocated, it had been nothing but investigation with the local police and terrified locals.

The FBI got involved when two more children turned up dead (exsanguinated and strangled with their own intestines, respectively) Federal agents were always the most difficult to deal with. They were suspicious of his badge, despite it being completely authentic. They were suspicious of how massive he was, towering over most of them, easily broader than any. They were suspicious of how much he already knew about the case, despite having arrived only a few days before they.

What made them more suspicious then anything was how quickly their bosses told them to shut up and get out of his way. The men who ran the Bureau from their offices in D.C. had no idea who he was, and none of them were interested in finding out. They had all heard the legends from those that had led the Bureau before them. They knew what happened when men like him showed up on the scene of a crime too terrible for words. The problem stopped, and it was better to not ask questions how. Any federal involvement was quickly terminated, and the assigned agents reassigned somewhere else.

They’d remember this case for the rest of their lives. They might one day have colleagues who had similar encounters with men like him, and endlessly discuss what organization he might have represented. Theories ranged from an obscure Homeland Security cell to the CIA Special Operations Group. They would jokingly refer to men like him as ‘The Others,’ ‘Those We Don’t Speak Of,’ ‘The Activity,’ or even as ‘The Men in Black’ if they were feeling sarcastic.

His organization knew all of this. There wasn’t much they didn’t.

The man took a reading. The palm-sized device lit up, whirring as he placed it on the ground. He stepped back, fishing out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from his pocket. The twin marbles of glass atop the reader spun faster and faster, the silver liquid inside them catching the bright blue light shining from the dozen or so diodes that covered the front and back of the device. After a few frantic seconds the marbles were spinning so fast above the device the man could no longer see them. A moment later the reader gave a frantic shriek. The globes exploded in a puff of powdered glass, the liquid flying through the air but evaporating before it touched the ground.

He sighed and lit his cigarette. “Initial readings suggest an unusually high breach in the Jovlin-Knight Barrier,” he said. “The presence of the remains of Lucille Gale confirms initial assumptions that she did not survive the hosting. Extreme weather patterns indicate the presence of a Midnight-Level Event occurring within the confines of the breach.”

He put his smoke to his lips again. The cherry flared brightly, a tiny speck of light burning defiantly in the darkness. The FBI and the police might not have a clue what the missing teens had in common, but he had known it the moment he had visited the morgue and seen their tortured bodies.

Each of them was psychic. Very, very psychic, and Lucille Gale most of all. He doubted that any of them were fully aware of it. Perhaps they had experienced vivid dreams that later came true, or had wondered whether or not they were at fault for the power outages that followed their every outburst. If left to themselves they would have grown exponentially more powerful, most likely to the point where they would have been targeted and killed by his organization. There were very few like them that managed to make it into adulthood, and none of them managed to die of old age.

Even at their nascent stage, however, they possessed more than enough raw ability to be of use to something on the other side. Something was trying desperately to come through, something that had no place even in a nightmare. The other six teens had proven unsuitable as doorways, but judging from the cataclysmic storm that had engulfed half the county, the man guessed that Lucille Gale would prove more than adequate.

Inhale. He felt the smoke burn a trail down his lungs as he considered his next words. “I still plan on crossing,” he said. “Regardless of what’s fueling the breach, I’ll ensure sufficient distraction or damage to allow Aegis translocation into the target area. Upon loss of communication, I stand by my original recommendation of an immediate kinetic on my last known position.” He paused. “Not that you ever listen to what I have to say.”

His answer was the howling wind, and a voice that spoke directly into his mind. He would have smiled at the response if smiling were something he was capable of. Instead he drew Jovlin’s gun from its holster on his side, the massive revolver fitting snugly into his equally massive hands. He squeezed the rubberized grip, fingers caressing the raised knotwork that adorned the barrel. The man took one last drag on his cigarette, flicking it away as he strode purposely onto the bridge, careful to keep his steps within the trail of Lucille Gale’s remains.

Normally crossing over required a tremendous amount of concentration and no small amount of luck. His repelling tattoos would burn so bad they’d singe his skin, and the tiny nodes lining the center of his brain would overload with static. Wearing an Aegis made it a bit easier, but even the best protection his organization could offer didn’t keep out the visions. He’d been there when Jovlin had died, and it was that memory that was returned to violent life every time he translocated.

This time there were no visions, no screaming ghosts from decades past. He simply stepped out of here and into nowhere, the symbols that were carved onto his flesh flaring briefly beneath his heavy clothing. The ease of the translocation confirmed his worst fears. It took a lot of power to rend such a huge hole in reality. Whatever caused this had been very old and very, very angry. For the first time, he wondered bemusedly if he’d been right to turn down assignment to an Aegis unit.

Regardless, he was relieved to see that the trail of human remains provided him a clear path through what was otherwise a land of absolute madness. Whatever thing had nested and birthed itself in the mind of Lucille Gale had not been kind to her. The thick, black-red smear on the ground led deep into the forest which now towered thousands of feet up into the air. He thought he caught a glimpse of something massive above him, moving in the storm clouds, its barbed coils swaying lazily from the sky. The frost-covered branches of the trees were all screaming with a woman’s voice, weeping and sobbing, crying for a mother and a father and the safety of home. He assumed the voice was Lucille’s.

He started off down the trail, booted feet splashing noisily in gristle that seemed to grow deeper as he walked. Around him the world shifted and rearranged itself at random. The trees exploded, sending ice shards the size of buildings crashing down around him. Something massive fell out of the sky, its leathered wings curling around its dead form, crashing to the earth behind a distant mountain range that abruptly forced itself out of the frozen earth. The wind intensified, and on it he could hear a name being whispered over and over again.

He didn’t recognize the name. He wondered if it was his.

The further he went along the trail, the more twisted reality became. He wondered how deep into the forest he was actually going in the real world. On more than occasion he had traveled for days inside a breach, only to find himself a step or two away from where he had started upon crossing out. Time and distance could have very little meaning in the Veiled World. Mercifully the laws of physics (usually) held sway, but those laws were easily bent or broken depending on what was causing such an awesome disturbance.
There was a place, he knew, where physics simply didn’t exist. Even as he walked he could see it, far on the horizon, a thin line of shadow that seemed to swallow up even the darkness. Calling it oblivion wasn’t accurate. There were things in the Nothing, things that made the horrors he dealt with on a regular occasion seem downright pleasant. He’d been to the edge before, watching reality and un-reality disappear into the howling claws of whatever waited for men and demons on the other side of existence.

Men smarter then he surmised that whatever it was had no power to enter or affect the world he sought to protect. He supposed this was true; it was hungry, and would have long since devoured the third dimension had it been capable.

The ground beneath his feet shook, and he suddenly found himself standing in a clearing. The storm-wracked sky was gone, replaced with a peaceful canvas devoid of any light save that of a full moon. The wind stopped abruptly. Snowflakes fell slowly through the air like the inside of a tumbling snow globe. A vast clearing spread out before him, the smeared remains of an overly ambitious psychic a vivid splash of red on the virgin snow.

There was a child in the clearing at the end of the trail. The boy was sobbing, his knees drawn up to his chest. The man approached him slowly. He tentatively took a step off the pathway and into the snow. His feet sunk into reassuring solid ground. The man began circling the boy, trudging through snow that came up to his shins.

“Go away,” the boy sniffled, burying his face in his arms. “Go away! I just want to be left alone.”

The man didn’t say anything. It was better to not talk to them if you could avoid. They’d played the game for eons; any word you spoke could be used against you. Instead he kept circling, trying to see the child’s face. He didn’t understand why this was important, but that was irrelevant. Gut instinct had kept him alive up to that point and he trusted it to take him further.

“Why did you follow me?” The boy screamed, kicking his feet into the ground. “I want to be left alone! Leave me alone!”

The world around them trembled slightly, and the man cursed under his breath. “You aren’t alone,” he answered. He had to buy himself more time. It needed to be tricked into revealing its true self, or it might simply push him back out into reality out of annoyance. “You’re with Lucille. Lucille Gale. Remember?”

Face still buried in his arms, the boy laughed. “Lucille. I remember Lucille. The other ones all ran, but Lucille wasn’t afraid. She stayed. She told me that she wasn’t afraid, that she wanted to help me. She held me so close…” His voice changed in an instant, becoming a tone no human vocal cord could ever hope to produce. “She’s rotting inside me. I cannot be bound. I cannot be harmed. I am eternal.”

“You might be eternal, but your son wasn’t, was he?” The warding tattoos on his skin started to prickle. That was a good sign. It was getting angry. “That’s who you’re pretending to be right now. Your son.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” the boy sniffed, his voice that of a child’s again. “I’m just a little boy. I’m just a little boy, all alone out here in the woods.”

“No, you’re not. Your name is Claude Lachay. You killed your wife and son here, before it was a park. Before there were many people here at all. You started running, and when you couldn’t go anymore you killed a family that tried to help you. You ate them. Do you remember? You ate them, but even that couldn’t keep you from starving. You nearly died from hunger in the wilderness a hundred miles north of here.” The man cocked his head to the side, and decided to push the issue. “You pissed yourself when the wolves came. You screamed for your mother when they started eating you, like you screamed for her every day in Hell.”

The child exploded in a shower of blood. His face landed on the snow next to the man, steam pouring from its eyes sockets and laughing mouth. Where the child once stood was what his organization would call a ‘Class I-IX Paranormal Entity,’ unveiled in all its horrific glory. Its three heads sprouted from between its shoulders, each of them gnashing on a tongue that flickered like a snake. A pair of arms sprouted from between its legs, their fingers ended in leech-like mouths. The skin on its bloated stomach was stretched so far it was nearly transparent. Inside it he could see the tortured face of Lucille Gale, her hands pushing desperately to get out.

The thing that was once Claude Lachay, the first serial killer to walk American soil, thundered with laughter. Its voice echoed around the clearing where it had committed its first crimes nearly three hundred and fifty years prior. “I cannot be bound. I cannot be harmed. I am eternal. I am…God!”

The first round fired through Jovlin’s gun put an end to such boastful nonsense. Lachay roared as the round tore a fist-sized hole through the center of one of its heads. It clapped a massive hand to its face, reeling in agony. The man fired again and again, moving towards it at a flat-out run. While the danger of being forced out of the breach was over, he now faced the equally real threat of death at the target’s hands. Jovlin’s revolver was a powerful weapon against the denizens of the Veil, and the fact that it had already proved ineffective told him everything he needed to know.
He’d never survive a direct fight. Lachay had dragged itself out of the pit, and the mindless hate that allowed such perseverance had twisted it something wholly inhuman. Every heaving breath it took was the scream of a dying man; every guttural curse was the wheeze of lungs filling with bloody clots. It was a lord of death now, a corpse god, the grave incarnate.

The only way to finish this was to destabilize the breach enough to allow armored translocation. The only way to destabilize the breach was to kill the soul that was fueling it.

Each of the bullets he fired found their mark. By the time he had reached the target the man had already reloaded. He fired at point blank range, aiming at Lachay’s bloated stomach. A massive, scaled hand moved to intercept the rounds. The same hand struck him hard, tossing him through the air. He fired as he flipped head over heels, managing to keep the target at bay as he rolled on the ground. It was on him by the time he righted himself, choking as its tongues whipped towards his torso and legs.

He thought about evading, considered his options, and calmly decided against it. The barbs bit into his flesh and tensed, digging into his skin. He grunted, pain dampeners flooding his system. The venom hit him a second later. He vomited, body shuddering in the throes of a seizure as the poison reached his brain. The receptors in his skull were shrieking, fighting off both the toxins and the terrifying psychic power Lachay was unleashing through his unwilling host. He caught brief glimpses of the monster’s past; the last, confused looks on the faces of the Chippewa family he had butchered, the taste of human flesh in his mouth, the awful, maddening climb out of the bottom of torment back into the world of the living.

The man felt the barbs tense, followed by a violent jerking on his left leg. He looked down in time to see it come clean off, ripped away at the knee, disappearing down Lachay’s gullet.

He saw his leg floating inside Lachay’s bloated stomach as he fired into it again and again. Distracted, the target had no chance to defend itself. Its immense stomach popped like a blister, spewing digestive juices over the frozen earth. It dropped him as it stumbled backwards, yelping, its hands clapped over its stomach. Between its massive fingers, the half-digested form of Lucille Gale spilled out. She writhed in the snow, screaming through a mouth that had fused shut.

Lachay reached for her desperately, but it was already too late. The man fired a single shot. The high-caliber shell blew her head clean off.
The clearing was completely still for a moment. Then there was an earth shattering roar that sounded all too familiar to him. The breach shuddered and tilted. The whole world sloped at a downward angle, making Lachay stumble and fall. Both monster and man went tumbling head over heels towards the edge of the forest. The man’s fevered mind screamed at him to make sure he landed on the bridge. At the last second he reached out, his hand slapping down into the trail of blood, arresting his fall as he held tight to his only line back to reality.

There was another roar, and Nothingness came howling up towards them. The world below him almost completely vanished, the trees and the mountain ranges swallowed up by a mouth made up of nightmares. The power of Lucille Gale, wielded ruthlessly by Lachay, had been the only thing that had kept the breach open. With her death, the thin barrier between the Veiled World and what lay beyond came crashing down.

He saw Lachay land in the trees below. The monster leapt back into the clearing, scrabbling to find purchase in the snow. The man calmly fired his remaining rounds into the target, watching as each bullet hit home. With one last howl, the monster lost its grip and fell down into darkness.

The man didn’t have any time to feel satisfied. The breach was collapsing, shaking apart at the seams. Like a rising tide the Void came up to greet him, laughing and screaming. He could make up indistinct shapes as it came on; shapes that reminded him of Jovlin, the smell of her hair and the sound of her voice when she told him

I’ll love you until the day I die

and the look on her face when she fell, when she let go, when she LET GO! LET GO! LET GO!

LET GO AND FALL!

“Agent Hauser.”

The man looked up into glowing blue eyes. The Aegis was only a few feet above him, standing with its steel feet planted firmly in the bridge. The dying light of the breach cast strange shadows over its black armor and menacing weapon arrays. It reached out to him, its fingers strangely slender for such a massive construct.

“We haven’t much time, sir,”it said. “Please take my hand to initiate translocation.”

Hauser didn’t hesitate. He holstered his pistol in a single fluid motion and reached for its hand. Half a dozen ports on the Aegis’ back popped open with a pneumatic hiss. The construct’s translocation generator came online, emitting brilliant white light as it drank in the otherworldly energy of the breach

“Translocation imminent,” it intoned. “Brace for impact.”

Hauser looked down. Nothingness looked back at him, smiling. Reaching.

“Brace for impact. Brace for impact. Brace-“

He hit the snowy ground so hard it drove the air out of his lungs. He gasped, rolling onto his side. The wind that had been howling moments before seemed to calm by the moment. Soon it had disappeared entirely, the snow it had been driving left to tumble lazily to the earth. The entire world seemed to have become still and silent.

His eyes were drawn to the cigarette he had flicked away before entering the breach. It was inches away from him, still burning. He’d been gone only seconds in the real world. He reached for it with a trembling hand, the cherry flaring brightly as he inhaled. It was almost too damp to smoke, but he’d never tasted anything better.

The Aegis was already working on his leg. Hauser felt a brief twinge of pain as it spread anti-septic paste over his wound, spraying it from a small retractable hose attached to its hip. The paste quickly turned to a murky red gel as it stopped the bleeding. In a few seconds Hauser’s entire leg went numb, and he could feel the pain dampening drugs in his system start to recede.

It turned to look at him, the center eye of its forehead turning a bright green as it scanned his vital signs. I apologize,” it said. “I arrived as soon as translocation became possible. I had hoped to get there in time to assist you with the entity, and prevent such damage from occurring.”

Hauser managed a weak laugh. “Killing the psychic was the only way to make translocation possible, and this…” He waved his hand at his stump. “This was the only way to get close enough for a clean shot. I’m still glad you came. If it had finished me off, someone would have needed to finish the job.” Hauser paused, squinting up at the construct’s expressionless face. “Who is that in there?”

The Aegis gave a metallic laugh as its visor slid back. A female face stared back at him, pale and young and covered in scars. “You might not remember me, Agent Hauser,” she said, her voice soft and lilting. “I was in training for the Aegis program when you were sent on your last assignment.”

“I remember you. I was there when you were initiated and picked your name. Bellona. Agent Bellona.” He took another drag on his cigarette, staring up at the stars. She’d had fewer scars then. “Damned pretentious name, if you ask me.”

He heard the sound of her visor slide shut as a response. “Recovery units are en route,” she said in the sexless voice of a machine. “They will be here within the minute. Since he is certain your receivers have almost certainly shut down as a result of your psychic trauma, Agent Dolos has asked me to extend congratulations to you on his behalf.” Bellona cocked her head to the side, and Hauser could sense her smile even behind the impassive face mask.“He also says he would never have authorized the kinectic strike, even if we’d lost track of you within the breach. He said he will always give you a chance to find your way out.”

Now it was Hauser’s turn to laugh. “He wouldn’t say that if he had seen what was in there. One of these days, something is going to come through and we’ll have to blow the breach to kingdom come. One of these days, I’ll be right.” He leaned his head back into the freezing snow, letting it cool his head. The static from the destroyed receptors inside his skull was giving him a pounding headache. Taking one last inhale, he tossed the smoke away from him for good.

It landed solidly on the grisly path Hauser had taken into nothingness. Drowned in blood, surrounded by darkness, the light of the cigarette quickly faded and died.

Credit To – IlluminatiExposed

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