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The New Year

April 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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New Year’s night is a time of bliss and celebration
Joy to one and all, but one for the duration
But all through the night till the morning after sedation
The lowly eyeball man finds a different sort of elation

Ragged clothes and face bathed in shadow
A thousand eyes of empty sorrow
No nose no ears and no mouth to swallow
But he sees and he knows and he devours what he follows

In the icy winter night a handful of eyes do glow
On a black decayed street your fate they sow
A hundred blinking empty eyes and all that they know
An unforgiving moon watched by a thousand dead eyes below

When you and your friends are out having fun
In the cold and black his plan is spun
In the wet and the dark nobody has yet outrun
The eyeball man faceless in the midnight sun

But if you stay out late into the night
Walk home not by the sparse ambiguous moonlight
Stay under the glowing lamps but in spite
You may not be in luck tonight

The eyeball man might follow you home
Slip in with you from the night he roams
In the sodden streets and the hanging brome
It’ll all be over once it’s just you and him alone

So this New Year let this be a warning to one and all
From the sparse green country to sombre the urban sprawl
Do not walk at night while only melancholy moonlight falls
If you wish for a lonely peculiar death to be forestalled

Credit To – CreepyZalgo

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The Puzzle Ball

April 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 6.8/10 (191 votes cast)

I’m writing this not for sure exactly why I am, but I’m going to just because my mind is trying to think back on the past several months. It hasn’t been a good several months, not at all, but I guess I might as well start from the beginning. Sorry if I ramble I usually do and my medication is making it hard for me to focus.

I went to flea markets, pawn shops, and yard sales a lot. Mostly in search of comics or anything that looked cool. I know that sounds stupid, but that’s what I did in my free time. One day in my exploration for comics I came across a yard sale. The yard sale was at a small one floor home that was quite old. I did my usual search through, when I found an odd looking ball.

It weighed several pounds and was made of brass. It’s diameter was about six inches. On both sides of it, it had nine square buttons in a square; the buttons had many different symbols. Such as a Scorpion, an eye, a triangle, a bird, and a key. I was intrigued by it. So, I went up to the man running the yard sale.

I asked him “Hey, what is this?”
He replied “Oh, yes the Puzzle Ball. It was a family heirloom.”
“Why are you selling it? It’s not curse is it?” I said laughing.
“No, no! Well, my uncle thought it was, but he was a drunk. I’m selling it, because my business hasn’t been doing good.”
“Oh, well I’m sorry to hear about your business, but what does this Puzzle Ball do exactly?”
“Well it’s a puzzle my grandfather had gotten from Egypt. He was an archaeologist and went their around the big burst in ruins found in Egypt. He and my dad obsessed over trying to open it. They thought it had riches in it but, they were both pretty crazy.”
He laughed
“Here I’ll show you how far my dad used to get with it.”

He grabbed a little cheat sheet and got pretty far along until he hit the wrong button. After that it’s a bit of a blur we talked awhile afterwards. He was a nice guy. Can’t remember his name and the Morphine isn’t helping. I’ll try to describe how it worked.

You had to hit the buttons in a correct order to make a part of the ball turn like a Rubix cube. It was split three times so if you got a sequence right you could rotate so that side would switch over to the other. It was extremely hard. The order was random with no basis so after you followed the cheat sheet you had to just guess. And if you messed up it wouldn’t move anymore, until you moved the pieces back to the correct position.

The guy showed me it all and told me he was happy that not some of the trash around here wasn’t buying his family’s heirlooms. I was glad I could help him with some money to help his business. So for about a month… Yeah, I think a month, I messed with the ball trying to figure it out. I would even say I, became obsessed with figuring it out. It was affecting my sleep as I became obsessed with it. Several times I would try not to play, but I just could not stand the thought of not playing it. It was driving me mad.

One time…The time… The only one I remember very well of my late night playing of the puzzle. I had been playing for a very long time. A very long time. Ugh… I don’t know how long, but long. I had this feeling that I was close, really close to getting the riches in there. Irony I guess, but I felt it. That it was going to be something amazing. I knew that this was the last one. I knew; I don’t know how, but I was one hundred percent sure.

Not knowing I clicked “The Eye” symbol. No luck! I reset it angry nearing tears. I got up and went towards the window. I was about to throw it out the window, but my arm buckled and the ball hit the hardwood with a large thud. It rolled across the hardwood and stopped at the base of my chair.

I didn’t question it. I saw this as a chance to get the prize whatever it was. The ball had forgiven me. I played again until I got the feeling that I was on the last one again. This time I knew the answer, just like I knew this was the last one. The cross. It was the middle one on the final one. A small cross with a mark centered on it. It was a grave marker. I may have not known it then, but now I know. I clicked and a sharp click sounded from it. The ball spit down the middle.

Inside there was a small three inch box. I opened the box to find a small dark black Scorpion crawled out of the box. It had some symbols of sorts on it’s back. In a blind rage from there being no ultimate prize for all my hard work I stepped on the little piece of shit. I gotta feeling like the one you get after doing something stupid.

While my brain was thinking about how it did not make any sense how that scorpion was alive; I was too tired and pissed off to care about logic. After about a day…or two. I’m not for sure. I came home to find another pure black scorpion crawling across my floor. I stepped on it, picked it up with a Kleenex, and threw it in the trash. You would think this would have sent off red flags, but no! I was too focused; I had just got my dream promotion. Everything was going really good, but as life has taught me extreme highs come with extreme lows.

For about a week, this time I’m for sure. I came home would stomp the little guys and move on. It hit me after the third day of smashing them that I had an infestation. I called an exterminator, but it was bedbug season and they were filled for another month. I wasn’t too upset about it, but I was going to be soon. After a couple more days of smashing bugs, I started getting a really bad rash. It burned and itched. It was terrible; I always scratched at it non stop. One time I scratched until before my skin became red. I went to see a doctor, but he couldn’t find any reason for it. I even told him about the scorpions; While that did confused him he said,

“A scorpions sting wouldn’t cause a rash like this. If it gets worse just call.”

And that’s what I did. I moved on. I smashed the scorpions when I woke up, when I came home, and when I went to bed. The rash slowly got worse. Spreading from my arm all over my body. I went to the doctor again and no results. Blood test, X-Ray, and even a Physical showed nothing. Squat! One morning I woke up and my skin felt like it was crawling. Something under it.
I went into a scratching frenzy. As I scratched blood started forming on my arms. I had to stop it. I cleaned the wounds put gauze on them. Took some Tylenol and went to work like normal.

It was terrible painful. For a couple weeks after that I scratched and pained over the new symptom. I went to the doctor; of course there was nothing wrong with me. He asked me if I was on any drugs. I told him
“Fuck no!”
I guess I did look kinda like a meth addict. They even gave me an MRI with no results. Though they were nice enough to give some low pain relieving medicine. More and more fucking scorpions every day I had to smash. I started losing sleep. Hell, most nights I couldn’t sleep.

On the final day or I thought it was going to be. The next day the exterminators were coming. I had, had a pretty shitty day already, but those motherfuckers had to have the grand final of shitness. I opened my door, walked and saw air pockets in the wallpaper.

“Great!” I thought

I went over and hit one of the air pockets. But instead of no noise I heard a “Squish”. I look at a big cluster of the air pockets. The wallpaper started ripping and thousands of Scorpions, spilled out onto the floor. I ran right out of there, locked the door, and left a note for the exterminators. I called a friend and he said I could stay at his house until the exterminators cleared the house.

I went to his house, took my series of pills, fell into his guest bedroom, and slept. My skin actually had stopped feeling so bad and I was actually getting some sleep. Until I woke up, I saw the alarm clock said 3:34. I don’t know why, but that number was so clear to me. I felt a burst of pain. I looked at my swollen red arms. I saw some blood roll down my arm and hit the white bed sheet. A little pincer poked through my skin. Then another broke through, and another, and another. The scorpion crawled out of my skin painted with crimson. It was now a mix of crimson and black which made the symbol on their backs more clear. A cross.

Then more pincers broke my skin. The scorpions crawling out. I started screaming for my friend. As they crawled it, it…it was fuck, I can’t describe it. It was torture. I just froze. I started trying to smack them, but tons of blood was rolling down my arm. I felt my skin breaking all over my body. The sheets were pure crimson. As soon as my friend burst through the door I passed out.

I was told my friend had stopped me from bleeding to death. That my apartment had, had no scorpions in it or Puzzle Ball. That the man who sold me the ball had committed suicide. The doctors are still baffled about how the scorpions got in under my skin, but I don’t give a fuck about any of that. The morphine has made not care about any of it. I don’t know how long I have been in the hospital. I know that I just got my final skin graph a day or two or three days ago.

I don’t know why, but after writing this I feel so much better. Maybe it’s because the nurse just refilled the morphine, but I would like it to be me writing this down that made me feel better. Now my hand is hurting so I’m going to stop… My new skin has a rash.

 The Puzzle Ball

Credit To – Written by: tytiger10 Illustration by: Jake Lissone

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The Demon Butcher of Palos Park

April 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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In my home town we have a legend.

In the 1890s, a man called Butcher (this was back when people got their name from their trades) had a butcher shop that was doing well. From what I can tell, he was a large man but cowardly at heart. He was well respected and well liked. He always did good business. But he wasn’t a person you’d look twice at.
Then the depression hit. Livestock was harder to come by and many other shops were going out of business. Butcher had good connections and he was getting by. But he had to raise prices, much to the annoyance of his customers. He was losing business.

One day a shipment of beef came in. Butcher told his apprentice to carry the load to the basement meat locker. The boy followed his orders, but like most kids, he tried to rush and took too much down at once. The boy tripped on the stairs and broke his neck at the bottom. He died, I assume, instantly.
Butcher heard the noise and soon found the body. The law was pretty scary in these times. Death sentences were still a viable option and Butcher thought this looked like murder. He could die because of this accident. They might kill him. He panicked and hid the body in his meat freezer.

When the boy’s parents came, he lied. When the boy’s father called the police and he got investigated, Butcher lied harder.
The police let him go for the time being but Butcher was terrified. Hiding the body made what could have been an accident look like real murder. He could lose everything. He could die. He had to get rid of the body.
That’s when he had an idea… he was a butcher. If he could cut the boy up and sell him as meat, who would be the wiser? No one, that’s who. No one. So in the dead of night he took his knife to the body and wrapped it like any other cut of meat. The next day he sold it with a nervous smile and no one questioned it.

In fact people seemed to like it. I suppose compared to the livestock of the time, human meat was clean and healthy. People liked it so much that they started asking for more. Now Butcher was a nervous man. Though he was nearly out of hot water he couldn’t help but think that people would wonder why his prime meat wasn’t as good as this one batch. If they kept asking… if they kept digging, they would make the connection. They would find out his crime. It was definitely a crime now, he couldn’t deny that. But, no, Butcher wouldn’t get caught. He would just have to find more meat.

He started with hobos. He would offer them food and lure them to his shop, then he’d kill them. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that he had gone completely insane. As far as Butcher was concerned, not one was going to miss the vagabonds so it wasn’t much of a crime. To make matters worse real beef was getting even harder to come by. He needed these people or he would go out of business. It was necessary.

But Butcher’s luck seemed against him. The rail-riders realized that Palos Park wasn’t a safe place to get off and they stopped coming. Butcher was again out of meat.

When the first child disappeared people were worried but no one thought there could be a killer among them. When more disappeared, someone remembered who went missing first; Butcher’s apprentice. And wasn’t it odd how he still had meat when everyone else was out of business? And wasn’t it odd the way homeless men used to wonder into his store and never come out? And wasn’t it strange the way he would sometimes stare at the children who entered his store?
Nothing makes an angry mob form faster than a child killer. This man had taken people, taken children, and dissected them like cattle. He had turned the town into cannibals. Oh, god, had parents unknowingly eaten their own children? How many people had died for this man’s business? How many people had they eaten?
The proof was there on the hooks when they broke into his shop. A child skinned and hanging. No one could tell who it was but they could only assume that it was the child who went missing the most recently. This man didn’t leave survivors. This man didn’t hesitate to kill them.

Butcher was afraid. Perhaps more afraid then he had ever been. They were gathering outside his house now with knifes and axes and fire. Butcher stayed away from the windows even as they were broken by bricks and pavement stones. Butcher stayed near the wall and closed his eyes. There was a pounding on the front door and then there was a sickening crack as it broke.

The people pulled him out onto the yard. Butcher screamed. Everyone came at him at once. The knives bit his skin, the hammers broke his bones and the police stood back and watched as the citizens punished him. Everything happened quickly but for Butcher it must have been a life time. Finally they ended it, ended him, with a swift axe to the neck, decapitating him before he could close his eyes for the last time

The Butcher had been butchered.

This is a true story. I know, Palos Park had its own little Sweeny Todd, what a rip off! But you can easily verify my story with a web search. I’ll admit that as a longtime resident of this town, I may have embellished the story a bit, but all the facts are there. Heck I even threw in that ‘think about it from the killer’s perspective’, Johnny likes so much. Okay, I’ll admit I’m the one who’s a bit weird about psychology.

But I guess I should explain…

I’m writing this because of Johnny. I’m not sure I really want to believe that these things are connected but there is such a thing as too many coincidences. I tend to be pretty skeptical, but I know when something isn’t right. I know when I need to speak out.

Johnny is missing and the Butcher is responsible.
There’s this game we play in town, ‘Find the Head’. I suppose the name’s kind of self-explanatory. When they cut off Butcher’s head they buried it on Indian Hill. Legend says that they kept his body separate so he wouldn’t be able to rise from the grave and continue his massacre. The problem being Butcher wanted his head back. Everyone pretty much knows that this is a lame add on to make it seem like the story is still going even though Butcher died two hundred years ago. Something to make kids behave or to scare tourists. But as brave sixteen year olds, we knew better.

On days when the internet signal was particularly bad and we were all bored we would go up to Indian hill and start digging. Most of the time our efforts were useless. We half expected that the skull had already been found and moved elsewhere but then Johnny won the game. He was digging at the bottom of the hill by a half-dead pine tree when he uncovered it.

He called us over immediately. He needed help uncovering it and at first it just looked like a yellow rock. But it was cool to the touch and seemed somewhat softer and lighter than real rock. Slowly we uncovered the shape of the skull and some of my classmates drew back in fear. No one had ever expected to really find it.

It was smaller than I had expected and darker in color. I was so used to the white bones I saw on TV that this dark yellow dirt encrusted thing seemed even more real to me. The skull was cracked in many places I noticed and stained brown and green in places. The textures was rough and porous from the years that had eaten away at it. I was fascinated by it. So was Johnny.

After ten minutes of arguing our group decided rather than calling the police or reburying it, Johnny should decide what to do with it because he was the one who found it. I remember the strange look he got when he got to hold the skull again. His cheeks were pale but his eyes shone brightly. “I’m keeping it,” he finally answered.

He called me at five o’clock in the morning the next day. I thought it was going to be something dumb but instead I got a panicked whisper. “I haven’t slept. Someone’s been slicing at my windowsill with a cleaver all night. I think it’s the Butcher.”

I laughed tiredly. I could tell from his voice that he wasn’t messing with me. He was definitely terrified but, I mean, another add on to the myth was that you could sometimes hear the Butcher’s cleaver ringing against his grave stone. As a result cleavers are a popular part of Halloween decorations and pranks in our neighborhood. So, I just tried to shrug it off. “It was probably just mike or someone playing a trick.”

Johnny paused for a long moment, “…yeah… maybe.”

He sounded a little relieved like he hadn’t thought of that but to tell the truth I wasn’t all that convinced myself. Someone beating the side of your house with a cleaver wasn’t what I’d call a funny joke. But some people are stupid like that. It was probably just a coincidence that Johnny found the skull the same day or even more likely, one of the kids who was with us was being mean.

It had to be a prank, though. There are no such things as ghosts and even if there were they wouldn’t be able to wield butcher knives.
At least that’s what I tried to tell myself. Then the cleaver incident happened again the next night and again the night after that. Johnny was really panicking now. The police had been called twice but they haven’t found a thing. No footprints, no fingerprints no cigarette buds or food wrappers, just the cleaver marks.

“Why is he just waiting out there?” he told me anxiously the fourth day. “Why doesn’t he just attack? If he attacks I can at least fight back. If he attacks at least it will be over. But all he’s doing is breaking my windowsill and stealing my sleep.”

“I don’t know,” I couldn’t deny that it was weird. I was worried. “Maybe they don’t want to attack while your dad’s home?”

“But why?” Johnny said exasperated. “If he’s afraid of my dad why does he come at all? If dad weren’t such a heavy sleeper he could have been out there with a shotgun by now. Wouldn’t it be easier to just wait until my dad is out and then terrorize me then? Why does he have to do this to me?”

I shrugged again still having no answers but thinking about something else anyway. “You’re staying at my house tonight.”

Johnny continued pacing as though he hadn’t heard me. “And why me? What did I do to deserve this? I mean it can’t be a coincidence that we found a human skull the day he first showed up but come on. My research says the skull is over two-hundred years old. It’s not like we discovered a recent murder. And none of you guys are getting stalked!”

“Johnny,” I tried to interrupt. He was working himself into a frenzy. I needed to calm him down. “Johnny.”

“…I’m too young to die. I only turned sixteen last month and suddenly the Demon Butcher of Palos is coming after me? How is that fair? I don’t even have a license yet. What kind of freak does stuff like this? I mean, I know you get the whole ‘he’s a coward’ thing in your weird psych analysis but how do you know? He lived hundreds of years ago and now he’s back. It isn’t fair that some ghost monster can just rise from the grave and attack me for no reason. All I did was find a skull. It’s not like he needs it anymore.”

“Johnny,” I said loud enough that my friend flinched. “You’re staying here tonight. If some guy is after you, it’s better you’re not in a place he can find you.”

“Really?” he seemed shocked by the offer. I guess he thought I’d be too afraid of attracting trouble. But I was better than that. Friends came first.

“Really,” I confirmed. Some tension eased from his shoulders. “Besides you look like you need some proper sleep.”

I never dreamed that the man, the human copycat, would find my house too. I was taking a risk but I didn’t really believe he would come. Our day went on as normal, I got permission from my dad for Johnny to stay over and we messed around until midnight. My bed was right next to the window and Johnny slept and the floor beside it. The moment he closed his eyes he was out and I thought it was funny. I, too, quickly fell asleep.

Until the knocking started. I flinched awake, my back to the window when I heard the heavy thunk of metal into wood. I blinked my eyes adjusting to the dark and I saw Johnny’s eyes wide and scared in the dark, the dim light from the window reflecting off of them. He saw me move and the look he gave me pleaded with me to stay still.

Thunk! The noise came again, then a sliding scrap as the cleaver was pulled from the wood. Thunk! Thunk! Oh god, the man was feet from me. His face must have been visible in the darkness outside because Johnny’s eyes never moved from that spot. Thunk! I didn’t dare turn or move or he would no doubt break the window and kill me.

Thunk! I could imagine the weapon slicing through my skin as easily as butter. Thunk! That noise punctuating ever cut. Thunk! The man laughed suddenly and my chest clenched. I closed my eyes tightly and waited for him to finally break the window but all that came was another dull thunk. My beating heart calmed some but the tension never left it. He was just playing with us, mocking us until he could finally move in for the kill. Thunk!

I could see why Johnny hadn’t thought this was a joke. It wasn’t funny.
Thunk! And then the noise stopped. I waited for a long time but it didn’t come again. I almost relaxed but for a small headshake Johnny gave from the floor. He was still there. I tried closing my eyes again. Tried to block the man’s presence from my mind.

Then suddenly there was a screeching sound of metal against glass, so sharp that I flinched and gasped in my bed. The man laughed again and he returned to the steady thunk of cleaver to wood again. At this point it was almost soothing compared to the laughter.

Johnny and I did our best to block out the noise. We did our best close our eyes and sleep but whenever we actually got close to sleep the man would change up his routine and scare us anew. It wasn’t until four or so in the morning that he finally stopped for good. We had a few wane hours to shut down from our exhaustion before my mother came and woke us up.

We were both pale and my mom was quick to notice. When my dad saw the window he was pissed but obviously scared. “Why didn’t you call me?” he yelled. He was ex-military and could easily handle any opponent. “We were right upstairs you could have called me for help.”

He didn’t seem to understand how very close this would-be killer was. He hadn’t heard a thing.

The fact that someone could stand at my window for hours, that someone could have easily killed me in the night upset him and mom more deeply then I imagined possible. My parents made Johnny leave and called me into school. The rest of the day was spent moving me into the guest bedroom on the top floor and talking to the police. I love my parents.
I tried my best not to think about it. A killer wasn’t going to break into my house and kill me. He hadn’t stood at my window for six hours threatening me with his probably sharp cleaver. I was just dreaming. I was just being paranoid, except I wasn’t because the physical proof was there and being in denial wasn’t helping.

I… I could handle this. Dad has taught me basic survival and self-defense. Plus I was on the second floor now. He wouldn’t be able to get me so easily up there. I had to stay calm. The secret to surviving is staying calm. No panicking for me.

Another night passed and for me it was in silence. I still had trouble sleeping waiting for the tell-tale thunks, but they never came and eventually I collapsed into exhaustion. Johnny wasn’t as lucky. When I saw him the next day his skin had a sickly grey tint to it and the bags under his eyes were as dark as bruises. He seemed to be at the end of his rope.

“We have to get rid of it,” he said during passing period. “I can’t do this anymore. I need sleep!”

I blinked and it took me a moment to realize what it he was talking about. “You mean the skull? You still have it?”

“You…” he was breathing heavily and closed his eyes as though he resisting hurting me. “I… I haven’t been thinking strait. You understand, Derek, I haven’t slept in days… Even during the day I’m not safe. I keep hearing him. I keep hearing that damn knocking. It won’t leave me alone. You have to help me. You have to help me get rid of it.”

I had taken a few steps back because he kind of looked crazy and people were staring. But he quickly moved back into my personal space a pleading look on his face. “Please…”

I had somehow walked into an ultimatum. Either I could sacrifice our friendship and do the smart think, where I avoided going to a secluded place when we knew there was someone stalking us, or I could have his back and do something obviously stupid. Sometimes loyalty sucked.

“Fine,” I sighed. This was stupid. I knew it was stupid but he was my friend and we were safer as a group. Friends have to be stupid together I guess.
We met up after school, dropped by his house and rode our bikes out towards the edge of town. We made a deep trek into the ‘For Sale’ property and got scratched up by trees and bushes nearly every step. My patience was running thin but whenever I asked why we couldn’t just bury the thing already, Johnny said we weren’t deep enough. “It has to be somewhere no one will ever find.”
“At this point no one will ever find us,” I scowled. This was stupid. This was so dangerously stupid. “Let’s finish this.”

Johnny stopped. All I could see was his back but in his voice I heard a kind of… resolve.

“You’re right,” he said calmly. “Let’s finish this.”

Then he turned around and I saw a glint of silver in his hand. I flinched backwards in shock. A knife! Johnny was holding a knife. “What the fuck!?”
My friends face was drawn. He seemed old and tired but he was looking at me with this hungry look. “Please understand,” he sounded guilty. “I have to do this, Derek. I have to do this. It’s the only way I’m going to get sleep. He won’t leave alone. He wants blood, Derek, and I have to give it to him.”
I backed up into a tree my heart beating fast, my mind reeling for answers. “I don’t understand. Who needs blood? What are you talking about?”

“The Butcher,” he sighed sadly. “The Butcher is hunting me. He’s the one that’s been knocking at my window. He the one making me do this. If…” he choked up and his eyes filled with tears, “if I don’t do this he’ll kill me.”
Suddenly he lashed out with the blade. I managed to duck out of the way purely on instinct. I fell to the ground hard and the steel of the blade lodged itself in the tree where I had been standing moments ago. I stumbled quickly to my feet and tried to put as much distance between us as I could.

“Johnny,” I gasped, trying to reason with him, kind of panicking. “This is crazy. You don’t have to do this. Killing me won’t change anything. Come on, we’re friends.”

He stared at me through tears now, “don’t make this harder than it needs to be, Derek.”

“Johnny…” and for a moment I was angry. He was acting crazy. He was going to kill me just so he could get some sleep. And I had trusted him. I had come out here at my own risk to help him. And he was going to kill me for that.
He swung the knife again and I blocked it with my arm, pushing his knife hand wide. Pain seared across the limb but I was grateful for the self-defense my dad had given me. Johnny’s eyes widened for a moment, like he hadn’t expected me to fight. It was enough of an opening. I shouldered into his chest, knocking him off balance and we both fell backwards onto the ground, our landing punctuated by a dull thunk

I fell off him and quickly scrambled away, breathless and bleeding and ready to fight. But Johnny didn’t move. I caught my breath and waited, my heart pounding in my ears. But Johnny didn’t move. I stared my mind trying to make sense of the situation as my anger faded away.

I… was he was sleeping? His eyes were wide open. But he had been so tired. That had to be it. He was sleeping. That was all. That was why he wasn’t moving. He… he needed sleep.

Somewhere in the woods I heard the distinct snap of a twig breaking. I saw a distant shadow of a man. He was coming. Shit! My adrenaline addled brain rushed through the possibilities; the Butcher, the police, and Johnny was…
Fear got the better of me and I ran. There isn’t a moment I don’t regret running. But what could I do? He was… he was sleeping and we were in danger. Loyalty had lost and now my friend was gone.

I had gotten lost until well after dark in those thick woods, my fear never leaving me. By the time I got out, the police were looking for us. I must have looked like a mess and was hauled off to the town station by the first cop I came across. A doctor was called in, cleaned me up, and said I was dealing with shock. My parents nearly strangled me with their worried hugs and all I could think was that there was a strange ringing in my ears.

I spent a couple of hours in the police station, wrapped in warm blankets and answering questions. I lied and said that Johnny and I were attack by a large man with a cleaver. I didn’t want to get my friend in trouble over a sleepy mistake. Beyond that I told the truth. We were in the woods on the edge of town. We were trying to get rid of the Butcher’s skull. Johnny fell down. My story seemed to fit with the window stalker thing we had called them about, so they didn’t probe much deeper.

No one blamed me, not even Johnny’s parents. People kept looking at me like I was some kind of victim. It was weird and it put a sick feeling in my gut. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. They all acted like they understood what had happened. They thought I was lucky to have gotten away.

But they were wrong. I was a coward. I had run when my friend was hurt. I had run when he had needed my help. Maybe that was why I kept seeing his face in my head. His green eyes wide and glassy. His eyes… empty… but I couldn’t have killed him. I hadn’t pushed him that hard. He wouldn’t have died from that. I was wasting time thinking about it.

No, it had to be the Butcher. This wasn’t my fault. This man had come knocking at our window with a meat cleaver. This man had driven Johnny crazy. This man was in the woods that night. He was the one who took Johnny. He was the one who killed him… he… they… they never found the body.

I had just… I had… I…

I miss him and I’m sorry that I left him there alone.

Johnny is missing.

The Butcher was responsible for it.

Credit To – serenawitchwriter

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April 8, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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A beautiful snowfall – the first since Kara had moved in to the small, cozy house she had rented. It was in the country, and the perfect place to complete her online university classes while also fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a starving artist – starving science fiction writer, specifically. The elderly couple she rented it from, whose grandchildren she had babysat, had left the Midwest for a warmer climate after their retirement. They had taken pity on her as they knew that her mother – her only relative – had died of a drug overdose after many years of addiction. They allowed her to stay for next to nothing in exchange for keeping the property in order. For many twenty-somethings, living alone in such a big, secluded house would be boring (or scary), but for Kara, who had previously only lived in cramped and filthy inner-city apartments, it was absolutely amazing.

This is partly why she was so enchanted by the snowfall. Though she liked to fancy herself as a serious and solitary artist, the allure of the snow just drew her in. She bundled up and went outside for a peaceful walk through the beautiful scenery – a huge yard with a barn at one end and a small pond at the other. The quaint view, along with the peaceful silence that only snow can create, put her in a happy mood, and she was feeling very calm and happy by the time she came back to the house. Just as she stepped up onto the first stair leading to the door of the house, a movement in the snow caught the corner of her eye.

For a reason she couldn’t explain, her heart skipped a beat, and she felt the urge to run inside and lock the door. The feeling only lasted a split second, but it took her a moment to collect herself. She cautiously looked back at what had moved, and that’s when she saw it; a tiny, pure white kitten, maybe two months old. She had to laugh at herself for being startled by such an innocent little creature. She glanced around for its mother, thinking of all the semi-feral cats living on the property. She didn’t remember any of them having kittens, and in this cold weather they mostly took refuge in the barn or garage. Either way, this kitten was alone and it was less than thirty degrees outside. She scooped him up and, almost on impulse, decided to keep him. She had never had a pet before, and could just picture him curled up beside her as she wrote or studied. The more she thought about it, the more she thought it was a good idea.

Fighting the urge to name him after a science fiction character, she settled on the easier-to-spell Snowy. She was amazed that he wasn’t freezing as she wrapped him in a blanket and rummaged through her landlord’s cabinets for pet supplies. He must have just left the garage and wandered too far out in the cold. She found some cat food and watered it down for him. To her relief, he scarfed it down gratefully. She carried him through the big house and down to the finished basement where she lived. Furnished only with bookshelves of science fiction books, a bed, and a cluttered desk, she thought the presence of a little cat curled up in the corner made it so much homier. All thought of studying or writing was lost for the rest of the day in favor of playing with her new pet.

That night, however, she had trouble sleeping. She woke in the middle of the night and had the horrible feeling that someone was watching her. She laid there in silence with her eyes shut, hoping that if she didn’t acknowledge the feeling, it would go away. It only got worse, however, as the night wore on. Her heart raced and she fought to keep her breath even. Hours later, she finally drifted into an uneasy sleep, but was still relieved when morning rolled around. Though there were no windows in the basement, it was as if a fog was lifted. The entire atmosphere of the room shifted.

During the night, the light snowfall had turned into a storm, and the temperature had dropped twenty degrees. Kara had no plans to go anywhere, but the knowledge that she couldn’t bothered her more than she had expected it to. She tried to write, but she just couldn’t focus. After struggling for a while, she decided it was useless to continue working and instead curled up with Snowy and sought some peace of mind in her favorite novel. This provided a measure of escape, but when night rolled around, she dreaded getting in bed. She put it off for as long as possible, but eventually, exhaustion won out.

She fell asleep easily, but woke up a few hours later, just as before. This night, just as before, she woke up with an uneasy feeling. She was determined not to spend another night as miserable as before, so she forced herself to open her eyes. She slowly turned her head towards the center of the room, and saw a pair of bright red eyes staring back. She wanted to scream, but was frozen with fear. Slowly and deliberately, she closed her eyes and opened them again. This time, the eyes she saw were yellow and belonged to little Snowy. What was wrong with her? She still felt frozen with fear. Without thinking, she quietly said “Snowy?” and the cat immediately ran over and snuggled next to her in bed. She hid her face in his fur and tried to sleep, but couldn’t do it. Eventually, she decided that maybe she just needed to get up and out of the basement. She got up, forcing the kitten to jump to the ground, and groped her way down the wall towards the doorknob. Though the room was near pitch black, she kept her eyes shut tightly. She found the door, but as her hands desperately roamed the frame, she didn’t feel the knob. She forced herself to open her eyes. The knob was right in front of her, she didn’t know how she missed it. But now she noticed something; an unnatural red light coming from behind her. Instinctually not wanting to have her back towards the possible threat, she slowly turned around.

The light was coming from everywhere, and from nowhere. It simply bathed the room. Snowy had jumped up onto a bookshelf, and now jumped down. The shadow cast in the eerie light was not of a cat, however, but of a grotesquely hunched human-like creature. Kara forgot about leaving the room and stumbled backwards. Pressed against the door, she was unable to pull together a complete thought. Terror held her in its grip. All she could do was curl in on herself, close her eyes, and repeat fragmented bits of the Lord’s Prayer as the cat slowly and deliberately walked across the room towards her. But it was too late for that nonsense.

It left the house only hours later. Walking through the frigid temperature on icy roads, possessing Kara’s body and holding a kitten. As the stray kitten had provided a way into Kara’s life, the stray girl would surely get through to another soul. It eventually came to another farmhouse, tears in its eyes, to tell a story about a car crash and a walk through the cold. Who could turn down such innocent creatures?

*Note – thanks to lucipurr for what was possibly trolling in the prompts section – satan as a kitten, indeed.

Credit To – Katt

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Missing Teeth

April 7, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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When I woke up in the morning, I knew something was off. It wasn’t until after my morning shower and shave that I figured it out. Not until my toothbrush slipped into a new gap in my smile. I froze, bristles bridging the gap, as I tried to understand what happened. Slowly, I removed the toothbrush from my mouth and stared in the mirror as I pulled my lips back, part smile, mostly grimace.

There it was, under my whitewashed paste smeared lips and set in the sudsy white teeth was a little black window.. Upper set, one of the front ones. I’m not a particularly vain person, but this was upsetting. Missing teeth were for yokels, the homeless, people who got into fistfights over sports. I wear a suit, I go to meetings, I have a secretary. Now, here I was, looking like I was dirt.

What made this deterioration worse was that just a few weeks ago, I had noticed my hair was thinning. Now this. My anxiety flared and my mind exploded with reasons why my tooth could have fallen out. Was it because I only brushed my teeth once a day on the weekends? Or was it something with my gums? I went through the day with my upper lip curled over my teeth and my mind filled with every possible reason why my tooth was gone. My secretary scheduled a dentist’s appointment for me later in the week. I didn’t tell her why.

The next morning, I was missing another one. Bottom, towards the back. No blood, no pain. There was a hole, I couldn’t keep my tongue out of it, but that was it. Physically, at least. On the inside, I felt a constant, claustrophobic panic. At home, every couple of minutes, I would tear off my sheets or get down on all fours, spreading out like a stretching dog, fingers splayed, praying that some part of me would touch these lost teeth. They had to be somewhere. Maybe the dentist could put them back in.

On the third day, my front three teeth on the top and bottom with gone. I almost cried. I was single and all I could think about was how no woman would want someone with such a fucked up mouth. Every few minutes I reached into my mouth to push and pull on my teeth to see if they were loose. That is until I began to the worry that I was making them loose with all the tugging. I didn’t go to work, I just called my dentist a half dozen times, trying to get him to see me as soon as possible.

The anxiety burned me out. So, after I carefully brushed my teeth, I went to bed early. I don’t know when I woke up, but when I did I saw him. I don’t know why I didn’t scream or jump back against the headboard. Somehow, I just stayed still and watched him through slivers of open eyes. In the dark I could just barely see the outline of his hunched back. His face was pale and waxy, his thin, round glasses caught the little bit of streetlight that came through my window. When he put his hand in my mouth, I tasted leather. Short, fat fingers pinched one of my teeth. I felt a quick, sharp slice into my gum and then just a gap where my tooth was. He took four more, then creeped out of my room. The floorboards didn’t squeak and my door hinge didn’t whine as he closed it. I didn’t even hear the front door open and close. All I heard was a car starting and pulling out of my driveway.

I didn’t go anywhere the next day. My dentist’s office called, but I didn’t answer my phone or listen to their voicemail. I didn’t move out of my bed. The hunger didn’t bother me. I had fewer teeth than a Jack O’Lantern and I couldn’t imagine trying to chew with my asymmetrical maw. My mouth was dry, but when I thought about water I thought about floods and mudslides washing away hills and houses and gums and teeth sliding down the back of my throat on a wave.

I couldn’t call the police. “A man is stealing my teeth at night,” might as well be the password for a mental asylum. Instead, I tried to fight sleep. Every light was turned on, every TV on its loudest setting, my stereo cranked to its limit.

When I woke up, it was in the silent dark and he was there.

He took three more that night. When he left, I followed. Where I walked, floorboards squeaked and hinges whined, but he didn’t look back. I saw his car, some old steel boat with fins and white walls. After he pulled out, I ran to my car and went after him. He had to know I was behind him. I kept my distance, because that’s what spies and detectives do in movies, but at this time of night we were the only two cars on the road. And, I realized, he’s seen my car before.

We headed for the boondocks, rural roads I’d never been on. They were dark and narrow, turning back and forth, rising up into fog, then dipping down again. Trees flanked us. No moon or stars, just headlights that shined on the reflective markers on the guardrail. I didn’t know what time we started, but it felt like we’d been driving for hours. Maybe he was trying to lose me, but… I hadn’t seen any other roads.

Finally, after a long, curving ride up and then down a mountain, I started to see familiar roads. This guy was fucking with me. All we did was go in a big circle. These were the streets that took us out into the backwoods. The exact streets.

We were going back to my house.

But it wasn’t my house. It looked like my house, but at my house the mailbox is to the right of the driveway. Here, it’s to the left. And in the yard was the birch tree I had cut down two years ago.

He parked his car and walked inside. I followed right behind. I knew where he was going and how to get there. The layout was the same as my house. Only the furniture was in different places. I walked back to my bedroom and pushed the door open with my fingertips. He had turned on a small lamp on the nightstand (mine had three drawers, this had two) and he was already at work.

In my bed, under the covers, was a lump of flesh. Someone, maybe the man, had sculpted crude arms and a neck and a soft, dented jawline. On the top of its head was an uneven, sparse tuft of hair. Brown. Same shade as mine. Two small holes for a nose, angular divots where the eyes should be. The sheets rose and fell with shallow breath. I watched him open up the lump’s lipless ovoid mouth and with crafter’s precision carefully set my teeth into its gums. After they were in, he grabbed them, wiggled them, tugged on them. They wouldn’t budge.

Slowly, he turned from his work and looked at me. His face was yellow in the dim lamplight. The eyes behind the glasses were little more than pinpricks of pupil. Over his shoulder, the lump stirred. It struggled to breathe, each exhale was a muffled internal scream. It tried to rise, tried to push itself up with boneless, flipper-like hands, but they just smashed useless against the mattress. The groaning breaths became more frustrated and angry as it struggled to prop itself up. When the lump finally shimmied itself against the head board, it joined the man in staring at me and I stared back. First into its empty sockets the same dull, slimy pink as a newborn baby.

The room was getting smaller. The bulb in the bedside lamp explodes and the only light comes from the man’s tiny eyes. Thin bolts of blazing yellow that cut right through the pitch dark of the room, illuminating little island of his sickly flesh. The pupils spread, the light widened, revealing more and more of his face. His mouth was opened. Wide. Unhinged. All I could see was teeth, sloppily spiraling around the inside of his mouth until they disappeared into the dark of his throat. All I heard was the struggling breaths of the lump, now lound as thunder, but still maintaining that muffled quality. My eyes traced the spiral of teeth, straining to follow them into the cavernous black esophagous. I fell in and rode the spiral down.

I woke up in my house. My real house. It was a few more nights before all my teeth were gone. Then I started to lose my fingernails and toenails. Last night, he took my lips. Now, there’s just a gaping black hole in my face.

I don’t know what he’ll take next, but I saw myself half-formed in that bed. I know there’s a lot of work to be done.

Credit To – ImGonnaBeThatGuy

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Lake Erie

April 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Cryptozoology: the study of organic life whose existence has not yet been proven.

Gibraltar Island, 2007
Two men had planned a diving trip into Lake Erie to study the effects of the pollution on the walleye and common carp in the area. These fish were the biggest product for fresh water commercial fishermen and the Department of Health had given them this assignment. Dr. Clive Brown and Christopher Trudeau had started their dive off the northern docks on Gibraltar Island, located in the southwestern section of Lake Erie. The dive was scheduled to last an hour, but the police dispatched a rescue boat after the men had been missing for five hours. After an extensive search, they found Dr. Clive brown floating face up, he was still alive. When they pulled him onto the boat they cut his diving suit and mask from him and began to administer CPR. Dr. Brown violently regained consciousness, spitting water and seizing. He grabbed the first medic he could and began screaming that his partner was dead and to get the boat off the lake. He wouldn’t stop screaming until the boat reached dry land. They took him to the closest hospital on the mainland in Ohio, and police began to question him. When he was able to stay awake, they asked him what happened and where his partner was. He couldn’t stave off the shock very long; he would slip in and out of consciousness and had a hard time speaking about the events that occurred at the bottom on Lake Erie. The investigators tried to charge him with murder and withholding evidence, but nothing stuck. Without any remains of Mr. Trudeau they didn’t have sufficient proof that it wasn’t anything more than a simple drowning. Dr. Brown would not speak of the incident.
Six years after the disappearance of Christopher Trudeau, an article appeared in a supermarket tabloid. The magazine was never meant to be taken seriously. This was the kind of reading material that claimed aliens were at the crucifixion of Christ, or a two thousand year old bat boy was found in the Middle East. The only reason the article caught my attention was the author’s name: Clive Brown. The article was about the two colleges’ dive into Lake Erie, and what happened down there. After reading the heavily edited garbage I decided to track him down and speak to the man myself, “the horse’s mouth” and all that.
I finally tracked down Dr. Clive Brown and asked him to speak on these events. He reluctantly agreed after a very long plea, and a hefty fee considering my salary. The following is his unedited record of the events that took place that day in Lake Erie.

“Lake Erie is one of the five Great Lakes. It borders Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Canada. It has had a pollution problem since the 1970’s because of all the factories and mills that are placed too close to the lake, releasing record levels of pollution. On some days the pollution gets so bad, people have reported seeing a mirror sheen on the lakes surface, along with a mixture of discolored algae and dead fish. The tests were going fine; we had collected all the samples we needed and even had time to catch the scenery. Everyone says Lake Erie is nasty, full of pollution, but man when you are down near the bottom; it’s as beautiful as the Caribbean. We were about to finish when I thought I had my ankle wrapped in seaweed. I pulled a knife from a sheath on my hip to cut the weed when I noticed through the fog my breath had created in my dive mask, my partner was violently flailing. I saw what looked like light pink ropes with the thickness of a human leg wrapped around Christopher’s legs and neck. He was trying to free his neck when the bonds began to slowly pull him down. I looked at my ankle and saw that it wasn’t seaweed that had taken hold of me; it was the same light pink rope like thing that had ensnared my partner. I slashed at it with my knife, over and over, as hard as I could; consider the resistance of being under water, until the elastic rope snapped. Blood spewed into the water from the sliced pieces and I heard this deep groan underneath me. Now look, there are some things in this world that will make people shit their pants just thinking about it, and I’m telling you, that sound is something that will haunt me forever. The groan echoed through the water, almost like sonar. I could see my partner still being dragged down by three different pink ropes, the further down they dragged him, the greater the angle between the ropes became, and then they stopped. I swam down against the pressure as hard as I could to save my long time colleague and friend. When I reached Christopher I pulled out my knife with the purpose of freeing him, but it seemed neither of us could stop panicking. Christopher’s entire body was thrashing with fear, and I had far from steady hands. The ropes were at an impasse, each one wanted to pull him in its own direction. They let Christopher hang there a moment; he was thrashing and flailing like a toddler throwing a fit, still attempting to free himself. He abruptly stopped moving, it was like he had just figured out how screwed he was. Time stopped, and I just stared at Christopher’s face through my dive mask, his eyes were slowly widening. I could hear my heartbeat, and the world was still. After what had seemed like a lifetime had passed, the soft pink ropes pulled the body part that it was attached to in a separate direction. One took Christopher’s left leg, another took his right leg, groin, and midsection, and the third one took his damn head, chest, and arms. There was so much blood; it was like a squid had spewed red ink right in front of me. I remember after it was all done, thinking of how quickly I accepted that Chris was dead, and just wondering what the hell I was going to do next.”

He pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt’s front pocket, lit one, took a puff, and looked down to the floor for a moment.

“I never really cried over his death, I never even made it to his funeral. Every time I think about what happened, I just get so afraid that I can’t…..”

He paused for a moment, and then continued.

“I had underwater flares for lighting and pulled one out of my equipment bag. I struck the flare and dropped it. It sank down and lit up a section of the lake bed. I swear to God, from the time that flare left my hand and fell to the bottom of that lake, my life has never changed more drastically. I saw four of them, large dark green and brown colored figures, they were frogs! There were four frogs the size of Goddamn box trucks sitting at the bottom of the lake, with Christopher’s limbs still hanging out of three of their mouths. They chewed on him, staring at me the entire time, like they just wanted to swallow so they could come after me. Their eyes were fixated on me; I was lost in a trance. It was like a dream, I knew I had to get away but it was like my brain couldn’t send the proper signals to my muscles to move. Then I heard it again, that deep, echoing, chest rumbling groan. The neck of the only one who wasn’t eating inflated. It looked like a freaking hot air balloon. Then it was like someone in my mind screamed at me, MOVE YOU IDOT! I started to swim to the top of the water as fast as I could, another deep groan echoed from underneath me. I had considered if it was a reaction to the pain I had caused one of the creatures with my blade, or from the rage it was expressing as its prey was escaping, it didn’t matter.
A fly, I had been reduced to nothing more than the equivalent of a simple house fly, I was feeling true and absolute helplessness. One of the tongues grabbed my oxygen tank and knocked the hoses loose. I lost consciousness soon after, due to either the sudden pressure change, or the reality of what I had just seen, I wasn’t sure. You know the rest, by some miracle they found me. I was half dead and everyone assumed I was absolutely insane. You know how they say when a veteran who’s seen combat will come home and freak out over a loud noise, like a window being shut to hard or something like that?”
“Post traumatic stress disorder.”
“Exactly, PTSD is the only souvenir I got from that diving trip, now I am terrified to be submerged in any amount of water. I literally cannot take a bath without having a panic attack. I have to shower with the curtain open. Does this sound like a problem that a normal functioning adult should have? But hey I’m alive, which is a hell of a lot more that anyone can say for Chris, right?”

I stood up, shook Dr. Brown’s hand, and thanked him for his hospitality and testimony.

“What are you going to do now?” He asked.

“I just want to share your story with anyone willing to listen.” I told him

“Good, I just hope this doesn’t end up in another one of those God awful supermarket tabloids.” He said.

I smiled, shook his hand again, and we parted ways.

Credit To – Killbo Fraggins

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