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Case Report 7591

September 4, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Details of this story have been changed or censored by the State Court of Illinois and by those person’s involved in this case whose safety or reputations could be damaged by such information being released to the public.

In 1959, a small town in Illinois suffered from an economic blow after a Chevrolet automobile factory was shut down. During their period of decline, many of the citizens tried to bring forward their own personal ideas for reviving the economy. A man named Travis Leroy, who owned a large plot of farming land near the edge of town, decided to use the opportunity to pursue what he claimed to be a long forgotten childhood dream of his and opened an amusement park in hopes of bringing in tourism from nearby cities.

Travis wasn’t very well known by the rest of the town and had always been fairly quiet, but he had never said an unkind word to anyone and he’d didn’t have a single enemy to speak of. A few of the other men in town were hired to help plow the land down and assemble the buildings and decorations for the mechanical rides and carnival stands. Most of the rides were generically shipped in and set up on spot without much effort, but there was one custom attraction in particular that was assigned the most care and preparation by the founder of the project. It was an original idea of Leroy’s that he insisted on including in the park, as it was one of the few things he had specifically envisioned as part of its final opening.

It was a slow indoor track-car ride that would be lit and decorated to appear like an enchanted forest, complete with different animatronics of animals and lifelike statues of pixies, fairies, and other magical woodland creatures. Leroy personally had the statues and moving figures brought in from a larger outside company, and the rest was easily constructed with nearby shrubbery and donations from the town’s taxidermist.

Before Travis officially opened the park to the public, he insisted on doing a final walk-around on his own as he marveled the creation and assured himself that everything was perfect for its first day of general admission. Once it was approved to his standards, the local children were abuzz with anticipation to see it and the attraction was an immediate sensation in the region. The park was successful for many months and was immediately bringing in more revenue and income to the surrounding community, as well as to all the townspeople who were employed in many of the stands and vending booths.

As a whole the place was well-loved by all and commonly visited, but as time went by it was clear that the enchanted forest was not entertaining as many guests as some of the other rides or games. However, when it was suggested to Leroy by any of his employees or associates to shut down the ride, he would immediately cast off the idea and become seemingly offended. Because it wasn’t using up very much of the profits on maintenance or repairs, the majority of those who asked never argued otherwise and the subject was eventually dropped completely.

After a few years of the theme park thriving and growing, one of the local four-year-old boys was reported missing after disappearing in the ravine by his backyard on the outskirts of town. Traces of evidence were found in the brush near the other side of the creek, a shoe and some locks of hair, but there was no sign of blood or violence. The case was eventually concluded as an animal attack and closed by the parents and the department of the state.

Even after its close, some citizens were suspicious of the lack of evidence or remains found of the toddler by search parties or authorities. The suspicions never came to much fruition, as coyotes and wolves stalking unwatched pets and children was not uncommon for the area. Then, five months later another child went missing in an outside county. It was nearly an hour’s drive to the park and its town, and thus was barely noted by many around.

At least not until the town’s sheriff and pastor brought to attention that the circumstances of the missing child, as well as the lack of evidence and general surroundings, were very similar to each other. Upon the pastor’s further investigation, it was also discovered that the two children were very similar in appearance. They both had dusty blond hair near the same length, and were both round-faced boys with similar heights and complexion. Police launched into further investigation and were unable to find any other connections over two weeks of questioning and researching each victim’s family. About a month into the reopening of the cases, the mothers of the boys noted that they had both taken their children to the local theme park within three weeks of their disappearance and notified the detectives.

The entire staff was interrogated over the matter and the lot was inspected, but most of employees were unaware of the disappearances even occurring and there was no suspicious findings in the park. Travis Leroy was put under the most thorough questioning, being the owner of the property and main executive manager of the establishment, but answered the majority of the questions with ease. He had seen neither of the boys in the park the days they visited and spend most of his time during park hours in his office or in the maintenance back lots.

The case was again closed without further evidence until another disappearance a few miles down the ravine from the brush the first child’s traces were found. This child was a girl of three, but again matched the appearance of the other boys having short blonde hair and round, rosy cheeks.

After the parents of the girl were brought in for search and investigation, it was soon discovered that they had also just visited the theme park only a few days before. The park was then officially shut down by authorities until further notice for a intricate search and investigation, much to the outcry and complaint of the town receiving its valuable income. The rides were dismantled and the offices were cleared, but no undeclared components or secret areas were found anywhere. Even after a search of Travis Leroy’s living quarters and the homes of a few other managing staff members, nothing was found to be connected to any of the missing children. The only area noted by detectives that had yet to be investigated was the building housing the forest ride due to the lack of installed lighting and commonly used exits.

Because the only usable lights in the ride were the colored atmospheric yard lamps set up through the trees and across the ceiling, the police did the majority of their search using flashlights and lanterns. Nothing was found out of place on the track or in the cars themselves, and most of the officers seemed to be somewhat impatient to leave the area. However, the head detective became especially curious of the few display cases set up through the ride of the fairies and sprites. He requested that Leroy allow him into the cases, which Leroy denied by saying they were completely sealed off in glass and had been since the opening of the park. The detective was still unsatisfied, but let the owner and his employees off without a problem.

Later that night, according to the head detective himself, the detective used his warrant of the premises to search the ride again on his own and attempt to find a way into the cases. He wasn’t able to manage a way in, but what he did discover was that the sealant bordering the corners of the glass paneling was still fresh, suggesting it had recently been opened and resealed. This peaked the detective’s concern enough to request another search of the building with assistance from the other officers on the case. Leroy was insistent that opening the cases would permanently damage the integrity of the display and the ride’s condition, but after several different debates of policy and warranting, the police were finally able to surpass Leroy’s complaints and permitted inside under state policy.

On March 18th, 1963, a party of seven different police officers and investigators entered the enchanted forest ride in search of further evidence of the missing children. After only two hours of inspection and investigation that day, the park was immediately dismantled and the town nearby went down in local infamy, despite most citizens not knowing the details of their discoveries. What was found in the ride was said to be so disturbing that the photographs taken for evidence were strictly kept from the public and many of the officers in the party refuse to recall the experience.

The group of authorities walked into the building and followed the car track around its winding bends and turns through the different displays before stopping at the first glass case about halfway through the ride. Armed with crowbars and paint scrapes, the police were able to separate the first two panels and split the rubber-like seal in a little under an hour. Immediately the scent of stale air and embalming chemicals were evident from the box, which was not unexpected due to the amount of taxidermy animals in the case to complete the forest ensemble.

But there was a different smell beneath the formaldehyde and thin layer of dust that left the party uneasy and a few feeling ill. It was described as a bitter scent with a hint of sweetness, similar to that of spoiled meat and rancid flowers, as one described. As the men delved further into the case, they seemed to agree that the smell was emanating from the statues and figurines.

The head detective approached one in the middle; a small dark-haired sprite in a homely outfit of overalls and hat who was staring curiously up at the ceiling and holding a preserved bird perched on his fingers. He peered closer at the figure’s expression and stared into its lifeless glass eyes before quickly being overpowered by the previously noticed smell. Covering his face with his sleeve, he continued meticulously inspecting the sprite to find what the source of the odor could be. While searching it, he noticed that there was almost a faint hint of freckles on its cheeks under what looked like a thick layer of lacquer or resin. What happened next sent the whole of the group into a fit of disgust and one man had to rush from the building to vomit outside.

The detective raised his hand to scrape away a layer of the enamel from the sprite’s face and sample it for later testing. But instead of peeling back a flake of enamel, a large chunk of the figure’s cheek fell away under his fingernail and dropped to his feet. Beneath the layer of flesh-tone covering was what seemed to once be living, raw flesh and muscle, long congealed and dried from years of preservation and stagnant presence in the glass box.

The detective quickly swabbed the flesh for sampling before excusing himself outside, as the smell and the atmosphere of the area was becoming too overwhelming for him and the others to handle. More authorities were sent in after and the rest of the displays were opened, all proving to hold the same grotesque odor and stale air of unease. All figures and statues were inspected, and almost all proved to show the same conclusion.

After the entire ride was emptied and investigated, a total of 17 children’s remains were recorded to be held in the ride’s displays, three of which were the bodies of the missing boys and girl from the previous months. A few were unidentified, and the rest were found to be long-lost children of the nearby townspeople or others from a near area. The youngest child found, an infant no older than twelve to sixteen months, was found to be the son of none other than Travis Leroy himself who was said to have died at birth along with his departed wife.

Leroy was immediately arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of all seventeen children and the park was permanently closed. Most of the other rides were dismantled and returned to their original owning companies, but the majority of the citizens refused to approach the building of the enchanted forest. The townsfolk held to the strict belief that the land was drenched in evil, and ill fortune would come upon any who entered it again.

An outside construction team, unaware of the lot’s past, was hired to dismantle the building a few years later. They refused to complete the task after being unable to remove the sickening smell and reporting sounds of children’s distant laughter. The town left it abandoned after that, but kept very careful watch on it to keep any outside tourists or journalists from breaking in.

To this day, the building still stands with the other scraps remaining of the park on the plot of farmland near the edge of town. There have been no reported entries of the building or visits of the property since.

Credit To – iwasfriendswithaghostonce

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On The Short Walk

September 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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My house doesn’t have a garage. Instead, it has an undercover car port. The front door is at the opposite end of my house to the car port. Once I park my car it’s a short walk from the car port to the front door. On the short walk, because my house sits on a slight hill, I have a view of the property across the street. It’s been vacant for a while now. Last night, though, on the short walk, I saw a light on inside.

This morning, on the short walk from my front door to my car, I quickly took stock of the house. It appeared to be vacant. There were no cars parked in the car port or on the street outside. The tall, neglected grass swayed in the gentle morning wind and the brown, paint-chipped picket fence had a precarious lean, as if it would topple if the gentle gust graduated to anything greater. As for the house, a single-storey brick with sun-faded orange roof tiles, it studied me with its four eyes, the blinds drawn on each, as I studied it. It was like one of those paintings where the eyes are on you wherever you are in the room. Its four eyes followed me the whole way on the short walk but there didn’t appear to be any life behind them.

That night I parked my car and began the short walk to the door with my mind still at work. It wasn’t until I was halfway through my journey that I realized the light flickering behind one of the windows. This time I realized the flicker, as if the source was fire rather than a lightbulb. As I moved closer to the front door I tried to recall if the light I’d seen last night had flickered the same way. I couldn’t recall. I hadn’t paid close enough attention. As I entered my house, I heard the muffled sound of a hammer at work across the street. I figured that I did have new neighbors.

The next morning the house looked exactly as it had the previous day. As I walked the short walk, looking over at the property, I saw one of the window blinds move. It looked like someone had bumped into it. They slowly rocked for a few seconds before becoming still once more. By this time I’d reached my car and I drove to work.

When I got home that night my mind hadn’t been left at work. I’d begun thinking about the house across the street on the drive home, wondering if the flickering light would be on behind one of the windows. I saw, on the short walk, that the light was on. However, the light flickered behind every window. It was brighter behind the two centre windows and grew dimmer in the outer windows, as if the house had just one source of light. As I put my key in the front door I once again heard the muffled sound of construction across the road. The sound of my footsteps on the short walk had masked the soft sounds of labor. I didn’t look over my shoulder. I’m not the overly-nosey-neighbor type. I went inside and locked the door.

The next morning I realized that the blinds were gone. Their disappearance didn’t provide a passerby with a peek inside because the windows had been painted a dark maroon. On the short walk I also noticed a mound of dirt beside the house. A shovel stuck out of the ground next to it. I got in my car and drove to work.

That night I saw, on the short walk, a sign of life and not just a hint. A red truck sat on the street outside the house with its cabin raised. A figure hidden by the darkness was working on the engine. The streetlight on that side of the street was out but the one outside of my house was working fine. The figure working on the truck was wearing protective goggles. He looked up at me and the fluorescent beam of the streetlight hit them and bounced off in my direction. It was like a nocturnal animal studying me. I raised my hand in a polite wave and the figure just continued to watch me. It then went back to working on the engine without even a nod of acknowledgement. I quickly went inside, glad to be out of sight.

The next morning the truck was gone and so was the mound of dirt. The dilapidated fence had been replaced with a sturdy chain-link deterrence, double the height of the old one. The house watched me with its four empty eye sockets all the way to my car.

When I got home from work the truck was back and the streetlight still hadn’t been fixed. As I neared my front door I heard the sound of a basketball bouncing on the hard surface of the road. I looked over my shoulder and saw a group of streetwalkers, their age hidden by the night. I didn’t hang around outside to see if they were coming or going because my neighborhood wasn’t the safest. As I retreated inside I heard one of them shake a spray can.

The next morning the truck was parked in the same spot as the night before. Across the back of the trailer, sprayed in blue paint, was: ‘PIG FU’. The next letter was half completed but it was pretty easy to tell that the artist had intended it to be a C. But the artist had been stopped halfway and they’d left their spray can behind. It lay on its side against the truck’s back wheel. My imagination offered me an explanation involving the streetwalkers and the figure that I’d seen working on the truck. I turned my mind to work and got in my car.

When I returned home that night, as I pulled into my driveway, I saw that the truck’s cabin was raised again. On the short walk I tried to see if the figure was working on the engine. Movement at the back of the truck caught my eye and the figure appeared. I looked away but could still see the streetlight reflected on his goggles. Then, as I moved closer to my front door, I noticed the figure moving across the street to my house. I fastened my walk when I saw the long wrench in his hand shimmer when it caught the light. I kept the approaching figure in the corner of my eye but made sure not to look directly at them. I fumbled with my keys at the door, praying not to hear the tap of shoes walking up the path behind me. I got inside and closed the door behind me. I waited for a knock that didn’t come. My curiosity bested my fear and I peeked through the eyehole. There was no sign of anyone on the street.

The next morning I was a little reluctant to leave the safety of my house and make the short walk to my car. But it was day time and that convinced me that I wouldn’t see anything unsettling across the street. With this assuring thought I stepped out of the house and began the short walk to the car. As much as I didn’t want to look, my curiosity was like a fishhook and the fisherman was standing across the street slowly reeling in the line, making my head turn slowly in the house’s direction. As if the figure had been waiting for me to look over, the front door opened as soon as my eyes fell on it and they emerged from within. I knew it was the figure I’d seen working on the truck because of the goggles. The sun reflected off the lenses and, like the streetlight, didn’t allow me to make eye contact. There was no way to tell what gender they were because the top of their head was covered by a black engineer’s cap, the goggles obscured their eyes and their lower-face was covered by the large collar of the thick black overcoat that hid the rest of their body, the bottom disappearing into the long grass. They raised a hand and directed my attention to the open front door, offering for me to come inside. I tapped my watch. signaling that I was running late and quickly walked to my car. They dropped their hands and just stood there in the long grass. Like the house, they watched me all the way to the car.

I thought about the morning’s short walk all day at work. When it was time to go home, I contemplated not going home. I thought about it for quite some time in the car park of my office building before deciding to go home. I had nowhere else to go. Besides, home was safe. It was that short walk from the car to the door where I was vulnerable. If anything happened involving the engineer – I’d gotten to calling them the engineer because of the hat – I’d get inside and call the police. It sounded like a good plan.

I pulled into the driveway that night and looked over my shoulder at the house across the street, making sure the engineer didn’t have a head start on me. If I’d seen him out on the street, I would have turned the car back on and gotten out of there. I took a deep breath, got my house key ready in my hand so as not to waste a second at the door finding it, and started the short walk. I kept the corner of my eye peeled for any movement. When I reached my front door and nothing out of the ordinary had happened, I felt, strangely, let down. I’d been so sure that something was going to happen. I’d felt it in my gut. The hairs on the back of my neck had stood up for no reason. I looked over at the house across the street and it appeared as it had on the first morning after I’d seen a light on in one of the windows. The property seemed to be devoid of life. Even the red truck was gone. I inserted the key into my front door and unlocked it. As I pushed it open, I looked over my shoulder to make sure that I hadn’t missed anything. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, I turned back as I stepped inside and collided with the engineer.

The engineer stood just inside the doorway and my nose touched one of the lenses of his goggles. When the realization set in, that I had an intruder inside my house, fright threw me back and I tripped over the doorsill. I landed on the pathway outside and looked up at the engineer as he emerged from my house. In the glow cast by my front light, I saw what the goggles were protecting: nothing. There was just darkness behind the lenses. I crawled backwards for a few meters as the thing that wasn’t human moved towards me. I picked myself up off the ground and turned for my car.

A glow caught the attention of my peripheral vision and my curiosity turned my head towards it as I ran. The door to the house across the street was wide open and the flicker of a flame danced just inside. I should have continued running to my car but I stopped. I changed my course and began walking towards the open door. I wanted to get in my car and drive away but the want to see inside the house was stronger. The engineer stepped up beside me as we crossed the road and I felt a supportive hand on my back. It didn’t say anything; I’m not too sure if it could. It guided me past the chain-link fence, through the long grass and to the door. I discovered that the flickering light was a large chandelier holding numerous wax candles.

I could feel the engineer pushing me on the back slightly but not hard enough to force me inside. He wanted me to step inside but when I saw the pit I didn’t want to. The house was just a shell hiding the pit beyond its walls. But I don’t think that ‘pit’ is the right word because a pit has a visible bottom. I couldn’t see the bottom but I could see hundreds of shimmering eyes catching the flame of the chandelier. When I think back on it now, I think they were goggles, not eyes.

Suddenly the want to drive away was stronger than my curiosity. But the engineer had his hand on my back and the force behind it was getting stronger. Before it could push me inside I pushed back on the doorframe. The force behind both our efforts grew until it was an aggressive battle. Then I had an idea that saved my life that night from the pit. I purposely fell straight to the ground, catching the engineer off balance and he toppled through the doorway and into the pit. The want to get in my car and never return was greater than the want to look over into the pit to see if the engineer was gone. So, I ran to my car and drove away.

The next morning, in the early hours, a sinkhole swallowed the entire street. My coworkers were shocked when I showed up to work in the clothes I’d been wearing the day before. I’d had nowhere else to go. I explained that a night out drinking had saved my life. It wasn’t a lie. I had spent the rest of the night drinking. They were interested by my story for only minutes because special coverage of the sinkhole was playing out on the morning news and had all their interests grabbed.

I spent the morning in my cubicle browsing for apartments to rent. I couldn’t bring myself to work. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone the truth because they wouldn’t believe me.

On the short walk from my cubicle to he water cooler I pass the lunch room. Through the window I can see the TV. At the moment it’s on and showing an aerial shot of the sinkhole. The large black eye watches me as I watch it, wondering. Did the engineer create the hole or did the hole create the engineer? I’m curious to know. I’ll continue to peek on the updates every time I go to get a drink. Though, if I see something I don’t like, I’ll run.

Until then I’ll just watch.

Credit To – satawks

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The Black Woods of Beaumont Chase

September 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Daniel Warrington leapt to his feet. The fire roared and crackled in the hearth and the wind gusted outside and for a second he doubted whether he had really heard it – a second, heavier crash, like a great clap of thunder swiftly relieved him of such foolish notions. He rushed across the drawing room, his plush burgundy smoking jacket billowing out behind him, shoving aside an armchair in his haste, and emerged into the entrance hall to see the stout oak doors rattling in their frame. He snatched the Sharps model-1874 from its stand above the fireplace and dashed across the brilliant marble floor, feeding a new cartridge from the stash in the pocket of his smoking jacket into the chamber. Too late, he flung open the doors only to catch the briefest glimpse of an immense bulk retreating into the circle of trees.

He returned his attention to the doors – deep gouges in the wood, the lower panels splintered and dented. He slammed his fist against the doorframe in frustration, ignoring the hot lance of pain that pierced his hand.

Daniel Warrington had had enough.

This was the third incident of its kind to occur since his taking up residence in Nighthill Manor two months previous. Pausing only to pull on a pair of worn-leather boots and a demur brown scarf, he considered rousing his manservant, Dunwald Marsten, to accompany him, but decided against the idea. The old man was probably tucked up in bed by now – there was no reason to disturb him. Whatever it was that walked the woods of Beaumont Chase and menaced the Manor, Daniel Warrington would deal with it himself. After all, hadn’t he faced down enormous black bears during his months on the Continent; looked death in the sharp yellow eyes deep within Peruvian rainforests; slain a great white lion, King of the African plains, with nothing but a blade and his bare hands?

Determined and resolute, Daniel Warrington strode out to meet the night. The air was frozen and the skies empty. Before him at the clearing’s edge loomed the woods: a vast black wall of frostbitten limbs and flaking bark. The wind – at least, it was probably the wind – howled between the slender trunks and seethed in the clusters of tall dark pines. Pale icicles, thin and crooked like skeletal fingers, scintillated as Christmas baubles hung from a tree – a black, dead tree.

As he crossed the clearing, his hand fell to the LeMat belted at his hip. Deemed far too superfluous and unreliable for field use by the US Army, he had managed to procure one of the few remaining prototypes from a customs officer up in Birmingham. In addition to the revolver and the Sharps, he carried a long, thick knife with an elaborate deer-bone handle sheathed at his waist, a gift from an elderly knifemaker by the name of James Black several years previous – the blade had since tasted the blood of almost every animal that walked, crawled or swam upon the face of the earth.

Regretting not taking the time to change out of his smoking jacket, Daniel Warrington gritted his teeth and trudged on through the biting cold. Tracking the mysterious beast was proving to be exceedingly difficult. Having neglected in his haste to bring a lantern, it was all he could do to discern the sporadic trail of odd, hoof-like prints. Their distinctive cleft, although somewhat more pronounced, reminded him of the tracks of the curious black-and-white striped deer that ran freely across the African plains, with but a single difference; these were sunk far too deeply in the snow, incongruous with the weight of such an animal. Whatever the beast was, it was of a most prodigious size.

For minutes that dragged like hours he plodded onwards by the sickly light of the moon, the only sound that of fresh snow crunching beneath his boots. The wind nipped cruelly at his exposed face and hands, bringing with it a faint mist that flowed around him in shreds and tatters, snatching at his clothing with ghostly, insubstantial fingers. His every breath fogged the air with an ephemeral white cloud and seemed to draw the seeping chill ever deeper into his body.

Something moved in the outer darkness of his periphery; by the time he had levelled the Sharps it was gone – if it had ever been there at all. The darkness was enfolding now, a great all-encompassing blackness held at bay only by thin shafts of moonlight. A branch snapped to his right, and he whirled in time to see a dislodged clump of snow thud to the ground. Taking a deep breath, he once again levelled the Sharps. His mind was calm and still, a vast frozen lake in midwinter’s grasp. The weight of the stock in the hollow of his shoulder felt good. It felt right.

It had been far too long since he’d seen the spark of life fade from the eyes of a dying animal.

Slowly, cautiously now, he picked his way between peeling silver birches and over the fallen trunks of once magnificent oaks. Alert to even the smallest motion, he hunted in silence, pressing onwards into the woods, deeper than ever before.

Eventually the tracks halted at a great twisted snarl of brambles stretching taller than a man. There was no sign of his quarry passing through, and truly the tracks continued in no other direction. Fighting back disquiet at the idea of an animal so large capable of clearing such a barrier with a single leap, Daniel Warrington slung the Sharps over his back and unsheathed his knife.

He would need to act swiftly now.

Stumbling forth from a narrow tunnel of thorn and tangle, Daniel Warrington emerged into a misted clearing. Damp from the moisture in the air, lank locks of hair clung to his forehead. His face and hands were sliced in several places, and his smoking jacket was all but ruined. Dunwald Marsten would not be amused.

He straightened and unslung the Sharps, taking stock of his surroundings. The wall of brambles encircled the entire clearing, and it appeared he had forced his way through at one of the lowest points; in places the brambles grew around the overhanging branches of nearby trees, crawling along their drooping limbs like sinister barbed snakes. All across the clearing spires of rock jutted upwards from the mists, their twisted points scraping the caliginous skies. Small, trembling gouts of white had begun to spiral down, but Daniel Warrington barely noticed. His attention was elsewhere.

It was not often that Daniel Warrington found himself at a loss for words – now, he could barely remember to breathe.

Dominating the centre of the clearing and towering over its surroundings was a dark Cyclopean monolith of impossibly immense proportions. Plainly visible upon its surface were an array of nightmarish bas-reliefs, upon which the gibbous moon shone sickeningly. Thin tendrils of mist curled up and around the hideous obelisk, crashing against its sides like churning ethereal waves.

Mother Nature took a deep brief, and the night itself fell still.

Deep within the mists, something moved.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

He could feel it now – the beast’s eyes were upon him. The fine, downy hairs on the back of his neck stood erect, and his skin rippled with gooseflesh.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

The sound echoed hollowly across the clearing. He sighted down the barrel of the Sharps and willed his trembling hands to still. Shifting anxiously beneath the gaze of that loathsome monolith, he watched and waited.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

The stag shambled forth from the swirling mists. A blackened crown of jagged antlers twisting in all directions adorned its head; as the beast sauntered past the monolith, the tips of those dreadful antlers screeched across the black stone. The Sharps dropped from Daniel Warrington’s shaking hands, clattering away across the ground. The stag’s jaw lolled wide, revealing a maw bulging with pointed yellow teeth, akin to those of the sleek tiger-striped sharks of the west Pacific. Only now did he understand the truly monstrous proportions of the beast; its head stood fully twice the height of a man, above which loomed the terrible antlers. The monster’s snout glistened wetly in the waxing moonlight, and its tattered fur seemed to crawl and shift as though it were a living carpet of chitinous beetles. Patches of yellowing bone shone through its coat; fur and skin clung to its forelegs in patches, like moss to the trunk of a rotten tree. Dark rivulets of blood trickled from the hollows of the beast’s eyes; a pair of vast, empty holes in which green flames guttered and billowed.

The stag snorted, stamping its foot with a sharp crack like a gunshot, causing a murder of sleek black crows to take erupt in flight from a nearby tree. Coils of mist drifted lazily around the beast, never quite coming close enough to touch its slick black fur. Its hooves were bloodied bone, heavy enough to crush a man’s skull to dust beneath their tread. And then it spoke; a guttural, rasping sound abhorrent to the minds of men.

At this, some hidden string, pulled taunt in fear, finally snapped, and the LeMat leapt into Daniel Warrington’s hand as if it had been there all along. He flipped the lever on the end of the hammer up, causing the striker to fall upon the primer set directly below it. The stag let out a monstrous bellow, lowered its head and charged. Daniel Warrington took careful aim, drawing a bead atop the beast’s skull.

The stag roared; as did the LeMat. The blast of buckshot from the revolver’s secondary barrel disintegrated the top of the stag’s head. Something coiled and dark pulsated amidst the ruin of its skull, shifting and oozing against the splintered bone.

The beast hardly faltered.

Daniel Warrington could only stare, horrified, as the wound immediately began to heal, bone reforming before his very eyes – the skin, however, remained absent, and he at once understood the significance of the many bald patches speckling the creature’s hide. How many before him had tried and failed to slay this dark, majestic horror?

Razor-sharp antlers gored his stomach, and then he was tumbling across the frosted earth towards the monolith. He pressed a hand to his stomach, and felt what seemed to be a handful of snakes squirming against his palm. Blood seeped between his fingers.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

The stag towered over him now, whispering blasphemous insanities of the Old Gods which dwelt beneath the earth and deep down in the seas and in the dark, forgotten places of the world where the stars had never shone. Dreadful images began to form in his mind, of nameless monstrosities uncoiling beneath the earth and Polyphemus-like creatures emerging from the oceans.

The insignificance of man crashed down upon him – followed momentarily by the stag’s hoof, which fell with a sickening crunch, the splitting of a ripe melon.

Daniel Warrington thought no more.

Dunwald Marsten sat in the darkened library, reading by the guttering flame of a candle burnt nearly down to the stump – a leather-bound tome of substantial thickness, The Midwinter World. But the book was Midwinter World in name only – the cover concealed a far more sinister tome, one which had previously resided for many years under lock and key in a sub-basement of the British Museum – hidden by fools who possessed neither the strength of mind nor the courage to conquer the horrors bound within the book’s wafer thin pages.

From the walls of the room, glassy eyes reflected the candlelight, inch-long yellowing fangs frozen in snarls of anger and roars of defiance. It sundered Dunwald’s heart to see such beautiful, magnificent creatures murdered for the cruel sport of a single man. His gaze wandered to the umbrella stand in the far corner, fashioned from the foot of a majestic white rhino, and he felt the familiar fires of hatred flare up in his chest. That Warrington had the nerve, the gall to slaughter even a single one of Du’zu’s precious children grated on Dunwald’s very sense of being.

Well, it would not happen again. Yshmael would see to that.

Thin, wavering shafts of moonlight filtered through the picture window, picking out every scar and crag on Dunwald’s tanned, calloused hands – the hands of one who has spent a lifetime in the wilderness, wandering the secret untamed places of the earth.

The book at his fingertips remained dim and dark, the light itself refusing to touch such blasphemous pages. This suited Dunwald perfectly – some things were born only to dwell in darkness.

Dunwald drew the flickering candle closer, leant forward and continued to read.

…from the earth where groweth dark wood, into any time when the Rites are spoken, can the holder of the Knowledge summon The Walker, child of Great Du’zu, He who dwelleth in the vast Wilderness between the worlds and eateth the soul and flesh of Man, He that roams when the moon wanes yellow and is called Yshmael. Only in supplication to The Walker of the Worlds Between can one escape the Wrath of Du’zu…

Credit To – Tom Farr

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September 2014 Discussion Post: Which Non-Horror Stories Have Creeped You Out & Why?

September 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

This month’s topic was suggested by Demonicus. If you have ideas for future discussion posts, please share them by commenting here.

We’ve all experienced irrational fear from things that simply shouldn’t be scary. Children’s shows and toys, for example, are a pretty common culprit when it comes to being innocent-yet-freaky, and this month I’d like you to tell us what stories, shows, movies, etc, have somehow triggered your scary-sense despite being supposedly innocuous.

If you have any idea as to the hows and whys of your particular reaction, please do share your theories! I can see it being helpful for aspiring authors – both as a way to get a better idea of how fear can work, even when dealing with things that aren’t overtly scary, but also as a way of garnering possible inspiraiton for some fresh, non-cliché stories.

Have fun, everyone!

Left Behind

September 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Barbara was sure the ritual worked. She stood up from the pentagram as 5 wicks slowly swirled their smoke in the room. The weather seemed angry—lightning flashed and roared through the coastal home, and suddenly the lights went out.

“Damn the power. Let him come” she thought to herself as she calmly went downstairs in the dark. She prepared some tea on the stove, and waited.

As her chamomile steeped, she again thought about how unfair it had been to take him so soon, only 8 years old. Sure, things hadn’t always been easy, but… she had put the bottles away. Things would be different, now.

She heard three distinct knocks at the front door. Excitedly, she ran to swing it open, only to find no-one there. She left it open as a welcoming invitation. Knocks from the back door drew her to the spot, only to find that doorway empty as well. She left it open, too, mist from the rain collecting on the tile floor.

As she was about to take a sip, she felt a presence behind her. He was here! She whirled round to see her boy: his face was obscured by shadows, but his brown shaggy hair and favorite flannel shirt marked him well enough. She ran to hug him and found he was incredibly heavy, much heavier than she remembered him only a few weeks ago.

“Hello Mommy,” said Michael.

“Oh! My boy! Things will be so different, so much happier, now that you’re here! Do you want—”

“I want to play a game. Mommy.” Michael interrupted. There was something unnatural in the tone he used for the word. “Why don’t you run… and hide. I’m going to catch you! This will be a LOT of fun.”

“Are you sure you—”

“DO IT,” his voice boomed through the house. Uneasily, she agreed as Michael began to count. She was going to hide in the pantry when she heard a growling noise, like the low rumble of a distant earthquake. She realized it was coming from Michael. As he counted, she realized she may have made a mistake.

“15, 14… you better hide better than that, Mommy. Some things are better left as they are. But I’m here, now.” His boyish voice became more and more tinged with that horrific, low grumble. The sound of a blade pulled from the kitchen butcher block alerted her ears to danger. Yes, this had been a mistake. Intense claps of thunder blocked further sound as she raced upstairs to the master bedroom, and locked the door. Like a child, she cowered in the closet and waited.

“10, 9, 8… I don’t know why you’d want me back, Mommy.” She heard his words as leaden feet ascended the stairs. “You weren’t nice to Michael. 7, 6, 5, 4…”

She started to cry frantically, curled in the corner of her closet. She was trapped. She felt as if she couldn’t breathe as the locked bedroom door easily sprang open.

“3… 2…”

Silence. She listened as the storm calmed outside and a whisper emanated from directly behind the closet door: “In fact, Mommy, Michael hates you. That’s why he left you behind… and sent me instead.”

The door flung open and a bolt of lightning illuminated rows of jagged, glinting white teeth crowding Michael’s mouth like a shark’s jaw.

The storm subsided. Her tea grew cold.

Credit To – Skyla2186

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August 31, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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My best friend was in Pompeii.

I wasn’t, of course, or I wouldn’t be standing here staring down at a museum display titled “A BLAST FROM THE PAST!!!” A kitsch red LED volcano flickering gently in the background, flinging deep shadows across expressions of abject misery behind a velvet rope for the small children to point sticky fingers at. Speakers rumble in the distance. One little girl bursts into inconsolable howling at the sight; or perhaps it’s the ruddy glowering threat that the same’s imminent to be visited on us. I like her immensely. Her father carries her out.

In fact, some years before Pompeii’s last days came about I had found myself dutifully lugging my scant possessions down the road with tail tucked between my legs; off to marry, of all things. That’s what you did back then when your family saw fit to offload you; and should be the match be prestigious enough “poof!” you were magically absolved of the past to boot – not even the neighbours could sneer behind closed doors anymore. Far away and footsore, then. Out of sour, miserably small mind and all that.

The distance didn’t matter, of course; my best friend and I were soul mates. I never ventured far before I could feel the line drawing me back in, calling me home. Our simpatico a secret treasure; far too precious to sport on your sleeve because so rare, as much then as now. Women don’t ever seem to connect, not truly. They’ve sharp noses for challenge, and too readily recognise and condemn what lurks within. How are you expected to place faith in a mysterious threatening other when personal trust barely stretches so far as you could throw yourself?

But we had somehow weathered that giggly, prickly rivalry of youth when any second double-edged friendship can slide into outright envious warfare, sparking bitter feuds to last the ages. I’d no reason on earth to disbelieve we would hobble on together into our decline, achieving that comfortable state where it no longer matters what hell your crumbling shell resembles or how it’s dressed.

And then at last two alike minds could tentatively reach out and clasp hands; honouring other, recognising self.

And she … she helped me. My best friend helped me when nobody else could. There’d not been another soul under all the wide skies like her: the natural outcast, the outsider; none other to so much as recognise my peril. Even I ascertained the threat only vaguely. To me it was no more than a dim line of smoke barely noticed, way off in the distance. Who could see harm in the tiny cough of a newly arrived baby?

Afterward, there were never any accusations of crime: where’s the point when it burns in every eye until the very air ignites? For decency’s sake I had to abandon home and trudge into the unknown to join some fat bastard I’d never met in holy matrimony.

Thus I escaped Pompeii, and so my name has changed over and again along with the multitudes of the living, heaving world. But not so those who were there, left mute and encysted. Not her. And it grieves me deeply to recall how pertly she’d once turned up her nose at donning a nicer dress, at playing along, her flat refusal in short to be any damn thing but herself; because now she never will be.

But she remains my best friend. Our hold is firm. Every time I am squeezed into life, thrust out into the world through blood and muck she is the very first thing I feel: before light, before air. And that’s when I remember Pompeii. I even used to hear her murmuring, sealed away down there. So I guess in a way I’m no more than myself, either.

They went and dug up the town – many many years later, of course. Avid for knowledge, sick enough for sensation to go grubbing around in the dirt. They mixed buckets of cold plaster on site, their improvised wooden paddles going round and round in the thin early Mediterranean light. It would have been hard messy work; arm muscles already burning, shoulders stuffed with ache and complaint. Shoes splattered for the wife to shriek at when they got home.

With long thin tools they drilled down to Pompeii’s lost people, who cried out with joy at that first hint of sunlight and air. Finally after all this crushing immobile time there came to the buried hope of rescue, of freedom. I heard my best friend, as the drill whined its way through pumice and compressed ash. While flakes of burned building sifted down onto her. Everyone and their lives were down there: my family, all those sullen despised neighbours; and in fact I’ve recognised familiar contortions in the frozen grimaces at the museum; but I’ve never heard any of the others. What do I care for them, anyhow? None of them ever helped me.

I heard my friend weeping, too overburdened to bear it.

But those who had not yet managed to go mad sealed down in the dark had another thing coming, for in went the plaster. The merest golden hint of the wild free sky gleaming in – oh sweet heaven yes, deliver us! Do you remember birds? I remember birds – but then a deluge of thick icy cold clotted down the tube and salvation was blotted out. Thrashing in the dark, screams turning to heavy choked gurgles as the narrow space filled.

The cold was so intense that my breath frosted out of my lungs in a rush, painfully colder than the surrounding air. I was sped to hospital where conscientious staff irrigated my abdominal cavity with warm saline and, when I shuddered and flailed awake, rather gleefully announced that I’d been dead for four whole minutes. Gathered excitedly about my bed they were so very proud of resuscitating me, and didn’t at all understand why I wept.

I think I tried to rush to my friend and gather her in my arms, straining to pull her from her prison. But four minutes was just not long enough. I still heard her shrieking hysterically for succour, as they all must have screamed; those who waited so long in the dark and ought to have been saved. As the frigid killing cold consumed them. Not only a new sensation but a final one, filling up everything until cold was all there was left, and it went on forever.

As the plaster stiffened so did they; and although I still feel her drawing me home I have heard my best friend’s voice no more. She inhabits a hard, silent place in my mind now. And she’s so profoundly cold.

And I, who deserved it so much less; I have lived my quiet times over and over. Always plagued with poor circulation, chill at the fingertips, at risk of losing them, I gravitate to warmer climes. Never too close to anybody. I have borne children. I’ve sat blissfully in the sunlight. I visit the museum countless times, to stand and look on my friend’s horror-stricken face.

All I dare hope is that I might well be unto my best friend as she has been to me. And so the unchanging frozen scar on my soul which is forever entombed may, in her, bloom.

Credit To – BP Gregory

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