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For a Better Audience

January 29, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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When I think back on my life so far I find that one of the things I can’t stop thinking about, no matter how hard I try, is MagikTrick.

Right off the bat I should say that I have no answers here. What I’m about to tell you is a true story and all I can say is what I know. And in the end I never did find out much about what was going on here or what exactly I’d stumbled upon. There are maybe people out there who can tell you more than I can. But this, right here, is the story of my experience, told as best as I can remember it.

I first found out about MagikTrick thanks to a friend of mine. Sophie was one of those people who could spend literally HOURS on YouTube, not even looking for or at anything in particular, just browsing through whatever random clips caught her eye and seemed funny or interesting to her. From what she told me, she’d been trying to find a clip of that scene from ‘The Dark Knight’ with the Joker and the pencil when she first found this channel.

The users name was MagikTrick and there was only one video on their account, one that was simply titled ‘Do u want to see a Magik Trick?’

Sophie had been curious and she’d clicked on it. This is a description of the video that she showed me later that day when she came ‘round to my house.

The video starts with about six seconds or so of lousy quality footage of a man, naked apart from a pair of boxers, sat on a wooden chair. He’s in a red room and when I say that this room is red I mean the walls, the floor and what can be seen of the ceiling are ALL the same shade of red. He just sits there, doing not much at all and then the screen cuts to black.

The words ‘Do u want to see a Magik Trick?’ flash up on the screen. Footage of a dog sitting beside the now empty wooden chair appears here, panting heavily. The dog looks to be a Pitbull or something like that.

The screen cuts to black again and the word ‘Abracadabra’ appears against the black background.

When it cuts back to the room the man’s body is still sat in the chair.

His head and hands have been cut off. Where his hands were there are now the dog’s paws. And the dogs head has been attached to his neck crudely. This is where the video ends.

I had no idea what to make of this. I didn’t know if I’d just seen an art student’s lousy film project or if Sophie had just shown me a snuff film.

I asked her where the hell she’d found this and she told me about how she’d stumbled across it. I told her she should get in touch with YouTube and tell them to take that shit down or at least look into it. The shot of that stitched together corpse had looked far too real.

I tried to put it out of my mind and didn’t think much about it until a few weeks later. Sophie told me that MagikTrick was ‘Back’ and explained that the account had been taken down a couple of days after she’d shown me that video. But here they were, back with a new account and a new video posted on it. I can’t say I had any desire to watch it but Sophie promised me that this one wasn’t gory in the least.

I reluctantly agreed to check this one out and so I sat down to check out what MagikTrick had posted this time. The video was called ‘Now u see him’

It was footage that looked like it had been filmed on a pretty cheap handheld camera. The cameraman or woman was never in shot and seemed to be focused on a man walking down a crowded street.

The man wasn’t anything special, just some blonde guy in a T shirt and jeans. The person behind the camera followed them along, sticking pretty close behind them.

The footage went on like this for about a minute and I started to get bored. Was this just something some stalker had posted?

When it was nearly at the two minute mark the screen went to black and the words ‘Now u see him’ appeared before cutting back to footage of the guy in the T shirt being filmed walking down a long alleyway and then simply….not being there anymore.

He didn’t fall or dart off to the side and there were no flashy special effects. One minute he was there in front of the camera and the next he was simply gone. I hate to use a cliché but the phrase ‘Vanished into thin air’ is the only way I can think of to describe what I saw. The person holding the camera swung it side to side to show and up and down to show that the man was nowhere to be found.

The screen cut to black once more and the words ‘Now u don’t’ appeared. And that was it.

I told Sophie that it was just done with some kind of technical wizardry.
They’d taken the guy out after filming, something any teenager with a decent knowledge of computers and video editing software could probably pull off. In a way I was relieved. This wasn’t some sicko posting snuff movies; it was just some bored guy somewhere uploading weird stuff on the internet to creep people out.

Sophie seemed almost disappointed when I told her how easy it was to throw something like this together. I think she genuinely wanted it to be real, to have found something sinister.

So it probably shouldn’t have surprised me a month later when she demanded I come and see what she and her girlfriend had found.

I found out that once again MagikTrick had been taken off YouTube and once again they’d popped back up. I told her that I really wasn’t interested in looking at another stupid video but she and her girlfriend Helen insisted that I had to see this, that it was the most messed up thing they’d ever seen. That didn’t exactly win me over but I didn’t want to argue with them over nothing so

I agreed to give this thing a look.

This new video was called ‘Presto Change-O’ and right from the start it was different than the previous two. It began with footage of what looked like a theatre stage and there was a woman stood in the middle of it. She was dressed in a black tuxedo, with a featureless white latex mask over her face and white gloves.

Text appeared on the screen. It’s funny how I can remember it so clearly.

It read

‘What a great crowd we have here tonight

Now

For my next trick

I will require a lovely volunteer from our audience’

The woman pointed at an empty seat in the front row of this theatre.

‘Would this lovely young creature please take to the stage?’

In an instant there was a woman sat in the chair beside the woman in the white mask. She was dressed up like a magician’s glamorous assistant…a sparkly red and black number with fishnets and make up plastered on her face. The makeup was applied far too thickly and her mascara was running. She was tied to the chair and despite there being no sound it was clear that she was sobbing.

The words ‘Let’s give her a hand folks’ appeared.

The screen flickered and suddenly the scene was of the girl in one of those boxes you see in that trick where the magician cuts his or her assistant in half.

I didn’t like where this was going.

As the woman in the white mask watched on, a buzz saw began to descend from above. The box was shaking violently and the girl in the box’s head was jerking side to side, making it clear that she was struggling quite violently.

As I watched, the saw blade came down and began slowly cutting into the box as it shook more and more violently, as the camera zoomed in closer and closer to the girls face.

In the end the screen was dominated by a close up of the girls’ eyes.

The screen cut to black and the words ‘Presto Change-O’ appeared. It cut back to a shot of a series of boxes. Each box had a painting of a human limb on it, one box had an arm painted on top of it, and another box had a hand, a foot, a leg.

The word ‘Alakazam’ was displayed. And the next shot was of the girl’s body.

It had been cut to pieces and reassembled, with no real surgical skill from the looks of it. Her head was now sown to the end of one leg, while one of her feet now was attached to a wrist. An arm had been attached to her neck stump while in place of her left arm there was now a leg.

The body was on screen for perhaps ten seconds and then the screen briefly cut to black. When the picture returned the stage was empty save for the woman in the white mask. From somewhere, there was the sound of applause or a recording of applause and she took a bow. The video ended.

I felt physically sick. But it turned out that the video hadn’t been all that Sophie and Helen had wanted me to see.

This video was different from the previous two in another way. This video had a link in the video description and like an idiot; Sophie had actually clicked on it.

But it didn’t lead to anything dodgy or to a site infested with viruses. In fact what it leads to was neither disturbing nor dangerous but just…baffling.

It was a web site that looked like little work had gone into putting it together. It was a black background with a childlike drawing of a frowning face, like the kind of thing that a kid in kindergarten would draw. And beneath it were written the words ‘Better Films’

And beneath that, in smaller text ‘For a Better Audience’

And the rest of the text on the webpage was all in what looked like Japanese.

The only other words in English were
‘Donate’

‘Our Titles’ and ‘Auditions’

Sophie had apparently had no luck clicking the buttons for ‘Donate’ or ‘Our Titles’ but when she’d pressed the ‘Auditions’ button it had led her to another webpage. This one was just an address, for some place a good few miles away. And she and Helen wanted me to check it out with them to see what was there.

I told them in no uncertain terms that was NOT going to happen. Sophie insisted that it was all fake and that this was probably some kind of marketing stunt or game. Some kind of online scavenger hunt, just some weird creepy bit of fun that someone had cooked up to promote a new horror movie or something. That it would be a laugh.

I told her that I wanted nothing to do with any of this anymore and that if she and Helen wanted to go play Nancy Drew that was up to them. But I told them I had a bad feeling about this whole thing and that they’d be better off forgetting all about it.

It will probably come as no surprise that they did the exact opposite.

I got a phone call from Sophie about a week later, sounding like she was in hysterics. I asked her where she was and she gave me the address for some crappy motel where she and Helen were apparently staying at right now. I headed over there, not sure WHAT I would find or what the hell had happened.

It turned out that Helen and Sophie had done just about the stupidest thing they possibly could. They’d gone to that address. You know when you’re watching a horror movie and you’re screaming at the screen for those idiots to just RUN and not make the obviously horrible decision they’re making?

Imagine having people like that as friends and you’ll maybe see why this latest bit of stupid from these two didn’t surprise me.

Maybe I’m being overly harsh but when I think back on this I still get so damn angry. They could have been killed or god knows what else. As it was the two of them were white as sheets and looked utterly terrified.

They said it was an old house, front lawn overgrown with weeds and grass at the end of some dull little slice of suburbia. The door hadn’t been locked and they’d gone inside. I listened to their story as I scrolled through the pictures they’d snapped of this place.

The inside of it had no carpeting, all of it having seemingly been torn up.
The walls were filthy and there was a horrible smell filling the house they said, which they soon learned was coming from the kitchen. Filthy pots, pans and plates were literally everywhere and some still had half eaten, rotting lumps of food on them, mould overrunning most of the cups and glasses.

The living room had been just a grim. I saw pictures of a couch covered in a variety of unpleasant looking stains, filth and grime covering the old wood floorboards. Across the wall someone had scrawled ‘For a Better Audience’ and beneath that was an old TV set with the screen kicked in. A bunch of tapes were all over the place and they’d snapped pics of those too.

They looked like tapes of a TV show I guess, something called Sunshine Street.

They’d gone upstairs and the weird factor had gone right off the charts.

The first bedroom they’d come across had been like something a mental patient would call home. No mattress on the bed, just a rusty old wire bedframe with a couple of pillows tossed on it and what looked like hooks dangling from the ceiling.

Big, thick rusty hooks with what they were pretty damn sure was dried blood on them. And what looked like a pool of it beneath that wire frame bed.

But the walls were what really made me shiver. Someone had written ‘For a Better Audience’ on them. All four of them. The same words repeated over and over again, rows upon rows of text with the same four words repeated again and again. Sometimes big, sometimes small, sometimes with no gaps in-between them.

The next room they’d tried had looked like it might have belonged to a kid at first. Bright, cartoony wallpaper and a few scattered and broken toys on the floor. Helen said she’d picked up a Barbie she’d found lying on the ground only to drop it pretty quickly when she turned it over and found out that its entire front was covered in thick, old blood. Holes had been punched where the eyes should be.

That big cartoony frowning face had been painted on the wall. The words ‘For a Better Audience’ were written underneath it again.

But that wasn’t what made them turn and run. What had made them turn and run was when they’d come to the third room. When they’d pushed open the door and felt an awful stench hit them. When they’d recognised it as the red room from MagikTrick’s first video. When they’d realised the source.

It wasn’t paint on the walls, floor and ceiling.

They ran and didn’t stop running until they were in the car and breaking every single speed limit to get as far away from that house as they possibly could.

They didn’t have any pictures of the red room so I only have their word for that last part. But the way they looked when they told me about it, I don’t think they were lying. And the fact that they were with me when we filed a police report about the whole thing makes me think that they weren’t making the rest up, either.

Of course I could be wrong. The whole thing could be an elaborate practical joke. Their little attempt to scare me.

I’d certainly find it a lot more comforting to think that it was that they made up MagikTrick, that it was just them and a few friends trying to give me a good fright. If it was, they certainly succeeded.

I tried googling Better Films once or twice and got nothing back that seemed relevant. When I tried to go back on the site it was gone. I just got an error message. I’ve never been able to find any movies made by ‘Better Films’ though from what I’ve seen they probably don’t make the kind of films that play at the local cinema.

None of us felt like playing detective here after this, not even the pair of idiots I have for friends. What they’d seen had put them off delving any deeper down this rabbit hole and I am deeply thankful for that.

The police never contacted us to ask any follow up questions and I’ve never tried to talk to them about it so I have no idea if that house was real, what they might have found there or what happened next.

If any of you feel like looking further into this I can’t stop you. Hell, this might have encouraged some of you and if that’s the case I’m sorry for that.

Because having seen the look on Sophie and Helen’s faces in that motel room and looked at some of the photos they took in this place I’ve got to say, when it comes to whatever this is?

I think ignorance is bliss.

Credit: Alice Thompson

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Atonement

January 28, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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Walter Thomas lied in his deathbed tired and sleep deprived, nestled underneath the covers. He had reached the ripe old age of ninety-five and knew that his time was almost up. He had not reached this age by living a healthy and wholesome lifestyle, but rather by stubbornness and an unrelenting will to live. He had done many things over the span of his lifetime that he had come to regret. He had hurt everyone around him who loved and cared about him in one way or another, and now he felt it was too late to atone for his sins. A feeling of dread dwelled deep within him of what might await him in the afterlife.

He now waited helplessly for his impending fate, afraid to fall asleep in fear that he may never wake up. To pass the time, he stared at the clock on the wall of the other side of the room. It didn’t help to ease his anguish and despair though. Every time the clock ticked, Walter could feel his life slipping away from his fingertips, as he knew he was just one second closer to entering the realm of the unknown. The tension and suspense created by waiting for the inevitable was literally killing Walter on the inside. He couldn’t handle the pressure any longer. Part of him wanted to just die and get it over with, but another part knew that what awaited him afterward may be much worse than anything he may be suffering from at the moment. He decided to continue to cling onto life.

Suddenly, a man in a black cassock entered Walter’s room carrying a bible. He was a rather young and handsome looking man with compassionate eyes and neatly groomed black hair. He took a seat by Walter’s bedside. Walter hissed in anger and distaste at the man and withdrew into the covers.

“I know who you really are! You can’t fool me! Leave me alone and be gone from this place!” shouted Walter.

The man sighed. “Walter, you’re being irrational. There’s no need to be afraid of me.”

“I know why you’re here! You’ve come to take me away!” said Walter.

“Everyone must face me at some point or another in their lifetime. It’s inevitable,” replied the man.

Walter removed the covers from his head. “You’re wasting you’re time! I have no interest in what you have to say to me! Go bother someone else!”

Once again, the man sighed. “Walter, we’ve been playing this game for several years now. Frankly, I’m getting quite tired of it. You’re going to die one way or another. Why must you prolong the inevitable?”

Walter huffed in reply, “You know damn well the reason why! Whatever fate awaits me is far worse than anything I could possibly imagine now!”

“You don’t know that. Countless numbers of people have gone through this before you. No one’s fate is sealed. There are an endless number of possibilities that can happen.”

“Well I’m not interested in finding any of them out!” replied Walter.

“Perhaps some scripture will change your mind. Here’s a verse from Luke 17:33.” He thumbed through the pages of his bible. “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

“Oh cut it out! That doesn’t even make sense!” shouted Walter. “If I lose my life I’m going to suffer for eternity, I just know it!”

The man took a moment to think. “If you won’t listen to me, perhaps there is someone who you will listen to.”

“Good luck with that,” replied Walter.

The man got up and walked out of Walter’s bedroom. Shortly after, a small and frail old lady entered the room. Her soft gray hair was tied back into a bun and her wheat colored skin was wrinkled and weathered from years of hardship. Walter looked up at her with shock and surprise.

“Eleanor, is that really you?” said Walter.

The Woman gave a warm smile and looked down at him with her kind eyes.

“Of course it is Walter.”

“But that’s not possible. You’ve been dead for ten years,” replied Walter.

“Death will never be able to keep me apart from you Walter.”

“Eleanor, why do you treat me so well? I never deserved a Woman like you.”

“Oh Walter, it breaks my heart to see you in this state,” replied Eleanor.

“You’ve always had much compassion for me. I wish I wouldn’t have been such a fool and taken that for granted,” said Walter.

“You’re being too hard on yourself. What happened in the past is over with. You need to move on with your life.”

“But how can I ever make up for all of the things that I have done to you. The constant abuse, neglect, and malicious remarks?” asked Walter.

She softly caressed his cheek. “You don’t need to make it up Walter. I have already forgiven you. I just want you to move on and be happy.”

“But I’m afraid,” said Walter. “I don’t know what awaits me on the other side.”

“Then let’s find out together,” replied Eleanor. She extended her hand towards Walter. Slowly, Walter reached his hand out and gently grasped hers. He stepped out of bed and proceeded to hobble out of the room with his wife, hand in hand. A brilliant light radiated outside of the doorway. Walter took a moment to pause. He looked behind him and saw his mortal body resting peacefully in bed.

“I guess there’s no going back now,” said Walter. They stepped into the bright light together and became enveloped by its embrace.

As Walter entered into the light with his Wife, he felt all of his stress and tension release. An overwhelming wave of warmth and euphoria spread throughout Walter’s entire body. In that moment, Walter was happier than he had ever been in his entire life.

The warm feeling inside him began to grow warmer. As Walter progressed, it continued to grow even warmer. The temperature started to get a little bit uncomfortable. Walter’s feeling of euphoria went away and turned into confusion. The heat increased even more. Walter grew uneasy. He tried to turn around to head back, but it was no use. There was nothing to go back to. He suddenly noticed that his wife was no longer beside him.

“Eleanor! Where did you go?” Walter cried out.

He looked around through the sea of blinding light, but saw no sign of her. Suddenly, a familiar voice spoke to Walter.

“She’s not here Walter.”

Walter looked around to find the source of the voice. To his dismay, he saw that there was a young man in a black cassock staring at him. However, his face seemed to be changing images back and forth like a lenticular picture from a handsome, clean-shaven man to a black featureless pool of darkness. Walter clenched his fists and glared intensely at the figure before him.

“Where is she?” Walter shouted.

“She is in a happy place, I assure you,” it replied. “However, I am unfortunately not able to say the same about you.”

“You tricked me!” Walter cried out. “I knew I should’ve stayed in bed! I knew it! I knew it!” As his anger heightened, the temperature increased even more. The air grew thick to the point where it seemed to have substance.

“I’m sorry I had to resort to such tactics, but this was getting ridiculous. I have other clients who I need to attend to,” the figure said.

“I don’t want to hear another word of your lies!” shouted Walter. The heat grew more intense. Walter felt a mild burning sensation throughout his entire body. His anger quickly turned into fear.

“Get me out of here and return me to my home at once!” Walter demanded.

“I’m afraid I cannot carry out your request. It is already too late for you,” the figure replied.

“Please let me go home!” Walter cried. The air grew thicker and toxic. Every breath Walter took, he felt a searing pain course throughout his lungs. He tried to cry out to the figure for help, but he choked and coughed on his own words. He stumbled and fell to the floor. He tried to get back up but was unable to. The sea of light that surrounded Walter slowly turned into a sea of fire and engulfed him completely. The heat became too intense to bear. An unimaginable sensation of pain seared throughout every square inch of Walter’s body as he writhed around uncontrollably. The figure stared at him sympathetically.

“I really am sorry that this had to be your fate. I honestly didn’t know this was going to happen to you. Unfortunately, your fate is out of my control. I’m just responsible for the affairs that take place when transitioning to the next life. If you’ll excuse me now, there are many others who are awaiting my arrival.”

In an instant, the figure was gone and Walter was left alone to suffer and perish for eternity.

Credit: David Walker

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The Sleepwalker

January 27, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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I have dreamed more than once that a man may attain immortality by assiduously avoiding daylight, for it is only by the light of the sun that he ages; knowing this secret, one might go on living indefinitely. Only a few hundred people in the entire world take advantage of this arcane knowledge, moving anonymously by night among the larger cities, and actively shun the attention of those who would expose them to the curiosity, or worse, of the masses.

If you have seen one of these extraordinary beings it was without knowing it of course, there at the periphery of your view one evening at an out-of-the-way tavern, eyes half-shut, cigarette dangling from shadowy lips, sweeping the change before him on the bar into his pocket just as you arrived. You didn’t consciously mark him as he shuffled out of sight with the slow determination of a sleepwalker, but something in you did note him, and his memory returns so quickly and sharply because this is so.

Now that you acknowledge you have seen him, study what little remains to you of his profile, his peculiar slouch, for you will never see this individual again, or rather, he will never let you see him. No matter where you search through the blurred end of the night, he will always have left a few steps ahead of you, leaving behind some ashes, a drained bottle next to a sudsy glass, a layer of smoke on the stagnant air; his will be the joke at which the nodding drinkers still laugh, but you will never hear his voice.

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The Screaming Flail

January 26, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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I awoke to find myself in a darkened passageway. As I sat up from the dusty floor and rubbed my head, I realized I had no memory of who I was or how I got to this strange place. No matter how I got here, I felt I needed to get out and fast. The passageways were like a maze; a maze that led nowhere. It was as if I was stuck in a castle in Europe or something. Great, I can remember Europe and castles, but not my own name? How pathetic was that?
Anyway, I traveled down the halls for god knows how long until I reached a dead end. I couldn’t believe my luck. So, I turned back in search for another route out of this hellhole. Upon coming across an intersection of passages that I passed through before, a thick mist and a soft light appear to the left of me. I looked and saw a tall, well-built figure walking down the hall towards me. At first, I was relieved, thinking that I have been saved. I waved and shouted at the man, trying to get his attention, but all I got in return was silence. Soon, however, what felt like excitement turned to dread.
As the mist surrounding the man parted, I could see he wore an old military uniform of some kind. I couldn’t quite remember of era, but maybe like the 1600s, maybe earlier? I didn’t know; I just couldn’t put my finger on it. What was clear was that he was headless. It was clean off his shoulders with a smooth edge. I then began to notice that sound; the horrible, screeching sound like something metal against a chalkboard. I then saw in his right hand he dragged a large handle that was linked to a chain. I couldn’t see what was on the end of that chain at first because of the mist, but as the headless man in uniform came closer, I began to hear groaning and high pitched panting.
Without warning, the headless figure took a swing at me, as a large metal-looking ball with spikes came at my head. As it swung, a loud high-pitch scream echoed through the halls. I managed to dodge backwards to avoid it while the spiked ball got stuck in the stone wall. Once I regained my breath after the shock, I looked up to find the spiked-ball was not a ball at all: it was a human head cast in iron. The face on the iron head was that of agony and pain; the mouth was opened to reveal a metal tongue, and the eyes were closed shut.
‘What sort of thing was this?’ I thought to myself.
With one huge pull, the figure freed the iron head from the wall, as it screamed again. It then threw its arm back and swung at me again, as the spiked-head screamed that god awful scream. It missed only hitting the space between my legs without a scratch. The face on the iron head looked right up at me, and then it suddenly opened it eyes to reveal horribly bloodshot eyes. The head began to scream again; it was so loud I thought my ears were going to bleed. The figure pulled back on the chain, getting it unstuck a second time. Before I knew it, I was sprinting down the hall like a bat out of hell.
I don’t know how long I ran, but I soon found myself in what I believe to be the center of the maze. It was a four-sided corridor of some kind with what I thought was a bottomless pit in the center. I almost fell in when I stumbled upon this place, as I slid to a stop; my feet dangled above the darkness below for a moment. I looked up and saw even more halls above the one I was on, but no sunlight at the top. I then heard the footsteps of the thing coming up from behind. I looked up and around my shoulder to see him, the mist parting as he approached.
I thought I could get away. I had two options: right or left. When I was halfway up onto my feet, however, the stone bricks that held the floor of the hall began to collapse like dominoes. It started on the opposite aide from me; I was able to hear the loud crack that began to affect. The floor caved in all around me. I was left on a narrow pathway, like that of a pirate’s wooden plank. The figure then slowly approached at me. As the thing neared, I heard the dragging of its bizarre weapon. I was left with two new options: jump and hope to live, or stay and die for sure. And so, without thinking much longer, I jumped into the abyss below. As I fell, the headless thing looked down at me, dangling its head on a chain above the darkness as it did.
I then woke up in my bed screaming, shooting up until I was seated upwards. I was in a cold sweat and breathing hard. I rapidly looked around the darkened room, but nothing was out of the ordinary. Nothing was wrong in the apartment. My memories came flooding back to me: my name was Stephen Tyler. I remembered everything now.
As I lay back on my bed, I sighed in relief, “It was just a dream, oh thank God; it was just a dream.”
I gently drifted back to sleep. I smiled as I did. In the morning, I got up and went back to my old routine. I brushed my teeth, took a twenty minute shower, made myself some breakfast, and then got dressed in a suit. I remember I worked for a law firm downtown as a paralegal. And so, the day started out like any other. That was until I opened my door.
Out in the hall, police were everywhere. The passed my door and down to the apartment at the very end of the hall. Flashes blasted the light shadows of the hallway, as pictures were being taken. In the doorway of that apartment, I saw a group of people who all had jackets that said “CSI.” They mumbled to themselves about something, but they talked so loudly and all together it was hard to hear what exactly they were talking about.
Just then, my neighbor from the apartment to the left of my own came up to me and said, “Yeah, they just showed up like five minutes ago. The superintendent called it in no too long ago.”
“What’s going on here?”
With a loud sigh, my neighbor replied, “Well, I guess I’ll be the one to tell you. Apparently old Mrs. Bittermen was murdered last night.”
“Murdered?”
“Yeah, beaten to death with some sort of large, heavy object; I overheard one of the cops talking about the details. I also heard they believe she might have been killed sometime in the middle of the night, but I didn’t hear anything last night, did you?” the neighbor exclaimed.
I thought it over for a moment and said, “No, I didn’t hear anything from her apartment. Sure, I woke up from the weirdest dream, but I didn’t hear a damn thing.”
A detective walked up to the two of us. He looked us over for a moment before asking, “Which one of you is Stephen Tyler?”
“I am, sir,” I replied.
“Did you hear anything last night?” the detective asked.
“As I was just telling my neighbor here,” I said, pointing to the neighbor who then waved at the detective, “I didn’t hear anything.”
“OK then, and Mr. Tyler, do you have any enemies, Mr. Tyler?” the detective asked.
What kind of question was that? What did I have to with the murder of Mrs. Bittermen? Sure, we were neighbors, we chatted, said hello in the hall, but I barely knew the woman. And why would I have any enemies? True I worked in a law firm, but it’s mostly a desk job. Very few of our clients are even aware of my existence. My family was normal enough, and I had great friends. Why would I have enemies?
I told the detective that I didn’t have any enemies. He then asked me to follow him to the apartment. After passing through the crowd of people, I saw the scene. There were large holes in the walls, blood splattered everywhere, bloody boot prints on all over the floor, and poor Mrs. Bittermen being taken away in a body bag. How could no one hear what did this horrible thing? And finally, to my horror, my eyes went wide opened after the detective pointed it out to me. A message, written in blood, which read:
“ONE LIFE FOR ANOTHER, STEPHEN TYLER.”
My god, did the thing from my dream kill her because I live? Tell me it was just a dream!

Credit: Norris3

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Children of the Moon

January 25, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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In the town of Bisden, nobody leaves their home after dark. As soon as the sun begins to set — shutters are drawn shut, candles are snuffed out, and doors are locked tight. Before the moon is fully risen, the entire town appears deserted, and silence reigns supreme.

“Did you hear that?” whispered Freja, sounding very small and afraid in the dark.
“Shut. Up.” Her older brother, Freud, hissed through clenched teeth as he eyed the black windows of the house nearest to them. They were probably locked. Nobody in their right mind would leave their windows unlocked at night. Not in Bisden, anyway.
“I told you we shouldn’t play in the forest,” continued Freja. “I said we should go back sooner.”
“And I said to shut up,” Freud went on. “Whining about the past doesn’t change the present.” Freud looked at his sister, shivering in the dark. “It doesn’t change the situation we’re in.”

Before Freja could respond, the faint sound of a child’s laughter floated across the wind. Goosebumps erupted along Freud’s neck and arms. Something about the sound seemed…wrong.

“Maybe there’s other–“, Freud clasped his hand over Freja’s mouth. Pulling her in close, he shrank back into the shadows of the alley. Again, the unearthly sound drifted across the air. Freja tensed in Freud’s arms as she realized the magnitude of their situation. A child’s voice, oddly distorted, broke the silence of the night like a fist through glass.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”

The Thing lumbered across the mouth of the alley — just a few feet from Freud and Freja’s hiding place. It was roughly the size of a child, yet shuffled with its arms hanging grotesquely close to the ground — making its disproportionate body appear markedly apelike. It was completely nude, and had skin so shockingly white that it reflected the glow from the moon. The Thing turned its shimmering bald head toward the alley as it crossed. Its face was perfectly smooth, and entirely devoid of feature — save for an impossibly wide smile with thin lips the colour of blood. The crimson slash of its mouth appeared to stretch from ear to ear. Freud felt warmth spread down his thigh as his bladder let go.

Freja whimpered.

The Thing froze mid-stride, its body becoming as rigid as stone. Slowly, it turned its torso until it was facing the alleyway. It took a tentative step forward. Freja sucked in a sharp breath through her nose as she began to hyperventilate. Freud clamped his hand over her mouth, but he was too late. Impossibly fast, The Thing twisted its head toward their hiding place, producing a sickening crackle from its neck.

“Found you!”

In the town of Bisden, nobody leaves their house after dark. Every day, young ones are sternly told to be home by dusk. They are told of the evil that haunts the streets at night. They are told to always remain silent, because if they hear you — The Children of the Moon will tear you limb from limb.

Credit: RadLad

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Lost Reflection

January 24, 2016 at 12:00 AM
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It’s been happening for about a month now. Whenever I stand in front of a reflective surface I see it behind me briefly before it disappears from view. I have no idea what it is, but it always manages to evade me whenever I look for it.

When I first noticed it I didn’t pay much attention, figuring that it was probably just a trick of the light. But then I began seeing it more frequently, and every time I turn around it’s gone. After several days and nights of glimpsing, turning, and wondering, I began to get more than a bit freaked out. Now I know it’s no trick of the light or my imagination. Something is there in every reflective surface I look into.

I once even feared going into the bathroom or looking out a window lest I see the bright eyes and slinking form peering at me again from its dark corner. Even when I close the bathroom door or move something in between myself and a window, I can still feel it there watching me. No matter how much I try to avoid or ignore it, I always know it is there, seemingly waiting in the shadows for the perfect moment to strike. I don’t dare tell anyone; I’m not going to risk making a fool of myself.

For the first couple of weeks I live like this, with constant paranoia and an almost irrational fear of my reflection. But eventually I realize that whatever it was, if it wants to harm me it would have already done so. After a few days of relaying this reassuring fact in my head each time I stepped up to the bathroom mirror, I begin to treat the sightings as though it is as mundane as a pigeon. Now I’m at the point where I sometimes talk to it.

“Hey there, buddy. Have a good night’s sleep?” or “I’m going out for a smoothie do you want one?”

Of course, it never responds. Although every once in a while it stays around for a few seconds longer than usual before hiding again. It’s been a strange few weeks or so; I know the being is there, but I don’t care at all. It is a part of my every day routine.

I come home from work late and begin readying up for bed. I step into the bathroom, not even bothering to glance into the mirror as I get my toothbrush and toothpaste out. I am just raising the brush to my mouth when I look up at the mirror and freeze.

There it is.

It isn’t hiding behind the door in the edges of the shadows as it usually does; no, it is right there standing in the doorway. This is the first time I have ever had a full view of it, and if I had known what it truly looked like, I would have never been so casual about it before.

It is tall, gaunt, and humanoid in shape, with a head like a snake’s. Coarse brown fur covers its body, broken by scaly spines along its arms, legs, and neck. Its eyes burn out a piercing yellow, with sleek wolf-like ears placed on the side of its head. Worst of all is its mouth: a skeletal, fanged grin that stretches across its hideous face.

Going on my first instinct, I whirl around, expecting its vicious jaws to be the last thing I see. But to my surprise, there is nothing there. I even scramble to the door to look around, but my house is as normal and quiet as usual. It couldn’t have hidden that quickly, could it? I turn back around and give a short scream as I see it now standing directly behind me, its long, black claws raised up above my shoulders. I spin around, punching out and hitting nothing but air. My heart pounding and my mind in a panic, I look back at the mirror again, not knowing what to expect.

Then it happens. As if in a dream, I stand transfixed as the monster latches its claws onto my reflection’s neck, yanking it back. I reach up and feel my own neck, but there is nothing. No pain, no grip. It’s as if I am watching a horror movie in my mirror. My reflection kicks and flails about frantically, its face a mask of pure fear and agony as the claws dig deeper into its shoulders and the beast begins pulling it out the bathroom door.

In a sudden burst of uncanny protectiveness for my own reflection, I whirl around and slam the bathroom door shut, hoping that it will halt the creature. But when I turn back, the door in the mirror is still open, and my reflection is now desperately clinging to the doorframe as blood spills down its body.

I can never describe the sheer horror of seeing yourself –even just a reflection of yourself- being brutally attacked and not being able to do anything about it. Then for the first time since the attack had begun, my reflection looks at up me, right into my eyes with its terror-stricken gaze. It mouths one word, “Help…” before going limp and being dragged off into the blackness beyond the doorframe.

I stand there for what seems like hours, my whole body quaking, and tears flowing freely down my face. My mind is totally numb as I gaze into the empty mirror.

I have no reflection.

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