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Don’t Peek

May 17, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I lay awake under the covers of my bed. I’d grown accustomed to sleeping with my head completely underneath due to the extreme coldness in my bedroom. We had recently moved house and although we were settling in quite well the cold was something we all had to adjust to, especially with winter slowly creeping in.

As I gazed blearily into the dark blankets I started wondering what had awoken me, for I had been sleeping peacefully until just this moment. I strained my ears and caught a very faint creaking sound, almost rhythmic in its regularity. I shut my eyes once more, it was simply the shutters on the windows creaking in the wind. I settled back into the pillows and listened to the noise, it was almost soothing in a way.

My eyes suddenly shot open, my old house had shutters that would sometimes creak in the wind but this new one didn’t. I’d inspected the windows thoroughly a few days before fruitlessly trying to plug up any gaps that might be letting the cool air in. I’d asked my parents to change bedroom but they said they needed the space in the other rooms and my brother definitely wasn’t swapping his, he had the warmest room in the house next to the boiler.

Listening intently I realised another thing, the sounds didn’t seem to be coming from the direction of the window. Although slightly muffled by my blankets, the sound seemed to be coming from directly above me as if I had some ancient creaking fan on the ceiling. I still didn’t want to leave the warmth of the covers so I turned my head to try and listen to get a better idea of what it was.

As I moved my head the sound abruptly stopped. I lay there holding my breath trying to catch any hint of the creaks again. Just as I thought the noise had stopped for good I heard something that chilled my insides, even in the warmth of my bed. A grating scratching sound like teeth grinding on a bone uttered the words:

“Don’t peek”

Lying completely still, my heart was racing. The creaking had once again started slightly faster this time, and with a jolt I suddenly realised what it was. Breathing. The horrible thing that was hanging above me was breathing. How could I have thought it soothing before? It was a horrible choked noise, sounding more like a death rattle now than the quiet creaking of before. The voice had been inhuman, utterly devoid of any emotion.

I lay trembling listening to the quickened pace of the breathing. Minutes dragged on and after seemingly hours daylight began to creep into the room. I must have dozed off at some point, even amidst the sheer terror that I was feeling that night, because I couldn’t remember that horrible breathing stopping. It was silent now, but I refused to get out from under the covers.

It wasn’t until my mother came in to wake me up for school that I braved leaving the safety of my bed sheets. I tried to tell her about what had happened the previous night and she initially seemed concerned, but that was mostly due to the bags under my eyes and lack of sleep than some kind of “make believe monster”. I went down for breakfast dreading the day of school that lay ahead of me in my tired state.

As I predicted school went by slowly and I dozed off in class multiple times much to the annoyance of my teachers. After a short talk with the principal after school about making sure I get enough sleep and not to let it happen again I could finally start the walk home. As I walked a new dread filled me, would it be back tonight?

Forty minutes later and I was walking down the driveway. Seeing the lights from the windows was comforting, it was already getting dark and I really didn’t want to be walking alone at night. I went inside and was instantly cornered by my mother who’d had a phone call from school earlier on. They had told her about me sleeping during lessons and she wasn’t all too happy. I was told I was going to have supper and then get an early night so that it wouldn’t happen again, much to my disdain.

I ate supper as slowly as I could in order to prolong the time it took for me to have to go into that room again. All too soon my plate was cleared and I was sent up to bed with a warning about no TV if I let it happen again. That was the least of my worries.

I climbed into bed and made sure that my door was ajar and the landing light was left on. I could hear the TV and murmurs of my parents which gave me some comfort, at least they weren’t too far away. The room was getting cold again but I refused to go under the covers, the light from the door partially illuminated the room and banishing the darkness giving me courage.

I lay like this for a few hours, partially dozing off when I heard the sound of the TV go silent and movement signalling that my parents were heading for bed. I listened to their door close and sighed, maybe there was nothing after all. The light spilling into the room comforted me and I curled up underneath the covers away from the cold.

I awoke staring into blackness, it took a while for me to realise what was wrong. The light from the landing had gone off, I could tell without leaving the warmth of my bed sheets. I felt an icy chill and memories from the previous night came rushing back. I lay still as a corpse as I held my breath, listening.

It was there, I could hear the rasping rattling sound of its breath. A shuddering sigh escaped my lips and I realised that was a mistake. The hideous breathing intensified, as if some inhuman being had realised its prey was trapped within its grasp. To my horror the breathing got louder, it seemed to lower from the ceiling towards the thin barrier that lay between me and it.

It sounded like it was a few feet above my bed now, its dry rattling was all I could hear. Until once more:

“Don’t peek”

The voice sounded even more terrifying when it was this close, it was all I could do not to scream. I knew that if I tried to make a noise it would silence me before the sound had left my throat. I closed my eyes, tears escaping through my scrunched eyelids as I waited for dawn. And it watched.

I was awoken by my mother yet again, sometime in the early hours I must have passed out from either fear or tiredness. Perhaps both. I felt awful and I must’ve looked it too because my mother did a double take when I rose out of my blankets. She suggested I take the day off school, that I must be ill. I was tempted until she said “A day in bed will do you good”. I sat bolt upright and flat out refused, I was ok, I just felt a little iffy but I’m sure it’ll pass.

My parents both have work and my brother would be at school, there was no way in hell I was staying in the house, in that bedroom on my own. Even in daylight it was an uncomfortable thought.

The school day was another blur, falling asleep in class and speaking to the principal again. He was getting frustrated at my apparent lack of interest in my subjects, seemed to think I was doing it on purpose for attention now. I didn’t argue, sitting in his office after school delayed going back to that room.

That night played out much the same as the one before, except the creature was getting closer once more. Night faded again to a bleary day repeating the same old steps, falling asleep, principles office and dreading going home. This time I was promised a detention after school the following day and if my behaviour continued then they would discuss further options.

That night I sunk into bed once more feeling utterly defeated. It was just going to continue like this, it was going to ruin my life and keep me awake forever. I’d read about people dying from sleep deprivation, was that going to be my fate? Soon enough the breathing started again as I lay powerless beneath the covers. This time it felt like it was merely a few inches from the top of my sheets. I could feel them quiver with each breath the thing took.

“Don’t Peeeeeeek”

It rasped the words so loudly I half expected my parents to come bursting into the room to see what was going on. But as with every other night they were either sound asleep or just deaf to the nightmare that was happening in my room. I could feel pressure on the covers, it was pressed right up against them now. My mind raced in panic, all it had to do was rip of the sheets and it could devour me or take me or do whatever other horrific thing it had in mind.

If this is how I’m going to die I want to go out with a fight at least. I had no idea how strong the monster would be, or if I could even hurt it at all but I had to try. I grabbed the top of my bed sheets and paused for a moment, steeling my resolve. Its gasping breathing had increased now as if it could sense what was happening.

With a roar I pulled the bed sheets down from over my head and swung upwards as hard as I could with my fist. I hit nothing but air. Scanning the room for any signs of the creature I quickly jumped out of bed and sped towards the light flicking it on. As the room filled with brightness my eyes took a while to adjust, I had my back pressed against the wall so nothing could get behind me in my temporary blindness. Once my vision had returned I had a proper look around, rummaging through my cupboards and under the bed. There was no sign of anything abnormal. I stood shivering, after the initial adrenaline rush I was feeling the cold of the room again. My breath appeared mist-like in front of me.

I glanced at the bed again wanting to get back under the covers. After a few moments of consideration I climbed back into the warm blankets. This time I refused to put my head under the covers no matter how cold it was. I had left the light on which gave me comfort, I was sure the thing needed darkness to manifest itself. A glance at my clock told me it was 1.47am. Had I defeated the monster? Maybe it didn’t want me to peek because that was what it gained strength from, fear of the unknown. These thoughts swirled around in my head as my eyelids drooped.

I awoke the next morning feeling refreshed, that was the best nights sleep I’d had in a long time. As my mother came to make sure I was up she commented on my appearance, the bags under my eyes that had been present for the last few days had gone and my face had colour once again.

The day at school went well, not once did I fall asleep and I tried my hardest to catch up on what I missed. I still had the after school detention to get through but even that didn’t seem so bad now I was properly awake. I could use the time to catch up on my work. As the school day drew to a close I went towards the detention hall feeling confident that the past weeks horrors had ended.

After the detention I started the walk home from school. I wanted to hurry because it was already getting dark. By the time I saw the comforting lights of my house the sun had fully set. Opening the door I called out an apology for my lateness before heading into the living room. The television was on, the usual wildlife documentaries my parents watch that I never had much interest in. The room was empty however, so I headed for the kitchen thinking maybe they had already started dinner without me.

Upon entering the kitchen however, I stopped confused. They had indeed started eating without me, plates containing a half eaten meal were sitting on the table. But there was no sign of my parents or my brother. A quick check in the other downstairs rooms confirmed they weren’t there either. I headed upstairs in the vain hope they had decided on a very early night. Even if that was the case they wouldn’t have left their meals like that.

My heart was a dull thud in my chest when I reached the top of the staircase. A peek into my parent’s room showed it empty, the same with my brothers. I was beginning to sweat now as I walked slowly towards my bedroom door. I gripped the door handle, my mind was telling me to turn around and leave, but I had to see. I pushed open the door and looked towards the bed.

Three black silhouettes were sitting up against the headboard, two larger and one smaller. They were the unmistakeable shapes of my parents and brother. Something looked off about them however. I groped towards the light switch as the voice in my head screamed at me to go downstairs and run to the neighbours, to call the police. Ignoring it I flipped the switch.

The vacant eyes of my family were all staring at me, glasslike but somehow they were looking right at me. Their heads were hanging at an unnatural angle, as if their necks had been simply snapped. They had been propped up against the bed like grotesque puppets. A cry was caught in my throat as I stood rooted to the floor. I willed myself to take a step back when I heard it again, the sound that had tormented me all those nights. The breathing really was a death rattle now, it sounded somehow even more full of malice than the previous nights. And it was coming from right behind me.

“You Peeked”.

Credit To – Spamalot2006

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Gazing into the Abyss

May 16, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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“Robert Adam Lane the Third. You gave your soul to Him on May 7th, 1989, and it was a lie. A lie that you told the whole time you held your breath in that brownwater river. A lie you smiled out at that those holyrollers on the bank. Lies are mine, Lies are mine. Mine.” The last “mine” trailed off into a phlegmy wheeze.

These words were clearly audible, despite the man lying face down and away from the windowed door to the isolation cell. The heavy steel meal-flap was standing open to facilitate communication and accommodate feeding times, but usually the cell’s hard surfaces made an echo that distorted every sentence into chaos. This man’s words, though, were not only audible, but guttural, far deeper than the inmate’s normal speaking tones.

“I am His. I am His,” Robert whispered, his voice tight and his chest light from raw fear.

There was no way for this man to have known his full name, and there was no way for him to have known that dark and shameful secret that Robert had never spoken aloud.

He was just a kid when he was baptized. He didn’t really understand the significance or the need until he and his wife had their first son. Introspection accompanied late night feedings and changes; the need for something greater and a higher purpose drove him to accept the religion he’d long ago been a part of, but had never really had be a part of him.

He had taken the job in the county’s number two industry. First was farming, chiefly cattle. Second was the State Prison.

He had been on the job for three years when he encountered Simmons, David R., Number 200400097. Simmons had transferred in from another facility, and he was on year two of a six year sentence out of Atlanta. He had been in medical isolation for most of his incarceration, and he was now in segregation for his own safety and the safety of others. Medically speaking, physically, there was nothing wrong with him. Psychologically, he had several diagnoses that required a small buffet of medications morning and night.

Robert’s encounters with Simmons had been completely routine in nature. Meals were delivered, medications were administered, the head count was conducted. No conversations ever occurred outside of “Good morning, please, and thank you.”

But every day, each and every day that Robert stood shift in the isolation unit, Simmons would “act out” between 2 and 2:15 pm. These episodes mostly consisted of shouting, dancing, stripping, and speaking in tongues or singing. No seizures or convulsions, no physically damaging behavior ever presented itself and necessitated that restraints be used. So regular were these outbursts that somebody could set a watch by them, which was in itself odd…because inmates in isolation had absolutely no way to tell time.

To make matters even more interesting, after a few weeks, Robert’s supervisor claimed that the episodes only went down when Robert was in the building.

There was no exterior window nor any way for Simmons to have heard or seen when Robert was working a duty rotation in Isolation, until Robert himself came to his door.

Some days, Robert never went into the cell blocks, instead, he worked solely in the control room…and still, the episodes presented themselves at around 2pm.

Robert never told anyone at work about what Simmons said. He did his job, day in and day out, and he did his best to pretend that nothing had happened.

He always tried to avoid being in the cell blocks around 2pm.

For several weeks, this worked, until one day, time got away from him, and he found himself doing a head count…at two fifteen.

When Robert came to the window, his heart stopped.

Standing stock-still with his nose inches away from the reinforced glass, Simmons was completely rigid, absolutely, perfectly tense, and on the balls of his feet. Every muscle in his naked, wiry frame was taut, as though his whole body was experiencing a cramp. His eyes were saucers, opened as wide as they would possibly go, and they constantly rolled. Around, around, back until only the whites would show, and then back down, and around and around.

When Robert’s eyes met his, Simmons stopped his eyerolls. Silence filled the cell and the hallway.

Laughter, slow and low, greeted Robert, and then that same guttural voice that had haunted Robert for weeks, spoke.

“Adam Lane the Third. Would you like to see what We do to this man when no one watches? Let Us show you.”

With that, Simmons head-butted the reinforced glass window. His forehead hit with such force that the steel door shook in its frame, and Robert was amazed that the glass didn’t spiderweb. Twice, he hit the window, and before Robert could call for support to get Simmons restrained, a fourth and fifth impact sounded on the steel edge of the windowframe, and as suddenly as the assault began, it ended.

Simmons regained his tensed pose on the balls of his feet. His eyes, still wide as saucers, met Robert’s. Blood slowly poured from large gashes above the inmate’s eyebrows, covering his face in a red mask. There was absolutely no expression, no indication of pain, anger, or distress.

Perfectly impassive, Simmons stared.

Robert broke eye contact and walked on.

A short time later when medics arrived to clean him up, he had curled up and was asleep on his cot, and at final meal-call of the day, he said “Thank you” to Robert in his normal speaking voice as though nothing had happened.

Robert could barely hide the shake in his hands as he handed over the tray of food.

________________________________

Corrections Officer Lane had grown up in the Pentacostal church. His grandmother, 93, still went every Sunday and Wednesday, and twice a month she attended Sunday School.

He was driving her to a Wednesday evening service when he told her about Simmons.

Her hand, covered in parchment-thin skin and decorated with liverspots and bruises, gripped his on the steering wheel. He drove with his left as she, with surprising strength, took his right hand in hers.

“Don’t let him in, son. Don’t you let him. He knows when those b’long to Jesus come ’round. He smells it. He hates it. You pray on it, yhear? You pray to Lordjesus, I’ll pray with you. You pray with me today and you lookit that man in the eye the next time he acts the fool. You lookit’m and you tell’m to give you his name by the will of the Lord. He will. You ain’t gonna unnahstand him, son, but he will. He’ll do it if you’re right with th’Lord. Get right, boy, and stay right. And you get clear. You stay away from that’un.”

His grandmother was telling the truth.

__________________________________________________

Weeks went by, and Robert heard nothing unusual out of inmate 200400097. Just when he was beginning to think that the whole thing was a strange game, something happened.

Simmons had maintained his routine of “showing out” at around 2pm daily. By coincidence, and not design, Robert had not found himself on the floor at these episodes. Ever since the day he’d rammed his head into the doorframe, Simmons had been calmer, only whispering, whimpering quietly, or singing to himself during his regular shows.

It was mid-song that Robert entered line of sight for Simmons. Abruptly, the singing stopped, and Simmons faced the door.

“I don’t like it when you’re here, Lane.”

This came out as all one word, a husky whisper, but still that deep tone that was so unlike every other time the prisoner spoke. “Lane” became “laaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyynnnnnnnnnnn” in the latest attempt to rattle the officer.

“Hey. By Jesus, tell me your Name. Who are you? By Christ’s command, what is your NAME?” Robert shouted the last word, and the echoes filled the concrete hallway.

Simmons recoiled as though struck. He looked to be in physical pain, but Robert heard him speak. The jeering, cheerful face was pinched, and a word came from his lips in a rasp. Robert heard it clearly, but he couldn’t understand it. It sounded foreign, it sounded alien.

It sounded Other.

“I have heard your Name. Never. Speak. To. Me. Again.”

With that, the inmate curled up into a ball on his bed.

That was the last time that David R. Simmons ever spoke to Robert A. Lane, III.
______________________________________

Robert Lane’s hand shook as he snubbed out his last Marlboro Red. A collection of them sat bent, burned and broken in the silver ashtray between us. We both leaned our elbows on the pinewood picnic table where we’d shared a meal and a story.

He thumbed through the pages of the book by Malachi Martin I’d been reading before he sat down to eat with me today. Cover fluttering in the wind, “Hostage to the Devil” had gained its own seat at our table as he put it down next to the remains of my chicken salad sandwich.

“I don’t need to read about this in a book or see it in a movie, man. I’ve seen it in real life. What scares me most, though, is that it has seen me.”

Credit To – Nick O’Caliban

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The Stairs Game

May 15, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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“It’s called the stairs game.”

“The stairs game?”

“That’s the only thing we were able to get her to say, the parents will be here in about an hour they caught a red-eye back from Houston. Try to get something else out of her because we have to hold her until they get here anyway.”

“What do you think I’m going to be able to extract if you couldn’t get anything?”

“Well you’re younger, have less receding hair, and those pants aren’t tighter by regulation are they David?”

“Fuck you man.”

He actually smiled a little, despite being a dick I think he genuinely thought I might be better equipped aesthetically to get more information.

“Please try, you saw the coroner’s report. We can’t just tell the girl’s parents she played some stupid game.”

“I’ll try.”

“Good, I’ll get an ETA on the parents and check back in later.”

She still wasn’t looking at me directly, it’s like something would disappear or she would lose track of something were she to make eye contact.

“You’re saying a game killed your friend?”

She didn’t respond.

“Look, we know that you are in no way responsible for Sara’s death. That’s not what this is about, and I know discussing what happened to her with a complete stranger is not ideal. But if you know Sara you know Sara’s parents; they deserve to know what really happened to their daughter.”

“And I already said what happened.”

“Your official statement is too vague to be considered as a satisfactory explanation.”

“So you’re saying that I need to elaborate or there will be… complications?”

“Kelly, the only thing you told us was that she played the stairs game.”

“And that’s all I can tell you.”

“Kelly be reasonable…”

“Reasonable…?”

I didn’t say anything.

“Look I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I can’t. I could be..”

“You could be what Kelly?”

“I’m sorry.”

He knocked on the glass and pointed to his watch, clearly I didn’t have much time left until the parents arrived.

“Kelly, we need to find a way to talk to each other. I want to be completely honest with you, Sara’s parents are about 15 minutes out. Even though we don’t consider you a suspect at all, we have to rationalize based on the limited evidence we’ve gathered. If you can’t shed more light on what happened tonight, it’s possible Sara’s parents could file charges that would indicate you as being an accessory in Sara’s death.”

“Give me your phone.”

“I’m sorry what?”

“I can…show you a video that kind of explains.”

“You’re telling me you can’t directly tell me what’s going on, but you can show me something on YouTube?”

“Do you want answers or not?”

Reluctantly, as I’d bought it literally the day before, I pulled the iPhone out of my pocket and handed it to her.

“Thanks. What’s the password for wifi here?”

“jUStice6683”

“Seriously?”

“I didn’t choose it.”

This was the first time her face warmed into an expression that matched her age; but only for as long as it took her to type with her thumbs.

“Before I show you this..”

“Yeah?”

“You have to realize I didn’t want any part in this.”

“Part in what exactly?”

“Yeah, that sounds bad.”

“Try to explain it?”

I tried to keep my eye contact friendly, but I was starting to think that it was possible that Kelly played a greater role in Sara’s death.

“It’s like being in a group project.”

I was noticeably confused by this statement.

“As an adult?”

“Jesus, no. Like in school. I never tried to stand out in school, it was never my thing. I was much more confident doing the work and having my name on it while someone else presented it to the class.”

“I think I get that.”

“Alright. But this is the bad version, I think it only really happens to you once academically. You go out of your way to make sure any sort of non-speaking portion of the project is well done. Historically asking someone else to do it allows your contribution to be seen and no heard.”

“That sounds pretty standard.”

“Yeah but there’s the one time it doesn’t work out. The person you’ve elected to explain your work gets it wrong. They’re indifferent because their only role is to briefly explain the work of someone else, someone smarter. So they goof off, and try to amuse your classmates instead of your teacher. At first, it’s not the worst thing really; quite in fact you almost feel like you’re getting to experience a popular glow by proxy. Like this dude who will grow up, just to grow up is somehow making you seem more appealing.”

“What does this have to do with…”

“HI I’M JASMINE JOLLY KILL AND YOU’RE WATCHING THE SCARRRRRRRRRRRRRY STORY COUNTDOWN ON MY CHANNEL…”

She paused the video.

“What I’m getting at is that you never asked to for that glow, or the subsequent disapproving glances from the teacher who liked you because you weren’t interested in that glow until he started talking. It’s the feeling of being tarnished personified.”

We just sort of waited in silence for a few seconds, she was checking to make sure the clip was almost fully loaded.

“Sara was reckless. It wasn’t enough to be thin or happy or smart; she had to be that girl who wasn’t afraid. I don’t mean ‘I’m going to ride a motorcycle reckless’, on her 21st birthday she drove with a blindfold on for nearly a mile.”

“That’s fucking stup…”

I did not mean to let that slip out, but it got a laugh out of Kelly; the more I spoke to her the more concerned I became for her.

“No you’re right it is fucking stupid but that was Sara’s temperament.”

“I’m guessing you were the one who told her when to accelerate and stop?”

“All my life unfortunately. Some friend right?”

From a little ways away I heard the door to the main office slam. The parents would be briefed by the officer and asked to identify the body in the morgue. So this bought me about another 15 minutes; I would have to be the one to accelerate now.

“The stairs game.”

She shut her eyes and held them shut for nearly a minute.

“I’m really sorry but you did ask, I’m already losing 1 with you.”

“I don’t under…”

She hit play.

“Hey ghouls, gals, and geeks! It’s your girl Jasmine Jolly Killer here counting down what I think are some of the scariest creepypasta or internet urban legends I’ve found! Now for those of you who don’t know what creepypasta is it started out as online horror stories which were then “copied and pasted” into e-mails sent back and forth all across the world wide web. Some of the more notable characters from this collection of cyber horror are Slender Man, The Rake, and a lovable kids show called Candle Cove.”

She started scratching the black paint of her nails as I held my phone in my hand.

“Now I wanted to dig a little deeper for you guys because hey you’re my peeps and I need to hook you up with some hardcore horror stories or my reputation will be caput, haha. Now the first story I found is a little boring but bare with me because I still think it’s pretty damn spooky. Now a lot of creepypastas, and worthwhile stories in general, usually are built upon an object or location that when sought after by a protagonist, who whether noble or not, usually experiences something macabre as a result. My absolute new favorite is called…”

Kelly grabbed the phone out of my hand.

“Hey!”

“Sorry this girl talks FOREVER, I’m skipping to the…here.”

“Thanks.”

With the phone back in my hand I pressed play once more.

“I mean can you believe she would eat her boyfriend’s fingers without knowing?! Haha, I feel like I’ve been there. Do you feel me YouTube? Do you feel me? Alright, possibly what I found to be the most psychologically disturbing story that makes elevators way more appealing. The stairs game, as it’s called, is not really a “game” it’s more of a dare? Whatever. Essentially you need to be alone in your house, or I guess alone anywhere really as long as there’s some sort of staircase. It can’t be something with 4 or 7 steps it needs to be 11 steps or more or this won’t work. Now you need to place a candle on the very top step and the very bottom step, nothing specific so we’re talking some shit from Bath and Body or those weird Mexican divinity candles with like a picture of Mary on them. They have to be lit within the same minute, and the bottom one must be lit first. Now…”

My ringtone started playing, that annoying little Marimba standard tone. I still hadn’t figured this thing out fully.

“Will you excuse me for a minute?”

Kelly just sort of looked through me.

“Yeah I’ve got time.”

“Thanks.”

I stepped into the small hallway with the bench and water cooler.

“Babe, you can’t call me at work like this I’ve told you.”

“I’m…I’m sorry I know it’s just you weren’t here at 3:00 today and I got worried.”

“John we can’t keep doing this. It was a year ago and we weren’t even together.”

“No it’s..not that. Well it’s not totally that at least; look I’m sorry. I’m going to Whole Foods now is there anything you want to eat later?”

“Aside from you?”

He laughed on the other end.

“Make that pasta thing from the other day. That was really good, and if two pieces of cheesecake magically appear in your cart know that I will eat them both.”

“You’re ridiculous, but so am I for calling. I love you and I like you.”

“I love you and I like you too. Also I know you like all that horror stuff have you watched the YouTuber JasmineJollyKiller before?”

“Are you kidding me she’s like the queen of YouTube horror. I live for her weekly updates. She just reviewed “It Follows” a couple hours ago. But I don’t want to keep you, sorry for calling again I just…feel better when I hear your voice sometimes.”

“It’s mutual. Later babe.”

“Bye.”

I walked back into the room and Kelly had apparently gotten up to get water without me noticing.

“Wife?”

For some reason she was using a coffee stirrer in her water.

“Close, boyfriend.”

She looked up at me with sort of drunk Zooey Deschanel eyes.

“You’re gay?”

“Much to the disappointment of my father, yes.”

“How long have you and…”

“John. We actually just got back together recently we had some…”

She was listening more intently to me than I was to her 10 minutes ago.

“Problems?”

“Something like that.”

“You need to finish.”

“I’m sorry?”

“The video.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Of course I thought you meant…”

Her nails were all black now. The chipped paint from before the call somehow revived itself, strange. I tilted my phone and pressed play.

“Now, at the top of the stairs you need to write down the number of stairs you have but backwards. So like, if there were 14, you would write 41. Fold the sheet of paper twice and light one end with the top step candle then walk down counting the number of steps out loud. Blow out the piece of paper and the side that’s not burnt light with the bottom step candle. Have something you can put the burning paper in because it has to burn completely for this to work. Once you’re paper is ashes return to the top stair.”

Kelly was looking directly at the back of my phone like she was burning a hole into it.

“Once again, make sure you’re alone. I would never try this and obviously it’s not something real; but hey there are people out there that go out of their way to make it seem real. No matter what these are just stories guys, the steps are specific because they want it to seem like something important. It’s not real.”

Kelly laughed.

“What?”

“Why would someone go to that much trouble if it’s not real? What’s the purpose?”

“I guess..I guess people just want something more exciting out of life? Maybe they feel like their idea could evolve to the point where it was almost real.”

“What’s almost real, exactly?”

I didn’t even realize I had paused it again.

“Whatever, you’re almost done now.”

“Yeah I…guess.”

I pressed play one more time.

“I’ve only found one ‘interaction’, take this as more than likely fictional, in which a second person was present and the game got creepier. Now there are also about 100 more instances where having another person makes no difference, because once again this is some halloween slumber party bullshit haha. The so called interview with the ‘second person’ just sort of…”

The video screen went static and asked me to re-load the video. I clicked the small sad face and was able to reload it, but it seemed to skip past the part I was at.

“Once on the top stair, shut your eyes. Walk down five steps and then on the fifth step turn around and walk backwards down the remainder. The goal is to trip in this instance, as crazy as it sounds. It’s not listed in the rules but if you’ve done this correctly the last step should be missing. Now once you’re at the bottom of your less than one stair turn around but don’t open your eyes. Very carefully find the bottom step candle and blow it out. There are several variations but they all STRESS the rule that you cannot open your eyes before blowing out the bottom step candle.”

He knocked again on the door with more ferocity than before, like he was trying to get in more than get my attention. But I had 1:43 left.

“The idea is that there’s another you, a doppelgänger who will blow out the candle at the top of the stairs at the exact same time you blow out the bottom stair candle. That’s why you need to play this alone otherwise it’s hard to establish whether or not this “game” was a success. There was one variation I read in which they did the top stair instead of the bottom and the person was ‘pushed by something’ down the stairs. Not only injuring themselves but causing the bottom candle to spark some curtains and eventually a full fledge raging inferno. Did it happen? Probably not? But hey it sure is creepy right?

Now full disclosure I do NOT want you to attempt this but my friends at Cedar Night Scents have provided me a discount code for what they’re calling their “ritual candle collection”. Four candles, all made naturally and include a small description of the perfect “ritual” to use them for. I like them because they smell fucking good, but hey maybe you feel the intrinsic need to prove yourself or scare the hell out of your friends. The candle code is JJKILLER14 and gives you 30% off the regular price. Personally I’m loving the “white magic” candle and have bought about 3 since getting in contact so they have the Jasmine Jolly Killer seal of approval. Okayyyyy? Also I posted this story on Instagram earlier and I thought it would be fun to take some questions to see if I could find anything that resembles an answer so lets see the top 10!”

I looked at Kelly.

“Do I need to watch this part.”

“Oh, definitely.”

“Dear JJK, love that nickname haha, what happens if the candle at the top stays lit after the ritual? PS I love your smokey eye tutorial.

Well from what I can tell that’s what happens about 98% of the time, and honestly anyone that’s “stating” it’s blown out is probably lying. So I imagine nothing happens really.”

“Dear JJK, you never elaborated on what happens if someone is present while you play the game, what happens?! Love your videos and think you are the cutest.

Well thank you firstly! God knows I try to stay pretty. But…”

The video began to erratically jump.

“Haha, haha, haha. I guess…PRETTY PRETTY PRETTY. I love love 7 PEOPLE FOUND DEAD love love you all all all. Subscribe, like, follow ow ow ow and .. I guess I guess I guess I guess.”

“Is that it?”

Kelly was just staring off again.

“That’s about as far as you’ll get I imagine.”

“Okay, so I know a little more about the stairs game now. Can you connect the dots for me a little more?”

“I was only able to get about 3 minutes further into that video than you did. I think it’s because I’m here you can’t finish it, honestly.”

“Kelly that wouldn’t affect video in that way.”

She just shrugged.

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I didn’t see my best friend blowing out a candle, and then see her again blowing out another candle at the same time. Maybe that thing didn’t walk slowly down those stairs towards the real Sara.”

I kept eye contact.

“I kept pulling her arm but she wouldn’t move, it was like she was rooted to the spot. I fell backwards as it bit into her bottom eyelid and ripped it downwards until her eye was barely dangling in it’s socket.”

I heard the banging on the door again.

“At one point I thought it was kissing her but it was just ripping her bottom lip off with it’s teeth. The last time I saw life in Sara’s eyes were seconds after. Her smile looked surreal. Unable to cover her bottom teeth as the skin flap hanging on by a few strands of skin and muscle.”

I suddenly had a coughing fit.

“Whatever it was it walked back up the stairs counting the steps in a voice that sounded like it came from every direction. That’s when I called 911.”

Once I got the cough under control, I reached out an held her hand.

“That wasn’t easy for you, and I know that. Thank you. It may seem arbitrary or dangerous to you but the information you gave me will be very helpful. Once again you’re not at fault at all and I’m going out of my way to…”

“Just stop.”

“What?”

“This thing…this game. Once you’re a part you, you start losing steps.”

The door suddenly slammed open, and Kelly was held by two men who held her in place. He came in with handcuffs and putting up no resistance Kelly complied.

“We were just discussing…”

“Parents got a look at the body, they’re pressing charges now.”

“Kelly I…”

“The more people you show, the more you’ll lose. I’m so sorry.”

“Kelly what does…”

The men were being excessively rough with her, one actually slamming her into a wall and punching her lower abdomen.

“FUCKING WATCH IT.”

I tried to follow as much as I could, but once they got to the stairs Kelly tripped on the second step flinging herself towards the the side. Kelly fell straight through the stairs. Falling all the way to the bottom, snapping her own neck in 3 places. The expression on her face almost looked like a grim relief, that face has since be etched into my brain.

It’s been nearly a week of dealing with both Sara’s and Kelly’s parents, mutual attorneys, fellow officers, security specialists, and even John. They all wanted to hear about how bizarre the case was, or how it was linked to other unexplained deaths that followed it. In most instances I would just send the same video Kelly showed me, it was the easiest way to explain the situation. But I only started sending it after I started tripping all the time. I don’t know how many people I actually spoke with regarding the case but after so many I started to get this panicked feeling. I live with John on the second story of our building, about 9 blocks from the precinct. There’s always been 23 steps from my door to the street but yesterday there was only 13.

Credit To – xcessiveknight

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The Real Town of Blanche

May 14, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I turn on the lamp as I sit down at my desk. I softly remove the ribbon that was holding the diary together. As I open the strange looking book, a hard smell of rotten pages hits me. Interestingly enough the text is still intelligible, something you wouldn’t really expect when you find a diary in a trashed house that has been burnt down by the owners. The police didn’t bother demolishing it, so they’ve just restricted access to foreign personnel. In order to gain access to the house you must go over to the police with your ID card, so you can prove that you are in one way or another, related to the former owners. My last name definitely helps. Or better said, the fact that an officer called me to warn me about the tragedy, helps even more. The officer stated that he found my phone number in an agenda that has also been spared by the fire. I was obviously in shock when I heard the story over the phone, so my first question was: “Is my brother and his family OK?” To which he replied: “They… they’re all dead!”. A moment of silence, followed by the officer’s worried voice: “Is everything alright, sir!??” snapped me back to reality. I had to fly over to Europe as soon as possible to investigate. When I arrived, as I priory mentioned, the police came to the conclusion that the fire was actually started by one of the family’s members. That didn’t really make much sense to me at that moment. In fact it didn’t make sense at all. How could’ve they known? But then again I am no expert, so I avoided posing questions just so I wouldn’t make a fool of myself in front of a legalized and specialized institution that has been dealing with over 1000 crime cases over the course of a decade. But this was no crime at all, since there was no criminal to start the fire. I requested the permission to take a look at the house, and at my brother’s personal belongings, thinking that maybe I could find something that would lead me to the roots of this mystery.

John was always an excellent brother to me. You can probably already tell that he was the older one. He knew to work his way around tricky situations, that’s why I was shocked when I found out that he… died. I can already imagine him grabbing his wife’s hand, his kids, and bash right through the window over to safety, then pull out his phone and call the firefighters. But that didn’t happen. They all died. “WHY!??” I kept repeating over and over in my head, why…? When I entered the house, I couldn’t help but realize how fast they must have died. The fire must’ve been huge. A common misconception spread amongst many people, is that dying in a fire must be really painful, to be surrounded by tall flames, knowing there’s no way to escape but trying to dash through them, which ultimately might lead to you collapsing to the floor under the excruciating heat, burning there, like a stuffed turkey in an oven, the only difference being that you’re alive, and feeling the actual pain. Sure, burning alive is extremely painful, but in 99% of the cases, people die of smoke intoxication, before the flames even reach them. By the time the fire claims its victim and turns it into ash, the soul is long gone. That’s exactly what happened to John, my beloved brother, and his family. Their bodies were beyond recognition, only a slightly taller pile of dust helped the legists tell them apart from other objects that have been turned into dust and ashes by the fire. I headed to my brother’s room. It wasn’t difficult at all to move around and get through rooms and hallways. Obviously all the doors were gone. In fact pretty much everything made out of wood was gone. There was nothing for me to see there anymore… Or was it? As I was preparing to leave I stepped on a solid… solid something. I couldn’t tell what it was, until I bent down to look at it and swept the dust away. It was the diary. That was a little bit unsettling. How could have the diary survived? Well, even now by looking at it, I can tell it is in a deplorable state, but you’d normally expect it to be inexistent. Disregarding this peculiar fact, I picked up the diary, and decided to head off to an apartment I used to own downtown, when I still lived in Amsterdam. I didn’t sell it, thinking that I might visit John sometimes, but I never really got the time and the opportunity to do so, only now, under unpleasant circumstances, when it’s already too late. I moved to The States a long time ago. I think it’s been almost 8 years since I moved to San Francisco. But my brother always preferred Europe over America. He also loved traveling, God, how much he loved traveling with his family. Every holiday, which you’d probably spend wasting your time, he’d spend planning the perfect trip.

I remember him calling me last time, almost tripping with excitement, as he was telling me: “Oh God, I am so happy, you know that I never really got to see France. And now, after so many years, given the fact that I’ve been almost everywhere around Europe with my family, on my own money that I always struggle to gather before holidays begin, the company I work for has given me a salary raise to pay for my efforts since my boss told me that I am probably one of their most dedicated workers. Isn’t that just great!?” By then, I was having a hard time dealing with my own workplace, which I never really liked, so I was really stressed, always refused to go out with friends, and all that, but whenever you talked to John, he always cheered you up somehow. He had that tone in his voice that immediately gave you a boost of confidence and made you feel really good. He’s always been the optimistic guy, even in the worst of situations. On the other side, I don’t really classify myself as a pessimistic person, I’m more of a combination between an optimistic and a realistic guy. I do see things for what they are, but I try to get over with it whenever I’m having a bad time. His phone call really cheered me up that day. I responded: “Oh wow, that’s really great. I can’t believe it. You will get to see Cote d’Azur, Paris, and many other attractions I’d like to see as well [He knew that I just didn’t really have the time to go in these trips together with him due to my workplace]. I just… Wow… And your boss sounds like an amazing person. It’s finally starting to look good for you brother, it’s finally looking good!”. He replied: “I know Dan, I know, thanks for being supportive, you’ve always believed in me more than anyone else, and now, here I am, I did not disappoint you. I never really expected to go on a trip without having to gather money for it throughout a few months! We’re probably even going to afford a fancy hotel now, and all that good stuff –“. And the call suddenly stopped. I tried to call him back but he didn’t answer.

Later on he texted me that his phone battery died, but there wasn’t much for us to talk about anyway so he wished me good luck for my interview [I almost forgot to mention that I was planning to quit my old job, as I hated it so much, and the new one is still the job I love and own today], and that about sums it up. We haven’t spoken since then, only when he returned to Amsterdam from his trip, but we only had a quick Skype conversation, as he was preparing his kids for school. After that we’ve both been really busy, me with my new workplace, him in his new position at work, so we haven’t talked at all in almost two months. Until I received the call from the police officer. And now here I am, in my apartment, in Amsterdam, sitting at my desk, ready to open the diary to unveil its secrets. Not surprising at all, the first page of the diary just comes off the edge of the book. I can’t tell what’s going on, my mind is still having flashbacks, not letting me rationalize. I might need some sleep right now, but I… I feel like I have to read the diary. Me and my brother never had any secrets. Of course a diary is a personal thing, but if he’d owned one he would have told me. My eyes must be playing some sort of trick on me, this isn’t John’s handwriting… Oh wait, I think I know! It belongs to his son. I remember John telling me that his son really loved writing down stories about how their trips went, and much more. Each night he would close the door to his room, and write down everything that happened that day. It seems the diary was a habit he didn’t plan to give up on all of a sudden. There are no days missing. Except for the last week… It’s missing entirely. But there’s something even stranger. For a 10 year old boy, his handwriting is actually pretty. And John always praised about his good grades. So I guess he was a smart kid. Heh, just like his father… [I shed a tear that falls on the diary’s page, soaking the dry ink, making it spread a little bit on the corner of the page]. The strange thing that I notice is that his handwriting suddenly changed at one point in the diary. To be specific, on June 20th 2014, when they left Amsterdam for France. Now obviously, everybody’s handwriting changes at one point, but for a kid, quite unlikely.

One more thing I can’t pass by is that he progressively moved on to the usage of the word “friend” instead of “diary”. He moved on from “Dear diary”, to “Dear friend”. I don’t really know how much a diary can mean to a person, because I never owned one, but I guess there is a special connection to it, you know, something similar to a teddy bear. Hey, I’m not judging anyone. Well it’s finally time to start reading I guess:

“ Dear friend, [Exactly what I’ve said before]

France is awesome so far. I’m really enjoying it. Right now we’re sitting at an inn in Blanche– ”. Umm wait, what!?? I must admit that I am not good at geography, but to be really honest I’ve never heard of “Blanche” so far. Should I keep reading? “ Blanche is a strange town, but I guess it’s OK, we’re leaving soon anyway! ”. I’m confused. Good thing I brought my laptop with me, so I can look the name up. The name does return indeed some historical data related to France, Blanche was some sort of queen I think, but besides that, nothing more. There’s no town named Blanche located in France. He must have misspelled the name. I should continue reading:

“ I don’t know when, but we’ll be leaving. Our car broke down and daddy can’t really fix it right now. He says he must find some parts for the car or I don’t know. He looked a bit concerned. He loves his car. He’s had it for almost 6 years now. Mommy and sis aren’t that happy with the idea that we must stay in this town for a while. The good thing is that we can now afford separate rooms at the inn with daddy’s salary raise. It’s not that we can’t afford a hotel now, but there are no hotels in this… village. ” [Aha! So after all Blanche is in fact a village. Villages don’t usually show up on maps or Wikipedia. That must be it, he’s probably mistaken it for a town and found out later on that it’s a village] “ Also something really strange happened. But I can’t really be sure of it. Mom and dad say they’ve been hearing me talk in my sleep. But I don’t know what to say, I think they’re lying to me, or… Anyway time to go to sleep, that’s it for this day friend, see you tomorrow. Take good care of yourself.”

As I said, creepy. I don’t really know why he was treating the diary like a real person. Anyway, it’s getting late now, maybe I should go to sleep, but I really feel like I must uncover this mystery. I really want to know what happened. This diary might or might not hold the answers to my question, but I don’t really care right now:

“ Dear friend,

Today something amazing happened. I made a new friend. I wanted to be sure of it before I tell you. I’ve been dreaming of the same guy for a few nights, over and over again since we’ve arrived here in Blanche. He is a tall guy, with red eyes, but a pleasant red, I can’t really describe it, it’s not scary however. But it’s a bit creepy because I can never speak whenever he shows up in my dreams. He said that the only way for me to talk to him is you. But he said I must not let mommy and daddy or anyone else know. ” [Now what’s this? OK, fine, he is 10 year old, or, sorry, was 10 year old, but I think that the time for imaginary friends should be over by that age. Then again, I am in no position to judge anybody] “You are the only one allowed to know. He didn’t tell me his name however, and I don’t know how to address him. ‘Could you please tell me your name when we meet again?’ Also I can never make out of him more than his red eyes, he sits in the dark. There is light in my dreams, but he says light is bad for him, and he won’t show his face. But I’m sure he’s pretty. I don’t have many friends so I’m really happy with him. I actually want to go to sleep right now, to see him again, maybe we can play together! ”

Well, this is very unsettling. This doesn’t really seem like an ordinary imaginary friend, as he mentioned he only sees him in his dreams, and he’s been dreaming of him every night. This is really getting interesting, but I should go to sleep. My mind is playing tricks on me. I hear things cracking in the kitchen, and footsteps. But it’s the same as the story with the fire, only a different scenario. It’s just my imagination sending signals to my subconscious, trying to alter different aspects of reality, tricking me into thinking that something is wrong. The urge to check if everything is OK is almost uncontrollable for many people, but I am different. As I mentioned before, I am sort of a realistic guy. It’s probably nothing. I’m going to read a few more pages. After all, maybe I’ll be able to sleep better if I get to the end of this diary:

“ Dear friend,

Last night was awesome. I can really talk to him, through you. He said he can’t tell me his name, because he would be punished for that. Today I’m going to try out something more interesting. ‘Could you please do something about daddy’s car? Mom and sis really want to leave, they miss Amsterdam, and we haven’t even got to see Paris and the Eiffel Tower. I promise I won’t tell them it was you who fixed the car if you can do that! Nobody ever touches my diary, only me.’

Oh wow, now I’m not even sure whether I’m lucid or not right now. What am I reading? It’s a kid’s diary, I know that, I shouldn’t be that amazed, but it’s still creepy, and I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t even… There’s only one way to know. I know for sure John arrived in Paris on 26th of June, 2014 of course. He posted a picture on his Facebook, now that’s what I call a fancy selfie, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. And this page of the diary was apparently written on 25th of June. I, I should read it, but…:

“ Dear friend,

He did it! Daddy’s car is now working. I don’t know how, or what kind of powers he has, but he helped us get out of that village, and now we’re in Paris. ‘Thank you very much!’ Also I feel like I should apologize to him as well. As we were preparing to leave Blanche, daddy went into my room to pack my things. Please never have me go through such panic again. It was OK for daddy to see you and even read you before, but now it’s forbidden, I’ve already told you, that’s what the man with the red eyes said. ‘I am really sorry! The diary fell off the table, and somehow opened at the latest page. Daddy picked it up and probably wanted to read it, but fortunately I stepped into the room at the right time to stop him from doing so! It won’t happen again, I promise!’ Something strange happened as well. As we were leaving, when my parents weren’t around, the innkeeper walked up to me and gave me a ribbon [Probably the one I’ve just removed earlier], a beautiful one. I asked him: ‘What’s this for?’ And he said to me: ‘Oh, you know you don’t want mommy and daddy to open that diary. This will hold the pages together, preventing anyone from reading it.’ Before I had time to ask him another question he went off to welcome the new guests. That startled me a bit. Why did that happen? How did he know that mommy and daddy were not supposed to read the diary? Did he actually find it and read it? I know I was the only one with a key to my room, but obviously he must have had a spare one in case I lost mine. But I’ve spent almost all my time in my room. I never left for more than 30 minutes as there wasn’t much you could do in town. ” [He’s calling it town again] “ I… I don’t know. I didn’t like that man very much. He’s been strange since we’ve arrived in Blanche. But he wasn’t even probably a bad person after all, I think. He must have seen me writing to you, and that’s all. Then again I don’t blame him, I don’t really like strangers at all, I don’t hate him specifically! ”

I am speechless. So they did leave Blanche on 26th of June, and the car was fixed miraculously. Or not that miraculously, now that I know the story behind it. Is it just a pure coincidence in fact? Did John find the parts for the car that very day? Is the man with the red eyes real? Was his son a shy person that didn’t have many friends? Why did he start mentioning the man with the red eyes only after they arrived in Blanche? So many questions. I don’t know what to believe. I am curious to what the diary has to offer me furthermore. But at the same time I feel afraid. And even more tired, but scared, I can’t go to sleep right now. Who is the man with the red eyes? I guess I have to keep reading.

“ Dear friend,

We are back home. Tomorrow’s first day of school. My daddy and the teachers say I’m a really good student. But I hate going to school because of my classmates. I think that it’s time for a change. I’m going to need the help of the man with the red eyes. But first, I will wait. What if they changed during this holiday? I hope they will treat me accordingly, or else it might get nasty for them. I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I don’t like being hurt by someone else. I’ve talked to daddy and he said revenge is not good. He proceeded to speak with my teachers, and they’ve calmed down for a week or two. School ended shortly after that. Tomorrow’s a new beginning for me, and hopefully for them. ‘I don’t know who you are, but thanks for coming with me. I appreciate your support. So far I’ve asked you to help me with minor things, but tomorrow that might change.’

Did I leave the window open? I feel a slight breeze. Or is it my imagination again. Most likely. I am pretty sure I closed it, or did I? It doesn’t matter. I am by far shocked by the stories I’m reading right now. I don’t feel any better. I must keep reading:

“ Dear friend,

As I assumed, they haven’t changed at all, they started bullying me again. I knew they would do that, but I still had to make sure. Normally I’d speak to daddy again, but this time I’m not going to do it. This time it will be different. ‘I really hate Ray. He’s the worst. He never leaves me alone. Could you please make him stay at home? For a while at least? I promise nobody will ever know it was you, not even if the teachers ask what’s happened to him! Thanks in advance, and see you tonight!’

I don’t know what to expect anymore. At some point or another, it was pretty obvious that he was going to ask for something like that. But continuing reading the diary will reveal whether the “car fixing itself” was just a mere coincidence, or the man with the red eyes is… real. I’m still hoping for the best. The man with the red eyes must be the work of a boy with an extraordinary imagination that unfortunately passed away. The only explanation as to why the man with the red eyes started to show up in his dreams only when they arrived in Blanche, is because they were on holiday. I will explain. In fact, this page of the diary might be the answer I’m looking for. You see, if he was bullied on a daily basis, he’s also must been really stressed. The mind was desperately trying to find a way to release that stress, but he was fearing the next day of school. He probably wanted to stay at home, in his room, alone with his diary. But he had to go to school. When holidays finally arrived, he started to feel a little bit relieved. And his mind created the man with the red eyes in order to get rid of all the stress he’s gathered during school days. John probably fixed the car, no, John definitely fixed the car. If he hadn’t fixed it that very day, the man with the red eyes would’ve most likely dissolved into inexistence, due to the fact that John’s son would’ve felt deceived by the man with the red eyes, betrayed. But given the fact that John somehow fixed the car, it fed his son’s imagination, tricking him into thinking that the man with the red eyes fixed the car in fact. And so he lived on in the boy’s imagination, up until now…

That’s my take on the story, and I strongly believe that I am right, no matter what. It can’t be any other way. I remember when I was a kid, I also used to have an imaginary friend, when I was about 7 or 8, but I soon realized there’s no such thing as imaginary friends. So I simply gave up on him. Soon I made real friends which were more fun to play with, obviously. At the age of 10 I might have even forgotten his name. It’s useless to try to recall it now. L… L something, I don’t know… I don’t care. However, my imaginary friend did have a name. The man with the red eyes has no name apparently. Well, I mean John’s son mentioned in the diary that the man with the red eyes would be punished for saying his name. What could that possibly mean? I am upset with the fact that he didn’t insist upon finding out his name. Usually kids are very curious at the age of 10. I wonder if… Nah, it can’t be. I definitely need sleep right now. But still… I might give it a shot after I finish reading the diary, not too many pages left anyway. I… I just feel like writing down a simple question in the diary: “What’s your name?”, and then go to sleep, but that won’t lead anywhere. I am already being delusional, it’s a bit disturbing to read such stories told by a 10 year old kid. But the next page of the diary will finally reveal the truth, I hope:

“ Dear friend,

Today I found out something rather disturbing. I am thankful to the man with the red eyes for the fact that Ray did not come to school today. But… I found out that he got ran over by a car, and he died. ‘Please don’t do this again. The teacher was upset with me when I told her that he had it coming for being mean to me, but I didn’t know at that time that he died. Today nobody bullied me, but I didn’t expect you to kill him, why did you do that!?? We must talk tonight. I am mad at you!’

Yeah… OK, this is… odd. Well, this should have shown up on the local news and newspapers. I should try and look it up on my laptop. […] Oh God…, he is right. But that’s not all to it. The page in the diary dates 3rd of September. You’d normally expect the newspaper to go stir crazy about the story the very next day. But they published the story on 5th of September only, and it’s…, well:

“[…] His parents state that Ray wasn’t the best kid in town, but definitely not the type that would like to get in trouble. The driver that committed this horrible crime is yet to be found, as there weren’t many witnesses at that point, and he just drove off like nothing happened. The police has set up control points in the major areas of the city. No driver is allowed to leave this town, until the criminal is located and arrested. A peculiar fact is that Ray’s teacher, completely terrified by this incident, died the very next day to what the medics would believe to be a heart attack. The strange thing is that she’d never had any health problems.”

So the teacher died as well… Why!?? There’s no request for a punishment in the diary. There’s only this line which I’ve previously read: ‘The teacher was upset with me when I told her that he had it coming for being mean to me, but I didn’t know at that time that he died.’ So why did she die as well? Was it AGAIN, only a coincidence? Was Ray’s death a coincidence? I have to keep reading the diary:

“ Dear friend,

He killed my teacher too. Why did he do that? I didn’t say I was upset with her. I only said that SHE was upset with me, and the man with the red eyes finished her off, just like he did with Ray. I don’t like him anymore. Last night he was really scary. He wouldn’t talk to me anymore. But he had a really big and creepy grin. He would stare at me but… I think he moved closer to me, and it’s getting darker in my dreams. I’m afraid of him. I don’t want to sleep anymore. ‘Please stop killing people, I don’t like it!’

I am almost getting to the end of this diary, but I still refuse to believe that the man with the red eyes is real. However, he seems to be the only… “logical” explanation to all these events invading all of sudden John’s son life. To be really honest now, the real problem here is that not many 10 year old kids own a diary. As a parent, I would be a bit concerned about my son owning a diary at such a young age. Again, I know that a diary is a personal thing, but as a parent, I would check it from time to time, just to see what my child is trying to hide from me. I must admit however, that I’d have no idea what to do if I found a diary such as this one. Call the police? Call a psychiatrist?

Nevertheless John should have done something about it. I’m in no position to judge but as I mentioned before, he always had an answer to his problems. But most likely he was unaware of his son’s “imaginary friend”, the man with the red eyes… I can’t be surprised anymore, no matter what the next page in the diary holds for me, however… this isn’t John’s son writing. WHAT!??… WHAT’S THIS:

“ Dear friend,

I am starting to like the man with the red eyes again! ‘I really like you, man with the red eyes. Can you please do me the biggest favor of all times? Daddy can be really annoying sometimes, walking into my room without permission. He never touched my diary, but he might be tempted to do so one day. It’s already too dangerous to be around my family. Make daddy grab a gasoline tank and spread it around the house, make him do this at night, when everyone’s sleeping. He should save the last drops for him, sis, mommy and…me! He should then grab a lighter and set the house on fire, together with us. I am really sorry it had to come to this, but I just can’t be around you anymore, maybe you’ll find a new friend, a worthy one, I am really sorry that I couldn’t live up to your expectations! But this way you will be free, you won’t be tied to me anymore, and that’s what you do with those you love. You set them free!’

I said that nothing can surprise me anymore, oh how wrong I was… WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS!?? Was it someone else that has been using John’s son diary? Or… was it actually still him!??

“ Dear friend,

I am CRYING. I am really scared. I don’t know what to do, what’s this? A random page showed up, and I am sure it wasn’t me who wrote it! Why? Who did this? It must have been the man with the red eyes. Last night he was laughing in my dream, and he still wouldn’t talk to me, I could feel him getting closer and closer to me. I am afraid. I won’t sleep anymore. I don’t want my family to die. I don’t want to die. Please, someone help me. ‘Why are you doing this to me? Please leave, please stop it! I don’t want to talk to you anymore… YOU’RE NOT A FRIEND ANYMORE. You can only hurt me if I go to sleep, but tonight I won’t sleep!’

Wow, I have some really bad habits. When I’m really focused, I start playing with stuff around me. Well, normally what kids usually do, you know, chewing on a pen, etc. But… I’m holding a cutter, playing with it. Was it here on my desk all the time? Maybe I’m just being paranoid. I can hear noises again, footsteps.. It must’ve been on the desk. I was just too busy to notice it, because of this diary. The next page is really scribbled:

“ Dear friend,

I am still alive. We… are still alive, I haven’t slept the entire night, and this is the first time I’m writing to you in the morning. The man with the red eyes was… under my bad last night. I could hear him whispering to me, trying to persuade me to go to sleep. I was keeping my eyes wide open, so I wouldn’t fall asleep, but I imagined him showing up in front of my face and dragging me under the bed. I was sobbing silently. I think he was enjoying it. I am afraid, I don’t know what to do, but I still have to go to school, I will take you with me this time! ”

This was played smartly by him. He took the diary with him. Well at least I think it was a smart move. And apparently the man with the red eyes can only attack while he sleeps. That’s really strange, but… I guess he couldn’t take it anymore without some sleep, since they… died. Oh and I was wrong about them not suffering as well. If what the diary states is true, John must have set himself, his family, and the house on fire. Looks like I am getting to the bottom of this story. I wouldn’t be surprised however if I wake up tomorrow to find out that I am just being delirious, and nothing bad happened in fact, only an unfortunate accident, and this diary is in fact not readable, only my mind making up stories. That has to be it, but I have to finish reading it:

“ Dear friend,

I am crying again, I think it’s going to be over soon. My new teacher sent me home, thinking that I am sick, because I fell asleep for 5 minutes during her class. I didn’t tell my parents yet, just so they wouldn’t force me to go to sleep, but I don’t know how much I can take it anymore. Right now, I can hear daddy talking to my teacher on the phone, in the kitchen. I tried to listen to them using the extension phone, but daddy heard me breathing and told me to hang up. He might be coming upstairs in a couple Of minutes. It’s too late already, I will miss you, this might be the last page I am writing. You’ve been together with me whenever I needed help. You were my best friend, and now somehow you are also the one who tied me to this hideous creature that won’t tell me his name. The man with the red eyes, oh, how much I hate him. If I fall asleep, it’s over… over!
I took a break, daddy came into my room, as I’ve told you before. He said that trying to hide the fact that I am sick is not good for me, and he forced me to take a pill, an antibiotic probably, which usually causes sleepiness. I tried to tell him about the man with the red eyes, but I guess it’s too late, he didn’t believe me, he blamed it on my fever. An inexistent fever… ‘I beg of you once more, please spare us, what did I do wrong? I considered you my friend, please leave, go back to where you belong. I regret the day I started dreaming about you, in Blanche!’

And that’s the end of this page, but there seems to be one more page. He said this would be his last one. Was he really able to control his urge to sleep? Impossible. The last pages are glued together, probably due to the fire… Well, I guess the cutter isn’t useless after all. But… it was dry blood holding the pages together… This is it, the moment of truth, what can the last page possibly hold for me, since I am certain John’s son fell asleep that very day… leading to their deaths. It’s the scribbled different writing again. And… I see my name written in capital letters. I will read the page entirely however:

“ Dear friend,

These are my last words. I am going to die for my best friend, the friend that I love the most, the man with the red eyes. ‘I first freed you from Blanche, taking you with me, but you obviously returned the favor by fulfilling the wishes I’d write down here. Tonight you will be truly free. But for that, we all must die. It’s not going to be hard, I will be falling asleep soon, and that will sort me, mommy, daddy and sister out. DAN, daddy’s brother will find out about what happened to us. He will obviously want to investigate, no matter what. He will find this diary, and he’ll start reading it. But as he progresses and gets through more pages, he will become paranoid. He’ll start hearing strange sounds, footsteps, wood creaking, whispers. He won’t take it seriously. He will blame it on the lack of sleep. At one point or another, he will feel a light breeze. Unbeknownst to him, he will go and shut the open window, and also grab a cutter from the kitchen. As he continues to read the diary, he will start carving the desk with the cutter, until he becomes aware of it at one point, leaving him confused for a few seconds. He will then proceed to use it to unglue this last page from the previous one, and notice some of my blood drops. He won’t get to finish reading this page. He will notice his name that I’ve just written down before, but as soon as he starts reading the page, unaware of his hand gestures, he will take the cutter, and stab his left hand, cutting his veins. He will sit there at the desk, with the life flowing out of him. When he’ll realize what he’s done, it’s going to be way too late for him. And that is, when you will be free!’

Credit To – Gothard Eduard; Schiau Remus

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The Eye of Ra

May 13, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Jay Bennett hadn’t noticed the chubby man sitting alone in the corner booth until it was nearly time to close. He had been wiping down a couple of pub tables in the bar area when he spotted him, noshing on a plate of Big Buck’s En Fuego Jalapeño Poppers and watching Division III college football highlights play on the television mounted on the wall. There was nothing particularly interesting about the chubby patron. His brown, argyle sweater vest and khaki trousers didn’t exactly command attention and his plain unassuming features did nothing to accentuate his remarkably ordinary appearance. Yet still, there was something curious about the man that Jay couldn’t quite put his finger on.

Closing time meant Jay would soon be spending the next hour and a half mopping puddles of urine off the bathroom floor and hand drying dishes in the kitchen, while Trevor, his nineteen-year-old zit-faced assistant manager, played Flappy Bird and browsed Facebook on his phone. Jay hated closing the restaurant – mostly because he despised answering to a lazy, community college washout almost half his age. From where he was standing, he could see Trevor sitting in the office at the back of the restaurant, staring into his phone and giggling away like an acid-dropping rave bunny at Burning Man.

Any minute, Jay thought to himself. Any minute the little shit’s gonna stroll his pimply ass out here and force me to scrub the toilets ‘till they fucking shine. I just know it-

“Um, Excuse me?” The voice that interrupted Jay’s pity-party was soft and sophisticated. Right away he could sense an air of intelligence in its tone – something not commonly heard at Big Buck’s Wings & Beer. Jay looked up to see the man in the brown argyle sweater vest waving him over to his booth. “Yes, you sir. Excuse me, but may I speak to you for a moment?”

Jay glanced back towards the office. Trevor was busy furiously tapping away at the screen of his iPhone. He let out a sigh and sauntered over to the booth.

“You need the check? We’re closing soon.”

“Not necessary,” replied the chubby fellow. “I already cleared my tab with the pretty young thing who works behind the bar.”

Jay tossed the towel he was holding over his shoulder and folded his arms across his chest like a nightclub doorman. “Then what can I do for you, mister?”

“Well,” the man paused briefly to collect his words. “You’re Jay Bennett, correct?”

Hearing his name come out the mouth of a total stranger felt like an unexpected punch to the gut.

“I am,” Jay said, doing his best to appear unmoved by the chubby man’s inquiry. It was defense mechanism he had developed during his stint in prison. Jay found out very fast while serving his time that the best reaction to an unforeseen predicament was typically having no reaction at all. “And you are?”

“Oh yes, where are my manners?” The man in the sweater vest extended a sweaty palm out towards Jay. “My name is Robert Wilkins. Uh, Doctor Robert Wilkins.” Jay remained silent, stonewalling the doctor, causing him to retract his hand. The chubby man studied the ex-con silently before continuing on. “FYI, I’m not the kind of doctor who went to med school. My degrees are cultural anthropology and archeology – Ancient Egyptian studies to be exact. My colleague and I have published hundreds of papers on the subject. Feel free to look me up if you don’t believe me. A quick Google search should confirm my claims.”

“Honestly, I don’t really give a shit,” grunted Jay. “What is it that you want, already?”

The doctor neatly folded his napkin and used it to dab his brow – a mannerism reminiscent of a 19th century plantation owner. “Right. I suppose there’s no further need for introductions. Might as well get right down to it. Jay Bennett, I’m here tonight because I have a job for you.”

“I already have a job. And if you’re trying to hire me to do something illegal, then look elsewhere. I’m on parole and I don’t plan on going back to prison any time soon.”

Jay snatched the towel from his shoulder and started towards the bathrooms.

“Wait! Please!” the doctor desperately blurted out. “This job pays well I promise!” Jay spun around with every intent to tell him off, but froze when he spotted the sly smile that had crawled its way across the chubby man’s face. “ Besides, it’s a hell of a lot more fun than scrubbing toilets.”

***

The doctor waved a hand, inviting Jay to sit across the table from him. With two pudgy fingers he nudged his plate of Jalapeño poppers aside then bent over to retrieve a black leather briefcase that had been sitting at his feet. Jay scooted in to the other side of the booth. He swiveled his head to glance back at the office. Trevor was still gawking like an idiot into his phone.

“How do you know my name?” Jay asked.

“My associate gave me your information,” he said. “Who you are. What you do. Where to find you. He told me about your criminal record. Twelve counts of burglary, three counts of drug trafficking, and assault with a deadly weapon. He said you beat a man with a crowbar?”

“I was defending myself. The guy shot my partner.”

“Yeah, after the two of you broke into the man’s house. You’re lucky he made a full recovery or else you’d probably still be locked up. I’m surprised you even found a gig at a hole like this.”

Jay glared at the doctor, his lips twisted into a frustrated scowl.

“I’m not here to judge though. Afterall-” the chubby man popped the latches of his briefcase and lifted the lid, “I was hoping to encourage you to break the law one more time.”

He removed a red envelope from his briefcase and placed it on the table, pinning it with his index finger. “What do you know about Egyptian mythology, Jay?”

“I know a little.”

“Have you ever heard of Ra, the sun god?”

“I think so,” answered Jay. “He’s the one with the bird head, right?”

“Very good!” a proud light beamed in the doctor’s eyes. “That is correct. Ra is the most important god in Egyptian mythology. He was believed to have ruled over the sky and earth. And his head wasn’t just that of any bird. Most often, it was depicted as either a falcon or hawk. Now, this was no accident. You see, birds of prey have the keenest of eyesight and legend has it, the Eye of Ra could see all.”

He scooted the envelope across the table towards Jay then lifted his finger, releasing it before renewing his spiel.

“There’s three thousand dollars cash, a photograph, an address, and a phone number in that envelope, Jay. The money is yours whether you take the job or not. If you do accept my offer, there will be an additional $7,000 in it for you. The photograph is of an artifact I’m asking you to steal for me. It’s called the Eye of Ra. It’s a very rare gold coin with an extremely special engraving in it. It was excavated during a dig I helped oversee one year ago and I want it back.”

“And the address is where I can find it?” Jay was already thumbing through the envelope’s contents.

“Yes. It’s the home of an ex-colleague of mine. He’s the one who has taken it. It shouldn’t be too difficult for a man like yourself to retrieve. He doesn’t own a gun and I’m certain he never turns on his home security system. Plus he’s blind. I mean all you have to do is keep your mouth shut and there’s no way he could ever identify you. Call the phone number once you have the Eye of Ra in your possession. We will arrange a rendezvous point and I will gladly pay you the rest of the money when you hand it over to me.”

“This artifact is worth a lot of money?” asked Jay.

The doctor laughed. “No monetary value other than the gold it’s made from, which by the way wouldn’t get you as much as I’m willing to pay. However, for me the artifact is priceless.”

The doctor snapped his briefcase shut, quickly securing the latches before standing up from the table.

“Hold up, where are you going?” asked Jay. “I still a lot of questions. Why me?”

“Every single one of your questions will be answered soon, Jay, but I’m afraid I don’t have time to stick around right now. You’re a skilled thief. This job will be a cinch for you. Call me tonight when you have the Eye of Ra.”

“Tonight?”

The chubby man in the brown argyle sweater vest flashed him a haughty smile.

“Goodnight, Jay. Hope to hear from you soon.”

Jay tucked the envelope into the waistband of his pants as he watched the peculiar patron amble out the door. A shrill high-pitched screech suddenly broke the silence of the now empty restaurant floor.

“Bennett!” Jay twisted around in his chair to see Trevor’s lanky frame hovering in the office doorway. “Big Buck doesn’t pay you to sit on your ass! Get in the bathroom before I call your P.O! I want to be able to eat off those toilets!”

***

The rest of Jay’s shift seemed to fly by as he mulled over the doctor’s proposition. Every now and then he’d run his fingers across his waist, feeling for the contours of the envelope still stuffed inside his pants, just to make sure he hadn’t dreamed the whole conversation up. The doctor had told him the gig paid $10,000 – more money than he made in three months wiping down tables and washing dishes. He thought about how degrading it was working under Trevor. There was only four months left on his parole and he had already decided he was going to quit his humiliating court appointed job as soon as he was out from under the thumb of the justice system.

That kind of cash would go a long way until I could find a new way to make some money, he thought to himself while puffing on his after work cigarette in the parking lot of Big Buck’s.

Jay tugged the envelope from his jeans and searched through it until he found the photo of the artifact. An icy cold chill swept through him as he gazed down to the picture in his hand. The design etched into the face of the coin was breathtaking – a pattern so mesmerizing Jay didn’t even notice the cigarette fall from his mouth while he ogled it. All at once, he felt the urge to hold the coin – to grip it between his fingers.

“The Eye of Ra,” Jay whispered.

His decision had been made. Not more than a minute later he was punching the address into his GPS as he pulled his car out of the parking lot.

***

The clock on Jay’s dashboard flashed 2:00AM by the time he pulled up to the house his navigation system had directed him to. He killed the engine and stared out the window at his target for what felt like an eternity, watching for signs of life. With any luck, the doctor’s former colleague was out of town and Jay would be able to search the residence at his leisure. He slipped his hand into his sweatshirt pocket and gripped the handle of his butterfly knife – a safeguard he hoped he wouldn’t need to use.

Jay exited his vehicle and crept around the back searching for an open window. The home was in a fairly secluded area with no visible nearby houses, virtually eliminating the possibility of nosy neighbors and unexpected eyewitnesses. It was the kind of place that a cat burglar dreamed of hitting.

Jay slinked his way through the shadowy yard towards a wide arched window in the back of the house. With a gentle nudge of his hand against the glass it swung open, allowing him to slip inside.

The doc just might have been right about this being an easy job, Jay thought. This guy doesn’t even lock his windows.

He was now standing in a living room decorated with expensive looking furniture and ostentatious art. Hanging on the wall was a replica of Picasso’s The Weeping Woman. Jay examined it closely, trying to discern if it had any value, even going so far as to lift it from its hanger, before he noticed the Aaron Brother’s Art Mart sticker tag that was still attached to the back of the frame.

“No need to hang it back up, Mr. Bennett, I never liked that piece anyways. My ex-wife decorated the place.”

The voice stopped Jay dead in his tracks.

“Yes, Mr. Bennett. I know you’re down there. Won’t you please join me in my study?”
Jay leaned the painting against the wall, and scanned the room searching for the source of the voice.

“The study, Mr. Bennett! I’m in my study upstairs.”

He located the staircase in the foyer. Without a word, Jay removed the knife from his pocket and tiptoed up the steps. The voice had identified him by name. Panic shot through every inch of his body. Visions of once again donning an orange jumpsuit began swimming through his mind like deformed, mutant goldfish in the New York City sewers.

“Second door on the right,” the voice called out when he reached the top of the stairs.

The floorboards squealed under Jay’s feet as stepped down the dark hallway towards the door the voice appeared to be emanating from. He paused when he reached it and squeezed the handle of his knife tight in his fist. There was no hint of light leaking out from underneath the door. Whoever was waiting for him in the room was doing so in pitch-blackness.

“No need to knock, Mr. Bennett.” answered the voice. “I’m already expecting you.”

Jay pushed down on the handle and cracked the door. Its hinges seemed to scream as he opened it just wide enough to poke his head through. There was no visibility. With his free hand he yanked his cellphone free from his back pocket, turned on the screen, and waved it in front of him, bathing the room in a pale blue light.

Floor to ceiling bookshelves lined both sides of what looked to be an office. At the wall directly opposite Jay was an elegant cherry wood desk. Sitting behind it in a leather office chair was an elderly bearded man. Jay cringed when he looked closer to see the upper half of the man’s face completely wrapped in bandages.

He turned his head in Jay’s direction. “Come on in, Mr. Bennett. I promise I don’t bite.”

Jay pushed the door all the way open and took a couple timid steps inside the room.

“I hear you’re looking for the Eye of Ra,” said the old man – a perverse smile warped on his wrinkled face. “Well, it must be your lucky day because you’ve come to the right place.”

***

“I don’t want to hurt you,” warned Jay, “but I’m prepared to. Just give me the coin and I’ll be on my way.”

The old man scoffed.

“Ha! You don’t want to hurt me!? Unfortunately that’s not for you to decide!”

“Listen-”

“Quiet, Mr. Bennett!” the old man snapped. “You’ll be leaving with the Eye of Ra tonight. There’s no question in that, but I figured I’d at least disclose to you a little about the Hell you’re about to unleash on yourself first. My associate, Dr. Wilkins, already told you about the coin. We excavated it a year ago during a dig of an ancient unmarked tomb recently discovered 53 kilometers outside of Cairo.”

“Dr. Wilkins?” asked Jay.

“Yes, Dr. Robert Wilkins, my associate – the man who hired you to steal the artifact. Who do you think requested him to seek you out? I’m afraid you’ve been set up, friend. I know that must come as a bit of a shock.”

“I’m not shocked,” replied Jay. “I just don’t believe you.”

The old man smirked.

“Oh you will in time. Now, where was I? Ah yes, the dig. Wilkins and I were able to recover quite a bit from the tomb – most of which is currently touring the country, travelling from museum to museum. The exhibit is quite lovely and I’d advise you to give it a visit next time it stops back in town, but that won’t be necessary.”

Jay darted towards the old man and swung his knife downwards, burying it in the desk’s polished wooden face.

“That’s enough! Just give me the coin or the next time I stick this knife in anything it’s going to be your neck!”

The old man opened the drawer of his desk and extracted a small leather pouch from it. Now that he was closer, Jay could make out brown splotches speckling the bandages that covered his eyes – dry crusty blood. It looked like the wraps hadn’t been changed in ages.

“The coin is right here, Mr. Bennett, but I hope you don’t think you’ve intimidated me into giving it to you. It will be yours in time, but I will finish telling you my story first.”

“Listen I don’t care about-”

“Not all of what we recovered from the tomb made it to the exhibit though,” the old man continued. “You see, the coin in this bag conveniently went missing without anyone else even knowing it existed. I discovered it myself, in the hand of one of one of the mummified corpses we found in the tomb – a young priestess no older than sixteen when she was buried. It goes against my code of ethics to take “souvenirs” from an excavation, but the coin…well just look for yourself.”

He reached his fingers into the pouch drew out a gold coin about the same size as a fifty cent piece then placed it on the desk in front of him. Jay held his breath. The design etched into its face was hypnotic – far more captivating in person than it was in the photo.

“The Eye of Ra,” the old man whispered.

Jay reached out an arm, but the old man snatched it up before he could grab it.

“Not yet!” he shouted. “I’m not done with my story! I discovered something fascinating about this artifact very soon after taking it in my hand. It passed on to me a strange ability – a sort of clairvoyance if you will. I could sense things, Mr. Bennett. I knew what others were thinking before they said it – what things would happen before they actually occurred. Soon after, these powers took on other attributes. I learned I could read minds, anyone’s I wanted. I didn’t’ even need to be in the same room as them – hell the same continent even! That’s how I discovered my wife was having an affair.”

Jay tried to say something, but he couldn’t find the words. His eyes remained glued to the coin in the old man’s hands.

“Dr. Wilkins was the only other person I ever shared this secret with, but even he doesn’t understand what my powers would eventually become. He thinks they just drove me mad, but he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand that the Eye of Ra really does see all!”

“Give me the coin,” muttered Jay. “I…I need it.”

The old man laughed.

“Of course you do! I knew that the power was getting to be too much once I realized I couldn’t turn it off. The thoughts of billions of people all streaming through my mind was maddening in its own right, but that was just the tip of the iceberg really. The Eye of Ra’s true power is much more horrifying. Imagine, Mr. Bennett. Imagine being able to see everything! Everything that ever did exist and everything that ever will exist! My eyes no longer perceived the world the way that you do. My mind no longer experienced time in a linear fashion. I’ve seen it all; all the good, and yes, Mr. Bennett, all the evil as well. I witnessed Vikings rape and pillage civilizations that no longer exist. I viewed countless genocides occur throughout the course of human history. I looked through the terrified eyes of a 12-year-old Pakistani girl in the year 2087, as the heat of a nuclear bomb engulfed her and her schoolmates in flames.

The old man whipped his hand up to his face and began tearing away at his bandages.

“I couldn’t take it anymore, Mr. Bennett! I couldn’t bear to look any longer! That’s why I did something about it! That’s why I dug my eyes out of my face!”

Jay recoiled at the horrid sight now in front of him. Two gaping blood caked craters sat in place of eyes on the man’s mutilated face.

“Dr. Wilkins believed he was helping me con you into transferring the curse, but he doesn’t realize it doesn’t work like that. It won’t transfer; it will spread. Even removing my eyes has only given me temporary relief. The visions are already starting to come back to me. Soon, they’ll dominate my every thought again. The only way to be rid of it is to die.”

“You’re fucking insane!” shouted Jay.

“And you’re in denial. There’s no point trying to convince you anyways. You’ll learn the truth soon enough. You see, you’re the next man to bear the burden of this power. I’ve already seen it. That’s why I had Wilkins convince you to come here. There is no escaping time, Mr. Bennett. Tonight you will wield the Power of Ra just as I have and I…tonight I will die and finally be free of this wretched curse!”

The old man stretched an arm out and ripped Jay’s knife from the desk. Without warning, the maniac dove at him, slicing the blade wildly through the air. Jay grabbed hold of his arm knocking the blade away, but dropped his cellphone as they wrestled to the ground. With Jay’s only source of light gone, darkness once again enveloped the study. The old man was stronger than he had anticipated. Jay gagged as the blind lunatic wrapped a hand around his throat. It felt as though he was crushing his trachea. Jay reached his arm out, desperately searching in the blackness for something to strike his attacker with. A hard plastic object brushed up against his fingertips and instantly he knew what it was. Jay wrapped his hand around the handle of his knife then thrust his it upwards until he felt it penetrate flesh.

The grip began to loosen around Jay’s neck and with a thud the old man slumped to floor. Jay could feel the warmth of his blood begin to pool around both of their bodies. He pawed around on the ground for his cellphone, eventually finding it underneath the cherry wood desk. A pale blue light swam back into the room when he powered the screen back on.

The old man’s body lay motionless on the floor, the point of Jay’s butterfly knife submerged deep within the side of throat. Jay leaned against the desk and gasped for air. Under the light from his cellphone the blood still spilling from the old man’s neck took on a deep purple hue. Jay bent over, yanked the blade from his throat then wiped it down on a part of the carpet the old man hadn’t gushed on.

In the dead man’s hand Jay spotted the coin. He pried the artifact from the corpse’s fingers and stumbled out the door. An ice-cold shiver ran up his spine, causing his body to tremble when he looked down to the bewitching artifact resting his palm. There was something strangely comforting about holding it.

When he made it outside to his car, Jay searched through the red envelope the doctor had given him until he located the phone number then dialed it into his keypad.

“I’m sorry, but the number you’re trying to reach has been disconnected. Please hang up and try again.”

Jay cursed into his phone at the automated message. He had been given a fake number. He sighed and started up the engine of his car. At least he still had the doctor’s name. It wouldn’t be hard to look him up. Now that Jay had a homicide on his hands, he figured he’d pay the doctor a visit in order to tie up any loose ends. As Jay pulled away from the house he reflected on what the crazy old man had said to him.

The Eye of Ra see’s all. What a crock of shit. He thought.

A pair of headlights approached in the distance from the opposite direction. Ever so briefly, Jay felt his brain go numb as a static image appeared in his head – a picture he could see in his mind’s eye.

“It’s a blue Dodge Neon,” he unconsciously blurted out.

A 2005 marine blue Dodge Neon drove past his car.

Credit To – Vincent Vena Cava

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A Slight Misunderstanding

May 12, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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*Introductory Note* What you’re about to read actually happened while on an internship during Fall of 2014. In order to protect people’s privacy, I’m not including the names of my friends, the name of the company I was employed with at the time, or the name of my university. But after you read my account, if you feel skeptical or otherwise have any questions about my experience, feel free to e-mail me at 2453396381@qq.com. I know the address looks like a spam e-mail, but QQ is actually an extremely popular social networking site in mainland China as Facebook, Twitter, and all the western networks are blocked by the Chinese government. The reason for the suspicious username is that your QQ number is randomly generated and assigned to you when creating an account (that’s right, your identity is literally reduced to an itemized number until you provide personal details on your account).

In fall of 2014 I got a job as a supervisor over 13 volunteer English teachers. I would be working in a Chinese city called Weihai [pronounced ‘way high’] located in Shandong [shawn doe-ng] Province. The company that hired me sends English teachers to Mexico, India, China, Russia, and Ukraine each semester. I was super excited at the opportunity because not only would I have the chance to live in China again (I’d originally been one of the volunteers for this same program several years prior), but my university was willing grant me a semester’s worth of Chinese language credits as an academic internship. I could get good job experience, live abroad in a country that I consider my second home and complete a semester of school, it was my dream semester!

In Weihai, the volunteers and I lived and worked at a prestigious international private school. They treated us really well, one of the biggest perks being that in addition to taking the same vacation days as the school’s faculty that took place over China’s national holidays, we also got an extra week or two of personal vacation time. It was during one of these vacations that I had one of the most disturbing experiences of my life.

Two of my friends from the group, I’ll call them Sara and David, decided they wanted to travel down south to China’s Guangdong [gwahng doe-ng] Province during the Dragon Boast Festival. I suggested that we visit Yangshuo [yahng sh-whoa] a little-known village surrounded on all sides by the region’s gorgeous mountains. I’d visited it a year before and wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to visit there again. Search Google images of Yangshuo’s scenery and you’ll understand why I’m so crazy about the place.

Yangshuo isn’t a large town, but even so, if you plan to do everything that you want to while you’re there, you need transportation since most of the things to do are out in the countryside. The problem was that we’d chosen a super busy time of year to visit such a popular tourist location. All the traffic in the area the entire 6 days we were there was literally a continuous traffic jam, so taking cabs or hiring rickshaws wasn’t an option. We were fine though, as we’d rented some bikes which gave us the freedom to go anywhere we wanted. It actually worked out even better than relying on cabs because we would be able to get to some of the places that were out of the way an inaccessible by car.

I remembered some mud caves pretty deep in the countryside that I’d visited before. It was about an hour outside of town by bike, so it was more than a little out of the way, but its secluded nature was one of the reasons it was such an appealing destination, especially during such a busy holiday where it was a nice to have a break from all the tourists. I convinced Sara and David to make the trip to these mud caves, explaining how we’d already done everything there is to do immediately around the city. They reluctantly agreed, and the morning of the 5th day, we grabbed our bikes and headed out.

We rode for an hour. An hour and a half. Two hours. After the two hour mark I realized that I must’ve gotten us lost. Granted, it had been quite a while since I’d last been there, so I think it’s understandable that I didn’t remember the route. Regardless, I felt stupid and guilty because I’d talked up the mud caves so much to my friends and it looked like we weren’t even going to make it to them. Not only that, we seemed to be in a completely isolated section of countryside. I spoke the language, so finding our way back to town wasn’t going to be a problem. Provided we found another person. From what it looked like, we were in the middle of the wilderness. I was worried that I’d inadvertently wasted one of the last days of our vacation.

I explained the situation to my friends who groaned and were noticeably annoyed at me but who, to their credit, didn’t complain or even blame me for ruining their vacation. That actually made me feel even worse about my screw-up. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I knew that losing a vacation day was no small matter to them.

We stopped our bikes and began discussing what we should do. Should we continue following the current trail and maybe find someone further along the way, should we try to backtrack and run into someone closer to the main road? Should we just abandon our original plan and try to find something else to do out in the country?

While we were deciding what course of action we should take, I noticed some old-looking buildings hidden within a valley, obscured by the thick vegetation clinging to the steep mountain slopes. I was elated; there was bound to be some people in or around those buildings and it couldn’t have been more than a 15-minute ride from where we currently were! Aside from which, some of the most memorable places in China are the ones that you stumble upon by accident, the ones that aren’t known as big touristy places. Our bad luck could turn out to be a good thing after all.

It was evident as we rode our bikes into the enclave that it had been abandoned for some time. The buildings were obviously once part of an old commune from the Maoist era when Communism was in full swing and everyone was required to live in communal compounds. After Mao’s death and Deng Xiaoping [Dung Shyow Ping] started on economic reforms to move China away from Communism, people deserted these communes to make a life in the city and chase a capitalistic dream. So what we’d stumbled upon was actually a really cool piece of Chinese history. We decided to check it out, look around, take some pictures, etc. etc. The entire compound was an enormous siheyuan [sih huh yuwhen], which is essentially a house contained in the walls surrounding a large courtyard that usually contain smaller structures (again, you can Google it for a better idea of what it looks like). In this case, though, it wasn’t just a single household, it was an entire walled community. The walls themselves comprised the living quarters, the central area contained an overgrown field where they would’ve kept the publicly-owned livestock. It looked like some animals had taken up residence since the people left; some goats and cows grazed the long grass and chickens clucked around their feet. Scattered around the perimeter of the field were a few run-down buildings dotting the compound which I assume at one point were the dining hall and some small for textile mills or small-time industrial production plants, depending on what this place specialized in.

We checked around the living area, and it was immediately clear that this place had been abandoned for several decades. The rooms were almost completely vacant, only furniture and a few odd assortments of possessions—woks, chopsticks, portraits of Mao—were left behind, creating a sort of gloomy atmosphere amid the cracked, crumbling walls.

We snapped some pictures, recorded some videos and just generally took in the scenery. We were getting ready to leave when I heard a voice coming from the far end of the commune. Was somebody still living here? It was possible. We had seen some animals left in the central area, after all. I’d assumed they were wild, but it made sense that somebody was still raising them. In fact, it probably made more sense because it didn’t seem very likely that stray animals would find their way inside a gated community like this.

We approached the apartment where the voice was coming from. The front door was slightly ajar and the rich smell of incense wafted out. The voice continued droning on, almost like a chant.

David spoke up. “You think this guy knows the way back to Yangshuo? You should ask for directions.”

I thought maybe the person inside was performing some kind of religious ceremony, so I was reluctant to interrupt him, and I said as much.

“We don’t know how long they’re going to take in there. Do you seriously just want wait outside their door for a couple hours like a bunch of creepers? Just knock on the door and if what they think they’re doing is really important, then they’ll ask us to wait and give us directions when they’re done.”

I was a little bit annoyed by that because David had a tendency to use our celebrity status as white people to expect special treatment from Chinese nationals. I preferred to try to blend in with the culture as much as I could, and I have a strong respect for local customs, particularly religious ones. But he also had a point—Chinese people are naturally hospitable and eager to help others. If this person was a devout Buddhist or Daoist, then their willingness to help us would be even greater, and would most likely drop whatever they were doing the second they saw us.

So I rapped lightly on the door. There was no response. I knocked a bit louder, and the person continued mumbling to themselves. I opened the door slightly and called out to them to alert them of our presence.

“Wei? (Way?) Ni hao! (Knee how!)” The the chanting stopped for a moment, almost imperceptibly, but then continued as though nothing happened. I pushed the door open all the way and saw an elderly, hunchbacked man wandering around the room, shaking a wooden tool as he hobbled about, mumbling his incantation.

He was certainly a Communist-era comrade. His hunched posture and wrinkled, yet calloused skin, told of years of hard work. He was practically doubled over at the waist and only had a few wispy white hairs on the top of his head. His clothes were the classical Communist fare; dark-gray pants with a matching button-up shirt that reached his Adam’s apple along with a squared-off cap. He must’ve taken great care of his clothing because they were in surprisingly good shape, considering they were from around the 1950’s. It’s not like anyone could find a replacement for era-specific clothing 60 years after the fact.

Even more surprising than his physical appearance however, was the state of his apartment. Given how empty the rest of the rooms were in this commune, I was shocked at how decorated this one was. It looked as though he’d scavenged everything his neighbors had left behind when they left. None of the walls were accessible because tables had been pushed up against them, occupying every inch of the room’s perimeter. The tabletops were completely covered by candles, statues of miniature Buddhas in various poses, wilted flowers, beaded bracelets and necklaces, the shoes of infants, calligraphy drawn carefully on rice paper, and what looked like the personal effects of loved ones who had either passed away or abandoned him. There looked to be thousands of other items that I couldn’t even begin to identify.

I approached him and began to speak, asking if he was familiar with Yangshuo and if he would be able help us find our way back to the main road. In response, he only muttered a short phrase

“Wo shao si ge ren [whoa sh-ow sih guh run].”

Wo shao si ge ren? ‘I’m short 4 people?’ Was this person expecting company?

“Excuse me?” I asked, in Mandarin.

“Wo shao si ge ren!” he repeated again, urgently. He glanced at me, and then his eyes darted to Sara and David. He looked between the three of us, repeating this phrase over and over. I felt bad. This poor man must have been senile. Maybe his friends or family had left the commune and promised to come back and he was still awaiting their return. Or maybe he was just pretty far gone and honestly believed he was preparing to receive 4 guests who hadn’t yet arrived. I tried communicating with him a few more times, but he simply continued mumbling this cryptic phrase, shaking the wooden object in his hand.

I took a closer look and realized I’d seen the object he was holding before. It was a religious instrument used for venerating statues of Buddha. Similar to how Catholics believe that partaking of the Eucharist purifies members of their sins, Buddhists use tools like the one this man was shaking to sprinkle statues of Buddha with water, symbolically cleansing themselves. They were shaped like Spanish maracas and were riddled with tiny holes that would allow for a several of water to escape from each hole with each shake. Sometimes people would infuse the water with lavender or other herbs to invoke a pleasant smell. I don’t know what this man had mixed in with the water, but it was a pretty putrid smell.

I ignored it and turned back to Sara and David.

“What’s he saying?” Sara asked.

“He just keeps saying, ‘I’m missing 4 people’,” I replied.

“What does that mean?”

“Honestly, I have no clue. But I have a feeling he’s not going to be able to help us. Should we just try to head back to the main road and hopefully we’ll run into someone there who can give us directions?”

“What the hell!” David yelled. Sara and I spun to look at him.

“That old guy just soaked me!” He complained, motioning to a wet spot on his shirt. I rolled my eyes.

“Give him a break,” I said, “He obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing.” As I said this, the elderly man continued to shuffle around the room, sprinkling water on the statues of Buddha and the other artifacts laid out on the tables, all the while muttering ‘wo shao si ge ren, wo shao si ge ren.’

“I’m fine with just going, but you should at least ask him if he has any water. My bottle’s completely empty,” Sara said. It was a good idea to get a refill before we left. Yangshuo is ridiculously humid and hot year round, so even though it was already late October, it felt like mid-July in Florida. We were so sweaty that we could easily get dehydrated just by standing around, even if without riding bikes.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” I responded. I was about to turn to the man for one last attempt at communication, to hopefully find out where we could get some water.

He violently shook the maraca-like tool, drizzling water on my shoes and the floor around my feet. Some even splashed up on the pant legs of my shorts.

“Wo shao si ge ren…” he muttered again, but this time, it caused a chill to run through me. Something didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was wrong.

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

I took a step towards the man and felt my foot slide slightly it touched the floor. I looked down and saw the unnatural layer of gray dust that had collected on the floor. How could there be so much dust on the floor if someone lived here?

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

I was getting increasingly uncomfortable and felt the urge to leave, but I couldn’t understand why. I glanced over to Sarah, about to speak, when I realized something I hadn’t noticed before. Maybe I missed it due to all the clutter, but this room was in noticeably worse condition than the others. The walls had black stains on them, the wood in the window frame was blackened and seemingly shattered, far more brittle than those of other apartments. It almost seemed like this specific apartment survived a series of accidents, but was still somehow standing. So why was this the only room left occupied?

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

The broken old man shuffled past once again and this time I got a quick spray in the face. The powerful odor assaulted my nostrils. The smell of the scented water was off. It was too potent, too abrasive. It almost had a…toxic fragrance to it. It made me want to cough, to get it out of my nose and throat.

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

An icy shiver ran through me as I made a sudden realization.

“Guys, we need to go, now.” I said. I didn’t wait for Sara or David to respond, I made for the door and ran until I reached my bike.

“Hey! What’s going on?” David called out as midway through the courtyard.

“Why’d you ditch us?” Sara asked. They’d both caught up to me and were mounting their bikes, slightly out of breath. I didn’t answer them. We rode the trail we entered through in silence. After only about half an hour of riding we stumbled upon some hikers, both Swedish. They spoke impeccable English, which was good because I wasn’t in the mood for talking and Sara was eager to take over so we could find our way back to the hostel. It wasn’t until later that evening when we were back at the hostel that Sara insisted that I tell them what had me so freaked out.

“What’s going on? Ever since we were at that creepy old guy’s house you’ve been acting really weird.”

I didn’t want to tell them because I was hoping that if I kept it to myself then maybe the realization I made would somehow be less real. Maybe if I didn’t say it out loud, then I could believe that it hadn’t really happened. But it had. Remaining silent about it wouldn’t change that.

I sighed.

“You know what the guy kept repeating?”

“Yeah, you told us it means ‘I’m short 4 people’. That can’t be what’s bothering you, though…”

“That’s not what he was saying. I heard it wrong,” I replied.

You see, the thing about Chinese is that tones make all the difference. For example, if you hear ge ge (guh guh), it could either mean ‘older brother’ or ‘each and every’, depending on what tones are used. What I thought was “I’m missing 4 people” wasn’t that at all. It wasn’t until I understood what he had actually sprayed me with that I realized I’d been hearing the tones wrong.

He wasn’t sprinkling water all over his apartment. He was sprinkling kerosene. And he wasn’t saying “I’m missing 4 people,”. What he was really saying was

“I burned everyone.”

Note*
The Romanization of the phrases and their Chinese translations are as listed below.

I’m missing 4 people:
wǒ shǎo sì ge rén
我少四个人

I burned (literally burn-kill) everyone:
wǒ shāo sǐ gè rén
我烧死各人

Credit To – nibris

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