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Toter’s Maze

July 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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There aren’t a lot of advantages to being the sole teaching assistant in a small computer science department, except that once in a while the professors are nice enough to unload a bunch of old tech on you for free. Maybe they’re cleaning out their offices for the first time in decades, and have a few Macintosh Classics that would otherwise end up in a dumpster. Sometimes the department gives them new tablets, and their old ones need a new home. Or else someone retires, and everything not absconded with for nostalgia’s sake becomes fair game for scavenging. Courtesy of the faculty’s generosity, I have a bunch of old computers, disk drives, motherboards — and virtually any other computer parts or accessories you can imagine — kicking around my apartment.

Tinkering with dated machines can be a great deal of fun. You can practice soldering without having to worry about flushing a bunch of money down the drain if you accidentally brick your machine. When you pull them apart, you might find so-called “upgrades” from years past that seem genuinely laughable now, like the 32 KB “deluxe memory expansion” card I once yanked from a 1995 laptop. And let’s not forget the charm of obsolete archival media! Remember the Zip Disk? …No? Figures.

Well. Even if you’re not a tech geek like me, you can at least appreciate the best part of my perks system: discovering ancient computer games that nobody else remembers, and actually having the wherewithal to play them. Cleaning out offices or browsing through forgotten hard drives, I’ve stumbled upon games that I’ve never seen archived anywhere on the Internet. Some of them even existed before my parents did. And I’ve been able to play every last one. You can’t pretend to know gaming until you’ve played something on a legitimately floppy floppy disk!

Anyway, since I’m given first dibs on any abandoned tech, the department let me raid the office of some adjunct — whose name I never quite learned, not having interacted with him all that much — who must have followed through at last with his vows to quit his overworked and underpaid position. I didn’t blame him; I heard he made less than I did, and I don’t hold a degree nearly as advanced as his! Whatever the reason, Sussman — or was it Hausmann? I can’t remember — didn’t return for the spring semester, and didn’t leave us any way of reaching him. So, a couple of weeks into the semester, after the faculty felt reasonably sure he wasn’t coming back, they provided me with a key to his office, and granted me free reign to swipe whatever I wanted.

I let myself in the second I had a free moment one night after classes, when my teaching assignment was taken care of for the day, and the rest of the department had long since headed home. The building was dark by the time I arrived, but the motion-sensor lights fired up once I set foot inside, flickering into existence one by one as I made my way down the hallway. The adjunct’s office didn’t have a nameplate on it; I’m told few adjuncts even have offices, for that matter. Consequently, I found the correct room only after I’d tried — and failed — to open an unmarked broom closet with my new key.

The adjunct’s office might as well have been a broom closet, though. It was barely larger than a bathroom stall. On top of that, it didn’t have any windows, and the only light came from a single, dingy incandescent bulb dangling from the ceiling. It didn’t have a lightswitch, either, so I had to fumble around in the darkness until I could find and tug its pull-cord. No wonder the poor guy quit — who could be expected to work well under such conditions?

Once the dirty light washed over the place, I could see everything that Professor What’s-His-Name left behind. It looked pretty unremarkable to me, at first glance. He’d somehow coerced a desk into the cramped space, and found a chair to join it. Both of them wobbled at the slightest touch. A bulky cathode monitor occupied most of the desk’s surface, while a keyboard and mouse perched on what space was left in front of it. Shoved into a corner, a stack of coding textbooks had begun to gather a thin layer of dust. One sight struck me as pretty odd, though: a cup of coffee, still almost entirely full, had been set beside the chair and evidently forgotten.

Nothing interested me right away, so I rifled through the desk’s drawers in search of something worth taking. Pens and pencils clattered inside, rolling off piles of coffee-stained lecture notes and small hoards of secondhand office supplies. In short, nothing worth the effort. Which came as no great surprise. I had expected that, if I were to find any prize here, it would be the desktop tower the adjunct had neglected to take with him.

So that’s exactly what I went after. The monitor’s cord trailed behind the desk, leading me to a grimy but sturdy-looking Dell that still had a 3.5-inch floppy drive installed. I didn’t have a shortage of floppy drives or anything, but I decided to swipe the machine anyway. You can never have enough spare hardware, after all. Besides, I wanted to scope out what kinds of files the adjunct kept on that computer. Sometimes that’s where the real treasure lies.

The hour had grown late by the time I returned home, but I couldn’t resist staying up a bit longer to peruse my new acquisition’s contents. I hooked the computer up to one of my flatscreen monitors, introduced a keyboard and mouse, plugged it into a power outlet, and went to the fridge to retrieve a high-caffeine soda while I waited for the machine to boot up. Once I came back, a green glow had saturated the screen, dousing my keyboard and desk in sickly colors. The usual boot dialogues for a late-80s OS appeared, written in green, low-pixel characters.

That’s strange, I thought. Most early operating systems and programs only looked green because of the monitors they used. The visuals themselves, under ideal circumstances, were simply black and white. And my current monitor was pretty close to ideal. I figured it was probably a custom OS, coded to look green for nostalgia’s sake, like that word processor DarkRoom.

I also found it strange that the adjunct hadn’t locked his computer with a password, but I was too excited by my new toy to think too much about it.

The OS had a GUI comparable to the oldest Apple offerings, so I had no trouble navigating it. To my astonishment, the icon for the floppy drive indicated that a disk had been inserted. How had I missed that when I first inspected the computer? Sure enough, the ejector button on the tower protruded like something had been placed inside. I poked it, and out popped a deep red floppy disk. I slid it into my hand. A label on the disk’s front side, written in black marker with the most compact penmanship I’d ever seen, read simply: “TOTER’S MAZE.”

Was it a game? If it was, I’d never heard of it, but then again, I was always unearthing titles I’d never heard of before in my office excavations. Maybe it was a personal project the adjunct had been developing. But whence that title? Programmers named things after themselves all the time, but this one seemed foreign to me — I couldn’t have told you the adjunct’s name, but I felt confident it wasn’t Toter.

By that point, my curiosity couldn’t be restrained. I slid the disk into its drive, and ran the single executable file it contained. The mouse cursor turned into an hourglass as the computer processed my command. Then, for no more than a millisecond, it transformed into a completely different shape. I could have sworn it looked like a terribly distended face, but I didn’t catch a close enough glimpse, because shortly thereafter the screen went black.

A second or two later, blocky green text, cleverly arranged ASCII-style to look as if it were dripping or melting, filled the screen. “TOTER’S MAZE” appeared in gigantic font, with a single red dot punctuating the center of the O, resembling a pupil caught in a camera flash. Beneath the title, a substantially smaller font presented me a binary command: “BEGIN? [Y/N].” Messing with the arrow keys, I found I could move the red dot around, but that it couldn’t maneuver beyond the letter that ringed it. I appreciated this simple diversion that the programmer had thought to include — it showed some consideration for the player. Wondering what the rest of the game entailed, I hit the Y key.

Toter's Maze - Title Screen

The screen again went black, save for the O with the red dot. Small green letters began to appear one after the other with seconds-long intervals between them, as if they simulated someone making a tentative remark. Eventually, they finished spelling their message. “ARE YOU SURE? [Y/N].”

What a bizarre feature, I thought. Usually you saved something like that for quit functions, so that a user doesn’t accidentally lose all their progress from a botched keystroke. The unexpected dialogue only made me more curious. I pressed Y. At that, the small letters erased themselves one by one, saving my Y for last. Then the large O disappeared. The red dot stayed for a moment before it, too, disappeared. I was left with another black screen.

Soon some text seemed to float up from the blackness, like bubbles rising from a deep pond. “LEVEL ONE.” Then the text seemed to sink out of view. After it disappeared, a bunch of angular green lines drew themselves into existence, forming a kind of labyrinth that looked like a simplified view of an intestinal tract. It wasn’t much of a maze, though. There was only one route available — no branching paths, no dead ends. The red dot from the title screen waited at one end, and a blue dot of slightly smaller size resided at the other. I presumed that I controlled the red one, and I was right. I could navigate the red dot with the arrow keys. It moved at a much brisker pace than I had expected. If I drove it into one of the green lines, it stopped moving. The game imposed no penalty if I did. I supposed there was no objective other than to reach the blue dot, so I started guiding the red dot toward it.

When the two dots finally touched, the blue one simply faded away. The rest of the level followed suit, and the red dot disappeared last. Text reading “LEVEL TWO” emerged from the blackness as if rising from liquid, exactly like what I’d seen for the previous level. It seemed anticlimactic to me, but then, nobody plays games like this for cutscenes and stories. I figured the difficulty would amp up, at least, and perhaps make for a more entertaining experience.

The second level proved no more challenging. It drew a square that took up half the screen. The red and blue dots both appeared inside, on opposite corners. There were no obstacles. By no stretch of the imagination could it be called a maze. It seemed Toter had used up all of his or her imagination on the title screen! Needless to say, the level didn’t take me long. Curiously, the “victory animation” was a little different this time. Instead of fading outright when I touched it, the blue dot disappeared line by line, each successive section seemingly absorbed into the red dot as it vanished. It seemed weirdly fluid compared to everything else in the level.

The next few stages began as usual, and had designs equally as insipid as the first two. A basic, featureless rectangle. A longer rectangle, bland as the first. A straight line, barely wider than the red dot I controlled, leaving me no option but to move in one direction toward the blue dot. All that changed was the animation at the end. Sometimes the blue dot seemed to dissolve. Others, it cleaved in two before disappearing. In one particularly arresting instance, the top quarter of the blue dot seemed to be lopped off, landing beside the dot’s remains, then vanishing like the rest of the stage.

Before long, I’d arrived at “LEVEL TEN.” That’s when things became genuinely disconcerting.

Toter's Maze - Level Ten

See, the tenth level was nothing like the others. It was rectangular, with a bunch of smaller rectangles inscribed within, lining the top and bottom while the center remained empty. The blue dot was somewhere near the dead center of the map. My red dot began in a corner. I started directing it toward its usual target, but then the blue dot did something unexpected.

It moved.

That’s not even the right word. It ran. As my dot drew closer, it inched over by a pixel, as if it had heard something and turned to check out the noise. When the red dot was only a few pixels away, the blue dot took off at incredible speed. It hurled itself against one of the small rectangles until its wall seemed to yield. Then the blue dot moved inside, cramped by the tight quarters, and the wall reappeared.

What the heck had I witnessed? And how was I supposed to clear the level now?

My only idea was to try ramming into the small rectangle’s side like the blue dot had done. As I did, I swear that the blue dot quivered. Eventually the wall collapsed, and the dots touched — resulting the blue one splitting into many tiny pieces that coated the inner walls of the small rectangle. They didn’t fade away like the rest. The red dot disappeared first, and the level and the remnants of the blue dot lingered there for a while, burning the image into my retinas before cutting all at once to blackness.

Somehow, I felt as if I’d done something awful.

Then came “LEVEL ELEVEN.”

This one featured comparatively sophisticated cartography: rectangles within rectangles, and liberal use of walls, although it still didn’t look much like a maze. The path to the blue dot was pretty obvious, and most of the space in the level seemed entirely superfluous. As I moved the red dot along, however, something about the stage began to make me feel uncomfortable. Insane though it sounds to say this about a bunch of green wires, it struck me as dimly familiar. I felt as though I had been there before. I blamed the feeling on the late hour, suspecting that a lack of sleep had started to toy with my senses.

When I reached the blue dot, its shape didn’t change. The color drained from it, top to bottom, until — I don’t know why these were the first words to enter my mind — a gray husk remained. I told myself I sounded crazy, but I couldn’t reason away the dread I had begun to feel. It weighed upon my chest, constricting my lungs, adding to my panic with each breath.

Somewhere in my fight for air, I realized why the the eleventh level seemed so familiar: it looked uncannily like the floor plan to my stepfather’s house.

How many levels were left in this bizarre game? Even one was too many. I didn’t want to play any longer. I pressed every key on the keyboard, but none of them — nor any combination of them I could think to try — let me exit the program. I tried to force the computer to shut down by holding its power button, but even after two consecutive minutes of pinning it, the screen still showed that hateful game. All the same, I couldn’t bring myself to pull the plug on the machine. I somehow believed everything would stay on even if I did yank the tower’s plug from its socket, and I doubted I would react well to the sight.

As if reading my mind, the level finally began to change. Instead of the entire thing fading to black, however, the red dot grew in size, expanding until the whole screen shone red. If migraines can be said to have a color, that red would be it. It seared my eyes, and when I held them shut to guard against the scorching pain, the imprint of a horribly distended face glowed against my eyelids. Reflexively, my glance darted from it, but the thing reappeared wherever my eyes settled. Unlike most residual images that soften and fade over time, this one seemed to grow more detailed by the second. Its skull was deformed, stretched into an oblong shape like pulled putty. Its jaw seemed detached, one side hanging much lower than the other. Where its eyes should have been, I saw only empty sockets that nonetheless seemed to watch me with malevolence. There was no way for me to avert my gaze from its frightening, hollow stare except to open my eyes again. Once I did, the screen had at last turned black.

Toter's Maze - Migraine

I felt far more afraid of not finishing than finishing.

So on I went to “LEVEL TWELVE.”

I recognized this level, too. It clearly matched the floor plan of the computer science department, being almost an exact replica of the fire escape diagrams I’d seen posted on the walls there. The level’s blue dot ambled about the stage, pausing at certain points while swaying back and forth over them. The red dot lingered in a small room that corresponded to the location of the adjunct’s office.

It’s only a game, I chanted to myself like a mantra. It’s only a game.

My ritual almost restored my calm until my cell phone buzzed, stridently vibrating atop my desk. I yelped at the sound — I couldn’t help it. A text message had arrived. I felt reluctant to pick it up, expecting some correspondence worthy of The Ring. But it was only something from my mother. Even so, that put me on edge. She was far from a night owl, so for her to need to contact me at such a late hour did not bode well.

“Something’s happened to Ron,” the message read. Ron was my stepfather. “I don’t know what. Blood everywhere. I don’t understand. Have called police. Too shaken to talk right now. Call me soon. Please.”

My stomach had knotted so tightly that I nearly vomited. I felt responsible. I almost certainly was responsible. What the hell kind of game was I playing? Who would make a game like this? And why?

I couldn’t finish the thought before I ended up disgorging my soda onto the floor. I slumped forward, the sting of stomach acid hot in my throat. As I pulled myself upright, I glimpsed the slow, deliberate movements of the blue dot on the screen. Based on its patterns, it probably indicated a member of the custodial staff. The poor fool had no idea what horrible fate awaited. For that matter, neither did I. I could only imagine — but didn’t much want to imagine — what the red dot signified; my creative powers couldn’t begin to fathom what it would do to its next victim.

It was too much. I couldn’t knowingly kill somebody. I would never forgive myself for the deaths I had accidentally caused, but I didn’t have to allow any more to happen. I was better than that. I would not be an accomplice to murder. I pushed my keyboard aside, and stared at the screen with defiance as I pondered what to do next.

The game, however, thought farther ahead than I had. Within moments, a timer appeared in the corner of the screen. I barely registered that it showed 30 seconds before it rapidly began counting down. What would happen if the timer hit zero? Twenty seconds. Then fifteen. I felt my resolve crumbling. If the game had proven this horrible when I did what it wanted, what kind of retribution would it visit on me if I went against its will?

Ten seconds. Nine. Eight.

I had to make my decision.

Seven. Six. Five…

The decision came quickly, more instinct than conscious choice. I pounded the arrow keys. The red dot flew at unfathomable speed. The blue dot had no time to react. As soon as the red touched it, it collapsed in a pile, scattering like a handful of dust.

The stage turned to water and fell from my eyes.

By the time I had dried them, the hateful green font had risen. “FINAL LEVEL.” Stage thirteen. How auspicious. At least it couldn’t torture me — nor anyone else — after one last death. I felt almost grateful that there would be only one more, and tried to think of his or her demise as a sacrifice to the well-being of everybody else. It would almost be a good thing, ending this horror once and for all…

I had a moment of panic as it occurred to me that the game might try to pull a fast one on me. What if the final level featured an abundance of blue dots, like a crowded shopping mall on the other side of the world, or something? I couldn’t do that. At least, I didn’t think I could…

The text gradually disappeared. The level’s blue and red dots appeared first: one of each, with almost no distance separating them. I began to heave a sigh of relief.

Until I saw the map.

It was my apartment, rendered in harsh green pixels.

I whirled around in my seat. I couldn’t see anything in the darkness, for my eyes had adapted to the brightness of my monitor. I thought I detected a faint red glow on the walls around me, even though the only light source in the room was emitting green.

I felt my body begin to lock up, starting with my legs. The tension worked its way up my body until it settled in my jaw. My mandibular muscles clenched so tightly that I thought I’d drive my teeth into my skull. But I couldn’t help it. I’d never known fear so intense.

There were no sounds but the pulse in my ears, no movement around me but the flicker of shadows in the burgeoning red light. I wheeled myself back to the computer screen. It was completely awash in blinding, migraine red. I clenched shut my eyes. Deep in my own darkness, I spotted a flicker of red. It drew closer and closer. I didn’t even need to see it to know what it was. That face — that thing I had unleashed — had returned. It came so near that I thought I could feel it breathing on my face.

I opened my eyes. The face had overtaken the screen. It glowered at me for a moment. Then its maw widened, revealing a dark, cavernous hole. It swallowed every pixel, plunging my room into blackness.

And something hard as bone, warm, and sharp cut a deep gash across my throat.

Toter's Maze - Final

Credit To – Lex Joy

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Listen To The Music

July 26, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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Damasu was sitting atop his bike, peddling home on this unusually pleasant day. It was late autumn, and one would expect it to be far colder. But this morning, when Damasu awoke, the sun was shining brightly, and the air was warm. So, he decided to ride his bike to and from work. He probably wouldn’t get the chance to again for a while.

He had, however, managed to get himself lost in a seemingly unfamiliar part of town on his way home. Despite living here for three years, Damasu had never taken the time to scope out the entire town; who has time for that? No matter, though. He’d finished work at 2pm, and there was still plenty of daylight.

Damasu peddled along for a while longer, enjoying the sun’s warmth. The town wasn’t that big; he’d find the right path in no time. However, after half an hour of no recognizable buildings or streets, he was becoming frustrated.

He came to a stop and planted both feet firmly on the ground. Damasu glanced up and down the neighborhood, but all he could see was a couple of generic houses. No one was on the street, but that was to be expected; everyone was probably still at work or school.

Grunting, Damasu combed his fingers through his hair, and muttered to himself, “Fucking hell…”

How could I get so hopelessly lost in my own town? Damasu questioned himself.

Damasu huffed again, before recalling his cell phone. Now, that would be of some use. He dug his hand into his right jacket pocket, retrieving a small flip phone. He’d just call someone, and get them to pick him up. Maybe David from work.

Damasu flipped open his phone, and scrolled down to David’s contact, and clicked the call button. He raised the phone to his ear, impatiently awaiting the dial tone to appear. After a moment, though, he heard nothing. Damasu looked at his phone, to ensure that he’d clicked call. He did indeed hit the call button, but a small message had appeared. To inform him of one thing…

No credit.

Damasu cursed under his breath again. This was getting annoying. Perhaps he could just knock on one of the houses and hope somebody was home.
Just as he was thinking that, his phone’s screen suddenly turned black. Great, now it was flat, too. Probably didn’t matter either way, though.
But that’s when he heard something. A faint, melodic noise. Peaceful and pleasant, it almost seemed unnatural. Damasu soon identified the elegant sound of a flute. It was pure and untainted, and flowed smoothly as though the player had practiced this song for their whole life, and had perfected it to such a degree that Beethoven would envy it.

Well, at least that meant someone else was in the area. How fortunate Damasu was, indeed. Stepping off of his bike, he followed the calming sound. Ah, what a delightful song, Damasu thought as he strolled towards it.
He came to a stop in front of a wide paddock, randomly dumped in the middle of all these houses. There was no fence, so it mustn’t have been a private lot. The paddock contained a single hill with a tree atop it, and a small playground in the right lower corner. Surely a playground would have a fence, Damasu noted, but quickly brushed this off. The sound was coming from atop the hill, and that’s where Damasu needed to go.

As Damasu approached the hill, a chill ran down his spine. It suddenly got a little colder… Damasu looked up. A cloud had passed over the sun for a brief moment, but that couldn’t possibly make it suddenly turn cold. But, Damasu just shrugged his shoulders and continued on. It’ll be winter soon, after all.

After dropping his bike at the base of the hill, Damasu trudged upwards. It was somewhat steep, but it was not a very large hill. He crossed his arms over his chest, in a futile attempt to keep warm from the sudden chill.
Damasu made it to the top of the hill. The tree was bigger than he originally thought, and was bright with orange leaves. However, not a single leaf could be seen on the ground. And the tree seemed to be full… This was odd; the tree should have far less leaves this late in the season. But, Damasu was soon distracted.

His attention was caught by a wood and rope swing, dangling from one of the branches. On the unmoving swing, sat a young, pale girl—8 or 9 years old, Damasu guessed. She wore a clean white dress that ended just below her knees, and around the waist, a thick black ribbon was tied. She also wore little black shoes, mid-calf high white and black striped socks, and a black headband sat in her hair. Her eyes were a bright blue, and her hair was unnaturally light… White, in fact.

The melody that had filled Damasu’s ears came from the small black flute held in the girl’s hands, which appeared to be made of ebony. She elegantly played it, her fingers gently gliding over the holes like an expert. Damasu couldn’t help but allow a smile to cross his lips.

He slowly began to approach the girl, when she suddenly stopped playing the flute. She turned her head around to look at him, her face blank, and simply stared at him. Damasu gave his politest smile.

“Hello, little girl.” Damasu nodded to her. “You’re a very good flutist for your age. What’s your name?”

The young girl blinked at him for a moment, her expression refusing to change. In a high, sweet little voice, she responded, “My name’s Myst, mister.”

Damasu continued to smile. “That’s a lovely name, Myst. I’m Damasu.”
Myst still didn’t return the smile. There was a long pause of silence between the two, and just as Damasu opened his mouth to ask for directions, Myst suddenly interrupted him.

“Won’t you push me on the swing, mister?”

This caught Damasu off guard for a moment, causing him to hesitate and drop his smile. “Uh, well…”

“Please?” Myst asked again, a light tinge of forcefulness in her voice. But, Damasu didn’t notice that. She was a young girl, after all.
Damasu shook his head slightly for a brief moment to clear his thoughts. He could spare a few moments for the sweet flutist. His smile returned, and he nodded, “Sure.”

The young girl turned her head around again as Damasu approached her. He stood behind her, and began to lightly push her back, allowing her to swing gently. As he pushed her, Myst began to play her flute again.

The same, elegant melody. Damasu let out a relaxed sigh, indulging in the sweet music. The peacefulness and perfection of the way it was played was simply beautiful. Damasu closed his eyes, still pushing the young girl on the swing. The tone was so soothing…

Damasu failed to notice any time passing. Only a few minutes, he had told himself. But, he’d been there for three hours, pushing Myst on the swing. She’d played the same melody, over and over again. Damasu was too deeply consumed by the sound of the music at this point to notice his surroundings.
The scene of the setting sun around them began to melt away. The sky dimmed into a dark grey, and the sun seemed to simply disappear. The tree that Myst and Damasu were beneath was suddenly stripped of its leaves, and became bare, and the bark shriveled into an ash grey. The houses vanished. Instead, the hill was simply surrounded by graves.

Damasu didn’t notice, though. His eyes were still shut, and all he knew was the scene of the two of them, atop that hill in the warm sun.
Until a pain struck his chest.

Damasu let out a gasp, and suddenly collapsed to his knees, his breathing now harsh and ragged. The swing promptly stopped, right before Damasu’s hunched form. The music had stopped, too, and Myst was very still.
Damasu looked up to Myst, still gasping. He couldn’t understand the sudden pain he was feeling, and failed to notice how the scene around them had changed.

“M… M-Myst?” Damasu choked out, desperate for aid.
Myst didn’t respond for a moment. But then, she suddenly tucked up her legs, and without moving her body, she slowly turned around on the swing until she was facing Damasu. Her feet dropped back to the ground, and she looked down at Damasu, with a sweet and gentle smile.

“Number five hundred and sixty-two…” Myst sung in an elegant, velvet voice that still retained her high-pitched childish tone.

Myst raised the black flute to her lips again, and began to play a far darker tune than the one before. It was more sinister, and grinded against Damasu’s ears like broken glass. The song almost seemed like it was a spectral being, suddenly haunting him.

Damasu began to choke again, coughing and spluttering. He fell onto all fours before Myst, his coughing becoming more violent. Myst’s eyes briefly flashed a dark red, and she continued the song. The song seemed to pick up, becoming somewhat faster and more excited by the events occurring. Damasu’s coughing got worse, and his chest tightened painfully.

A strange, blue mist began to leave Damasu’s mouth. The mist snaked its way out slowly, before suddenly being sucked into the end of Myst’s flute. She took a deep breath, sucking in the new soul she had harvested. Damasu’s strength was fading…

When the last of Damasu’s life was sucked from his body, he collapsed to the ground, motionless. Myst stopped playing her flute, and stood up from the swing. She smiled down at Damasu’s corpse, still kind and sweetly; but now it almost looked malevolent.

“Now you can listen to my music…” Myst’s sweet young voice squeaked, pleased by this.

“… Forever.”

Credit To – Shade Anonymous

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Nobody Lived In Flat Number Six

July 26, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Nobody lived in flat number six. As far as we were aware, it was empty. The date was October 1992 and my wife and I had moved in almost two months ago. We had bought flat number five, and were quite content to live in it – it was a neat, cosy little apartment with a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, and one room which merged the living and dining spaces.

Not to mention, it came cheap and was only a ten minute walk from the train station. Sure, the wallpaper was a little fuddy-duddy, and the kitchen designing was a little seventies, but with a bit of paintwork and a few trips to the furniture store, we would hopefully make it work.

The little outer London neighbourhood was appealing, too. It was the kind of idyllic suburban places where there is enough traffic on the streets to reassure you that you aren’t in the middle of nowhere, and there is little enough traffic to let you get to sleep soundly. The high street had everything, too – a doctor’s surgery, an optician’s, a dentist, and a Tesco supermarket.

At any rate, we were feeling nicely settled in by the end of two months, and had high expectations of our new life in England. You see, we came over from the States, and in spite of the fact that the English speak the same language as Americans, there were aspects of living over there that were entirely alien to us. It was home, but yet it wasn’t quite home.

The weather was also something of an issue – not a disappointment, though, as we had had a great deal of forewarning about the clouds and the rain that fill England’s skies in the autumn and most times of the year.

Perhaps now I should turn the focus back to our new home. Ours was number five out of six flats which belonged to a tidy apartment block with the name ‘Gretel Cottage.’ It was situated midway along a street which held a mix of detached houses, blocks of flats, and even a few guesthouses.

Gretel Cottage had three levels to it: on the ground floor the hallway led to flat 1 on one side and flat 2 on the other, on the first floor flat 3 shared the landing with flat 4, and likewise flat 5 shared the second floor’s landing with, well – with flat 6. There were no other levels.

In our first week there, we had taken time to get to know the residents of the other flats – rather, they had taken their time to come upstairs and greet us. They were a friendly lot, for the most part.

There was a Ms. Miggins in number 4, a Mr. Smith in number 3, a Frenchwoman in number 1, and one other fellow in number 2. Remarkably, not one of them could have been younger than sixty-five. I was twenty-four and my wife twenty-five. Yes, I guess we did feel a little out of key with our neighbours. They never seemed to go out unless for groceries, and that seldom. We went out daily.

More remarkably yet, not one of them didn’t live alone – widowed or divorced. I suppose it’s a lonely time, old age – you get the feeling that nobody wants to talk to you, you feel detached from your loved ones.

Back in our apartment in Ohio, literally all of our neighbours had been young couples or families. There had been a great deal of noise over there: we heard children’s shoes bumping along down hallways and a great deal of both grown-up and children’s laughter. Sometimes we even heard quarrels, and parents scolding their children – and of course that meant very loud crying. But we had been surrounded by life and youth, and the place had seemed brighter and cheerier.

Gretel Cottage was different. It was nice and quiet – so quiet that sometimes it felt lifeless. Perhaps the dreary weather added to it, but the lack of sound gave the building a subtle lonesome feel about it. It was sad, in a way. Actually it was a bit eerie.

The good thing was that we spent less time at home than we did outside. We both worked the standard nine-to-five office jobs in the inner city, and returned home at about seven. As for weekends, we went out pretty much all day, both days, and came back at times ranging from six thirty to beyond midnight. When home, we were either watching the telly, making dinner, or simply unwinding. Sometimes we went to the gym. Sometimes to the cinema. Sometimes we just sat and talked and talked and talked. We had a good time, I’ll admit.

And then there was flat six. There was nothing immediately remarkable about it – it had an oaken door and front porch identical to all the others, with a knocker and a bell and a bristly brown doormat. A brass ‘six’ was fixed into the middle with nails. Nobody had opened that door to greet us on our arrival, and after a week of seeing not a thing go in or out, we assumed that the flat was empty. And what could be wrong with that? Nothing, right? Well – I know it sounds childish coming from a man of my age, but there’s something very slightly unnerving about an empty house. I’m sure you’ve all had a house on your street with no dwellers in it, and I’d bet many of you sometimes got the chills when you walked by it in the evening. Come on – admit it, empty, abandoned houses are creepy.

Well, with flat six, it was like that but… different – worse. All day and all night the empty flat was literally on the doorstep of our home. When we opened our front door to leave in the morning, that ominous door stood in wait for us, looming. When we returned home, we would turn the key in the lock and know that the dreaded door was behind us. Imagination would make us wonder ‘what’s in that flat?’ and ‘what if it opens right now and comes out?’

Alright, fair enough – that’s a bit of an exaggeration. It wasn’t really that bad – just a little weird, that’s all. And I’m ashamed to tell you this, but when I said ‘we’ and ‘us,’ I ought to have said ‘I and ‘me’ because to be honest with you, my wife didn’t feel in the least put off by flat six.

Yes – yes, I know. It’s shameful, I’m a jumpy, nervous sissy – I admit it. We had different teenage years: she went out and saw all the horror films she could, while I saw few enough as to get the creepy side of my mind working but not enough to dampen my imagination. We still went out for a scary one now and again, but I was never the one who suggested it.

Now that I’ve given you more than enough background knowledge on myself and my life at the time, and now that you have an idea of how brave a man I am, I should probably hurry up and tell you about some of the things that happened in late October 1992.

Nothing truly weird took place until the postman came one Monday. I remember I was sitting at the table with a plate of half-finished scrambled eggs, a cup of tea, and watching the BBC News. There was a scuffling of paper being shoved through the letterbox, and the damp clank as it fell shut. My wife was back in a moment with two letters. One of them, she explained, was an advert from some insurance company, and the other was a bill. She left them on the table and we returned to breakfast and the news. So far, so good.

Then a few minutes later we tidied up, switched off the television, and stepped outside. Something struck me as off as soon as we locked the door behind us. It hit me in a second – there was an envelope lying on the doormat of flat number six. My eyes searched the door and I noticed that there was no letterbox – or, rather, that the letterbox had been boarded up. I didn’t need to point out the envelope to my wife – you couldn’t miss it; a neat white rectangle, yellowish at the edges, sitting unobtrusively on the doormat. She gave a puzzled frown, looked curiously at it for a while, and then made a start as if to go and look at it. I caught her by the arm immediately, for some reason.

“What’s up?” she asked, even more surprised by my reaction than by the envelope.

“Don’t –“I began, clearing my throat and not letting go of her nor letting the envelope out of my sight, “Leave it.”

She looked at me with a kind of pitying smile, shook her head, and told me that I was being silly – but she listened, thankfully, she listened. I sighed and thanked her; I just didn’t want her to go anywhere near the letter, it didn’t feel right.

I got a strange call that day at work, during my lunch hour. I had just finished my smoked salmon sandwich, and was about to tuck in to a cookie when my phone began to ring. It wasn’t unexpected or anything, because I get calls all the time when I’m at work from colleagues. It wasn’t a colleague – I could tell as much.

“Hello? Who’s this?” I asked quite clearly, but all I could hear was the crackly hiss that you hear in the background of a call.

“Hello? Hello?” I asked.

Then I can swear I heard laughter – a kind of gleeful snigger, as if it might be some teenager prank-calling me. But I was not sure if it was a teenager; it sounded old – kind of weird. I was a little weirded out, so I hung up and checked the number. Strangely enough, the number was very similar to the number of our flat, but two digits were different. “I guess it’s a neighbour or something – maybe the estate agent.” I told myself that, but I wasn’t so sure. The estate agent wouldn’t have laughed at me like that.

Then something else weird happened. I got home before my wife, and was just turning the key in the lock when something made me look back. The envelope on the doorstep of number 6 – it was gone. I stared hard at the door for a while, and it seemed to stare back at me. My imagination threatened to scare me, so I opened the door to my own flat as quick as I could, and shut it behind me. I remember I felt a little anxious for my wife to get back soon. Something about the letter being gone had me creeped out – somebody was living in flat number six, and they had come out to pick up the envelope while I had been away.

I turned on the TV and made myself a quick cup of tea, sitting, brooding, and not really watching the screen as I waited for my wife’s return. When she came back, I told her to wait in the flat while I checked something outside. It was pretty abrupt and unexplained, but she waited while I ran down the stairs and out of the building to check the windows of flat number six. I saw that the curtains were drawn, and the panes had been in need of a clean for ages. When I got back to the flat, my wife had also noticed the absence of the letter. She was standing just at our doorway, and pointing at the doormat of flat six. “Have you seen-?” “Yeah I know,” I butted in, “there’s somebody there – I’m pretty sure there is.”

She strode up to the door of number six, and was about to ring the bell when I cried out to her, “Don’t do it!” “What’s up with you, Matt?” she looked at me in a slightly concerned way, and then raised a hand to ring the doorbell. “Please don’t – I don’t like it!” I protested like a child. “I seriously don’t get you sometimes,” she shook her head, “this is stupid – I’m going to ring it.” And she did. We listened, her calm and ready to greet whomever it was, and me tense and not sure if I wanted to meet them. As I had half-expected, nobody answered or even seemed to move inside the house. If the whole envelope incident hadn’t taken place, then we would have been convinced it was empty.

“What the hell? There’s nobody there – I suppose they’re out.” My wife assumed that in her realistic, matter-of-fact way. “Out?” I protested, “They’ve never been out as long as we’ve been here. There’s somebody there, alright, but it’s some kind of antisocial weirdo. Either that, or they just died a while after they picked up the letter!” I don’t know why I said the last bit, but it got me even more freaked out.

“Maybe, Matt,” my wife began, as we made our way back into our own flat, and as she turned the living-room light on, “maybe there’s nobody there, and the caretaker simply picked up the letter as it hadn’t been taken.” I wasn’t a hundred percent convinced, but that was fine with me – I liked that explanation a lot more, so we stuck with it and ate dinner. “Oh, and by the way,” my wife asked me later, as we got into bed, “did you get a call today at about two o’clock?” “Yeah – a weird one, with some guy laughing?” “Yeah… I got something like that too.” “You did? Who do you reckon it was – not many people here have our numbers, you know.” “I’m not sure. I expect it was the estate agent’s kids playing pranks – maybe got our numbers off their dad’s phone.” I agreed, but I didn’t stop thinking about that until I fell asleep. I dreamt about flat six, that night. I dreamt that I opened the door to it, and could only see pitch darkness inside. I dreamt that I listened in, and heard that same sniggering laughter coming from somewhere in the darkness.

On Tuesday night, I came home to find that I had forgotten my keys, and that my phone had run out of battery. You can imagine how frustrated I was when I found that my wife was not home, and that I had to wait on the landing for her to get back and open the door. You can imagine how anxious I grew when she wasn’t back an hour after the usual time, and I couldn’t get through to her. And I bet you can imagine how uneasy I got as I sat on the landing, within three yards of the door to flat number six. You know when you’re alone and vulnerable to getting spooked, you seem to think of the last things you would like to spring to mind when you’re feeling tense. Last night’s dream, for instance, kept playing upon my mind and I thought that at any moment the door to number six would burst open and something would come out and see me, and I would see it. Clearly, my wife was trying to get through to me, as I could hear the telephone ringing inside our apartment – she expected that I had got home. I was glad that she was alright, and able to ring me, but it made me nervous to think that she was probably getting anxious about me as well.

Then I looked at flat number six’s door again, and I could swear I heard a ‘click’, a tiny noise, come from somewhere inside that apartment. I frowned and listened closely, but didn’t hear anything else.

After that, I went outside to escape that dreaded landing for a while – she still wasn’t back and it was nine-thirty. Heavy rain started, and forced me back inside and up to the landing. I was almost considering asking a neighbour for a phone to call her (yes, at that time of night), but to my great relief, at a little after ten o’clock, she came up the steps to the landing and was startled to see me slumped on the floor outside the door. “Thank goodness, I was getting worried about you, where have you been?” I got up and spoke rapidly, catching my breath. “My colleague offered to drive me home – but the traffic was horrendous out there. I tried to call your mobile, but it’s out of battery, isn’t it? What about you? Why aren’t you inside?” I explained apologetically that I must have forgotten the keys inside the apartment in the morning.

She sighed, unlocked the door, and we stepped in. While I searched for my keys (they were strangely not on the key hook), my wife turned on the lights and I heard her gasp a little at the answer machine. “Look how many missed calls there are on the telephone!” “Yeah – you must have been calling me non-stop,” I told her, “I only called you twice on the home phone – there are like six missed calls, and – hang on. Come over here.” “What is it?” I hurried to see what had put the worried expression on her face. I looked at the numbers for the missed calls: two of them were my wife’s mobile phone number, and the other four numbers were the same number. “It’s the same number as those weird prank-calls we got yesterday,” she seemed now more irritated than nervous, “goddamn kids!” She deleted the missed calls, and we went to bed without dinner (it was a bit late, and we were both exhausted). I never found those missing keys.

Wednesday was worse. I got more calls from that number, but the hoarse, unfriendly voice at the other end was saying things now. I was shocked – intimidated, even – by what I was hearing. The voice was saying the vilest things, talking about rape, murder, and using pretty much every swearword in the book. The thing that really got me scared about the calls were how much the person at the other end seemed to know about us – he knew my name, my wife’s name, and that we were from the states, as he referred to us as ‘filthy yanks’ more than once. I made up my mind to report this fellow at some point, and as I was on my bus home, I blocked his number. There was peace for a while. And then – just when I thought I wouldn’t hear any more from that nasty, irritating sonofabitch, my phone rang again. I was amazed to see what I thought was the same goddamn number calling, but then I realised that it was not that number. It was OUR number. Somebody was calling me from my own home. I picked up and asked frantically if it was my wife at the other end. That ominous crackling sound followed, then that same mocking, sniggering laughter. It took me a few seconds to register how serious the situation was, and when I did, I almost vomited with anxiety.

I jumped off the bus, sprinted home, burst up the flights of stairs, and came up to the landing where I collapsed with sheer, utter terror. The door to number five was open.

“Oh my God!” I cried aloud, and staggered to my feet, rushing into my flat to catch the intruder. There was nobody there when I looked, so I rushed out of number five, and broke the door to number six open with by force. Hell – I would have gone in there and showed that thing what happens to people who mess with me, but when I saw that bare, empty, dimly-lit hallway beyond the door, I could not force myself to enter that place. I was a coward, and I collapsed and I fainted.

The police searched flat number six very thoroughly when they arrived, and also looked around our flat, as me and my wife stood on the landing in between and just stared into space. We felt violated – as if somebody was deliberately trying to make us feel unwelcome in our own home. She even suggested moving out, which was drastic – I don’t blame her; she had received a few of those calls lately as well. We were reassured, if not a little frustrated when the police claimed that they had found nobody in either of the flats. Interestingly, flat six had been empty after all – we ourselves even took a look around in there and found absolutely no traces of anybody living there. There wasn’t a phone in flat six either, so whoever was calling us couldn’t have been living there. Further investigation showed that the envelope had actually been meant for Ms. Miggins in number 4 downstairs, and she had checked upstairs, because her son who had sent the letter had in the past mistakenly addressed his letters to number six. My fears about flat six had obviously been sheer paranoia – there was nothing to worry about, so it seemed, in flat six.

As for my keys, they were found lying on the landing outside the flat – the intruder had obviously dropped them there before he had made his getaway.

We gave the police the number that had been troubling us, and they told us sincerely that they’d look into it and arrest the perpetrator for breaking and entering, as well as for going against the 1988 Malicious Communications Act.

More or less as reassured as a person can be after having their home broken into, we both thanked the ruddy faced inspector and the four constables before bidding them Good Night and closing our front door. We sighed and fell wearily onto the sofa and watched the TV for a while – it was some kind of sitcom, ‘Fawlty Towers’ I think it was called. We fixed ourselves a small dinner and watched in front of the telly, laughing at the bits we found funny, and laughing anyway at the bits that weren’t too funny. At about 11:30 we turned off the TV, washed the dishes, and turned in for the night.

Settled into bed, I was about to turn off the bedside lamp when my wife told me to wait a little. She had her mobile phone in her hand and a kind of smirk on her face.

“Why don’t we give the prank-caller a little taste of his own medicine?” she suggested, “He won’t like being called up at this time of night!”

“Sure do it,” I said, liking the idea as soon as I heard it, “what are you going to say to him?”

“I don’t know – suppose I’ll just make creepy noises or something. Anything to get back at him.”

“Sure, go ahead!”

She dialled the number and we were chuckling to ourselves gleefully as she called. We were quiet for a while, grinning stupidly while the phone connected. Then a noise from our living-room wiped the smiles right off our faces.

A phone had started to ring in the living-room.

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Hoarding

July 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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My aunt was a kind and benevolent woman. She was widowed, but never allowed her situation to get the better of her. She had a stern outlook on rules and etiquette, but a heart of platinum. She gave to charity even when she barely had enough for herself and she was loved by everyone… except for me.

My aunt wore a disguise. Her facade was so convincing I would love her for many years before.

Before.

Back in the days before I would often visit my aunts old house by the sea and would always be thrilled for the opportunity. She was an elder, but her house was never a bore. It was filled to the brim with knick-knacks and photo albums. Some in the town called her a hoarder, but she always preferred to be called a collector. A ‘collector of memories’ she would often tell me as we sat by the warmth of the fire that always bellowed in its stone cage. I would sit on the carpeted floor and listen quietly as she strung tales of the adventures of her youth. The stories of my young aunt clashed heavily with the frail figure I now saw rocking back and forth in her chair.

I was hooked on her stories and would not let her take me to my bed before hearing at least one. She also gave me free range in her home and there was plenty to explore. Her house had been built during the years of prohibition and the old place had been equipped with various nooks and crannies and the occasional hidden room or tunnel. The secret rooms were always dusty and filled with relics of years past. Whenever I asked her about a bottle cap or playbill I found littering the floors of the hidden storage spaces she would only tell me “Oh, sweetie, you know me…I never throw anything away!” then she would laugh and send me off with a sandwich or an apple in hand to go play some more.

I said before that she gave me free range of her house, but to be honest that was not completely true. There was ONE room that she forbade me from entering. “The basement is too old and dangerous, sweetie, you mustn’t ever venture down there, do you understand?” I would always smile and nod yes before going off on another adventure. Not that I forgot the room, I would often wonder what lay behind the old oak door that blocked me from my potential exploration. The door was always locked, though and I would lose interest very quickly.

That is how things went for a while until she started to show signs of mental illness. She began forgetting things. Small things at first…where she left her keys or that she had already bought eggs the day before. She still smiled through it all and would often dismiss her troubles by giving a simple “silly me, my head is full of rocks!” Although she never forgot her mantra “I never throw anything away” and would continue to tell me the stories attached to each object in her collection.

Her mental state slowly slipped away until she couldn’t even remember my name, let alone her own. I was in my early 20s by this point, but I continued to visit my beloved aunt up until the day she finally died from her illnesses. On one of the last days I spoke to her she was sitting in her chair by the fire as she had many times before and mumbling to herself. “Harold…Harold…Harold…” She was muttering my late uncle’s name over and over again. I knew little about my uncle, because he was one of the few topics she never spoke about, and to hear his name escape her lips for the first time since I could remember was shocking. “Auntie, do you want to say something about Uncle Harry?” I leaned in close and watched as a crooked smile went across her lips. Her teeth were yellow and brown in spots and obviously decaying with her age. She laughed for seemingly no reason and let out a raspy “I never throw anything away, child, never…” Then she just stared off into space and wouldn’t answer me. A few days later she died at the town’s hospital and we buried her the next day. Preparations had been in place for some time and the whole ordeal was over pretty quickly.
I learned a few weeks later that she had left the old house to me. I was very excited. This house meant the world to me and I decided to move in as soon as possible. I moved in a few days later and carried my bags up to what had once been my designated bedroom for when I visited. After all the boxes had been carried up I decided to look around my old playing ground. It was relatively the same as before, but age had withered it some. It would need some work, but I was up to the task if it was to restore my aunt home. I spent the next few weeks dusting and patching up the place and made a good amount of progress. The place was starting to look like it had 11-15 years ago. Her old knick-knacks still crowded every shelf and mantle in the house and that was just how I wanted it.

The only issue I had, though, was that at night the house made noises. I tried to tell myself they were just the sound of an old house settling and that I should ignore it. The sounds kept me awake however. I swore at time it sounded like rattling coming from the depths of the old estate. I even thought I heard grunts and voices at one point. This went on every night for weeks and I was getting less and less sleep.

One day while I was finishing up cleaning I noticed for the first time in years, the old basement door. I had grown so accustomed to it being off limits that I hadn’t even acknowledged it this entire time. However, now this was MY house and I had a right to finally see what secrets it held. Besides, I had to clean that room as well as the others. The door, however, was surely locked as it had been for years. I then caught sight of something shiny sitting atop the doorframe. I was a lot taller now than I had been as a child and assumed that is why I had not seen it before. I reached up and brought down a brass key. The key’s appearance conflicted with the rest of the house as it was shiny and polished without a speck of dust on it.

I slid the old key into the lock of the basement door and the tumblers moved with ease. The door creaked open and I was presented with wooden stairs that descended into darkness. I flicked the light switch on the wall, but a fuse must have been blown, because I was still staring at a black pit. I rushed and got a flashlight from my tool bag and was relived to find the batteries were still in working order. I shined the white ball of light into the basement and saw that the stairs themselves looked as if dust had been kicked around and the handrail was wiped clean. I descended the stairs and flicked my light from one side of the room to another. The room was filled with what seemed to be old science equipment. Beakers and test-tubes littered the tables and jars filled with various liquids and gels sat on the shelves. I wondered if my aunt had helped some old high school clean out their old science gear or something and was quite surprised to find this kind of stuff in her basement. There were other jars on the back shelves that seemed to hold organic tissue of some sort, I guess it was probably from frogs or pig fetuses as those where used in high school science classes sometimes.

Then my light landed on what appeared to be a large black box in the middle of the room. It was locked and I could see that little dust had fallen on it. I finally put together that my aunt must have been coming down here regularly when I went to sleep, hence why some of these objects had not been left alone long enough to gather dust. I walked towards the box and gave it a light kick, perhaps it was something from her travels? Or maybe it was just a bundle of old clothes she had put away for a rainy day.

As I kicked the box it moved. It moved not in the way an inanimate objects moves when force is applied to it, but as if something had moved from inside. I kicked it lightly again and it shook more violently this time. I thought I heard noises coming from the black mysterious object. The sounds seemed inhuman in nature and were mostly grunts and moans. The box was shaking more wildly now and I assumed that some animal had gotten stuck in it. My heart was pounding and my eyes were wide. I could feel my palms becoming clammy and sweat rolled down my cheek. This whole experience was so weird, so bizarre that I had no idea how to handle it. I saw that the box was locked with a sliding lock and I walked gingerly towards it. My hand was shaking but I managed to grab a hold of the latch and slide it so as to unlock the box.

The lid flung open and a black figure sprang up. I screamed. Or at least I tried and I fell backwards on my butt in the dusty ground. My flashlight fell from my hands and rolled away and I turned to bolt up the stairs that would lead me away from the horrid basement. I ran and ran until I was through the doorframe. I slammed the door behind me and locked it with the key that I had somehow managed to keep in hand. I felt a hard impact from the other side and my ears were polluted with the vile sounds of inhuman groans and the scratching of nails against wood. I ran to the phone and called the police.

By the time the authorities got to the house the noises had ceased. When they opened the door that found the thing had left long bloody scratch marks on the other side of the door. There were even some broken fingernails lodged in the wood. When they ventured further they found the body of the creature I had ran from in the dark. It had apparently died sometime between jumping out of the box and now. It was a man. His body was badly mutilated and was barely able to tell he was male. His skin was black and flaky and charred as if he had been in a fire. His eyelids and lips had been cut away and his tongue removed. One of his arms had been completely severed at the elbow and the autopsy revealed some minor organs had been removed. His genitals were horribly mangled and his bones showed signs of multiple breaks. His remaining teeth were cracked and jagged as if hit by a hammer. He had no hair as it had probably been burnt off in whatever fire had destroyed his skin. He had no toes on one foot and only half his fingers on his remaining hand. There were various chemicals found in his system that told us that he had gone through several heinous injections. He was nude except for a medical bracelet that had been fused to his wrist in the heat of the flames that had scarred him. It read ‘Harold’.
Upon hearing this I immediately remembered my aunt favorite mantra and my stomach became weak, “I never throw anything away”.

My uncle had gone missing over 15 years ago and was presumed dead. I never thought I would ever meet him. Old journals were found in the basement that revealed that my Aunts mental illness was worse than we could have ever imagined. It turns out that she thought her actions were justified under orders from God. She thought it was her duty to cleanse my uncle’s soul through continuous suffering and had trapped him down in the basement and tortured him for years. When I went down and unknowingly opened the door of his cage he wasn’t trying to chase me, but rather he was trying to escape the hell he had been confined to for 15 years…and I and locked him there. I had kept him in the basement and he died never being able to see the light of day again.

He died in the same hell he wanted nothing more than to escape from. I carry that guilt with me forever. I put her house for sale afterwards, but no one wanted to buy the house of the murderous woman who kept her husband in a box. The house burned down some years after, no one is sure if it was arson or an accident, but I didn’t care. When I heard the news I smiled.

I still have the key, though. A reminder that you can’t trust those you love the most at face value. A reminder that the person you hold in highest regard could be a devil in disguise. Besides, despite my animosity towards my aunt I cannot get myself to get rid of the key.
After all, I never throw anything away.

Credit To – Clever Boy

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Upstairs

July 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“Upstairs” – Short Film from Jacob Worden on Vimeo.

Upstairs is a short piece inspired by creepypasta stories “In the Kitchen” and “Upstairs”. Made to emulate the look of a quiet, low-budget 70s horror film.

Credit: STUDIO GREYBLUE

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Residual

July 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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Concealed by rock and magma, there is a place which harbors an unimaginable secret. It is completely invisible from the empty sky, the cluttered earth and the chaotic seas. No matter how hard you look, how far you search, or how deep you venture, you will never find it. At a time, there may have been a passage leading there, an entrance through which one could enter; but I guarantee you that it does not exist anymore. There is no use exploring in an attempt to discover this place and neither is there any use in waiting for it to be revealed naturally over time, for the earth itself shall crumble before the rock encasing it corrodes.

There have only ever been a select few people there in all eternity, and after they left, they ensured that no other would ever be able to return. Or rather, they ensured that nothing would escape. For you see, this place was not chosen to be a fortress (though it could be defined as such), it was selected and then designed to be a prison; to contain. The secrecy and impenetrability of this place was a measure not meant to withhold secrets (though it does), it was a seal meant to protect the entirety of life.

Incarcerated in this archaic place of ancient stone and forgotten secrets is something far worse than anything mankind has dared to imagine. It is more dangerous than a supernova, more frightening than the most primordial legends and more powerful than any god.

Its motives are beyond the understanding of human minds and its appearance is enough to make any blind man go mad. To try and understand it would be like attempting to imagine a color you have never seen.

It is the inspiration behind demons and devils, the puppeteer of war and the seed of corruption, the absolute void of madness. For even from within its prison, it still reaches out; calling to us, bringing us ever closer to its malevolent grasp.

How it came to be is entirely unknown, a secret that it alone with holds from mortal knowledge. It can be said, however, that it is not of our creation and we are not of its.

It is neither alive or dead, only everlasting and infinite in its existence and boundless in its putrid influence.

Whether or not it will be our doom cannot be seen, though I suspect it will be. For no matter how far we venture from it, the footprint of its power will forever be embedded into our unconscious.

And eons after humanity has become extinct and the earth has become nothing more than asteroids blindly wandering the universe, there it shall remain; in its prison, residual for all eternity. It will forever be the sole survivor, yet never a victim; only a lone destroyer with a purpose that shall be perpetually unknown and indiscernible to mere mortal minds.

Credit To – Zyon J.

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