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Ubloo, Part Four

May 5, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Rating: 8.9/10 (462 votes cast)

Note: This is part four of the Ubloo Series. You may view the previous parts of this story here: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3. Keep an eye on the Ubloo Series tag for future installments!

I paced across my hotel room swirling a glass of gin, lost in thought. Tomorrow I had a meeting with the Louisiana Bank to view the old school that Robert Jennings had looked into. When I told them I was interested in buying the place they were a little surprised, and when I heard there was next to no interest in the place, I was surprised as well. The house, albeit dilapidated and in need of repair, was beautiful. The woman I spoke with on the phone informed me that the school had become somewhat of a local spook story for the townspeople. It was shut down when the funding ran out, and a lot of the students and their families were really upset with how the local government had chosen to send them elsewhere rather than provide additional funds. After that it went on the market, but I guess no one felt quite right about taking something that had done such good for those children. Fast forward a few bad storms and no maintenance later and the place had become a paranormal attraction, although no real activity had ever been documented there.

I took a long sip of gin and gulped it down. I couldn’t believe how accustomed to this shit I’ve become. While I wasn’t much of a drinker before, I had always had a taste for whiskey. Now this is all I can drink.

The hotel room I was staying in was dark and musty. My bank account was starting to run low now that I’ve been living without income for more than two months, and I couldn’t afford to spend lavishly. I thought about writing some prescriptions and selling them but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. While the money would be great to have, I refused to turn my back on who I used to be. Who knows? Maybe this school will offer some new information I could use to possibly kill Ubloo. Kill? I shook my head. It’s a fucking voodoo curse, how do you even kill something like that?

I put my hands against my dresser and leaned forward over my glass of gin, watching the ice cubes bobble and clink against the sides.

“Doctor.”

It came from behind me. I spun around so fast I nearly fell, and my eyes had to adjust to the rapid movement. Before me, someone was beginning to come into view.

It was Andrew.

We stood there and stared at each other. He had on a plain black shirt and jeans. His hair was messy and tangled, and his once familiar bright green eyes were replaced by balls of pure white.

“Doctor, why are you here?” He spoke again.

My words caught in my throat, but finally I managed to push them out.

“I’m trying to find a way out, Andrew. I’m trying to beat it. I’m trying to beat Ubloo.”

Andrew slowly shook his head at this.

“You can’t beat Ubloo, Doctor. You can’t.” He said. “Ubloo is always there, always waiting, always watching.”

We stood in silence, my stomach churning in depression and nervousness.

“Well I have to try Andrew.” I finally spoke. “I have to try, because I can’t let this happen to someone else, I just can’t.”

And then I saw it. It slunk out of the shadows behind Andrew with slow, almost clumsy movements. Its skin was slick and gray, pulled taut against his body, and I saw every bone and muscle twitch and move as it hobbled over on its six long legs. It had to be at least six feet tall, probably more, and this was hunched down on its knees. Its big round head and those deep black eyes stared right into me. While it had no pupils I could tell it was watching my every move, examining me. The long trunk that dangled from its head swayed back and forth as it walked, as if it hung limp. It stopped just behind Andrew as he began to speak again.

“It will happen to someone else Doctor.” His white eyes staring right at me. “There is only one way out now.”

Ubloo’s trunk reached up and pressed itself to Andrew’s ear. I then saw its long, thin black tongue emerge from Andrew’s nose and he let out a shrill scream.

I covered my ears with my hands and slumped down against the dresser.

“NO! STOP IT!” I screamed, but to no avail.

Andrew’s flesh began sloughing off his bones in sloppy chunks, dripping like candlewax and exposing his skeleton and muscle tissue. He continued screaming as his body turned to a soupy pile at his feet. I watched as his face melted and revealed his jaw bone, and then I heard a sharp twang and saw his jaw muscle snap, and the bone fall crooked at an angle, all the while screaming in agony.

“PLEASE! I CAN’T! I JUST CAN’T ANYMORE! END THIS PLEASE!”

And with that Andrew stopped, his jaw still hung open. He was nothing but a half-skeleton now, with bits of meat and entrails caught between his bones that hadn’t made it to the floor. He was frozen, and then his head snapped and turned to look at me, and the balls of white rolled from the back of his head to reveal those bright green horrible eyes. Behind him Ubloo watched all the while.

“The end is the beginning Doctor.”

And then his skeleton shattered and his remains fell to the floor in the mound of flesh and bile he left behind, and Ubloo’s trunk fell and dangled below his head, and I heard him say it.

“Ubloo.”

My legs were tangled in my bedsheets like knotted wood. I laid in a pool of cold sweat, panting, staring up at the dark ceiling as the outline of a cold light fixture came into focus.

I laid there panting for a while. Once I had caught my breath I stood up and walked over to my dresser and opened one of the drawers. Inside lay a pill bottle, and beside that lay a revolver.

While I still held on hope of finding a way to rid myself of this curse, a small rational part of me remained that there might truly only be one way out of this whole thing.

I pulled out a full bottle of adderall and popped three into my mouth. I grabbed an almost-empty bottle of gin and downed the rest of it. I turned and looked around the room, nothing. I flicked the light on and checked my watch. 4:37 AM.

It was time to pack.

I made it to the bank just after 7 AM. It wouldn’t be open for another hour or so, so I pulled out one of the many pints of gin I now kept in my car and emptied some of its contents into my coffee. The first sip burnt my tongue but I just didn’t fucking care anymore. There are worse things than a burnt mouth.

I kept thinking about what Andrew said, if it was Andrew. Could it have been the Ubloo speaking to me? It made no sense. If it can tell me to wake up every damn time why would it want to fabricate a vision of Andrew to talk to me? Hearing that thing talk would be much more freaky, in my opinion.

I met the woman who was to show me the school at the door. Her name was Linda. She was middle aged with brown hair and freckles, and had a brilliantly white smile. I took the time to really clean up my appearance for this meeting. If I was going to look like someone buying this house and squeeze information out of her, I’d have to play the part. My hair was neatly combed and I trimmed down and cleaned up my haggard looking beard. I put on some of my old work clothes that I ironed the night before and even put a spritz of cologne on. Truth be told, it felt good to dress myself up a bit.

We took her car to the school, which was only a few blocks from the bank. When we pulled up I got an eerie feeling in stomach, the way you feel when you see someone you’ve only seen in pictures before. I felt like I knew this place already with the amount of studying I had done on it.

“Now it may not look like much now but this used to be a real beauty I tell ya.” She said as she walked up to the big iron gate.

She pulled a key ring from her purse with three keys on it and fumbled through them. I watched her carefully. There were two gold keys and one silver one. She settled on the silver one and slipped it into the gate’s lock. I looked up at the fence and inspected the sharp pikes at the top. It wouldn’t be ideal to climb over, but if done carefully it was certainly doable.

“The yard is a little overgrown right now, we usually send someone out to mow it once every few months, and to check in on the place, make sure no one has been messing with it.

We walked up the walkway and ascended the front steps. They creaked under our feet as we made our way to the door. From the same key ring she gripped one of the golden keys and slipped it into the lock. The door opened inward and she began heading in.

“So, here we have the foyer and as you can see there’s an old open floor with high ceilings, which is all the rage nowadays.” She said as she shut the door behind me.

The house truly was beautiful and I can understand why it was easy for Robert to play the acquisition off as a good investment. Linda showed me the rest of the house, which was bleak and dusty. The floor boards creaked where we walked, and evidence of water damage littered the walls and ceilings. Most of the first floor was classrooms, with the exception of a small kitchen that the teachers must have used as a break room. Upstairs was the dean’s office and more classrooms.

I kept walking through the house, only half listening to what Linda was telling me, the other half just waiting for something to jump out, but nothing did. I was hitting a dead end. I had followed clues all the way up to this point, and now I couldn’t help but feel lost and alone.

When we were done viewing the house I went back to the bank with Linda to go over some of the documents and talk numbers. I took a seat in her office opposite her desk. She put her purse down and went to get us some coffee. When she got back, she sat down and pulled out the paperwork.

“We’re asking a minimum of $685,000, with all fees in the exchange of the deed covered on your end. There’s also a broker’s fee of $10,000 but to be honest I can see the bank waiving that if you can commit, they’re pretty adamant about getting rid of this property.” When she finished speaking she slid the paperwork over for me to look at.

I pretended to read it and then sat back in my chair.

“$685,000 sounds doable.” I said. “Although a similar home would go for almost double that on the market right now, especially one with this square footage and architecture.”

Linda knew what I was saying before I even said it.

“It’s just that,” I continued “I had heard some rumors about the property while I was in the area, and while I’m certainly skeptical, I’m also understandably curious.”

Linda sighed despite my generous wording of the inquiry.

“Well I can assure you there’s nothing to be worried about with this property. When the school was shut down they sent the students to public schools, which a lot of the parents weren’t happy about because there was still a lot of racial tension. The parents begged us for funding but it was just too expensive to keep it going. They chased off some of the first potential buyers, the house stayed vacant for a long time and then the stories started. After that, it’s pretty difficult to sell a house, especially one that had sustained damage and had bad blood behind it.”

I nodded. Made sense. Part of me was hoping there would be a story to go off of but all I ever found was the usual, run-of-the-mill tall tales; people seen in the windows, people going in and never coming out, etc.

“Well, I’ll have to speak with my wife about this and see what she thinks.” Saying that felt weird. I took a sip of my coffee. It had cooled down to a drinkable temperature, which made me feel a little better about what I was about to do.

“Of course, I understand.” Linda answered with a smile.

“In the meantime do you mind if I take a copy of-“ I reached my hand across the desk to grab the papers and dropped my cup of coffee so that it spilled onto Linda’s shirt and lap. “Oh my gosh I’m so sorry.”

“Oh!” She stood up and looked around the room for something to wipe herself off with. “I just-umm-one moment please.”

She rushed from the room and I heard her heels pacing down the hallway.

“I’m so sorry!” I called after her as my hands dug through her purse and found the key ring. “I’m so clumsy I should have warned you!” I slipped the keys into my pocket, and then pulled out the box of tissues I had hidden under my chair and placed them back on her desk.

“Oh it’s quite alright!” She said as she came back in with a roll of paper towels. “Happens all the time dear. Let me just get one of the interns to print you another copy of those agreements.”

Linda walked me out and I apologized to her again for spilling the coffee. She said she hoped to hear from me soon. I waved to her from my car and couldn’t help but chuckle as I pulled away at the sight of her standing there with a big coffee stain on her blouse.

Once I had gotten back to my hotel room I poured myself a glass of gin and sat on my bed. I threw two more adderall in my mouth and swallowed.

I’ll go to the house around 2AM. I’ll have to remember to bring the flashlight and some tools, just in case I grabbed the wrong keys. While highly unlikely, it was unlike me to ever leave myself room for error. I started packing a duffle bag. Flashlight, hammer, wrench, screw driver, crowbar. I walked over to my dresser and pulled out a ski mask. I felt something heavy underneath it move and looked down at my revolver. I stood there staring at it, and was jolted back to reality when my phone rang.

I pulled it out and read the caller ID.

It was Eli. I hesitated a moment and then answered the call.

“Eli, how are you?”

“I’m fine Doctor, yisself?” He said with that charming Southern twang.

“Been better, y’know.” I trailed off. “How can I help you?”

“Well Doctor, I’ve done some researching on that… y’know.”

“And?” I said back. Ubloo was nothing new to me, so I was less inclined to tip-toe around the issue than he was.

“Well I couldn’t find anything else about ‘Daiala Bu Umba’ specifically, but I did find something similar. It was in some other tribe’s history.”

My ears perked up and I felt my stomach flutter.

“Go on.”

“Well it says here, a member of this tribe was afflicted with terrible nightmares. They found him dead one morning in his hut, and the person that found him started getting the nightmares.

“Sounds promising.” I said, trying to hide the excitement from my voice.

“Well this went on a few times before the tribe caught on, but unlike other tribes, they didn’t banish the one with the dreams, instead they assigned him an ‘Ubuala.’”

“Ubuala?”

“Yes Doctor, that’s old Khoe for ‘The Waker.’ The Ubuala would sit with the person afflicted and wake him if he started to have nightmares by shaking them and yelling ‘Ubloo!’”

My stomach dropped. This was getting eerie, and started to hit me a little too close to home.

“Did it help?”

“Well it says it did, for a little, but then the tribe member started reporting that he was seeing the monster while he was awake. No one believed him, and then one day they found him off when he was supposed to be gathering water with his wrists slit.”

Somehow this didn’t surprise me.

“Well, then what?”

“The tribe’s elder commissioned that he would be the Ubuala for the man who found the previous cursed tribe member, and never left his side. Until one night, when the man was woke from his nightmare, he wrestled a knife away from the elder and killed himself before him.”

“Fuck…”

“Are you sitting down Doctor?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Because you’re not going to like this next part. It’s says that the elder wanted to rid his tribe of the curse, and that anyone who finds him dead will inherit it from him, so…”

My heart was racing.

“So?”

“So he asked that his tribe bring him somewhere that no one would ever find his body.”

Silence from both of us.

“Where?”

“They buried him, Doctor… Alive.”

I felt sick to my stomach instantly.

“Jesus, Eli…”

“I know, Doctor. Now this is where the trail runs cold. I had found minor reports of nightmares elsewhere in history texts but nothing after this. So I read into the art of voodoo. I learned that once a curse has been placed, the spirit will hunt until it has claimed everything it was promised. This is the only way to rid a curse, so I haven’t figured out how burying the elder alive could stop it.”

I choked back nausea and tears.

“Well is there any way to summon it again once it hits a dead end like that? I mean there has to be some reason it’s back.”

“Yes, well a curse can always be revitalized if it’s summoned again, but even still, it will only hunger for what it was promised, and whoever summoned it would need to know the exact ritual performed. You see, certain components are required for voodoo. The witch doctor who summoned Daiala Bu Umba cited using elephant tusks, snakes and many other things, as well as the remains of his whole tribe, and the book you gave me was all I ever found from the Binuma Tribe. Before that, everyone assumed they never even existed.”

My head was spinning from all this new information.

“Alright well, I don’t plan on calling it quits yet Eli. And if burying me alive won’t even kill this thing for good I’d hope to exhaust all my possibilities before even considering that.”

“I understand Doctor. I’m sorry I had to tell you this.”

“It’s alright, Eli, any information is good information.” I hesitated, and then asked the question that hung between the both of us. “Would you bury me if we had to, Eli?”

The pause was long, but finally, I heard that old Southern voice speak again, smooth as water.

“If we had to Doctor, I would.”

I reached the school at almost exactly 2AM.

I pulled the duffle bag from the back seat and put it in my lap. I exhaled deeply, and then opened the car door.

The night air was still and damp. I had parked a considerable distance from the school so I slung the bag over my shoulder and started the long walk to the gate.

As I walked I couldn’t help but think about what Eli had told me. About the elder, the Ubuala’s, everything. How is it that Daiala Bu Umba says Ubloo? Why would it tell me to wake up in the absence of someone else? I walked a bit further and then it hit me. I stopped dead in my tracks.

What if it isn’t the one saying Ubloo? What if it’s something else? Some other spirit trying to help me? Trying to stop the worst from happening? It made sense. It made just enough sense. That’s why I wake up from the dream, why I always hear it just before.

I felt butterflies grow in my stomach as I walk again. If the beast feeds on despair then it would make sense for some benevolent spirit to wake me up before it can have its fill. My mind was racing with this new information, and for the first time in a long while, I finally felt a tiny spark of hope.

By the time I reached the gate my shoulder was beginning to ache from carrying the duffle bag. I reached into my pocket and found the bottle of adderall. I took another one, just to be safe. I put it back in my pocket and pulled out the keys. I held my breath, stuck the silver key in the lock.

It turned.

Finally things were starting to go my way again. I opened the gate softly and slipped inside. I ducked down and silently ran up the walkway to the door. I slipped the gold key in, opened it, and slipped inside without making a sound.

I shut the door behind me and was surrounded by pitch black. I unzipped the duffle bag and fumbled around blindly until my hand found the flashlight. I pulled it out and turned it on. I shined it around the first room, half expecting to see something there. Too many horror movies as a kid I guess. I chuckled, and then began making my way through the house.

Again, I didn’t know what I was looking for when I was searching the house, but somehow I felt I would know when I saw it. I started upstairs and went through the office and classrooms. I knocked on the walls, trying to hear if there were any false passages or things behind them. I scanned the rooms and then moved back downstairs. I went through the classrooms and then the kitchen and then the classrooms again. After an hour or two of searching the house, I squatted down on my heels and let out a sigh.

I was going to have to come back another night and try again. Fuck.

The funny thing was this building wasn’t too much unlike the one I lived in back in Stoneham, Massachusetts. I got up and walked over to the walls and rubbed some of the grime off. Same color paint, or was it looked like. Same set up. Same hardwood floors. There was just something about carpets that I couldn’t stand. Probably because I hated to vacuu-

Then I saw it.

One floor board, a slight shade lighter than the rest.

I walked over and shined my light down onto it. While it was the same wood it looked lighter, the finish a little more pronounced. It looked… newer.

I dropped the duffle bag and pulled out the hammer and crowbar. I pried up the nails on one end and then pried the whole board back until it snapped in half. I had about three inches to see through. I tried shining my light into the whole it left but I couldn’t see enough. I went mad with excitement, ripping the boards up using the open space as leverage. I pulled another two back and then shined my light through again. What I saw almost made me sick.

There were bones on the ground beneath the floor. It’s not uncommon for Louisiana houses to be built a few feet off the ground, as to avoid flooding, although this one was considerably far from any bodies of water. There was about a foot or two of space and then dirt, which was absolutely littered with charred bones and ash. I searched around that patch of the floor frantically with my flashlight, and then I saw it.

Faded, but still there, was a large circle around the pile of bones and ash, with symbols that I recognized almost instantly.

It was ancient Khoe.

I sat there frozen, staring at the horrific inscriptions when I saw a piece of paper off to the side. I reached down through the floor boards and just with the tip of my fingers grasped it and pulled it up.

I opened the note and read it:

“I asked you how you sleep at night, now I’ve got my answer.”

Signed at the bottom:

“Monaya Guthrie”

I sat back on my heels bewildered.

“Monaya Guthrie.” I said to myself as I welled up with anger. She must have somehow summoned Ubloo back with this ritual and sent him after someone responsible for closing the school. My eyes welled up with tears of anger and frustration. But why? Why is the monster still searching? If it killed the tribe then why would it still be out there?

And then it hit me.

The witch doctor wrote that his wife was pregnant when she was murdered, and that he burned his entire tribe to summon the monster. But what if it wasn’t his entire tribe, what if what the monster wanted once it had killed off who the doctor sent it after, it still searched for this child? What if the witch doctor had somehow managed to save his child?!

My mind was racing frantically. While primitive it wasn’t uncommon for ancient medicines to be able to perform such a procedure. I mean, it’s just a premature c-section after all.

I stuffed my tools and the note back in the bag and stood up.

Monaya Guthrie, I have to find her. Or at least someone who knew her. She has to know what to do next. For fuck’s sake she might even be the descendant of-

The floor board behind me creaked and I froze in horror at the sound.

I spun around and shined my light and screamed.

There in the darkness, illuminated by just a beam of light, stood Ubloo.

It watched me with those cold black eyes and stared as I shook in fear.

I need to wake up. Fuck fuck fuck I need to wake up.

I watched as it slowly began to crawl towards me, the bones of its body visible with every movement under that smooth gray skin.

And then I realized. Never in a dream had I known I was asleep.

The panic set in like a fever. The tribesmen who saw Ubloo when they were awake, the way Andrew died propped against the wall facing the door. My heart was pounding out of my chest.

It wasn’t some benevolent spirit trying to wake me up. How could I be so fucking stupid?

It was Ubloo. All along it was Ubloo. Telling me to wake up every time. Making me feel safe at the last moment so that this time, this time I would realize there is no waking up. There is no escape anymore.

Ubloo stopped, tilted its head ever so slightly, and then galloped hard towards me. I screamed and turned and ran. I ran out the classroom door and into the hall. Halfway down the hall I saw a door and heard Ubloo crash into a wall behind me, chasing me. It was gaining on me and fast. I spilled out of the door and found myself in another classroom. I ran and searched frantically, finding another doorway. I turned a few feet before it and pulled the revolver from the back of my waistband. I shined my flashlight at where I had just came in and saw the door frame crash inwards as Ubloo came barreling through it. I fired three shots and saw its body flinch. Where the bullets had hit it there appeared small holes of black. It didn’t bleed, and I watched in horror as the holes simply closed up.

I ran through the doorway near me into the middle of the room and searched around with my light. No way out. I felt my heart pound harder as I realized this. I flashed the light around more and then I realized in horror that there were no windows either.

“No. No no no no no. Fuck fuck FUCK!”

I heard Ubloo approaching the door from the other room. I ran to the corner and turned to face it.

Slowly I saw the trunk reach around the door frame, and then its head poked in, those big black horrible eyes staring at me, trapped in the corner like a rat.

I clutched the handle of the revolver tightly and slumped down against the wall into the corner. This is the end. This is the end of Thomas Abian. The genius Doctor Abian who was entrusted with saving Andrew Jennings all those days ago.

I began to cry.

“The end is the beginning.” I said to myself as I cried.

Ubloo entered and was slowly crawling his way across the room to where I sat.

The end is the beginning. What a stupid fucking way to say it. I shook my head and tears fell into my lap.

I could hear Ubloo getting closer now.

I’m just going to become another fucking clue. I thought to myself as I sat there, crying like a baby. And to think I actually hoped to-

And then I realized it all, the dark horrible twisted sickness of it all.

The monster doesn’t feed on our despair, our sadness, it feeds on our hope.

It keeps us alive just long enough to think we can make it, and then it takes us.

The floorboards around me creaked from Ubloo’s weight as it got closer.

The hope Robert felt when he found the book, Andrew’s hope when I gave him the cyproheptadine, my hope when I found the ritual and note beneath the floor, and thought there may be a benevolent spirit.

But most of all, the hope that when he finally came for us, we’d wake up.

I began to cry harder as it all made sense.

It’s the perfect curse. One that gets stronger the more you think you can beat it. The end is the beginning after all. The end of my life is the beginning of its hunger for someone new to curse.

I opened my eyes and stared up at Ubloo. His head was just over a foot from where I sat. It knew, somehow it knew it was about to take what it came for.

“I should have let him bury me.” I cried as I raised the revolver.

I placed the cold heavy metal in my mouth and felt my teeth hit the barrel as I sobbed.

I opened my eyes just long enough to see its trunk reaching forward, to see my pitiful reflection in those dark empty eyes, to feel the trigger move beneath my finger, and a burst of light to fill that dark and lonely room. The last echo of a thought that some poor soul would find me here.

Credit To – DifferentWind

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Ubloo, Part Three

May 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Note: This is part three of the Ubloo Series. Part one may be found here and part two is here; the remaining and final part will be posted tomorrow.

I watched the white lines in the middle of the highway disappear one by one under the hood of my car as I sped down the interstate. If I watched them long enough they would eventually just bleed into one long hazy line of white in a sea of asphalt, and then I would snap out my stare, and they would be separate again.

I reached over to the passenger side seat and grabbed my pint of gin. It’s sad how good I’ve gotten at twisting the cap off with one hand, while the other is on the wheel. I took a big swig and finished the bottle, then tossed it out my driver’s side window and heard the glass shatter in a satisfying splash.

“It had to have been microsleep.” I kept telling myself. I don’t know if I was finally starting to lose it or if I’d already drunk too much by noon and was just rambling, but I had to somehow rationalize the fact that I’d seen Ubloo, and not heard him afterwards.

In the end I chalked it up to hallucinations brought on by the lack of sleep, and told myself that I would try to get at least 5 hours tonight. For the past few weeks I’ve been running on just about 4 hours a night, or however long I can stomach those terrifying nightmares.

In my rear-view mirror I checked on the box that housed Robert Jennings’ things. Today was finally the day I would learn what that book meant. I can’t tell you how long I compared this writing to samples on my laptop for, and it wasn’t until a very blind stroke of luck that I figured out what it actually was.

I was sitting at a hotel bar in Pennsylvania when a man came and sat next to me. We made some small talk at first but I think he was scared off a bit by my disheveled appearance. We drank in silence for a few minutes and then he broke it abruptly.

“You can read that shit?” He said, all but gracefully.

“Unfortunately no.” I sighed. “In fact I’m just trying to figure out what language it is to be completely honest.”

“Oh.” He looked down at his beer and started picking at the label. “Mind if I take a look?”

“Sure, just be very careful with it.” I slid the book over to him carefully. He opened the front cover and flipped through the first couple pages.

“Well I tell you.” He began. “It’s some sort of African writing.”

My ears perked up at this.

“African?” I asked hopefully.

“Yeah I used to be a security guard at the National History Museum over in New York City. I swear I saw some shit just like this in there.”

I didn’t even bother thanking the man. I grabbed the book from him and sprinted up to my hotel room to begin working. I must have wrote damn near 500 e-mails that night, with a small sample of the writing attached, to every African history professor, museum curator and African language translator I could find an address for.

That’s how I met Eli.

Eli was a retired African history professor living in Natchez, Mississippi. The e-mail he sent back seemed a little surprised and excited all at once. He told me that this writing was an almost extinct language that he learned translating documents for a professor while studying for his doctorate. I told him that I would pay any sum of money should he help me translate this book, as long as I hand deliver it to him and he reads it directly to me. I couldn’t risk losing this book in the mail, and besides, Natchez was right on my route to the Louisiana house.

I had finished reading Robert’s Journal about two weeks ago. He wrote about the dreams, how hard the burden was to bear and how it was affecting his family life. Robert went knocking on one of his tenant’s doors, after not hearing from him (or receiving the rent) for weeks. He let himself in and found him there, wrists slit in the bathtub. Apparently a pair of his old jeans were laying on the bathroom floor, and in a pocket Robert found a picture of the Louisiana house, with the address “hastily” scribbled on the back of it. I found it curious that he made no mention of where he found the other book though.

Robert also theorized about what exactly Ubloo was trying to do. He seemed to believe it was some vengeful spirit, feeding on our nightmares or fear. Truth be told his Journal wasn’t too useful, it was simply a recording of everything he’d been through in the three years he dealt with this curse.

I snapped out of my thoughts just in time to hear her scream.

K-THUMP

And then a big crash as my windshield spider-webbed inward. I swerved out of instinct and lost control of the car. It veered off the highway and down the embankment, throwing the woman from my hood and sending her rag-dolling across the landscape until she was stopped by a tree, and I heard her spine snap from the whiplash with a sharp pop.

My car finally slid to a stop and then I heard him.

“OH MY GOD! MARY!”

An old man was running down the embankment now over to where the woman lay.

“MARY! SWEETHEART PLEASE!”

He knelt down and cradled her head in his arms, her legs twisted into sickening shapes. He turned and looked at me, still in shock, knuckles white from gripping the steering wheel. It wasn’t until I had a half moment to collect myself that I realized the gravity of what just happened.

“BACK UP! I’M A DOCTOR!” I yelled, opening the door and running halfway over to the man.

“She’s DEAD you idiot! You KILLED her!” The old man sobbed into the hair on the top of his wife’s head.

I stopped halfway between my car and the tree. The two of them couldn’t have been younger than 70. A little up the road I noticed a car pulled off to the side. They must have broken down or gotten a flat, she was probably trying to flag me down, or maybe just standing too far into the lane.

“I’m sorry, I…” I stammered out, choking up. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

“You were fucking drunk you idiot!” He snapped back at me. “A drunk just like your old man! That’s what killed him and what killed your Mother too!”

I was taken aback by this.

“No, that’s not true!”

“It is!” The old man reached behind his back and pulled out a revolver. “Look what you’ve done boy! It’s all your fault!”

And with that, he cocked the revolver, put it in his mouth, and I watched his brains splatter out the back of his head in a burst of color.

I stood there in shock, listening to the still silence of the aftermath. I scratched the back of my head and stared at the man and woman. How the fuck am I going to get out of this? I scratched the back of my head again, what an odd moment for it to be tickling like this.

Then I felt my hair ruffle. I spun on my heel surprised and scared and there he was. His long trunk recoiling back towards his head and the long black pointed tongue hanging lazily out of the end of it. He stared at me with those deep black horrible eyes. So black I could see my reflection in them, the reflection of me standing there frozen in fear. He bobbed slowly up on his legs and back down almost gracefully. His head cocked to the side just a fraction of an inch and without any movement I heard it.

“Ubloo!”

I woke up to a gasp of hot stale air. The world came back to me slowly as I drank in my surroundings, and then everything flooded back at once. I had pulled over at a rest stop just outside of Natchez to take a leak and grab a coffee. I must have fallen asleep in the car.

“FUCK.” I slammed my hand onto the steering wheel.

I must have had at least 50 dreams with that thing and yet he still somehow managed to catch me off guard. I reached into my center console and pulled out the pill bottle of adderall. I threw two in my mouth and forced them down with a swig of gin.

For a second I sat there, head against the steering wheel fighting off my thoughts, and then I turned the key and started the car, and left the rest stop parking lot.

It took me about another half hour to get to where Eli lived. His house was large and old from the looks of it. His driveway was much longer than I was used to. The land surrounding his house stretched on for what seemed like forever. I guess city-living has made a place like this seem unnatural to me.

I drove my car to the front of his house and he came outside and waved. He had been expecting me, I called him when I was just about two minutes out. He was about my height but much older, in his late sixties. He had a full head of white hair and a white goatee to match it. His skin was wrinkled and he had a pair of half-framed glasses resting on his nose.

He lit up a cigarette as I got out of the car and stretched my legs.

“Afternoon Doctor.” He called from his front steps. “I must say I been mighty lookin’ forward to this book a’yours. Can’t find much that hasn’t been found a’ready, and if I have me the chance to translate some new discovery well, I guess we could call us even.”

He spoke with a thick Mississippi accent but he was understandable. He looked me over for a few seconds and then spoke again.

“My you look turrble Doctor. Long drive?” He asked me, with a tone of sincerity.

“Just a rough night.”

I couldn’t help but smile at that. I opened the back door of my car and pulled the book out of its box. I shut the door and then studied the cover one last time in mystery as I walked over to Eli.

“Here she is.” I said handing over the book.

Eli took the book in his hands and pushed his glasses up to get a better look. He squinted at the cover in the sunlight for about three seconds before I saw his eyes widen and his mouth open slightly.

“Doctor.” He said gravely. “Where did you find this?”

“It was given to me by a friend.” I lied, but only half. “Why, what’s it called?”

Eli turned and stared at me for a long time, and I could almost see the gears in his head turning as he was starting to realize just why I looked so haggard.

“It’s a religious text.” He started, his voice wavering. “Written by a witch doctor from the Binuma Tribe.”

“Witch doctor?” I asked curiously. “Like voodoo?”

“Yes Doctor.” Eli turned to look at me as he spoke. “But not just any voodoo. The Binuma Tribe, and most specifically this witch doctor, are referred to in African folklore as one of the most ruthless in history.”

We stood there for a moment together on his front steps. With only the sound of the wind to keep us company.

“Well Doctor.” Eli began. “Let’s go inside, and make sure this ain’t a fake before we jump to such rash conclusions.”

We went inside together and Eli brought me to his study. He began examining the book, the text, the paper, everything. While he did this he had me running about doing various tasks for him. Pulling samples from his filing cabinets, looking up texts that he didn’t have on the internet, fetching sweet tea from the fridge. After about two hours he finally sat back in his chair and turned to look at me.

“Gosh a’mighty Doctor, this is the real deal.”

I was overjoyed to hear this. Truth be told I hadn’t even considered the possibility that this text was fake, and now that I was just minutes from answers about Ubloo, about how to stop or kill him, I finally felt a weight lift a little from my shoulders.

“So I tell you what.” Eli began. “I got a guest bed upstairs. If you have nowhere else to be you can shack up with me here and we can translate this book in—oh I don’t know—three days?”

My stomach dropped.

“I’m sorry Eli but that’s too much time.” He looked back up at me again. “I need to be back on the road by sundown.”

He looked surprised, and rightfully so.

“Hell, boy you look like you haven’t slept in days! Surely you can take one night off from the road?”

“I’m sorry but I’m running out of time.” I got up and walked over to where Eli had the book. “May I?”

“Well of course Doctor, it is yours after all.”

I flipped through the pages to the chapter I needed.

“Not anymore Eli.” I said as I got closer to the text I had to hear. “Once I leave this is yours, do whatever you like with it.”

I stopped finally on the page I needed. A crude picture of Ubloo stared up at me surrounded by text.

“Please, this is the text I need.” I said before he could ask anything.

Eli turned down to the page and read in silence for a few minutes, and as he did, I could see him understand. When he was finally done he turned and looked at me with big sad eyes.

“How long?” He asked.

“About two months.” I said back, my heart breaking with finally being able to tell someone who would understand.

“Jesus…” He said trailing off, and then; “one moment Doctor.”

He got up and walked to the kitchen, and came back with a tray. On it, two glasses full with ice, and a bottle of what looked like whiskey. I laughed, and for just a second I felt human again. Eli poured me a glass, then him, and we drank together in silence.

“So now you understand why I can’t stay.” I finally said.

“I do Doctor. Now, you might want to sit down for this, because it’s quite a long story.”

I took a seat next to Eli and braced myself, heart racing for what was coming next.

“This creature, this… thing, is called ‘Daiala Bu Umba.’”

“Daiala Bu Umba?” I asked curiously, feeling odd that these people didn’t come up with the same name both Robert and Andrew had.

“Yes, Daiala Bu Umba, this translates to ‘The One Who Shows.’”

A shiver ran down my spine as Eli continued on.

“It says here that this witch doctor was very powerful, and that his people—the Binuma Tribe—were being chased across the dessert by a rival clan. Rather than the clan hunt them down in battle, they sent their best warriors into the Binuma camp at night, and slaughtered them in their sleep.

The witch doctor was away, praying to the gods for his people to escape, but the gods had abandoned him for using voodoo to defeat his enemies, and his prayers were not answered. When he returned to camp, he found all of his tribe slaughtered in their beds, including his wife who was with child. The witch doctor was overcome with grief and hatred, and turned to his most powerful voodoo to exact vengeance on the rival clan, and abandon the gods that turned their backs on him.

He gathered everything of use he could find left behind by the raid; elephant tusks, snake skins, animal bones and anything that held any significant properties. He piled them together with the bodies of his fallen tribe and burned them all, chanting a voodoo curse all the while, a curse to be place on the rival clan, to summon a spirit that would haunt their sleep the way they haunted his Tribe’s.”

Eli stopped and looked up at me.

“Do you want me to keep going, Doctor?”

I took a sip of my whiskey and solemnly nodded.

“In a matter of days, the rival clan were all having horrific nightmares and could not sleep. They dreamt of being raided by other tribes and seeing their women and children raped and enslaved, of crops burning and dry seasons that never ended. Before long, the clan turned on each other, or took their own lives, until none remained.

But something was wrong. When the witch doctor heard the clan was destroyed he celebrated, but he continued to hear of people being afflicted by The One Who Shows. He realized that the beast he made could not be stopped, for it had an appetite for despair that could not be satisfied. One by one, people would be afflicted by the spirit, and when they died, it would pass on to another, and so on and so on.”

He stopped and looked back up at me and stared.

“Well? Could they stop it?” I asked

“It doesn’t say.” Eli said through his sadness. “It says that tribes began to exile anyone who contracted the deadly spirit, for it was impossible to fight. Leaving the spirit to be contracted by a different tribe.”

My stomach dropped entirely. Well that’s it. There’s no escape for me. I’m going to have to deal with Ubloo for as long as I live… Or as short as I live. I see now why Andrew and Robert took their lives.

My eyes began to well up and Eli poured me another glass of whiskey.

“I’ll understand if you want to get back on the road Doctor. I’ll keep translating and I’ll call you if I find anything that helps.”

I gulped down the whiskey in one shot and wiped my eyes on my sleeve.

“Thanks Eli.” I forced out. “Let me know, I’ll show myself out.”

I got up before he could stop me and headed for the front door. Before I could get down to my car Eli was in the doorway and called out to me.

“Doctor! Just where is it you’re going? If you don’t mind me asking.” He said, the sadness on his voice made the question hang in the evening air.

“To follow a dead man’s footsteps.” I answered. “That lead to somewhere in Louisiana.”

Eli stared back at me and his eyes began to well up with tears.

“Well I wish you the best Doctor. I can’t imagine the things you’ve seen and I won’t pretend to, but God bless you for fightin’.”

I nodded and opened my car door, but stopped and looked up at Eli.

“Daiala Bu Umba.” I said with a half laugh. “That’s a lot better than what I’ve been calling it.”

“What have you been calling it, Doctor?”

I stopped for a second and thought about just how silly the name I had for him was.

“Ubloo.” I said with a half-smile.

“Ubloo?” Eli looked at me confused.

“Yeah, that’s what it always says to me right at the end of a dream.” I hesitated. “Does it mean anything?”

Eli looked down at me with a stare I will never forget, a look in his eyes that I know he will never give to another man in his life, and he said:

“Yes Doctor. Ubloo is short for ‘Ubua Loo.’”

The wind blew gently between us and the grass swayed in the waning sunlight as I awaited what would most likely be the last thing I’d ever hear from him.

“It means wake up.”

Credit To – DifferentWind

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Ubloo, Part Two

May 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Note: This is part two of the Ubloo Series. Part one may be found here; the next two parts will be posted over the next two days.

“THAT’S MY BABY! NO PLEASE GOD NO!”

“I said BACK UP you fucking CUNT!” The policeman bludgeoned Mrs. Jennings across the mouth with his billy club with a sickening thwack.

I heard her cry out from the hit, and watched as her teeth flew from her mouth to the pavement, clattering at the feet of the armed police officers. They were all striking her now. They beat her down to her hands and knees and were all taking turns hammering at her back with their clubs. She was still begging them not to take her son away but they couldn’t hear, they were laughing. Laughing in a sick and maniacal tone that made my stomach turn.

Now the emergency medical responders emerged from the apartment building, wheeling Andrew out on a gurney. They pushed him clumsily down the stairs, his arm emerged from beneath the white sheet as he bounced down the first step. I watched his lifeless body bounce on the gurney until he landed awkwardly and fell off it completely, the white sheet blowing away in the wind and revealing his corpse.

“Oh, well by all means you dumb fucking junkie, just help yourself to a nap while we’re trying to do our fucking JOBS!” With the last word, the EMT kicked Andrew’s body in his stomach.

I watched his body jerk and fold from the impact. The other EMT was joining in now too, both of them kicking and stomping at Andrew’s lifeless corpse. I tried to yell, I tried to scream at them to stop, but while I felt my vocal cords vibrating in my chest not a sound came out. I watch as one EMT picked up a heavy rock from a nearby flowerbed and carried it over to where Andrew’s body lay. The other EMT rolled him onto his back and I let out the loudest scream no one would ever hear as I watched the rock slam down into Andrew’s face. I heard a deep crunch and knew his skull had cracked. His head rolled to the side and faced right at me, bleeding and crushed.

Then I saw his eyes open, those big green eyes surround by a bloodshot white.

“THE END IS THE BEGINNING DOCTOR.” He said to me with his jaw half attached. “THE END IS THE BEGINNING.”

And then I heard him say it. Soft yet loud, small yet commanding, sharp as a knife yet smooth as water.

“Ubloo!”

I shot up from my bed, panting and covered in sweat. I reached frantically in the dark at the bedding next to me until my hand gripped my flashlight. I turned it on and shined it around the room, darting from one corner to the other, looking for something, anything, but there was nothing there, nothing there except for the stacks of boxes that littered my hotel room.

I turned my nightstand light on and checked the time. 4:12 AM. Three hours of sleep would have to do.

I pulled open the nightstand drawer and grabbed the pill bottle from inside. It was half full, I would need to write myself a new prescription soon, which couldn’t have come at a better time because it was looking like it was just about time to move again. I opened the bottle and threw two adderall into my mouth. I grabbed the glass of water I left out for myself and drank half of it.

I was going to have to start packing now if I wanted to make good time finding a new hotel. I stood up and stretched my legs and back. Now that I’m practically running on drugs and minimum sleep I can feel my body falling apart. I walked over to the dresser and twisted the cap off the bottle of gin from the night before. I took a long swig and cringed at the taste. I was never really a big fan of gin but it’s the easiest to conceal on your breath. When I turned to get started packing I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and froze.

My eyes sat above two dark heavy bags and were so bloodshot they almost looked red. My hair stuck up every which way in dark scraggly tufts. I had a dark shadow of hair on my cheek bones and neck that made my once tidy-kept beard look unattended.

“Jesus…” I said with a pause. “How the fuck did I get to this?”

SIX WEEKS PRIOR:

The funeral of Andrew Jennings came and went and I didn’t attend it. Part of me says it’s because I just couldn’t bear to face Mrs. Jennings, part of me says it’s because I’m terrified of Andrew himself. The week leading up to the funeral I could hardly focus on my work, I just kept thinking of what I heard that night before I fell asleep.

After another week, I chalked it up to just the booze and my imagination getting the best of me. Besides, I wasn’t even asleep when it happened, so I couldn’t have dreamed it.

I decided that I was going to go see Mrs. Jennings to give myself closure. Her office wasn’t far from mine for someone who owns half the apartment complexes in Middlesex county, and I decided that I deserved a day off after what I went through.

When I went to see Mrs. Jennings it was a cool spring day. I was nervous, very nervous. In med-school before I had to give a big presentation I would ease my tension with a shot or two, to loosen up. I did the same that morning, but I guess I should have eaten a bigger breakfast because by the time I got out of my car at her office building my head was swimming.

Inside the lobby was a cute young receptionist. I asked her where I could find Mrs. Jennings and she told me floor three suite one, very politely. I got in the elevator with another man and we rode up together. While we stood there I heard him sniff the air twice, then look sideways at me from the corner of his eye. Fuck, he must be able to smell the booze.

When I got off at the third floor I found a water fountain and drank a few gulps. I pulled another piece of gum from my pocket and chewed it for a minute before I knocked on Mrs. Jennings’ door.

The door swung open and her eyes met mine, and almost instantly I saw them start to well up.

“Oh, Doctor A.” She said, sounding unsurprised. “Please, come in.”

She stepped to the side and let me walk into her office. Immediately I noticed that she was in the process of packing her things, and the office was practically bare save for a few papers and her computer.

“Moving out eh?” I said to her with a half-smile, trying to lighten the mood.

“Yes.” She said, shifting her eyes from me to look around the room as she spoke. “I found someone who’s going to buy all my property. Normally it would be too much but I gave them a great price. I’m going to travel and see Europe like myself and Robert always wanted to.”

“Well, that sounds exciting!” I said, a little too enthusiastically. I saw the sadness creeping up on Mrs. Jennings and continued on, changing the subject. “Mrs. Jennings, I’m terribly sorry to hear about Andrew. He was a very bright young man.”

This brought on the water works.

“He was.” She sobbed. “And I want to thank you, Doctor, that day when he left your office he called me and told me he felt better than he had in years. Thank you for giving me that one moment of having my son back before I lost him for good.”

She started to cry. I looked around her office nervously, and my eyes found a photograph of a young Mrs. Jennings, standing next to a tall broad shouldered man with a big smile, and a young, handsome Andrew. At his side sat a golden retriever, who must have been Buster. I remembered the dream Andrew told me about him and shuddered. I walked over to the photograph and picked it up out of its box.

“This must be Robert, no?” I asked. She looked up from sobbing and saw the photograph in my hands.

“Oh yes.” She answered as she walked over. “That’s my Robert there, Lord he was handsome. And of course there’s Andrew and his dog, Buster.”

A chill ran up my spine as she said his name. Something told me Mrs. Jennings knew very little if not nothing about the dreams her son was having. I looked down at the box I took the photograph from and saw a proposal to buy a property. I was about to look away when something caught my eye.

“Mrs. Jennings?” I said, not lifting my eyes from the paper

“Please dear, call me Gloria. I don’t feel like much of a Mrs. anymore.”

“Gloria, I thought all the property you owned was in Masschusetts?” She blinked at me for asking such an out-of-the-moment question.

“Well, yes dear it is.” She answered, studying my face.

“Sorry it’s just, I couldn’t help but notice this proposal here, for a property in Louisiana?” She looked lost for a second and then I saw the memory hit her.

“Oh yes, that was a property Robert was looking into. He simply adored that Louisiana house. I’m not too sure how he even found the place quite honestly. In fact, when he first started flying down there every other weekend I was all but sure he was having an affair, but when I asked if I could come with him he didn’t put up a struggle at all.” She picked up the proposal and thumbed through the pages until she found a picture and handed it to me.

The house was huge and old, with big columns that framed the front of it, and a black gated fence surrounding the yard. The windows were too dark to see through but it looked to be two stories, only wide enough barely to fit in the picture. It looked a little run down but I could see why Robert was interested in this house, it had potential to be absolutely gorgeous.

After looking over the picture for some time I finally spoke.

“And this house…” I began. “Are you selling this as well?”

“Why, no, we don’t own it Doctor.” She said, looking hurt by those words. “Robert passed before we could finish up the paper work. Such a shame too because the place was lovely.”

I don’t know why but my heart sank a little bit with this.

“But Robert visited there often, right before his death?” I asked.

“Yes. Yes he did.” Gloria responded. “The funny thing is, Robert was known for closing on properties quickly, sometimes too quickly.” She said with a chuckle. “It was like he was afraid to finally go through with it.”

She watched me scrutinize the photograph of the house. “You look interested Doctor.” She said, the chuckle returning as well. “Are you looking to make a move as well? Or get into the real estate biz?”

“Maybe…” I said trailing off.

“Well tell you what. That whole box is full of information Robert kept on that house, separated a bit amongst some other paperwork. I’m just gonna shred all this stuff so if you’re interested help yourself.”

It took me a bit to register what she just said.

“Sure, yeah.” I finally managed to push out. “That sounds great Gloria, thank you.”

I picked up the box and slowly started walking to the door.

“Say, just for curiousity’s sake…” I started. “Who was the previous owner of the house?”

“Oh well it didn’t have an owner, it wasn’t in use when we viewed it.” She said. “Technically it’s owned by the Bank of Louisiana. Before that, it was a school.”

“A school huh?” I ask.

“Yep. If what the woman who showed us the property told us was true, it was the first all-black school in the whole state.”

I stood there for a minute. Thinking about how bizarre this whole thing was. Why was Robert looking to buy an old run-down school in Louisiana? Why this one specifically? And why wouldn’t he close on the property?

As I turned to leave I heard Mrs. Jennings call out from behind me.

“Oh, Doctor.” She said. “One last thing.”

“Yes?”

“I won’t ask why–although I think I know–but if you’re gonna walk around on the liquor, drink gin.”

I was startled.

“I’m sorry?”

“Gin, honey.” She said. “It’s tougher to smell on someone. That’s what Robert used to do.”

I left that office feeling out of place. As if everything that just happened was a dream. I drove straight home and immediately started rifling through Robert’s paperwork. It was tough business at first. I wasn’t too adept at identifying real estate documents so I didn’t quite know what I was looking at at first, but about an hour in I got the hang of it.

I separated the paper work out on my dining room table. In one pile I had all the information about the house. Turns out the thing was owned by some incredibly wealthy family back in the early 1800’s. In fact, they were one of the first families to move down to Louisiana once we got it from the French. The date when they fully converted the place to a school I couldn’t find but it looked like the Bank didn’t get ahold of it until the 1960’s.

I sat back and scratched my head. I looked at the other two piles I had made. One was anything Robert had written on or used not pertaining to this house and the other was just junk. I walked over to the junk pile and started putting the papers back into the box, one by one. Halfway through the pile I got to a beat-up looking manila folder. I undid the clasp and pulled the papers out from inside it.

I thumbed through the first few pages, more rental agreements for Massachusetts properties. I was about to throw them in the box when I noticed a series of numbers on the corner of a page.

“12-4-21”

I pulled this paper out and studied it. It was a rental agreement for a studio apartment in Cambridge. As I looked over the paper more I realized that there was a check stub stapled to the back of it. The check read for $180,000.00, made payable to the Cambridge Realty Trust Company. He had paid for this property is his name for ten years. I found this odd. Why would one of the biggest apartment owners in the state rent an apartment from someone else? I dropped the envelope to the table and heard a clink. I picked the envelope back up and turned it upside down. I felt something slide down the envelope and into my hand, and when I looked, I found a key, with “Unit E335” etched into it. I looked back over to the rental agreement and sure enough, the address of the property read:

375 Broadway St. Unit E335 Cambridge MA

I froze for a half second, then frantically searched for my coat. I couldn’t tell you why I felt the urge to go see this place now, but it all just felt too abnormal to ignore. My instincts were telling me to go to there and I was going to trust them.

I got to the apartment fairly quick and bounded up the stairs. The front door was locked and I tried the key. The key fit snuggly into the lock and turned with ease. I felt my nerves leap. I entered the lobby and found the staircase. I ran up the stairs two at a time until I reached the third floor. I opened the door and sure enough, right in front of me was Unit E335. It felt like time froze, and I was just standing there staring at this door. This morning I was drunk, trying to find closure, and now here I am rifling through a dead man’s things and walking his footsteps. Who am I doing this for? Me? Robert? Andrew? I shook the thoughts from my head. It’s my day off—I rationalized—I’m just killing time playing detective.

I walked up to the door and slid the key into the lock, and turned the doorknob.

The door swung inward and I was staring into one big room. I found a light switch and flicked it on. The room was your typical studio apartment. Kitchenette and bathroom all in one big spacious area.

But there was no furniture.

The entire room was completely empty, walls bare, except for the middle of the room, where sitting there on the floor, facing me, was a safe.

I walked slowly up to the safe and put my hand against it. The metal was cool. I tried to move it and it was incredibly heavy, it must be thick.

I stood there and looked at it, pondering the peculiarity of the whole thing. Then I knelt down, and expecting it not to work, entered in three numbers.

“12-4-21”

I heard the mechanism inside click and my heart skipped a beat.

Slowly, I swung the door open and peered inside. Sitting at the bottom of the safe were two books. I picked the first one up and read the cover:

“The Personal Journal of Robert A. Jennings”

My hands were shaking. I took the book out from behind Robert’s journal and studied it. The writing was in some weird language I had never seen before. I flicked open the cover and found a folded up piece of paper. I took the paper and unfolded it and my stomach dropped.

It was almost an exact copy of the picture Andrew drew for me that day in my office. Black and white, sitting there staring into my very existence, was that terrible monster, Ubloo.

I don’t know what happened first, shutting the book or getting up to leave. I don’t know why but I couldn’t be in this room anymore. I wasn’t supposed to find these things. With the books in my arms I ran out the apartment door without even shutting it behind me. I ran straight to my car, threw the books on the passenger seat and drove straight home. When I got there I grabbed the books again and sprinted inside, looking over my shoulders the whole way. I got inside and slammed the door, ran over to my dining room table and threw the books down.

I immediately started going through the pages of this weird-languaged book. It was incredibly old and full of pictures. I got hallway through when I stopped on a page with a drawing that looked like a crudely drawn Ubloo. I frantically searched through the rest of the book but I couldn’t make heads or tails of the language so I cast it aside. I then grabbed Robert’s journal and opened it to the first page.

“My name is Robert A. Jennings, and for the past year I have been afflicted with paranormal encounters in my dreams by a monster I call Ubloo. I know how this must sound, but everything I write in here must be taken with the utmost gravity, as I fear I will not be around much longer.”

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This had to be a dream. Some sort of fucked up dream. I flicked through the next few pages and saw recordings of dreams Robert had that were absolutely horrible. Dreams of standing on the ground and watching his son jump off a six-story building, only to splatter on the pavement right in front of him over and over again. Dreams of walking in on his wife cheating on him with their neighbors, his son video-taping it and them turning on Robert and beating him senseless while his wife laughed. Dreams of his parents being burned alive while the fire department laughed and molested his wife. Terrible things. How this man lived so long with such a burden I will never know.

I quickly flipped through the pages until they were nothing but white. I stopped when I reached the end and I knew Robert had died before he could fill this journal. Slowly, I flipped backwards until I reached the last page he had written on. When I read the words I dropped the book as if it were flaming hot and recoiled a few steps back, staring at it on the floor.

The damage was done. Those horrible words etched into my mind’s eye.

“The end is the beginning”

I paced around the room for a long time and thought hard about everything that happened. Just then, I heard a noise in my kitchen. I walked in to investigate and then felt a blinding pain across the back of my skull. I dropped to the ground face first and my head felt like it had split.

“Look baby he IS home!” I heard an unfamiliar face say. I watched as a pair of black boots walked up next to my face, and lightly kicked me in the forehead. “Wakey wakey Doc!”

From the ground I could see a pair of boots. At the other end of my kitchen I saw another man, dressed all in black with a ski mask, holding a gun up to a girl’s head.

“Please Doctor A! Help me please!”

I recognized that voice from somewhere, but where?

“Shut the fuck up bitch he can’t help you!” I heard the other man say as he pistol whipped the girl in the side of the head. She began to cry.

My vision came into focus and then I realized who she was. She was Andrea, my receptionist.

“ANDREA!” I yelled, but I was then kicked in the stomach by my attacker.

“Didn’t you hear my buddy?” He said as he stood over me writhing in pain. “You can’t fucking help her.”

He took a step back and stomped, and I felt his heavy boot come down on my knee cap and felt an exploding pain in my leg. I screamed loudly and clutched at my leg, but when I did the man only kicked me again, which hurt even worse the second time.

“Please Doctor A! Please help! They said they’re going to kill me!” Andrea pleaded from the back of the kitchen.

“Bitch, I said shut the FUCK up!” I heard the thwack of the pistol hitting Andrea again and heard her sob.

“That’s right baby doll.” The first man said. “We’re gonna kill ya. But first, we’re gonna hurt ya, and then, we’re gonna have a little fun.”

“No please, stop!” I looked up just in time to see the muzzle flash, hear Andrea scream, and then almost like it surfaced from all the noise of screaming and gunfire, I heard it in the back of my head.

“Ubloo!”

I woke up in pitch darkness and realized I had been screaming. My throat was sore and my shirt was soaked in sweat. I began to panic. I realized I was sitting at my dining room table and ran to the light switch. I flicked it on but nothing was there. No noise, no one in the kitchen, nothing. All at once it came back to me. How could I forget falling asleep? After I saw those words in Robert’s journal I sat down and decided to go through the rental agreements again, which were all laid out in front of me. I must have fallen asleep doing that, but how did I not remember sitting down to do this?

Then I remembered my conversation with Andrew. How Ubloo realized the he could scare him more with a microsleep dream than a normal one. How the ability to catch him off guard was more effective. I got so caught up in this theory that I didn’t even realize what was happening, but when I did, I got sick to my stomach. It couldn’t happen, it couldn’t. It wasn’t even real this isn’t real. I tried to force the thought from my head but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

Ubloo is controlling my dreams now.

I vomited on my dining room floor. This was all happening too fast.

I looked around the room frantically. I have to pack. I need to get out of here. Maybe if I run he’ll have to chase me. It’s worth a shot.

I ran back to my bedroom and began gathering my things. I ran over to my brief case and pulled out a prescription pad. I was definitely going to need this. I began packing in a frenzy before I even realized I didn’t know where I was going. But then it hit me.

Louisiana.

I’m going to fly to Louisiana. I packed most of my things with this being the idea but I began to feel queasy thinking about it. I couldn’t bring myself to admit I was going to this place to continue Robert’s work. I couldn’t yet, I didn’t know enough.

I’ll drive.

I’ll stay in hotels along the way and do research. Read Robert’s Journal, figure out what this other book says, research that house Robert wanted to buy. I had too much work to just fly to Louisiana. I had to learn. I had to study everything Robert wrote down and knew if I was going to have a chance at getting rid of Ubloo.

6 WEEKS LATER

I pulled my bag behind me as I approached the checkout counter.

“Leaving us so soon Mr. Abian?” The girl behind the counter said to me.

“Yes, sorry but I need to get back on the road now.” I said with a smile.

“Well it was a pleasure having you. I always feel safer working here when a Doctor stays with us.” She smiled back.

I said my good-byes and headed for the door. I checked my watch. 7:01 AM. Perfect. I’ll be in Mississippi by the evening. Then I’ll be able to find a place and hopefully meet up with Eli, if he’s willing to be up that late.

I began to look up from my watch.

It will be great to finally know what that book sa-

In an instant it was gone, but I knew what I saw. I saw it. I fucking saw it right before it disappeared behind the corner of the building.

Staring at me from around a corner was a grey head with shiny skin, and two deep black empty eyes. At the bottom of that head was a long snout that dangled and whipped with his head as he pulled it back.

I stood there frozen with my bag in my hand. I stood there and I waited. I waited to wake up.

But I didn’t.

Credit To – DifferentWind

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Ubloo, Part One

May 2, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Note: This is part one of a four-part story. The next three parts will be posted over the next three days. Enjoy!

In a past life I was a psychiatrist. Well, let me rephrase that. Before my life fell to pieces I was a psychiatrist, and a damned good one too. It’s tough to really say what makes a psychiatrist “good” at what they do, but I started in my field early, got great experience my first few years in the business and not before long I almost had more clients than I could handle. I’m not saying someone would walk into my office suicidal and do a complete 180 in one day, but my clients trusted me and felt that I genuinely helped them, so I came very highly recommended, and my rate was admittedly steep. That being said, I was used to a “higher tier” of patient.

I’m not sure how the Jennings family found me but I assume they were pointed in my direction from their previous psychiatrist, as that’s sometimes the case. Someone walks through your door that you’re incapable of helping for whatever reason so you make some recommendations. One day I got a call from Mrs. Gloria Jennings, a very wealthy real estate owner who wanted me to work with her son, Andrew. Apparently Andrew had just about worn out every psychiatrist in the state and I was essentially their last option. Andrew was your typical drug abuser, his poison of choice being heroin, and as anyone in my field can tell you these people are just a headache to deal with. If they’re not clean and scatter-brained then they’re high and not making any sense. I wouldn’t have taken him as a patient but Mrs. Jennings offered me almost double my usual rate so I couldn’t say no. It was the worst decision I’ve ever made.

I met Andrew early on a Monday morning. From experience it’s easier to catch these types before they’ve had a chance to use. Best case scenario they don’t even show up and you get a free hour, but Andrew was fifteen minutes early. He certainly looked like a heroin addict. Dark bags under his green eyes, hair disheveled, a scraggly beard growing on his face. He looked to be in his early 20’s. He was tall and inexplicably thin, and wore baggy, plain clothes that only accentuated his sharp figure. I welcomed him into my office and offered him a seat. He sat down and began rubbing his hands together and exploring my office with his eyes with darting rapidity.

For my own privacy I will refer to myself as “Doctor A.”

“So, Andrew.” I began. “I’m Doctor A. Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?”

For the first time he made eye contact. He hesitated for a moment and then spoke.

“Look, this is about the eight or ninth time I’ve started from scratch so I’m just going to cut to the chase. My Mom probably told you I was a drug user and I am. I use heroin and cocaine if I can get my hands on it.”

I opened my mouth to ask if he ever uses both at the same time, to explain the danger of the combination but he beat me to it.

“No, I always do them separately. I’m not an idiot.” He said.

“I don’t think you’re an idiot.” I lied. “I’ve seen a lot of users in my day. Trust me.” Andrew hadn’t stopped staring at me. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and asked the obvious next question. “Why do you use?”

“Well, on the nights I don’t want to go to sleep I use the cocaine, and on the nights I don’t want to dream, I use the heroin.” As he said this he dropped his gaze to the floor, still rubbing his hands.

“I’m sorry, the nights you don’t want to sleep you use cocaine?” I asked, just to make sure he said it right.

“That’s correct Doctor.” He said, still not looking at the ground.

“And why don’t you want to sleep Andrew?”

“Because, I don’t want to see Ubloo.” He answered, shifting his gaze back up at me, and registering my reaction to that word.

“I’m sorry, who’s Ubloo?” (Pronounced “Oo-blue”) I asked curiously.

Andrew sighed. “Ubloo is a monster I see sometimes in my dreams, who controls them.”

“And how does this, “Ubloo” control your dreams Andrew?”

“Well I don’t know if his name is actually Ubloo or if that’s what it’s fucking called but that’s all it ever says. And I know he controls them because the shit that happens in my dreams when he’s there no one would ever dream of.” He said to me, his hands finally unclasped and balled into fists at his sides.

This was starting to get interesting, and I decided to go just a little deeper down the rabbit hole and asked the gnawing question; “And what sort of things have you dreamed of?”

“Look I’m not crazy. It’s not like I just go on these huge benders and dream of this fucked up thing. I used to be a star athlete and I was on pace to graduate valedictorian before this thing started fucking with me.” He was getting visibly angry.

“I don’t think you’re crazy.” I lied again. “If I did I’d have given up and told you to just go, I’m a psychiatrist, Andrew. I know crazy when I see it.” This seemed to calm him down just a little. “But you need to understand that I need to know everything before I can make a diagnosis of how to help you, so I’ll ask again; what sort of things have you dreamed of?”

I saw him unwind, and I knew I had broken through. “Terrible things.” He said. “People and things that I love, and just the worst imaginable things happening to them.” He was staring at the floor again.

“What sort of things, Andrew?”

“One time…” He swallowed hard. “One time I dreamt that I was stuck in a cage, in a basement I had never seen before, and there were three men in masks raping and beating my mother.”

This startled me, and I flinched a bit and he noticed. I was losing him. “Go on Andrew.” I said comfortingly, masking my shock as intrigue.

“She was calling out to me, and I was crying, and every time she would cry out to me or cry for help a man would hit her, and no matter how bad she bled she kept calling out, and they kept hitting her and violating her.”

Now I’ll interject here and say that normal people do not dream these things. Dreams like these are rare even among the most severe of psychopaths, and now I was starting to understand how Andrew had gone through so many psychiatrists in just a few years. Either he was a time bomb of the most criminal psychopath in history, or he had a new sleep disorder not yet seen in my field. The pros of diagnosing a new disorder were hugely outweighed by the cons of fostering a kid who could potentially make Ted Bundy look like purse snatcher.

I was shaken up but I managed to keep it together. In these situations it’s important not to get lost in the details and just nail down all your facts first. “How do you know that Ubloo was behind this dream?” I ask him.

“Because at the end of the dream, I always hear him make that horrible noise; ‘oo-blue!'” He mimicked, high pitched like the sound a small animal would make.

“And you always hear this noise? That’s how you know he ‘controlled’ your dream?”

“I always hear him, but sometimes I see him too, but only for a second, and then I wake up.”

“I see. Could you draw Ubloo for me Andrew?” I slid him a notepad and a pen. He looked confused at first, probably because I was (to him) believing every word, but he grabbed the pad of paper and began scribbling. I looked down at my watch, twenty minutes have passed, not bad, and then out the window at the sky, which was a clear shade of blue. I heard the pen hit the table and the notepad slide back over to me. I looked down at the pad and choked my leaping heart back down into my chest.

The thing had a long, dangling snout, almost like an elephants trunk with a tongue poking out. Its face was devoid of features aside from two large upright oval eyes that were completely black. It had six limbs and a long slender torso. It was hunched down, the back and middle knees were just a little above its body, it could obviously make itself very tall if need be. The feet were circular with six appendages sticking out, in all directions, all equidistant from the others. The front two legs were considerably longer, and had just two extremely long fingers on each hand, both at the top of its hand and in the same direction. It was eerie to look at. It had no clearly dangerous features; no claws no teeth, but still I couldn’t help but feel a chill on my spine when I examined it.

I snapped out of my state and looked back up at Andrew, who was staring at me and waiting apprehensively. I think I had my diagnosis. “Well Andrew, I think I know what’s going on.”

He didn’t look at all relieved. “Oh?” He said monotonously.

“Yes, I think what’s going on here is that you’ve been lu-”

“Lucid dreaming, yeah I thought that too.” He interrupted. I sat there shocked. “You think that I had some traumatic nightmare of this thing and now whenever I lucid dream I subconsciously insert it into my mind, which triggers a traumatic scenario to play out before me.”

Rarely in my ten years of practice I have been speechless, and I sat there mouth agape. Andrew stared back at me and I watched him smirk.

“I told you Doctor A, I’m not an idiot. I looked into all of this when it first started happening. That’s why I started using. I learned that opioids can suppress lucid dreaming and in the beginning they did, but eventually he kept worming his way in, and the more I used the harder he fought to keep coming back, so I tried the cocaine to keep me awake, but I found that made things worse. I stayed up too long, and I started experiencing microsleep. I didn’t know if I was awake or dreaming, and he must have learned this. You see, when it first started I could tell faintly that it was a dream. They all had this haziness effect on my comprehension, but when I would microsleep, the dreams were incredibly vivid. He learned, Doctor A, he learned that I was more afraid of the microsleep dreams and he somehow made every dream just as clear since.”

I honestly didn’t know what to say. Either Andrew was completely and utterly crazy, or so intelligent he was incubating his own insanity. I asked the only question I had left.

“When did you first dream of Ubloo?”

“It was right after my Father died.” He said, gaze shifting back to the floor. He killed himself, put a bullet in his head when I was seventeen. The night after the funeral I dreamt that I was standing over his grave, looking down at the grass. It was normal for a bit but then I heard him, I heard him screaming from in the ground, screaming for help, asking me to dig him out, but I couldn’t move. I was frozen. I stood there and listened to him banging on his coffin lid so hard the ground was pulsing and I heard him screaming in fear but I just couldn’t move, and then I heard it, ‘Ubloo’, and I woke up.”

I sat there staring at him for a long time. While his dismissal of lucid dreaming being a possibility is impressive, it’s not uncommon for children to link a traumatic event to something imaginary to better comprehend what’s happening. I was starting to gain some traction back.

“When was the first time you saw Ubloo?” He hesitated for a half second but then he began talking.

“One time I dreamt of my dog, Buster. I was standing behind this great big fence, and I was just a kid so I couldn’t climb it. Buster was on the other side of a busy freeway, just sitting there looking at me, and I knew–somehow I knew–he was going to try to cross and come see me, and I knew he wouldn’t make it. He ran into the freeway and got hit by a car instantly. I screamed and I cried but the car didn’t stop, it just kept going. Buster was laying there broken and bleeding. I saw him try to get up, and he tried to crawl forward, and another car came speeding by and hit him again. It kept happening, I kept watching him get hit and torn to shreds by these cars, they just never stopped. That was the first time I saw him. I heard him right in my ear, ‘Ubloo!’ and then I turned and his face was an inch from mine, his huge black eyes staring right at me, and then I woke up.”

He was shaking now, and I could tell he was close to breaking down. I had to stop pushing him.

“Alright Andrew, I think this is a good place to stop today.” I stood up and walked over to my desk and got a prescription pad.

Andrew sat there and blinked at me. “You’re gonna… You’re gonna give me something to stop it?”

“For now I’m going to give you something to suppress your dreaming. Until I can diagnose where these dreams have been coming from, it’s important that you get a good night of sleep, help you clear your thoughts. I’m helping you to help me help you, get it?”

He blinked again. “Yes, I get it, thank you. They have drugs to suppress dreaming?”

“Well technically no. There’s a new drug called cyproheptadine that is used in treatment of hay fever, but one of the side effects is a suppression of dreaming–nightmares specifically–especially those induced by post-traumatic stress disorder.”

I kept writing the prescription in silence, and I could feel Andrew’s eyes on me. “But it’s not from PTSD, it’s from Ubloo.”

“I know that Andrew” I lied to him for the final time. “But it’ll work just as well at keeping Ubloo out of your dreams as well.”

This got to him. He was overjoyed and sprung up from the couch. He kept thanking me and telling me that I was the best Doctor he’s ever seen. That he finally felt like he had a fighting chance. I couldn’t help but smile at this, I guess it’s the reason I stuck with this practice after so long. I walked him to the door and shook his hand. He looked me straight in the eyes, smiling for the first time since I met him, and left my office.

That was the last time I would see Andrew Jennings alive.

A week went by and the next Monday, Andrew didn’t come in. Now normally I’d breathe a sigh of relief, tell my secretary I was heading out and grab a coffee down the street, but I couldn’t help but wonder about Andrew. I had thought about these dreams he had ever since he left, and truth be told I was almost looking forward to getting an update from him. I left my office and told my secretary I was heading out and to cancel my next appointment. In my hand I had the bill for Andrew Jennings for our last session, which had his address on it.

He was staying in an apartment building his Mother owned just outside of town. It was about a 15 minute drive from my office. I managed to slip in through the front door of the building as someone was leaving and found his name on the directory. His name was just written down on paper so I could tell he hasn’t been here long, in fact his Mother probably set him up here just so he’d be closer to my office, to ease his commute.

He was the last unit on the first floor. I made the long, arduous walk down the hall until I finally stopped at his door. I paused for a second and thought about what I was doing, but my curiosity got the better of me and I knocked loudly three times.

No answer. No sound of movement inside. After I had listened for a good while I knocked again, louder.

“Andrew, this is Doctor A. Can you come to the door please?”

Still nothing. I tried the door knob and surprisingly it twisted all the way. I felt the weight of the door lift and I could tell it was open.

I can’t tell you how long I stood there, hand on the door knob, just thinking. Thinking about how this would look; Doctor allows himself entry into Patient’s apartment. Doctor potentially finds Patient loaded on heroin, or potentially overdosed. Overdosed on heroin, but possibly the new drug he prescribed to him–a known user–just a week ago. But what was worse, was thinking about those horrible dreams he told me about, as just a piece of wood separated himself and I.

I took a deep breath and opened the door.

The first thing I noticed was that the shades were drawn, and there was no light save for a low wattage lamp in the corner. The air was stale and musky, and laid out on the table were needles and spoons and empty baggies.

I walked through the living room and saw no signs of Andrew. There was a hallway just off the wall that the couch was against. I took out my phone and turned the flashlight on. I walked down the hall slowly, my breath short and my hands shaking. There was a door immediately to my left that was agape. Carefully, I peered around the corner and shined my flashlight inside. It was the bathroom. Moderately dirty but not the worst I had seen. There were no signs of struggle, no vomit in the toilet, nothing that would indicate a potential overdose.

I let out a minor sigh of relief and turned back into the hall. There was only one door left, straight ahead. It was shut completely, all white with a silver knob. I stood there in the dark with my flashlight and looked for a light switch. These apartments were old. The switch must be in Andrew’s room, behind this door.

Realizing it wasn’t getting any easier, and swallowing my nerves I began to creep forward toward the door. Every step felt like a mile. My feet felt clumsy and my legs heavy. By the time I reached the door it felt like an hour had passed. I sat there and just stared into the bare white door, raised my hand and lightly rapped my knuckles against the wood.

“Andrew?” I asked as I knocked, the door creaking and gently swaying inward. Through the crack I could make out the faint outline of a person, and pushed the door open fully.

Andrew was on the ground, propped up and sitting in the corner, his skin pale and white, his bright green eyes staring wide at the door that I had just came through.

I stood there and stared at him in complete shock. It was the first time I had ever seen a dead body outside of a casket. It just looked so void and lifeless. I noticed blood on the carpet, and that his fingernails were split and bleeding, pried back from his finger in some places. I somehow managed to find the light switch and flick it on, that’s when I saw it.

“THE END IS THE BEGINNING”

It was carved deeply into the wood next to him. I stared at it just long enough to see what it said when the smell hit me. The most foul thing I had ever smelled, and in that moment it all set in and I felt more nauseous than I ever have in my life.

I sprinted out into the hallway and vomited immediately. I stood there bent over vomiting when an elderly woman a few doors down opened her door and gasped when she saw me.

“CALL 911!” I yelled to her, vomiting again. I heard her door slam shut and I tried to make my way down the hallway to the lobby, stopping every 20 or so feet to gag.

When the emergency responders came they pronounced him dead at the scene. They must have been used to this sort of thing because they didn’t seem too phased by it.

I gave a statement to the police and told them he was a patient of mine, and that I was checking in. They didn’t seem too suspicious and told me that if they needed anything else they would call. I left my business card with them and walked back to my car. As I started to pull out a car came screeching into the parking lot and I saw a woman get out. It was Mrs. Jennings. She was bawling and screaming and a few officers had to restrain her.

“THAT’S MY BABY! NO PLEASE GOD NO!” She yelled as she tried to fight through the policemen. I watched as much as I could bear and drove out of the parking lot. I called my secretary and told her to cancel all my meetings for the day, stopped at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey and drove myself home. I sat there and drank in silence for a long time. Eventually I turned the ball game on and ordered some food, but when it came I couldn’t bring myself to eat.

By the time I had finished the bottle it was getting late. I stood up and stumbled down the hall to my bedroom, kicked off my shoes and fell face first into my mattress. I laid there thinking about Andrew, about his pale lifeless body propped up in the corner staring at me with those big green eyes, about his last message “the end is the beginning” echoing through my brain trying to find a rhyme or reason to it. My thoughts were growing slower and my eyelids growing heavy. “the end is the beginning” playing over and over in my head. I felt myself just listing off to sleep when I heard it. From no where and everywhere all at once.

“Ubloo.”

Credit To – DifferentWind

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May 2015 Discussion Post: Very Superstitious

May 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM

This month, I’d like to discuss superstitions!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a superstition is a belief that two things are connected, despite a lack of any concrete proof. As an example, one of the most famous superstitions is that breaking a mirror will curse you with seven years of bad luck. There’s no true evidence that any actual causation exists here, yet this belief is still passed down over generations.

So tell us:

Do you subscribe to any beliefs that could be called superstitions? If so, why? Do you have anecdotes of your superstitions appearing true? Do you remember when you first learned any of your superstitions?

If you don’t personally believe any superstitions, but you have familial or cultural superstitions that you’d like to share, please do! Very often these beliefs appear, evolve and spread within certain regions or groups, and I’ve always found it fascinating to compare notes.

If you have any theories or stories about how a specific superstition developed, please feel free to share with us!

The only guidelines here are the general commenting rules: be polite and don’t use this topic as an excuse to troll or insult each other.

Obligatory soundtrack incoming:

…now have fun!

My Creation

May 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Being a programmer, one of my dreams has always been to create an original video game, something that nobody in the industry has done before.

After seeing Spore, I became intrigued. Here was an attempt at putting people in control over a universe. After looking at what made videogames popular, I realized the main aspect was control.

People in their daily lives have no control over their environment. They are told what to do, where to go, and how to live. Their jobs consist of standing or sitting somewhere until it’s 5 PM and they’re allowed to head back home. It’s no mystery they’re unhappy.

For many people videogames are an escape to a world where they are in control, or live exciting fake lives filled with adventure. The aspect of control is found in strategy games, the adventure in role playing games generally.

I looked at games like the Sims, and noticed what made them so popular is not just the illusion of control, but the degree of control. You have complete control over people’s lives.

Before the Sims, there was Sim Earth. A game in which you do not control individual people, but an entire Earth! I came to the conclusion that I had to develop a game similar to Spore, in which the player subtly “guides” evolution. What caused Spore to be such a failure is the lack of realistic control people had. It hardly resembled evolution.

To do this, I began by generating a physics system. I know little of physics but decided to study it, and try to create a simplified version in which certain particles can interact, in specific manners. When it comes down to it, physics is simply complex mathematics.

I simulated energy, and matter, and created a simple system, with a sun emitting energy, circled by a planet catching said energy.

I decided to create simple basic cells from scratch, that were “hardcoded” so to speak in the system I was designing. They lived of off the energy emitted by my sun, and had a “genetic” code that coded for the substances produced by the cells. I guess you could call them my eukaryotes.

My world within a few minutes would always fill with these cells, after which they would mutate, and the most efficient cell in converting energy from the sun into useful substances for division would survive. It was very boring, but it worked I guess.

I decided to expand the physics system, and force the cells to create waste products, that were toxic and would kill them. I noticed that some cells responded to this by producing less waste. Others responded by producing something to emit the waste. Yet others developed chemicals to clean up the waste products.

However, I noticed something fascinating. Running the simulation for a few centuries (a few minutes in real life), created cells that made massive amounts of specific waste products on purpose. I noticed that other cells died as a result of this, to which the other cells responded by usurping the building blocks they had created from energy. The first predators were born.

With the first predators, diversity in this little world rapidly increased. Some grew a response to flee when they encountered these toxins. Others grew resistance to them. The ones that grew resistance would eventually grow to utilize the toxins products.

Eventually I noticed something interesting. The cells that escaped from the toxin grouped up with the cells that utilized the toxins. They stayed close together, and helped each other. Eventually these type of cells would attach to one another. They formed a weird symbiosis, where the cell that would normally flee, would now move towards places where the toxins are, and the other cell would consume the toxins and provide the “mover” with some of the energy.

Without going into too much detail, I became very excited, and decided to let this simulation run during the morning (I had stayed up until 5 AM), while I went to bed. When I woke up at around 11, I noticed the world I had created had changed, and was barely recognizable.

Massive plant-like structures grew in this world, consumed by other organism that ate these plants. However, looking at the log, I noticed the world hadn’t changed much in the past two hours or so. I had reached another “stasis point”, where the simplicity of my simulation prevented more complex life from evolving.

I expanded the system, by breaking up “energy” into different types, with different wavelengths that were absorbed to different degrees by different molecules. I implemented vibrations in the air, created an improved simulation of weight, and made some more minor tweaks.

This caused the simulation to run slower of course, but it was worth the sacrifice. I stayed around the whole day watching the simulation in excitement, and playing with it, as it was incredibly addicting. Complex organisms evolved, that cooperated. Plants that depended on each other, or attracted predators that ate the horrible looking creatures that ate from them.

I had fun, and noticed that some creatures evolved “warning calls”. This means that if they noticed a predator, they would issue a sound, and all others of their kind would flee into holes they had dug in the earth. Others evolved “mating calls”.

I decided to have some fun. I made a dump tool, allowing me to dump specific organisms on the Earth, and wrote my name with it. I created 10 “meteorites”, and dumped them on a piece of land to create an island, because I wanted to see whether the animals stuck on both sides would evolve in different directions. I made a smiley-island with volcanic eruptions.

By that time I realized I had stayed up until 5 AM again, as I heard the birds outside. I felt tired again, and woke up at 1 PM or so. When I looked at my simulation again, I felt a sense of shock.

Different groups of animals of one species had made statues with stones. Some in the form of a smiley. Some in the form of my name. I didn’t know why they were doing this, or how. What I did notice is that they would attack each other from time to time.

I didn’t know what to do with it, but I concluded that these organisms must have somehow noticed that the smiley and the name I had written were “special”. The fighting disturbed me, and so I decided to create a massive mountain ridge through volcanic eruptions to separate the two groups.

By this time, changes were happening fast, compared to earlier. While I had to spend a night sleeping to see tribes evolve in my simulation, while I was getting something to eat or take I bathroom break, I would notice the tribesmen wearing different styles of clothing, or having changed their type of dwelling.

Their numbers were also continually increasing. At some point, I noticed the creatures began making their own symbols on the ground, and no longer just copying mine. Most of the symbols seemed random and unintelligible to me, but one stood out.

The organisms had created a symbol that resembled them. A small circle, with a square beneath it. Within the square, a dot could be found in the center. This was meant to symbolize the visual organs of the creature, as the creature had two visual organs, one in the front of it’s body, and one in the back. In the square, other sensory and reproductive organs were symbolized.

Next to the circle on top of the square could be seen something resembling a drawing of a fork. Two of these forks had been painted in opposite direction. And next to that the smiley face could be seen.

I realized something. They were not communicating towards each other. They were trying to communicate to something “out there”. My meddling in their landscape had somehow made them realize that something powerful was out there, capable of changing their world.

I wondered, whether symbols like Stonehenge and the Pyramids in my own world, could be signs of primitive people trying to do the same thing. Begging their creator or overseer to initiate contact with them. However, one thing was undeniable by now. These creatures realized there is something out there.

I wondered long. Did I have a responsibility to initiate contact with something that isn’t real? Or are these creatures real in a different way? Can something be real, merely by being capable of having a concept of itself? And even if they are real, does that mean they will be better off with me initiating contact with them? Should I change my simulation, to ensure them permanent happiness? And is it even possible for me to do such a thing?

I did not want to confirm my existence to them, but I did want to be able to communicate with them. I decided to program a “prophet”. An organism that looks like them, and can not be proven by them to be different from themselves, and is fully controlled by me.

I let it be born into a powerful position, as the son of a leader. I decided to lead by example, and seek to teach these creatures English, so I could communicate with them. As prophet, I instructed them that English was the language we could use to communicate with the “greater one”. They would have no way to be sure if it was true or not.

I hadn’t made up my mind yet about whether I would reveal myself or not. But I did want to be capable of understanding what they wanted to tell me. In a few generations. They all spoke English.

And rapidly, signs began emerging on the ground in English.

“GUIDE US” “SHOW YOUR GREATNESS” “HELP US”

And, during times of disease or hunger or general misery:

“GIVE US FOOD” “SHOW US A MIRACLE” “END OUR SUFFERING”

I decided that I couldn’t maintain a world with such suffering as emerged in the simulation without intervening. Why would I accept a world with death and rape and murder, if I could make on without it?

I implemented fixes that were gradual, so they could not be proven to be miraculous. Murder and rape would over the years become rarer, and so would death at a young age.

I figured that they would not notice if the change happened over generations, but they did.

“THANK YOU”

“ALL BLESSINGS BE UPON THE GREATEST”

“WE LOVE YOU”

And, most heart-breaking:

“COME BACK TO US”

Tears ran over my face. There is something there. And it knows I am here, able to contact them, but unwilling to do so out of fear of what I have created.

But, I felt I had a responsibility.

And so I loaded up the character I had created again, and went to their King, asking to talk to all their wisest men. But, by this time, I was not believed.

“You are number 1341 claiming to be an avatar of the Greatest One. If you are him, I pray for your forgiveness, but please, show us a sign, before demanding of me to gather all our wisest men.”

And so I hesitated, but responded.

“Tomorrow there shall be two more meteors, falling on a deserted island in the sea before you, on the same day. And when they do, doubt no more and realize that I have come back to repair the broken world that I created.”

And so I exited my avatar, and progressed the simulation until the next day was reached, and threw two meteors on the deserted island before the mainland, where thousands had gathered to watch whether a sign would be given.

Upon the descent of the meteors, celebrations were held. All the sentient organisms gathered around the small house where I had exited my avatar, and lay flat on the ground, in apparent worship of the man who was last seen there, and afraid of coming close.

I don’t know who was more afraid by now, me or them. I loaded into my avatar again, and exited the house. The creatures continued to lay flat on the ground, in utter silence. It is as if they felt unworthy of speaking.

“Let your wisest man stand up.” I told them.

And up stood one of these bizarre looking creatures.

“Thank you for coming back. Pray tell us, do you have any requests of us?”

I hesitated, before saying “There is nothing you can do for me that pleases me, but for you to be good to one another, and to contact me with your wishes and fears.”

The creature responded “We know you come from a different world, and we are afraid. We understand how vulnerable we are, and how incomplete our experience is. Please, allow us to join you in the world that you created our world from.”

I began crying behind my computer, as I responded “I do not know how”.

The creature responded: “At risk of offending you, please understand the severity of our situation. By living in a world that is incomplete, we are at constant risk of disappearing forever, never to be seen again. We would never even consciously realize that our end had come.”

I realized that they were unable to comprehend that I only had absolute power within their world and not outside of it. They also did not realize that my knowledge of their world was limited. I may have created it through simple laws, but those simple laws gave way to a reality of its own that is more complex than I can comprehend.

I responded again “I only have power in your world. In my world I have no power, and so I can not bring you there, because my world is not under my control. I also do not understand the world I have created. I do not know what is best for you. Only you do, and you have to inform me what you want.”

And the man waited for a moment. I was about to think they were going to end communicating with me, before their wisest man responded:

“You have created a world that is incomplete, with creatures that can not escape it, and you have no power to save them. They are completely unfree, and they have no power. We are completely at your mercy, and so we ask you from the deepest of our heart:

End us.”

By now I was crying, as I was confused and asked to do the impossible. My own child was asking me to kill it.

This is when I noticed the lights in my room flickering, before my computer suddenly shut down. I screamed. Upon trying to turn on my computer again, I noticed it wasn’t working. I called the power company, who told me that due to an accident, a power surge had travelled through the grid. They promised me they would pay me for any damage done.

I hung up and contemplated. The coincidence of what had just happened was too great to be imaginable. And I wondered. If these creatures were at the mercy of a confused creator, could the same be said of me? And is so, did my creator just prevent me from repeating his own mistake?

Credit To – unpatriotic

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