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The Missive of Jeriah Dowd

November 7, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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It was about a year ago, in June of 1928, that I entered the New England convalescent’s home where I sit writing this missive. I do not wish to record its exact location, for if this manuscript somehow reaches the outside world I do not want unsavory and foolish callers questioning me about what I am about to write, about the things I saw in that jungle.

I arrived in Bolivia in February of 1928, landing at Arica in Chile and traveling overland to that country’s high inland plateau. With me I brought only one companion, the illustrious Doctor Aleister Braithwaite of Miskatonic University. The good Doctor was one of the leading experts in linguistics in the country. He knew tens of languages both currently living and millennia dead, and, especially pertinent to this expedition, specialized in the languages of the natives of South Africa. While convenient, this area was not where we both expected him to truly flex his skills. His research into old tongues had also given him an appreciation of history and archaeology, and we were on the track of something much older and stranger than South African language. With the combination of my own intrepid abilities in exploration and bushwhacking and the Doctor’s quick linguistic wit, we believed there was no way our quarry could evade us. Not a day goes by that I do not regret that our belief was right.

Shortly after our twosome arrived at our La Paz apartments, we began to inquire after our goal, and after the actions and whereabouts of a talkative white man in a bicorn hat. This man was my good friend Charles McAlister, known back home in Providence for his effervescent manner and signature archaic headgear. It was McAlister who had given us the information that precipitated our trip. He had spent three years in Bolivia, both in the cities and among the small jungle villages, where often old languages and customs run deep. It was from the latter that he first heard rumors of an ancient city deep in the primeval jungles of the Amazon. Supposedly, this city was ancient beyond the memories of man, built of Cyclopean blocks of basalt covered with indecipherable decisions. Supposedly the place’s original inhabitants had died out millennia ago, but such were the rumors of their sacrilegious dark arts and disgusting acts of cannibalism and human sacrifice that none of the locals had ever tried to enter the place or make it their own. In fact, the ancient inhabitants of this supposed city were so feared that it was a taboo to speak of them or their now-overgrown home. McAlister only managed to obtain so much information by plying the locals with expensive whisky.

McAlister had related all this and more to me in a letter which I’d received a few months ago. Besides the information above, he informed me that the rumored location of the ancient city was a day’s march from a southerly village called Yaku-Sumaq, literally meaning good water in the local dialect. McAlister concluded by saying he was departing to Yaku-Sumaq the next morning in search of the nameless city. The date next to his signature was from several weeks before I received the letter.

I was vaguely interested in the matter of the ancient city, and awaited correspondence from McAlister regarding his mission. However, nearly two months passed without a peep from him. However, at that time a letter from Bolivia arrived in my mailbox. Its writer was an English expatriate called Samuel Browne, who lived in La Paz. Charles had left my address with him, along with instructions to mail me were he to go missing. According to the letter, this condition had been met: McAlister had not been seen since a few days after he wrote the original letter. After a short internal deliberation, I decided that I must go to Bolivia to find him. However eccentric he was, he was my good friend since childhood. Due to the ancient mysteries that potentially figured in Charles’ disappearance, I decided it would be necessary to bring along an expert, and I found an eager one in Dr. Braithwaite. As soon as I related the rumors of the ancient city to him, his eyes sparkled in scholarly fervor and he agreed to take ship with me to Bolivia.

As I said, Dr. Braithwaite and I began searching for Charles McAlister as soon as we arrived in La Paz. The final location we visited was the home of Samuel Browne. Browne welcomed us in, poured some tea, and asked “Mr. Dowd, I presume? You are here to inquire about the whereabouts of Mr. McAlister?”

“Yes, I am,” I replied. “Have you seen him since mailing me?”

“I’m afraid not,” Browne said. He was here months ago in that ridiculous old hat to give me your address, and since then I have seen neither hide nor hair of him. I believe it’s been more than month now. A few weeks ago I heard rumors of an oddly-dressed foreigner out in one of the jungle villages, but that’s it.”

This was disquieting news. I had entertained a feeble hope that Charles had turned up sometime between receiving Browne’s letter and our arrival, but it seemed this was not the case. “When he visited you last,” I asked, “what did you notice? Any strange behaviors? Stranger than normal, I mean?”

Browne rubbed his hand against his chin, as if stroking a nonexistent beard. “Hmmm…He was talking quite animatedly about some sort of ruined city when he visited. He left on an expedition to find it the next day.”

“Did he mention any sort of planning for his expedition? Buying provisions? Hiring porters or guides?” I said.

Browne frowned. “Nothing of the sort. Only that he hoped to be at his destination in less than a week’s time.”

I sighed. It was just like McAlister to go haring off into the jungle without the slightest preparation. I dearly hoped we would find him safe and sound, but I did not let myself entertain much hope. Dr. Braithwaite and I thanked Browne for his time and took our leave.

It took us a week to get to Yaku-Sumaq, seven stinking days in the back of a donkey cart. As much as I’d mentally admonished McAlister for not adequately preparing for his jungle trek, we had not done much better. In the interest of haste, between the two of us we had nothing but some long-keeping provisions, bushwhacking supplies such as machetes, hatchets, and rope, firestarting equipment and some camping pots to boil water and cook in. It was our plan to try to hire a guide who knew the local jungle in Yaku-Sumaq itself.

We arrived as the sun was setting on our seventh day on the road. To our surprise we found not the squalid collection of thatch-roofed hovels we had expected, but a relatively modern set of muddy streets lined with wood-framed buildings, which we later learned had been funded by logging companies interested in the area’s trees. The one closest to us was a tavern, with a barroom on the ground floor and lodgings above. Braithwaite and I walked in, eager to wash a week’s worth of dust from our throats.

The barroom was at about three-fourths capacity, split near-equally between white men and natives of the area. Sitting down at the bar, Braithwaite ordered a pint, and I asked for the same along with two fingers of whiskey. After resting for a few minutes, we began to ask the other patrons about bicorn-wearing McAlister and his mythic, cannibal-haunted destination. No one we asked about McAlister had seen hide nor hair of him. Similarly, none of the whites we asked about the ancient city knew any more of it than we did. Most hadn’t even heard of it before we questioned them. In contrast, the natives said nothing when we queried them, only shook their heads or stared levelly at Braithwaite and I with dark, hooded eyes.

Our information-gathering fruitless, we bought a room from the proprietor. We were about to ascend the steps and prepare for sleep when a voice called to us. “I heard you asking about Qu’xtl earlier.” The voice came from a dark corner of the barroom. “Your friend was asking about it too, weeks ago.”

“Q-Qu’xtl?” I said, mouth stumbling over the weird, almost inhuman syllables.

“The city in the jungle. All built of basalt, and cursed. The one you were asking about. Qu’xtl,” came the gruff reply.

Even the name of our previously unidentified target sent a chill down my spine. The archaic, unnatural syllables conjured up visions of horrid rites perpetrated in darkest night, of fell ceremonies honoring nameless gods forgotten by civilized man.

I paced over to the corner, with Dr. Braithwaite close behind. The cryptic speaker sat at a poorly-lit table, an untouched mug of ale in front of him. His face was as tanned and lined as an old boot, speaking of a life spent out in the elements. He was missing several teeth, and a dull iron ring pierced one ear. We sat down in front of him. “Do you know where this Qu’xtl is located?” Braithwaite asked, his trained mouth pronouncing the name much better than I had. “Did our friend go there?”

“Go there he did, no matter that I warned him not to a hundred times,” the grizzled man replied.

“Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” I barged in. “And I don’t believe I got your name.”

“Haas,” the man said, and stuck out his hand.

I reluctantly shook it. “Jeriah,” I said.

“To answer your other question,” Haas continued, “Qu’xtl is not something that’s talked about in this town. It wouldn’t be good for me to be seen speaking of it.”

“What can you tell us about it?” Braithwaite asked quickly, returning the conversation to the topic at hand.

Haas finally took a swig of his drink. “Them who as built it were an old people, older than anything else here. They’d been dead and gone for eons before the Incas got started. They worshipped a jungle-god whom required human sacrifice, and they ate each other too.”

“Yes, quite scary,” I returned. “We’ve heard it all before. But you say the place’s been abandoned for millennia. Why is it so dangerous now?”

Haas breathed out a long sigh. “Them as go there, don’t return. None of them.”

At this point I practically exploded. I was tired of the man’s cryptic antics. “Then why did you tell McAlister where it was? You’ve killed him!”

At this, Haas met my eyes for the first time. His eyes were old, that much was plain, and full of sorrow. “I warned him,” said Haas in a desperate, almost pleading tone. “ A hundred times and more I warned him, but he wasn’t having it. I believe every man has the right to make his own choices, and your friend’s-McAlister’s-choice was to go to Qu’xtl and doom himself. I…am sorry.” He sagged back in his chair, looking spent and broken.

Braithwaite, who had been ready to intervene after my outburst, relaxed after seeing me do the same.

I sighed and paused a minute to clear my head. “I am sorry as well. You are not to blame for our friend’s disappearance. But still, I would like-“

“A day’s march northeast of here, down a ravine,” Haas interrupted. “You’ll know you’re on the right track when you see the standing stones,”

“Er-thank you,” Braithewaite said. “But aren’t you going to warn us away?”

Haas looked at him. “You wouldn’t listen. You need to find your friend, yes?”

“Yes,” I said firmly. “Now, Doctor, let’s get some sleep.”

Braithwaite looked at me, then Haas. “Er-Thank you,” he said, and the old man nodded. Braithwaite followed me up the stairs, and we both fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow, exhausted after our overland journey.

We woke up bright and early the next morning, and set off to the northeast. For a little while the two of us were able to stay in the cleared area near Yaku-Sumaq, and the going was easy. Then, we reached the edge of the jungle. This part of the forest was relatively young, and our progress was dramatically slowed due to the thick undergrowth. The masses of bushes and vines were tough and spiny, and full of many insects and noisy small animals. We took turns on point hacking our way through with machetes and hatchets, but even with the trading-off going was slow for a few hours. However, after scraping our way through a particularly thick patch of thorny vines we found a reprieve as the underbrush thinned.

We had entered an older part of the rainforest, where the trees had grown so high they had blocked most of the sunlight and prevented it from reaching any plants lower to the ground. Compared to the close-up tangle of the younger section, this area conjured ideas of a huge, natural cathedral. The calls of the animals practically echoed in the spaces between the massive tree-trunks.

It was only a few minutes after entering the older growth that we spotted the first sign of our destination. I would have missed it in the arboreal gloom, but Braithwaite’s keen eyes spotted it. “Look!” Excitedly, he pointed. “That must be one of the standing stones Haas told us about.”

Indeed, it was. Braithwaite was pointing to a tall basalt pillar, about fifteen feet in height. It was as big around as the wheel of an automobile at the bottom, and tapered parabolically to a sort of point at the top. Its great age was evidenced by the thick patches of moss and lichen covering much of its surface.

“Quite impressive that it’s managed to stand this long. But what is that near the top?” I pointed to the metal plaque set into the stone near its apex. It was dark green, as it tarnished, but the verdigris was no color I’d seen before. The moss and fungus on the rest of the stone seemed to have grown around it. Deeply graven into its surface was an odd symbol. It was a five-pointed star with long, wavy arms that reminded me of tentacles. In its center, there was a wide, staring eye.

Braithwaite stared at the plaque for a while, then spoke. “Hmmm. I’ve never seen a pentagram drawn quite like that. Perhaps it represents growth, of plants, or of territory? It could stand for a land feature, like some kind of way-marker.”

“What about the eye?” I said, a bit disappointed with his vagueness.

“That’s a bit easier. The eye is a symbol of vigilance and guarding. It is a mark of warning, one that keeps things out. Or perhaps in.”

I wished I hadn’t asked. Braithwaite’s ominous answer had sent a mild chill down my spine. For the first time, the strange circumstances surrounding Qu’Xtl , combined with the cryptic stone, were making me consider the possibility of the rumored “curse” being in some way real.

Dr. Braithwaite and I continued our march through the old forest. As the sun sunk lower in the sky, we passed three more markers, one leaning over, one toppled by tree roots, and one standing like the first. Each was made of the same black basalt, and each was capped with the star-and-eye symbol on a dark green plaque. I touched the plaque on the toppled column, and the strangely-colored metal sent a strange, undefinably wrong feeling up my arm when I touched it.

Soon after passing the third standing stone, we happened upon a ravine. “This must be where the city is,” said Braithwaite, still managing to sound excited, though both of us were sweating profusely in the Amazonian heat. I gave a nod in response, and we began the treacherous descent into the valley. Most of the time, we got by carefully using trees as handholds, but for a few very steep sections, we had to use the rope. We left segments of it at these steep sections in anticipation of ascending the same way when we left.

It was when we reached the valley floor that the first true sign of horror reached us. Braithwaite was the first to reach the bottom, dropping off of the rope from about three feet off the ground. I, up above him, heard a disgusting squelch closely followed by a yelp of surprise. I jumped down and saw Braithwaite, back against a tree, pointing silently with a look of horror on his face. I looked to where he was pointing and nearly retched.

There on the ground was an abomination, an utter affront to the natural order of the world. It was a patch of human-like flesh, spread on the ground like moss. It had peeling skin burnt red by the sun, and was studded with coarse black hairs. Gangrenous wounds and suppurating lesions mottled it with discoloration and pus. The stink coming off it was astounding, and as I stared at in in terror I realized its surface was slowly moving up and down, as if it was respiring.

From my left, there was a choked sound from Braithwaite. “Wh-wh-wh-wh-“

“Stop!” I cut him off. “Hold yourself together. Remember our mission. Remember McAlister.” At this Braithwaite took several deep breaths and calmed himself. “But what is-“

“It doesn’t matter. That’s not why we’re here.” Despite my stoic outward appearance, I was at least as shaken up as Braithwaite. That thing on the ground was [i]wrong[/i].

We started moving up the valley. We saw more and more patches of the flesh-moss, on the ground and once crawling up a tree. All of it was an unhealthy and reeking as the first patch. We also began to see evidence of ancient structures. There were foundations and toppled walls and stacks of Cyclopean blocks, all made of the same basalt as the standing stones. Finally, we reached an arch of the same material, about twenty feet high. Beyond were buildings more intact than any we had so far seen. It was the entrance to Qu’xtl proper.

Braithwaite and I went through, studiously avoiding patches of the flesh-stuff growing under the arch. The only sounds were the strange, choked calls of the monkeys in the trees. They sounded somehow…off to me, though at the time I did not know why. Immediately after passing through, we noticed the evident sophistication of the buildings. They were built of massive basalt blocks, cunningly joined without mortar and even reaching two stories in some places. There were what we surmised to be residences, granaries, offices of government, and a paved square that could have been a marketplace. Evident throughout it all was great age. The buildings were far too old and weathered to be as sophisticated as they were, at least according to conventional archaeology. Despite the oldness, none of the buildings seemed to have any sort of plant life on them. Instead, the loathsome flesh-moss crawled up walls and around doorways like the fat surrounding a glutton’s heart.

Set into some of the walls were sunk reliefs made of the same dark green metal as the plaques on the standing stones. The ones in the residential buildings showed a wide variety of scenes, from farming and hunting with slings and what seemed to be relatively modern plows, to scenes of cannibalism and ritual sacrifice to horrible to describe. Nothing significant could be learned from these reliefs until we reached what seemed to have been Qu’xtl’s Capitol building.

While it had originally been two stories, the top floor had blown over in some storm and its pieces scattered. It was among these we found the most significant relief. It showed the tentacle star and eye symbol that had been on the standing stones, but much larger. Under it was incised some writing in a strange alphabet I had not seen before. Braithwaite’s eyes, however, lit up when he saw it. “Why, it looks like a degenerate form of Sumerian cuneiform! No, a protoform! Though, how could it have gotten to Mesopotamia, hmm, perhaps-“

“Can you read it?” I interrupted, gently as I could under the circumstances.

“Er-yes, just a minute.” He stared at the dense writing. “It says ‘Thus it is, and so shall it be, for YOG-SOTHOTH is and shall be, and He is the spawn of YOG-SOTHOTH. He grows, and rots, and grows again, for he is the Hungry Pestilence-just a moment, this next word is odd-for he is the Hungry Pestilence, N’HOR-N’TH.’”

At this last word, this hellish name, my blood ran cold. I had seen these names once before, in an often-banned occult tome owned by an acquaintance named Pickman. It was the Genus Caelestia Sphaera, the Lineage of Celestial Spheres, and it purported to be a list of the incomprehensible and horible gods that even now slept and warred throughout the cosmos and the darker spaces outside of it. If Braithwaite was reading the name correctly, and the book was to be believed, the so-called “curse” of Qu’xtl was all too real.

I did not tell Braithwaite of the horror that struck me, as he was an academic and did not put much stock in the supernatural. We merely continued up the ravine until we reached its end, still with no sign of McAlister. The end of the valley was a cliff of stark black stone. At its base was a wide doorway, its frame and jamb made of precisely chiseled basalt. Above it, cut into the cliff, was a strangely asymmetrical five-branched symbol. The workmanship was very rough and primitive, as if the chiseled symbol was even older than the rest of the city. Perhaps this tunnel was the mine from which the basalt was quarried. The darkness inside looked cold and foreboding. Even more troubling, though, was the fact that the flesh-moss made a solid carpet inside the tunnel. As much as it revolted me, I was going to have to go in there to look for McAlister.

“Stay here,” I told Braithwaite. “If I’m not out in half an hour, get the hell out of here and try to get help.”

“Are you really going to-“

“Yes. I have to.” I removed the flashlight from my pack and plunged into the darkness. My feet sank into the fleshy substance coating the floor, and I thought I could feel it breathing faster as I passed, like it was angered or upset. The stench was so thick I worried I would ignite it with the torch. Luckily, the passage was relatively short. It widened into a massive cubical room cut into the mountain itself. I exhaled in relief to be out of the close confines of the tunnel, but by reprieve was short-lived, for I then laid eyes on the thing in the center of the room.

It was a massive lump of flesh, higher than a man and three times as wide. Its skin was oily, scabrous, fishlike. Weeping sores and tumorous, malignant lumps covered its entire surface. As the light of my torch fell upon it, it shivered with a jiggling motion that nearly made me vomit. The lumps and tumors upon its skin shifted and swirled, until a sort of crease opened and a massive, pus-filled, weeping eye peered out from within. It focused on me and in that instant I know that I nearly went mad at the knowledge it filled me with. Mercifully, I have forgotten most of it, but I still dream of what’s left. Even in the waking world, I imagine the fields of graves and coruscating swirls of blackness on darkness that it showed me, and I nearly faint.

After a moment the eye closed, but the crease that had concealed it soon opened again. This time, something new was behind it.

A mouth.

It was thirty feet of lesion-crusted horror, the thousands of blackened teeth in multiple rows relatively tiny. Human.

Stuck in some of them, I saw a chewed, sodden, bicorn hat.

It was then that I broke and ran. Behind me the thing gargled in its cave, and I felt a tug on my pants as I sprinted. I dared the briefest of glimpses downward and saw that the flesh-carpet beneath me was studded with mouths. I somehow managed to avoid them until exiting the tunnel, where the flesh thinned out. “RUN!” I screamed to Braithwaite, but he was already doing so. We tore through Qu’xtl as if the devil himself was behind us. I knew it was actually something worse. The air was filled with the choking and gargling of the flesh-moss. I dodged the patches as best I could. At one point Braithwaite briefly fell behind with a cry before catching back up. I looked down and saw blood running down his leg. Finally, we reached our ropes and scrambled up the wall of the ravine as fast as we could.

There is not much else to tell. We did not stop in Yaku-Sumaq, only re-hired our donkeys and rode back to La Paz, taking half the time the first trip has. During this time, Braithwaite’s leg began to turn gray and break out in sores. By the time we reached Arica, he was delirious with fever and the tumors had turned his leg into a 150-lb cylinder of diseases flesh. The ship’s surgeon cut it off, cauterized the stump, and had the vile thing thrown overboard, but it was too late. Braithwaite’s entire body greyed and developed lesions. He lasted two weeks. He weighed a quarter ton in tumors and his flesh was sloughing off his bones at the end. I myself spent the rest of the journey too drunk to think or even remember.

Soon after my arrival home, alcohol lost its effectiveness and I turned to morphine to forget. That worked for a while, but then stopped just like the rum had. Hopelessly addicted, I checked myself into this convalescent’s home. I’ve been saving my daily ration for nearly two weeks, and tomorrow it all goes into my veins. I’ll finally forget for good. But first, I wrote this manuscript, and will soon post it to the Miskatonic University library as a warning. It is too late for me, but not for you, reader, so here is my advice: do not dig too deeply in the old places of the world. The things inhabiting them do not die, but merely dream, and it is all too easy to wake them.

Credit To – Turiya

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Metroid 2: Secret Worlds

November 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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A few months ago I was busy preparing to move to a new house when I came across something from my past.

I was going through my belongings, trying to figure out what to keep and what to discard, when I found an old shoebox stuffed down the back of my closet. Curious, I opened it up and found that it was full of CD’s. I flipped through them and realized that these were backups of files from over ten years ago.

I remembered that this was how I used to back up stuff before external hard drives became affordable enough for me to just start backing up with them.

I stopped packing and started checking out the CD’s on my computer. They were mostly full of stuff I’d collected off of the net like mp3s, roms and animated GIF’s.

I then came across a CD that was labeled ‘Conversations with Pahn’. I stared at the CD with some reservation for a moment before loading it into my computer.

The CD contained a bunch of images, a couple of audio files and some text dumps from a message board.
Looking over these files made me recall an incident that had occurred many years ago. It was an incident that had slipped from my mind until I saw that CD again.

Honestly, I was glad to have forgotten about it. It was a pretty freaky experience and to this day I still don’t know what to make of it.

It was 2004, I was in my last year of high school and I spent most of my free time being an admin for an emulation message board.

It wasn’t a particularly taxing job, I was one of three guys who were admins and the board itself was pretty niche, so we usually didn’t get a great deal of traffic.

Back then there wasn’t the bot problems you find on boards these days. Most of the time I just had to log in, check my messages, then browse through the forums to see if anyone was breaking any rules or just being a dick.

It was a pretty fun gig, I got the most enjoyment out of messing with persistent trolls.

Being an admin allowed me to change their avatars(I had pics of crying babies for such occasions) or edit their posts.

Usually I’d have them say stuff like “I suck”, “I cry into my pillow at night” or my personal favorite “I left my brain in the womb”.

Basically I used to get a real kick out of administrating justice on the board.

So one night a new guy registered to the forum and created a thread called “Need help to pull apart my nes”.

The following is from that thread:

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I was slightly mystified by his question and I had some time to kill so I thought I’d ask him.

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I almost laughed at this. I explained to Pahn what roms were and he got really excited.

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I got the gist that he really wasn’t very technically savvy. Which was fair enough, we all had to start from somewhere.

After explaining to him about roms and emulators I didn’t hear back from him for a few days.

He then came back to the board and became a bit of a regular. He would mostly start threads in which he was asking questions about emulation problems he was having.

A lot of people didn’t have any time for him.

They felt that he was just an annoying person who asked dumb questions. I remember one night he started a thread about how he couldn’t get an emulator to read games he had downloaded. We then had to explain to him what a zip file was and how it worked.

One of the other admins was thinking of banning him. He didn’t like the fact that Pahn was starting up new threads about stuff that had been already answered in earlier threads.

I told him not to do that, I’d have a word with Pahn.
I don’t know why I decided to step in, I sort of felt bad for the kid I guess.
 I also felt a bit of a connection to him because he was one of the few people I’d run across who was also a fan of the RPG Suikoden.

So I told Pahn to check through the board before posting any questions that might have already been asked and answered. I then told him if he got really stuck to just private message me.

It wasn’t long before he started messaging me. At first he would just ask me questions.

Lots of questions.

Fortunately he seemed to be a quick study, I didn’t find myself having to explain things to him over and over again. So I wouldn’t say he was stupid, just green.

Soon enough he asked me for some game recommendations and this lead to us talking about what games we were playing. It was from there that we started having a correspondence over the next few months.
We only really talked about games and movies though, the only personal stuff that I knew about him was that he was 16 and he lived in London.

One night we were having a conversation about Metroid games. I’d just clocked Super Metroid for the millionth time and was thinking about dusting off the original Metroid and giving that a go.

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It was a pretty well known glitch. Basically how it works is, if you are falling down a long shaft in some places in the game and then press the select button repeatedly really fast, you can make wall tiles disappear. If you go through the tunnel that is created you’ll end up outside the map.

You can then find rooms that are tile swaps of regular rooms, rooms that scroll repeatedly forever and rooms that look like they have been randomly thrown together.

Apart from using it to sequence break, it’s pretty pointless. It’s more of a novelty then anything else.

Some people started up a website devoted to the ‘Secret Worlds’. They were obsessed with mapping the whole thing out. Like they were explorers braving uncharted territory or something.

I tried it out myself once on my gameboy. I quickly got frustrated though after I kept getting stuck in walls when I moved between rooms.

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I didn’t hear from Pahn for a couple of days after that. Then one night he sent me a message.

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I taught Pahn how to take snapshots and upload them so that he could show me the stuff he was finding.

A few days later I got a message.

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After that I didn’t hear from him for about a week. Then one night I was on the message board and got the following message:

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Pahn sent me the links and I looked over the images he had uploaded.

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I knew straight away that this wasn’t a glitch.

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I asked him where he had got the rom from and he gave me the address. When I checked it out, the page wasn’t there anymore. Which wasn’t really surprising. Back then rom websites were frequently popping up and being taken down almost immediately.

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Just before I was about to go to bed I looked at the pictures again. It occurred to me that the words might form a sentence. I wrote the words down on a piece of paper and started trying out combinations. Eventually I came up with;

“HOW DARE YOU. STOP STEALING MY LEGACY.”

I thought it was a rather strange sentence. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would even bother hacking that message into the game, I didn’t even understand what it meant.

A few days later I got another message from Pahn.

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I taught Pahn how to capture the audio and gave him my email address. I told him to attach the file there if he did manage to record any sounds from the game.

I thought about what Pahn had described to me and I had to admit that I was pretty impressed by the hack.
I also agreed with Pahn’s reasoning. If someone had bothered to put this much effort in, then it was likely that they had done more. It was just a matter of finding it.

Though I was surprised that I had never heard of the hack before. I started browsing through rom hack sites, trying to find the one that Pahn was playing. I didn’t have any luck so I asked around in a few IRC channels but no one had seen anything like what I was describing.

The following night I was browsing the message board when I noticed I had a new private message. I saw that it was from Pahn and opened it up.

Metroid 2 - Secret Worlds - 15

The audio file finished downloading and I listened to it while I waited for Pahn to come back.

I didn’t know what to make of it, I’d never heard a gameboy make that kind of sound before.

At first it just sounded to me like a foghorn, but then another sound started to play over the top of the foghorn noise.

The other sound did seem familiar to me somehow, but I couldn’t quite place it. I found myself getting spooked so I quickly closed the file.

I got up and made myself a cup of coffee and a snack. By the time I got back to my computer 15 minutes had passed.

Metroid 2 - Secret Worlds - 16

I waited a few more minutes but I didn’t get a response from Pahn. I got worried for a moment but then just figured either a friend or family member had come by and he was busy.

I surfed the net for a bit, did some Admin duties then checked my messages again. Pahn still hadn’t come back. I was pretty tired by that point so I shut down my computer and went to bed.

I got up early the next day and checked to see if Pahn had left me a message.

He still hadn’t gotten back to me.

I headed off for school and didn’t get home till the evening. After I grabbed a bite to eat I sat in front of the computer and checked my email and private messages. There was still nothing from Pahn.

I left a few more messages and waited for his response. Over the next few days he still didn’t get to me and I really started to freak out.

I skipped school for a few days and stuck pretty close to my computer. One afternoon, after performing some minor admin duties, I re-listened to the sound that Pahn had sent me.

I still couldn’t make out what it was so I started playing around with it in sound recorder. I sped it up a few times and realized that the foghorn sound might be the the music that plays right before you fight the Metroid Queen. As I continued to speed the sound file up I realized what the other sound was, someone was talking over the music.

I had to speed the sound up over ten times to get it to sound like it was playing at the right speed. Once I had done that I tried to make out what the voice was saying. I had to listen carefully a few times before I got it.

The first part was an introduction. Someone was saying “I am…” and after that was presumably their name. I couldn’t catch what it was though, it wasn’t an English name.

The second part of the sentence was clear enough though.

“Knock Knock, I am here.”

Needless to say I was quite unnerved at that point.

I hit the internet again, trying to find out anything I could about the version of Metroid 2 that Pahn had been playing. I emailed people at the “Secret Worlds” website, I posted messages on numerous emulation websites and I spoke to people on various IRC channels.

Most people though I was joking, the rest thought I was crazy.

It seemed no one knew what the hell I was talking about.

Then one night I got a private message.

Metroid 2 - Secret Worlds - 17

I was a bit startled. When I’d been going around asking questions about Metroid 2 I hadn’t been using Pesmerga as my username. Nor had I mentioned what message board I was from.

I replied back to the message, wanting to know who was messaging me and how they had found me. But the user never got back to me. After that night I kept an eye on the logs of user activity to see if he came back to the site, but he never did.

I then took the message’s advice and looked up the name Gunpei Yokoi.

It didn’t take me long to find out who he was.

It turns out that he was hugely influential at Nintendo. Some of the games he worked on included the original Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, Kid Icarus, Metroid and Metroid 2.

But what he is best known for is arguably his greatest creation, the Gameboy. It’s often described as his legacy.

I kept reading the article in fascination when I got to a section that was about his life after leaving Nintendo. Not long after he left Nintendo and started his own company, Gunpei Yokoi died in a car accident. I glanced at the date of his death and that gave me a shock. It was October the 4th, 1997. The same day that I got my last message from Pahn.

I listened to the sped up version of the audio Pahn had sent me and that’s when I knew that the first part of the message was “I am Gunpei Yokoi.”

It was after this realization that I went through a period, which went on for about a year, in which I flat out refused to answer a door unless the person identified themselves.

Over the next few months I scoured the internet for any news stories concerning a missing teenager in London.

There were several stories that would pop up but the details were so vague that any one of them, or none of them, could have been Pahn.

There was one story that did catch my attention. It was about a missing teenager who had been last seen at home.

His mother had left for work and she said that he had been on the computer in the lounge room.

When she returned several hours later the lounge room was empty but the computer and various other electrical appliances were still turned on. At first she thought that he might be in another part of the house, but when she checked she found that it was empty.

She then tried to call his mobile phone and that was when she discovered that his phone and wallet were by the computer. It was at this point that she called the police. They investigated and found no sign of disturbance in the house and nothing was missing, well except for the teenager. He had vanished without a trace.

I looked for more information online but couldn’t find anything else.

I contemplated getting in touch with the police in London. But one thing stopped me, there was no way I could think to word my story without sounding like a crazy person.

Even if I could figure out how to word it properly, and if this missing teen did happen to be Pahn, there was no information that I could give them that they wouldn’t get off of his computer anyway. And if it wasn’t Pahn then I would just be wasting their time and possibly end up in some sort of legal trouble.

The words ‘hindering a police investigation’ popped into my mind.

I went back through my conversations with Pahn to see if there were any clues to his real identity that I hadn’t noticed before. But there was nothing there that revealed anything I didn’t already know about him. It was then that I realized that I always just assumed that he was a ‘he’ in the first place.

But there was nothing in our conversations to dismiss the possibility that Pahn had been a female. The possibility of Pahn being female instantly made the task of finding Pahn twice as hard.

In the end I had to give up, I just didn’t know what I could possibly do. I took screenshots of all of my conversations with Pahn, copied the pics and sound files he had emailed me and burnt them onto a CD, just in case I ever needed them again.

Not long after that I finished high school and then started working.

Within a month I stopped being an admin. I still stuck around the board for a few more months, but by then I no longer had the free time to post with any regularity. Over the following years I got busy with life and everything that happened with Pahn drifted further and further from my mind.

I decided to write this all down and put it online in the hopes that after all these years someone might know something about what happened to Pahn, or know of the version of Metroid 2 that he found.

As I said at the beginning, I honestly don’t know what to make of this.

Is there a copy of Metroid 2 floating around the internet that’s haunted by the ghost of Gunpei Yokoi? And if you have the misfortune to stumble across it does he come to your door, angry that you have dared to defile his legacy?

I try not to think too much about it.

When it does cross my mind now I like to imagine that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax perpetuated by Pahn. That he set the whole thing up months in advance. He created the images and the audio files. He came onto the message board, pretending to be a technically inept teenager, when really he was brilliant with a pc.

He was user12345, he was the one who told me to look up Gunpei Yokoi.

I like to imagine that he is somewhere out there, still laughing about the wonderful joke he pulled all those years ago.

Sometimes I can almost convince myself that it was just a hoax.

I think that was how I was able to get to sleep at night in the months after I lost contact with Pahn.
And I think that telling myself that it was all a hoax now is going to come in real handy on those restless nights in the days to come.

Credit To – Yuber Neclord

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Something Else

November 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Okay, so I’m not going to start with one of those disclaimers where the writer assures you that what you’re reading is true. It really doesn’t matter if you believe this. No one does.

I just want to write it down before I convince myself that it wasn’t real, in case there is someone out there who will take me seriously.

I started college this fall, at a university a couple states away from where my parents live, and it went pretty much how it does for most people, I think. I missed my old friends and even my parents, after a little while, but I settled in quickly and focused hard on my classes. I have two older brothers – one is a lawyer and the other in law school. Both were top of their all their classes in college and earned enough scholarship money that they practically put themselves through school. As the youngest, and as the only sister, I’ve always had high standards to live up to, and I would be damned if I was going to be the one sibling that was just average. So I got a job on campus to save up for grad school and I committed myself to getting straight A’s.

So, as you can imagine, I didn’t sleep much. I got used to pulling all-nighters on essays and lab reports at least once a week. My roommate got used to waking up at five-thirty (she worked the opening shift at a café near campus) to see me staring blearily at my laptop, putting the finishing touches on some assignment or other in my clothes from the day before.

Now, my staying up all night wasn’t too much of a problem for my roommate. She kept the lights on at night anyway. Our dorm was supposedly haunted and a lot of the girls got freaked out at night.

Some guy, an upperclassmen, told me about it at a party during my first couple of weeks there. “Oh yeah, I remember hearing about that: Some girl who lived there killed herself in the showers last year,” he explained. “Like, took the blades out of a disposable razor and cut herself up. And not just her wrists, I heard she sliced herself open all the way up her arms and legs. Massive fuckin’ gashes from her thighs to her feet. I heard there was an inch of blood covering the whole shower room floor. But they never found the blades she used.”

At this point, his (drunk) friend chimed in, “Yeah, that’s ‘cause her fuckin’ ghost has ‘em. So make sure you don’t see her while you’re in the shower or she’ll chop you the fuck up!”

I didn’t make much of it. For one thing, the more sober one kept trying to put his hand on my leg and I had a feeling he was hoping I would be so scared that I wouldn’t want to sleep in my dorm that night and decide to follow him to his. For another thing, the blades in a disposable razor are sharp, but they’re pretty small. I was fairly sure they couldn’t get that that much blood out of someone. And if that part was bullshit, then chances were most of it was.

I knew the basis was real though – the suicide that is. A bunch of my floor mates pestered our RA into telling us what happened, since she had lived in the same building the year before. The kid who found the body had dropped out (understandably traumatized) and the school officials didn’t tell the students many details, so what she was able to tell us was this: there was a suicide, it was in the shower room, and there was definitely blood – though I still didn’t buy that there was a whole inch.

Either way, the dorm staff decided not to house anybody on the third floor – where the suicide had happened – after that year, so the third floor shower room was always still and dark and empty. People would get dared to spend a night in there or try to do shit with Ouija boards, but no one was dumb enough to try actually showering in there.

Except for me. But to my credit, it wasn’t some stupid dare.

It was finals week of my second semester and I was even busier with schoolwork than usual. Luckily, the next day was the last of the school year, and all I had to do was turn in an essay for one class. I had stayed up all night to finish it and only gotten a couple hours of sleep the night before, and because caffeine can only get you through so much, it was getting hard to stay awake. But I needed a good grade on this paper and a part of me wanted to see how far I could push myself before I mentally collapsed.

At one point, I caught myself snoozing at my desk, my chin propped up against my hand, for about the fifth time. I glanced at my alarm clock, then at my laptop screen. It was 5:00 A.M. – that left a good four hours until my class started, and all I had to do now was write a few more conclusory sentences and proofread.

Well, a short break wouldn’t kill me, I decided, and I needed a shower anyway. So I threw on my bathrobe and grabbed a towel and the little basket where I had my shower stuff. I shut the door behind me quietly, so as not to wake my roommate. She only had half an hour or so before she had to be up for work.

When I got to my floor’s shower room, I was unsurprised to hear one of the showers already running as I shuffled into a stall and hung up my robe. It was finals week, after all and I probably wasn’t the only one on my floor who had just pulled an all-nighter. Still rubbing my eyes, I turned the shower knob three quarters of the way around and was jolted awake as a spray of freezing water hit me head on. I stood there for a few shivery minutes, shifting my weight uncomfortably and waiting for the water to warm up, but it didn’t change, even when I turned the knob to the hottest setting.

The hot water must be used up for this floor, I thought, with a half-hearted swell of admiration for my unknown floor mate, who was showering anyway, in the cold water. I turned my own shower back off, but as I walked out of my stall, shrugging my bathrobe back into place, I noticed that all the shower curtains were open. The shower on the end – empty – was spouting a tepid stream of water onto the floor.

So, no hot water because someone was stupid enough to leave without turning their shower off.

My annoyance fueled my determination to get clean. I adjusted my robe and climbed one story up to the third floor, trying not to think too hard about what I was actually doing. Everyone in the dorm had a key specific to their floor so that we could only get into one shower room, but as I had hoped, the one on the third floor was unlocked. This was a stupid move on campus security’s part, I observed as I went inside to see the mirror smashed and the walls crisscrossed with graffiti. But either way, it benefited me. I was doubtful that this floor would actually have hot water, or even any water at all, but it was worth a try. I went into a stall and hopefully turned the knob toward hot. There was an awful screeching noise from inside the walls, which I chalked up to the moving of rusted and under-used pipes. But then, there was a gush of water from the shower head. Surprised, I hurriedly jumped out of my bath robe and hung it on a hook on the wall, though not quickly enough to keep it from being splattered with the water, which was bitingly cold and orange with rust. As I waited though, the rust color faded out and disappeared down the drain, and the water temperature rose to an almost-warmth that was acceptable, if not pleasant.

I’m not going to lie, I was creeped out in there. Not terrified – I hadn’t believed in ghosts since I was five – but definitely creeped out.

There was a smell of something dull and metallic in there, something old and festering. ‘The plumbing in here must have fallen to shit, that’s gotta be where the smell is from,’ I reasoned, though a voice at the back of my mind whispered, ‘blood’.

I decided to finish my shower as quickly as possible and then get out of there.

I was feeling better though, by the time I finished washing my hair and skin. The weather was finally starting to warm up and I felt like wearing shorts today. So why not spend an extra few minutes shaving my legs? Anyway, I was almost done with my paper and my first class of the morning wasn’t for another two hours. And the only vaguely scary thing that had happened so far was a faint scraping sound coming from the floor drain.

Again, I chalked it up to rusty plumbing.

As I was shaving, I started thinking about finals coming up, about how badly I wanted straight A’s and how some of my grades were right on the borderline. I guess not concentrating was what caused me to cut myself.

It was just a little nick and definitely nothing I wasn’t used to, but the unexpected twinge of pain made me drop my razor. It skittered across the slippery tiles and as I bent to pick it up, I noticed something.

There was something caught in the drain. It didn’t look like a hairball or an earring someone had dropped, it was something else. It was about the size of a small fist, child-sized, and it was pale white, webbed with hair-thin black lines. I thought it might be marble. Or maybe some kind of stone?

In a moment of curiosity and what I can only guess was stress-fuelled stupidity, I knelt down and started to pry the grate off the drain. I thought the thing was maybe some sort of brooch or necklace that someone had somehow dropped in there.

It really was stupid of me. Even as I pried the grate off the open hole of the drain, I could already see the thing inside starting to move.

I tossed the grate aside with a feeling of triumph, and saw the pale thing begin to rise up toward me. It seemed to be writhing with a force of its own and I thought I could see thin protrusions below its surface. Almost like bones.

How…?

With a growing sense of fear roiling in my stomach, I stood up and backed away a couple steps, but my sheer unwillingness to believe in a stupid ghost story kept me rooted to the spot.

As the thing reached the top of the drain hole, it somehow unfurled. I don’t know how else to describe it. Four spindly protrusions curled outward from the top of it, revealing a flat underbelly covered with oily, purple sores. One side was sticky with something that looked like grey-ish pus coming from the end of a knobby stump where there should have been a . . .

…a thumb.

I recoiled as I realized that this thing was a hand.

The palm wasn’t much bigger than a toddler’s, but each of the remaining fingers had to be at least six inches long, with bulging knuckles and, at the end of each one, a fingernail.

Actually, ‘claw’ might be a better word for them. The one on the little finger was broken off at the base, leaving only a few jagged fragments lodged in a gooey nail bed. But the others added another three inches in length to each finger. They hooked inward grotesquely and the edges glinted in the rusty water pooling around the drain. They looked razor sharp.

Now, by the time it took me to observe all this, I didn’t really give a shit anymore about how childish it was to believe in ghost stories, or how this might be my imagination blowing some easily-explained thing out of proportion, or even that I was completely naked with one leg still smeared with shaving cream. I was getting out of there.

I started to scramble backward, one hand reached out behind me to yank open the shower curtain, but the tiles were slick and I didn’t manage to back up more than a couple steps before my ass hit the floor. As I fell, one of my ankles brushed the palm of the hand. It felt clammy and soft, like something left too long at the back of the fridge. The fingers twitched at the contact.

I flipped over onto my hands and knees, thinking I would crawl out, but as I tried to shuffle away, I felt the long fingers wrap around my left ankle. A jolt of pain went up my leg as I felt the claws bite into me.

I looked back to see several inches of arm now outside the drain, and still rising slowly, millimeter by millimeter, out of the floor. I could see the outlines of warped bones and tendons beneath the sagging skin, and the very beginning of a knobby elbow. And at the other end, the hand was still grasping my ankle, trickles of blood dripping down from where the claws pressed into my skin.

I tried to pull my leg back toward my body, but the thing’s grip only tightened. I felt a sickening scraping sensation and another bolt of pain as the claws met the bone of my leg. And the screeching noise was back. And the arm was still rising slowly out of the drain.

It was my roommate that saved me – her and that early café shift she hated so much. She said she found it strange when she woke up at dawn to find me gone, but my laptop still on and opened to my almost-finished essay. Mid-paragraph, even. Also absent were my bathrobe and the basket of shampoo and other shower supplies we shared, but she didn’t hear any water running in the second floor shower room. So, following a hunch, she checked the one on the third floor.

The paramedics said that I’d probably been unconscious for twenty minutes or so; I had lost a lot of blood. When they found me, I had a series of gashes going all the way from my ankle to my hip on my left leg, and up to my knee on the right. Some of the cuts were shallow, but most were deep and jagged. The worst of it was in the area of my left ankle. The doctors spent hours stitching me up.

They asked me about my history of illegal drug-use and mental illness and I told them – truthfully – that I had neither. They asked me if I was sure about ten times, then had a psychiatrist come talk to me.

I was more than a little bit hopped up on pain meds but even so, it took me a few days to let my guard down enough to ask my psychiatrist about the hand. She said that nothing else out of the ordinary had been in the shower room when they found me – just me, naked and bleeding on the floor. She said that disturbing hallucinations were a common symptom of sleep deprivation.

“But then, how did I get all those cuts?” I asked.

She didn’t sugarcoat things, I’ll give her that: “You did that yourself, hon. You were stressed and you were tired, and you’re not the first college student to become unstable during finals week.”

Like I said, I’m starting to believe her about the hand being a hallucination, but I know I wasn’t the one who gave me those cuts. There wasn’t anything sharp enough or big enough to slice me up like that – not in the showers, not in my room, nowhere in the vicinity. They thought I might have taken apart my razor, but when I asked my roommate, she said she saw it lying beside me, exactly where I had dropped it, completely intact.

Which is why want to put this out there for other people to see. I know that what I remember happening makes no sense and shouldn’t be possible, but I just wouldn’t feel right staying quiet about it. I want people to know: I don’t think that girl killed herself in the shower room last year. I think something else did.

Credit To – Juliet

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Down the Pit

November 4, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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He knew it was there but couldn’t see it. The basement wasn’t wired for electricity yet and was completely dark save for the light from the stairs leading up to the kitchen. With the boxes in his arms blocking his view, Gil shuffled along the basement floor feeling for the pit… or was it a well? The house was over a hundred years old and he couldn’t be sure what the hole in the dirt floor was originally used for. He only knew it was in the middle of the basement, hewn out of ancient dirt, and about 2 feet wide—the perfect size for the wayward foot or ankle. Remembering this, he stopped and tripped on himself abruptly as his toes teetered over the edge–“Christ! I almost didn’t see that…” he murmured to himself as an errant fork and butter knife went flying, clanging, along the floor and into the abyss of the pit. He didn’t hear the items hit ground.

“Do we need any more dishes out of this one?” He yelled up, setting the box down beside the abyss.

“Just the cutlery set and mugs, babe, thanks!”

Ascending the stairs, he admitted, “Fork and knife are MIA. Lost them in a battle with the basement, down that big fucking hole. Sorry.”

“One night and the house is already winning. Great,” Jen responded cynically.

As they went to bed that night, Gil made a mental note to call a contractor about closing up the pit. Creaks and groans from the old house aside, the couple felt good about the new move and fell asleep peacefully on the blow up mattress upstairs.

In the next few days, several contractors came in and out, the couple finally settling with a local Joe. Unable to stay and babysit the contractor, Jen and Gil left him the keys, hoping to come home to some progress that evening after work.

Instead, they came home to an absolute mess. Damp, uneven pools of concrete were scattered throughout the basement along with some cracked wooden planking. Of course, the pit lay untouched, damp cement spread in wide semicircles around it. Angry, Gil called Jen down and they looked at the terrible job with the industrial flashlight. After leaving several angry voicemails that day to no response, they gave up on Joe contractor for the day. However, a week later they had still not heard from their contractor; they assumed they got swindled, and they were unsettled to know he still had their house keys. Once they realized nothing had been stolen from their home, they took their lumps, and lost deposit, and had the locks changed on their doors. They decided on another renovation project, giving up on the basement for the time being.

That night, Jen lay snoring and Gil was awake. Restless, his slightest movements bobbed the blow up mattress and woke Jen, so he decided to get up and watch some tv downstairs. Gil sifted through the static to find some infomercials that would make him drowsy. Around 1 am, he heard a scuffling in the basement. It sounded like boxes shifting on earth, slowly—almost imperceptibly. He turned the tv off and listened—the last shuffle and then silence. The empty echo bounced around in his head and he immediately became suspicious. What if the contractor had been down there hiding the whole time? Was it to steal their property… or for some more sinister purpose? Determined, Gil grabbed the industrial flashlight in his left hand, swung open the basement door and descended the stairs, picking up a baseball bat just removed from storage in his right.

Descending into the dark, Gil waited a moment for his eyes to adjust on the middle stair. The smell of damp earth filled his nostrils. Raising the bat in his right hand, he also lifted the flashlight in his left as he tried to scan the basement without going further. Realizing he must continue, he slowly forged on and as his foot met the floor, CRASH—a box seemingly fell over on its own and its contents slammed on the ground… rolling near the pit. What had caused all that movement? And that sound…that snaking whisper had to be from various objects from the box falling, bouncing, and echoing deep down into the abyss. A round, small shape with dimpled, tough skin seemed to descend, or jump, into the darkness of the hole. Did his old black basketball fall down into the pit? He remembered he had a throwback, orange basketball, not a black one. It had to be one of Jen’s things, now lost forever.

After rooting through the remainder of the box and searching the space for animals, Gil walked back toward the stairs and felt a distinct crunch underfoot. He lifted his slipper heel to find a broken picture frame. He and Jen smiled up from the photo, but the scribble left in the now dry cement beside it was foreboding. The print—or was it an animal track?—was smaller than a human hand and excessively thin. It seemed etched in like a signature made in wet cement. The “fingers” weren’t straight but crooked and measured about three inches long; each “finger” ended in a sharpened point. How had they missed this before? How had they been made in dry cement? He hastily threw a few of the broken boards over the opening and ran upstairs. He couldn’t bring himself to look down inside the hole that night. And he couldn’t tell Jen that, either. So he ignored the incident altogether.
A few days later, Jen had to do laundry—in the basement. Basket in her arms, she tried to get her task done as quickly as possible. The basement freaked her out and was starting to smell terrible. Returning to the first floor, she casually remarked:
“Gil, it smells like death down there. We really need to get that damn thing sealed up.”

“I know. It’s probably time to get serious about covering it again.”

“Did you see those weird markings in the cement? I can’t tell if its an animal that got in or…”

Gil froze. “Markings? There’s more than one?”

“Yeah. Like jagged, pointy sticks. You knew about it? Go check it out. I don’t remember them being there before.”

Even during the day it was dark and cavernous. Again, Gil descended, his cell phone light dimly lighting the path in front of him until there it was, the new print. It was a good two feet away from the first he saw last night… and closer to the stairs that led to the first floor. Three pointed edges of each indent this time were clawed deeper into the cement somehow. It had been dry for weeks now.

This time, he knew he had to look inside. The boards had already been removed from the opening and cast aside. He doubted that Jen had gotten close enough to do this due to the terrible smell. He took a few pictures of each print on his phone and held it out for light, avoiding the boxes and boards while slowly walking towards the hole in the ground. On the edge, he took a deep breath, and peered over.

Nothing. Nothing was there—just a dark hole in the ground. He listened for a moment and heard only eerie silence. He snapped a photo of it anyway with a bright flash, for reference, and stood back up and returned to daylight.

That night they lay on the mattress, a general ominous feeling settling over the two. Jen was vaguely uncomfortable with the shuffling sounds emanating from the basement, but Gil had a growing apprehension and fear.

“Let me see those pictures again, Gil. It has to be some animal, like a possum or something, that’s making those noises. And they’re supposed to smell awful like that.”

He took out his phone in reply, and sorted through his images until he came across the three shots he had taken earlier. The first was the print nearest the stairs. Its gnarled fingers ended in points somehow cast deeper in the cement than the rest of it, almost like an ominous threat. The second photo was nearly identical, though more benign as it was further away. Gil flicked to the third photo, which he hadn’t shown her yet.

It was a photo dominated by dark, blurred edges. Flecks of light from the flash reacted with the dust motes in the swirling air, like gold and white snowflakes in a coal mine. Nothing could really be made out distinctly in the shot. Tired, Gil grabbed the phone back. Jen refused to let go of her grip: “What’s that in the corner?”

“Huh?” Gil frowned and held the phone closer. In the very corner of the photo, a midnight black, round object had two red dots in the center of it. At first sight it looked like flecks of rust-colored dust, but as Gil enlarged the photo you could see the lights belonged to the shape in the darkness, somehow discernible as more dark than the pit shadows itself. They were paired fairly close together in the middle of the black mass as he realized they were eyes. It had been staring at him the entire time he was looking in.

“What the fuck is that?” Jen uttered, her voice rising in fear.

Downstairs, the low shuffles in the basement turned to distinguished movements. Large boxes were being overthrown as if they weighed nothing, their contents clacking and banging along the damp earth.

They turned to each other, unsure if they should head off whatever creature was downstairs or just run.

“Just stay up here and I’ll check it out.”

“No fucking way, Gil. We need to get the fuck out of this house. This is bullshit, we just moved in and I can’t believe—”

“Shut up, take the bat and go out the front door. I’ll check it out, its only in the basement. If I don’t come out in 5 call animal control. It will be fine—its just an animal trapped in there.” Though, by this time, Gil was unsure what kind of creature he would meet.

As soon as their feet touched the floorboards, the basement shuffling ceased. Heightened, the couple tip-toed downstairs, floorboards anxiously creaking as Jen reached the front door, hurried out and hugged herself on the front lawn.

Grabbing a knife from the cutlery set and the industrial flashlight in the kitchen, Gil stood in front of the closed basement door in silence. He put his ear against the flimsy door and listened… just more silence. The temporary peace of the moment lulled him. Stepping back, he whirled open the door and shined his light on the stairs.

***

Five minutes passed, and no Gil. Jen started to panic and after 5 more, she called 9-1-1. A team arrived promptly and went inside the house, unable to understand her fear. After another 10 minutes, two policemen emerged.
“Ma’am, please just come with us” intoned two officers as they closed in to block her path into the house. Crashing through them, Jen rushed in, determined to see.

She snaked through the hallway, and then into the kitchen. She stops abruptly and slips on a sticky substance. It’s as if someone had thrown a full water balloon where the kitchen floor meets the stairs–but its a deep maroon red splatter, saturating the floor and walls.

A screech tears from Jen’s throat as she looks up and sees dozens of twisted, deformed, red prints strewn across the ceiling. They emerge from the basement ceiling and exit out the open back door into the night.

Credit To – Skyla2186

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Darkness

November 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Darkness surrounds me.

And cold.

And emptiness.

I lay in this void not knowing how long I have lain here, and in the initial grogginess of my awakening I know not why I am here. I turn my gaze from side to side, but can see nothing in the enveloping blackness. I can sense nothing – no sound, no light, no scent – beyond the feel of the smooth stone on which I am resting, and a constant pressure upon the entirety of my being.

I feel the coldness of the rock on which I lay seep into my being, and trace a finger across its surface. Delicate swirling patterns – almost too fine to be felt – whirl in the rock beneath my thawing fingertips, like an arcane language I am unable to discern. After a moment, spurred on by my frigid isolation, I begin to crawl forwards. In this darkness, I of course cannot know where I am going, though I feel an irresistible urge to press forward – as if I am being summoned by some far off voices united in a silent song. My progress is painful – my limbs weak through lack of use…

Just how long have I slept?

The pressure clinging to every inch of my form presses against me, weighs down upon me as if from many leagues above, and I am unable to move with any speed. Slowly – maybe as slowly as a glacier cutting through a valley – I edge ever forward towards my goal, though I still cannot know what it is.

I have an age to ponder my situation – to bat the cobwebs in my mind away from the memories underneath – though still I cannot. It is difficult to move, and difficult to think. I vaguely recollect images of the world above, of the stars shining in the vast, endless aether of the night’s sky. The memories feel so distant to me now. And just as I am on the cusp of penetrating the fog in my mind, my hand falls upon a small collection of stones. I pause here – startled by the sudden intrusion on the perfect plane I have been traversing – before tentatively reaching out ahead of me. Giddy euphoria envelops me as my hand brushes against the craggy surface of the wall in-front of me.

Finally.

Finally I have something on which to anchor myself. Something solid that lets me know there is an end, a periphery to this darkness in which I find myself. I stand, grasping the rough-hewn rock in my hand until my fingers ache. Now I have hold of something tangible, I do not wish to return to the emptiness behind me.

I take a moment to compose myself, and begin my ascent.

While the rocks beneath my fingers feel rough to the touch, they are slick, and I find myself digging my nails into each handhold to gain purchase. Though less than I once was, before I fell into the darkness, I still have the strength to heave my body up. I stare sightlessly above me, into the void, and climb.

Relentlessly.

I strive upward for what feels like an age until the blackness surrounding me begins to recede, and the cold falls away like a discarded robe. The blackness becomes a deep grey, then a hint of blue-green creeps into my vision. And still I climb.

The pressure on my skin lessens with each surge upwards, and I am able to register changes in light around me more and more. I can see the soapy, greenish-black rock to which I cling, and I begin to experience sounds again. There’s a rhythmic, slow churning surrounding me, almost like the heartbeat of the world.

Upwards I strive, ever upwards, towards the light above. I notice tiny creatures all around me. Though moving with more speed now the pressure is abating, I still move terribly slowly and they wheel, glide, dip, and weave joyously before me. I do not deign to imagine what such an insignificant intellect would think upon beholding me, though their movements bely deference, bordering on worship. I look into their bulging, unblinking eyes and see many emotions – Love and longing as they move towards me, fear and loathing as they move aside.

I continue rising towards the dazzling blue above me – can almost taste the air of the surface-world above. The greyish-green figures surge upwards alongside me and we all break the surface of the waves in unison.

The winds and the spray blast away the last vestiges of amnesia in my mind, and my purpose is as clear as the waters lapping at my shins. I feel the heat and the light of the tiny yellow star above upon my back, and flex my dreadful wings wide to catch its warmth. I snatch a few of my servants from the waves with claw and tentacle and feast on them. Even in pain and death, their song to me holds adoration and awe.

Long have I slept in the dark, cold, empty R’lyeh.

Now I am awake, and I hunger.

Credit To – Sue

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Little Glass Box

November 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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The pungent, acrid smell permeated the old home that was now mine; I knew that the smell would fade with time, and that I would become accustomed to it as time went on. It was a beautiful little two-story Victorian home in the heart of a small historic town in Virginia. With that being said, neighbors weren’t nearby. Therefore, I wasn’t bothered. I somewhat enjoyed the scent of the home, and was looking forward to learning about the history about the town.

I soon got to unpacking, eager to make the place feel more like home. After the death of my wife, my last home no longer felt like home, and only brought on painful memories. I only want to hide for a while; a few months, maybe a few years. I was hoping this place would do the trick.

It was getting close to 1 in the morning when I decided to relax for the rest of the night and leave the rest of the unpacking for the morning, and I sat down with a glass of wine, next to the fireplace. It was then that I heard the tapping. It was a slow, steady sound, almost as if something was hitting against the pipes down in the cellar. I’m not sure if it had been steady making the sound all day, or if it had just started. Now that it was calm and I was no longer dropping boxes or shoving furniture around, I could hear it distinctly.

I made note of where the sound was coming from down below, and then made my way to the cellar. The smell was even more potent down below due to the humidity; I worried at this point that the basement might be flooded due to the old pipes, and that the sound was from water leaking. I scurried down the basement stairs, clutching the railing on the way down, hoping that the old stairs wouldn’t give way.

I made it to the bottom, relieved to find that the floor was completely dry. I remembered that the pulley for the light was at the bottom of the staircase when I first viewed the home, so I reached for it. Dim light flooded the cellar, revealing an empty room, aside from the pipes, an old water heater, and a few wooden shelves along the wall. The smell of the old cellar was musty and old; it was the pungent smell of wood which had moistened and dried over many years.

I heard the tapping sound again, much louder now, reverberating against the pipes above. I searched the basement, only to discover a small chain, dangling from a hook, clanging against the pipes every time there was a gust of wind that blew from a small cellar window, which was opened. I closed the window, and pulled the chain down from the ceiling. The cellar went silent, and the air began to warm without the cool breeze from the open window.

I turned to head back upstairs, before something caught my eye. Along one of the shelves was a small, wooden cabinet, adorned with small onyx pull handles. I walked over, and opened the small doors. Inside, there was a beautiful stained glass box. It was rectangular in shape, and mostly red and purple. It looked to be an old jewelry box. It was particularly dusty, but with one swipe of my hand across the lid, the glass came clean, and the vibrant colors shone in the light.

I brought the box upstairs to clean it off, under running water. Dust had particularly collected at the bottom, regardless of the lid being closed at the time, which I found unusual. Once it was clean, I set it next to my desk. It was so colorful under my desk lamp, and it made me wonder why someone had left it there, and if the owner misses it now and wonders where it went. I pondered on how old it was, and if it had been passed down for many years. I finally headed to sleep at 2:15 AM that night, and fell asleep almost instantly.

I awoke the next morning very sore and not feeling rested at all, but rather feeling the effects of the hard work over the past few nights. I sat up, rubbing the back of my neck, and got up to retract the blinds. The sunlight shone bright through the window; it was then that I saw the little box again, gleaming in the sun. It was beautiful, and I couldn’t help but be absolutely mesmerized by it once again. I took a seat at my desk, and held the little box. It was clean, and almost perfect; it was free of almost all scratches. I was sitting, almost hypnotized by the little box in front of me, when a loud crash came from behind me. It was the sound of something crashing into my window, and it scared me to the extent where I dropped the box, letting it crash to the floor. It bounced off the carpet, undamaged, but left a small scrape on my leg in the process. I dashed to the window, and grimaced at the sight of the dead bird below.

I spent the rest of the day unpacking and decorating the house, after burying the bird out back, between two oak trees. I was exhausted by nightfall, and decided to head to sleep early. I was finally done emptying every box in the house, and it was still early, but I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. I fell into a deep slumber, once again.

The aching, radiating pain was unbearable, and it was the first thing I woke up to in the morning. I pulled aside the covers, only to find the cut on my leg now red and inflamed. I felt the area, and it was hot to the touch. “Shit…” I mumbled to myself, “It must be getting infected.” I stumbled to the bathroom, and retrieved the rubbing alcohol from the cabinet. I soaked a few cotton balls in the alcohol, and gently swabbed the area. I wasn’t worried; I knew I had my tetanus vaccine recently. So, I resorted to wrapping the wound and resting for the day. I knew that old box had much dirt and dust in it when I found it, so there’s no doubt it got in the wound. I was relieved that the box wasn’t damaged. It was so beautiful, and I wanted to keep it from getting damaged. I laid down to rest that night, with my leg in less pain than it had been before.

I awoke the next morning to a very unfamiliar, putrid smell. I pulled the covers off of me, and choked at the sight of my leg, almost retching. The scratched area had now swollen and had turned a putrid, blue-grey color. What shocked me the most, though, was the fact that it was no longer painful at all. It was just there, on my leg, only about an inch or two in circumference. The tissue looked completely dead. I was hours from any hospital, and no doctor’s offices were open, as it was Sunday. I cleaned and dressed the wound the best that I could that night.

I awoke the next morning, and was shocked to find that the wound had grown in size significantly, now taking up a quarter of my leg. It oozed with any slight touch, and the smell of tissue decay from the site was overwhelming. I went to brush my teeth later that same morning, and felt something rolling about in my mouth. I opened my mouth wide, only to find a large molar sitting atop my tongue. I then noticed that my tongue was now a blue-grey color, the same rancid color of my leg. Afraid for my life, I headed to the hospital, knowing I could wait no longer – but not before I threw the little box in my bag.

Once I arrived, I sat quietly in the waiting room, silent with fear, while awaiting my turn with the doctor. I examined the skin around my nails; the skin was now fraying at the cuticles and pulling back. With a slight pull at the nail, it fell off. One more pull, and another fell off. They began to come out as if nothing was holding them together at all. I then looked to my arms, and watched as blood vessels began to slowly become visible behind the skin of my arms. I glanced up briefly before turning around, but something caught my attention in the reflection of the glass in front of me. I glanced back at my reflection, and saw my own face, now sunken in and riddled with a marbled appearance. I looked lifeless. And with this, I began to scream.

Doctors tended to me almost immediately, shocked at the state that I was now in. I was whisked away on the gurney, down the narrow halls, into a room with bright lights above me. They examined my leg, then my hands, and every inch of my body. Then came the needles; I became a human pincushion, with lines of red streaming from my body. Vials of my blood were taken away, in order to be tested. Words like “sepsis”, “necrosis”, “hemorrhagic”, and “debridement” were exchanged between doctors, interns, and nurses alike. I was taken in for an MRI, and biopsies were taken from my wound, before I was finally reeled back into my room and left to rest.

It was a little under two hours later, when a single doctor from the group walked into the room, and pulled up a chair, staring at his paperwork, and only slipping glances my way. He seemed frightened, which frightened me. “I don’t really know how to tell you this so that you’ll understand….” he trailed off, “…because I don’t understand it myself.” I looked towards him, shaking, wanting him to continue, and afraid for my life. “Your body is breaking down your red blood cells at a rapid rate, causing you to have this…appearance. We tested your blood for viruses, any virus at all, and it came up clear. There are no signs of cancer or any tumors at all, and you don’t have a fever. In fact…your temperature is very low.” The doctor cleared his throat, as I looked on in bewilderment. “Your body is also releasing gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide, which, in these levels, are really only characterized…..with the decomposition of the entire human body. I…can’t explain how you are alive right now.”

The doctor returned his gaze to mine. “Sir…have you any idea how this started?” Trembling, I pointed across the room. “That…that box” I told him, my voice quavering. He walked over, picked it up, and brought it back to me. “This?” he asked. He opened the lid. There was now a small piece of newspaper clipping inside of it. “Is this yours?” he asked, while handing it over to me. I shook my head no, knowing full well that it had not been there when I had originally found the box. I took the clipping from him, and opened it slowly. “MAN FALLS DOWN STAIRS AND BREAKS LEG; IS LEFT TO SUFFER AND FOUND DEAD BY FAMILY ONE MONTH LATER”, the heading said. Underneath the heading was a photograph of the man, and beside the man, was a photo of the house I now lived in. The story told how the man, Steven Cascio, had fallen and suffered a compound fracture in his left leg; since he was old frail, he was unable to gain enough strength to get back up the stairs, and died slowly, with his cries for help left unheard. He had been alive for at least four days before he died due to blood loss and infection. His family, who became worried about him, had found him in advanced stages of decomposition. Due to the state of his body, his family opted for cremation.

It was then that I knew what the dust at the bottom of the small box was.

It has now been almost one month, and I just keep rotting in this hospital bed. I can’t even remember the last day I had a pulse.

Credit To – Vacantia

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