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Crepitus

March 8, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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The hangers are still swinging in my wardrobe and all my clothes are scattered around the room. I’m stood in the doorway trying to make sense of the situation: who the hell has been in here? There is no sign of a forced entry; the door was locked when I came home, exactly how I left it, I live alone and I don’t have any pets. Moreover, the hangers are moving as if my clothes had been ripped off them just a few moments ago. I walk into the room, perplexed and annoyed I search under the bed, nothing, inside the wardrobe, again nothing, under my computer desk… there’s no one here. I walk to the window, it’s closed. I look out and I can see my driveway below, but I can’t see anyone there, whoever this prankster is, they’re gone. I don’t know how they got out, but they aren’t here now.

The clothes are back in my wardrobe. I looked through every room but I didn’t find anything, which I guess is good, but I don’t know how they got in or out and that’s what’s bothering me. That’s why I’m lying awake in my bed at 3.05 in the morning, my brain whirring. I don’t scare easily, it’s more that I’m angry because I have no idea how they got in here, let alone why they thought it would be funny to just throw my clothes around like that. At least a robbery is straight forward, it’s not hard to understand why someone would break into a house and steal a TV or whatever, but this is different. It’s like a bunch of kids got overexcited and started chucking clothes at each other or something. I roll over and something cracks loudly, probably my back, the changing seasons must be affecting me more this year, maybe I’m getting old.

I wake for work as usual, get dressed in my nicely creased clothes, and head out. I’m in the driveway with my keys in hand, my mind still buzzing from yesterday’s weirdness, when I feel a weird tingle in the back of my neck. I turn and look up.

There, stood in my window looking down at me, is a naked man. Well, I say man, it could just as easily be a woman: I can’t see any genitals. It’s just stood there, looking down at me, naked and bald, their skin is a faded yellow colour, it’s weird, it looks too tight almost, and I can see every one of its ribs and every bone in its thin, skinny frame. The face is gaunt like a skeleton with hollow cheeks and eyes that are sunken into black sockets.

As I stand bewildered, staring up at the thing in my bedroom, it lifts its bony hand in a wave, but it’s not right: they must have arthritis or something because their hand is moving in quick, stiff jerks, like the joints are seized. No, that’s not right, it’s more like they’re broken, the wrist is bent at an impossible angle, and it seems to snap from side to side. Two waves, then it drops it’s hand down in that jerky way, turns, and walks back into my room, moving like a man would on broken legs. I stand for a moment longer, then turn and run back to the house.

So this is the joker, the one who decided to throw my clothes around yesterday. They didn’t leave. They were still in the house somewhere, must have got passed me when I opened the bedroom door. I run upstairs, the bedroom door is shut and I bang it open only to find my room empty, with everything just as I left it. I search again, but more thoroughly. There’s nothing. Nothing under my bed, desk, drawers, nothing in my wardrobe, the room is empty. They must be in another room.

I look into every room, searching as thoroughly as a police drug dog, every nook and cranny, and still no sign of the intruder. Did they get passed me again? Another quick search of my room, I’m sweating like a pig and now I’m late for work. They must have got passed me and left: I searched everywhere. No way are they still in my house. The old creep probably escaped from a nursing home, all confused, maybe even with dementia. Could be why they messed about with my clothes like that. Weird old fuck.

I run out to my car, panting and stressed. I look up to my window, no one there. Good. Maybe they got the hint that I wasn’t messing around.

Work is normal, same old boring crap, and when I get home all my clothes are undisturbed, still in the wardrobe, where they should be. I sleep well, my joints are still cracking whenever I change position but I sleep sound in the knowledge that the intruder has gone. The mystery of the moving clothes is solved. Well, I still don’t know how they got in or out, but whatever, they aren’t here now and that’s what matters.

The morning starts off same as before, but no creased clothes this time, I look sharp. I treat myself to a hearty breakfast, then lock up and get in my car. The engines running and I’m just about to pull off when I glance up at my bedroom and see it, stood in my window just like yesterday. It grins at me, and its grin spreads across its face in the same convulsive way that its arm moved, as if it was being manipulated by some manic puppeteer. Its lips crack as it smiles wider, like a mannequin with a frozen expression gone horribly wrong. I stare back and feel a rage bubble up inside me. The fucking thing is grinning at me, like an obnoxious child. I rip my keys out of the ignition and storm into the house, locking the door behind me: they aren’t gonna get out this time.

I tear my house apart, pulling all the furniture away from the walls, swearing under my breath as I go. I move everything out of place, leaving nothing untouched, one room after the other, starting with my bedroom. Somewhere amidst the swearing and searching I call work, tell them I’m ill and won’t be in today, chest infection, which is pretty convincing since I’m panting so hard between words. I put the phone down and continue with the hunt.

I search all day.

Nothing. No-one. Zip. No sign of anyone ever being here.

But they were here.

I sleep restlessly, nightmares of figures standing over me, creeping out of the walls and floors. I must have been fidgeting because one of my bones cracks so loudly it wakes me up.

It’s morning, and I feel awful, I get up but I don’t get dressed, I just put my dressing gown on and sit at the kitchen table, running the last few days’ events through my mind.

Then a thought occurs to me. I go to the front door and open it, but I don’t step through; I pause for a moment, then slam it shut. And that’s when I hear movement upstairs. I listen as abrupt, spasmodic footsteps move around my room, but it’s not just footsteps, there’s a strange shuffling sound, like something moving unsteadily on both hands and feet, then the noises stop.

I sneak out of the kitchen and up the stairs, breathing shakily: they’re here, they were here all along, in my fucking bedroom.

I approach the closed bedroom door, take a breath, ready to confront the sneaky bastard. My hand grips the round handle, I turn it, but just as the door begins to open I hear sudden loud thumps and snaps, someone running on broken bones, and the door jams, only slightly ajar. I look up and in the small opening I see half of a face staring at me.

I was wrong.
No human looks like this. Its face is tilted forward into a frown as it regards me, my gaze is stuck, locked onto the eye looking back; the eye is in a large black socket, with a dark red and yellow iris and tiny black pupil, filled with such intensity and cunning I have never seen before. The eye narrows, as if giving acknowledgement of my sneaky trick. I can’t move. Then the creature’s eye widens, its black mouth opening to an impossible gape as it lets out a scream that deepens to a deafening roar. The door slams shut against me so hard I’m knocked off my feet and down the corridor. I lie on my back, staring at the door, my breath comes in short sharp gasps and I can feel sweat dripping off my body. I lie there for a while before I scramble to my feet and stumble downstairs like a drunk. I call the police hurriedly, and then I go outside to wait for them, careful not to go onto my driveway: I don’t want to look at that thing ever again. I want it out.

The police arrive within minutes, I splutter confusedly at them, holding back tears. My story is incoherent, I’m clearly in shock, but they get the gist. Three officers search the house, one of them with a dog, while another female officer makes me a cup of tea and takes a statement from me. The tea helps. I tell her everything that’s happened, starting with my clothes being moved, ending with my phone call. She nods attentively and takes notes, and I feel much better now that they’re here: they know what they’re doing.

The police search for two hours but find nothing. They suggest that maybe I missed something – some hidden corner that I hadn’t looked in – but their presence would almost certainly have scared anyone off, and there definitely isn’t anyone else in the house. I start to feel stupid, and all thoughts of “creatures” and strange beings dissolve in my mind as I return to my senses. It was just an old man, scared and confused. I thank the officers, apologising profusely for wasting their time. They leave and I sigh, annoyed at myself for getting so carried away. I get dressed and decide to do some gardening. I look up at my bedroom window often, nothing there, the police would have found whoever it was if they were still here. They’re professionals after all, whereas I’m just an amateur.

Still, when it comes to going to bed, I find myself doubtful. I tell myself it’s just because it’s dark and I’ve had a rough day, that I’m being stupid, there’s nothing in my room, but still a niggling feeling remains, as if I’m not alone. I decide to take my mattress downstairs and sleep in the kitchen. I feel better.

So here I lie, on my mattress, next to the oven. I can’t hear anything moving upstairs, but to be honest I’m trying not to think about it, something about those snapping sounds and the way the footsteps moved so spasmodically freaks me out. And that eye. That staring, hateful eye… I don’t want to think about that.

I fidget, and again I hear a crack from one of my knees, or maybe it was my back, I don’t really know. Was my mattress always this uncomfortable? I never noticed before but it feels like some of the springs are warped, I can feel bumps pressing into me.

I roll onto my side with my head under the pillow and my ear pressed against the mattress. As I move I hear another snap, and it feels like something gives way underneath me slightly: a broken spring? But it didn’t feel like that, it felt hard, and rigid, and it went suddenly, as if it was seiz-

SNAP

Credit To – Jimmy V

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The Boy From Posey Chapel

March 7, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Going back, I remember it all vividly; my first time at Posey Chapel with a couple of my friends. Nobody was really scared; after all, the sightings were hoaxes and never supported with actual evidence. But, being Halloween, something was bound to happen—and something happened indeed, because that night was the start of a string of the most horrifying ones in my existence.

We arrived at the chapel, cracking jokes about the myths that were told about it while walking around aimlessly, not in search of anything specific. After about five minutes in our journey, I saw in the midst of the churchyard, an all-white figure. From what I could tell, he was near the age of 10, and had no eyes…just black pits where his eyes should’ve been. I looked at my friends for reassurance that this wasn’t just my imagination, this was real. They told me they could see him too, but just vaguely. As he was about a football field away, it was hard to tell what we were looking at. So, naturally, we strained to get a better look at him.

The four of us started to walk slowly toward him, not particularly looking to hurt him in away sort of way. Once we reached a certain point, I instantly felt a sort of connection with him. I was the only one he “looked” at, considering he had black pits for eyes. The others could see him looking at me intently, and we decided to leave; afraid.

We got back in the car and waited about five minutes before leaving, just to see if anything would happen. Nothing did, but the minute my head hit the pillow that night is when things did started to happen.

That first night, Halloween 2014, I had a dream about him—the boy from the chapel. It was all a recap from that night, except everyone’s teeth were rotted out and/or had cavities. These dreams occurred each night for eight days. Within each dream he would get about 10 yards closer, and the dream would always cut off just as I closed the car door. After eight nights, the dream had occurred eight times consecutively and he was about 20 yards away from me, so we went back to Posey Chapel. The dreams stopped after that visit.

January 8th, 2015.

I’d been staying at my grandma’s that week, as my bathroom was being renovated. I was on the couch, where I had been sleeping. This night had started as an otherwise normal one. I was casually browsing my Facebook and listening to a podcast with one earbud in. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but then the lights and TV went out and I heard scratching from the basement. It started coming up the stairs and gradually got louder and louder until I thought I was going to lose it. Then, abruptly, silence. I looked up toward the stairway door to see what it was, but saw nothing. Questioning it, I turned back, and I got a glance down the main hallway where I saw a streak of white. Terrified, I was hesitant to look back, but I seemed drawn to it. So I looked, despite my gut feeling, and there he was: the boy without eyes. He stood there with intent but lack of emotion for at least twenty minutes, and then he disappeared. Or so I’d thought.

I looked outside my window and there he was, hanging from the barren tree. I thought I was going insane; hallucinating. My brother claimed to not be able to see him, so why could I? I snapped a picture of the tree from inside, sending it to the group chat I was in. Nobody saw anything except what they thought was snow, but I knew it was him.

Gathering up my courage, and going against my own gut, I went outside to take a different picture, this time with the flash on. I only cracked open the door to do so, as I didn’t want to leave the comfort of the house, no matter if he could get inside. This time, he was sitting in the tree rather than hanging from a noose. That was what struck me as extremely odd. I took the picture despite his changed position and rushed inside, sending it to my group chat again. This time they could see him. He stood out against the snow as a lighter, blurrier white.

After this, I felt compelled to go back outside and face him; ask him what he wanted from me. So, once again, I gathered up my courage and went back into the freezing winter night. I looked up at him in the tree and yelled, “What do you want from me?”

Ten seconds of silence filled the chilly air.

And then, “Please, come back.”

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Be Right Back

March 6, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Skype is a pretty useful tool to me. I’m an artist, so I tend to use my hands a lot and skype lets me talk without having to hold a phone. Guess I’m just too much of a multitasker for my own good. But, whether or not it was a good quality I sure valued it.

Tonight was really no different. My friend Kylie got on, she was telling me about the potential new, boyfriend. Apparently, he had all of the important qualities: a six pack and blue eyes. Personally, I value having a good conversation with whoever I decide to pursue in that way. So for me, intellegence just trumped the six pack. I needed someone who was on my level. Kylie was just not that way.

I digress though. Kylie was just getting done with a paper she had been writing, both of us were college students at the University of NC Pembroke. It probably makes no sense that we didn’t just get together and do our homework if we were going to talk on skype anyway, but it did to me. The physical separation prevented the distraction of a party or social activity which would distract me. Kylie was a lot of fun to be around but education always comes first.

“Did you hear about the crazy things going on?” My focus on the woodcut I was working on caused a lag in my response. The woodcut for Intro to Printmaking, the one form of art I absolutely loathed. Not in the way you’d think, Printmaking is a beautiful art form and all, it’s just tedious. I am a digital artist and so I just don’t want to spend so much time on one line that has to be made right the first time.

“What crazy things?” I asked at last. Kylie was a theatre major, and her arm expressions tended to showcase that. At this particular moment she was holding them up to signify the importance of what she was saying.

“Apparently, there’s been students that have been going missing.”

“Missing? Are you sure it’s not just people trying to get an early spring break?” My question was a logical one, Midterms were next week.

“Lys this sounds serious. All of them have been seen going back to the dorm right before they disappear. You remember Summer?” I struggled to remember. A pale girl with blue eyes and dark hair with a slightly plump stomach crossed my mind’s vision.

“The girl who thinks that copying Vera Bradley patterns is art?” That was a little mean, but Summer had made it very clear she was not fond of me in our drawing class.

“I guess… you know more about that than I do. She’s on the floor right below mine. Apparently she left her boyfriend Rody at his room. He said he saw her go in and that’s the last anyone has seen of her.” I shrugged as my wood carving tool pulled up a wood chunk.

“Maybe she’s sick.” I blurted.
“For a whole week?” Kylie retorted.
“Well everyone’s been sick because of the glorious North Carolina weather,” I joked.
“Heh, I guess you could be right. They said 5 students went missing in Oak Hall, and now two in Cypress,” she continued.
“Eh sounds like the flu to me.” I shrugged off.
“Ya know if we were in a horror movie you’d be that logical dad that gets everyone killed,” Kylie teased.
“Well seeing as I’m very much a girl that dad thing would be pretty miraculous.” I joked back.
“I’ll be right back I gotta grab my RA real quick.” she blurted, voices in the background.

“Ah at last you’re going to do something about the furniture movers in the upstairs floor.” I replied.
“Yeah, I’m gonna need the noise to stop after 12.” she laughed. She glided off the screen, leaving behind the pink bedsheets and pillows to keep me company. I noted that I heard something like her opening the door and then a muffled “HEY!” I laughed to myself, taking a moment to rest my hands. I examined them, feeling my fingers cramp at the intense work they’d been doing. I looked at the foot I’d been carving up and felt discouraged knowing it just wasn’t the best of my work.

The sounds of shuffling caused me to look up. I was certain I was gonna see Kylie sitting in front of me, but there still was the pink sheets and pillows. Then the lights went out. I can’t really explain the discomfort I felt. For all I knew Kylie was just changing into pajamas or whatever. Call it intuition, but I just felt like something was not right.

It was then I heard the breathing. It was deep and dry, it sounded like whoever it was had been going on without water. I felt as though the breathing had forced me to sync up my own breathing. I was paralyzed, my body betraying me. I literally felt heavier, like I was carrying a 40 pounds that was hindering any movement. I felt cold chills clutch my spine and yank relentless as the breathing grew louder like a terrifying game of Marco Polo.

I know what you’re thinking: You weren’t in the room. It didn’t matter, whatever was in Kylie’s room had a presence that invaded all occupying space, even the floor between us. It was then I realized the bedsheets were beginning to move, the breathing turning into a series of low growls. I decided for some unknown reason to mute my microphone. I don’t know why I did this, some hope that I could separate myself from the powerful unseen entity in Kylie’s room. The springs began to squeak. But the breath was louder than before. Fear overtook me as I become certain I was going to see a face which would suck life from me.

“I caught you!” I screamed realizing the voice was beside me which caused Kylie to jump back from me. She gave me a confused look as she stood over my shoulder. I had fallen from my desk chair, tumbled over and tangled in extension cords and various chargers. She helped me up apologizing. I felt a small relief as I got back in my chair, a relief that left as quick as it came.

Both of us were staring at the screen in terror. On the other side, brightened by the glow of the laptop was a man. His eyes were unnatural black brought on by the black circles painted around them. The mouth was painted over white, with black lines drawn across. As my terror overwhelmed me I began to realize why the white and black pattern on his face seemed so familiar. It was a skull painted across his face. He was watching us, fully aware of our presence, His head resting on his palm as he relaxed into her bed. He blinked, hiding his already dark eyes as if they were holes in his face.

The sound of jingling keys was suddenly adamant, a female voice on the other end. Kylie’s hand gripped my shoulder causing my body to jerk in terror.

“It’s Lydia,” Kylie said, “She’s back from the party. She doesn’t know.” I unmuted the microphone in a panic frenzy.

“LYDIA GET OUT OF THERE!” I yelled. The man turned back to me, throwing the laptop on the ground. The screen was suddenly fuzzy, but I could see flip flop adorned feet enter the room and the light from the outside hall disappear as she closed the door behind her.

“Ugh, hold on Don. Kylie why is your laptop on the floor? Are you insane?” Lydia bent down and suddenly I could see her blue eyes and now washed out complexion.

“Lydia I’m here! Get out of the room right now!” Kylie screeched from beside me. Lydia’s eyes widened as she registered what she was seeing.

The man’s face appeared behind her causing us to scream. We watched in absolute terror as he pulled out a knife, covering her mouth and a struggle ensued. The laptop was dropped the sounds of the struggle continued and muffling whimpers. The sound of the knife contacting flesh and bone was heard. Then we saw her flip flopped feet. They wiggled uncontrollably for several moments before they stopped suddenly. Blood dripped onto her painted toes, and I felt my voice leave me. I looked to Kylie, tears were pouring down her face. She crouched beside me, when suddenly the feet disappeared from the shot. We heard shuffling for moments. Why we didn’t call the cops then I’ll never know. Like I said, it was like we were frozen by the presence of that evil.

The sounds stopped. It felt like we sat in hours in silence, but it couldn’t have been more than minutes. Kylie’s crying became vocal beside me, she began balling loudly as terror seeped into our beings. I grabbed her hand hoping it would be some comfort. How wrong I was.

In a swift movement the laptop was moved and all we saw was blur. It rested on the opposite bed looking back at Kylie’s bed. The light of the laptop faded off where we couldn’t see anything on the opposite side. The sounds of the footfall leaving the room caught our attention, before the light was switched on.

That loud click was all I heard even though I’m sure both me and Kylie were screaming. The light which should’ve been inviting and welcomed revealed a horrific site. On the once perfectly pink bedsheets was now blood, and on the white walls now read words in blood. The wall read in it’s insidious graffiti: The Beast Shall Devour All. What was the worst part though, the part I cannot forget even as I try with all my might, is seeing Lydia’s head without a body resting on the pillow staring terrified back at us.

Our screaming had alarmed the entire floor and led to the arrival of the cops. They had arrived to tell us to keep things down, but as soon as they saw the computer things changed. They found Lydia and no sign of the man who had been there. After finding one dead student and hearing about the others who had been missing classes, the police opted to check on the rooms of the missing students. Every one of them was found without a body and resting on the pillow. Every room had the same phrase etched onto the wall.

An investigation ensued, and eventually they did find something out of place. They were examining the heads and in Summer’s teeth they found DNA of someone else. They ran it through the system to find out it belonged to a man named Caleb Davidson. Davidson came from a neighboring town: Saint Pauls. He had prior assault charges on file and they caught him easily. He was said to be wearing skull face painting when they found him.

They further investigated his home and found bones of the people he’d murdered. Lydia and Summer’s bodies were identified. There were all the missing students and also many travelers from out of town. I read up on a couple of the victims. The most interesting one was Neil Anthony, he’d been taking a road trip investigating urban legends when he stumbled upon “the hill beast” in Saint Pauls. I quickly realized as I read through his blog that there was something absolutely strange about it all.

The police charged Davidson with the murders of the victims and he plead guilty. When they questioned him they discovered more strange oddities around the case. Davidson had managed somehow to get past the security of each of the dorm rooms and got the remains of the students out without notice. Davidson claimed he had been protected by the beast. The cops wrote it off as insane ramblings.

But what bothers me to this day is what was discovered about the bodies. All that was left were bones, all the meat was gone. But found on the bones, on everybody, were teeth marks of an animal. Even worse, the teeth marks on each body matched. The animal was believed to be canine but it was never found.

I had left the campus after that. I still keep in contact with Kylie, she’s switched schools too. We both got out of that mess. Just last week we met up for coffee for the first time in months. It started off as catching up, we both are graduated now and eagerly looking for good jobs. It was then that she brought up that night.

“Ya know it terrifies when I think about it,” Kylie sighed.
“I don’t think we’ll ever forget it Kylie,” I replied.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how you felt watching for all that time,” she said thinking.
“Yeah,” I continued, “Ya know I couldn’t believe it because it started out as something moving off screen and then he shut off the lights.”
“Oh my God,” she gasped, tears daring to fall.
“What’s wrong?” I asked concerned.
“He didn’t turn off the lights, I did.”

Credit To – Elysia Bloom

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O’Malley’s Family Restaurant

March 5, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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As younger siblings tend to do, I absolutely worshipped my older brother Calvin. He always seemed like the coolest person in the world to me. Everybody liked him. He was president of his class, a star baseball player, and just had an all around great personality. All the girls thought that he was such a stud, much to my surprise. And although he was older, Calvin wasn’t the stereotypical monster. I think that’s why we got along so well.

For one thing, he would never dream of hurting me in any way. When I told my psychiatrists this, they couldn’t believe it. An older brother that never once tortured his younger sister? There was no way one of those existed anywhere. But Calvin was different. His bedroom door was always open whenever I needed someone to talk to. He’d let me lie on his floor and listen to his records with him while he did his homework. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

As the two of us grew up, in a small town in the middle of Rhode Island, we only became closer. Maybe it was because of our family situation, but we both needed each other greatly. Our father was an alcoholic. He’d come home drunk most of the time, and take out all of his anger on us. Calvin never let him get to me, though. He would let me sleep with him in his bed most nights, so I wouldn’t have to hear our parents fighting through the bedroom walls alone.

Our mother was helpless, but tried her hardest. She was controlled by him, and was stuck in a bad situation. She often thought about leaving with us, but with our control freak of a dad, it was out of the question. Sadly, Mom died when I was thirteen. The autopsy showed that she had had an overdose on painkillers. They ruled it as accidental, but I was never so sure. After she was gone, our father only got worse. It got so bad that the second he graduated, Calvin moved into an apartment on the other side of town, and took me with him. Our father barely protested. I’m pretty sure he never wanted kids in the first place.

From then on, it was just Calvin and I, on our own in the big world. He attended the local community college, and worked part time at a grocery store. It wasn’t the most glamorous thing, but it helped to get food on the table. I was hard to look after. I was deeply disturbed after such a tough childhood. I wasn’t good at making friends or being friendly. But my brother never turned his back on me. We were away from our broken home, and were happy just to have each other.

It’s at this point in our lives that we made the biggest mistake we ever could. The two of us didn’t know it at the time. But to this day, I still regret picking up that phone more than anything.

It was the end of summer, around 1976. The winds were brisk, as early September was approaching fast. Calvin and I had been on our own then for about two years. I was fifteen; he was nineteen. I remember that I was sitting at the kitchen table, finishing my homework. Calvin was working on fixing frozen TV dinners. The phone was in the living room. I jumped up immediately when it started to ring.

“Hello?” I asked into the receiver. It was Joey Malone. Joey was my brother’s best friend in high school. The two of them were practically joined at the hip, until they went their separate ways for college. Joey was in Miami, and I could hear the longing for his friend in his voice. After we caught up for a brief moment, he turned serious.

“Hey, lemme talk to your brother real quick,” Joey said. “I’ve got some news that I think he might like.” I rolled my eyes playfully and handed the receiver to Calvin. I could hear my brother laughing from the living room as he caught up with his old friend. They must have been on the phone for a good hour, because I had already taken our TV dinners out of the oven and had finished mine by time Calvin walked in.

“Hey, sorry about that, Laurel,” He smiled softly, taking a seat across from me. “Man, you’ll never believe what Joey’s been up to!” I cocked an eyebrow suspiciously.

“Is he locked up in prison already?” I joked.

“No, but he might as well be. His neighbors are going away for Labor Day weekend, and he’s throwing a monster party in their house while they’re gone! He’s invited us to come and crash it! Can you believe it?” He chuckled, taking a bite of frozen chicken.

I should have known right then that we shouldn’t go. It was illegal to break into someone’s home, but even more illegal to throw a party in it. I should have known that it wasn’t a good idea. But I was naïve, fifteen-year-old girl. So of course, I agreed.

Calvin and I planned to drive up to Joey’s house. It would take us a while from Rhode Island, but the two of us were so stoked, we didn’t even care. We spent the long car ride blasting the Doors on the radio, and singing the lyrics way off key. This was definitely when I felt most content. Little did I know the terror that we’d be thrown into later that night…if I had, I would have made Calvin turn the car around and drive off a cliff.

We had been in Calvin’s truck for who knows how long. It was around nine o’ clock that night when we noticed that we were in a nowhere land. Our map said we were in New Jersey, but it didn’t seem like it.

“Are you sure we aren’t lost?” I asked my brother as I chewed a wad of bubblegum. He kept his eyes firmly on the road ahead of us, nodding his head.

“Of course we aren’t. Joey told me the directions himself.” I rolled my eyes, blowing a bubble.

We must have been driving through nothing but trees for another hour before I finally declared that we were lost. My brother had the crazy idea that his best friend was some kind of genius, but I knew better. Calvin was getting tired. I was getting restless. I had been sitting in the same position for too long, and I couldn’t feel my legs.

“Can we please pull over somewhere?” I whined.

“Don’t you think I would have about two hours ago? There’s nowhere to pull over to.” Calvin replied, stifling a cough. It turned into a slight wheeze, which caused my ears to perk up.

“Are you okay?” I asked him, concern filling my voice. He nodded, brushing it off as just a tickle in his throat. Usually that would have been enough to disinterest me. But that night, I was on full alert. Calvin had really bad asthma. I’d almost lost him many times because of it, which was scary to think about. Almost as scary as the endless road in front of us.

It was about thirty minutes later that Calvin began to get frustrated.

“Shit,” He’d grumble to himself. “That jackass had no idea what he was talking about.” I didn’t reply. I knew he wouldn’t admit that I was right. I was beginning to feel really uncomfortable with our surroundings. It was weird that we had driven hours through nothing but trees, only seeing another passing car every fifty miles or so. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was scared. Where were we going to sleep? On the side of the road? Just the thought of that creeped me out.

Both of us were hungry. At one point, Calvin had asked me to check the map to see if there were any rest stops or motels anywhere close. There weren’t. Not until it was about ten thirty. Calvin was practically falling asleep at the wheel, when my eyes fell upon a small speck on our ancient looking map.

“Calvin! Get up!” I shook him, excitement rising in my voice. “There’s a restaurant coming up in about twenty miles!” His eyes popped open.

“Are you serious?” He asked.

“Yeah! There should be an exit up ahead somewhere.” I couldn’t believe our luck. It did strike me as odd that this was the only sign of civilization for hundreds of miles, but I was so hungry, I didn’t care. I gave Calvin the directions to the place. There weren’t any signs in the pitch-black forests, but I knew that we were getting close.

Pretty soon, Calvin turned, and there it was. The place looked like your typical 1950’s styled diner. It was a small building with large glass windows, making it easy to look inside. I could see a few people sitting down. Calvin parked on the dirt road outside. I jumped out anxiously, dying to stretch my legs. It was a lot colder in that area. I pulled a sweatshirt over my head, as Calvin buttoned up his jacket. I could smell coffee and homemade pie drifting out through the sliding glass door.

Calvin and I walked side by side. As I looked up at the sign, I noticed there was another part to it that I hadn’t seen before. It flickered every now and then in the moonlight:

O’MALLEY’S FAMILY RESTAURANT
(MOTEL ON EAST SIDE)

We stepped through the door. The floors were checkered, and the rows of red vinyl booths were almost all filled. There were a few bustly looking men over at the counter, sipping hot coffee out of mugs. A woman sat with her young daughter, the two of them giggling softly as the ate plates of pancakes. A group of teenagers in leather jackets stood over by the jukebox. One slipped a dime into it, and some ancient tune by Buddy Holly started to play.

An unbelievable feeling of dread immediately fell over me. It came out of nowhere, but it wouldn’t go away. I immediately regretted pulling up there.

I didn’t even hear the woman come up to us.

“Can I help you, kids?” Her voice was soft like butter. I glanced up and was met with the dark eyes of an elderly woman. She wore a red dress and matching shoes, a dirty apron draped over her front. Her apple doll face smiled down at us, her silver hair gleaming in the lights overhead. I didn’t speak. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t open my mouth.

“Yes, ma’am,” Calvin said with a smile. “We’d just like a quick bite to eat before we hit the road again.” He poked me in the back, and I nodded my head feebly in agreement.

“Well, come on in! My name is Millie, Millie O’Malley. Welcome to our restaurant. ” Her laugh had years of age visible in every syllable. Yet, it made me cringe.

“It’s nice to meet you, Millie. I’m Calvin Duncan, and this is my sister Laurel.” I still didn’t feel right as I reluctantly took her hand in mine. She was somebody’s grandmother. But something about her made me uneasy. I guess I got that way around anybody new that I met, but bad vibes were coming off of her.

“Laurel. That’s such a lovely name.” I managed a weak smile as Millie let out another laugh. “Well, I don’t want to keep you kids just standing around. Come on, I’ll find you two a booth.”

Calvin and Millie were talking up a storm. I hung behind them, pretending not to notice. I learned that Millie and her husband Ted had opened the restaurant a couple of years ago after retiring. She was the hostess, and he was the cook. They didn’t have any children, which is why Millie enjoyed it so much when younger people stopped in. Calvin was always so polite. He laughed at her jokes and told her our sob story. When she learned that we didn’t really have any parents, her expression changed. Almost to one of…delight.

“Oh, you poor things. Well, consider me your mother for the night.” She handed us our menus as I took a seat across from my brother in the booth. As she walked away, Calvin opened his with a smile.

“Isn’t she just the sweetest woman you’ve ever met?” He beamed, his light brown bangs falling over his eyes. I didn’t reply. I slouched down in my seat, not bothering to look at meal choices. I suddenly wasn’t hungry anymore. My eyes wandered elsewhere. I watched as the teenagers by the jukebox drank Cokes straight out of the bottle and talked amongst themselves.

“What’s the matter? Are you feeling okay?” Calvin asked, concern in his voice. I just nodded my head. I didn’t answer when he asked me what I wanted to eat. I knew that I was getting on his nerves, but I honestly couldn’t care less. When Millie came over to take our orders, I remained quiet. Calvin ordered us pancakes and hot chocolate with a warm smile. As she walked away, he turned back to me, his expression annoyed.

“What’s your deal tonight, Laurel? You’re acting like a little kid.” He snapped.

“Don’t you feel the least bit uncomfortable around her?” I raised an eyebrow. Calvin looked at me, confused.

“What are you talking about?”

“Mrs. O’Malley. Don’t you feel it? She’s weird. Something about her doesn’t seem right to me.” I don’t know how he couldn’t see it.

“She’s just being nice. God, stop acting stuck up and try to appreciate what she’s doing for us.” Calvin shot back harshly. I rolled my eyes and didn’t speak to him for the remainder of our meal. I now wish that I would have. I didn’t know then that that would be one of the last moments I would ever spend with my brother again.

When our food arrived, Calvin thanked Millie for me. I picked at my food and stared down at my shoes. Calvin pretended not to notice. We never fought. We would have squabbles, and this was one of them. Calvin was always so patient with me. But I wasn’t an easy kid to look after. I often wonder if that’s what got my father so angry. I had trust issues from growing up in a home where I didn’t feel safe. I came off as cold a lot of the time, and my brother was usually the only one who could comfort me. But even he sometimes got fed up.

“I’m going to the bathroom.” I spoke for the first time in half an hour. Calvin just nodded his head, taking a sip of his drink. I slid out of the vinyl booth and made my way to the back. I locked myself in a stall and stood against the wall. I don’t know how long I was in there. I just needed to be away from that table.

When I returned, however, Calvin was talking to Millie and who I assumed was her husband, Ted. He was a bigger man, with a few gray hairs still clinging to his balding head. His greasy apron hung over khaki pants and a green flannel shirt. They were all laughing about something, Calvin stopping to cough now and again. I walked over to the table as quietly as I could. Calvin looked up at me and smirked.

“Well, speak of the devil.” He joked, motioning for me to come sit by him. He must have forgiven me, or at least have been faking it in front of the O’Malley’s. I didn’t care. I clung to my brother tightly.

“I’ve been wondering what brought you kids all the way up here.” Millie said suddenly, her unsettling smile growing wider. “We don’t get many visitors up here.”

“We’re driving to Florida, to visit some old friends.” Calvin replied. “I’m glad that we found this place, though.” Millie glanced at Ted. He blinked, his expression changing to one of pleasure. They stayed silent for a moment, as if contemplating an answer.

“We’re a bit in the middle of nowhere, I guess,” Ted chuckled hoarsely. He was missing a few teeth. The remaining ones in his mouth were all yellow. I turned to look out the window. I watched the truck as the three of them continued to talk.

“Well, we’d really like to thank you folks for your kind hospitality. How much do I owe you?” Calvin asked, reaching for his wallet. Millie shook her head.

“No. It’s on the house.” When my brother tried to protest, she put a bony finger to his lip. He smiled in gratitude, getting up to leave. I jumped out of the booth and was just about to reach for the door, when Ted blocked my way.

“Hey, what do you kids think you’re doing? You can’t go driving out now. It’s nearly one o’ clock in the morning.” I wouldn’t know. There were no clocks or signs of time anywhere in the diner. It was like we were in the Twilight Zone. I glanced worriedly up at Calvin, trying to signal him to keep walking.

“You two look like you’ve been driving all day.” Ted continued. “I don’t think it would be wise to be behind the wheel when you’re tired. Come on in the back. We’ve got a nice little motel where you kids can stay until morning.” I froze. There was no way in hell that I was spending another second with those creeps.

“That’s alright,” I tried to object. “We’ll be fine.” But my brother wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know, Laurel. I’m really tired, and you’re still underage. I don’t want to put our lives at risk by falling asleep at the wheel.” Calvin said feebly. I shook my head and grabbed his hand. He was stronger than me, though. I got pulled back onto the checkered floor.

“Calvin!” I tried to object. But he ignored me, and walked back to Millie.

“I think we’ll take a room for tonight.” He smiled, pushing me behind his back. Millie grinned and winked at her husband.

“Wonderful. Ted will show you two to the motel across the way. If you’ll give me your car keys, I can go fetch your luggage for you.” My mouth was dry. I watched as my brother pulled his keys out of his back pocket. I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed on to the back of Calvin’s jacket as I watched Millie walk outside. He just brushed me off.

I trailed behind hopelessly. Ted led us into another building a few feet away from the restaurant. It was smaller than the diner, but only by a little. It was also made entirely out of logs, as if Abe Lincoln had built it only weeks prior. He and Calvin were chatting away about who knows what. Ted pulled a key out of his pocket and quietly pushed the door open.

The inside of the motel was depressing. The walls were made completely out of wood, and portraits of mountain landscapes hung on them in rows. An oriental rug lay on the floor, just underneath the front desk. There was a guestbook, a cactus in a small pot and a vintage looking hand bell on top of it. I shuddered. There was a heavy draft in there, and it looked as if there had been vacancy for years.

“Well, this is the place. I don’t think its necessary to have you two sign in the guestbook, so I’ll show you up to your room.” Ted smiled, his grotesque teeth glimmering in the light. He led us up a staircase on the right side of the lobby.

The hallway was lit by a few mothy, overhead lamps. It was long, and just like the rest of the motel, wooden. There were about five rooms on each side of us, the doors closed. It was a bit dusty, which started up another round of quiet wheezing for Calvin. I rolled my eyes. He got us into this. I felt no sympathy.

“Ah. Here we are.” Ted finally exclaimed. He stood in front of a room and pulled open the door. There were two twin beds with quilt blankets and feathered pillows. The carpet was a rusty red, the wallpaper slightly peeling at the edges. Some more paintings of mountains and seasides hung around on pathetic looking nails. I swallowed thickly. Ted reached over me, placing a meaty hand on the light switch above my head. The room didn’t look any better, as it was flooded with an eerie, orange-ish light.

“It looks very homey. Thanks a lot, Ted.” Calvin smiled. I slowly descended inside and sat on one of the beds. I could distantly hear Ted telling my brother where the bathroom was, where to go for breakfast, things like that. I watched silently as Millie returned upstairs with our luggage. I must have zoned out for longer than I thought, because when I looked back, the door was closed and Calvin was unpacking our suitcases.

“We shouldn’t be here.” I spoke for the first time in what felt like forever. Calvin remained silent as he tossed me my pajamas.

“What are you going to tell Joey? We’re supposed to be at his house by tomorrow.” I heard my brother let out a loud sigh. It was the kind of sigh that your father might let out at the end of a long day.

Calvin must have sensed my uneasiness. He walked over slowly and took a seat beside me on the bed. I felt his arm wrap around my shoulder and squeeze it tightly. We didn’t say anything. He rested his chin on my shoulder. I could hear his raspy breathing in my ear.

“We’re going to be okay, Laurel. You need to sleep.” And with that, he kissed my cheek and turned back to his side of the room. We faced opposite directions as we undressed and got into our pajamas. I reluctantly slipped under the moth eaten blanket and cold sheets after sitting up in an uncomfortable silence for nearly half an hour. There was no way I was going to sleep. I looked up at the dirty ceiling for what felt like hours, listening to Calvin’s breathing.

I don’t know what time it was when I woke up. I must have dozed off, yet I don’t remember it. Calvin is what woke me up. I heard him hastily throw his quilt onto the floor. His breathing was labored, as if he had just ran a marathon. I lay up in bed.

“Cal? Are you okay?” I asked into the darkness. I didn’t get a response. The zipper to his suitcase was unzipped, and I heard my brother quickly rustling through his clothes. Eventually, he found what he was looking for and walked towards the door.

“I-I’m fine. I just need some fresh air.” Calvin gasped out, clutching his inhaler in his hand. Light flooded our room as he stepped into the hallway quietly. He had these episodes a lot. I always felt so helpless when he did. There was nothing I could do except watch with wide eyes as he struggled to breathe. I don’t know why I didn’t go after him, but I wish I would have. Those were the last words that I ever heard him speak.

He was out there for about twenty minutes before I finally walked out to check on him. It usually took him a little while to calm down from his asthma attacks.

But when I opened the door, Calvin wasn’t there.

My feet were freezing in the brisk hallway. I rubbed my arms as goose bumps started forming on my pale skin. Looking around, panic slowly started to rise in my throat. I checked in the bathroom to see if Calvin was in there. He wasn’t. There weren’t many places he could go.

“Calvin?” I called out into the hallway. There was no response. I quietly walked back into our room and put on a pair of slippers. I snuck down the hallway and raced down the staircase. He wasn’t in the lobby either.

There is no worse feeling than being completely alone in a place that you don’t know. It’s even worse when the only person you want to comfort you isn’t there. One of the hallway lamps flickered overheard. I couldn’t help the tears that streamed down my face. My mind was racing with possibilities of where my dear brother could have gone. I wondered if he had stormed off and left because I was just that annoying. I was so caught up in my panic that I didn’t see what I had tripped on. I went flying face first onto the oriental carpet. As I turned my body around to try and ease the pain, my eyes widened in shock.

Calvin’s inhaler was lying on the ground. It was just outside the door to our room, where I had seen him go out earlier. It was then that I knew that something was seriously wrong.

Calvin wouldn’t leave that lying around by choice. He wouldn’t just drop it by accident. It suddenly dawned on me that wherever he went, he went unwillingly. I let out a sob. I called out his name one more time. I reached my shaking arm out and took the inhaler in my hands. I rolled the plastic around in my palm as I stood up, placing it in my pocket. We needed to get out of there. I didn’t care if he didn’t agree. Once I found I him, we’d drive away and never come back to this fucking freak show.

I dashed back into our room and grabbed the car keys off of the bedside table. I didn’t bother grabbing anything else. My only focus was getting the hell out of there. I tiptoed down the staircase, the wood creaking underneath my feet. Pushing open the door, I ran as fast as I could towards the diner, my only exit to the outside world. The lights were still on inside, much to my surprise. I tried not to pay attention to the menacing trees leaning over me as I raced to the back door. I was prepared to pound on it until my knuckles were red and bloody, but it opened almost immediately. I quietly slipped inside.

I could see Calvin’s truck on the other side of one of the clear glass windows. It looked so close, yet so far away. I don’t know how much adrenaline was pumping through my body at that exact moment, but it took every ounce of strength I had not to just bolt then and there. The only thing that stopped me was the sound of a metal object clattering to the tiled floor behind me. It echoed loudly into my ears.

As far as I could see, there was no one besides me in the building. All of the customers were long gone. I spun around quickly. The doors to the kitchen were closed. When I tried to pry one open, it was locked. I kicked it as hard as I possibly could. I screamed out into the emptiness of the diner, for somebody, anybody, to come help me. It felt like I’d been in there for years.

A dizzying wave of nausea overtook me. I heard that object clatter again, as well as a few barely audible whispers. Someone said “Shit!” and was quickly shushed. I had to hold my breath just to hear them again. Whatever it was was close by. My neck craned, trying to peer into the kitchen once more. The glass windows were hidden behind a black curtain, hung up so I couldn’t see inside. That had not been there earlier. I snuck around behind the counter and pressed my ear against the murky walls. There was a sudden silence. And then, the shuffling of feet on the tiled floor.

I don’t know what urged me to do it. It could’ve been the adrenaline, or the hopelessness that had overwhelmingly taken over my body that night. On the counter, there were rows of ketchup bottles and silverware. I grabbed a fork out from under a napkin and clutched it in my sweaty palms. I knew there was somebody, or something, behind that window. I wasn’t alone in there. I jammed the fork onto the glass. After about thirty seconds, the glass was starting to crack. I kept banging and banging it until it shattered in front of me. The millions of pieces seemed to fall in slow motion. I didn’t step back, though. For as I pulled away the sheet, nothing on earth could prepare me for what I was about to stumble on to.

A stream of smoke poured out through the broken glass. But even through it, I could see that the O’Malley’s kitchen was a typical diner kitchen. There were a few stoves and ovens. A refrigerator in the back held week’s worth of food. But that was not what caught my attention. The overwhelming stench of burning flesh filled my nostrils. I coughed and gagged, struggling hard to get a breath out. My eyes started to tear up. I flailed my arms in an attempt to clear a path, but found myself unsuccessful. The grotesque smell made me want to puke.

“Who’s there?” I recognized the voice. It was the voice of the man who had taken Calvin and I to our rooms a couple hours before. I didn’t make a sound. I still couldn’t see, but eventually the smoke cleared through the broken window. My watery eyes soon adjusted to the florescent lighting. My mouth fell open in horror.

Ted and Millie O’Malley stood in the middle of the kitchen. There was a silver pot, about the size of a record player, resting on a table in the center. It was the first time that I got a good look around me. Blood was splattered on every inch of the walls surrounding us. It dripped down in streams and formed small puddles on the floor. There was cleaver clutched in Ted’s meaty fist, gleaming menacingly in the light. Millie stood beside him, a wooden spoon at her side. It was wet and covered in what looked like oversized worms. Intestines. I didn’t speak.

My attention turned to the pot, still boiling and bubbling. I saw my brother’s pajamas strewn into a pile in the corner. I could see clumps of his hair sticking to the sides of the pot. My feet stayed frozen in place as the stench of his burning flesh filled my head and every inch of my body. My eyes burned. My mouth was dry. I couldn’t even utter a scream.

“Grab her!” Millie snarled in a cackling voice. Ted lunged for me, but I was too quick. The fat ass fell on his front, face first into a puddle of Calvin’s blood. Millie grabbed the cleaver and threw it at the door, just as I pried it open and ran like hell. I ran outside the diner and flung open the door to the truck, jamming the keys inside. I could make out Millie’s body racing towards me in the night, but I started the car up faster. It sputtered for a moment, and then shot out like a rocket. I had no experience with driving, but that was not my top priority. I needed to find help.

Tears were streaming down my face, blocking my vision. I was having a mental breakdown as I whisked unsteadily through the New Jersey trees. I let out howls of despair. Occasionally, I’d spit up whatever food I had left in my stomach. The smell of that flesh wouldn’t leave me. I’m sure I nearly drove off the road at least three times. But I didn’t care. They had killed Calvin. They had killed my brother, and chopped him up and fucking cooked him. I pounded my head on the wheel, the horn blasting into the night. I could feel the blood trickling down the side of my face, seeping into my hair. My vision was starting to show spots.

I don’t know how long I had driven until I finally found a car on the side of the road. There was a man kneeling down to examine one of his tires. I jerked to a stop and flew out of the truck, slamming the door behind me. Vomit clung to the sides of my mouth, dried blood on my face, tears still gushing like a waterfall. He was an older man, with a wrinkled face and skunk streaks in his dark hair. I frightened him, for he stood back in fear. I knew I looked like a mess, a drug addict, whatever. I sounded like one too.

“YOU NEED TO HELP ME! THEY KILLED MY BROTHER! THEY KILLED HIM THEY KILLED HIM THEY CHOPPED HIM UP AND THEY KILLED HIM!” I remember falling to my knees and howling in pain. The man tried to pry me back up but I thrashed around in his arms. He groaned loudly as I kicked right in the gut by accident. I could distantly hear his panicked voice trying to get an answer out of me.

“Who?” He yelled through a thick Jersey accent. “Who killed your brother?”

I shook my head rapidly, gasping for air. The wind pounded at my ears as I tried to speak. The last things I could make out were his eyes gleaming in the darkness as I wheezed out the name through the pain. I fell hard to the asphalt.

*

They tell me that I was practically frothing at the mouth when they found me. I had blacked out for a moment, and the cops assumed I was dead. But I woke up. I was screaming for Calvin, screaming for somebody to help him, screaming for someone to believe me. Yet, to this day, no one does.

O’Malley’s Family Restaurant had been torn down in the late 1950’s. Once word got out that the seemingly friendly owners trapped their victims in their motel and ate them, it was barricaded and destroyed. Theodore and Millicent O’Malley were given the death penalty in 1956, twenty years before my brother and I pulled up that summer night. I later learned that they had killed over twenty travelers who crossed their paths, including a gang of motorcycle riders, a group of teenage greasers, and a woman with her young daughter.

When the man who found me finally brought me over to the police, I was in hysterics. I was handcuffed and thrown into the back of a patrol car. They drove me back to the exit where Calvin and I had turned earlier that night. Where the restaurant had stood mere hours earlier was just an empty lot. The sign wasn’t there. The building had disappeared. There was no motel, no sign that anybody had been there for years. It was just an empty patch of dirt, no sign of life anywhere. No sign of Calvin. I tried to explain. I cried for what felt like years. Yet, no one believed me.

The police searched for months on end, but they never did find my brother’s body. His final resting place had vanished into thin air. They never found any evidence of anything. I still had Calvin’s inhaler, in the pocket of my sweatshirt. I can’t tell you the number of times I shoved it in those cop’s faces, telling them that it was the key to finding out where he was. But I was a lost cause. They even had the audacity to accuse me of murdering him. My case was eventually out ruled due to lack of evidence, but my years of pain never stopped. The judge was convinced that I was mental and needed to be locked away. So they threw me in here, which is where I have been since the early autumn of ‘76.

I’m a grown woman now, writing this story down as a cry for help. I’m hoping that somebody out there will believe me, someone who knows what I’m talking about. I swear to God that I am not insane. I felt it. I lived it. It survived it. It’s not all in my head, yet that has been what all of these doctors and psychiatrists have been trying to convince me for years.

They said I’ve imagined it all. All this medication pumping into my body has turned my brain to mush. But I know that I didn’t. It was too real to have possibly been a dream. The only thing I still have to remember that night by is Calvin’s inhaler. I hold it on to it every day, never letting it go. It’s the only thing I have to remind myself that my brother was real. It’s the only piece of evidence that I have. It’s the only part of him that they will never be able to take away from me.

You won’t find anything about the O’Malley’s or Calvin Duncan anywhere on the Internet. It’s as if it was a tragedy meant just for us. It’s as if the whole world wants to forget. Yet, there is a road down in the midst of New Jersey. If you turn at just the right spot, you might see the ghostly hue of a diner, filled with life and joy inside. Don’t be fooled; it isn’t real. Keep driving, and don’t look back. But if you do happen to see a boy in the window, with mousy brown hair, kind eyes and a loving smile, you should wave at him. You should yell out into the night that Laurel loves him and she misses him very much.

And you should tell him that she is sorry that she couldn’t have done more.

This post was uploaded by a patient from the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.

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It Has No Face

March 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Everyone has tales about the strange and bizarre. My story is about how my half-hole mask saved my life, and continues to save my life to this very day. Late in December, I was traveling north from California to my home state of Oregon. Nothing fancy, I was just going to visit the family for the holidays. On my way north I hit a small snow storm, nothing awful, just a lot of snow falling all at once.

I wasn’t worried about the small increase of snow at first, considering I had snow tires installed before I started my long journey home. I did, however, get a little hesitant to drive when the snow started to really come down. The large amount of falling snow coupled with the large amount already littering the ground as I traveled higher into the mountains caused me to consider finding a place to stay for the night. I figured I could get some sleep while the storm passes over, that and the fact that I could give my car’s heater a break before it would decide to burst into flames- or worse, just stop working all together. I scanned as much of the landscape as I could, but there were no buildings in the immediate area.
The only other option that I had for my predicament was to keep driving and hope there was a town or exit nearby that I could take in order to escape from the storm. I must have been driving for at least an hour before I saw a sign up ahead indicating how far the closest city was. My heart sank a little when I read 162 miles as it flew by my windshield and vanished into the snowy night. At this point the snow was beating against my windshield, and I knew that I wasn’t going to last 162 minutes let alone 162 miles.

The digital clock on my radio read 1:21AM, and I decided that the next turn off I saw I would take and hope that I could find a neighborhood that will produce some results on my current endeavor. My thought process was: either freeze to death in my car, or stay the night at some random person’s house. Weighing the two options in my head I picked the only thing a sane person would pick and go with the house.

Another 30 minutes flew by, and still no luck finding a place to pull off. Just when I was starting to loose hope I saw a turn off in the distance. A small shape started make its way closer into my head lights and on further inspection it was reveled to me that they were two wooden poles that possibly belonged to a fence. When I turned onto the road between the two wooden poles the ground beneath me felt rocky and rough, like I was traveling on gravel. I didn’t drive for too long before I started to see a small cabin creep into my field of view.

The lights in the cabin were off, but the place seemed to be in good shape. I parked my car under a tall wild-looking tree that took residence on the cabin’s front lawn. Getting out of my car, I immediately grabbed my extra jacket and put it on pulling the half-hole mask I wore around my neck up and over my ears to keep the heat around my face. I put my cap on and trudged up to the cabin after putting my cap snug on my head. As I traveled through the cold windy night up to, what I felt was my salvation I immediately regretted not getting any gloves for my hands.

Despite the irritation I had with my hands, my face and the rest of my body were comfortably warm so I didn’t have much room to complain. I stuffed my frozen hands deep into my pockets and continued my journey across the cabin’s lawn. As I made my way to the door I noticed something odd. There was no indication of life anywhere; there wasn’t even a car in the front yard.

Taking my right hand out of my pocket I knocked 3 times, waiting patiently before saying “H-hello? Is anyone in there? I’m sorry to bother you so late at night, but I need a place to stay for a few hours.”

Nothing answered my plea for help, so I knocked 3 more times on the door hitting my knuckles harder against the aged wood of the entrance.
“Hello?” I said again a little louder before continuing with “I’m not here to rob you or anything; I just need a place to stay for the rest of the night. I promise I’ll be gone by sunrise.”

As I finished my sentence I touched the ornate metal door handle. Noticing that the door seemed to be unlocked I said in a loud voice “I’m coming in now, if there’s anybody in there let me know now please.”

I pressed the metal leaver down, finding it a bit odd that the door was unlocked, and opened the door with little resistance on the other end closing it behind me with about the same resistance despite the fact the door looked really old. Looking around the area I noticed the cabin had 5 rooms: the living room- which was the biggest room- a small kitchen, an even smaller washroom, and- what I assumed were- 2 small bedrooms in the back. No lights were on inside the cozy cabin making it almost pitch dark if my eyes weren’t already adjusted to the darkness from outside. I decided the best thing to do would be to search for a light switch, so I took out my phone and turned on my flashlight app to scan the walls. My scan produced no results however, and at the risk of losing precious battery power on my phone I decided the best option would be to turn off the light and put my phone on airplane mode.

Before turning off my light I studied the paintings hanging on the wall that I glossed over in the initial scan. Each painting that crossed my sights was just typical landscapes or harbors- things like that. There was a painting that looked like a fox hunt or something like that, but other than that it was just typical paintings you would see hanging on the walls around an elderly person’s home. There was a painting, however, that caught my attention. The painting was small and consisted of what looked like two adults- a mother and father- a teenage girl, and a small child.
The family captured in that painting were wearing what looked like Victorian era clothing. I’m only guessing about the clothes, I mean they could have been from the 1800’s or the early 20th century- the point is that the clothing was very ornate and regal. There was something really disturbing about the image in the painting though. The faces of each member of the family looked like they were smoothed over with clay- it’s kind of hard to describe it, but the 3 family members looked like they had no facial features. By no facial features I mean instead of the normal facial features you and I have, the 3 people in the painting hade grooves of smooth flesh where normally you have an eye, nose, or mouth.

The only person in the painting that didn’t posses a blank face was the teenage girl, which had normal facial features for a teenage girl- in fact she was quite breath taking. I pulled myself away from the painting to take a glance at my phone for the time. My phone indicated that it was passed 2 o’clock in the morning, so I decided to go to the back room and check to see if it was occupied. To my relief the room was vacant besides a medium sized bed, ornate dresser, and nightstand there wasn’t much to go by. The walls were blank besides more sappy paintings to give it a little more atmosphere.

Although there was no indication of a heating system- besides a chimney- the rooms were bearable enough that I figured I could just bundle up in my clothes under the covers in order to stay warm. I was only going to be there for a few hours anyway, so there wasn’t much point in starting a fire plus the people who owned the cabin wouldn’t be back tonight considering how late it was. I hopped into the worn out bed facing the open door next to another door I assumed was a closet and pulled my half-hole mask completely up and over my face to make sure my head would stay nice and warm the rest of my stay. Pulling the fabric of my mask down slightly I set the alarm on my phone for 4:30AM and put it back down onto the nightstand. I covered my face again and bundled up tightly with the sheets, closing my eyes and letting dreamland take me away until I woke up after what felt like minutes later to the sound of scratching.

My body froze as I heard the noise over and over again softly coming from the closed door. I tried to relax myself by thinking that all the noise that I heard was just a rat or some other animal that was spending the night in the closet while the cabin’s owners were away. Quietly I shifted onto my back, pulling my half-hole mask down slightly so a little slit appeared giving me a small window to look at what was out there. I laid on the bed stiff as a board with my cap and mask covering my face in such a way that it acted like a visor giving me a small peak at what was in the darkness. Thankfully my eyes were still adjusted to the dark, which gave me a small amount of reassurance as I continued looking in the direction the scratching noise was coming from.

The scratching continued louder and longer for what seemed like minutes until just like that, it suddenly stopped. Silence filled the room again, but it wasn’t a safe kind of silence. The deafening silence in the room was a foreboding ominous sort of silence. The vacuum of sound in the air was the type of silence that happens in a movie just before something jumps out at you. Just when I began to calm myself down the door knob to closet began to jiggle and turn very slowly.

My heart was racing out of my chest as I saw and heard that knob turn, and every inch of my body wanted to bolt out of that bed and out of that cabin before whatever was on the other side of that door got out after me. I laid perfectly still on the bed despite the fact that I had a cocktail of adrenalin, nerves, and instincts telling me to get the hell out of there. My eyes widened as the door to the closet opened slightly and I saw what looked like a dried head attached to an elongated neck pop out of the opening followed by a skeletal body. The thing that was emerging from the closet crawled on all fours out of the doorway and slowly made its way to the bed I was sleeping in. I had never been more frightened in my whole entire life as the thing stood up, almost touching the roof of the cabin, and looked down in my direction.

The creature stood there studying me as I peeked through the thin slit in my mask, pure terror swirling around in my mind as I glanced up at the body of the creature. Looking at the creatures’ skeletal face I noticed that it had no eyes in its’ eye sockets, which lead me to believe that it couldn’t see me even though I could see it. Just when the idea of it not being able to see me started to give me a little comfort the creature began to speak.

“Strange…” The creature whispered softly as it continued to watch me, and then began to speak again.

“It has no fear of me…” The creature continued to say in a hoarse tone as it began to breathe loudly, continuing to look at me and gripping down on the edge of my bed. Feeling the creatures’ bonny hand touch the edge of my bed caused my brain to go into complete panic mode. The only thing that stopped me from jumping up was the thought that maybe the creature believed I was dead or asleep and wouldn’t attack.

“How can it not fear…? How can it not fear me..?” The thing said through clenched teeth before loudly gasping and suddenly pulling back with its’ mouth open in an expression that seemed like fear.

“It has no face.” The thing whispered to itself as it continued to back away.

“It has no face.” The creature said again, but this time louder than before and slightly more threatening.

“It has no face!” The creature shouted as it backed off further away from the bed. I heard the thing breathing loudly and quickly before calming down and slowly returning to the side of the bed.

Leaning over me slowly, the creature continued to look at me before softly beginning to breathe on my face. I could smell its’ foul breath even through my mask. The smell was so powerful that it took all my strength not gag as a reflex to the awful stench. In my mind I made the choice to keep motionless, and not do or say anything that could compromise whatever illusion I was giving the thing that was currently studying me. The creature breathed on me again softly. The stench I smelled from its’ breath could only be described as pure death, which only strengthened my resolve to stay perfectly motionless.

“Strange…” the thing whispered at me again, leaning in close to me to the point where I could see and smell its’ decaying flesh.

The creature slowly reached for me, its’ hand slowly moving towards my face. With every inch that decaying hand moved I couldn’t help but feel my situation becoming more and more dire. I thought that this was it for me. The creature would kill me tonight, or take me away and torture me then kill me and no one would know what happened to me. No one would find my body out here, and no one would know my story. I could feel tears start to swell up in my eyes as I thought of everyone I ever loved being yanked away from me in this one moment.

“No face, no face, no face.” The creature softly chanted as its’ hands crept ever closer to my face. I could hear the anguish in the creature’s voice as it continued chanting over and over as it reached for me.

As the creatures’ long boney hand crept only centimeters away from my face I braced myself for the worst, making the last thoughts I would ever have about the people who I loved. Just as I thought my life was all over a sudden loud noise erupted from the room, filling the ear closest to the nightstand with a flood of beeps, and causing the creature to scream and jump back. As the noise continued the creature threw itself back against the wall shrieking uncontrollably in terror as it stumbled back towards the closet. I was dumb struck for a second before the thought came to me that I had set my alarm for 4:30AM, which must have been the source of the noise.

I jumped out of the bed grabbing my phone and pointing the lit up screen at the monster as the alarm continued to ring loudly. The loud ringing caused the monster to shriek even more in confusion and terror as it retreated quicker as I approached. Seeing my chance I activated my phones flashlight and put it on strobe in order to disorientate the monster further.

“No face! No face! No face! The creature shrieked at me as it withdrew to the safety of the closet. I continued to shine my light on the creature, and for added effect I started playing loud music as I continued to jab my phone in the monsters’ direction like a lion tamer. The thing threw itself into the dark recesses of the closet and I shoved the door back locking it after I slammed it closed. The shrieks coming from the monster started to get fainter and fainter, like it was retreating deeper into the house.

“No face! No face! It has no face!” I could hear the creature yell out as it got further and further away.

After hearing the last retreating words of the thing that terrified me the whole night I bolted from the cabin at break-neck speed, jumping into my car, and floored it off the gravel road. I was shaking all over as I drove, and when I pulled my half-hole mask further down my exposed skin was as white as the snow that littered the ground. I was so frightened by the whole experience as soon as I pulled into the first town I saw, I parked my car, and began to sob uncontrollably for awhile. The experience that I had just been through would scar me for life, but as I wept in my car in the parking lot of a seven-eleven I couldn’t help but start to laugh a little in between my fits of crying. I got through my ordeal without so much as a scratch on me- well besides the mental scars- I was fine, I was alive, and I didn’t have to worry anymore.

After I finished with my whole episode of crying and laughing like an insane person I entered the store sniffling and wiping away the rest of my tears. As I continued into the store the cashier looked up at me and traced my direction with his eyes before continuing with what he was doing. The store was mostly empty, besides an elderly couple, I was the only customer in there.
“Had a rough night?” The cashier said with one eyebrow cocked up while he scanned my items.
“You have no idea.” I said looking out the window at the sunny winter day.
“I noticed you looked a bit upset when you came in. What happened? Did you get dumped or something?” He said looking up at me as the register computed how much I owed him.

Looking at the young man behind the register, he seemed to be a little younger than I was- although that doesn’t say much because even though I’m 22 I look younger than my actual age. I looked at the cashier’s name tag for a second before feeling that I had nothing to lose by telling him about the night I just had. The small name on his ID tag read Evan, and as I finished telling him my frightening tale something odd happened. I expected him to burst out laughing or say I was the best liar he had ever talked to. Instead of doing any of that Evan just stood there, his skin milk white as he stared at me with an expression so horrified he gave me the impression that he just witnessed someone get run over by a train or something.
“Evan, a-are you alright?” I said looking into his eyes while we both stood there quiet.

“W-what? Oh… Yea- it’s just…” Evan began to say before his thoughts trailed off due to the new feeling that we were both being watched.
I began to feel eyes burn into the back of my head before turning around to see the old couple I glanced at when I entered the store beforehand. The old couple possessed the same horrified look that Evan had just a few seconds ago, they must have heard the whole story I told. After a few moments of silence the old couple asked me what I knew about the cabin, to which I couldn’t really say, I gave them the best description I could about what I saw. The couple proceeded to tell me about the cabin, how long it’s been there, and that it was haunted by a presence so terrifying that the place was condemned and left to rot away after so many people disappeared there. They told me that no one who ever stayed in that cabin has ever been seen alive again- if they’ve ever been seen at all after their visit.

“One of my best friends stayed the night in that cabin…” Evan said quietly as he stared off into the distance, but continued his thoughts with “I refused to go into the cabin, I knew something bad would happen if we went. I tried so hard to convince him that the dare was stupid and to not go in, but he refused to be labeled as a chicken and continued with the dare.”

Evan’s eyes began to water as he continued with his story “I never saw him again after that night. I kept calling his house but his parents still couldn’t find him. We put out flyers and billboards but we never had any luck. After a few days we contacted the police and I told them about the cabin.”

Evan began to choke down tears as he clenched his fist “They found him in the basement of that cabin sprawled out on the floor. His eyes were surgically removed from his eyes sockets, his nose was removed, and his lips… they were sliced off. When they found him he was naked with an incision from the bottom of his rib cage to his pelvis down the middle of his body. All of the internal organs were extracted from his body and to add insult to injury his genitals were sliced clean off. But you want to know the worst part of it all? When the police did an autopsy on the body, they found that he was alive during the whole process.”

Evan winced as he remembered the whole gruesome site and said “they never found who, or what did it. There was no DNA evidence to convict anybody, they didn’t find the tools that made the incisions, and they didn’t find anything.”

Evan clenched his fist tighter on the table before the old man listening to our conversation put his hand on Evans shoulder to reassure him that it was going to be alright. As he comforted Evan he looked at me and said “People have been disappearing from that area for decades- maybe even centuries for all we know, but the bodies always end the same gruesome way. I don’t care who you are, no one deserves something like that happening to them. They should just torch that evil place to the ground.

The old lady joined her husbands’ side and looked at me with the most foreboding face I had ever seen. “If your story is true, you should consider yourself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. In all my years of living you are the only one to go into that cabin and come out alive.” The woman said gripping onto her husbands’ hand tightly as she spoke to me.

After hearing the old woman’s’ words I realized that Evan said the body of his friend was found in the basement, which explains why the monsters voice got fainter. It would have pulled me into the basement if my phone hadn’t gone off. I quickly paid for my items and left the store more troubled now than I was when I entered. Feeling drowsy due to the lack of sleep and constant adrenalin rush caused by my whole terrible ordeal I decided to go to a hotel and spend the day sleeping and relaxing to get my mind off things.

That night I sat on the bed in my hotel room and looked at the 2 items that saved my life. In one hand I gripped onto my half-hole mask, which hid my face from that terrible monster. In my other hand I held my Cell phone, which scared away the horrible beast that could have killed me. I decided that from that day on I would always wear my half-hole mask to bed- it saved my life that’s the least I can do for it. The recent brush with death I just experienced had taught me that life is too precious to waste, so I decided to ask my best friend Samantha out on a date and things worked perfectly.

Samantha and I were together for 2 years before I recently asked for her hand in marriage- which she said yes. Part of me will never forget that awful night and because of it not only have I been wearing my half-hole mask to bed every night since then, I’ve also made it a priority not to live in any type of house that has a basement. I as an added safety measure I started locking every door before going to bed- it’s a pain, but you can never be too careful. Despite these crazy precautions Samantha has accepted my little quirks and has continued to be supportive as we continue or journey through life together. I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out in my life, and I’m so lucky to be with Samantha- everything’s perfect.

There’s just one thing that bothers me- and I think I might just have to blame my imagination, but sometimes when I wake up at night, when it’s really quiet… sometimes I’ll hear soft scratching noises. Also- and I think it’s just paranoia, but I swear, sometimes I hear something whisper “No face…” From inside my closet …

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The Hill Beast

March 3, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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No one hears much about the little town of Saint Pauls, North Carolina. It’s located in the southern part of North Carolina, literally two hours away from the South Carolina border. It’s a quiet town located right off of the interstate 95. When you get off the Saint Pauls exit the first thing you see in front of you is the ABC liquor store. You turn to your right, there’s a Days Inn Hotel, owned by the Patel family. I graduated with their son; he was Valedictorian of his class. Beside the Days Inn is a McDonalds; it stays busy with visitors that often stop there during long trips. Across the street is the Burger King which has the worst service you’ll ever get. I ordered chicken strips from there and got raw chicken twice; something about their atmosphere just reeks of laziness.

But I’m getting off the point. You turn to your right on a little road called Odom Drive that’s right past the McDonalds. There’s an empty field to your right and a neighborhood to your left. You turn into the neighborhood and there’s a little yellow house that looks in shambles to the left. That’s mine; I live there with my younger brother and our parents. We’ve lived there practically my whole life. But back to that road you’re on, before you turn into my yard, you’ll notice to the right, across from my house, is woods. Those woods have been a source of stress for me all of the time I’ve lived there. They aren’t so bad during the day but I get the feeling in the pit of my stomach that something watches me from them. I’m not so terrified that I’ve never entered. I have actually journeyed through them, but again, only during the day.

My journey usually allows me to clearly see the house through the tree lines or the little treehouse my neighbor built for his kids. I remember once journeying in with that neighbor and his kids when I was perhaps 12. That was the first time I ever saw the swamp. Dirty green colored water that was opaque and mud like. It was the farthest I’d ever journeyed into those woods. I felt as if I’d been invasive or something, like I’d found something not meant to be seen by the human eye. Maybe that makes me sound like I fear nature but in fact I find nature very beautiful. However, something about that swamp seemed bottomless. I believe a deep dark old danger lived in those woods. I was in its natural habitat and invaded its personal space. After this, I never journeyed any farther than the edge of those woods.

I have always believed in supernatural things. Even as a child I had a sense about “not playing with fire,” as one would say. My parents often warned me that the woods had very wild animals. We even supposedly had an alligator come from the swamp and try to cross that busy road between McDonalds and Burger King. I recall bats being popular visitors at dusk and dawn, and snakes were common visitors to our yard. One night my dad and I went out looking at fireflies. It was the first time I had ever seen them in real life and not on television. I thought it was cool, but the fireflies were in the edge of the woods and the sun had sunk quite significantly in the sky. I remember this feeling of something coming from the back of the woods edging towards us. Something was dark and determined. I tugged my dad’s shirt and insisted we go back in. He seemed disappointed that my timid side had shown but he obliged.

My parents seemed to strongly support the belief that I had a very overactive imagination. I am an artist after all, so they weren’t wrong. I remember having a nightmare the night we saw the fireflies. In it, we had stayed watching fireflies and I had ignored that gut wrenching feeling in my chest. Something large that I couldn’t see came running through the trees tearing after my father and I. We ran for the house. We ran for our lives. I collapsed as my foot caught something in its path. I struggled to fight the overwhelmingly heavy defeat when the form collapsed onto me and I heard the sounds of heavy breathing in my ears. The pressure of teeth shot through my ears in a horrid pain. I finally jolted awake.

There were many times I had vivid nightmares. My artistic mind led me to dreams that were just so much more real and detailed than most people. As I aged, though, I simply got used to those types of things. It was rare that I didn’t have nightmares. Maybe my parents were right and I did have a very overactive imagination.

Time passed pretty quickly, and eventually I was in college. I remember very clearly being a college senior, ready to get out of school and start my life. I think most people have that blind excitement of not knowing what is to come, at least I know I did.

It was spring, and the flowers had finally started coming out. I hadn’t actually had a nightmare in a few weeks. This is where things started to get strange though. I remember one night I had gone to bed pretty early, around 10, to get a lengthy good night’s rest. I remember kicking my blanket half off of me because it was hot. I had always been very warm blooded for some reason, so I slept better when it was cooler. But this night I decided that the temperature mattered not a lot because there was a lot to be done the next day. Eventually the exhaustion succumbed to sleep.
I remember running. Running frantically before tripping. I turned to face what looked like a rabid wolf. It was growling, ferocious, and edging closer, slowly and ominously. Its eyes had a film over them, making it appear blind, but yet it looked right into my soul. It was then that its head contorted upside down, still bearing into my soul as the deformed beast edged closer. I jolted awake. I looked at the clock which read 3 a.m. I collapsed back into my pillows and stared at the ceiling.

The next night I anxiously went to bed. I closed my eyes, and dreamless sleep awaited. But relief was short lived when I woke up again at 3 a.m. I sat up having this ominous feeling return to my chest. I gasped in the hot North Carolinian air. I looked at my window. The blinds were closed except one that appeared to be drooping open. This wasn’t abnormal as I occasionally peeked through them. This night, however, I decided it was in my best interest to close them. I had just got to the window when a shadow darted across and the blind closed on its own. Terror arose as I returned to the shelter of my bed. The next morning I grabbed the tape and taped them shut.

I remember the third day was hot and I had been finishing up with my class. My mother called to inform me that my grandfather was ill and she needed me to come get her from the rest home where he was residing. I drove to the rest home and we visited for a little while. I remember sitting in the rest home waiting on my mother to help my grandfather eat. I had pulled up my laptop to work on a paper when a dog entered the room. Its eyes were glazed over just like the beast in my dream, making my heart sink, but its kind presence was undeniable, so I reached down to pet it. The dog gently rested its head in my lap. It looked at me, and I felt as though it actually may be trying to warn me about something. My mother emerged from the room and we left for home.

My driveway in the backyard resides next to a hill. Being as we don’t own that land we have no permission to touch it because it’s owned by the town. Therefore, there are overgrown weeds that make it impossible to see over. On many occasion my dad would grumble that there could be bums right next to us ready to rob us and we’d never know. Nonetheless, it was overgrown and no one could do much so complaining got us nowhere.
My mother was frustrated about the complications with my grandfather’s illness and I recall I letting her drive home. Driving somehow channeled that anger. I won’t say it soothed it, but by the time we got home and got out the car I knew she’d be alright. That’s how it always worked. She had been extremely stressed and I just let her vent.

We finally arrived home. I remember us talking, but not what about. It isn’t very important in the grand scheme of things. Just that we had both exited the car and were continuing the conversation. The car lights were fading slowly out. The conversation was cut abruptly short when the sound of rustling filled my ears. I turned to face its source, the hill. To my surprise my mother too was very attentively staring. I watched as the moonlight hit what appeared to be brown fur. It descended from the hill. It was then that the sounds of heavy breathing raised to our ears. My mother, who had always said I had a very overactive imagination, the same woman who usually said “pay it no mind”, now said, “What is that?” I heard the creature charging toward us and remember only one thing. My voice yelling “RUN MOM!”

We ran into the safety of our house, quickly closing the door behind us. My dad and younger brother greeted us, noticing our obvious terror. They grabbed flashlights, shining them out into the yard while remaining safely behind the glass door we had just run through. My brother muttered, “I think I see a dog… or something… furry…” My dad nodded, “Sounds like it’s just a coyote.” My mother retorted, “Why would it come to the car though? I’ve never seen a coyote come to the car.” My brother shrugged, “Maybe it’s rabid.”

I remember a sense of relief. Relief, that for once, I wasn’t over exaggerating. That maybe if I was right this time, I had been right the other times I sensed an ominous presence. In which case…. was this thing following me long before? Was it what I saw in my dream? I had a lot of unanswered questions and sleep had been much harder to obtain.

The next day I left for the weekend to go on a trip. My return was met with findings of my younger brother and father. They had been cleaning the yard that weekend. When they got to my mother’s car, they found something they had not expected. By the back tire was an animal hind leg, stripped of nearly all its meat to the bone. In fact, the only hint that it was even an animal was the paw. Upon further inspection, the leg appeared to belong to a larger racoon. We decided to see if perhaps there was any trace of this beast on the hill. All we saw were possible racoon tracks, and what looked like a bigger animal’s paw print.

I never saw the beast again after this. My brother came home telling stories about the adjoining neighborhood. A wild animal the size of a great dane had been seen across the neighborhoods and was aimlessly eating squirrels and other small animals. One of my brother’s friends that lived on the street told of his personal encounter. He had taken the trash out after dusk when the beast approached him. He owned a german shepherd who leapt to defend him. The beast easily grabbed the german shepherd and tossed him into a nearby wall, wounding the dog. However, my brother’s friend had already entered the house and avoided conflict.

I’ve never seen the beast again. I don’t know if it still lurks in our swamp. Sometimes I think I may hear it lurking in the swamp, but I’ve never dared to let curiosity get the better of me. I do what I’ve always done, go into the house and never leave after dark. The dark is full fears beyond comprehension. Fear that summoned a beast that terrorizes the little town of Saint Pauls.

Credit To – Elysia Bloom

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