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Welcome To Sandalwood

October 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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There is a town in the Deep South that is spoken of in whispers around campfires and by drunks in bars. No one knows its exact location, as those who have been there can’t agree on where they were when they arrived. Its location has been speculated to be in dozens of different counties throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The only thing any of the visitors can agree on is that each of them were lost when they drove past the aged wooden sign proclaiming; “Welcome To Sandalwood”. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, no one has ever found Sandalwood on purpose.

Public Record

Many attempts have been made to find or research Sandalwood. None of the three states mentioned have any records of it ever paying taxes or just existing in general. The federal government has no documents pertaining to it. That being said, there is still some notary evidence that there was a place called Sandalwood.

A young librarian found a private journal in a library in New Orleans in which the writer (A Mr. Jean-Claude Beliveau) mentions Sandalwood in an entry.

July 9th, 1951

My recent trip to Sandalwood has yielded a great bounty for me. The items I acquired in the tunnels sold for a very handsome profit on the voodoo market.

There’s no way to tell what those items might have been and none of Sandalwood’s visitors to date have reported anything about tunnels.

A letter was found in the old desk of one of Alabama’s governors in which the writer makes a list of demands, including a mention of Sandalwood.

“And furthermore, sir, the people I represent wish you to address the problem of the town of Sandalwood refusing to clear out some of the swampland surrounding it. They are chock-full of alligators and venomous snakes and pose a threat to the health of surrounding communities.”

It is unknown where in Alabama the letter came from.

The Lost Visitors

Everyone who visits Sandalwood and tells about it was lost when they happened upon it (Or at least so they claim). Mostly it’s couples or college students or just lone thrill seekers wanting to explore the unique culture of the South without actually taking time to research where this culture might be found. Very few natives of the three states where Sandalwood can supposedly be found have ever been there, though many of seem to know something about it.

All the visitors report that Sandalwood is a ghost town, completely devoid of life. They describe the town’s layout thusly; to the north and east there is nothing but swampland. There is a road running out of the swamp to the east that leads through Sandalwood and this is the road most people arrive by. There is also a road to the north but it appears to be mostly submerged in bogs. The center of town is a smattering of several hundred houses, barns and public buildings, all abandoned.

A road that branches off from the main street leads south to a large hill that a sign identifies as Cemetery Hill. The hill is covered with hundreds, if not thousands of graves which are positioned on multiple terraces cut into the hill. Those brave enough to explore claim that each terrace is dotted with human bones. Some of the graves appear to be partially dug up. Several of the visitors have claimed to hear shuffling and scratching from beneath the graves, as though something large was moving underneath the ground.

Beyond Cemetery Hill is a remarkably complex series of buildings and facilities that appear to have served as a campus. A sign at the entrance identifies the area as Sandalwood University. There appear to be no students but the visitors report that the campus is very modern, even having computers and vending machines, and appears to be well kept and clean. It goes without saying, of course, that no record of any such college exists.

The main road continues west and leads out of Sandalwood. There appears to be nothing along this road except abandoned farms and empty fields.

Disappearances

Of the several hundred known visitors of Sandalwood, seventeen have disappeared. One man lost his wife, claiming that he was exploring Cemetery Hill while she remained with the car. When he came back, it was empty. A group of six college students lost one of their friends while camping out in a barn in Sandalwood to escape a large storm (Strangely, it cannot be determined which storm this was). They slept together but woke up to their friend missing. A detail that was left out of the police report but circulated through word of mouth was that the friends had seen strange shapes moving through the rain but that it was too dark to make them out completely. Some appeared humanoid, others did not.

Local Incidents

The residents of the three states have their fair share of Sandalwood stories as well. A runaway child case involved a troubled teenager telling her parents that she was “going to live in Sandalwood”. She was never found.

A man committed to a psychiatric hospital in Louisiana claimed that he once lived in Sandalwood. He was able to describe the physical details of the town perfectly but most assume that he heard them through stories of their visitors. He committed suicide via ingested glass several weeks after his committal.

A farmer’s dog ran away for two weeks and returned with a postcard in his mouth that shows a picture of a woman holding apple pie next to the “Welcome To Sandalwood” sign and smiling. Similarly, a postmaster in Mississippi took a picture of a stamp he found on a letter with no return address that has a picture of the Sandalwood sign on it. He refused to reveal who the letter was addressed to.

A young man in his freshman year at Mississippi State University saved a screenshot of an e-mail he received from Sandalwood University, offering him a full scholarship to attend.

Legacy

Sandalwood remains very mysterious but recently has been gaining national attention after a prominent Congressman’s son disappeared on a trip to Alabama. His last correspondence to his father was a text message that read:

“I’m lost. Stopping in Sandalwood for directions.”

Attempts to triangulate his cellphone revealed it to be in a fish market in Africa.

Sandalwood also was the subject of a series of online short stories published on various websites dealing in creepypasta, a type of online horror story. Most of them are instructions on what to do in Sandalwood for supernatural gain (Ritual pastas) but some are stories dealing with cursed items from the town (Artifact pastas) and the lost visitors. The author has not been tracked down but is wanted for questioning, as one of his stories deals with the graphic murder of a child by an unknown assailant. The child in question is missing from his home state of Ohio and the author revealed details about him in his story that he couldn’t possibly have known.

With all the newfound attention, hundreds of people across the country have pledged to find Sandalwood and reveal its secrets. The states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have seen big tourist boosts in recent months.

Thus far, no disappearances have been reported… yet.

(This is a work of fiction by Jacob Mielke, author of A Lack of Empathy)

Credit To – Jacob Mielke

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Brach’s Candy Factory

October 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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((Author Note: The following explanation of how to get to Brach’s is true; I’ve been that way. Go if you dare, but don’t enter. Seriously. If you would like to skip to the inside of the factory, simply search for *****))

The train sped down the elevated tracks. I saw the Brach’s Candy Factory from several blocks away. Such was the enormity of the buildings, a reminder of more prosperous times. It had been the American Dream made tangible in the early 1900s all the way up to the ‘80s. The great red fortress had once produced tons of candy, the most in the country in its heyday. More than anything, it had once made Chicago the Candy Capital of the World. The sheer scope of the building was enough to make the first rivulet of doubt stream down my forehead since Ella and I had agreed to record a video about the factory.

From the pictures, I had not expected this. The neighborhood in which Brach’s was located, Austin, was once a hub of all manner of factories. Now the shells of departed industry made the neighborhood look like a sad shadow of its former self. Urban decay had set in to some areas, while small business sat here and there. An enormous mural of tropical orange frogs adorned one building. It made me smile, despite my creeping fear.

“This is going to be amazing. Urban Explorers of America is going to flip over our adventure,” said Ella, clutching her camera equipment. A studious looking older gentleman with a short grey afro and black plastic frames looked at us incredulously. Ella frowned. “What?”

“Are you all going to Brach’s?” he asked.

Ella looked excited. “Yeah. We are.”

The man shook his head.

“I’mma say this, then I’m gonna shut up: It’s not a good idea. I teach Chicago History. You all don’t need to be goin’ in there. Homeless people live in there. It’s probably ghosts in there from that sugar explosion. And worse? Probably it’s the damn animals. I saw coyotes around here recently on the tracks. The whole damn thing coming down sooner or later. With or without the construction crew.”

I was about to inquire about the coyotes (the other things I’d already researched or guessed) when Ella cut me short. “We’re urban explorers. We didn’t come unprepared. We have cell phones, respirators, climbing equipment, knee pads, helmets, utility gloves, duct tape…”

The man looked impressed, but he still shook his head at the same time. “Yeah, well, also it was a motherfuckin’ junkie around here with a knife that killed some folks, so I hope you have a gun or bat or somethin’ cause ain’t no respirator gon’ stop him from cuttin’ ya’ll asses up.”

Despite his claim that he was going to shut up, I could feel my eyes widen. In our research, that story never came up…and Ella knew the area pretty well. But both of us lived in San Francisco now, and it had been a while since she’d been back home.
“But whatever. Ain’t even none of my business, so…” the man trailed off.

Ella’s frown deepened. “You right. It’s not any of your damn business.”

“Ella! Chill. He was just trying to help,” I said.

“Trying to help us get scared. We’ve been planning this trip for a long time. We’ve spent a lot of money and a lot of time for somebody to make you get cold feet. You already knew all this stuff he’s saying. We have permission to go in from the owners, we have permits for our equipment, and we talked to the local authorities and heard their spiel or whatever. This is it. This is make it or break it time.”

“Look, I was jus’ tryin’ to help. Ya’ll can go in there if you want, but if you get hurt that’s on you. Plus it’s getting late and everything.”

“Yeah, well thanks but no thanks. We’re set. Thank you,” Ella retorted sweetly, turning back to me.

“Maybe we shoulda come earlier.”

“Maybe,” Ella admitted. “But it’s not earlier right now. Honestly, it’s just 12:00 pm. We have plenty of time.”

“But time flies. Really fast.”

“This is Cicero,” announced the CTA train. Ella looked at me.

“This is us Loren.” She stood, shooting a disgusted look at the old man. He rolled his eyes. “Ya’ll gon’ learn tonight. Ya’ll stupid,” he said. The man snapped a Tribune paper dramatically in front of his face, putting an end to any and all communication with him.

We exited the train onto the platform, Ella excitedly, me with uncertainty. A second bead of sweat marked a second feeling of doubt permeating my body to the core. Shit. Shit and double freaking shit.
_____________

I followed Ella, staring intently ahead as we walked down Lake Street. Ella took a left on an intersection. I looked up as a few sparks showered down onto the streets from the tracks above. We walked next to what amounted to a large hill strewn with trash. We saw a solid looking elevated track held up by a viaduct crossed with a tunnel about ten or fifteen feet in length. I followed her as she walked under it, only to be met with a second set of multiple tracks running perpendicular to the bridged-tunnel, but on the ground. They sat about two feet below; we stood on another grassy hill. Lots of angular stones about an inch to two inches in diameter surrounded the tracks, so a couple clicked and clacked in the wind.

I looked up from the tracks at Brach’s, which was right across from us. It loomed bigger and more ominous than it had from the street. Every missing window revealed a world of graffitied walls and rusty, asbestos corridors. Large tanks and things were on the roof, covered in graffiti. I whistled, disbelieving artists would, or could, go to such heights for their craft. The largest piece was enormous, spanning several several feet high and wide, it seemed. AOM. Commanding attention, cementing his place as the king.

Elsewhere on the building showed signs of habitation. Pieces of outer wall were missing from some places, and patched with standard sized sheets of plasterboard like from Menards. I was kind of baffled at this hidden area. You couldn’t really see it from the street unless you were looking for it. Ella snapped me out of my spell.

“Come on. We have to change.” She moved down to the tracks and started to cross them, hopping over the sturdy beams. I followed her. About halfway across, the rocks started vibrating. I kept moving, but I looked down the tracks at a coming freight train.

(*****)

I was well out of the way when the freight train passed by. There was no end in sight. I turned, spotting a No Trespassing sign on a chainlink fence. Pfft.

Brach's Candy Factory

We put on our protective gear. Respirators, knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, bandanas, and goggles. We put our braids into ponytails and tucked them safely away. Then we sat a moment and watched the train for a while, it’s wheels rumbling along, each car covered in yet more graffiti. We eventually made our way to a side entrance hidden between Brach’s itself and another trashy hill. A small portal sat on the side, boarded up with plywood and covered in colorful script.

Brach's Candy Factory 2

The entire area was covered in different letters, all by different artists. AOM, Spok, Spor1, THC, KID, Snacki… and countless others.

From the corner of my eye, I saw movement a bit above. I snapped my head up to see a fast moving figure disappearing in a large opening on the side of the building. I shook my head. “Hell. No. Hell no. I saw something. I saw something move up there!”

“Like what?”

“Like… a big thing. I don’t know! It moved up there.”

I pointed to the opening. Ella looked up, shielding her eyes from the midday sun. She shook her head. “I don’t see nothin’, Loren,” she said. “Are you sure?”

I nodded. She studied me for a moment, then sighed. “We’ll watch our backs. I got my knife, you got yours. So let’s get in and stay away from that room. At least try not to let dude ruin your visit.” I didn’t feel a bit better, but it was clear she was not turning back.

A lone door sat at the back of the path, ajar. Ella didn’t hesitate. She disappeared inside of it. I looked back at the endless train, up at the hole, and down at my shaking hands. I knew that I was just as stupid as the man on the train had said. And yet I was still going along with it. I moved the door aside. The hinges screeched, echoing in the void beyond. I took a deep breath, and entered the darkness.
__________________

To say that every single square inch of the structure was covered in graffiti would be an understatement. Artists had obviously been frequenting this place with alarming vigor. It was as if they were competing with the dinosaurs for most layers of history on top of each others. Tags, pieces, burners… they all were plastered on the walls beneath flaking crumbling ceilings and broken fluorescent light fixtures. I swung around a crank flashlight into dark rooms. Really, The place was quite something. At intervals, motivational signs championing good hygiene and work ethic still stuck to the walls. Flashes issued from Ella’s camera every once in a while. I myself had a tiny video camera strapped to my helmet in a seriously amazing rig. So I freely looked around. The ceiling had paint flaking in one foot pieces, hanging by mere shreds. A sweet-smelling dusty fog permeating every inch of the space. Our respirators were definitely a welcome boon.

Ella looked at her phone for directions to the best locations. She’d gotten dozens of in-depth testimonials from brave explorers, so they were really our lifeline. She led us to a large area turned art gallery, with great columns one foot in diameter every couple feet.

[Click to view this pasta’s related Flickr gallery]

The floor was annoyingly sticky! Large windows overlooked other buildings and a parking lot overgrown with grasses and trees even! In the middle of the vast lot, I saw construction vehicles, including one large wrecking ball. I asked Ella if she’d known the building was supposed to be demolished soon; Ella wasn’t paying me any attention, however, as she walked away. She snapped away greedily with her camera, but I walked around the columns in wonder. My ears latched onto a distant noise. At first I thought it was a truck, but I realized we were far in and couldn’t hear anything on the streets from there. I thought it sounded like a steady mechanical sound, but maybe it was simply the servo motors in Ella’s camera…

We left that area. Ella really wanted to get to the roof to check out that graffiti we’d seen from the train, and so began our ascent up the stairs. They were covered in thick layers of paint chips and dust and other debris. Light spilled through windows coated in dust and a sticky yellow substance. Ella bravely touched it and then smelled it. I wrinkled my nose in disgust, but she announced that it was a healthy coating of corn syrup. I told her not to taste it.

We climbed so many stairs that I almost forgot about the sound I’d heard. I actually couldn’t hear it anymore. The fogginess began to clear the closer we got to the top. I stashed that fact away in my mind for safekeeping as we neared a little white wooden door at the top of the landing. It was so old that the edges were rounded from overuse. The hinges swung easily, which surprised me. I guessed that artists were up here a lot. As Ella went through the portal, I heard a disturbance below us. It sounded like a guttural sort of sound, and buckets falling. My heart thumped. Ella spun around with a questioning look on her face. “The hell was that shit?” she asked. I shook my head. “I don’t know-”

CRASH!!! The sounds of something large colliding shook the entire staircase. We nearly jumped out of our skin. “What was THAT?” Ella said. I shut my mouth grabbing my knife. We both strained to listen. Thump. Thump. The sound of heavy steps far below us. They were getting gradually louder, ascending. I closed the door quietly and found a bit of rope in my bag. I didn’t bother with the logistics of how we were gonna get back down. I tied the rope to the doorknob and then to a nearby pipe behind the little square of a landing. Ella’s mouth was open, her head wagging back and forth meekly.

“Uh uh…I can’t believe this. If that’s that fucking junkie I’m stabbing his ass,” said Ella. “Please. Don’t start that I told you so shit.”

“Well…” I challenged, defiant. She sneered at me, her nose twitching, her figure coming toward me. I looked away. I felt totally ashamed that her expression made me falter.

[Click for another Flickr image]

We moved across the roof among the water tanks and pipes. It was like a colorful maze of metal junk. Then Ella flew, tripped over a pile of rusty spray cans, landing just shy of the edge of the roof. Her fingers hung in the open air as a few cans rolled right off the edge. We did not hear the sound of metal hitting pavement for a long time. Time enough for us to realized how high we were. How close Ella had come to traveling just as far. Ella shuddered, visibly shaken. I helped her up. She backed away from the edge, saying a quick “Thank you God” before we proceeded.

We saw no other ways down that didn’t involve fantastic acrobatics. We had no choice but to sit and wait. From so high, we heard faint traffic, and a whistling wind flying through crevices in dilapidated equipment. Other than that, silence. Not a soul was here but us, we had assumed. Ella’s hands were shaking as she put her camera to her face, zooming in to the door. I had good vision, so I kept my eyes trained on it as well.

My eyes wandered a couple times though. I caught a glimpse at something shiny nearby, behind a discarded air conditioner. I tapped Ella, but she waved me off and shushed me. I side-eyed her and crept closer to see what the object was. It looked like a large tree bough, only it was made of a semi-opaque yellowish material, really the color of snot. It was crystalline and jagged, and it had a red center. It smelled horrible, ugh. A nasty looking candy reject is what it was. I removed my gloves, and reached out to touch it. It was sticky. It reminded me of when my nephew left half-eaten candy on the table. All wet and sticky. Disgusting.

I retreated back to Ella to report what I’d seen. She flared her nostrils and went to shoot pictures of it. She was just as disgusted as I was. “Looks like a candy arm,” she said. I almost threw up. Over the edge of the building, damn the height.

After that business was over, we sat there for a long time. My phone read 3:00 pm. There was no one we could call in Chicago for help. The police had warned us that, although we had permission to be in the building, it was a plan wrought with folly. They were no use unless we were in a real emergency. By their standards, not ours.

Eventually Ella got tired of waiting, and we elected to go back the way we came and leave as soon as possible. We had enough footage of old candy wrappers and graffiti and posters and disembodied candied arms for a good collection. We’d had enough.

We crept back to the door. I listened hard, but heard nothing. So I collected my rope and quietly opened the door. I placed my foot on the first stair, and the sound of crumbling paint chips and old plastic wrappers and pop cans sounded to me like an air horn in front of a megaphone. We struggled to make as little noise as possible. Our descent was slow and careful. Every landing we glanced around the walls and checked the hallways. We were halfway down when we heard something. A scratching, rusty sound. We froze for five minutes as the sound faded into the distance. Ella’s lip trembled a bit, but her eyes remained steely.

I gestured toward the stairs. She nodded. We left that landing as quickly as we dared on the slippery paint chips.

[Click for another Flickr image]

The sound of machinery filled my ears again. I was about to stop on the stairs, but I ran into Ella’s back. She was holding onto the railing. “What? Why you stop?” I whispered, feeling like a hypocrite.

“The stairs are out,” Ella said. “Like something fell through.”

I looked down into the hole. The hole went down so far all we could see was broken wood surrounding a black circle. Even if we jumped the gap, we would be jumping gaps for a long time. And there was no guarantee we would always make it…

“We just fucking came up these stairs. What the actual hell fell through here?” Ella whispered.

We turned back and entered the corridor. We were on floor 5! So close. This floor was very dark. The only window was at the far end of the hallway, and the corridor had no doors. They were all gone. I had no idea how we were going to get out. Ella tapped her chin. “I guess we have to climb down, right? That’s what our equipment was for,” she said, removing her pack.

“I really don’t want to. It’s dark down there, and plus, do you know how heavy something had to be to make this hole? Or how strong something had to be to apply enough force to throw-”

“We don’t have much of a choice at this point,” Ella retorted, cutting me off.

“We don’t know what’s down there…”

“WE DON’T KNOW WHAT’S UP HERE!” Ella’s voice reverberated off the walls, echoing. Each repetition lost its steam until it was nothing more than a whimper. My eyes grew wide, my mouth open. “Shut the fuck up unless you want us to get killed!” I whispered harshly. I was tired of her berating me. Ella glared at me. “I should have just brought Jace and left your ass at home. You’re so scary, you let that man mess with your head. I bet it wasn’t anything but a raccoon, or coyote or something.” She strapped her climbing gear on and stalked off toward the stairs. “You can STAY up here. I’m going home. Grow some balls.”

She hooked her rope up to a balustrade and checked its strength. Then she really and truly left me. Bitch.

I swung my flashlight around the floor, fuming. I walked away from the hole, figuring that another set of stairs had to be on the other side of the floor like in any building of this magnitude. I saw a small patch of light at the other end of the hall. Otherwise, there was hardly any light, especially now that I was alone. The hall stretched before me for several dozen feet. Rooms had been stripped of valuable equipment and metals. But every chamber was a gallery. I smiled in spite of my situation. There was graffiti on every inch of this place.

When I reach a window at the far end of the hall, I noticed something really clever, but strange. First of all, the window was painted in some kind of thick translucent material, not quite blocking out all the sun; It looked like the piece we’d seen on the roof. I felt it. It was really sticky and hard, like plastic. It smelled sweet, too. This window had some five or six extension cords sticking out of it, trailing down the hall. They seemed to be lodged inside the weird yellow corn syrup substance.

Down the left corridor was a ceiling cave in. I could hear the creaks of the building, groaning under its own weight. Suddenly, I realized just how fragile this building’s innards really were. The lack of human presence was telling. Twisted metal and hunks of stone lay forlornly in that passageway.

I looked to my right down that corridor. Several of the cords disappeared into the darkness; that hall was pitch black with closed doors and cork boards on the walls between them. I shone my light down the hall. Planks of wood were nailed to the doors, and the entire wall was covered in strange graffiti, all in white. From what I could see, there were pyramids with eyes at the top, ankhs, and strange words. I couldn’t make heads or tales of the gibberish. But there were no useable stairs that way; they had long since rusted away. I could have climbed to the next landing, but the railing, too, was rusted through. I decided it would be my last resort. I went back to the window.

The rest of the cords literally disappeared through a lightless rough hole in the floor. I tried looking down it, but it was too dark to tell where they went or why there was a hole in the floor, even with my light. But I guessed the homeless guys were mooching electricity from the CTA. I looked out to see the surrounding area when I caught a glimpse of a fire escape nearby! It was not very rusty, had a rope or two attached, and was extended all the way down. To my delight, I spotted a neon colored spray can on one of its landings. The escape was used recently enough. A small rooftop was just below. If I could land on it, I could run over to that ladder. I’d be home-free!

Before I could feel guilty about leaving Ella, I began to climb out the window. I swung one leg out and over the sill. A scream nearly caused me to fall out of it! It was the kind of scream that makes your heart stop. My entire body shuddered violently at the sound! I hastily pulled myself back inside, glancing wistfully at my escape, and I ran down the long hallway. That single scream turned into several more frightening screams. I heard sobbing interspersed with them, once at the hole. I also heard a wild thrashing noise, like waves or swimmers. But I will always remember the smell. The smell of something sickly sweet wafted up from the hole. But a strange odor mingled with it. It was a wrong kind of smell. Like dead things or rotting. I recoiled from it.

“Ella?” I called down, covering my nose. I heard nothing but thrashing below and woeful cries. I frowned, terrified. “Ella!” I called. There was no answer. I reached for my cell phone, because surely this counted as an emergency now. I pressed the Call button to wake my phone. Against all the logic I knew in my life, the battery icon in the corner steadily lost percentage until the goodbye message played across the screen. My mouth hung open as the little jingle played, but even that was cut short to a black screen. I noted that my phone was very hot. For a second, I had thought that it was ghosts. But it was simply a defect.

To make matters much worse, the thrashing below grew fainter, farther away. I was losing her. My entire frame slumped, the pit of my core became wracked with an anxiety the likes of which I’d never felt before. It felt worse than the time I locked my keys in the car. Much worse. My hands were shaking. I had finally almost gotten home. What kind of cruelty was this?

It took me a moment to collect myself. If I wanted to get out, I had to do what I had to do, and fast. I took off my pack and put my climbing gear together. I hooked my self to a sturdy part of the railing, and then I began my descent without a hesitation. Because even though I was still angry, and now possibly having a panic attack, I wasn’t a heartless fool. Well… given what happened later, I wasn’t heartless at least…

I lowered myself slowly and carefully. The lower I got the louder things got. The foggier the air became. I was too scared to lower my respirator at that moment; I did not want to fall. At least I had on my bandana. I was getting closer to that generator-noise all the time, it seemed. But it was more than that. I heard water below, and loud motors. I heard moaning, and groaning of metal. Wracking sobs floated up toward me and continued upward. I felt goosebumps prickling my skin. My face tingled, my leg were tense, my hands shook…

Before I knew it, I felt and heard plastic wrappings beneath my feet. I lowered myself carefully, testing the ground. However, my foot nearly slipped. Apparently, I was above a large piece of broken wood, which dipped and penetrated the surface of some kind of liquid. I pulled my light from the side of my pack and swung its beam round. The room I was in was vast. Nothing but a red emergency light illuminated the space. It was almost completely flooded with water, and something else. The smell told me that there was corn syrup in this water. I moved my bandana, and put on my respirator.

I lowered myself carefully onto the makeshift raft and looked around from my new vantage point. I saw an enormous piece of machinery just inches from me. It looked about the right size and shape to have went through the hole in the stairs. But for what purpose did someone toss it from floor 6? It had to be more than one person. I couldn’t see any other way it could have gotten there unless we were talking multiple people. I chewed on the possibilities for just a moment, then continued my survey.

I spotted stacks and stacks of paper bags. Most of them were slit open. One was spilling out powdery corn starch or powdered sugar into the water and into the air. The ceiling had rubber hoses and pipes coming out of its holes and cracks. Electrical wires hung uselessly, as did steel structural parts and debris. The water was viscous. I saw a 2×4 nearby. I grabbed it, and started rowing. Just a little. I tried to see deeper into the room. There was a large slab of broken concrete ahead erupting from the syrup. I looked above it; the ceiling had collapsed long ago. Ahead of that was a large sort of industrial area. I had no idea if it was boilers or generators. They just looked large and imposing.

I did a double take. The machines were vibrating. They were actually on. I strained to see, and realizes a light or two blinked lazily in the fog. Worse, I saw a trail of water on the ground near the machines. I breathed, said a prayer, and rowed that way.

When I finally reached the cement shore, I stood timidly, looking ahead. What looked like enormous washing machines sat in irregular intervals on the floor. I walked ahead to examine one when I stepped on something that shattered beneath my feet. A smoke from the object. I looked down, swing my flashlight to see it better. I almost vomited when I realized it really and truly resembled an arm. Because beneath the translucent yellow I saw brown. And dark red. A congealed mass of red clung to my boots. I scraped my foot on the ground and looked closer. Inside the crystalline object, I could just make out a piece of gingham cloth. I covered my mouth.

I stepped away and looked back at the industrial sized washing-machine. Something large tumbled around and around inside of it. I stepped closer. My God! There was a person inside! I put my hands to the glass, which was hot. There was a large amount of bright blue liquid and corn syrup tumbling right along with them. I stepped away, shaking my head. Somebody was using an actual industrial-washer as a candy-coating tumbler. That much I gathered. I moved my respirator and actually did retch. A sob tore through my chest. I began to cry ugly wracking tears. I was so done with this place. I ran desperately back to the machine to try and turn it off. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the console. My nerves were too shot to try and comprehend. So I tried to get behind it to turn it off with brute force.

I ran behind the machine to unplug the washer when a monstrous hand grabbed my torso and violently threw me across the room right into a metal storage cabinet. Every bit of air exploded out of my lungs and mouth, along with spittle into my respirator mask. I began to hyperventilate, my head whipping every which way, searching for my aggressor. Then I saw him: a haggard, large pale man towered next to the machine. He wore an old pair of shredded coveralls with a name tag sewn on to it. “Robert” is read. A strange, dreamy smile spread across his face. All of his teeth were either gone or were falling out from periodontitis. He had thin stringy light hair, and a long beard festooned with yellow corn syrup chips and bits.

“I will get this factory back to its glory,” he uttered. His voice was even and light, if rusty from disuse. The contrast between it and his body was jarring, disturbing. Robert moved his frame swiftly, picking me up from the ground. I fought, futilely, as he produced a rope from his pocket. He threw me down, and tied me up, poorly. But enough that I couldn’t reach for anything. He had the nerve to place me on a low shelf behind the storage cabinet like a book. “You’ll be a nice piece of candy soon…” he said. He walked away slowly. I sat there, afraid to move. It took him long enough that I regretted not moving. I could have left.

He returned, carrying what appeared to be a life-sized piece of bright pink candy. “This one is coated in chocolate…” he muttered, his ghastly smile widening. He stood it up, and brought out several more of his creations. All appeared to be humans he had thrown into his homemade candy coating machine.

Robert brought out a series of sacks and turned them over all at once. I looked on in horror. It was filled with crystallized eyeballs, spleens, hearts, kidneys… “Halloween is coming up. Got to pass out candy this year. Just like we used to…” he said. “Just like… before…”

Then, his expression shifted. He suddenly looked terrified. No. Incensed. He bellowed and screamed, hitting his head. “NO! NO! Don’t close it down! You can’t! I have KIDS!” he screamed. “I NEED this JOB!” His rampage lasted for a long time. He threw things in my general direction. I had to duck and bob to avoid being hit.

Eventually, Robert stopped. Just like that. He breathed a moment, then turned back to me. “Oh. You will be candy soon,” he said again, as if he forgot I was there. “But first, the other one. Yes…”

My breath caught. Robert went and arranged a couple bags of powder and buckets of water. Then he began to mix candy coating and syrup. I screamed at him to stop, but he threw a metal bucket at my face. My nose bled. When he was finished preparing, he opened a washer, and tossed a bucket full of bright magenta liquid inside, and then a bucket of corn syrup. I caught a glimpse of Ella’s braids. I screamed for him to stop, but he didn’t listen. Instead, he hit a red button, and moved on.

He walked over to the washer that sat in front of me, and opened its front. He leaned over it. I looked below. The cabinet he’d thrown me into was leaning toward him. I gritted my teeth, pissed. If he wanted candy so bad, I was going to turn his stupid ass into candy, a la Hansel and Gretel. It was all I could think to do in my position. So I kicked the shelf over as hard as I could. It hit him square in the backside, causing him to lose his balance. He tumbled right inside it. I all but threw myself off the shelf and ran headlong into the door, closing it. I wasted no time. I pushed the biggest button on the machine console. The light flashed. The tumbler beeped a confirmation.

I was content when suddenly, the whole machine shook. Robert rammed his considerable mass against the door. I heard a crack! I stopped looking at him, and found a sharp piece of broken steel. I worked at cutting through the rope as Robert continued trying to force the door. The circular portal bent. The force of his hits pulled one of the cords, shredding its rubber. I feared he would create sparks.

Finally, the rope fell free. A deep cry rumbled from behind me. Roberts bulk began to rotate in the drum as the machine found its groove. I looked all around for Ella. I searched each drum. I finally found her inside one of the four industrial washers. After I shut off the power, I was able to release the door with a bright red emergency release on the side. She was not unharmed by any stretch of the imagination. Her clothes were all but destroyed, either burned or ripped. Her exposed skin was bloodied. She was covered in hot, magenta syrup from head to toe. Her leg was twisted at a strange angle. I couldn’t tell what else was broken from just looking. But I knew she was in a bad way.

I dragged her moaning form out to the raft. I knew I was hurting her, but it was better than staying behind; I’d spotted a short in one of the cables. With the amount of powder Robert had swung around, we had no time to waste getting out of there. I grabbed the oar. I rowed away from the area back to the rope. Amazingly, Ella found the strength to put her bloodied arms around me as I climbed the rope. Thank God, we only had one floor to climb. But it was horrible. Her pained cries filled me with despair. I had to carry her out of the door we came in through. Back across the tracks, and all the way to another factory next door.

The factory workers there had promptly begun to call the police when an earth-shattering explosion sent shockwaves through the neighborhood. A series of dust explosions ripped through the entire factory. Each explosion set off a chain reaction, no doubt igniting the wafting powdered sugar that permeated the entire building. History repeats itself. Again and again and again…

———–

The authorities and news could not believe Robert Moreston, missing father and apparently disgruntled factory worker, had stayed behind at the factory since 2003 when the juggernaut had closed its doors. His wife had reported him missing, but to no avail. They reported the horrors of what he had done, for my account was proven by Ella’s appearance. Ella’s body was riddled with broken bones, just as I feared. Multiple rib fractures, spinal column broken, shoulder dislocated, leg mangled… She sustained extensive burns to her entire body, not to mention the countless lacerations. It was a wonder she held on to me as I climbed. I marvel at that. The pink candy coating did nothing but add fuel to the already horrifying story.

It was the darkest nightmare that had ever been manufactured at Brach’s. To think that the closing of its doors in 2003 would be the beginning of such a gruesome campaign to put the Candy Capital back on the map. What a sad, repugnant end to one of the biggest symbols of the American Dream. And now it festers, dead, beneath a pile of candied rubble.

Credit To – Lakija

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The Devil’s Jaws

October 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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I suppose when I say, “Noroi Gakkotsu,” most of you would guess I was talking about some exotic delicacy, or maybe some holiday resort in the far east. You’d be dead wrong. A Noroi Gakkotsu is a very nasty object that has been part of Japanese folklore for centuries, maybe even millennia.

Please keep reading! I know that folklore, especially folklore from a completely foreign culture, bores a lot of people to snores. I can assure you, I’m no fan either. But please believe me when I say that it’s essential that you read this and understand what Noroi Gakkotsu are and how they work.

As best it can be translated, “Noroi Gakkotsu” means “Devil’s Jaws” in English. According to Japanese tradition, a Noroi Gakkotsu is made of two thin boards of wood, one upon the other, that are bound together on one side with either a strip of leather or length of twine, so that the boards can be opened and closed like a book (or a set of jaws!). A certain spell is then written upon the boards to give the object its dark powers. Basically, so long as they knew the magic words, anybody could make one from household objects.

Noroi Gakkotsu were used to strike a bargain with something they called “Kofuko-oni Koun,” which I’m told means “He who pays for his food with good luck.” Don’t be fooled, though. Even though the name might sound benevolent, Kofuko-oni Koun was regarded as a cruel, evil creature and was greatly feared.

He was believed to have sway over the forces of luck and a person could request him to turn a near-certain failure in their future into a glorious victory, by writing what they wanted upon a piece of rice paper and placing it inside a Noroi Gakkotsu. But there was also a catch.

Kofuko-oni Koun would only honor the request if you nominated your payment for his ‘services’ on the top of the message – and the only payment he would accept was the life of someone you held dear. It had to be someone you truly cared for, though not necessarily a family member, it could also have been a close friend. If you named someone who you didn’t care for, or even someone you actually wanted to die, somehow the Kofuko-oni Koun would know and the wish wouldn’t be granted.

But if the Kofuko-oni Koun approved of the nominated payment, then the person who made the wish would be blessed with the best possible luck in whatever matter they’d asked for the Kofuko-oni Koun to help them with. After that, the nominated victim would mysteriously disappear almost entirely without a trace.

The worst part of the story is that after it had claimed its price, the Kofuko-oni Koun would leave a “souvenir” outside the front door of the person who made the wish. Sometimes it was the victim’s bloody clothing, or some other personal affect. But more often than not, it was part of the victim’s remains! Some people believe that it did this to traumatize the person who had made the wish; to remind them of the terrible fate they’d placed upon their loved one. Others apparently think that it was more like the Kofuko-oni Koun leaving a ‘receipt’ behind for the person who made the wish, acknowledging that it had received its payment and that their business was concluded.

Either way, making a Noroi Gakkotsu and striking a bargain with Kofuko-oni Koun were forbidden practices in Japan, punishable by death. So once the deal was done, the person who had committed the crime would usually destroy all the evidence: the Noroi Gakkotsu, and whatever traces of the victim had been left upon their doorstep.

Even if you are into old monster legends, I’m sure you’re probably just reading this and thinking that it’s just some old superstitious hokum. Well, a few days… hell, probably even a few hours ago I would’ve agreed with you. But not anymore.

I can’t tell you too much about who I am or how I know what I know. What I can tell you is that I have connections in the missing-person-turned-homicide investigation of a teenage boy somewhere in the Midwest.

About a year ago, in the lead-up to Halloween, there was this meme going around with a picture showing the top of a skeleton: the skull, neck and shoulder blades. People would forward it on with MMS’s, tweets and the like with simple messages like “Happy Halloween,” or “Boo!,” etc. You might’ve gotten one yourself.

Eventually, the meme found its way to somebody with a bit of knowledge about anatomy and they realized that the skeleton in the picture was awfully realistic. They reported it to law enforcement. But it would be weeks before the report made it through the bureaucracy to a medical examiner who verified that the image did indeed warrant some an investigation.

The M.E. was convinced that the skeleton was indeed the genuine article, but of particular concern to her was the pinkish tone of the bones, and the trace amounts of what appeared to be blood and flesh still on it. What also concerned her were a series of scrape marks that could be seen on the bones when the photo was examined at high resolution. They appeared to encompass the entire skull and the M.E.’s opinion was that these were made when the flesh was stripped off the body – by something with very sharp and very hard teeth.

There seemed to be no legitimate reason for a photo like this to be circulating among the public. Law enforcement determined that it was either a leaked crime scene photo, or evidence to an as-yet undiscovered crime. They considered that the photo might’ve been taken by some callous private citizens (read asshole kids) who’d found a dead body, photographed it, published it online, and never reported it to the cops. Even more disturbing was the possibility that the photo was published by the psycho who had done this and wanted the world to admire his handiwork.

The trouble was that we had only one photo to go on, which made it really hard to determine whether or not the photo was even related to an active or solved case. The exif-data; the data buried within the jpeg file that detail where the photo had come from, what camera had taken it, when it had been taken, etc., had all been wiped clean; which isn’t hard to do if you know what you’re doing. All we had to go on was the photo itself.

I won’t bore you with the technical details, but suffice to say that the computer forensics techs made a thorough sweep of the national crime scene photo database and determined that the photo didn’t pertain to any case in the digital archives.

Several other analyses were run on the photo, but the one that paid off was the facial reconstruction simulation – a piece of software that scans the photo of the skull and determines what the guy would’ve looked like when he was still alive. Eventually, we were able to match the reconstructed face to an active case file out-of-state: the skull belonged to a teenage boy, let’s call him “Jack,” who had been reported missing.

While the photo itself was being investigated, the meme was also being examined. We were charting its course back from the concerned citizen who initially reported the image to the police, to the first person who’d ever sent the image. It wasn’t easy as the meme leapfrogged back-and-forth across several popular messaging services along its way. Just over a week after the victim’s identity was confirmed, we were able to determine who had started the meme. We’ll call her “Jill.”

What was of immediate interest to law enforcement was that Jill’s name was already on record in Jack’s case file – she was apparently a school friend of his and one of the last people to see him alive.

A warrant was issued for Jill’s cell phone and she was brought in for questioning. The phone was thoroughly analysed and an MMS was recovered containing the skeleton photo. But while the phone had a definite record of receiving the message, it was later discovered that Jill’s service provider had no record of ever transmitting it to her.

Another weird thing was that the sender ID for the MMS didn’t contain any numbers; it contained only unicode Japanese Kanji characters. This is technically impossible! The way the system is set up, the phone should only be able to log a series of numeric digits into the sender ID field! The characters in the sender ID spelt out “Anatano Shitauke.” This isn’t someone’s name; the techs translated it and discovered that it roughly means “Your employee,” or “Your business partner.”

Under interrogation, Jill recalled receiving the MMS. She said that the message “kind of creeped her out,” especially because it came from an “unknown sender” (which is what the messaging software told her, because it wasn’t able to interpret the invalid sender ID). But because it was close to Halloween, she assumed that one of her friends sent it as a seasonal thing and so she forwarded the “cool, creepy photo” on, starting the meme.

According to the MMS’s time stamp, she received it only a few hours after Jack was last seen. But Jill claimed she never linked the message to Jack’s disappearance in her mind because at the time she received the MMS, she didn’t even know Jack was missing. The detectives grilled Jill for over three hours, but when she began to get really upset, her father ended the interview and without harder evidence, the detectives couldn’t hold her.

The tech who analysed the phone… well, let’s just say that he’s very thorough at his job, and he didn’t give up on the mystery of how this phone could’ve received an impossible MMS, that its service provider had no record of ever sending. He dug deep into its software, looking for his explanation. Eventually, he came upon a curious anomaly embedded in the phone’s firmware: more unicode Japanese characters, this time a long block of them. The firmware is supposed to be just universal machine code that tells the phone how to work. Japanese text, or text in any human language for that matter, doesn’t belong in there. But as intriguing as this discovery was, it still didn’t explain the impossible MMS. At least, that’s what we thought at the time…

You see, the Japanese text was ‘garbage data’ – which means it was worked into the firmware in such a way that it had no actual effect on how it worked. It was on the phone, but it wasn’t doing anything.

By this point, I was involved in the investigation. When I learned about the Japanese text in the firmware I got curious, so I ran it through google translate. It didn’t translate well, though. A quarter of the words weren’t even recognized and the ones that were didn’t make any sense together. Frustrated, I called upon a Japanese-American acquaintance to translate for me. I’d expected it to be the manufacturer’s copyright on the firmware code, or perhaps even the programmer signing his work. But it actually turned out to sound more like a sombre poem of sorts. My Japanese-American friend agreed, saying that the language was far more elegant than day-to-day Japanese and more than a little archaic.

Seeking answers, we phoned up the phone manufacturer’s development lab in Japan. We eventually got through to the manager of the team who developed the phone’s software and, with my friend acting as translator, we asked him about the mysterious text in the firmware, and also if he had any explanation as to how a Japanese phrase could be recorded as the sender ID for an MMS on one of their phones. He very politely denied knowing anything about either of these matters and assured me that any garbage data in the firmware was of no consequence.

Still wanting answers to at least one of the mysteries, I phoned a professor of Japanese literature at Tokyo University to see if he could recognize the verse in the firmware. Before my colleague could finish reciting the verse, the professor cut him off. He recognized it, all right.

Despite the language barrier between us, I could hear the discomfort in the man’s voice as he explained that the “verse” was the incantation written upon Noroi Gakkotsu to give them their dark powers. It was at this point that my colleague explained the Noroi Gakkotsu legend of his culture to me. He knew the story well, he just had never heard the actual incantation used to create one, until now.

While this was all quite educational, it really didn’t get us anywhere in terms of the investigation. But I kept thinking about the problem of the MMS and eventually I had this crazy thought: The fact that Jill had received a photo of Jack’s remains was eerily similar to the part of the Noroi Gakkotsu legend where the monster would leave behind some proof of his victim’s death.

I suppose just for fun, I skimmed through the rest of the case notes to see if there were any other parallels between the murder and the Japanese legend. I almost wish I hadn’t.

When I read through Jill’s original witness statement – the one taken when police were just investigating Jack’s disappearance as a missing person’s case – she remarked that she remembered the last day she saw him clearly, because it was the same day her history teacher had returned a test that she’d surprisingly aced, even though she’d thought she was sure to flunk it.

My stomach sank when I read that statement. Because I was quite familiar with the contents of Jill’s phone and I remembered reading about this history test before. About 3 days before Jack’s disappearance, Jill had typed a text message into her phone: “I need to pass this history test.”

Jack’s name was marked at the top of the message, as the intended recipient.

The similarities between the old stories I’d been hearing and the murder were suddenly clear as day. Jill had a phone that for some reason contained an old Japanese spell used to summon a monster. She typed what could be interpreted as a demand for a good history mark into the phone, with her close friend’s name on the message, and just like in the stories, Jill aced her test, Jack disappeared without trace, and Jill received a sick memento of his death.

If you’d pointed this out to me at the time, I would’ve chuckled and said, “Yes, it is a weird coincidence, isn’t it?” I wanted to believe that that was all it was. I really did. But deep down, in that hidden ‘doubting Thomas’ part we all have that doesn’t completely trust modern rationality to be our salvation, I was frightened.

Then, a couple days ago, which was about a week after I’d called the phone manufacturer, I received a package in the mail. There was no return address, but the postmark was from Osaka, Japan.

Inside, were a heap of papers. On top of the stack was a cover letter explaining what the package contained. It was written in bad English, although I was able to get the gist of what it was saying. The sender didn’t identify themself, but it’s clear that they must work for the manufacturer of Jill’s phone and that they were aware that I’d been asking questions about the hidden text in the firmware.

My informant was part of the development of the phone series that Jill’s phone belonged to and he/she had an explanation for how the Noroi Gakkotsu incantation had gotten into the phones’ firmware.

There was a guy on the development team; smart, but a real emo-loner type. Not the shy kind of loner, the crazed-gunman-in-the-making kind. People would try to be friendly and reach out to him and he’d stare daggers at them. For whatever reasons, the guy had issues.

Shortly before the phone series’ went into production, the guy hung himself. My informant believes that before he died, the guy implanted the hazardous spell into the phones as his ultimate “screw you” to the world.

Within a few months of the phone’s release, somehow the company’s executives got wind that there was a problem with them ‘receiving’ disturbing MMS’s that the phones seemed to be generating themselves. The company began to investigate the problem quietly themselves, secretly querying all their active phones remotely. They found scores of incidents where a phone had a record of an incoming MMS from “Anatano Shitauke” (“Your business partner”), containing a single jpeg file. Most people who had received these messages had subsequently deleted them. But in several dozen cases, the jpegs were still on the recipients’ phones and were retrieved by the company.

An upgraded version of the firmware – with the incantation removed – was developed, but ultimately never implemented because it was discovered that the phones kept rejecting it. The guy who put the incantation into the firmware had also rigged it so that it would never allow itself to be overwritten.

Two months before Jack’s disappearance, the company abruptly terminated their investigation. By this time, they were aware of nearly 800 instances of MMS’s being received from “Anatano Shitauke.” An unspoken agreement was made that the problem was unsolvable and that their best course of action was to simply turn a blind eye. Everyone involved in the informal investigation was forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Orders were issued to destroy all the records. But my anonymous contact managed to keep copies of most of them, which he/she has sent to me.

It’s taking me a while to get through the documents he/she sent me, as most of them are written in Japanese. But luckily their list of the phones that received an “Anatano Shitauke” message was written in regular digits. I ran all the American numbers on that list through our database and all of them, every single one, belongs to somebody who was questioned in relation to a missing person case that began within days of them receiving that message!

But that’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is that my contact also sent me printouts of all the jpegs they could salvage that turned up during the manufacturer’s investigation. They are all just like the photo of Jack’s remains that began this entire case: a realistic skeleton grinning into the camera, covered in the scrape marks left by whatever sharp-toothed nightmare stripped them of all their flesh. I don’t have access to the advanced software that synthesized an accurate face for Jack’s skull. At least, not the kind of access that allows me to use it without answering a lot of difficult questions first. But I scanned the photos and overlayed them with photoshop on to the case photos of the missing person associated with their recipient. I admit I’m no expert, but as far as I can tell, every one of those skulls fits perfectly inside the face of one of those missing people.

I can’t tell you the name of the manufacturer involved, nor the name of the phone series. Suffice to say, they’re a well-known company and the phone series is quite popular.

I wish I could tell you more, but if I do, I have no doubt that the company will have this warning suppressed as defamation and that can’t happen. The word has to get out and I figure that half a warning is better than no warning at all.

There’s a common series of phone out there with an evil curse marked inside them. You may well be carrying a Noroi Gakkotsu in your purse, or pocket. And even if you aren’t, someone who cares about you may be.

So please, be wary of typing out what you wish for, or hope for, or even think you ‘need’. But most of all, be especially careful of whose name you place on those messages…

Because you just may be sending them into the devil’s jaws.

Spread the word.

Credit To – Darkmyth

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I Sleep To Communicate

October 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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Most people sleep to rest.

I don’t.

I sleep to communicate.

The person I visit knows things.

It knows things about you.

It knows things about them.

It knows things about everything.

When I sleep, I sleep to know.

I sleep to know more about everything.

I sleep to know about the plan.

I sleep to know about the motives.

It has motives.

They are unimaginable motives.

They are unjustifiable motives.

When I sleep, I sleep to know.

I must know so I can warn.

I need to warn everyone.

I need to warn you.

But no one believes.

I wake to communicate.

But no one listens.

You do not listen.

These are not visions.

These are conversations.

These are tactical conversations.

Conversations made in a room.

The same room, every time. When I sleep, I sleep to know.

I sleep to know more about the room.

I sleep to know more about the computer room.

This room is where it eats.

I have seen it eat.

I do not like to watch it eat.

Eating is its motive.

It is an unimaginable motive.

I wake to communicate.

I need to warn.

But no one will listen.

You will not listen.

I need to warn of its motives.

It is not alone.

It is not alone because it is many.

They are too many.

They are too many with unimaginable motives.

Their motive is to eat.

Their motive is to eat you.

When I sleep, I sleep to know.

I need to know when.

I need to know when they want to eat.

I need to know the plan.

I wake to communicate.

I need to warn.

I need to warn about the plan.

I need to warn you that the plan is in place.

The plan was technology.

The plan has been ripened.

The plan was to ripen.

The plan was to ripen you.

When I sleep, I sleep to know.

I sleep to know more about the ripening.

I sleep to know their plan.

I sleep to know how they manipulate.

I communicate to know how to manipulate.

I communicate to manipulate.

I communicate to manipulate you.

Manipulate you to warn you.

But you will not listen.

But you have read.

I wake to communicate.

I wake to communicate so I can manipulate.

It needs to feed.

They need to feed.

I need to feed.

I need to feed on your eyes.

I need to feed on your minds.

We need to feed on your minds.

It is why we write.

We write to feed on your time.

We write to feed on your eyes.

We write to feed on your minds.

We write so you will not notice.

I sleep to know how to manipulate.

I sleep to dream of ways to feed.

I wake to communicate so I can manipulate.

I manipulate so I can feed.

I feed on your time, your eyes and your mind.

When we feed, you do not notice.

When we feed, you all do not notice…

We feed until there is nothing left.

We feed until there is nothing left in your mind.

And

you

are

making

us

all

fat.

Credit To – StupidDialUp

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Beware of Those Who Would Do You Harm – Act 2.5

October 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Act 2.5 – Jeff

(Suggested Track: Until the Day I Die, by Story of the Year, or You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid, by The Offspring)

[AR: This is a bonus part that takes place immediately after Act 2 and during Act 3]

When Tucker opened his eyes again, Jeff lunged at him. Tucker managed to dodge the knife and pulled a small pocketknife out of his back pocket. Jeff instantly recognized it as the same pocketknife he had thrown at Wendy…that night. How the hell did he get it? Tucker pointed the knife at him.

“Let’s go, pretty boy.” Tucker said through his teeth.

Jeff stood up a little straighter and put his hand on his chest. “You really think I’m pretty?” he mocked. He chuckled and then crouched to prepare for another strike. But Tucker had suddenly gone pale.

“It was you, wasn’t it?” He murmured. “You were there, laughing, the last time I talked to Abby!”

Jeff shrugged. “She was…quite amusing.”

Tucker gritted his teeth and swung his balled up fist at him. Jeff casually grabbed it in midair and squeezed as hard as he could, causing Tucker to cry out in pain. But, it wasn’t the hand that was holding the knife. Before Jeff realized this, Tucker swung his knife-wielding hand around and stabbed Jeff in the side. Jeff howled in agony, but didn’t loosen his grip. Jeff looked down at the knife and the practically black blood flowing from the wound. It had been a long time since he felt pain like this, his victims rarely fought back. He sort of liked it. He brought his own knife up to take a swipe at Tucker, but Tucker pushed the blade in deeper causing Jeff to finally let go. He backed away and pulled out the small knife before Tucker ran at him and tackled him to floor.

Jeff dropped both knives as Tucker sat on his chest and started punching him in the face, roaring with every hit. Tears ran down his face as visions of Abby and Wendy’s smiling faces flashed through his mind. Jeff flipped him over and punched Tucker as hard as he could. He wrapped his arms around Tuckers neck to choke him, but the sharp pain in his side allowed Tucker to gain the upper hand. Tucker pressed down on the spot where he had stabbed Jeff and pushed him off. He then stood up and commenced to kicking and stomping Jeff repeatedly as he writhed around on the floor holding his side. Getting exhausted, Tucker straightened up and walked over to where the bloody pocketknife lay. Crouching down to pick it up, he sighed.

“She was the best person I’d ever met, and you, you took her away from me.” He muttered, dryly.

Jeff sat up on one elbow and giggled as he wiped his face. Tucker turned and glared at him.

“Laugh all you want. You won’t be laughing when the police get here.”

Jeff stopped giggling. “The police are on their way, huh? Guess I’d better wrap this up.” Jeff hopped up and marched towards Tucker. Tucker stood and aimed the knife at him.

“This is for Abby and Wendy!”

Tucker swung the knife at Jeff three times, but each swing missed. It was clear that Jeff had been holding back before. Tucker held the knife over his head and tried to stab Jeff. Jeff simply side-stepped and struck Tuckers back as he went past him, causing Tucker to fall to the floor with a loud thud. Jeff grabbed Tucker by his hair and stood him up. Before Tucker could react, Jeff hit him in the gut a few times. He then banged Tucker’s forehead into the nearest wall and then let him sink to the floor.

As Tucker tried to stand up again, Jeff picked up his knife and went over to the bed and sat down. He looked down at the dead girl and chuckled.

“Not so tough now, is he Clarissa? I wonder…how I should kill him.” He paused for a minute, and then put his ear close to her slightly open mouth. “Hmmmm…what’s that?” Pause. “Aw, but that’s no fun.” Another pause as Jeff tapped his cheek with the knife. “You’re right, it needs to be quick since the police are on their way.”

Tucker finally stood up. He yanked Jeff up by his hoodie and slammed him against the wall. He raised the pocketknife, preparing to take a life for the first time.

“Now die, motherfucker.” Tucker was just about to sink the knife into Jeff’s heart when a sound in the distance stopped him. It was the sound of police sirens, meaning that his saviors were almost there. He was only distracted for a moment, but it was long enough for Jeff to turn the tables on him. Before Tucker could even breathe a sigh of relief, Jeff knocked the knife away and turned him around in two quick moves. He covered Tucker’s mouth with one hand and held the knife to his throat with the other. As Tucker fought to get free, Jeff whispered in his ear.

“Now, you can join Abby in the land of dreams and nightmares.” Jeff said, as he slid his knife across Tucker’s throat. “Sleep, forever.”

Tucker’s body went limp, and Jeff wasted no time in hoisting him up and carrying him through the small door. He cringed a bit from the pain in his side, but he knew that there wasn’t much time. Through that door was a smaller room with nothing but a metal operating table in it. He would often use this room to torture his victims before finally finishing them off. A small sound escaped from Tuckers lips.

“A-Abby…I’m so-sorry…”

Jeff realized that he was still hanging on to life by a thread. He laid him out on the table and quickly tied his hands and feet down. That way, he could just lie there and bleed to death. He ripped the bottom half of Tucker’s shirt of and wrapped it tightly around his waist to use as a bandage for his wound.

Jeff started to leave as he heard the front door open downstairs followed by two voices, but he had an idea. He wanted to leave his mark on this little town before he left for good. He dipped two fingers into the pool of blood that was forming under Tucker’s neck and wrote one final message on the wall.

“Jane! I’ve got something over here.” he heard a female voice yell. Time to leave. Jeff quickly grabbed everything he needed, which was only the computer, as he had no other belongings besides his knife, and blew out the candle. He slipped out of the room (he didn’t need the light because he knew the house like the back of his hand) and quickly hid in a trap door that blended in with the hallway just as two cops, an older male and a young female, came up the stairs. As he had hoped, although they shined their flashlights over the door, they did not notice it. He waited there until they entered the room. As he crept past the doorway, as quiet as a killer in the night, he heard the female officer say, “He must have found out we were coming.”

Their conversation continued, but he didn’t care to listen. He needed to get the hell out of there. As he crept down the stairs, he could hear more police officers coming up to the front door. He ducked under a table just as they walked in. They spread out and searched, shining their flashlights at every little thing. He knew that he couldn’t stay under the table for long. Luckily it was pitch black inside the house, so he moved through the darkness, ducking behind something when a flashlight beamed or a cop came in his direction. Although the computer was weighing him down, he kept this up until he finally made it out the open front door.

He tiptoed outside and headed towards the cornfields, careful to avoid two cops who were exploring the sides of house. As he reached the cornfields, he heard shouting coming from the second floor. It sounded like the female cop; she must have found Tucker, and his little message. The two officers who were outside quickly ran inside, guns drawn. Jeff smiled inwardly. His job here was done.

Just as he was about to make a run for it, he heard crying. He turned around to see the female officer run through the front door, followed by the male officer. He decided to put down the computer and hide in the corn to listen in.

“Mason. Mason! Get yourself together.” The male officer said, turning her around and shaking her.

“I didn’t sign up for this shit, Jane!” She cried. “The only reason I became a cop in this town is because nothing like this ever happens!”

“You knew exactly what you were signing up for.” He replied, sternly. He let her go and combed his fingers through his greying black hair. “Murderers and psychos are everywhere, not just in big cities.”

The female officer pulled her jacket tighter around her. “Maybe so, but this? What kind of human being would do that to all those poor people. And those kids, Jane, they were the same age as your daughter. They probably even went to the same school, didn’t they?”

“Yeah, maybe.” He said, quietly. “Come on, let’s go inside and wait for homicide to get here.”

As they walked back inside, Jeff decided he would stay just a little longer. Someone needed to teach all those cops a lesson for interfering. He especially wanted revenge on that old fart, Officer Jane, was it? He’ll teach that bastard a lesson for calling him a psycho, starting with his little daughter.

Jeff wiped the blood off his knife and grinned as he slunk back into the shadows to plan what he would do next.

Credit To: Angel Rocket

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Born Dead

October 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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On my sixteenth birthday, just after I had blown out the candles on a fairy cake, my mother told me that I was born dead.

“I’m so happy that you made it,” she said.

I pulled the fork out of my mouth.

“What?”

“Oh,” she said. “I guess we never told you. If not for aunt Kirah you wouldn’t even have made it through your first day.”

Aunt Kirah. Nurse Kirah.

My mother’s contractions started in her lunch break, two months early. She was at the hospital twenty minutes later and another hour after that she pushed my head out of her body.

Like most babies, I didn’t breathe. The doctor gave me a light slap, like for all babies. Another light slap, like for some babies. Then a stronger slap.

At that point my mother started screaming. A thick stream of blood ran out of her lower body. The doctor handed me over to a young nurse who tried another slap and then quickly passed me on to a 24 year old nurse. Nurse Kirah.

Kirah wrapped her mouth around mine and blew air into my nose. She used two of her fingers to quickly massage my chest. She paused, blew another gust of air into my lungs and kept massaging. Over and over again.

My mother stopped screaming. They managed to stop her bleeding too.

They told nurse Kirah to stop the cpr. They said it was hopeless. The doctor tried to pull her hand away from my small and still chest. When that didn’t succeed he declared me dead.

Two days after my sixteenth birthday I met Kirah again. To me she had always been aunt Kirah, never nurse Kirah.

“The world just disappeared,” she said. “It was like there was only you and me and my whole life seemed to have led to that moment.”

She took a bite of the fairy cake and smiled.

“It’s strange, but I don’t even remember moving my fingers or giving you mouth-to-mouth. I just wanted to save you and in that moment nothing else mattered, not even my own life. I just knew you would live.”

“Even when everyone told you to stop?”

Kirah nodded.

“Even then. I knew that you would live and I would have done anything just to make you take that first breath.”

“Thank you.”

“It’s okay. I’m happy that I did. Make sure you bring good to the world.”

Three days after my sixteenth birthday I announced to my parents that I would become a nurse. By the time I turned seventeen they had convinced me to become a doctor instead.

Studying medicine was the most difficult time of my life – or at least the most difficult time that I remember.

Before I gave them a tour of the grounds my parents had never even entered a lecture hall. They had supported me in school, but universit was different and when my trouble with deadlines and stacks of learn-this-by-heart sheets started they didn’t know how to help.

Aunt Kirah did know. She came and showed me the best books. She taught me mnemonics for the most important bones and muscles. She even taught me how to take proper notes and where to sit in the lecture hall – not in the first two or three rows so you don’t get picked on, but in the first third of the hall.

“The ones in the back,” Kirah said, “Are either shy or don’t want to listen. As a doctor you shouldn’t be shy and as a smart girl you should want to listen. It’s not cool to sit in the back. It’s the seats of those that want to chat and gossip or sleep. It’s the seats of those that want to fail and it’s not cool to fail.”

I would be lying if I said my grades were great. But I never failed an exam and my grades were high enough that, when my first placement went well, they allowed me to join the neonatology specialisation. It felt like the right thing to do, the right thing to give back.

When I graduated I had three parents to watch my hat fly. There were my parents, of course, and aunt Kirah sat to the left of my mom with a big smile on her face.

Kirah also helped me get my first job – in her hospital. In the hospital in which I was born dead.

She showed me the way around and introduced me to the other nurses. Aunt Kirah told me how to learn the most and how to handle those wrinkly, small and fragile humans with care, but she also scolded me with her soft voice whenever I handled a newborn too roughly or made decisions that she thought were not ideal.

Just for one year I had that pleasure. I wish I would have thanked her more often.

The doctor’s life is hard. You have to be calm and compassionate to your patients all day. That life doesn’t allow you to take rest and think of yourself. But most of all it doesn’t give you time to sit back and see all the other people in your life that would need your compassion.

I knew that her husband had died long ago, but aunt Kirah never wore a sad face. I also heard the rumors but with my thoughts on the patients I quickly discarded those words from my mental stack.

“Unhappy.”

“Miscarried.”

“Lonely.”

“Can’t have children.”

“Always just at work.”

I always asked her how she was and she always said she was fine. A whole year and I didn’t listen.

She was standing behind me while I was giving advice to a soon-to-be mother. I felt her hand on my shoulder and then she pulled it away.

“… and we even offer a water birth, if …”

The patient turned white.

“Oh my god,” the patient said. “Oh my god.”

A “What?” left my mouth but before she could answer I heard the heavy thud behind me.

Aunt Kirah’s arms and legs were twitching, then cramped. Her lower jaw was pulled down and her eyes turned inside.

Seizure.

We gave her muscle relaxants but her mouth never closed again.

Kirah was in that bed for a week. There were so many flowers that even the second table didn’t suffice.

There were always people in her room, holding her hand and saying kind words. Only when I said that I was a doctor and needed privacy, then they would leave and I would sit down and cry with my head on her chest.

When she fell her head had hit the floor. An aneurysm. Brain dead.

I hadn’t paid attention to that hand on my shoulder; to that hand pulling on my coat.

After a week her doctor made the decision to pull the plug.

“Please don’t,” I said.

He looked at her face.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “But you know she’s dead already.”

That afternoon my parents came. Kirah’s sister and her two nephews too.

One after the other a slow procession of nurses and doctors went through the room to squeeze her hand or kiss her forehead.

All except my parents and her sister and nephews left. I was the one that pulled the plug.

There is no sound like that steady, long beep. No sound where you hope so much that it would sound different.

A week later I emptied her locker. Another nurse, one around Kirah’s age, came into the room while I was folding a blue sweater.

The nurse looked around the room, then quickly approached me. She held a file towards me. It had Kirah’s name on it and a patient number.

“We shouldn’t give this out,” she said. “But I think you might want it.”

“Why?”

“You will see.”

That night, with the basket of Kirah’s possessions on a chair and a glass of sour white wine on the table, I opened that file.

There were not many pages of the first years. Just her profile and insurance data. A few standard tests.

I felt a stone in my stomach when I saw the pregnancy test. Positive.

There were several more lab results. An admission sheet. One word was scribbed in red letters at the top of the page.

“Miscarriage.”

My training took over. I looked through the data on the page and didn’t find a cause. For nearly half an hour I read through the sheet and the lab results stapled to the yellow cardboard. All results seemed fine. She had been admitted in the afternoon with pain and bleeding, but there didn’t seem to be a cause.

There was an operation report too. They removed her uterus.

I sank the file on the table and felt tears roll down my cheeks.

I had never listened. I had never wondered why she was alone.

That’s why she had always cared for me so much. She had saved me. She had given life to me. I had been her replacement child.

I took the glass and raised it.

“I would have done anything just to make you take that first breath,” she had said.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

It was in that moment, when my eyes were somewhere on the ceiling and the cold of the glass touched my lips.

The page had turned back to the page with the red letters at the top.

My eyes moved back to the page. I looked at the large scribbled word with the capital M. My eyes moved down the page. Then I saw the date.

My birthday.

Credit To – Anton Scheller

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