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Listen To The Music

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No credit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“… Forever.”

Credit To – Shade Anonymous

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Nobody Lived In Flat Number Six

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hello? Hello?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure, go ahead!”

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

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

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Hoarding

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

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

Before.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – Clever Boy

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Upstairs

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

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

Credit: STUDIO GREYBLUE

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Residual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credit To – Zyon J.

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The Bear

July 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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It is not with a high frequency that I am subject to nightmares. That being said there are times where, like any other person, I experience the rather disturbing scenarios that arise from the depths of my own mind. This particular sequence of events chilled me to the bone however.

Chilling to the bone. That phrase is often overused in my eyes. The potency of a phrase may diminish when its usage has become annoyingly common. But in this context it works perfectly.

Whenever I would wake up from this dream I would be cold. I would feel wet, like someone had just hosed me down with a jet of water, although I would be perfectly dry. The chill would start on my skin, stimulating the tiny hairs on the outer layer of me. It would begin in the middle of my chest, like the chills that are caused by music. The cold would spread over me, working its way through my appendages like a wave of energy. Once it had tingled through my body it would race down the spine again and make me shudder. It would then sit inside me. Like a chunk of ice it would linger and melt away slowly as I forgot the dream.

I can not remember the dream well. Dreams only stay in the human mind for short periods of time. I can’t tell you the actual time length but I’m confident that it’s something like after ten minutes 90% of the dream is forgotten.

This dream is a new occurrence. It’s only happened a few of times. All of them in the last few days. Of course it doesn’t take much to remember something like this. I think it’s getting progressively worse. Like a story. The dreams seem to be progressing in intensity and clarity like the arc of a plot leading to a climactic moment of realization.

I can only remember one image. Only one, it’s always the same. A bear. A large, black bear. The image is burned into my mind, like a tattoo on the skin of a biker.

The bear is standing there. Tall. It is so tall, maybe twelve or thirteen feet tall. I can’t remember the scenery anymore, even though I only just woke up. All I know is that it was dark, a single from standing in the distance. The bear.

This is the third time that I’ve had this dream. The second time I remembered even less. I only remembered shapes, no sound or color, just dark shapes. The first occurrence, is blurred in my sub conscience, the only things that stuck around were the animalistic feelings of a hunt.

I’m sitting in my bed right now, shuddering with this strange cold that won’t leave me. My room is dark. It is still night outside, the alarm clock on the side of my bed reads 1:00 in its blocky red font. It’s 1 AM and I have to work later today.

I lay back down and look around my room. I hear the faint whispering noises coming out of the floor register. The street lights filter, like dancing beams of glowing air, through my blinds. The room has taken on a blueish tinge, like a Picasso painting during his blue period. My fan is going in the corner, its whirring noises calm me slightly as I lie back down into my bed. I curl up into a fetal position and hold the blankets tightly to my figure in an attempt to regain some of my lost heat.

I close my eyes, waiting to see if the bear will return.

My mind races at the sudden loss of sight. Everything auditory becomes more intense. I can hear the wind outside blowing past my house, rushing through the pine trees behind my house, up and around the parked cars in the street.

My eyes move slowly around the inside my my eyelids, slowing as I reach closer to sleep. And then, I am taken by it. I begin to dream.

I am in a forest. It is cold, blue, purple, and black with night. The sky above me is dark and turmoiled with what appears to be a storm. The wind is blowing at my back, everything is moving slowly. I look at the sky again, lightning flashes above me, silently. Strange. There is no sound from the lightning, yet I can hear the wind blowing all around me.

I begin to move through the forest. The pine trees around me make everything seem sharp and pointed. They sway in the wind, only ever illuminated by the occasional flash of lightning. Everything is a silhouette, the trees are shadowless forms, mixing with grasses and bushes to form black artwork that I can scarcely make out. My depth perception is useless in this darkness. I’m moving slowly, and quietly. I can’t hear anything but the wind.

Behind me, out of nowhere, I sense a presence. It is strange, unlike anything that I have felt before. It feels cold. It is like someone has just come up behind me and opened a freezer. The warmth in the air is sucked away. I feel a drop of water hit my nose. Rain.

It begins to rain slowly, not ever picking up. It is like a light misty rain that comes down in little pellets of water. It is weak. As the rain slowly moistens the clothes I’m wearing I begin to feel even colder.

I feel the presence behind me again. It feels closer now. I cannot hear anything but the wind and the light pattering of the rain on the dense forest floor. I want to turn around and look behind me. I know that something is there. I can feel it getting closer to me.

I slowly look around at my surroundings to try and gain some sort of bearing on this presence at my back. I am afraid to turn and face the adversary, it is too much like being hunted. The trees around grow sinister. They are black holes in the horizon sucking away the matter of my mind. I look to my left, directly at the trees. I am moving relatively fast for a walking pace. The trees are moving by, casting shadows.

Low hanging branches are mixing together. In the branches I see something. I slow momentarily and look into the purply blackness marked by silhouetted branches. Something moves. The air grows frigidly cold. There, in the hole, I see two snorts of mist exit from an unknown location. Something is in the forest watching me, and breathing heavily.

I begin to walk through the forest faster. I gain speed slowly, the presence seems to fall back while I move faster away from it. I cannot hear my own footsteps, although I feel them hitting the ground. I am silent. I can only hear the wind and the rain. The persistent cold is going away slightly. It has changed, I no longer feel cold on the inside as I had before, now it is only from the wind against my wet jacket.

I am moving relatively quickly now, like that of a speed walker. I slowly gain up the courage to look behind me. The movements in my neck feel slow and forced, like I’ve been hunched over a computer for the whole day.

I look behind me. I see nothing. It is dark. Then, a chill begins to creep up my spine. It is like an insect has found its way under my jacket and is slowly working its way up the small of my back and up along the ridges of my spine. The cold is returning.

I have slowed down. I am no longer moving.

The lightning flashes overhead. behind me I make out a shape. Something large. It is shaped like a boulder, and it is growing very slowly in the distance. I can feel the cold emanating from this form. I turn around and begin to walk faster again. Now moving at an even healthier clip than I was before.

A picture of the form behind has burned itself into the insides of my eyelids. Flashing the image on my gave every time that I blink. I can see its eyes. Silver and red at the same time. Mixing and merging with each other. Its breath is like white smoke from a slow burning fire. The tendrils of smoke are leaking out of the corners of its invisible mouth.

I begin to stumble through the forest. The trees are moving in the wind, their forms now mix with one another and form sinister smiles in the branches. I can only hear the wind and the rain.
I look behind myself again. The boulder shape has fallen behind, I can no longer see it. I begin to run.

Looking to the sides of the forest again I begin to see shapes forming in the branches. An enormous thing is running directly beside me. It is not the shape of any animal. Its forelegs are the size of enormous arms, the back legs are squat and springy like that of a rabbit. It races alongside me and I can always see it next to me no matter which side of the forest I look to. I see its face.

A flash of lightning illuminates the dark shape that is racing me. It is looking directly at me. Its eyes are white as snow with no iris or pupil. The brown snout is caked in mud and what could be blood. The teeth are yellowed and cracked. It is smiling at me like I will soon become its next meal.

The running is slow and fast at the same time. I feel as though I am moving effortlessly through the forest faster than a car, but I also feel as if I am not moving at all. I see the trees and bushes rushing by my quickly. I look behind myself again, I see nothing. The beast at my side has disappeared into oblivion.

I redirect my attention forward and look at the forest in front of me. I see nothing for what seems like minutes but was most likely only seconds.

Then, in the distance I see a what looks like the edge of the forest. I am filled with a sense of urgency and adrenaline as I rapidly pursue the forests edge. I move up an incline through the darkness. And then the forest floor falls back downward. I am almost at the clearing. It is maybe one hundred feet in front of me.

I feel cold. The chill has crept back into me. It has worked its way back into the very center of my core and is forcing me to slow down. I feel the ground rush up to me as my legs cease to work. I am forced to lie on the floor as I become even more cold. I turn over onto my back and look back into the forest, knowing that the safety of the clearing is not but thirty-five yards ahead of me.

I look back into the forest. I don’t see anything. I hear nothing but the wind and the rain. The sky has become more violent. It is black and grey, churning above me with virulent anger.

Then, everything is still. I hear no sound. The wind has not stopped. The rain has stopped. There is no sound. It is utterly and completely silent in the darkness of the forest. And then in the distance I here a scream. It is like the screech of a bat several octaves lower than possible. The screech gives into a roar of depth and power, the base of the bellow is deep and resonates through the forest. I know that the beast will soon be upon me.

I look in front of me, and see nothing but the silhouetted pine trees waving in the silenced wind.

There is a flash of lightning. It is blue and yellow at the same time and sends the increasing chills racing through my body. Its illumination of the forest is momentary and revealing.

There is a boulder shape moving towards me, rising slowly over the crest of the hill, entering my field of view like an eighteen wheeler would move over a hill. My eyes open wide, my irises retract instantaneously to allow more light into my eyes as the fear climaxes into an adrenaline fueled panic.

Then I hear it. Its breathing is slow and wet. Like it is filled with saliva and blood. It is a thick, deep sound. I hear the branches breaking under its feet. They might be the size of tree trunks but they snap with the explosive sound of a shotgun as they break under the power of the slowly looming monstrosity.

I look to the sides again hoping to see that there is a possibility of escape for me. All I see is that the forest is slowly leaking hands of fog into my space. In the forest I see the faces of the trees looking at me with lust. They want to consume me as well. I see the face of the thing that was running next to me again. It is still smiling. Only its eyes seem brighter.

Lightning illuminates the forest once more. The sounds of the creature cease. It has stopped moving, as if it wants to pose for the flash of natures’ camera as it prepares to bear down on my weak human form. I look away from the face next to me slowly. I, with a fading feeling, hope that the creatures on my sides will not lash out towards me whilst I am not prepared. It takes more strength to turn away from the ever present faces than it does to look upon my hunter.

The light flashes slowly for me. It moves from the clearing up across the ground like a curtain lifting up to reveal the set stage of a play. It rises up the hill and reveals the beast.

It is a beast. Not an animal. It is a beast unlike any possible creature on the planet. It sucks the light into its form like it was a rip in space. Coldness emanates from it, causing the chills moving in my body to intensify to an extreme. Its form is blacker than the night, its fur ripples in the wind like a shaggy dog. It is tall. Taller than any animal that lives in the western hemisphere. Its shoulders are resting farther down the body, making the neck seem elongated and thick. Its head merges with the neck in one oblong shape. The only changes on the head are the pointed ears that sit atop its immense form.

I can only see its face for a moment. It is obscured by the darkness surrounding its body. It feels evil. Cruel. Cold.

Time has sped up from the flash, everything is moving as if it were suddenly imbued with some kind of newfound vigor. I lie unable to move at the mercy of whatever creature this is.

I can no longer see anything. The darkness and cold of my scene has engulfed the forest, leaving nothing but the treetops visible in the night sky. I cannot see the form of my pursuer.

Lightning fills the sky once more, shocking the ground with a boom that I have yet to hear. With this flash of light and sound the entire world reactivates. Suddenly everything is roaring with noise. The wind shakes the trees with the ferocity of a lion killing its prey. The rain shocks upon the ground like swords clang against each other in battle. And I see my opponent bearing down on me. He is almost upon me. I can see his face, it is evil.

The corners of his mouth are turned up into snarl revealing yellowed and elongated teeth. The snout of the monster is caked with a brownish substance, I cannot tell if it is blood or mud, and at this point I am to chilled to consider the likelihood of either. Its eyes are what haunt me the most. They seem colorless, like a void, but not black. They retain some color. Red. They are a deep rich red that can only be seen in a passing light, like an iridescent mixing of silver and crimson. From his mouth drip copious amounts of saliva and foam. The thing is like a disease that inhabits the forest.

He is less than twenty feet from me. I begin to feel his breath. It sounds hot and heavy, but when intact it is like the freezing winds of an ice storm.

He is getting closer.

I open my mouth to scream and am shot from my dream into an upright position in my bed. My mouth is hanging wide open, air escaping from my gaping maw like a small leak in a tire.

I am so cold. It is so cold in my room.

I fling the covers from my bed and rush to the light switch on the far side of the room.

I turn on the lights and press my back up against the wall. I look out at the space I call my own and see the ground and bed. It is covered in dirt, leaves and pine needles. The ground is wet. The prints of my bare feet are all over the floor, I do not know how they got there.

Droplets of bubbling liquid are falling down the side of my bed mere inches from where my face was but a moment ago. It was like something was waiting to bite down on my head and crush the life from me.

I stare at my floor completely dumbfounded and frightened. I back out of my room and grab the jacket that is hanging on the doorknob.

I put the jacket on one sleeve at a time, still staring into my room.

The jacket feels funny. I look down at my now enveloped arms and see black fur covering the face and sleeves of the jacket. Looking away from the sleeves in horror I see that the ground is covered in claw marks. Scratches line the walls pictures are broken on the floors.

I race through the house and out the back door at full speed.

THE BEAR IS IN MY HOUSE, I think rapidly as I dash through my backyard.

I continue to run through the trees in my backyard until I can no longer see the the lights of my house behind me. I stop for a moment and look at my surroundings.

I am in a forest. The wind is blowing. The sky is dark and cloudy. I notice a water droplet hit the dirt floor of the forest next to my bare foot. Lightning illuminates the forest with a boom of energetic power.

I fail to notice as my jacket rips slightly. My vision gets used to the darkness. My bloody and torn fingernails become slightly sharper. I begin to feel stronger.

Suddenly I begin to feel very cold.

I move through the forest and come upon a small piece of reflective glass. I look into the glass and see bright, completely white, eyes looking back at me.

I smile and admire my new teeth.

I can smell my prey.

Someone is walking.

In MY forest.

Credit To – Pablo Swuarez

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