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A Trip to the Cemetary

October 24, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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On an early dim morning an elderly woman rested her hand atop a gravestone.

“Henry Blackwood-1938-2004.”

She rested flowers on it and wept, something she didn’t usually do. She always made sure to bring something of Henry’s when she made her annual visit to his grave. Her memory wasn’t what it used to be and her brain needed help to get it jogged. She brought something he hated: his hearing aids. She remembered wistfully how he never used them, always insisting he had excellent hearing despite keeping the television’s volume up so high.

Now all she wanted was his return to her loving embrace. “Oh Henry,” she fell to her knees and looked to the sky, “How I wish you’d come back to me.”

Up in the sky and through her blurred teary vision she saw a red star. It was faint but she heard a malignant chuckle and the star flashed to match it. Then it disappeared with the raising sun.

She wiped away her tears. Strange. Was it a product of her imagination? She stood up and surveyed the area but saw nothing. It seemed like the moment was merely nothing but old, senile, womanly mood swings. As she smiled at her silly old self, a question came to her that felt like part of a dark realization. Could the battery in the hearing aid still work? She attached it to her best ear and turned it on. She could hear the rustling of crow feathers in a nearby tree. It probably still worked due to her husband’s lack of commitment to use it. Then, swallowing hard, she rested her ear on the ground above his grave. Her mouth dropped in horror as she heard scratching, shuffling, and a familiar voice bellowing a horrified scream.

Credit To – Johnny V

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“Higher Powers”

October 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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The chairs were the old school folding kind, brown metal with tan cushions that were almost comfortable. They were usually folded and stacked neatly against the wall in the basement of the church on Dionin street. Three times a week they were unfolded and made into a circle: once for bible book club on Monday afternoons, another time for prayer group on Tuesday mornings, and then every Friday night for meetings.

Some Fridays, the circle could get up to twenty members. Most weeks it was half that. Tonight was less. Langston didn’t really care. He just needed a meeting.

It had been six years since the last time he got high. It didn’t matter. His life was a constant series of triggers. Whenever he felt like pulling one, he would end up here, in this circle, or one just like it, telling strangers he occasionally recognized explicit details of how he threw away his life.

The ritualistic aspect of it was important. The circle was important. The repetition was important.

They joke about how people get addicted to meetings instead of drugs. Langston didn’t mind the trade off. At least meetings didn’t send you to the emergency room with abscesses. Or into jail for the weekend, sick and detoxing. They don’t kill you and swallow you whole like addictions do.

He sat down at one of the chairs, six synthetic sugar packets heartlessly drowned into his coffee. The styrofoam cup was warm in his cold hands. The meeting was about to start.

There was a banging noise coming from down the hall. It sounded like a door hadn’t been closed properly and the echoing, cavernous booming rattled through the empty basement and into the little meeting room.

The girl next to him was pounding her feet against the cement floor in time to the noise. She was grabbing her knees with her fingers. Her nails were mostly imaginary, gnawed nearly to the bed.

Between the way she looked and the way she acted it was either her first meeting or a court mandated appearance. Both options were lousy. He smiled over at her and she turned her head slightly.

There was something wrong with her eyes.

She looked down again. Her blonde hair with dull roots obscured her face. And her eyes.

He could hear her teeth grinding against each other. It sounded like an old and dying machine.

He looked away. Someone was speaking. It was Marc. Langston had seen him at dozens of meetings. He had heard his story dozen of times. He could tell it. Wife divorced him, then he was fired, now his brother was dying of esophageal cancer. The repetition was good for people. The ritual was important.

The door rattled off in the distance. It sounded like it was being slammed and reopened by wind. It had been breezy all day, with the October leaves flying in twisting little patterns across the sky. Red and gold and dying in celebratory sacrifice for the coming of fall.

After Marc finished, someone else went. Langston heard them as a dull noise, waves in a seashell in another room. He couldn’t focus. He couldn’t stop thinking about her eyes.

She was still grinding her teeth. He noticed her knuckles were cut up and weirdly scarred. She was making very, very weird noises very, very quietly. Deep jagged breaths with another noise coming from her. A weird sibilant sound.

Was that really what her eyes looked like?

It must have been the light. A reflection. Someone was talking. He couldn’t hear a thing.

He tried to pay attention. The person talking was saying it seemed like there was a new member? And would she want to say something?

He saw the girl next to him raise her head. She stood up.

There was a loud bang down the hall. The lights flickered. They came back on. The girl’s breathing sounded weird. She turned and looked at him. Her eyes. It wasn’t the light. That’s what they looked like.

“Sure,” she said. Her voice sounded so normal. That made it worse. “I’d love to tell you my story.”

What was that noise in the hall? It almost sounded like something was walking around. Shuffling?

“My name is Emily.”

“Hi Emily.”

Even Langston said it. It was automatic. The ritual only works if you participate. Repetition helps.

“This is my story. It started three years ago. The first time I got high. My mom had surgery on her knee. I tried some of her pain meds. They were awesome. I collapsed on the couch after taking them. I was made of cumulus clouds and unicorns. I was composed of rainbows and garden gnomes. So I took more. Obvs. Then some more. Then I got some from my friends. Then pills cost too much. Then I found out heroin was a lot cheaper than prescription pills. And much easier to get.”

“This next part is the part in “Behind the Music” before the comeback,” she said and pushed her hair back. Langston saw someone stare. Did they see the eyes? “I got really messed up on heroin. My friends weren’t always my friends. I did a lot of things I really regret. I should have died. I wish I did. It would have been better than this. Maybe.”

She smiled. What was going on with her jaw? It seemed to pulse?

Another noise in the hall.

“Two months ago, my friend and I were trying to score. We were getting sick. We were sleeping in an underpass. We didn’t have anything. My friend, Amy, she drew a circle. Like this.”

Something was outside in the hall. Langston knew there was something. It wasn’t a loose door. It was moving and getting closer. He wanted to get up and run out. He felt like he couldn’t move. Instead, he just listened to the noise. A rattling noise. A hissing, like air escaping a tire.

“We decided we were going to call something to help us. Get us high or whatever. To not feel sick or something. Whatever. It doesn’t matter now.”

In the hallway, the noise grew louder, a hypnotic rattling circular noise.

“Anyway. We made the circle. We called it. And it showed up. It immediately showed up. Like it had just been waiting for this moment forever. I guess it had.”

Marc with the divorce and unemployment and dying brother stared at her. All the veins in his neck stuck out like new blades of grass in the summer.

“The first thing that happened was it killed Amy. Dead. Totally dead. And then …it… well, it ate her. After that, it spoke to me. It asked if I still wanted what I called it for. Did I want its help? And I told it yeah, because why the fuck not? I’ll take living and not dying for 500, Alex.”

Langston realized the feeling he had of being trapped wasn’t just a sensation. He couldn’t move his body. It was as if he was nailed to the old school brown metal chair with the almost comfortable cushion.

“He told me he had been asleep. For a really, really long time. Now he was up. Because of us. And all he wanted was to eat. And he didn’t really ever want to stop eating again. So we made a deal. If I helped him out, brought him to places where he could eat, he’d help me out. He couldn’t get me heroin, but he could get me high in a different way: I could eat with him. I said yes. So…so, then he …he changed me. My eyes, first. Then other things.”

She looked over at Langston. Her slit pupils widened and contracted in the fluorescent night. He felt his legs spasm. She laughed.

“And guess what? I like this better than junk. Better than anything. He told me the more pain and sadness people have in their life, the better they taste. All that sorrow flavors the body.”

She walked over to Langston. She put her hand on his shoulder. Her hands didn’t feel like skin. Like human skin.

“And he’s right. Sadness tastes magnificent. Like rainbows and fucking unicorns. But he needs a circle to pull him into this world. So I told him I had an idea. A way we could kill two birds with one stone. Or kill something, at least.”

Behind the door, something hissed.

“This is our fifth meeting. Fifth town in two months. No one has caught on yet. Of course, we don’t leave a lot of evidence in our wake. Most of it we swallow.”

Her mouth…changed. Opened wide, then wider. Then wider. Her jaw unhinged as they watched, helpless. Her tongue, forked and long emerged from her red mouth like a newborn child. She licked the air and smiled at Langston.

“I think you’re first.” She said to him quietly. Then, louder, “We’re ready.”

The door opened.

Credit To – O.H. Manchester

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The Devil Game

October 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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NOTE: Due to the extra attention this story has received lately, the author asked that I include this statement before the actual story.

“”I have recently been alerted to the tragic events that transpired in Waukesha, Wisconsin on May 31, 2014. This tragedy saddens me deeply, and my heart goes out to the victim and to the families of all involved; I cannot even begin to imagine what they must be going through. I do not wish to make an in-depth statement regarding the crime – this site’s administrator has already done so with so much thought, sincerity, and grace that I have nothing to add; suffice to say that I agree completely with the site’s June 3rd “Statement on the Wisconsin Stabbing.” However, as a piece of my work seems to have come under fire in the wake of the Wisconsin tragedy, I feel it is my responsibility to personally make the following statement:

I would like to make it entirely, 100%, UNEQUIVOCALLY CLEAR that “The Devil Game,” along with every other creepypasta story I have ever written or will ever write, is COMPLETELY FICTIONAL. They are purely products of my imagination, written for the purpose of spooking and entertaining the reader – NOT to be acted off of!

When I first wrote “The Devil Game,” I did not think it necessary to include such a disclaimer for a story posted on Creepypasta.com. However, the recent tragedy’s alleged relation to the Slenderman mythos has caused me to re-evaluate this position. I now believe that I should have included a disclaimer from the beginning, and apologize for not doing so. I completely respect other authors’ rights to maintain in their posts (ritual pasta, creepypasta, or otherwise) the sense of pseudo-authenticity that lends so many urban legends and campfire tales an extra-creepy edge. It is a matter of creative license, and I believe that the vast, vast majority of creepypasta fans are completely able to deal with this. However, I personally have begun to feel uncomfortable with how far I pushed the “fourth wall” in this story without a disclaimer, especially since (unlike in, say, “Midnight Game” or “How to Play Hide and Seek Alone”) carrying out the described ritual in real life might entail a crime, i.e. trespassing or breaking and entering. That is why I’ll be attempting to track down and post disclaimers on reproductions of my work on other sites, as well as instructing admins to keep the disclaimer here.

The one thing I will say in my work’s defense is that I have NEVER, in ANY story, instructed or advocated violence against another living being, and I never will. (Although I’m certain that if I had, the admins of this site would have at least slapped a disclaimer on the thing – more likely shot it down like a clay pigeon!).

Just two more closing points:

1) If you are in a financial position to do so, please consider contributing to the Narrators uNIGHTed charity drive to benefit SafeHorizon and the Family of the Waukesha Tragedy. I plan to make a small contribution myself, and though I’m not in a position to make a large donation, I believe that every little bit counts, and we should all do what we can!
2) Ironically, I’d like to end this post with a creepypasta cliché that I specifically tried to avoid when writing “The Devil Game:” In all seriousness and sincerity, PLEASE DO NOT ACTUALLY TRY THIS. It’s made up, it doesn’t work, and honestly it’s a little bit silly.”

Pray, for devils have no reason
Satan waits to curse your ways
Have you seen it in his eyes in the sunset?
Have you wondered if he’s laughing when he plays?

– Kansas, “The Devil Game”

This is a set of instructions for how to speak with the Devil.

Which, as those of you with any sort of brains at all might note, is a patently moronic proposition on the face of it; one likely to culminate in any number of thoroughly unpleasant fates. Honestly, it would probably be smarter to publish your credit card number on Facebook, or take up a career in crocodile-wrestling.

But then, that isn’t going to stop you, is it? Not if you’re sincerely interested, at least. Technically, if you do everything just right, there’s a fair chance you’ll walk away scot-free; and that seems to be reason enough for some people to decide that it’s a good idea. Especially if you’re the fate-tempting, thrill-seeking, scare-junkie type. Or the desperate type.

Which brings me to a point of clarification I ought to make. This is NOT a manual for making any kind of Faustian bargain – you know, the whole sell-your-soul type of deal. Although if you happened to bring it up in conversation, he certainly wouldn’t be one to refuse. Following through with such a foolhardy bargain, however, would necessitate removing some the protections which you will put in place for your conversation, and I don’t think I need to spell out for you why that would be a BAD idea. If you’re really mathematically impaired enough to want to trade something that will last an infinite number of years for something that might last about 90 (tops), there are plenty of other rituals out there for you to follow. This one, if performed correctly, should only allow the two of you to talk.

This, perhaps, begs the question of WHY exactly you would want to speak with the Devil in the first place. (Maybe some of you just like the idea of making small talk with extremely dangerous occult entities, but for the sake of the human race I hope most of you aren’t quite that stupid.) Short answer is – he KNOWS things. Things that some of you may have a deep, vested interest in finding out. I mean, he’s not omniscient or anything – much as he might like to pretend otherwise, he’s not God – but he’s definitely got a supernatural advantage over the kind of knowledge any human would be able to obtain. For example, he probably wouldn’t be able to predict when the next World War will happen, or tell you the cure for cancer… but he could very well be able to predict the winning numbers of tomorrow’s $500 million Powerball drawing, or tell you what deadly, undiagnosed condition might be afflicting one of your loved ones.

Of course, the Prince of Darkness doesn’t just go around giving out winning lottery numbers to anybody who asks. And trusting any sort of information obtained from a being commonly described as “the father of all lies” is liable to land you in a worse situation than you were in when you started. However, if you’re really dead set on finding something out, and you’ve exhausted all other options, there IS a way to try to get accurate information out of the guy.

You see, like so many of the more urbane villains in popular culture, the Devil has a bit of a penchant for games and gambling. Of course, the reason he likes them so much is that he almost always wins. Unless you happen to be a fiddler named Johnny or are being represented by Daniel Webster, you’re probably going to get your ass handed to you. But, if you’re determined enough to want to face the risks and the long odds, there’s a certain game the two of you could play to try to win the information you need.

First things first, though. We’ll start off with a description of the summoning process, then get into the rules of the game, some tips for how to play, and finally, of course, the inevitable litany of arcane shit that might go horribly wrong.

In order to contact your conversational partner, you’ll need to go to a church at midnight. It doesn’t matter what kind of church – large or small, old or new, liberal or conservative – just as long as you’re sure it will be empty. The last thing you want is for some preacher to walk in on you while you’re in the middle of this (for the sake of the preacher’s well-being, as much as your own). The process will probably work best if you try it on a new moon, or a full moon, or Friday the 13th, or Halloween… the actual day is less important that the psychological effect it has on you (as long as you don’t try it on Christmas Eve or something stupid like that, you should be fine).

The time IS important, though. You don’t have to start or end your ritual at exactly 12:00:00am Greenwich Atomic time or anything, but as a general rule of thumb you ought to show up a bit before midnight and have everything set up by no later than ten or fifteen after. Show up a LOT before midnight if you don’t know how you’re going to get in. Shockingly enough, most Houses of God do tend to lock their doors at night, at least if no one’s there to watch over them (and remember, we want EMPTY, got it?)

There are, of course, certain things you need to bring, and certain things you can’t bring. For this ritual, you will NEED:
• A full can of salt – you won’t need to use all of it, but it’s always better to have more than you need than to have less.
• Seven candles, red or white being preferable.
• Something to light the candles with. You would be shocked how often people forget this. Occult ritual or not, they aren’t going to magically light themselves!
• A length of red string, rope, yarn, or thread.
• A full-length floor or wall mirror. Ideally, you’ll want to find one of these already present in the church (they’re a bit unwieldy to be lugging around with you during a break-in). However, if there really aren’t any there, you’ll have to bring your own.

You might also find it useful to bring some markers, pencils, paper, a flashlight, and any sort of tools that might be necessary to secure your entrance into the church.

You will NOT be permitted to bring in any electronic or timekeeping devices. THIS INCLUDES all cell phones, smartphones, tablets, E-Readers, mp3 players, PDAs, calculators, wristwatches, pocket watches, kitchen timers, hourglasses, etc, etc, etc. (Seriously, it’s worse than the SAT.) If you’re one of those people that has your smartphone practically wired into your brain, don’t worry – you can bring those things with you to the church as long as you leave them OUTSIDE the room in which you will be doing the ritual. If you brought a flashlight (helpful for finding your way around without attracting unwanted attention), leave that outside too.

Also, don’t bring in any sort of religious paraphernalia to protect you, especially if it pertains to the Abrahamic religions. (And yes, if those goth-y black cross earrings you’re wearing are hanging right-side up, they count.) If you have any kind of holy symbols like that with you, the Devil will simply refuse to show up.

Don’t worry, you’re not going in totally unprotected. In fact, most of the supplies with you are not for any sort of Devil-summoning ritual, but for your own protection – old superstitions and folk magic remedies to guard oneself from evil. From what I know of it, the effect’s mostly based on the power of belief, so there are probably numerous other objects, artifacts, and procedures that would work just as well. If you’d like to risk being left helpless at the mercy of the Devil in order to test that theory, feel free to experiment! However, for anyone without a psychotic death wish, I’d recommend sticking to the ritual as follows:

Once you’re sure you have all the right supplies with you, make your way into the church and find someplace to set up. It can be anywhere from the main sanctuary where services are held, to a Sunday school classroom, to a walk-in supply closet – as long as you have a sufficient amount of open floor space and are certain not to be disturbed. Set up your mirror first – this is where the Devil will appear when you summon him. As such, you mustn’t complete the summoning until you’ve laid down certain wards around it.

First, surround the mirror with an unbroken circle of salt. If the mirror is hanging on a wall or door, lay down a semicircle around it instead, making sure that the salt touches the wall at both ends. Then, wrap your red string around the mirror several times. The color red, especially red string, is symbolic of protection in the folklore of many cultures and religions. This is also why red candles are a good idea.

Speaking of the candles, set them up around the outside of your circle (or semicircle) of salt, spaced at relatively even intervals. No, you do not have to get out measuring tape and make it exactly perfect, but do at least try to make it look as though it was set up by someone old enough to be trusted with matches. Light the candles in a clockwise fashion, being careful not to disturb the salt – if you break the circle, you’ll have to start all over again. Once all of the candles are lit and burning strongly, your protective wards are complete. You are now ready to proceed to the actual summoning.

To do so, you first must get the Devil’s attention and demonstrate your resolve by performing some sort of sacrilegious act in the holy space. Turning a crucifix or cross upside-down is fairly conventional, but it’s not the only option. For example, I know of a kid who once fulfilled this requirement by scribbling obnoxious graffiti all over a painting of Jesus hanging in his Sunday school classroom.

(The nice thing about turning a cross upside-down is that once you’ve finished your encounter – assuming you’ve survived it in one piece – you can just flip it right-side-up again and no one’s the wiser… sidestepping the relatively minor but still irritating risk of having your Sunday school turn into a reenactment of the Spanish Inquisition for the next month and a half.)

After you’ve finished doing whatever offensive thing you decide on, shut all doors to the room and turn off all of the lights, so that the space is lit only by the candles. Face the mirror and stare deeply into it, concentrating on your desired outcome. There are no incantations, no arcane strings of Latin you have to recite. Just look into the mirror and wish as hard as you can for the Devil to appear there. After a few moments of this, when you feel ready, close your eyes and count to ten. Then open them.

If all has gone correctly, you will no longer see your own reflection. You will be looking at the Devil… or at least, looking at the way the Devil has chosen to appear to you. Chances are, he won’t look like your conventional red, horned demon with goat legs and a pitchfork, nor any other sort of terrible apparition. No point in scaring you off now… better to lure you in, make you feel safe. To that end, he generally takes on the appearance of a fairly average, nondescript human being. If anything, he’s prone to vanity and will lean towards the more attractive end of the spectrum.

The only really frightening part of him will be his eyes. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t hide the sinister gleam smoldering deep within them, the malevolent amusement and hunger, like the eyes of a spider contemplating a fly struggling in its web. They’re supremely confident, those eyes… confident, and without pity. Don’t look into them too deeply, or you’ll begin to feel helpless and paralyzed with dread, losing your hope and your will to fight.

Since you’ll probably be just standing there staring at him in shock for a few moments (having on some level expected for the ritual to fail), he’ll initiate the conversation by asking you what it is you desire from him. If you can gather your wits enough to string together a coherent sentence, you should respond with something like: “I wish to challenge you in a game of question-and-response.”

Even if you don’t get the words exactly right, he’ll know what you mean, and he’ll accept your request with a wide, predatory grin of anticipation. He’s been playing this game for a long time, you see, and he’s very good at it. Most humans, on the other hand, are very bad at it. This gives him a chance to, at the very least, thoroughly mess with your mind, and at most… well, we’ll save that for the “litany of shit that could go wrong.” You’ll have to play it very smart to avoid justifying his expectations.

The general rules to the game are very simple, with a few caveats that can make things more complicated. He’ll begin by asking you a question (he always initiates the game). It can be anything from a piece of obscure trivia, to a riddle, to an extremely personal inquiry. Don’t worry, you won’t be immediately plunged into Hell if you get the wrong answer or anything like that. As a matter of fact, he won’t even tell you whether you got the answer right or wrong.

After you’ve answered his question, you get to ask him one in return. Now, here’s where the consequences of your response come in. If you answered his last question correctly, he will respond to your question as honestly and accurately as he is able. However, if you answered it incorrectly, he is free to lie to you as he sees fit. Perhaps if you’ve asked him something you’re better off not knowing, he’ll tell you the truth about it anyway. More likely, he’ll feed you the most insidious, damaging lie he can come up with. Either way, after he’s responded, he’ll ask you another question, and the process will repeat over and over again until you decide to call it quits.

Now, you may be sitting there thinking that it sounds fairly easy to get the information you need… all you have to do is wait for a question you can answer correctly, and then take that opportunity to ask him what you really want to know, ignoring everything else he’s said. Well, it’s not that simple. The Devil will never give you an easy question, one that you can be completely sure of the answer to.

He may instead give you questions that you have some vague knowledge of, that you think MAYBE you know the answer to but aren’t really confident… thus forcing you to endlessly second-guess yourself, obsessing over whether or not you can trust the information that he gave you next. Perhaps you’ll think that what he said was a lie, WISH it was a lie, but be eternally consumed by doubt, unable to fully convince yourself that you were wrong. Or perhaps you’ll have to make a huge choice based on the information that he gave you, and be tormented by fear and indecisiveness as you realize that your fate (and perhaps that of others, as well) rests entirely upon whether or not you were able to correctly recall some arcane piece of trivia that you don’t even remember now.

(You’ll never remember the exact questions the Devil asked you, by the way; that would make it too easy for you to go back and check on your responses).

Or maybe, instead of testing your knowledge, he’ll ask you something personal, something you even lie to yourself about. You’ll answer back to him, thinking you’ve gotten the question correct (“No, I don’t resent my sister”… “Yes, I would turn the money in to the police!”) – but he’ll know better. He’ll know better than you do that you’re lying, and he’ll lie to you in return. And you’ll believe him. You’ll believe him until you are no longer able to deceive yourself, and by then it might be too late…

Or maybe… maybe he won’t even give you a chance to get an accurate response at all. Maybe he’ll just ask you endless strings of completely impossible questions, making you more and more frustrated and disheartened as you realize you’ll never be able to force him to tell you the truth. Questions like:

“What was the exact height of Mount Everest in centimeters in the year 1666?”

Or “What is the air-speed-velocity of an un-laden swallow?”

(Although, knowing his sense of humor, if he ever asked the latter he might consider “African or European?” a correct response.)

There ARE a couple of ways to short-circuit this particular strategy, however – additional rules and courses of action that make the game more interesting and prevent you from being stonewalled completely. Although in all honesty, he probably wants for you to try one of those options anyway.

The first option is to ask him a riddle instead of a question. If you somehow manage to stump him and he answers the riddle wrong or gives up, he’ll be obligated to give you a truthful response to your next question. If he answers the riddle correctly – once again, don’t worry, he won’t pounce on you like a sphinx or drag you into Hell. What WILL happen is that he will get a “pass,” allowing him to lie in response to one question he would otherwise be obligated to answer truthfully.

Honestly, if he gets a pass, you might as well just give up and quit the game right there. It’s nearly impossible to determine when he’s telling you the truth under the best of conditions. Adding another layer of complexity by constantly trying to figure out when and if he’s used his pass… it’s about enough to make any normal person’s brain explode. There’s no way. Just forget it.

The second option is for you to take a “dare” from him. If you accept it and vow to follow through, then once again he’ll have to answer your next question truthfully. If you choose instead to reject it, he’ll get another “pass.”

Now before you freak out and reject that whole idea completely, you should know that he won’t ask you to do anything overly dramatic or unspeakably evil, like blow up a hospital or murder somebody. As a rule of thumb, most dares won’t involve direct loss of life or any major felonies. However, they certainly won’t be easy. Inflicting severe pain on yourself, doing something that terrifies the shit out of you… cutting off a treasured relationship, publicly humiliating yourself or someone you love… all of these things and more, things you might not even be able to imagine, are completely on the table.

If you’re willing to go that far, to put yourself in that kind of position… you’ll get your answer. However, if he manages to come up with the one thing you know you simply can’t or won’t do… well, then once again you might as well just quit.

One last thing – DON’T think you can just tell him you’re going to do something and then not do it. If you accept a dare and then don’t follow through with it… well, let’s just say there will be consequences. Just suck it up and keep your promise, no matter WHAT it was. Trust me, you’re better off that way.

Finally, when you’ve either gotten the information you wanted or given up on it completely, you may end the ritual by simply thanking the Devil for accepting your request, bowing politely at the waist, and bidding him farewell. The surface of the mirror will seem to swim and flicker for a moment, and then you will be looking at your own reflection again. Only when you are absolutely certain that you’re looking into your own two eyes again may you turn away from the mirror, flick the lights back on, and begin dismantling your protections.

Now – and this is important – even if you haven’t gotten the information that you wanted, you MUST end the ritual in this manner before 66 minutes have elapsed. Well, I suppose that technically you have 66 minutes and 6 seconds (subtle, right?), but if you’re seriously going to try to cut it that close without any kind of timekeeping device, you’re probably screwed anyway. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you keep to this time limit. I’ll save the reason behind that for the end, but don’t skip ahead… I’ve still got a few important tips on how to play:

1. Be very careful what sort of personal information you give out. Try not to talk about yourself, especially your emotions and problems, any more than absolutely necessary. This guy knows human psychology like the back of his hand, and he WILL get inside of your head. It’s like talking to Hannibal Lecter. Give him enough to work with and, even if you don’t believe a single word he says, he will still find ways to fuck with your mind like nobody’s business. If anything he asks makes you even remotely uncomfortable, do not hesitate to lie through your teeth. There will be plenty of other questions.

2. On a similar note, try to keep the game on track and moving briskly. Unstructured interactions of any kind are to be avoided. Chances are that at some point he will try to draw you off on a tangent – discussing something that fascinates you, analyzing a response you’ve given him, or finding some other excuse to speak at length without moving the game forward. This is not only a waste of valuable time but also another excellent opportunity to mess with your mind.

3. If you choose to give him a riddle, use one you’ve made up yourself. If your riddle has ever been written down anywhere at all, from the pages of “The Hobbit” to some long-lost tome of ancient magic, he will already know the answer. That said, it still has to be a LEGITIMATE riddle, with an answer that makes logical sense from some angle. You can’t just ask something like “What’s green, has ten legs, and hops?” then claim for some inexplicable reason that the answer was “marshmallows.” Nor can you ask him a straight question like “What have I got in my pocket?” (he probably knows that, anyway). There are no hard-and-fast rules to determine whether a riddle makes sense or not, but you’re a reasonable human being. Your ancestors ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Please, for the love of crap, use common sense.

4. If you choose to take a dare, there is a slight chance that the Devil will ask you to do something seemingly easy… deliver a letter, for instance, or scribble a ten-digit number in a public restroom stall. If he does ask you for something like this, and you have even a shred of common decency in you, do NOT accept. Chances are that he’s using you to further some sinister plot, one liable to ruin a lot of lives and harm a lot of people. Who knows, maybe you’re the type of person who really doesn’t mind throwing an unknown number of total strangers under a bus to find out what you want to know… but at least be aware that that IS what you’re doing.

5. Last, but not least, be very aware of the time. It might be helpful to do some practicing beforehand and get a feel for how long an hour is without a watch. The Devil will probably put off discussing the things you’re most keen to find out for as long as he can; and as you near the 66 minute deadline, he’ll start trying harder and harder to distract you, captivate you, and otherwise keep you playing until it’s too late. He’ll string you along, feed you little glimmers of false hope, keep you thinking: “Just a few more minutes… I’m almost there!” Don’t fall for it. Don’t go over the time limit. No matter what.

Now, you might be thinking that this game really doesn’t sound all that dangerous so far… threats of psychological damage rarely seem to carry the same weight as threats of physical damage, even though their costs are often just as great. Hate to burst your bubble, but the game is FAR from safe. There are plenty of ways for you to seriously screw yourself over both physically and mentally (not to mention spiritually). And it is with these that I will conclude, in the vain hope that they may make some sort of impression…

First, while you are speaking with the Devil, do NOT let him out of your sight. Keep staring into the mirror no matter what happens. He will undoubtedly try various tricks to make you look away… You will hear noises behind you, feel eyes on the back of your neck, see shadowy phantoms writhing in the depths of the mirror. A cold breath will blow upon you from behind, smelling like the crypt. A deep silence will settle, only to be interrupted by a loud SMACK directly behind your head, giving you about the worst jump-scare you’ve ever had. Hell, the Devil may even abandon a measure of his own dignified façade and give a sudden jump of feigned shock, shouting loudly and pointing behind you with a very convincing look of terror on his face. Whatever he might test you with, you must not look away from him. If you look away, if you lose sight of him completely – even for one second – you will look back at the mirror to find him gone.

Well, not gone. Out of the mirror. In the room.

With you.

Exactly how much of your body the police will find the next morning, and what state it’s in, will depend entirely on the sort of mood he’s in.

The same thing goes if you break any of the protections you laid down before beginning the ritual. Interrupting the circle of salt, letting the red string unwind, knocking over a candle or letting one go out… any of these things will free him from the mirror, and then – well, you’re all a bunch of creative horror junkies. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.

On a different topic, you may reach a point in the game (probably after a long series of maddeningly impossible questions) where the Devil asks you the deceptively simple question “What is your full name?” You MUST NOT give it to him. Names can be things of great power. Although the Devil will, of course, already know your name, telling it to him yourself is akin to inviting a vampire into your home. Your name is deeply synonymous with your own, inner self; thus, giving him your name is powerfully symbolic of giving him your self. If you are foolish enough to make this mistake, all of your protections will be for naught, and he will seize upon your unwitting offer with malicious glee, stealing away your soul and dragging it back with him into Hell.

At least this way the police will find a complete, identifiable body. As a matter of fact, your vacant shell will be totally unblemished, seemingly having dropped dead of sheer terror.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the matter of what happens if you go over the time limit. This is arguably the worst thing you can do. You won’t think so at first… the Devil will give you no indication that you have in fact exceeded the time limit and you will conclude the ritual as if nothing had gone wrong. Perhaps, as the Devil’s image in the mirror trembles and gives way, you’ll see a particularly nasty, triumphant smirk flash across his face, but this will be easily dismissed as your imagination. You’ll turn the lights back on, gather your belongings, and go to leave the room. But, when you open the door, you will see… nothing.

That’s right, nothing. Just a flat, white void extending infinitely in all directions. Only the room which was reflected in the mirror will now exist.

Incidentally, if you turn back around to face the mirror again, you may catch a last glimpse of your own reflection. Perhaps it will even turn and favor you with a smirk and a cheeky wave before sweeping out the door into the perfectly normal church hallway outside.

As you may have already figured out, you yourself are no longer in the church. Your soul is now trapped in the mirror, and the Devil has taken the liberty of possessing your body, now that you are no longer using it.

Pound on the glass and scream all you like, you’ll never get out on your own, and no exorcist can help you. But don’t worry, it’s not like you’re in Hell, right? At least, not necessarily…

What you have to understand, see, is that a human soul stripped bare of its flesh is a deeply volatile and vulnerable thing, especially when trapped in the land of the living. You are now an entity of purely mental properties, and as such, the barriers between what is real to you and what is imaginary have been completely dissolved. As you fill that reflected room with your anger, your sorrow, your fear at being trapped, these emotions will begin to coalesce, given form by your mind. If you’re not particularly imaginative, these creatures may not be too terrible, may not be able to inflict too much horror and pain. With time, you may even be able to teach yourself to get rid of them.

If, however, yours is a mind haunted by monsters…a mind that is vibrantly creative and imaginative and more than usually twisted… well, there’s no telling what horrors might come clawing their way out of the maelstrom, tasting sweet release from the confines of your subconscious, hungering for your terror and suffering. They will refuse to be banished, dragging you kicking and screaming into an endless positive feedback loop of pain and fear.

Needless to say, if you’re a regular patron of websites like this one, you’re probably pretty well fucked.

There’s only one way to find release from the mirror and the world that you’ve created therein. They say that if you call to the Devil once more and ask him to free you from the mirror, he’ll be willing to take you out.

For the usual fee, of course.

Who knows, maybe if your imagination is twisted and powerful enough to create a personal Hell that leaves you begging for the real thing, those talents might be put to good use. There are over seven billion people in the world, after all; even the Devil himself can’t be messing with all of their minds at once. Talented help is always appreciated.

Of course, the corollary to your being trapped inside the mirror is that the Devil now gets to do whatever he wants in your body until sunrise. At around that time, your body will mercifully drop dead from the strain of the possession; autopsy will probably identify the cause as some kind of coronary event. Don’t get too relieved, though, he’s perfectly capable of stirring up plenty of trouble in those few hours.

For instance, he may decide to do something big and dramatic, like purchase a large meat cleaver and go on a murder spree, starting with the names in your address book and working his way out to complete strangers if he has time. Or perhaps he’ll focus on only one person, someone who trusts you completely, using your persona to get him or her alone and vulnerable, and then… well, no need to describe it here. Once again, I’m sure you can think of a few things.

Starting to see why I called this the worst outcome yet?

Of course, there’s also a chance he won’t lay a finger on any of your loved ones, instead deciding to do something a little more subtle… more insidious. Like drop off a few nondescript, unmarked packages on certain doorsteps in the dangerous part of town. Or locate a particular dusty, age-yellowed text in the storeroom of your local library and intentionally misfile it in the Young Adult Literature section. Or whisper seven very choice words into the ear of the distracted-looking young redhead waiting for the 3am subway train.

Or maybe he’ll decide that, in this age of waning superstition, not enough people are getting interested in his games, and the knowledge of them is in danger of being lost. Maybe he’ll decide he needs to get the word out a bit more, do a bit of networking, attract some new suckers… ahem, “challengers.” Maybe he’ll take a quick peek at your browser history, see where the impressionable, curious minds are hanging out these days. Maybe he’ll even write a quick tutorial, in modern parlance rather than some inscrutable, obsolete demonological text… post it on the Internet and see how many bites he gets…

Haha, maybe I really shouldn’t have gone there. But if you’ve made it this far without shying, a little twist at the end isn’t going to put you off, is it, dear Reader? I’m sure there are plenty of intrepid adventurers among you with burning questions you’d like answered. And you’re all a smart bunch. You know the pitfalls, you know the conventions, you live and breathe this sort of thing, do you not? There’s no way YOU’D fall into any of the obvious traps, right? You’re not some Dick or Jane off the street, after all; you’d be bringing a whole new level of competition. You would…

Oh, excuse me just a moment, I think I hear someone calling for me…

What? You want out that badly ALREADY? Must be one Hell of an imagination you’ve got on you.


Credit To – InfernalNightmare333

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Twist and Shout

October 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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It was late October in Brookhurst Wyoming in the year 1965. I was eighteen, and I lived with my sister in an older barn house, on the edge of town. I loved that little town- especially in the fall. The deep oranges, bold yellows, and dense reds of the season would take over the huge blanket of once green trees that would cover almost all of Brookhurst. My sister and I both especially loved Halloween because of the simple fact is that we loved a scare every now and then. People of Brookhurst were seemingly more alive during that time. Even the trees would rejoice in the turn of the season and emotion of the people. I loved everything about autumn reconnecting with Brookhurst and the simple euphoria the town seemed to float in.

Except that one cornfield- and that one scarecrow that sat in the middle of it. The poor little thing, so pitifully made, so sullenly placed. It wasn’t exactly terrifying at first glance- but come to think of it, the thing aroused a disturbing feeling in my stomach every time I saw it. It had a faded gray sack that was tied with a rotting rope as its head. On the sack were two little black dots, far apart from each other, as eyes. It didn’t exactly have a mouth except for a tear that veered a little to the left that looked like it was on the sack before it was made to be the head of a scarecrow. It didn’t have much of a nose either- but more like a tiny raised bump that was right in the center of the face. For its clothes it wore a ripped blue and gray flannel under a pair of tattered overalls, with one misplaced patch lazily sewn on its hip. I remember that one its hands were a pair of faded dark blue field gloves whose fingers hung down sloppily. Every fall- this scarecrow would appear in the same spot, with the same spaced out look on its face. Ever year, the same question arose of who put it there, when it got there, or how it gets there. Hallowed’s field, where the scarecrow sits, has been abandoned for twenty years ever since farmer Hallowed died. This had been our little town mystery.

It’s kind of funny, but also a bit sad, that the scarecrow just sits there. There is no corn to be protected and there are no crows to be ridden. The townsfolk had always blamed it on the kids, but the kids blamed it on the adults. No one ever owned up to putting the scarecrow there… and I don’t think anyone would have wanted to. I started to pay more attention to it as I rode my horse down the main road into town. I stopped at the edge of the field and looked at it. The wind blew through the dead husks surrounding the scarecrow. They rustled- but the scarecrow sat unnerved by the wind movement. It began to bother me. I guess it was the horrifying simplicity of its face, but it scared me so much after that moment. I continued and went into to town, satisfied with a newly discovered idea.

Ignoring everyone, I finished my errand and started back home. As I rode up the main street, the field came into sight- and so did that dumb scarecrow. When I arrived at the border of the street and where the field began, I got off my horse and marched into the field towards sad creature on the wooden stake. As soon as I was a foot away, it smelled a strange scent of sweat and salt. The smell was unruly to my nose, so I covered it with my shirt as I began to untie the arms and legs from the stake. I put the thing under my arm and walked to the rotting barn beside the field. Carrying the scarecrow felt unnatural- it had the weight of a dead dog, almost heavy but not too much. I opened the door to the barn as it revealed the same aroma of the scarecrow’s. My eyes searched for something useful I could hide away the scarecrow with. They eventually found a loft and a beam that supported a broken part of the roof. I went up the ladder, hoisting the scarecrow on my shoulder, and slammed it down at the base of the pillar. I took out the rope that I bought at the store as my little errand, and tied the thing to the column. Satisfied, I started my way down the ladder and to the field. I locked the barn door with chain that I had also brought. As I mounted my horse, a feeling of relief overcame me. It’s not so much as that I was scared of the scarecrow, but it was the fact that it bothered me so much- and I probably wasn’t the only one glad that it was gone for the time. Two days came and went, and every time I passed Hallowed’s field, I smiled warmly to myself.

“April- what happened to that ugly thing over there?” My sister asked as we pasted the field one day. I told her that I didn’t know…and I was glad it was gone- and she agreed. After an hour at the Halloween store, we began to drive home. I turned on the radio, enjoying some Beatles as I contently kept my eyes on the rode.

“Aww, that scarecrow is back!” I slammed the brakes and turned my head to the field. My eyes soon met the familiar black dots of the scarecrow’s. My sister, smilingly and staring out the window, was completely oblivious to my conflict with that creature. I sighed and laughed, suggesting that someone had made another one just for Halloween that was in two days- and I really wanted to believe that too. When we arrived home, I told my sister to start decorating the living room as I couldn’t because at the time I told her I needed to go to the grocery store…but in the back on my head I saw the empty stare of the scarecrow sitting on the wooden pole. I drove over to the field, an axe in my back seat, my mind being strangely calm and seemingly unaware of what I was planning.

I arrived at the field and stormed into the field, the corn husks slapping at my side. I approached the scarecrow and swung the axe, cutting the “head” clean off. I hacked off the base of the wooden stake and the body fell to the ground as I struck it over and over and over. Completely enraged, I even destroyed a few husks around it. After my episode, my adrenaline stopped and I started towards my car, not even looking back at what I had done. I drove home, flushed of any emotion and went into my house with a painted on smile.

“Okay Lucy, let’s start decorating.” I stormed into the house and clapped my hand, slightly scaring my sister, then I started to play the Beatles as we hurried around the house hanging ornaments on everything there was. As my sister went to fix up the stairs, the night had set in. After that, we started to clean the house. Around ten or eleven, we started to play a board game, still enjoying the repetition of John Lennon’s voice in the song Help. As I rolled the dice, a shrill neigh escaped the barn house. Lucy looked at me with a worried brow and I got up to go see.

“Turn down the music…” I whispered and she ran, turning the knob of the record player until the sound mellowed. I stood, staring out the screen door that was pitch black from the night outside. I grabbed a flashlight and the first aide kit and went out the screen door. I ran to the barn, opening the door slowly, trying not to startle my horses. Everything was silent and calm. I ran the light over their legs and faces to check for injury. After a moment of surveying, I started to hear a miniscule suckling coming from behind me. I turned around and flashed the light in the direction of the sound. I heard a little rustle, and I raised the light a bit higher….it revealed a ripped flannel shirt and tattered overalls. Almost involuntarily, my flash light rose to the thing’s face. A faded gray sack….

It all happened so fast- but its eyes weren’t the painted black dots they used to be. They were different. Instead, they were like black inky beads that rested on top of the surface of the sack. They glistened in the white light of the flash light. I remember the mouth- instead of the harmless little tear, there was a perfect small circle with little blade like teeth with small drops of blood pooling at the corners. I screamed and it leapt. I dropped my flashlight as I heard scurrying all around as I fumbled in the dark to retrieve my light. Instead of finding my light, I found the butt of my shotgun that I had from two years ago when I had to put down my calf. Grabbing that and soon finding my flashlight, I searched for the scarecrow again. I moved the light all around the barn until I came to the window at the very top of the barn. There it was- hooked to the wall, head upside down, with those beady eyes staring at me. From its perfect circular mouth dropped a little tongue that was that of a bat. It twisted its head at gave me a slow, deep throated, rolling click before dashing out the window like a spider. I shot at it, thanking God it was still loaded- but no prevail. I began to run to my house before it could get to my sister.

Suddenly, John Lennon’s voice sang loudly “WELL SHAKE IT UP BABY NOW!” just as Lucy screamed and the light in the kitchen flickered off. I kicked my screen door open and stood quietly as Mr. Lennon hollered “Come on, come on, come on baby now!” My fingers eventually found the light switch and the room illuminated a scene of a very frightened Lucy. The lamp swung harshly back forth as I scanned the room for that thing. From behind me arose the clicking- as I swung around it landed on the ground next to me and I shot at it- barely skimming the side of its head. It tried to stand up- looking like a knotted up marionette, it hulked towards me. Lucy continued to scream as the Beatles played on and I fumbled to reload. It reached for my foot with clumsy fingers and started to pull me, but before it could I joust it with the butt of my gun. It screeched and fumbled backwards in a pain, as I rushed over to my sister. I told her to run upstairs but she wanted to stay. Not in the mood for arguing, I allowed it and gave her directions as I scanned the counter for anything that was pain inflicting. The butcher knife looked like gold as I grabbed it and threw it at the scarecrow. It missed completely. I got up and ran for the stairs, followed by the scarecrow. My sister screamed and headed for the door, catching the scarecrow’s attention. The creature loped after her- taking aim, I sloppily shot it. It whined like an injured horse as I fired again…completely stopping the whining.

My sister stood behind the door and looked at me with joy. I motioned for her to stay quiet as I raced down the stairs to pick the scarecrow up. I dragged it into the back yard and ordered Lucy to bring me a match as I piled up wood and dry grasses around it. I lit the pile on fire and watched the “dead” scarecrow become engulfed in the flames. I held my sister close as we watched the flame die down. Throwing water on the parched area, the sun began to rise creating a mellow pink and orange sky that quickly calmed our nerves. We went into the house and passed out on the couch.

In the morning, I awoke and dressed for school. A completely normal morning- with no mentions of the night before, I made my sister breakfast and we headed to the car. We approached the main road into town, my sister asleep- the field came into focus. Right in the center, so pitifully made, so sullenly place, completely unscathed…was that scarecrow.

Credit To – K.R aka Kitty Kat

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October 22, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Gordon Simmons slammed into his locker.

“Ow! What the hell?”, he struggled to shout with his face pressed against the cold blue metal.

“Man, Gordo! Your locker stinks worse than you do!”, chastised the bully.

Judging by the voice, Gordon could tell it was Jordan Merrick. Jordan was always a dick, but for some reason he seemed to target Gordon specifically this year. However, he did have a point about the smell emanating from the locker. The rancidness hung in the air and made him gag a little.
Jordon gave another shove before backing off. He crinkled his nose and looked Gordon up and down, then left while flicking him off on his way down the corridor.

Gordon composed himself, smoothed out his old oxford button-down shirt and tried, unsuccessfully, to flatten out his ratty brown curls. He tried to take a calming breath, but choked on the stench. After he finished sputtering, he covered his nose with the collar of his shirt while working the locker combination with his free hand. With a click the door swung open. He began examining the inside of his locker apprehensively. His math and history textbooks were on the top shelf where he left them. He looked in the larger bottom section, thinking that something from an old lunch had fallen out of his bag and gotten lost. He dug through old homework marked with average grades and gaming magazines, but nothing was to be found. The source of the smell had to be coming from the top shelf. Gordon pulled his history book down and immediately jumped back in alarm, almost bowling over Erica Burrows.

“Watch what you’re doing, you ass!”, Erica spat with venom. The normally bustling hallway became silent as students stopped and stared wide-eyed at Gordon in all of his awkwardness.

“S-sorry”, he stuttered while rubbing his neck, head hung with shame.

Erica made a sound of contempt, rolled her eyes and stormed off. He stood in the middle of the hall which was once again filled with the noise of busy teens. With chagrin, he moved towards his locker again. I can’t believe I almost knocked over Erica Burrows…, he thought. Gordon had a “thing” for Erica since middle school. It seemed like every year his popularity would regress and so would his chances at ever being with his dream girl. His dream girl with beautiful flowing blond hair, a stunning smile, great figure and great big perfect ti-

“Gordon!” He snapped out of his daydream. It was Ryan Turley, his best friend since second grade, and “World of Warcraft” companion since seventh. “Yo! Gordon! Come back to reality!”

Gordon shook his head, “Sorry. It’s been an interesting day.”

Ryan stepped between him and his locker, “What the hell was that?”, he furrowed his unibrow and sniffed, “And what the hell is that smell?”

Gordon looked over his friend’s head to the face staring out from the top shelf of the locker through empty eyes. Cringing, he motioned for Ryan to look.

“Woah! That’s pretty creepy.”, Ryan said stating the obvious, “Is that what smells?”

“Yeah. I think someone slipped that mask into my locker somehow and put something on it to make it stink.”

“They did a pretty good job. It smells like a dumpster full of 3 month old meat. How did they get it in there?”

Shrugging, Gordon reached over Ryan and pinched the tip of the mask between his thumb and forefinger, accidentally brushing against Ryan’s head.

“Hey, watch the hair!”

“Why? You got a date or something?”, Gordon chuckled as his friend ran his fingers through his red-haired bowl cut. Ryan twisted his freckled face into a sneer, making his buck teeth protrude more than usual. Patting his pal on the back, Gordon walked to the nearest waste bin and tossed the face inside.


Later that night while at home, Gordon sat in the blue La-Z-Boy recliner facing the TV. Around 10:00 pm not much was ever on except the local news. He sighed and watched as the anchor woman droned on about Halloween coming up and how to be safe while trick-or-treating.

A minute later, the reporter had caught his full attention with a missing persons report. “A local boy from East Mayfield High has been reported missing. Cameron Jenkins is a junior at the school. He is approximately five feet, seven inches, has short brown hair and usually wears glasses. If you have any knowledge of Cameron’s whereabouts, please contact the local police.”

Gordon recognized the name. He took algebra with the guy. They never really talked to each other, but it was a little disturbing to hear the news. He shook his head, putting the missing classmate out of his mind. Disappointed with the late night entertainment selection, he turned off the picture and went to bed.


The next day, there was hallway chatter of not only the missing student, but also a teacher who had peculiarly stopped showing up for school without notice about a week ago. Rumors flooded the classrooms about how the teacher might have abducted Cameron, but Gordon figured that was probably made up nonsense. However, his head churned with his own concoction of possible scenarios while he spaced out in front of his locker before lunch.

“Whats up!”, Gordon startled as Ryan greeted him cheerily.

“What’s got you so chipper?”, he asked Ryan only half curious.

“Nothing much. I had a good night last night.”

“Ah. The date went well then?,”Gordon chuckled.

“It did actually”, Ryan replied, “I think I’m going to go on another one.”

“‘atta boy.”

Gordon placed his books in his locker before heading towards the cafeteria, walking beside his friend and arguing that the school’s chicken salad was much worse than their lasagna.


Over the course of the week, the strange disappearances continued. Brad Tillman (a freshman member of the student government), Monica Gayle (one of the lunch-ladies), Robert Ortiz (backup quarterback for the varsity football team) – just some of the missing. By Friday, the entire school was in a state of quiet panic. Some parents were starting to keep their children home and talks began of shutting down the school. The campus was crawling with police looking for clues or anything suspicious.

During second period, Gordon and Ryan sat next to each other both looking equally jaded of their instructor’s tiresome voice and chalk tapping on the blackboard. Out of the corner of his eye, Gordon noticed Ryan’s red head perk up, peering outside. Intrigued, Gordon craned his neck to look through the window too. Ryan jumped up and leaned closer to the window.

“Mr. Turley, what do you think you’re doing?”, asked the obviously irritated history teacher.

“It’s Brad Tillman!”, Ryan exclaimed as he pointed outside.

Everyone rushed to the windows, pressing up against the glass to get a better view. Even “Mr. Monotone”, the instructor, jockeyed for position to see the unfolding event. Sure enough, it was Brad looking disheveled, but seemingly unharmed, walking out of the nearby woods to the West. One of the cops roaming outside finally noticed the once missing student and sprinted to him. He put an arm around Brad and helped him towards the school building with haste. After a few minutes of being unable to see more of what was happening, the lesson resumed, but no one concentrated on it.

Lunch time arrived as it did everyday. The path to the cafeteria always led by the school nurse. As Gordon and Ryan passed, they noticed the door partly open, the same cop stood inside with his back facing the entrance. He stepped to the side to speak with the nurse over some paperwork along with the school principal, Mr. Wilson. The two friends stopped in the middle of the hall and gazed inside at Cameron who was sitting atop the paper-covered examination bench. Suddenly, Brad jerked his head up and stared back at them. His eyes didn’t look those of a victim’s. They were piercing. It was enough to send chills up a polar bear’s spine. Gordon averted his eyes elsewhere. Brad probably wanted to be alone anyway, he thought. He and Ryan continued to lunch.

The day moved forward as more and more of the missing reappeared from the neighboring woods. The authorities began sending search teams into the tree line, coming out every so often with another missing person. While students and staff rejoiced over the returns, there was a large amount of confusion. Why were the students coming back now and all at the same time? Where were they to begin with? What happened to them while they were gone? Unfortunately, none of these questions could be answered. The returning students and staff told the police they couldn’t remember anything. The story was the same all around. They black out on the day they went missing and came to in the woods, finding their way back to civilization. Mystery hung thick in the air when classes ended for the weekend. After giving statements and receiving check-ups, the missing were allowed to go home with their families.


The weekend sped by. Gordon, bored at home, tried to get in contact with Ryan, but to no avail. When Sunday came along, he was getting irritated. Whoever this girl is, she better be worth it. He supposed he couldn’t blame him. Guys like them don’t often have a chance at romantic relationships. Once again, he resorted to watching TV and heard that people were still going missing even after the returns of the previous East Mayfield students and staff.

After a night of anxious tossing and turning, Gordon slunk out of bed and headed for another Monday at school. At his locker, he stood on edge, waiting for his friend. Five minutes before first period started, he was about to give up the wait and head to Literature, but noticed a flash of red hair in the crowd of last-minute students hurrying to class. Ryan broke free of the small mob and stood in front of Gordon, panting, pushing his glasses back to the ridge of his nose.

“What up?”, he huffed while smiling.

Not wanting to be late, they both speed walked towards their next classes. “Where were you?”, Gordon grilled his nerdy friend, “I’ve been trying to reach you all weekend!”

“Sorry. Still going on those dates.”, Ryan said with a half smile.

“Well there’s something different about you. This chick must be good. We’ll talk later.”

They split up to head to their different classrooms.

While sitting in his first period class, Gordon didn’t miss a beat with his daily routine. After preparing for class, he sat catty-cornered to Erica Burrows and admired her from afar. Every day he did this, but today was a bit different. As he gawked at the back of her head, she whipped her face around to look at him. Unprepared, he tried to play off the fact that he was ogling her, but noticed something off. Her eyes. They bore into him like Brad’s did on Friday. Disquieted by this, he faced forward and waited for class to start, trying to ignore the feeling of her stare on him. Oddly enough, he was a little happy when Jordan Merrick walked in. Every other day he shared this class with Jordan who would sit directly behind him and pester him in some way or another. Gordon hoped the encounter would take his mind off of Erica and bring a sense of normality to his day. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. Jordan cruised past him and took his place behind. Slowly, Gordon turned his head and peeked at the bully. In return, he got the same stare that he got from Erica. Feeling like he was between two crushing forces, Gordon slid down in his seat, trying to avoid the two students’ attention.

The class felt as if it would never end, but finally it was over. Dismally, the next period was the same; it seemed like everyone was acting strange. Maybe he was nuts and he was the one acting strange. Gordon wanted to go home. He somehow made it to lunch without freaking out and scanned the crowd for Ryan. His friend’s geeky demeanor made his way toward him. Finally, a welcome site.

“Ready for some grub?”, asked Ryan.

“Yeah” Gordon nodded enthusiastically, “I’ve never wanted lunch more in my life.”

“Dude. You should start eating breakfast then.”

After getting their food, they sat down at their usual table. Gordon stared at his food, shifting bits of corn around on his tray.

“Hey. You ok?” Ryan questioned.

“What? Yeah, sorry.” Gordon snapped out of his stupor.

“Alright…” his cohort said incredulously. “Well here’s some good news for you. Erica was returned over the weekend. Bad news is so was Jordon Merrick.

“I didn’t even know they were missing in the first place.”

“Oh? Well now you know” Ryan chuckled.

Gordon cocked his head a bit. “Actually…” he began while rubbing the back of his neck. “Something has been bothering me.”

“What’s up?”

“The people who were returned have been acting really strange, including Erica and Jordan.”

Ryan swallowed the food in his mouth and put down his fork. “Oh? Strange as in how?”

“Just creepy. Like they aren’t themselves. Jordan didn’t say some asshole remark to me like he usually does and Erica… well Erica actually noticed me.”

Ryan nodded slowly. “That is kind of weird.”

“You don’t seem too bothered by all of this.”

“Not really.”

“What? Why not?”

Ryan gave a wide grin.

“Hey, did you get your teeth fixed?” he asked, scrutinizing the absence of his friend’s buckteeth from across the table, “What’s so freakin’ funny?”

A shadow eclipsed the table in front of Gordon. Confused, he turned around. Erica stood behind him close enough that he could smell her perfume. He turned back to Ryan and asked, “What… what’s going on?”

Ryan gave a faint smile in return. “You’re the last piece of the collection, Gordon.”

“What are you talking about?” he replied, chuckling nervously. Jordan Merrick approached the table to his left. Suddenly, he became claustrophobic. He realized that more and more of his fellow students were surrounding the table. “Is this a joke? It’s not funny!” he said, raising his shaky voice.

Ryan sighed. “My friend. Well… actually you’re Ryan’s friend.” He gazed at Gordon’s frightened and confused face, coveting it. “My colleagues and I have been wanting to do this for a very long time. All of these wonderful faces… juicy personalities… you gotta love high school!” He cackled and moved both of his hands to the back of his head. The students and staff followed in suit.

To Gordon’s horror, when his should-be friend brought his hands back around, his face came along with it. “Welcome to the club, Gordon.” The words came from a head void of facial features other than scarred holes where the eyes, nose and mouth should be. Hands grabbed him by the shoulder as his faux classmates held him in his chair. The glint of a knife was the last thing he saw before it dug into his eye sockets as it removed each one and created a hollow place in his head like a Halloween mask.

Credit To – Josh “JaShinYa” Musser

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The Reaper in the Tree

October 21, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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There may be strange details in this story. Not all of them will seem to add up and appear to be significant, but it’s all true. That sort of statement is common with these types of stories, but this time it is meant in absolute earnest.

My grandfather was a mortician and about a year after he retired he himself passed on. He and I shared the exact same name and it was slightly unsettling to hear my own name in the eulogy. To witness firsthand the lowering of a casket, revealing one’s own name on the headstone. It gave the whole event a sort of dreamlike quality. I suppose such things got me thinking of my own mortality more than a funeral normally should.

After the burial we drove passed the old funeral home. The business had been handed over to a new guy who did an alright job I guess. Grandpa looked okay. Though that wasn’t on my mind. There was a large tree in the front yard of the old funeral home. Near the peak of the tree, amongst its naked branches, was a wicked grim reaper halloween decoration. Seven feet in height its dark robes fluttered ominously in the wind like a flag of morbid purpose. Characteristically, its face wasn’t visible, but nor was its blade. It was already early November, so I guess the new undertaker was just putting off taking him down. Still though, it was a bit ghastly for a funeral home.

As we returned to grandmas house everyone was talking about how much they were going to miss grandpa. How sorry they were he was gone. “What a great guy he was.” “A real funny bloke.” “Gonna miss his smile.” Except they never called him grandpa, instead always opting to use my name. It felt like I was looking into the future, glimpsing my own passing, and it conjured up resonating images of the reaper again. Pointing at me. Staring through me behind his hood. Enveloping me in his darkness.

After an evening of uncomfortable mourning, I’d had enough. I said I needed to take a walk and clear my head. The nice thing about small towns is the absolute isolation and quiet that comes with nightfall. During my wanderings I gazed into a fenced backyard. The skull of a buffalo hung on a fencepost. I wasn’t sure if that was also a leftover halloween decoration, I wasn’t sure if it was anything. A squeaky mini windmill gave off an endless cycle of tiny screams to the garden gnomes quietly gazing at nothing.

I adjusted my coat’s collar and stepped across the street, towards my grandfather’s old place of work. I figured that sick decoration from earlier would look even better at night. I tilted my head upwards and was surprised to find nothing clutched in the leafless branches of the overgrown maple. Either he was finally taken down or its black robes cloaked the reaper in the darkness of night. I somehow felt it was the latter, as his deathly presence was actually made more real by lack of physical manifestation.

That was my whimsical thought as I walked back across the street from the funeral home when all of sudden a gust of wind kicked up the sand and I heard a loud scraping noise on the concrete behind me. Had I not been on edge from the funeral I would have figured it was the wind blowing a tree branch across the road, but as of that moment it sounded so much like a scythe being grazed upon the concrete that my legs sent me sprinting back to grandmas like prey from a predator.

When I returned I saw my grandmother and family playing pinochle. My heart was hammering a hole through my chest. They asked my why I looked so frightened. I rubbed my forehead of sweat, closed my eyes, and smiled. It was so stupid. I told them everything chuckling as I did. How the day affected my mindset, the grim reaper in the tree, and the grazing on the road. They laughed and said the day was stressful on all of us. They asked me to join them. I happily complied. I took off my jacket and put it on the chair. I was about to sit down but suddenly I paused…my uncle asked me what was wrong and my grandmother asked me why I look so pale. I couldn’t hear them. They might as well have spoken in tongues. For upon my coat, there lay a single diagonal gash upon the back!

Credit To – Johnny V

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