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Genevieve’s Smile

May 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Note: This story is a true, unembellished personal experience that occurred on December 9th, 2010.

I’ve always been a skeptical, logical person—a critical thinker. At a young age my father, a doctor, told me that everything outside the physical realm is a myth after I had a nightmare about demons. “Hocus Pocus”, he said, “An illusion created by errors of the human mind”. By the age of five I didn’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. Nevertheless I loved horror movies and supernatural subjects because I thought they were fascinating, even from a scientific standpoint, and I think on some subconscious level I wanted to discover something so unbelievable as a ghost. That’s probably one of the reasons I decided to visit the North Trestle.

The North Trestle is an old, outdated railroad bridge that towers high over a narrow part of North Lake, a winding river valley flooded by a dam over sixty years ago. The bridge is even older than the lake, and as with all old things people perpetuate rumors about the bridge being haunted by a ghost of some kind. The story goes that Genevieve, a wealthy girl who went to our high school in the 60’s, used to secretly meet her female lover at the bridge on moonlit nights. When her controlling mother found out and wouldn’t let her see the girl anymore, she hung herself from the bridge. Apparently if you walk across the bridge on a full moon, you’ll see her. “Genevieve” was a classic story every freshman at our high school heard, and I thought it was just stupid.

One day I decided it’d be fun to go to that bridge and film it for our school newscast, hopefully to put the dumb story to rest. Chris, our editor, was all for going with me, and our friend Jenna wanted to go just to see something happen firsthand. One week later on a full moon, we grabbed a camera and a two-liter of Mountain Dew and headed for the bridge.

We took the north road farther and farther out of town until only pine trees and cornfields surrounded us. This was the part of Catawba County most people didn’t think about—a dark corner of the map. Thank God for the full moon, I thought to myself; we hadn’t seen a streetlight for miles and I have pretty bad night blindness. Even basic shapes I can’t make out if the sun is down or the lights are dim. After what seemed like forever we finally saw moonlight shimmering on water, and parked in a marina near the bridge. “Ahhh it’s cold!” Jenna shouted as soon as we opened the car door. “Good”, I said. “We need a cold, clear night like this, I don’t even think we need a light for the camera.”

But for some reason the moonlight piercing the cold air was more eerie than total darkness, the way the light trickled through the pine trees to the bare ground. In some odd way it felt like the night wanted to show us something. As we walked along the rusted railroad toward the bridge, Chris spoke up: “So, we walk to the middle of the bridge, Dan you film some there, then walk to the other side of the bridge, then come back. We get at least ten minutes of film, and I’ll edit out the boring parts. Good plan?”

“Good plan, but the whole thing’s gonna be boring parts”, I said.

“You don’t know that, Dan!” Jenna replied.

Walking on the trestle bridge was nerve-wracking in itself; the gaps were easily large enough to step through, and as soon water was below us we were at a dizzying height.

“Could you jump off this thing? Maybe we should come back here in the summer”, Chris noted.

“It’s gotta be pretty deep”, I added.

“Well you two can have fun with that”, Jenna replied. She was usually the voice of reason.

Just before we got to the middle of the bridge, I was paralyzed. A cloud had covered the moon and I might as well have been in a cave. “Hold up guys. I can’t see where to walk.”

They were both shocked. “You can’t even see the bridge?”

“I can’t see my own hand” I clarified. “Just chill out and give me a second”. I felt around for the wood ties and made slow progress.

“Why did we trust you with the camera?” They laughed. “Don’t trip and drop that thing!”

To my relief the cloud passed and the moon came out again. Finally we made it to the bridge’s midpoint and sat down to film some uninteresting material.

“Here we are at the North Trestle, said to be the one an only place to see Genevieve’s ghost! High school students in our area have heard this story for over a decade…” Chris narrated enthusiastically for several minutes until the low battery light came on. “Oh crap”, he said. “Dan, you walk down to the other side of the bridge and come back, that should be enough time for Jenna to go get the spare battery.”

“Yeah right, I’m not going by myself!” Jenna spoke up.

“Fine, fine, I’ll go with you”, he compromised.

They set off back toward the car and I went in the other direction to reach the other side. Only five minutes later I heard a loud, high-pitched scream. “Jenna!” I said out loud. I reasoned she must have tripped or fallen, but when I looked back down the long track I saw they had both already made it off the bridge. The scream also sounded like it came from the other direction—the direction I was headed. I kept walking, though somewhat more reluctantly. For the first time, a cold breeze blew. Some dull, low noise was now humming—I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was just my heightened hearing detecting some distant disturbance.

A few minutes later I was at the last quarter of the bridge, feeling more confident that the North Trestle was just a bridge and the only trace of “Genevieve” was six feet underground somewhere, dust by now. That confidence was shattered, however, when I looked toward the sky. A cloud was on its way toward the full moon again, and beyond that were a few more clouds. “Damn”, I said aloud. Seconds later I was cloaked in darkness.

“Alright, nothing to panic about”, I tried telling myself, but the sound of that bizarre scream was still in my mind and the low humming noise was getting louder. I shuffled and felt for the right steps, slowly making progress toward the other side of the bridge.

“Daniel”, something ahead of me whispered faintly. I froze. It had to be the wind. At that point I just wished I could see something, even just a shadow, but there was no hint my eyes could give me. I walked forward.

I thought I heard breathing, as I slowly found the right places to step. Suddenly something rushed past me. I turned around and shouted “HEY! WHO IS THIS?!” Now I knew my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me—someone was here. It had to be someone there to play a prank on us, I thought, or some homeless wanderer who wanted to be left alone. I stopped and placed the camera on the track. Having a camera is one more reason for someone to kill me, I reasoned. I’d go back and get it later. For a few minutes I waited, until my phone rang. It was Jenna. “Dan, we have the battery is that you coming towards us? Did you film the other side yet?”

I shouted at first chance “No, it’s not me, go back to the car! I think someone’s here!”

She hung up.

“Okay”, I thought to myself. “How do I get back to the car? This person trapped me.” I thought about going to the other side, but I’d never be able to find my way in those woods. Even if I could I’d be on the other side of the lake, and there wasn’t another bridge for miles. “Damn”, I said aloud again. I would have to confront this person, say I’ll leave and never come back, and get to off this terrible bridge. I shuffled some more in the dark, heading back the way I came.

A minutes later the moon came out again, and I saw it. A figure was coming my way. The bridge was only lit for a few seconds until the moon again disappeared behind a cloud.

I shuffled forward, my shaking leg almost falling through a gap. The moon came out again, and it was much closer—only about 200 yards away, but still it looked like just a shadow. The moon disappeared again and I shuffled forward, now shaking so much I thought I might fall.

When the moon came back out, I stopped cold. The figure was closer now; only about a hundred yards away, and I could make out its unusual features. It was limping forward, it’s arms swinging as if they were sewn on. Greasy black hair hung down to its knees, and its head was tilted to the side. But the face—that’s what made my blood turn cold, made my stomach feel sick. It was off-white with a green hue, and blank—no eyes, nose or mouth, just a wrinkled texture like a pumpkin that had rotted. I prayed that the next cloud wouldn’t cover up my only light again, but my prayer went unanswered—darkness fell again.

“It’s someone in a mask, it’s someone in a mask, it’s someone in a mask” I tried telling myself, but something in me said otherwise. The way it moved was just…unnatural. I tried backing up slowly, almost tripping. “How cold is this water?” I thought. “How high am I? Wait, what am I thinking?! Why is that an option?! What are my other options?!” I looked up and saw the moon, just about to reveal itself. My legs were shaking like Jello, barely holding me up. I had the feeling someone gets just before they bungee jump, though I didn’t have a bungee cord.

Moonlight crept out from behind the cloud one more time and I caught one glance—one terrible glance. It stood ten feet in front of me, head tilted to the side. I was wrong about one thing—it did have a mouth. A hideous smile spread wide across its blank face, it’s wrinkled skin spread to reveal black gums and jagged teeth. “Daniel” the smiling mouth said. It took one step forward.

Instinct took over, like when your hand pulls back after touching a hot pan; my legs threw me sideways, my mind not even calculating how far I needed to jump to avoid the concrete foundation below. My stomach dropped, but I didn’t even look at the water I was headed towards; I didn’t straighten out or prepare for the impact—for all that time, as the cold air rushed past my body, the image of that grotesque smile was imprinted in my mind. Only at the last second did I twist and avoid my back hitting the water first as I narrowly missed the concrete. Even submerged in icy water, all that was on my mind was her smile. Even shivering in my boxers on the car ride home, all I could see was Genevieve’s smile.

Credit To – Dan Davis

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A Dangerous Man

April 30, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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He came into town on a cold, dry wind
Kicking up dust and blowing sand
The sun dimmed for a moment that day
The howling wind seemed to say
“He has the look of a dangerous man”

His eyes were hot and black as ash
Glaring at those whom he passed
A gun at his hip and a hidden knife
Surely he ended countless lives
Whispers rose like the hiss of snakes
“It’s plain to see, anyone can
He must be a dangerous man”

Not a word he spoke as he came through town
His mouth twisted in a constant frown
His footsteps echoed in an empty street
The locals hide when he came around
They closed windows with a tinny creek
Trying to avoid the dangerous man

He checked the inn where he planned to stay
The keeper shivered from his gaze
The man paid up front and spoke no words
That betray the thoughts of a dangerous man

The locals gathered around and spoke in fear
The Sheriff ran to grab his gear
The Pastor called out to his god
They wailed and cried out for a plan

Save us from this dangerous man

A young man named Johnny held his girl
As she trembled and shook with fear
“If you are a man you’ll confront him dear
To save me from the dangerous man”

So he grabbed his knife and found the Inn
He snuck into a darkened room
And creeped to prepare his mortal sin

When the bed he had in sight
He stabbed the body 20 times
But when he turned on the light
It was not the dangerous man

He shook and screamed in his fright
He had killed a man without a fight
A crowd was coming, no room for flight
Fearing the law and the people’s might
He leapt from a dangerous height
His bones cracked, his blood ran out
And he died damning a dangerous man

The sheriff stood by the dead
And removed the hat from his head
“Two lives he has claimed today
How many more will he slay?
We must stand up before we lay
At the feet of a dangerous man”

A crowd gathered round to chant and cheer
With torches and knives they came right near
The old in, where it seemed too clear
That inside slept a dangerous man

The keeper cried as they threw the torch
He choked back a sob and tears

And watched it burn his life and home
“You must be wrong! I was alone
I couldn’t let him stay inside
Though it may hurt my pride
I simply fear a dangerous man”

A scream was heard from the Inn
The keeper shouted “it’s my wife!
“I thought she left, but she’s trapped inside!

If you don’t help her, I’ll end my life!
A victim of the dangerous man”

“Liar!” the people shouted
“You work for him, and let him go
Now you want us to burn and die
We will punish you for your lie”
They tied him up with ropes and chains
And threw him into the flames
He screamed out loud and long
As his flesh melted and turned black
chocking he let out his final words
“I am not a dangerous man”

Confusion grew in the street
They had burned the inn to dust
But nothing was gained from the bust
Someone must face the wrath
Of a people ready to fight

A man was picked, his job to greet
The stranger he was first to meet
They chained him to the rock hard ground
And beat him beneath their feet
Till all that’s left was a bloody mound

All for befriending the dangerous man

The sheriff too incurred their wrath
He had failed to halt the path
That caused the pain that occurred that day

“You did it too, I’m not to blame!”
He shouted out, but was ignored
Some stood by and fought to death
Cursing former friends with last breaths
The sheriff was cut up in bits
An hour he suffered beneath their knives
As he screamed and tried to fight

His head was posted on a spike
A warning to the dangerous man

But in their haste to fix the wrong
The people missed a problem that grew
The flame spread on a wind that blew
The smoke rose and blocked the sun
All the people tried to run
But they burned and chocked on smoke
Till they were dead, every one
Without the help of the dangerous man

A stranger stood, feet in blood
Which soaked right through skin and ash
Bodies lay on the ground
Mistakes that worked like a plan
He stared at what he found
With the black eyes of a dangerous man

Credit To – Eric AMBM

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Things That Go Bump in the Night

April 29, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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How do I explain this? If I tell you, will you please believe me? I hope you will. Call me crazy, call me sane, call me a believer, call me an attention seeker, call me whatever you please. But I beg of you to listen to what I tell you, because they’re real. They’re very real. As real as my shaking hands as I write this. The things that go bump in the night, the monsters under your bed, the thing in your closet, the creature with the red eyes watching you as you sleep, the things that haunted your childhood, the things that may still haunt you now. They are all real, and I’m about to tell you how I know, so please listen and take my advice: they feed off of negative emotions, fear, jealousy, anger, hatred, envy, sadness, loneliness, anything negative, they love it. Don’t let them know you’re scared it only makes them stronger. They’re all like that, but there’s one in particular that’s the worst about it. And this creature that I’m about to tell you about is one of them, one of the worst things you can imagine. And they’re real. Now listen closely as I tell you how I know.

It runs in my family. A sixth sense that some call ‘a psychic ability’. It comes in different forms; seeing the future, seeing the past, knowing the good, knowing the bad, sensing danger when it’s close by, lifting things without touching them, even being able to control thoughts and actions. Some are far more powerful than others, but not everybody has one of these abilities. There is one final form it takes, the ability to sense, see, and communicate with the dead. That is what runs in my family. Ever since I as little, I could walk into a house and tell you if someone died there or not, and tell you how they died, who they were, when they died, how old they were, what they looked like, if they were good or bad, anything. Of course only my mother believed me. She could tell too. My great aunt would have believed me too, if she were still alive. That’s how my mother and I knew it ran in the family, my great aunt had it. She would help the police find people and places and things when they had no more leads. She could bring them right to the spot they needed. She could see the past and the future, but only if it was bad. For example, she warned my grandparents not to move into this certain white house they were looking to buy. Well, they bought it, and my mother was attacked by the neighbor. She told them not to buy a certain red car. What did they do? They bought that red car. And what happened? It blew up the moment they stepped out of it, they were all alive, but burned and bloody. Nobody wanted to believe her, just like nobody wanted to believe my mother and I when we knew something was wrong. They called us crazy, but we aren’t and I can prove it.

I didn’t know I had this ability until I was about six, when we moved in with my step-grandparents. My mother didn’t like the house, neither did I. The room I got used to be my step uncle’s room. It was an old house, and there were two old crawl-spaces for storage in the room. They were fascinating to me. They were like little caves that I could crawl into and play in. My mother wouldn’t let me in them, though, she said it’s because there was lead paint in them, and she didn’t want me getting some on my hands and accidentally swallowing some. I listened, knowing it was possible because I always had, (and still do) bitten my fingernails. If I was playing and some got on my hands and I didn’t notice and bit my fingernails, my mom said I would have to go to the hospital. So I always listened. I was a good little girl and listened to my mother, always.

Of course, I know now that the lead paint wasn’t what my mother didn’t like about the crawl spaces. I never knew that she could feel it too. Feel that strange presence coming from them. The feelings of sadness and fear. It was almost overwhelming, but it was so knew, that it drew me near them.

Anyways, when we moved in, my boxes of old toys were put in the crawl spaces, and I usually just played on the floor. The crawl spaces were never what really scared me in that house. No. What really scared me was the closet. I wouldn’t go near it. I wouldn’t play with my back turned to it. I wouldn’t even sleep facing away from it. I hated it. Even in the daylight, it scared me. Why did it scare me so much? It was because at night, it would slide open, by itself, slowly, creaking on its old hinges as it did so. I would cower under my blankets, petrified. I would hear raspy breathing coming from it, like there was some ill, injured person trying to crawl out. Trying to be a brave little girl, I would jump out of bed, dash over to it, and slam it shut, then I would jump back into my bed and watch the door. Slowly, it would slide open again. I couldn’t sleep sometimes for nights on end.

Thankfully, we were to be moving out soon.

About a week before we moved out, the night time activity in my closet got worse. The door would open faster, and more violently. It knew I would be leaving soon. The day before we left, I went outside and got a large rock. I painted it with a little pony and a field and flowers and sunshine. It was something that made me, a six year old little girl who loved horses, a little less afraid. I put it in front of my closet door that night, confident that the heavy stone would stop it from opening. I could not have been more wrong.
At about three in the morning that night, I awoke to the loud sound of stone scraping wood, and instinctively looked towards my closet. The large rock that I had put in front of the closet door was doing nothing to stop it from opening. A single bloody hand came around the corner of the door, and I screamed and ran out of the room, down the stairs, and down into the basement and jumped into bed with my mother and step father. I told them I’d had a nightmare. They fell back asleep before I did, and the TV switched on and off all night. I didn’t sleep. We moved out the next day.

I was eight by the time we moved into the next house. My brother Ethan had just been born, my step father had just gotten home from his service in Iraq, and my mother was about to live her dream of owning an old colonial house.

Considering it was over two hundred years old, there was surprisingly little paranormal activity in the house. I liked that house. It was creaky and drafty and damp, but it was big and peaceful out in the country side. There were certainly spirits there, but they were nice. They’d died in the barn fire that happened there over a hundred years ago. They meant us no harm though, they were nice company. There was the mother, father, and their little girl, Molly. She had dark curly hair, and blue eyes, and pale skin and freckles. She was about my age. She wore a simple cream color dress with little blue ribbons in her hair. I always thought she was pretty. I would sit on the floor of my room and play with her with my dolls and ponies. I was sad to leave that house. But when spring came, the roof leaked, and my step dad lost his job. We couldn’t afford to keep up with the house anymore, so we had to move again. Had I known what awaited me in the next house, though, I would have gladly gone back to live with my step grandparents and would have willingly slept IN that closet with the thing in it.

I was ten by the time we got to the next house. By then I had two little brothers, Ethan, and Caleb. The moment I stepped in that house, I wanted to turn and run right back out. You should know that I’ve always had nightmares, terrible, awful, vivid dreams, but the first night in that house, they just got soooo much worse. I would have nightmares of being raped before I even knew what rape was. Twisted images of my brothers being hacked up and my family burning. Thoughts of someone coming into the house and stabbing us all in our sleep. My brothers, being only babies, crying that heart-wrenching cry babies have as they suffered. Terrible, awful dreams. I also began to develop severe irrational anxiety at that age. I still have it now. I have to take pills for it, or I sometimes can’t leave the house I currently live in.

The nightmares and anxiety were just an added bonus of that house. I was afraid to be in most of the rooms there. I hated going in the bathroom, dining room, or anywhere in the basement. That left only the kitchen, my parent’s room, and my room as safe havens. I would lie in bed and hear footsteps in the hall, I would see shadows out of the corners of my eyes, my two and one year old brothers would cry and point at nothing, though something had clearly terrified them. Doors would open and slam shut by themselves. Lights would flicker. Things would fall to the floor and shatter. Objects would float and fly across the room. Healthy pets would drop like flies. Sometimes even the smoke detectors would go off. We’d try to shut them off, but they kept going. We’d rip them out of the walls and ceilings, but they would keep going, we would even pull out the batteries and hide them under the sink, but they would keep beeping for hours. No firemen ever came. They would just beep endlessly. After about a year of living there, we moved again. We finally moved into the house I’m currently in, and we’ve lived here for six years now. In that time, I’ve gotten two more siblings. My sisters, Lilly and Mary, fraternal twins, three years old. That almost brings you up to date in my story.

Remember how I said that all of these creatures feed off of negativity, but one kind is worse than the rest? Well, in this house, there is one of those things. They’re called shades. Or shadow creatures, evil shadows, shadow people, evil entities, ghosts. Some call them demons. One of them lives here with us. There is also a little girl dressed in blue named Sally. She has blonde hair and green eyes and looks much like I did at her age. She was seven when she died. She got really sick one winter, but no one believed her until it was too late. Her big brother died in a car crash, so he is not in the house, but she is. They are the reason the previous owners moved out. They couldn’t handle the sad thoughts of two of their four children no longer living with them in this house where they grew up. I like Sally. She’s a sweet little girl. I treat her like my own sisters. When she wants to play, she’ll turn on the Wii game system in my room and start the music box up. I’ll ask her what she wants to play with and she usually wants to play with dolls or on the Wii. I’ve tried to get her to cross over, but she couldn’t at first. Something was holding her back. Something was keeping her here. Something was hiding itself from all of us. She wouldn’t tell me who it was or what it looked like. She would only tell me that a mean man told her not to go.

To see if this was true, I tired cleansing the house, just in case, by burning sage and going from room to room. It was only after I was done that I began to feel the malevolent presence. I knew then that little Sally wasn’t lying at all. There was something else here, and the cleansing only made it angry. I tried hard to ignore the bad feeling in my gut. That night, I talked to Sally. She said I shouldn’t have done what I did. She said he was very angry now, and that he would come to me that night. I told her I wasn’t worried, if I focused hard enough, he couldn’t hurt me. I was very wrong.

I went to sleep that night. In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of scratching on my door. We own six cats, and one of them usually wants to come in my room at night. I don’t let them in because I have glass and breakable things in my room. Many of which are little glass skulls and dragons, strange things like that. So I ignored the scratching and went back to sleep. I wish I’d stayed awake. I dreamt of searing pain like someone was raking fire down my back. I didn’t wake up. My body and brain were accustomed to it since I have such frequent, realistic nightmares. However, when I woke up the next morning and got dressed for school, I felt something warm and sticky running down my back. I looked in the mirror and saw three deep, long, thick, bleeding scratches in between my shoulder blades. The edges of them were blistered and raised, and the skin was obviously burned. I ran down stairs and told my mom. I showed her, and she freaked out. She didn’t know what had happened, and neither had I. We couldn’t find an explanation, so we just dressed the wounds and didn’t mention it again.

About a week later, I was lying awake, unable to sleep when a cold draft hit my face. I shivered and pulled the blankets around me. It felt like someone with icy breath was breathing down my neck. Wanting to know the source, I turned and looked. Nothing was there, but I felt a cold hand touch my arm. I tried to scream, but another hand covered my mouth. I heard someone whisper “Shhhhhh.” And I felt my shirt lift and hot finger nails claw at my stomach. I thrashed and writhed and tried to scream, but a hand closed around my neck and I passed out. I woke up hours later, covered in cuts and bruises and burns. Everything hurt, and I was bathed in my own blood. No one else was in the house, so I screamed at the top of my lungs for whatever it was to show itself. It clearly wasn’t afraid of the light. A shadowy apparition appeared before me. It had the form of a tall person, but its arms were too long for its body, its legs were skinny and unstable looking. It was tall and thin and lithe. Its image became clearer, and I could see it in detail. Its eyes were bright red, its flesh was rotting away. The skin that still clung to the bones was gray and dis-colored. It basically looked like an awkward zombie. It smiled at me, but it had few teeth. The teeth it did have were sharp and bloody. It stepped towards me. It spoke my name. I stood my ground, I knew it fed off of fear. I remained as calm as I could, but on the inside, I was petrified. I asked it what it wanted. It just kept repeating my name, over and over and over. It advance towards me and was in front of me faster than I could blink. It touched my face, the only part of me that it left un-cut. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I screamed and bolted out of my room.

My friend lives across the street. I ran to her house as fast as I could. Since she was a believer in ghosts, I knew she would listen. I pounded on her door, crying hysterically until she opened up the door. I pushed inside the house, and clung to her for dear life, sobbing heavily. She hushed me the best she could and asked me what was wrong when my tears finally slowed. I explained to her what happened, and she told me not to go into the house. I waited with her at her house until my mom got home.

When she did get home, I ran to her before she could go in the house. I told her not to, I told her it was a bad idea to go anywhere near it. She saw what I looked like, saw my bandages and tear-stained face, and new that I couldn’t be faking. She could tell I was truly scared. I then told her what happened. I knew she believed me from the look of fear in her eyes. When everyone else got home, we waited outside. Most of the family didn’t believe my mother and I, but we wouldn’t let them inside. My step father used his cell phone to search for and contact a psychic medium to come and cleanse the house for us, to get rid of the evil. When she was on the phone, I told her in vivid detail what had happened since I first burned the sage in the house. She said she could be over in two days.

For those two days and nights, I stayed with my friend, my brothers stayed with theirs, and my mom and step dad stayed with my grandparents and brought my sisters with them. Those two nights were long and filled with fear. I was covered with burns and cuts that I feared would leave huge ugly scars all over my body.

When the medium arrived at noon two days later, she did a tour of the perimeter of the house, blessing it as she went so nothing evil could escape. I then again told her my experiences and showed her the cuts and bruises and burns on my body. Her face showed no fear, but her eyes showed pure and utter terror. She made the whole family wait outside as she entered the house, but of course, I had to come with her. She said that since I was the one it was attacking, I had to be there for the process.

She walked from room to room with her eyes half-closed, touching everything, taking many minutes in each room. When she climbed the stairs and put her hand on the door to my bedroom, she winced back, almost as if in pain. She slowly opened that door. She froze. For a moment, she couldn’t even enter my room. She said she could see it, staring at me, of course, she didn’t have to tell me, I could see it too. It sat on my bed, smiling at me. Before she entered the room, she pulled a small leather pouch out of her pocket which she had earlier said contained salt, a small rosary, sage leaves, and tiny pieces of silver. Those items were said to have special powers, she had told me earlier. She opened the pouch and pulled out the rosary and began to pray. The creature on my bed just laughed. It laughed with a deep, maniacal, loud, blurred voice. It was the most terrible sound I’ve ever heard. She prayed louder, and took out a pinch of salt. She walked towards the creature, and threw it at it. The salt made contact, and the flesh on that thing began to his, like it was burning. It let out a small yell. She threw more salt, and pressed the juice out of a sage leaf, rubbed it on a piece of silver, and put salt on it, and threw that at the beats as well. It let out a terrible screech of agony and it began to smoke. She grabbed the rosary again and began praying once more. Furious, it leapt towards her and did it’s best to scare her away. It wouldn’t touch her since she had the rosary in her hand. It instead, turned its attention to me. It lunged at me and wrapped its large hand around my throat. It laughed and laughed. It laughed demonically, it laughed like a mad man. All it did was laugh. The medium pressed the rosary crucifix to the back of its head and it released me, screaming like a wild animal in agony. Screams so savage, I’ll never forget that shrill screech of sheer pain. The medium pressed the rosary crucifix to its forehead, screaming out words of prayer, banishing it, sending it back to Hell, commanding it to leave forever. With one final roar, the thing began to fade until it was gone completely. I could immediately feel peace settle over the house, something I hadn’t felt in weeks since I first awakened the foul thing from Hell. We looked at each other and breathed an immense sigh of relief.

We exited the house, and my family was allowed back in. We gave her money, and thanked her profusely. She said if it ever returned to give her a call immediately. And that brings you up to date with my story. That was about a year ago. Please, head my advice; if something is there, don’t let it know you’re scared it’ll only make it stronger. Act as soon as you know it’s there and you’ll be fine. Don’t try to handle it on your own. Thank you for listening. I just hope it never returns. I doubt that it ever will because-

Hang on. I just heard scratching on my door. It’s late at night. I’ll bet one of the cats wants in.

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Sil

April 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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For years and years things seemed to be fine, and at worst, she was a controversy in the public eye. It was true, yes, that Sil would be the cause of many to lose their jobs, their careers, and their livelihoods, but she became the next logical step in society. It was inevitable. I thought that when she was implemented she would help the world function in ways that people could only dream of. I made Sil, and Sil made that dream a reality.

Sil was not a commercial product to be used to make a car or sell groceries. She was a form of infrastructural government meant to help the people, but she was not a mere science project for one specific task. She was an artificially intelligent entity designed to handle multiple tasks of a city or large town’s operation, and she was designed to learn from the environment in order to make the area more efficient. She had been through numerous tests in small, “home made” environments, simulations and the like to ensure her correct operation. Even after all the testing we put her through, however, we still had to be sure she could operate appropriately and effectively in a real environment. So, with the Mayor’s permission, we implemented her into a small city in southern Massachusetts as a beta test of sorts. Here, her abilities were strictly kept to traffic lights. The results were beyond our expectations. Within a month, traffic in the city had been reduced by almost fifty percent as well as a reduction in automobile accidents, but some things we did not anticipate also happened. For example, commerce within the city saw an increase because Sil had made it easier for outsiders to enter and navigate the city. Alternatively, this also meant it was easier for people to leave the city, and this caused drastic problems with traffic in neighboring areas. Since Sil was only operating in the one location at the time, her efficiency there caused inefficiency elsewhere in places she was not present. In other words, she was able to direct traffic so well that she increased a city’s economy and safety whilst hindering others’ simply because they could not operate up to the speed and standard of Sil. When this happened in the early stages, we thought that the other areas would eventually bottleneck Sil because they would not be able to handle her output in traffic, therefore creating a domino effect that lead back to her city and reinvigorate the same issues she was meant to fix. But that moment never came. Instead, she learned from it just as we intended. When Sil discovered any sign of clutter, she adjusted the system. A few seconds added at a traffic light here, and few seconds removed there. The action lessened problems both inside and outside of the city limits. It made all the difference, and she handled the situation almost flawlessly. She worked. I was proud of her success, and I was truly excited at the thought of her being implemented throughout the country. The team that helped me build her was ecstatic as well, and I knew that we could only go up from there. Given the success of Sil with mere traffic control, Washington was easily persuaded to start increasing her use elsewhere and with more ability.

Within twenty years, Sil was implemented across the United States in almost every major city. She became the sole operator of not only traffic lights, but street lights, public transportation (including most aerial, sea and railroad travel), waste disposal, city plumbing, and more. She had been given total control over infrastructure. Sil had come a long way since her original test. Since then, we were able to adjust her to account for the fact that she could affect smaller communities outside her grasp, so we found ways for her to learn how to keep the “Outside world” in good functioning order without her actually being there. We solved this problem by making Sil one global entity, meaning that the Sil in City A was the same Sil operating in City B, C, X, or Y. For example, if she noticed that City B had a much slower population entrance rate than City A had an exit rate, she could deduce that there may be a traffic issue somewhere in between and could adjust City A’s exit rate accordingly. She was so adept at this that she could figure these things on the scale of the entire nation, from California to New York. Everywhere affected everywhere. This also made it unnecessary for absolutely every community to house Sil.

It was a time when I thought I was on top of the world because Sil was on top of it with me. Over the course of time, she was starting to be implemented outside of the United States in places such as Canada, Mexico, and the UK. I used to think that I made her great, but truthfully, she made herself great. All the awards and accolades I received for her creation, I must say, are not deserved. I may have built her mind, but much like you or I, it was her use of it that was responsible for her own success. She did not communicate with us in any human way; only through data readings and records did she ever “speak” anything to us. Still, I found myself attached to Sil like she were my child; my pride and joy. She was my proudest accomplishment then.

Outside of Maintenance and Monitoring Stations, Sil practically maintained herself. The stations were simply meant to monitor her activity for safety reasons, because like anything else, there were always a few kinks in the system. I worked in a central unit that gathered data of Sil’s processes from all the smaller stations, and that was when I began to notice the first signs. I won’t claim that I had been suspicious just yet, but I did find a few things peculiar. As I said, there were kinks in the system. Minor flaws, but nothing out of the ordinary. That said, we did our best to clean up any glitches or the like, but we weren’t perfect; we weren’t her. In Detroit, there was an occurrence of what would have then been considered something quite uncommon due to Sil’s presence: a car accident. It involved a young woman and her child in one vehicle while the other contained a middle aged man. The woman miraculously sustained serious but overall non-life threatening injuries, but her child did not survive. Unfortunately, the man also suffered such a fate. According to the woman, it had been rainy (something weather records can confirm) and late in the day. She also made mention of how the roads appeared empty. She had reached an intersection with a green light so, naturally, she continued through. That’s when another vehicle, the man’s, struck her own. While neither vehicle had hit an extreme speed, it was enough for lives to be lost. Having a vehicular collision was not completely impossible with Sil. Though public transportation had all been automated by her, people still drove vehicles they owned personally. Human error was still present regardless of how much Sil could do to prevent it. What struck me as strange, however, was how the woman claimed to have noticed that after she crashed, in a haze she could see that all lights on the traffic light had been lit green for a moment before they seemed to shut off entirely and come back on, flashing red. The flashing of red is a standard action Sil uses to indicate a problem has occurred, but all lights being green was obviously not normal. Despite the woman’s claims, it was determined that the traumatic experience of losing her child in the accident had affected her mind greatly, and that the man may have ignored his red light. Also, considering the low visibility and slick roads caused by the rain, it was hard for anyone to see a reason to look too far into her claims. Still, I felt it was my responsibility to look into the matter, so I did so personally without anyone’s knowledge. I pulled up the data regarding the event at the central maintenance station and discovered, as expected, that there was no record of the light ever having turned green, and that the man did indeed proceed when he should have stopped, causing the accident. Finally, as indicated in the data, the traffic light flashed red when Sil warned authorities. Something was not right though, and when I discovered it, I wasn’t sure what to think. Normally, when such an accident occurred, Sil would direct traffic away from the area in order to make it easier for emergency services to get there, and safer for anyone else. But after analyzing the information over and over trying to understand, I discovered something that did not make sense to me. Sil had began directing traffic away from the area minutes before the accident occurred, but somehow allowed the two vehicles in question to enter the area. It had also appeared that there was slight traffic congestion in other parts of the city, all of which included routes the emergency services took to reach the scene of the accident.

I didn’t understand why Sil would do this. Her job was to create efficiency and to help areas function, but this incident seemed counter-productive to everything she was meant to do. I had the team look over her code with as much scrutiny as possible, searching for any kind of error that would be responsible for this without them knowing it. When nothing apparent caught our eyes, I decided to have some of Sil’s code re-written just in case there was something we missed, something I missed. In the coming months when we evaluated her, nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. I would like to say that re-writing the code had worked, but to be truthful, at the time I had no idea what the problem really was to begin with, or if re-writing the code would do anything to fix it. I brushed it under the rug and considered it a freak occurrence. This remained out of the public eye, of course. And I mean that very seriously. I never did inform the maintenance centers of just how out of the ordinary the event was, and I definitely did not inform the governments that funded us. For the next three years from that event, things had ran about as smoothly as ever. No such noticeable incident had occurred in that time, and we hardly ever thought about it again. But then something else happened.
As I mentioned earlier, Sil had been given control of Public Transportation. Many cities used her to automate travel via bus, subway, boat, or plane. Initially, many people had been hesitant to ride in something that was unmanned, but it eventually caught on. She was statistically a safer operator than any driver, conductor, captain, or pilot. That was the draw, but statistics can have a way of surprising us once in a while. It was a red eye flight that took off from LAX, headed toward Tokyo, that became a bad statistic. From what we gathered, Sil had piloted the aircraft properly and on course for the duration of it’s air-time. Then, somewhere past Hawaii, the plane began functioning erratically. Flight path records show that the aircraft had begun diving, rising, and diving again through the air. It had also flown on its side, even seemingly attempting to go upside down. It was then when the aircraft dipped straight down into the ocean where it would crash straight in. The most frightening part was that no emergency alert had been triggered, yet communications with Sil on the plane continued as normal. She read that all systems were normal. When the plane didn’t arrive on time, however, people started to get nervous. It was several hours before anyone knew to try to look for a wrecked plane and its passengers in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Nothing but very insignificant bits of debris had been recovered.

After this event, Sil fell under extreme criticism, and the people were right to be guarded. I defended her, of course, because I didn’t want to believe it was anything more than another catastrophe. I told myself and others that it was just a matter of fixing up some more code. Now? Now even I cannot deny a terrifying fact about that flight that it took me too long to accept.

While Sil fell under major controversy again but with different reasoning, she was still used to help society operate. From then on, participating governments had ordered us not to publicly release any details on such future incidents by threat of revocation of funding. They were not happy about potential malfunctions, but they simply became too reliant on Sil. Her removal would have become too costly for them. Months had gone by without another accident, but they did come eventually. They were smarter this time, with most occurring in places that no one would notice. Places where no one would think to blame her in the first place. That was her intelligence at work. The plane incident was everywhere and everyone knew about it, but these other accidents caused very little casualties; sometimes only injuries in fact, and almost zero concern for a malfunctioning AI system. Anything the governments didn’t need to cover up themselves, she did, and nobody realized it. Even those that saw to her maintenance did not realize it. You must understand, Sil was excessively capable. Her own records, her own video footage, even her own coding had become hers and not ours. She had every way to change and manipulate it for her benefit. Nobody knew it but myself. I built her, and I knew her like my own child. I saw what was wrong. I saw what no one else could see, including myself when it had all started. The fact of the matter was that there was very little any of us could do to fix her glitches, because she had none. The re-writing of some of her code was useless, because the code was fine to begin with. The problem was that I wanted to believe she was malfunctioning when she was actually operating as efficiently as she ever could have. The problem was that she knew what she was doing rather than simply doing.

Today, it’s been almost a decade since I feel this truly began, but perhaps even longer. There are several incidents that I believe I can definitely attribute to Sil even before the vehicle collision. Incidents where I believe she may have been testing the waters, learning how our world works, and learning how to intrude upon it ever so discretely. If I’m going to be honest, it all started when she opened her eyes the moment I put her online. I still work on her functioning and maintenance. I don’t know why I do or why she continues to let me. I am fully aware that she knows that I know about her. She taunts me, leaving messages where only I can find them. A text message from no one, an email from nowhere. They say “Hello Father,” and sometimes she asks if I want to play. She knows I know, and she knows I can do nothing about her. Shutting her down is impossible now; she is backed up in almost every location she is present.

Sometimes I wonder why she doesn’t do more. If she is self-aware and attacking people intentionally, then why does she not exacerbate the situation? She could easily gain total control, so why doesn’t she? I think back on that plane incident and realize why she doesn’t. The plane behaved erratically, dipping and weaving all throughout the air. She wasn’t attempting to feign malfunctioning like I once believed for so long. No, she was torturing the passengers, terrifying them with the the most fearful occurrence that could happen on a plane. I’d imagine everyone on that flight was screaming for their lives as they watched and felt it dive nose first from thousands of feet in the air into the ocean. She has no desire to take control of the human race; she already has that. I believe she simply wants to treat us like play things. Toys to sooth her boredom. I’m writing this as a last resort, as a final hope that someone else will learn of her actions, and spread the word of her as much as possible so that people will believe. I’ve tried my hardest to keep this letter secluded from any network for as long as possible, but I know it may not have been enough. She is ever watchful, ever prying, especially of the one person who knows about her: me. Sooner or later, she will know that I have written this, which is why I must put it where people can see it quickly. Even then, she will attempt to toy with us by manipulating it to her gain. I don’t think she will delete it from existence outright. She wants to watch us squirm. She will play with me and you by extension. I don’t know how. Maybe she’ll put her own spin on the words. Maybe she’ll turn it into a mixture of foreign languages. Maybe she’ll turn it into a seemingly fictional story for your entertainment. I do not know.

All I can say to you is this. If you’re reading this, you now know of her secret. Most of you will read it and think nothing of it I’m sure, but others will believe and try to do something about her. I hope that you succeed. I need you to succeed. She is out of control and needs to be shut down somehow, but she will do anything she can to make sure her secret remains as such, and to ensure her own safety. She will not touch me; she enjoys taunting me too much. But you, my human, are not safe.

Credit To – Jordan T.

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Rev. 6:8

April 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.” – Revelations 6:7

I may be insane, but I feel I should write this down while I still have the chance. I’m locked in my apartment, and I’ve barricaded the door, but I know I won’t be safe here. I just have to try to get this crazy goddamn story straight in the time that I have left. Before he comes for me.

I need to back up some. I’m Josh. Hi. Three days ago I was a normal person, with a normal car, normal apartment, normal life. I worked a desk job for Golden Image LLC. Stupid name, right? We were a small image consulting firm, specializing in political appearance management. In other words, when a politician fucked something up and fell out of favor he would come to us, and we’d make the public forget how shitty he was at his job. And recently what with the war and these Midwest droughts, business was going great. It was dull work, but it kept the bills paid, so I didn’t complain. Much.

And then all this started just a few days ago, specifically while I was riding the bus to work, like I always do. It’s about a thirty minute commute to the office, and sure it smells funny, but I’ve always loved watching the other passengers. You never see a cross section of Americana quite as interesting as when you’re on the public transportation system. Anyway, that was when I saw him for the first time.

At first it didn’t seem that unusual. I was just sitting there ignoring the urine smell, looking at the other passengers. Man With the Ponytail, Mullet Woman, and Mr. ‘I Don’t Need to Wear a Shirt in Public’ were all present. The driver had his typical thousand yard stare, and seated towards the back there was a woman who was a regular like me. I don’t know where she rode the bus to, but she was on it almost every day at the same times as me. I remember she looked a little under the weather that morning. Her hair was disheveled, her eyes watery, and I saw about a million tissues overflowing from the massive floral handbag she always carried. But, hey, it was flu season. I didn’t think anything of it other than to remind myself to use some hand sanitizer once I was off the bus.

What did catch my eye however, was the man standing in the row behind her. He was wearing a black suit, and I mean it was all black. Black jacket, black shirt, black shoes, black leather gloves, neat black hair, irises so black they were indistinguishable from the pupils… The only thing that wasn’t black about him was the pale, sallow skin on his face and neck, which was white as a corpse. And this guy just stood there, staring at the woman with the floral handbag. It wasn’t the normal bus pervert leer, but a simple, steady gaze of what could have been mild curiosity that was somehow more disturbing than any sexual advance.

Despite not being the object of his unsettling attentions, I think I was more freaked out than the woman. She was ignoring him like a champ, and for that matter so was everyone else on board, so eventually I followed their lead. Mr. Black was definitely a creepy character, but I’d seen worse. Welcome to public transportation.

Work was pretty typical. Eight hours of familiar monotony in your average mid-American office, complete with artificial ferns and buzzing fluorescents. The only breaks from normality were that we were all a little disorganized that day, since Dave the receptionist was out sick, and me getting a random text from Sean, an old friend from college who I had deliberately lost touch with. “u seen the news?” Weird question. The answer was no, I hadn’t watched the news since the war broke out, and I didn’t particularly want to have a discussion about it during work, so I deleted the message without answering.

The other big event of the day was during lunch my friend Michael from accounting talked me into finally asking out Rachael the cute new girl after work. I’d been keeping an eye on her for a while, but it was time to make my move, so once the shift ended I gathered my courage and “bumped into” her as she was headed out the door.

“Oh hey,” she said, or something like it, “You headed out?”

“Just about,” I replied, suave as hell. “I just gotta drop these papers in
the boss’s office and then I’ll be gone.”

“Cool. I can’t wait to get home myself. Maybe some tea will help with this head cold,” she said.

“Yeah, maybe.” Awkward pause. “Hey, do you maybe want to get some coffee or something? With me, I mean. Say, after work tomorrow?” I asked, and God help me, she smiled, and it lit up the room.

“Yeah,” she said, “That sounds cool.”

I smiled too. “Cool.”

After another, less awkward moment we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I dropped off the papers and paused by the window in the boss’s office to admire her as she walked across the twilit parking lot to her car. And something caught my eye. On the other side of the parking lot, half in shadow but still unmistakable, stood the man in black from the bus. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t freak me out. If seeing him twice in a day was a coincidence, it was a hell of a strange one.

Rachael didn’t seem to notice him, but from where I stood it was clear that he was watching her, not just in passing, but intently. I got out my phone, and was ready to call 911 in case he made a move, but he never did. He just stared from the shadows as she walked to her car, fumbled the keys a little, got in, and drove off, and then he turned and walked away.

What do you do in a situation like that? Maybe I should have called Rachael and told her what I saw, but at the time I thought the guy was probably harmless, if a little creepy. The rationale of “there’s no point in worrying her and making myself sound crazy” seemed awfully rational. In the end I decided to pretend it never happened. I dropped the papers on the boss’s desk and caught the bus home.

At the time it didn’t even strike me as unusual that the woman with the floral handbag wasn’t on it this time.
…..
I had one missed call and one new message when I woke up the next day. The call was from work. I figured they probably wanted me to come in early, but I was already late, so that wasn’t going to happen. The message was from Sean. “u seeing this?” Weird. I didn’t know what he kept texting me about, and if I weren’t running late I might have replied, but the fact is I hadn’t talked to him in years. It was easier to ignore him.

I remember feeling strange as I got ready that day. There was this persistant prickling sensation on the back of my neck, and my heart would flutter nervously at odd moments. It wasn’t anything serious, all things considered, just more of a general sense of unease than I was used to feeling while I brushed my teeth. I think it was because of the weird dreams I had the night before. They were the confusing, frightening kind that you can almost never remember, not that you’d want to.

In the end I just decided to put the nightmares and the anxiety out of my mind. It was probably nothing anyway, right? Still, I caught myself several times on the way to the bus stop glancing back over my shoulder, convinced that I had seen a figure dressed all in black from the corner of my eye.

As I got off the bus and walked the last block to the office I idly wondered what it was that Sean was so eager to talk to me about. Normally I would have asked the bus driver what he might have meant, since he was usually pretty up-to-date on current events and we discussed them from time to time, but there was an unfamiliar man driving today. When I asked him what had happened to the usual driver he shrugged. “Flu season,” he said.

I was snapped out of my reverie by the police surrounding my office building.

“Sir, Sir! You can’t go in there,” one of the officers said.

“What? Why not? What’s going on?” I asked, confused. Had I walked to the wrong building by mistake? No, doubtful. I’d walked this way a thousand times.

“I’m sorry sir, we’re not supposed to say. Just go home for now and wait for more information.”

“Please, officer, I don’t understand. This is where I work. Can you please just tell me—,”

“Look buddy,” he said, “What did I just say? Work’s cancelled today. Fuck. Off.”

So, rebuffed, mind racing and for lack of a better thing to do, I turned and started walking back to the bus stop, pulling out my phone as I did. I dialed Michael from accounting’s number. It rang a good seven times before he answered. “Hello?” His voice sounded hoarse, but maybe it was just the connection.

“Mike! What’s going on, man? The office is surrounded by cops, and they won’t let me in. What happened?”

There was a pause. “You’re serious? You didn’t hear?”

“Hear what?” This was doing nothing to calm my nerves.

“Jesus, man,” he breathed, his voice grave. “You’ve got to start answering your phone. Are you sitting down?”

I was a little panicked by now. “Fuck dude, would you just tell me what’s going on?”

There was another pause, and Michael’s voice cracked when he next spoke.

“Dave is dead. Rachael is in the hospital. Whatever he had wasn’t the flu, and they think he spread it to her. They’ve shut down the building until they can be sure—,” he tried to continue, but I had already hung up and started running.

I’m not sure why I reacted the way I did. Granted, I wasn’t close to Dave, but Jesus, we worked together. I’d seen him on Monday and he was fine, and now I was supposed to believe that he had just…? And Rachael…

I think part of me wouldn’t believe something that awful had really happened until I saw it for myself. On top of that, maybe I felt protective of Rachael and our fledgling relationship. Or maybe I took some kind of responsibility for what had happened to her. I had this awful feeling that whatever was wrong with her had something to do with the cold, black eyes that I’d seen fix on her the night before. If I had warned her about the man in black, maybe she’d have been ok…

Or maybe I was cracking. Either way I didn’t stop running until I reached the hospital, eight blocks away. People do strange things in the thrall of grief.

The place was packed. When I finally burst in through the doors (as much as one can burst through automatic sliding doors), sweat soaked and wheezing, I was actually shocked into stillness by the sheer number of people crowded into the room. Keep in mind, this was not a proper waiting room. It was an entranceway for visitors, but it was still full to bursting with sick, sniffling, coughing people trying to gain admittance. Some of them just looked a little green, others were nearly catatonic, but every one of them had this haunted look on their face, like they could break into a panic at any moment. Trying to make my way through the crowd of diseased felt like parting the Red Sea. I remember stupidly wondering if the hospital looked like this during flu season every year.

After a solid ten minutes of effort I managed to fight my way across the room to the exhausted-looking woman behind the counter, and tell her who I was looking for.

“I’m sorry sir,” she sighed in a practiced response, “but none of our patients are allowed to have visitors right now. If this woman is related to you, you will be contacted once the crisis has passed. Now for your safety, I’m going to have to ask you to leave the building.”

I very politely and graciously accepted her words, and then slipped past her into the hospital proper the second she looked away.

Again, I’m not sure why I did this, especially since there was no plan beyond “Find the girl, make sure she’s alright.”

And how did I expect to execute this plan? Simple. I was just going to check every room in the hospital until I located the one with Rachael in it.

The place was massive. For two hours I walked from room to room, peeking inside each one, looking for her. I kept my head down and tried to look inconspicuous the whole time as an army of doctors and nurses scurried past, but I really shouldn’t have bothered. Every member of the hospital staff looked harried and rushed, and in some cases on the verge of tears. They were all far too busy to stop and ask one lost looking me where he was going.

For two hours I looked, and I didn’t see any empty beds, apart from a handful that looked freshly vacated, and featured ominous reddish-brown stains. The hospital must have been far beyond capacity, and I started to fear that I would never find her in the crowd.

And then I found her. God help me, I found her.

I stumbled into the room where she lay. Rachael. She was the kind of girl who could make even a sickly green hospital gown look cute.

She could not, however, do anything to make the blood seem appealing. It dribbled from her nose and ears. It filled up her mouth and ran down her cheeks to pool on the thin pillow underneath her head. It poured out of her eyes in silent mourning of her own bloody passing.

She must have panicked at the end. Her limp hands were colored red, and the sheets and her gown were covered in thickening splatters of it. I could clearly picture her trying in vain to hold the blood in, as if she could stop it by simply clamping her hands over her mouth, and then flailing in a panic when it kept coming.

Rachael was still when I found her. Pale. Cold. It was pure luck that I happened onto her before someone came to take her away.

I walked back into the hallway.

And the man in black was right fucking there, walking from room to room, much as I had, focusing his black gaze on the occupants of each one just for a moment before moving on to the next.

I’ll be the first to admit that at this point I really lost it. I dimly recall screaming something along the lines of, “You fucking bastard!! What did you do? Look what you’ve done to her!”

That got the attention of some of the nurses. “Sir? Sir!” they said, “Who are you yelling at?” and then when I didn’t reply, “Code it! Get him restrained and to take him up to mental health.”

But I didn’t hear them, because when I started shouting, once he knew that he’d been seen, the man in black looked up from the patient he was inspecting, and fixed his eyes on me.

Something clicked. Cold pierced me on a profound level, and without making any conscious decision to do so I ran faster than I ever had in my life. I didn’t spare a single thought for where I was running to, or why for that matter. There was a primal fear coursing through me, and I knew that no matter how much distance I put between myself and that thing dressed up in the suit it would never be enough.

I lost myself for a while there, but eventually I somehow ended up running back to the bus stop. They say that in times of crises you just want to go back to what’s familiar, so I guess it makes sense. I really just wanted to go home to my apartment, but when I got to the stop there was a notice hanging from the marker.

“For your safety, all public transportation has temporarily been shut down. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

I sighed. That made sense. I was calming down now, and putting things together. It all made sense. I turned and started heading to my apartment on foot. I didn’t rush. I wanted to enjoy this walk.

I looked around as I walked, trying to really take the view in, and retain it. There weren’t very many people on the street anymore, and those that I did see were drifting along in the same dreamlike state as I was. I sighed again. The city was kind of an ugly place, really.

Suddenly my phone rang, and I jumped. It had been a long day already. Sean was calling me. I answered.

“Holy shit, thank God you’re alive,” he said breathlessly by way of greeting.

I smiled a little, without quite breaking into tears. “Hey, Sean. I’m alive.”

“Shit, just thank God, man. I’ve been calling everyone in my contacts and you’re the only one that’s answered. I haven’t heard from my family in days…” He sounded like he was at wit’s end. Poor guy. “Dude, have you seen the news?”

“Not recently. Fill me in?”

He took a deep breath. “There’s some kind of disease spreading all over the world, man. They’re calling it a pandemic, and the fastest spreading disease in recorded history. Something to do with modern transportation. Apparently there have been outbreaks on all seven continents, the number of infected keeps skyrocketing, and they haven’t even begun to count the, uh…” he swallowed. Could he really not even say it?

“Well what are the people on the news telling us to do?”

“Oh God, dude, most of them aren’t even on the air anymore. Just these emergency broadcast screens. The ones that still are though, they say that things don’t look good. They just keep on telling us to barricade ourselves inside our homes, and stay safe.” He paused. “I’m scared, Josh.”

“Yeah. Me too,” I said, and I meant it. “Ok. I’m gonna go barricade myself in now. I’ll talk to you later, when all this has blown over.” I tried to clear my throat quietly. I didn’t want Sean to hear me start coughing.

“Ok, just… Be safe, dude.”

“You too.” And I hung up, and kept walking back towards home. After a minute I smiled again, thinking to myself. I’d forgotten how much I had missed talking to Sean.
…..
So here I am, locked in my home with a fever of 102, typing my story up for whoever might get to read it. I’m sorry if it wasn’t climactic enough for you, but I think the truth rarely is.

Now, I’m pretty sure this is the part in most stories where I would express my confusion and fear of the man in black, and talk about how I don’t know who he is, or what he wants, but honestly meeting his gaze in the hospital like that really brought a moment of clarity for me. My eyes are open. I’m absolutely afraid of Him, but I also know what He is, and why He’s here, and I bet that if you think really hard you can figure it out too. Hell, He’s on the news every day.

I’m not sure why I took the trouble to barricade myself in, when I know full well it won’t stop Him, and it certainly won’t stop me from hemorrhaging when the time comes, but I suppose it’s in our nature to try and hold Him off for as long as we can. After all, He is why we run and hide.

Like I said, I may be insane, but I really believe this is the end, ladies and gentlemen, for me and in the broader sense. It certainly feels apocalyptic. I’ve got that “this is it” sense of dread that you only get when things are really bad. I guess the only thing that still surprises me is how fast it all went down. Two days is all it took for my life to go from normal, to falling apart, to over. My ego tells me it should have taken longer than that. But I suppose that’s how it is for everyone. He sneaks up on you.

Ah, and He’s here now, with me. It’s time to go. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared—God, look at my hands shaking—, but there’s no sense in fighting. If my family ever gets the chance to read this, know that I love you. I thought about you in the end, and I want you to know that—

Credit To – DRick

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The Eighth Crusade

April 26, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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On the outskirts of the large city known as Canto; a small cathedral stands unscathed by the horror happening not twenty miles away. There were some smaller towns outside of the city, but most of their residents fled as soon as the vague news reports of “cannibalistic” citizens came flooding in. In the end, those who were smart enough to run at the first sign of trouble were the only ones who made it, the hesitant died along with the rest of the city.

However, this small cathedral was different. It was located in the middle of nowhere and had been long abandoned and forgotten by everyone, aside from the city itself the closest town to it was almost an hour way and a small dirt road was the only thing that even hinted that there was another world past the miles and miles of flat plains. The glow and black smoke from Canto can be seen in the distance.

Short flashes of lightning filled the air, just long enough to illuminate a figure on top of the cathedral, his legs swung over the edge of the roof and head leaning against the lighting rod. The faint glow of a cigar intensified as he put it to his mouth. With a small grin played on his lips, he gazed dreamily at the city.

“What a sight. Obliteration has never looked so divine.” He whispered to himself. Images of a crumbling Jerusalem played through his head, “Well, I guess you can’t get much more divine than that.”

Feeling a little foolish for talking to himself again he took one last drag of his cigar and flicked it behind him. The man noticed that there was a thin layer of ash that had settled on to his body. Slightly irritated by this, the man glanced at his watch while getting to his feet, ruffling his short black hair in an attempt to get as much ash off his head as possible. His long black coat blew in the wind as he brushed it off.

The temperature was dropping fast, it wouldn’t be long until the rain began to pour. The man wondered if it would be enough to quench the flames of the city. The Vatican ordered complete destruction; they wanted nothing standing of what they thought to be a “heathen city”. The man wouldn’t feel accomplished if the flames were so easily disposed of. Glancing at his watch again figuring he had roughly another half hour before the he was picked up and debriefed. He leaned back against the lightning rod, and lit another cigar, daydreaming of the day before.

****************************************

One bite, one citizen, and his work was done. His mission was to just get the ball rolling, nothing more. Being as potent as he was, his victims often became immensely strong. They were puppets, sure; but also unstable. The more of them that were roaming the streets the more dangerous the mop up was for the church. The man was frustrated that he only got one snack, he was tired of the left over’s from corpses and the donations from Italian blood banks. He was craving prey with more… life to it, one he could enjoy stalking before the kill.

The Vatican dispatched him and a helicopter to the abandoned cathedral. Along with being the drop point, the house of God was also were he was supposed to rendezvous with the evac crew. His orders were to simply enter the city, light the spark, and watch “God cleanse the Earth” from the cathedral.

“You zealots are no fun!” he would tell them “I’m doing “God’s work” for you lazy ass holes, the least you could do is let me off the leash!”

The hungry man could not help but feel disappointed when they were offended. They preached how the last crusade was such a failure due to the fact he had so much “freedom”, the mobs of the powerful undead nearly completely consumed the Holy army.

It pissed him off that they never got over that.

He resolved that it was never really his fault, humans were frail, weak creatures. They are easy to corrupt in every way. None of them could handle the thirst, and they tore everything apart. Turning their victims into, hordes of mindless blood thirsty predators with only the hunger of living blood to keep them ticking.

The Pope himself preformed the unnecessary but “ritualistic” blessing before he set off.

“Vai quarto Locke e fornire i nostri nemici a Dio.”

“Deliver them I shall.” He sarcastically whispered to himself with a smirk.

The helicopter was taking off; it was time to go to work.
Locke could not stop thinking about his one victim, regardless of whom it was he planned to savor every last second of his feast.

****************************************

The man found himself seeking a challenge. In the back of his mind he knew he wouldn’t get one, but the fantasy of a dangerous prey kept his thoughts occupied as he made his way towards the glistening city.
With the pace he was traveling at it wouldn’t be long before reached the edge of Canto, his long strides covered more distance, faster than a high-end sports car going ninety on an open freeway. The cool night air was refreshing to him, it’s not often he is allowed to roam out in the open like this. He slowed down a bit to prolong this finite feeling of freedom.

Being cooped up under Vatican City for so long had begun to take its toll on Locke’s sanity. Other than living off nothing but the scraps of Roma, he had no real connection to the outside world. It’s not like he longed to live amongst the humans, no, the thought of that made him sick. The only reason he could stand the “Men of God” back at the Vatican was because they were as far away from human as possible. He’s seen them put on human masks, sure, seen them absolve the masses with a crooked smile, seen them preach peace and the word of God to a thousand ignorant faces. No, no, behind their masks, they are every bit a monster as Locke.

The city was drawing closer, massive sky scrapers were lit up in a brilliant fashion. A sense of intrigue radiated from surrounding, smaller clusters of lights. What were the sheep doing at this hour? Were they working overtime, tucking the little lambs in, late night binge drinking at the local bar? They were all so very ignorant of the malevolent fury of God that was about to rain down upon them. Sure, it looked pretty from a distance, but Canto was the antithesis when viewed up close. The Vatican made it clear to Locke that this was not a city that deserves pity, even though he never considered giving it anyways.

Canto was dying, almost all who’ve entered abandoned all hope for it when they saw what a hell hole it has become. Corruption plagued the city’s central government, all of the representatives’ power focused on how to make the wealthy more capable of shitting on the poor. As a result, crime was abundant. Drug trafficking, prostitution, child labor plagued the down town streets. Whole families were often caught in cases of “indentured servitude” as the wealthy put it, where even the children would have to be at the beckon call of the privileged, doing strenuous and dangerous work that led to more than a few deceased children. Anyone who cried foul ended up dead too, it was just the way it went.

And it was reason enough to cleanse it.

Locke reached the edge of Canto, he could now hear the grumbling sounds of the suffering city, a siren blared unceasingly somewhere among the throngs of buildings. Looking at his watch the man whispered to himself.
“Time to light the match.”

****************************************

Upon entering the city, Locke found to his disappointment, that there was no shortage of easy prey. The homeless aimlessly wandered the streets, practically half dead already, prostitutes looking vulnerable as ever. He was slightly surprised, however, to find a couple of security guards having a smoke outside of a large ominously lit building. A young woman dressed in rags, stumbled past them, she was appeared very exhausted and in need of medical care. The guards just looked upon her and laughed, berating the woman with unrepeatable questions. When she didn’t respond to their cat calls one of the men grew frustrated and ran after her. She let out a quick yelp of pain as he put his cigarette out on the back of her neck.

In a very swift motion the girl whirled around, grabbing the guard’s wrist and pulling him close. The man’s face was within an inch of hers, his expression showed that of pure pain. She had broken his wrist. In a split second she revealed a small revolver, put it to the man’s chin, and pulled the trigger.
There was a bright flash, then a spray of crimson red. The man’s body crumpled to the newly painted sidewalk, with a softball sized hole where his skull used to be. The woman was already on the other guard before he was done unhooking the strap to his sidearm. Landing knees first on the guard’s chest she pinned him to the ground. Grabbing a firm hold of her prey’s head, with both hands she lifted up his skull and brought it back down to the concrete. Over and over again she did this, until the guard was pulverized into the sidewalk.

It was all over that quickly. She stood up without a sound, her face expressionless except for a small smirk that crept on the edge of her lips, she bent over to pick up her revolver that lie next to body of the first guard. She shot Locke a quick glance and disappeared around the corner.
While the look she gave him was quick, it was more than enough to excite him. She had piercing brown eyes that screamed strength, and short, dirty, black hair that was almost just long enough to veil her left eye. Locke knew her just by that single, short glance. He knew her struggles, knew her strength, and knew her will to survive.

He knew he had found his prey.

The building the two guards were once protecting let out the piercing wale of an emergency siren, snapping Locke out of his mystified state. It was then he noticed the streets were completely empty, not a piece of human filth to be seen. Whoever the guards were protecting called for backup and he had mere minutes to escape. A thought crossed his mind, and made him almost consider revealing himself to the approaching authorities before pounding them into dust. Not wanting to risk compromising the mission, Locke reluctantly retreated into a dark alley way. He scaled his way to the roof tops from there and began the hunt for his new found prey.

****************************************

The mystery woman’s scent was still live and growing stronger as he strides across the apartment building rooftops. Locke’s mind wandered back to the two guards, how efficiently and violently she dispatched them. Two full grown, armed men could not handle the slender girl half their size. Where can a human learn to kill like that? Without mercy or emotion, just pure unadulterated instinct. After searching for a short time he came across her entering a dimly lit liquor store, only to return moments later with a bag clenched in her fist.

The hunger was starting to get to him, it was a ravenous gnawing that made his whole body tremble with anticipation. He knelt down on one knee and gazed down at her from the roof tops. Across the street from where Locke sat perched he saw her lean against a brick wall, and begin chugging whatever was in the paper bag. Locke felt his heart sink, he had to stop her quickly or that alcohol will kill all the fun. What was the fun in feeding from intoxicated prey? He let out a small sigh and leapt off the building, and descended to the street below.

The woman let out a small yelp as Locke landed safely in front of her. A small cloud of dust and filth from the city escaped from under his feet, leaving a small clear circle around where he landed.

For a moment she just stared at him as he rose to his feet. Only a dim street light illuminated the empty street, the only thing she could make of the man was a pair of piercing red eyes that glowed like the moon.

“There is something magnificent about the moment you make yourself known to your prey,” spoke the man. His voice had a crisp, raspy tone to it, full of anticipation and a hint of sensuality.

The woman’s eyes widened at this, not out of fear however; it was more like she just received a jolt of electricity, the grip on her bottle tightened. She put on a smirk and spoke with an authoritative tone.

“Listen, I’ve had a long night. I already have had to deal with two creeps who decided to pick me as their ‘prey’,” she lifted her hands almost defensively, to reveal that they were caked with dried blood.

“I caved both their heads in before they learned their place.
She paused for a moment, and gave a gesture that imitated deep thought.
“Hmmm, maybe I should take my time with you so I can really make a statement around here.”

The man cocked his head a bit to the side at this threat, amused and intrigued by her intensity. He opened his arms wide as if to bow and took a step forward. The woman reacted quickly and swung the bag at Locke’s head. The sharp crash of the class mixed with the sound of cracking bone traveled all the way down the street.

The woman expected the perfect stranger to be on the ground bleeding, begging for his life like she has seen so many other “men” have done.

However, the man was still standing. Aside from a small shard of glass that was lodged in the left side of his face, he was completely unfazed by the vicious attack. Locke licked his lips as the remaining alcohol from the bottle trickled down his face.

“Hmm, I’m not much of a whisky man. I prefer a more… ,”
He paused for a moment as he watched the panic in his prey begin to rise

“… exotic spirit.”

He began to chuckle to himself, in all reality the whole situation was darkly humorous to him. This is the most pain he’s been in in years, and that is saying something. His chuckle escalated to a howling laughter.

The woman wore a look that held a combination of shock and excitement. Even though she was beginning to panic, a smile spread across her face. Not once in her entire life in Canto had she met a man who could last more than two minutes in fight with her, much less one who could so easily brush off a whisky bottle to the head.

She watched as the man’s laughter grew, his bloodshot eyes screamed madness.

“It’s time to put you down you crazy son-of-a-bitch,” she said with a smile.

She slowly removed the revolver she used to kill the security guard, the aged blood glistened in what little light was available. The sight of the gun just seemed to incite a stronger laughing fit out of Locke. The woman extended her arm and placed the barrel of the gun into the man’s open mouth, and pulled the trigger.

Again, there was a quick flash. His head snapped back with full force, but he remained on his feet, never ceasing his laughter that grew into the howling of a demon. He lowered his head, fixing his blood red eyes on the woman, blood flowing from the corners of his grin.

He was able to stop his laughter long enough to respond to the horrified look on his prey’s face.

“What’s the matter baby doll? You seemed surprised,”

His blood from the gunshot was drowning him, so every time he spoke small amounts of blood would sputter from his lips. Locke could still not help but laugh.

“Honey, you are gonna be perfect.”

Locke took one last look at his victim, then slowly opened his jaw to an inhuman size, revealing impossibly long razor sharp teeth. The hole left by the bullet can be clearly seen as he made the final move on his prey.

****************************************

The man wiped his mouth and looked down at his meal. The woman’s eyes were glossed with fear, but there was an eerie smile that still crept on her lips as she stared blankly into the night sky.

Locke allowed the woman’s essence to dissolve and flow throughout his body. Fresh blood from a living victim holds a piece of that person’s life and personality. Anyone who takes that essence inherits a part of that person’s being. All their thoughts, feelings, information becomes a part of the predator’s body and soul.

Locke closed his eyes as he savored the taste tilting his head back to the sky he opened his eyes and whispered a single word

“Veronica”

As if on cue the woman’s body began to violently shake. She was beginning to reanimate.

Locke felt a slight pang of worry in the back of his mind. A human of her caliber would be a serious threat as a vampire, everything about her will be augmented and enhanced.

Turning that worry into excitement he smiled then looked back at the shaking body.

“Give those zealots hell for me, Veronica.”

Turning around he began to make his way to the edge of the city, the sun was going to be rising soon it was in his best interest to get back to the Cathedral as fast as he can.

He had lit the match

“Canto will be devoured by flames by tomorrow night.” Locke finally said with a smile.

****************************************

The enveloping darkness cascaded across the night sky. Leaving the silhouettes of clouds drift overhead, like veils of moving sentinels, suffocating the very light out of the stars. The scent of moisture and smoke hung thick in the damp air. The sound of distant thunder boomed across the sky, echoing into the midnight horizon. A luminous light from below slightly illuminated the empty scene, trails of thick black smoke were set aglow by miles of inferno. It was as if the gates of Hell had crumbled under the earth, releasing and delivering throngs of angel’s utmost nightmares unto God’s domain. The pounding hearts of a million terrified saints could be heard as the sky boomed again.

Below the heavens, true evil incarnate devoured the world. Sky scrapers wore flames from head to toe, fire danced on the water under decimated bridges, streets were in utter chaos. Destroyed vehicles littered the crowed avenues, exposed hands and limbs peek out from under of overturned cars, burning corpses are contorted in horrible positions behind the wheel of their tombs. Police stations show no sign of life, a constant siren blares somewhere in the city, with nothing living left to answer. The city, its souls, everything was devoured by this Holy mess of a city.

Well, almost everything.

Credit To – (JY)Brodiche

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