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Yellow Rain Fever

February 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Dear Survivor-
If you’re reading this, I’m probably dead. It’s for the best.

You see, about four or five days ago, a storm rolled in. Now, this in and of itself isn’t anything strange. The clouds and the rain though, they had a yellow tint to them. It smelled weird and tasted funny too, none of us could really nail down what it tasted like, and all we knew is that it was some sort of chemical or other.

Now, the important thing to know is that we’re a small Hoosier farming community, maybe 1,500 or so people, so unless some radical has a grudge against corn and soybeans, I doubt it was a terrorist attack.

Anyway, a few hours after that weird rainstorm started, people started getting violently sick. The ones affected couldn’t stop throwing up, there were reports of extreme nausea and even an onset of what they thought was tuberculosis, because the ones diagnosed had a bloody and agonizing cough.

Authorities noticed a trend almost immediately after people started getting sick, in that it seemed only fairly weak people got ill. The sick, old, and young were the only ones who got sick with those violent symptoms. It retrospect though, they got the easy way out.

People that were diagnosed with the illness, dubbed the Yellow Rain Fever, died just hours after getting sick. Some of the victims’ immune systems who were already sick just couldn’t handle the increased fever and vomiting, some were simply too weak to handle much of a sickness in the first place, like the old and the very young, and some actually died of blood loss due to the consumption like cough. But they all died shortly after getting ill.

When people were nearing death, they started hallucinating, or what we thought were hallucinations at the time. They all saw these, dark, shadowy humanoid figures with glowing yellow eyes, lurking in dark corners or just inside unlit rooms.

There were only three or four accounts of these figures, due to the fact that almost no one could speak in their final moments of the sickness. It was enough though, people with the same disease sharing the same hallucinations, it made almost everyone extremely paranoid, as common or shared hallucinations, they reasoned, meant a type of drug or chemical.

After the reports came in of these shared hallucinations, the most paranoid of our population started barricading themselves in their homes. Said they were going to wait out the storm, literally and figuratively.

When most of the initial victims had passed, we started seeing fairly normal people getting extremely sick. Healthy, middle aged people getting the same symptoms, and worse, some of the victims actually faced necrosis before their deaths.  The second wave of people who were sick didn’t even make two hours. Same as before, there were several reports of people seeing those black, shadowy figures with the glowing yellow eyes, waiting in corners or dark rooms.

Our small town was devastated at this point; we had lost two or three hundred people by now. And I was absolutely stricken with grief when my dear wife Muriel, may God rest her soul, was diagnosed with the Fever.

By the time we had lost another 100 people, and the disease was announced to be contagious, we were quarantined by the CDC, and government agents were coming in to check out the town decked out in air-tight radiation suits, said they were trying to find the cause of the storm.

Not even an hour after the agents came in, they evacuated. The thing is though; there was no story about this on the news. I don’t know what those CDC guys did, but apparently no one was able to contact the media. There was a mention of a flu epidemic in our town, and that’s it.

My friend, Mark, came over to my house almost immediately after the report on the news aired.
“A flu epidemic?” He yelled, absolutely enraged. “We’ve lost almost five-hundred people to this bastardized mix of symptoms from tuberculosis and food poisoning, and they say it’s the damn flu?” I tried to get him to calm down, but he wouldn’t have it. He said he was going to go get out of town, to try and contact the news, something, anything but staying here waiting to die.
The thing is, I kind of agreed with him, I’d much rather go out fighting rather than sitting around and praying not to get this damned fever. There was something in my gut telling me it would be a bad idea to try and get out. I told Mark that I was going to stay here for the time being, he said fine, that if I wanted to die here as a passive waste, that was my decision.
So Mark left in his truck to try and escape the quarantine. It was the last time I saw him alive.

Things got progressively worse from there. First, the disease spread, there were reports of another five hundred people infected. Of course national news was worthless, but channel six, the local news, was running a Fever Watch. That’s how I got most of my information.
After the next wave of reported infections, symptoms got worse again. Pre-death necrosis was a symptom of almost everyone with the disease at that point, not just an unlucky few. Victims also getting extremely paranoid as their illnesses progressed. Almost all of them were scared of the same thing, of the dark, shadowy figures with yellow eyes creeping in dark areas.

Our whole town was in hysterics, people who had boarded up their homes early were envied. Looting and arson was widespread, our town was a chaotic symphony of anarchy.
As the disease spread, nearly seven hundred people had succumbed to the Fever. There were some really minor details that unnerved the living hell out of me, like how the infected started saying the figures were getting closer, not lurking in just pitch black areas anymore.
I was mortified when Muriel, who had only had a slightly wet cough and a light temperature up until that point, started screaming about dark figures lurking in the corners.

When the local news reported our population was nearing eight-hundred after only nine hours after the first yellowish storm cloud rolled in, I locked myself where I am now, in our cellar.

Muriel’s already gone, those damned shadow men got her, and they ripped her throat out. Those news stories were bullshit and I know it, it was these fucking creatures that lurk in the dark that killed everyone. I know, because I’ve seen what they can do firsthand. Muriel’s lying upstairs in a puddle of her own blood because of those figures.

They’re watching me now, with those hungry and greedy yellow eyes. They want me, I can see the dark desires, the urge to feed in their eyes when they stare at me. They’re sitting in the corners, where the light doesn’t reach, waiting for me to make one wrong move, to turn my back or fall asleep, well I’ll be damned if I get eaten by some God-forsaken monster.

They think they have me, I can hear them now, their joyous whispers; they’ve seen my bloody cough. The beasts’ whispers are deafening now, they know I’m growing weaker. What they don’t know however, is that I’ve taken a lesson from Mark. I still have the power of choice. Do I want to go out in defiance, or sitting, waiting for the inevitable? I have to remember to pray to my dad, thank him for leaving me his revolver.

They’re getting closer. I have a few minutes at most, they’re getting closer. At least I get to end this how I want it to end, not how they want it to.

Subject: FORWARD ALL; ADDENDUM, SITUATION REPORT 37-B
To: ALL
From: ADMINISTRATOR PAIGE

Message: Hello ladies and gentlemen, I’d first like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Now, as you can see from the attached document, Project Ion Rain was a massive success. Only ten hours after the weapon was activated, our city of choice was almost completely eradicated. With initial reports saying that 95% of the population died due to disease,4% are clinically insane, and 1% having committed suicide, as you can see from the document above.

Yes I know, there are ethical issues involved in this, why test Ion Rain on our own citizens? First off, the equipment involved to actually produce the deadly toxins from seemingly thin air are not carried around or smuggled easily. And it takes weeks of preparation; we simply don’t have the resources to smuggle this Project into an enemy country and keep the thing hidden.

And the way I figure the situation, and the President agrees with me on this one, is that if we can blame this incident on a terrorist attack, we’ll have the backing of the public to invade whoever we decide to blame.

Well, see you all on Monday, have a nice weekend.

Sincerely, Paul Paige, Administrator of the Central Intelligence Agency.

 

Credit To – Josh M.

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Hidden Maize

February 22, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Dried husks scratched their arms as they squeezed through the narrow isles of corn. Finding the entrance was a miracle as the pathways are barely discernable from the rows of planted corn.

Every year, Old Man Hanky builds a corn maze for the local kids, but hides the entrance. The farmer never had any children of his own and started the maze tradition as a way to bond with the neighborhood children. It was bragging rights in this town to find and complete Old Man Hanky’s maze before the corn is harvested.

“Anna, you know how quick it gets dark now! This is taking too long.”

“We have plenty of light and plenty of time. Besides, we can always follow someone else out.”

“Who, Anna? We’ve been in here over an hour and I haven’t seen anyone, or heard anyone for that matter, in the last 45 minutes.”

“We could always call Charlie. I’m sure he’d come find us and show us out.” Anna suggested.

“I already tried calling him twice. He didn’t answer. I texted him and told him to call me back.”

Anna looked around at the sea of corn stalks. It was impossible to tell where they’d already been and which direction was out.

“Just climb on my shoulders and see if you can figure out which direction we should be going.”

Sydney’s cheerleading skills were finally of practical use. She took a boost from Anna’s clasped hands and hopped onto her shoulders. Sydney could hardly see over the corn, but the smoke from the bonfire billowed as a beam of hope.

“Anna, I can see the smoke from the bonfire. I know which way we need to go. And, I think I saw some corn moving. Maybe those people know the way out!”

Harvest time was only a few days away. The girls did not want to be the only ones not to finish Old Man Hanky’s maze. Finding the entrance alone took hours, now if they could only find their way out. As they headed for the smoke, voices became audible. The other last minute maze goers must be nearby.

“Hello! Do you know the way out of here?” Anna yelled.

No response.

“I do.”

The meek voice materialized behind them with no warning. A small boy, no older than nine stood just inside the corn stalks staring at the girls.

“Hi, there. We’ve been in here almost two hours. Can you help us get out?” Anna asked the boy, as Sydney shot her an angry gaze.

“Sure. My daddy doesn’t like when I cheat. But, I like helping,” the boy chirped.

“You’re a sweet little boy. Do kids get lost in here a lot?”

“Yes. Most people get lost in our maze.”

“Our maze? Is that why you know your way out so well?”

“Yeah, my daddy built it. I helped. I like helping.” Looking more enthusiastic, the boy took Anna by the hand and started on his way.

“Um, Anna,” unmoving, Sydney called out. “Can I have a word with you?”

“What’s up, Sydney?”

“That little boy just said his daddy built this maze. I thought this was Old Man Hanky’s farm. He doesn’t have any kids.”

“So what? Maybe the kid and his dad helped out. What’s it matter anyway? He knows the way out.”

“He gives me the creeps, Anna. Didn’t you notice how he came out of nowhere?”

“Did you just watch Children of the Corn or something? You’re trippin’,” Anna smirked.

“Whatever. I just want out of here.”

Anna walked back to the boy and asked him to lead the way. He continued on silently, walking slowly and methodically. Without hesitation he made turn after turn down long stretches of barely visible pathways. The zigzagging seemed to take the girls further and further from the plumes of smoke still faintly visible in the darkening sky.

“Are you sure you know where you’re going?” Anna asked the boy. He looked over his shoulder with a demented smile.

“Of course I do. We only have a little further to go. Daddy will be so glad to see you.”

Sydney noticed the drops of sweat forming on Anna’s forehead and reached for her phone again. This time Charlie answered. She turned around and whispered into the phone.

“Charlie, where have you been? We’re lost and need you to help us finish this maze. We’re following this kid and we’re not even close to being out. He’s freaking me out.”

“I’m not sure what you’re talking about. What maze are you at?”

“What do you mean, Charlie? Old Man Hanky’s maze. What else would I be talking about?” Sydney asked, shooting a confused look over to Anna.

“Old Man Hanky has been in the hospital for a while now. He wasn’t able to do a corn maze this year.”

Sydney quickly hung up her phone and turned around, but the boy was gone. Sydney turned and ran through the corn back where they came from, Anna at her heels.

They ran until the cramps in their sides forced them to stop. Then they heard the boy’s voice again and saw his shadow just inside the corn like before.

“You can run girls, I won’t stop you. But I know the way out, you’re the one who’s lost. Besides, Daddy doesn’t like when I cheat. He likes when you find him on your own, it’s more exciting that way.”

Credit To – S.E. Helsinger

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Annie

February 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Annie ran away again the other night. It took me hours to find her in the park, going back and forth on the swings without a care in the world, like she had every right to be there. And she dyed her hair again, blonde this time. I didn’t want to make a fuss with all those people around, so I caught her on the backswing and dragged her home kicking and screaming like a lunatic. It was humiliating: I had to smile and shrug at all the people staring like it didn’t bother me.

As soon as we were home, I sent Annie to her room. She just sat there on the bed, crying and crying. The way she carried on, I didn’t have the heart to yell at her for running away. I guess that’s the real problem, this lack of discipline. I’ve never been good at tough but fair. I’m always going too far one way or the other.

Like a few months ago when she came at me with the kitchen knife. For a minute I really thought she was trying to hurt me, my own sweet angel. But afterward she just lay there in my arms so quiet, letting me stroke her hair and sing her a lullaby, like nothing had ever happened.

But then there was that other time when she started messing around with my doll collection. They’re such fragile things, my dolls, and Annie was playing so rough like she wanted to break them. I love those dolls: they remind me of when everything was easier, when I wasn’t stuck in this house all day long with Annie’s tantrums and Bill’s moping. I got upset, and I hit her. I was so ashamed, when she ran away that night I didn’t go after her right away. I just stayed there, crying and feeling like the worst mother in the world.

I tried to be gentler after that, more understanding. So instead of getting cross with Annie, I let her stay in her room and cooked her some dinner. I turned up the TV real loud so I wouldn’t hear the racket she was making in there. She makes such a mess sometimes, and it makes me so angry, the way she breaks her things like she doesn’t even care about them anymore. I bought her a puppy once, but she wouldn’t even touch it, like she was scared of it. The very day I decided to take it back to the pet store, it vanished. I found Annie in the backyard, holding a little trowel, sitting on a pile of dirt. I helped her wash up and never mentioned it again.

I made her favorite food, macaroni and cheese, hoping it might calm her down. But as soon as I opened the door she slammed into me, trying to get past. I almost dropped the food everywhere wrestling with her like that. She had this wild look in her eyes, like an animal. It scared me, being alone in there with her when she was like that. I put the food on her desk and gently pushed her toward the chair.

“I made it just the way you like,” I told her, smiling and trying not to look as afraid as I felt.

She stared at me like she didn’t understand a word I was saying.

“Will you eat some of it?”

“I don’t want to,” she said. Her voice sounded strange, different than I’d ever heard it before. I hope I didn’t shudder. I didn’t want to upset her.

“Please, Annie, I’m very worried about you.”

“That’s not my name.”

She likes to change her name sometimes. It worries me. One day she’s Beth, the next day Irene. It’s just like her hair, she changes it every time she runs away. I get so scared that one day I won’t be able to find her, and the police won’t be able to help because I won’t know what she looks like or what she’s calling herself.

“Sweetheart, I’d really like you to eat a little bit. Just a little, please, for mommy.”

And then she said, with the meanest look on her face, “You’re not my mommy.”

It hurt so much. It felt like a stab to my heart. Tears welled up in my eyes before I could stop them, so I turned away. I heard her scramble onto the bed, her fingernails scratching like little claws on the posts. When I looked back, she had her back pressed against the corner of the room, legs drawn up to her chest, rocking back and forth. Staring at me with those wild animal eyes.

“I love you, Annie,” I said with as much dignity as I could manage. “But sometimes I just don’t know how to deal with your behavior.”

She screamed. Just this one long, loud, echoing screech, like a siren. Her mouth was wide open, but her face was blank. I covered my ears, got out of the room and closed the door behind me.

I had to collect myself before I could go see Bill. He’s been so odd lately, I don’t want to worry him anymore.

I got a second plate of the macaroni and brought it to the bedroom. That’s where he spent all his time, lying in bed.

“Honey, I made dinner.”

He didn’t answer, didn’t even roll over to look. I picked up the plate from this morning, the food on it untouched, and put the new one down where he could reach it.

“Annie’s back. I found her in the park. She’s pitching a fit in her room already.”

He must’ve heard the screaming. I always tried to keep her quiet, told her that daddy needed rest, but she never listened. Sometimes I wondered if he could even hear her. He never got up to see what was wrong.

I knelt beside the bed and looked into his eyes. He stared back at me, not saying a word. He’d been like ever since the first time Annie ran away. They’d been alone together. Then she had run off, and he’d stopped talking. He lay down in bed and never got up again. Lost his job, lost so much weight. He hardly even looked like the man I’d married.

I kissed him on the forehead and left. As I closed the door behind me, I thought I saw him start to get up, but I guess I must have imagined it.

Annie kept on with that awful screaming for hours. I stayed in the living room, sitting on our big three-person couch alone. I turned up the TV as loud as I could, played music, turned on the blender, tried everything I could to drown out the awful screaming. It was like nails being driven into my ears, like spiders crawling up my neck, like ice water splashing on my legs.

Finally it stopped. I thought maybe she’d finally tuckered herself out, but then the scratching started. That was almost worse. It started out quick, rhythmic, but it got slower as time went on. Sometimes Annie would make a noise, like she was crying again. I started to worry that she might be hurting herself, but I couldn’t get that awful thing she had said to me or that wild look in her eyes out of my head. I just stayed in the living room and tried to sleep.

I don’t know how it got to be like this. I’ve thought about taking her to a doctor, but they always give her these strange looks. It’s gotten to where I don’t dare to go to the same doctor twice: I’m afraid they might be thinking of taking her away from me, of doing something awful to her.

I’ve thought about calling in a priest. I know that must sound crazy, but the way she gets sometimes, like she doesn’t even know me, it scares me so much. She’ll call out to people who aren’t there, shout names I don’t know like they’re real people. And there was that business with the kitchen knife. It wasn’t the first time she’s tried to hurt me. She smuggles rocks into the house and tries to hit me with them when my back is turned. When she gets really wild she’ll bite and claw at me. Some days I start to wonder if she’s really my little girl, or something else, wearing her face, haunting me.

After a long time the scratching stopped and everything got quiet. I sighed with relief. The house is so much nicer when it’s quiet.

I looked at the clock and could hardly believe how late it was. She must have finally fallen asleep. When I looked over at her door, I saw the light still on through the cracks. Quiet as I could, I tiptoed over. I would just peek in, turn off the light. Maybe give her a little kiss good night.

I opened the door just a crack, but that was all it took. She slammed through, knocked me to the floor, and scrambled away.

“Annie stop!” I shouted. She was going right to our bedroom, making so much noise I was sure it would wake Bill up.

She shoved through our door and I ran after. But inside she was just standing there, staring at the bed.

“Sweetheart, daddy’s sleeping,” I hissed.

She started screaming again, even louder than before. She pointed at Bill and screamed and screamed. I shushed her, tried to tell her he was sleeping.

But she wouldn’t stop. She screamed and screamed. The sound pierced through me, tore apart every nerve in my body. I covered my ears and scratched at my face and soon I was screaming too, just as loud as she was. I took her up in my arms and we screamed together. I hugged her as tight as I could, squeezed her to me, wishing I could do something, anything to make it stop. I held her so close I could feel her heartbeat, how soft and quiet it was, growing quieter and quieter.

She stopped screaming, there in my arms, and soon I stopped too. I sank to my knees, holding my little girl in my arms, stroking her hair.

I don’t know how long we stayed like that. It was so dark in the bedroom.

I looked down at Annie, but it wasn’t Annie at all. I was holding one of my dolls.

I must have fallen asleep, holding her there, and she snuck away and put a doll in my arms instead. It was a funny doll, one I didn’t remember having. It had such lovely blonde hair.

I felt so silly, holding that doll like that for who knows how long. I got up and carried it to the closet where I keep the other dolls and laid it there. There were so many dolls, and they were all so big, I was starting to run out of room. But I couldn’t throw them out. They were so pretty, such lovely little dolls. They all looked different, but every single one reminded me of Annie.

I checked around the house, but she was gone. She must have been very upset, to run away twice in just two days. I got my coat on and got ready to go look for her again.

Before I left, I went back to the bedroom to check on Bill. Somehow all the noise hadn’t bothered him at all. I touched his forehead, but he didn’t seem any different. My fingers stuck a little bit, and there was some funny green stuff left on them afterward. I wiped it off on the bed and said goodbye.

It was such a lovely day outside. I took a deep breath of the fresh air. I love our house, but every once in a while I notice the worst smell in there.

Somewhere off in the distance, I heard the sound of children laughing. It was so nice to hear after all that awful noise last night. Maybe Annie thought so too. I followed the laughter.

Credit To – Gray

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Caught in the Headlights

February 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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I was driving home from school for thanksgiving break. It was dark even though it was only 7PM. I always hated when it started to get dark so early. I always felt like I was missing out on the day when it would be dark by the time I got out of class. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one driving home this evening. Apparently a lot of other students also had this idea judging from the traffic on the freeway. Bored with the stopping and going of the gridlock, I decide to hop off the highway and take some country roads past some of the heavier holdups. I turn down a road that looks to be running about parallel to the highway and off I went. It felt nice being able to just drive without worrying about stopping and going and switching lanes. I threw on the cruise control and just rode the gentle hills up and down through the dark farm lands with nothing but the moon, stars, and my headlights lighting my way. But after about twenty minutes, the farm lands turned to forest and I lost the moon and stars. The darkness made me feel uneasy for some reason. I was worried a deer might suddenly jump out of the woods or a turn in the road would go unnoticed until it was too late. I hadn’t passed another car since I turned down this country road, so I figured it would be ok to turn on my brights. With my right hand on my gear shift, I reached with my left hand to flick the switch for the bright lights.

I froze.

My blood turned to ice.

My stomach dropped to the floor.

My body went numb.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t breathe.

My body was betraying me. I tried to move. I urged myself to move. I pleaded with my body to move, but I just couldn’t. I suddenly had an incredible urge to look into my rearview mirror. I didn’t know what I expected to see, but I just knew I had to look. I used every ounce of strength and will power to force my eyes up to the mirror. Inch by agonizingly slow inch, my eyes slid across the interior of my car until finally my eyes came to the mirror.

A girl?

In the back seat of my car sat, what appeared to be, a young woman in a dress. My brain was numb. I could not comprehend what was happening. She seemed to radiate some sort of pale grey light, but she wasn’t illuminating her surroundings. Her wavy hair fell past her shoulders and her expressionless face was sprinkled with freckles. He dull eyes stared blankly straight ahead. My mind struggled to make sense of this situation. So many questions whirled in my head that they just became a giant tangled mess. I sat there, brain spinning, until a question just fell out of my mouth.

“Who are you?” I asked in barely a whisper. At the sound of my voice, her eyes crashed into mine. They pierced me. They bore into mine and I could do nothing but stare back.

They were empty.

There was no emotion in her eyes. Nothing at all. I felt as if a part of me was being sucked into the voids that were her soulless eyes and the ice that filled my veins felt as if it had turned into a fine powder. Eternities came and went, or so it felt, before I was able to regain my voice.

“Who..?” I managed to get out before my voice was lost again. Her eyes remained locked with mine and for a moment there was silence.

“Do I frighten you?”

Her mouth barely moved.

Her eyes never did.

I only just heard her. I thought maybe my mind was tricking me. It sounded like her words were being caught by a wind. My brain was still in a tangle and I couldn’t comprehend what she was asking. I wanted to answer. To tell her yes, she was in fact scaring me to death, in hopes that maybe she would stop. But there was a question nagging at the back of my mind that finally made its way through all the clutter.

“Are you a ghost?” I whispered. Her eyes continued to burrow into mine. Digging deeper and deeper into me.  My body was going cold, but my mind was beginning to clear.

“Does my presence frighten you?” she asked again. Her eyes never wavering. I met her gaze and answered,

“No.”

We sat in silence for a moment. My eyes meeting hers and hers piercing mine. The tangle in my brain was beginning to release. My thoughts were becoming more clear.

“I am afraid of you, but your presence does not frighten me,” I whispered. She cocked her head slightly to the side, but continued staring into me. My voice felt stronger now.

“Your presence here is a relief to me, in a way. You have proven to me that there is something after death. I don’t know what it is yet, but it’s comforting to know that there is something. Anything…”

She continued staring.

“Is this how you looked when you died?” I asked her.

She nodded. Slowly. Effortlessly. She barely appeared to be moving.

“You were beautiful.”

Her eyes widened ever so slightly. There was a flash of sadness in them before they were consumed again by that vast emptiness. Her eyes met mine and mine, hers. She lifted her arm and pointed a finger straight ahead.

“Watch where you are going.”

At that moment I regained control of body. I looked where she had been pointing and saw a sharp turn in the road and nothing but forest in front of me. I slammed on the breaks and turned the wheel. My back tires fishtailed from side to side as I tried to turn the wheel to compensate. My tires came loose of the pavement and I did a full 360 turn before I came to a screeching stop mere feet away from a tree.

I sat there, white knuckled, clutching the wheel. I was breathing as if I had just run a marathon. I remembered the girl and whipped my head around to look in the back seat, but she was gone. I turned back and slumped into the seat. I must have fallen asleep at the wheel. It was all just a dream. After a few minutes of catching my breath and thanking whoever was looking out for me, I turned on my car and got back onto the road. As I was driving, with my right hand on my gear shift, I reached with my left hand to flick the switch for the bright lights. With a click, the forest was illuminated by my car’s lights. A few hundred feet down the road I saw a yellow road sign that read “Caution: High Accident Area” and I chuckled. That sign would have been useful 5 minutes ago. But as I got closer I realized there was more writing on it. On the bottom part of the sign was something hand-written in red paint.

“RIP SAMANTHA”

Credit To – Billy

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Wake Up

February 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Everything started out normal. It was just a simple nightmare, right? But the more I thought about it, the more unlikely that sounded. No nightmare could be that detailed, that gruesome. At first I thought I was alone in that dream, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There was something there, in the far corner of the room. It sat there, watching, waiting, taunting me, almost drawing me towards it. It looked like a statue, made of dark stone with glittering eyes made of rubies. It’s hands were crossed over it’s heart, as if holding a small object close. Silently, I walked towards the object, somehow knowing I would regret the decision. It was only a few feet away now. Something was off about the statue. It had a deathly cold air around it, almost like an invisible wall that you had to push through to get past. Once I was only a foot away, I immediately knew what was off about it. This wasn’t a statue. No, far from it to be exact. It was some sort of…phantom, reaper, whatever way you want to describe it. It just stood there, unwavering, unblinking. I desperately wanted to move away, to turn and run as far away as possible, though something rooted me to that exact spot. Was it fear? Fascination? Maybe a little bit of both? Whatever it was, I despised the feeling for keeping me in such a dangerous spot.

It all happened so fast. First, I was standing there, watching the creature. Then, it lunged at me, wrapping it’s robed arms around me, the cold air chilling me to the bone. I blinked, a new scene unraveling in front of me. I couldn’t exactly describe where I was, because there was nothing around me except snow. The white fluff was blowing in the wind, like ice cold razors cutting through my flesh. All sense of direction was lost, replaced by desperation to get out of the freezing temperatures. Sprinting off in what I thought was north, I stumbled a few times, quickly getting up in fear that something was chasing me. I must have been running for hours, though I couldn’t tell. Off in the distance, I thought I saw what looked like a cave. It was still a good two hundred yards away, but surprisingly clear through the blizzard. Seeing it as my only option, I ran towards the entrance, finally stumbling into the blackness. Upon reaching the bottom, I found myself in a jungle, heat beating down on me, the sweat refusing to evaporate into the already humid air. Getting up, I brushed the dirt off my pants, carefully slinking through the trees and undergrowth, not wanting to attract any unwanted guests. There was a sound in the distance, almost sounding like an elderly man’s voice. Ignoring it at first, I continued to walk, the man’s voice getting louder with each step until I reached a small clearing. In the center, an old man sat, his knees pulled to his chest. The man’s back was towards me, but as I walked around him, I was surprised, no, terrified when I saw what he looked like. Pale, emotionless eyes sunken into his skull. Thin lips muttering something I couldn’t hear. Skin wrinkled and burnt from sitting in the blistering hot sun. The man looked up at me, recognition flashing in his gaze. “I saw you in my dream. Can you save us?” He asked, still rocking back and forth. The words shocked me, and as I backed away, he repeated himself. Over and over he spoke the words, each time his eyes growing wider and wider, his voice raising to a shout. Turning, I sprinted off in the direction away from the clearing, though the words still followed me the whole way.

Another few hours passed, and I was in a field. The change of scenery confused me, and I knew that it had to have something to do with the reaper that attacked me. Off on the horizon, there was a mountain, it’s peak reaching high above the clouds. Walking towards it, I tripped over something, falling onto my face. Turning, I saw what looked to be a young girl, about 13 years old, laying in the grass, her hands folded over her chest. “Don’t believe what they say. You’re dreaming. You have to wake up,” She said, returning to her pensive state. Backing away, I continued my trek towards the mountain, though I didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Frustrated, I kicked a stone, falling back onto the ground. There was a cold wind, red eyes flashing above me before the world went black.

**

A soft dripping sounded in the distance, soft whispers followed by a beep…beep…beep. I didn’t open my eyes in fear of seeing the reaper, continuing to listen to what was going on. There was a louder voice off in the distance, and I sat up, my eyes opening to take in a white hospital room, flowers and a card sitting on the table next to me. There were doctors out in the hallway, whispering softly. One must have seen me, because they all rushed into the room, huddling around my bed. “What did you see? Did you dream? Was it there?” They asked, all the questions making my head start to ache. Someone from the back of the crowd hushed everyone, pushing his way to the front. He was tall, and though he only looked to be about twenty-two, he had dark circles under his eyes from lack of sleep. “Let the poor girl wake up a little first,” He said, setting a clipboard down on the edge of my bed. “Here, I’ll explain,” He said. “Police found you in the woods about a mile away from your house. There were several puncture wounds all over your body, and you were shivering as if you were in the snow without a coat. A few of us checked you out, though we were unable to identify the cause of said wounds. You’ve been in a coma for over two years,” The doctor explained, his eyes dark in sadness. “During the coma, we have written down several things you have said in your sleep, most of them inexplicable,” He said, looking down at the clip board. “Your stable now, so you’re free to go home any time you wish,” The doctor said, grabbing his clipboard and heading out of the room. A nurse handed me my clothes, the rest of them leaving the room to let me get changed. After doing so, I walked to the lobby to check out.

**

That same night, I crawled into my bed, pulling the blankets up to my chin and looking out the window. The branches rattled against the window in the wind, making me jump every time they brushed against the glass. I could’t seem to shake the memory of the reaper, especially the red eyes. Something about them seemed so foreign, yet so familiar. Shaking my head, I turned over so my back was facing the window, deciding to think about it in the morning. Closing my eyes, I heard a soft whisper.

“Sleep tight… I’ll be waiting.”

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In the Wall

February 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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I had moved into a new apartment with my girlfriend about two years ago. It was pretty small; it had only a kitchen, one bedroom, one bathroom, and a living room. All of the rooms might have been small, but the rent was good, and we didn’t really care. Neither of us made enough money to move out of the place, so we tried to make the most of it. One of the oddest things about the place was that the left wall was completely hollowed out, and the right wall was rock solid. I didn’t even notice when we first moved in. Our neighbors were always quiet and kept mostly to themselves. When we moved in, the only neighbors we had were the Whites. The Whites were to the right of us, and they were an elderly couple. They were nice to us. When we had first moved in, they brought us a “welcome to the building” present, which is what they do for all of the new people who had moved in to an apartment in the building. It was a small apple pie, which was actually quite good. About five or six months after my girlfriend and I moved in, there was a new guy that had moved into the right of us. I remember first meeting him. I had just gotten back to the building with some groceries, and as I climbed up the stairs to my apartment, I accidentally bumped into someone.

“Sorry, excuse me Mr…” but I didn’t know who this guy was. Our building is fairly small, and just about everyone knows everyone else. The man I had bumped into was middle aged, probably in his mid-fifties. Something about him was odd, though. He had deep wrinkles, pale white skin, and long greasy black hair that were unkempt and around his face and back. He looked rather sickly, like he needed to see a doctor. His eyes were a solid dark purple, which is something that I have never seen before in my entire life. “Peters” the man said with a grin that stretched ear to ear. His teeth were disgusting. They were un-brushed and looked like they were rotting away. I can still smell his putrid breath, which seemed to reek of old decaying meat. All though his appearance was a little bit creepy, he seemed nice enough. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Peters. My names Matt. Are you new to the building?”  I asked. Mr. Peters smile grew even bigger. I don’t know how he, let alone any human could smile that wide. “Yes, I am moving in. And I’m going to be living right next to your apartment.” He said as we both walked up the stairs to the top floor.

When we reached the top floor, Mr. Peters pace increased as he quickly walked to the door, opened it with his key, and shut the door behind him. It was odd, though. He did it so quickly, it was like a blur. I sighed to myself. “Great, now I have a freakish neighbor.” I thought to myself as I turned the handle of my door. It was about 4:00 P.M. My girlfriend, Sandra, was still at her job. She’s a hair stylist, and I’m a chef at a local Italian restaurant. I usually don’t get off until later, but because business was slow that day, and nobody was coming in, we closed early. I put the groceries down on the kitchen table and start to unload everything into the refrigerator. I didn’t have much with me, only about one bag. Quart of milk, a few sticks of butter, ground hamburger meat, and a box of cereal. I then got a text message from my friend, Tyler. “Bro, I just got my hands on the new Red Dead Redemption game, and you need to go out and get it so we can play together.” Was what the message read. Now, I wasn’t much of a gamer, but Tyler is one of my closest friends that I have. We’ve been best friends ever since middle school. I did have an Xbox 360, and Tyler and I would play games together from time to time. I didn’t really have anything better or more interesting to do, so I texted him back saying I would go out and buy it. As I was just about to leave to go get the game, I heard a lot of banging coming from the wall. It was weird though, because it was so clear. I went up to the left side of the wall and gave it a light tap with my knuckle. This was the first time that I realized that for whatever reason, the wall was hollow like a log. I went to the right wall, and repeated the process, only to be greeted with a thud. This wall was solid. I was puzzled on why in the world the builders of this place would make one wall solid, and the other hollow. I was also curious as to what Mr. Peters was doing to make all of that noise. I just shrugged it off. “Probably just moving things in or something.” I told myself. But, that couldn’t be right. He didn’t have anything with him when I saw him. I shrugged it off, and left to go get the game.

I got back at around 5:00 with my new game, and I was glad to discover that the banging from Mr. Peters ceased. I was happy with this. I didn’t really care what he was doing, as long as he did it quietly. I popped the game in and put my headset on. I have a pretty good headset, it blocks out most sounds. It was nice and tight around the ears, and I loved it. Tyler and I played and talked for almost three hours straight. I would have gone longer, but Sandra came home at about 8:00. I told Tyler that I had to go, and that we could play more tomorrow after I was done with work. Tyler didn’t have a job. He didn’t need one. His father was a rich man who owned some oil company or something like that, I don’t really remember. But I do know that he spoils Tyler rotten, giving him tons of money for doing absolutely nothing at all. I powered off the console and got up out of my chair to give Sandra a hug. We talked about stuff like how our days went, and things like that. I then I remembered Mr. Peters. “Did you know that someone was moving into the apartment right next to us?” I asked. She told me that she was unaware of a new member joining our building. Weird that she didn’t know of Mr. Peters. I decided that I would go ask Mr. and Mrs. White tomorrow morning. They know everybody in the building. They probably already have a pie baked and ready to send over to his apartment.

I didn’t sleep well that night. I had an insane dream about Mr. Peters just standing over my bed, my girlfriend beside me. Smiling that terrifying smile. I was going to do something, wake up my girlfriend, run away in fear, anything. But I was stopped when he simply put his finger over my lips and quietly said “Shhh” in a soft, friendly voice. It didn’t feel like a dream, though. Everything was so clear, and I can remember it all so well. It’s impossible that it was real, though. That’s what my therapist told me, at least. After a long sleepless night, I took a quick shower and was going to get some food for breakfast. I also noticed the banging on the wall from Mr. Peters apartment. It was softer this time, and more… creepy. After my shower, I went to my kitchen. Only, something was off. Quart of milk, a few sticks of butter, ground hamburger meat, but no box of cereal. I looked everywhere, thinking I just misplaced it by accident. Sandra woke up thanks to me frantically looking for the box. “Sandra, what’d you do with the cereal?” I asked her while still looking in the various shelves in my kitchen. “Didn’t you put it in here?” she asked while pointing to the spot where I swore that I put it. “I could have sworn that I did, but I don’t know where it went. Please tell me that you took it,” I said. Yet she continued to deny the accusation. I thought it was her regardless. What else could it have been? A burglar? No. What burglar steals boxes of cereal? I didn’t pay much attention to it, though. I just said, “Guess it just grew a pair of legs and walked off.” and forgot about the whole ordeal.

I went over to the Whites and knocked on their door. I was greeted when Mr. White answered. “Hey there, son. How are you this fine morning?” He asked with his typical happy-go-lucky tone of voice. “Hey there Mr. White. I’m doing well, thanks for asking. But I came over to ask you about someone. Have you heard of a Mr. Peters?” I asked. Mr. White frowned when I asked. “Well, no. Sorry son, can’t say that I have. Who is he?” He questioned. “He moved into the apartment right next to ours. I’m surprised that you don’t know who he is. You of all people in this building would know if someone new was moving in.” I said. Mr. White then smiled and said, “Well we should go and see how’s he’s doing, then.” I think about it for a second, and took him up on his offer. The two of us walked over to his door, and Mr. White knocked on the door. We stood there for a little bit, only to returned with silence. I found it odd that there was no response what so ever. We didn’t even hear any noises from the other side of the door. “Hmm.. He must be sleeping, still.” chimed in Mr. White. I found it to be a reasonable for the lack of sounds coming from the other side of the door. “Well, how about we come back later to see if he’s awake?” I ask Mr. White. He agrees to the offer, and says that he’ll have a freshly bakes pie ready for when I get back from work. We part ways, and I go about my day as normal. Then I got back home.

I changed my clothes, and then went to the kitchen to grab something to eat really fast before I went over to see Mr. White. I grabbed a chocolate bar, and went to the refrigerator. But when I opened the door, I saw no milk quart. Now I was starting to get an annoyed. Was Sandra just pulling a prank or something? I got home before her again, so I decided to just go see to Mr. White and talk to Sandra when she got home. I knocked on the door, and got something I wasn’t expecting at all. Mrs. White answered the door, tears running down her cheeks and red irritated eyes. “Hello, Matt.” She said through her crying. I was completely caught off guard by this, so I simply asked what had happened to out her in this state. “It’s George. My poor, sweet George.” She said. Now, even though Sandra and I just called him, “Mr. White”, we both knew his first name was George. “What happened to him?” I asked. “He’s gone! He just disappeared!” She said through her now heavy sobbing. My mind rushed to one conclusion; Mr. Peters. “Follow me, now.” I told Mrs. White.

I rushed down the hall to Mr. Peters door. I pounded my fist on the door. “Mr. Peters! Open up right now!” I was once again returned with silence. Complete and utter silence. Mrs. White came running down the hallway and caught up to me. “Have you called the police about Mr. White?” I asked. She nodded. “They came over and I told them what happened. Now, why are you banging the door? Who’s Mr. Peters?” I explained everything to her, and she too had never heard of him. Concerned, I pulled out my phone and dialed 911. Mrs. White and I waited for the police to arrive, but before they could get to us, Sandra came walking down the hallway. “What’s going on here?” She asked us. I told her about everything that had happened. Mr. White and I coming over, the missing milk, and Mr. White’s disappearance. Sandra waited with us for the police to arrive.

They finally got to the apartment, and I yet again explained my story. They both looked at each other, and knocked on the door, also to be greeted with silence. They went to go talk to the building manager to see if they could get some more information, but he said that there was no Mr. Peters who lived in that apartment. Both the police and the building manager returned to the door, master key in hand. The door then swung open. Nothing. It was just a normal empty room. We all walked in, confused, me more then the others. Then I remembered. I walked over to the wall, and gave it a light knock with my first. The hollow walls made its standard sound. I called everyone over, and showed that the wall was in fact hollow. What went from two police officers quickly escalated into ten. It took about three hours, but Sandra, Mrs. White, the building manager and I all waited for the police to finger out what to do next. After some discussion, the decision was to knock down the hollowed wall, and what I saw next would change my life forever.

It was a terrible sight. Mr. Peters lay quietly next to the dead corpse Mr. White, his stomach messily flayed open. It looked as if Mr. Peters used his teeth to grind a large slit in his stomach, and then used his fingers to pry it open. But that wasn’t the worst part of it was that in his opened up stomach, was a pit of milk, cereal, and blood. There was so much blood.. All over both of their bodies. Mrs. White didn’t take it well. She was hysterical, and started to vomit. Some of the policemen vomited as well, and even though I felt like I was going to, I resisted. Even though that the sight was hooraying, that still isn’t the worst part. The worst thing of the scene was his smile. He had that same ear to ear grin as he did when we first met. The police had their guns drawn, pointed right at him. But he just smiled, straight at me. Straight into my eyes. His gaze sent chills running up my spine. He got up and stepped away from his body, his eyes never leaving mine. His smile never losing its size.

The police brought him out to the apartment, and put handcuffs on him. Other officers took Mr. White out of the hollowed wall, Mrs. White crying all the way. I feel for her, really I do. If I found Sandra in that state, I don’t know how I would react. Mr. Peters was taken away, and he was given the death penalty. I saw a therapist not long after the ordeal, and I still see him once every week. I’m writing this right now, just to warn everyone out there. When you hear banging at you wall or roof, or are just hearing “house noises”, you might want to give it a closer inspection. It probably just is normal “house noises”, but after this event I never took the chance. I’m still incredibly paranoid. I remember one night at around 3:00 in the morning; i heard some banging coming from my kitchen. I got up as I always do, but this time was different. I saw Mr. Peters smiling at me, his teeth dripping with a crimson fluid, which had to be blood. I turned on the light, and he simply vanished into thin air. I don’t know why this is happening to me. I don’t even believe in the supernatural or anything, but I know what I saw. He was just standing there, looking right at me. Smiling that terrifying smile.

Credit To – Cade McKown

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