July 2014 Creepypasta Book Club: Cults, Conspiracies & Secret Societies – PLUS “The Secret World” Giveaway [Winner Chosen, Congrats to Kristela!]

July 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Welcome to possibly the longest-named post on the entire site! It fits, because this is going to be a long post – I’ve got a lot of ground to cover about the whole book club idea before we begin. Exposition, go!

Today we’re going to start the “creepypasta book club” that was discussed in previous announcement posts. If you’re not familiar, the idea is to read some books together that will help cultivate inspiration and nurture more original ideas in our writers. I don’t believe that I’m overestimating when I say that lately, a solid 75% of the incoming submissions are simply retreading the same few topics – I suppose that, for whatever reason, serial killers, haunted games, and fanfics of previously-created Creepypasta “characters” are extremely trendy right now.

The problem is, though, that after the 5000th rip-off of Jeff the Killer or the latest attempt to copy-and-replace Ben Drowned with the writer’s favorite game franchise, these stories get mind-numbingly boring. New ideas and inspiration are CLEARLY necessary now, because I for one am absolutely sick of reading about serial killers. I’m not sure if it’s just because they’ve been so in lately in pop culture (what a strange thing to say, but it seems to be true – Hannibal, Dexter, Jeff the Killer, so on and so forth), but we’ve gone way past the point of oversaturation.

You guys need to find something new to write about.

So that’s where this book club idea comes into play. Every month, I’ll select a general theme and give you guys one or two books to read. Now, to avoid confusion, this won’t be about reading already established “creepy” fiction like King or Chambers. Though we may do that another time, the book choices for the inspiration club will be, primarily, nonfiction (though some selections will definitely be “nonfiction” – we’re going to indulge in some pseudoscience and conspiracy books because, after all, we’re trying to get ideas for fiction anyhow). This will hopefully allow you guys to expand your comfort zone of creepy into realms like secret societies, cryptozoology, high-risk exploring like mountaineering, ancient cultures and pseudeoarchealogy, aliens, mysterious disappearances, and more.

The other added benefit of using nonfiction is that spoilers won’t be a concern. Since this post’s comments will act as the discussion forum for our book club, we need books that people can easily discuss at all sorts of different points of progress without ruining each other’s experience.

So, yes, to alleviate some of the confusion and concerns that initially came up when I presented this idea:

THIS POST is your book club. The comments here are where you should air out all your thoughts and ideas that spawn from reading the suggested books. There’s no requirement for how fast you progress through the book(s), whether you read both books or only one, or even if you finish the book(s) or not, so please feel free to jump in and discuss the books whenever you’d like.

If this takes off and you guys want it, perhaps in the future we can try and organize some sort of chat at the end of the month, but for now please don’t worry about that and just post here whenever you have things to talk about regarding this month’s books.

Okay, all that said – here are the two books I’ve selected for July 2014. As stated in the title, this month we’re going to explore the world of cults, conspiracies and the theorists who love them, and secret societies.

It should be said that these books were chosen with mature readers in mind. If you are under 18, please do check with your parent/legal guardian before reading these books. I’d really prefer to avoid a pitchfork-mob of angry parents who find this topic inappropriate for their kids. I’d also like to say that the opinions expressed in the books are, of course, the opinions of their authors and the people profiled only – I’m not advocating or co-signing any of the groups covered in these books. I’m not telling you to believe in the Illuminati or anything, I just think such topics are a cool and fun thing to learn about and will probably inspire some people to write better pastas.

The first book is by Jon Ronson, a British author/humourist that I personally really enjoy. Them: Adventures with Extremists is exactly what it says on the tin – Ronson meets and spends time with a lot of famous faces in the world of conspiracy theories and extremist beliefs. David Icke, Alex Jones, Omar Bakri Mohammed, and more – as Ronson says, the only criteria was that the people/organizations he features have been called ‘extremists’ at some point in their careers. Each episode gives you a look into the beliefs, day to day lives, personalities, and habits of the the various extremists that he profiles. If you’re interested in writing a character-driven story about conspiracies, cults, or societies, this book will be helpful. It also tends to be rather irreverently funny, which is a plus.

As a bonus, Jon Ronson was recently on WTF with Marc Maron, where he gave some behind-the-scenes details on this book (they also delve into The Psychopath Test, another book I’m considering for future months if this book club turns into a long-term thing) as well as more personal opinions and anecdotes. You can stream/download the episode here for now (it will eventually become a premium-only episode, so keep that in mind – based on the pattern, I’m guessing it will go premium-only sometime in August).

If you want to go more in depth, the second suggestion is Arthur Goldwag’s Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies: The Straight Scoop on Freemasons, the Illuminati, Skull & Bones, Black Helicopters, the New World Order, and Many, Many More.

Unlike THEM, this book isn’t really a narrative – rather, the author has researched many of the world’s more infamous and interesting cults, conspiracy theories, and secret societies, and he’s done nice write-ups on each. The entries are organized thematically and can easily be read out of order if you’re so inclined. Beyond the organizations in the title, he also covers the origins of the Assassins (it’s not just a random word), Area 51 and all it encompasses, the Yakuza, the Kennedy assasinations, etc etc and so on. This book is really useful and interesting if you’d like to get a sort of crash course in this month’s topic.

Lastly, to celebrate the first book club post, I’m giving away ONE online game code for Funcom’s online game The Secret World.

Since the raffle is over (congratulations to Kristela A. for winning!), I’m putting the rest of this entry under a cut. The main page has so many stickied posts at the moment that I think it’s necessary to de-clutter wherever I can.

How to Write a Vidya Gaem Pasta

April 1, 2014 at 2:00 PM
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(A last hurrah to the Haunted Game ‘genre’, as it were.)

So, you’re wanting to write a video game crappy – erm, creepypasta? Think you have what it takes? To be honest, you probably don’t. But fear not! With just the submission form (who needs proofreading? Or drafts? Hell, who needs edits? Not you, that’s for sure!) and this handy guide, you’ll be writing terrible pastas in no time!
Wait, did I say ‘terrible’? Like, out loud?
I meant ‘beautiful’.
Yep.
Totally.
————–
First of all, you’re going to have to pick a topic! Maybe you should go for something well known? Maybe try your hand at more obscure games? It’s your choice! Let’s get creative!
(And by ‘get creative’, I mean ‘write the same shitty pasta that’s already been written a thousand times before’. But that doesn’t matter. Whatever.)
>Try a Pokemon pasta! They were the most popular video game pasta subject for a reason, you know. Don’t know anything about Pokemon? Doesn’t matter – just as people who have never played Pokemon can pick it up easily, you don’t need to know anything about it to write a pokepasta! Just throw in some peekachoos and charozords and you’re all set!
>Maybe a Minecraft pasta? Just like how you can do so much in Minecraft, you can write so much about it too! ..Or you can just write about Herobrine! ‘Who’s a hero brown,’ you ask? Why, only a slightly original monster that was mutated into a cliched horror monster by thousands of bad fan misinterpretation!
>Try your hand at a Legend of Zelda pasta! Hey, you remember that one ‘ben drowned’ pasta you read about a year ago? Well, let’s write that again, but with all grammar or decent writing absent! I’m sure it’ll get thousands of upvotes! (read: downvotes)
>Something a bit more obscure? Why not? You could be contributing to the large amount of stories that only make sense to a small, unknown group of people! A scary story… about lawyers? Farming? Why? Why the hell not?

Wow, that took a while! Time for deciding the name of the pasta! This is nice and simple!

[GAME NAME]: [DESCRIPTIVE WORD] [WORD RELATING TO THE PASTA]

Sounds relatively simple! Let’s try it out a bit!
Pokemon: Bloodied Diamond
Minecraft: Curse of Herobrine
Ace Attorney: The Demonic Testimony

Do you like those names? I like those names. Let’s move on!

Of course, your main character has to get their game in some way. What’s that? Introducing the character? No, no, no, no, no. You’re doing it all wrong.
>”I got it from a garage sale/market sale/yard sale” – The oldest and best one in the book. If 99% of people write it this way, then it can’t possibly be bad, can it?
>”Some shady guy/girl/being of unidentifiable gender gave it to me” – Sometimes, we just want to skip the boring introduction and get straight to the action, and there’s no better way to do it than this.
>”I downloaded it online” – Who goes to garage sales anymore? Keep up with the times with this new, hip trend!

Moving on to step number three – of course, because this is a creepypasta, the game has to be haunted, right? But what’s it going to do?
>Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary – because hey, if you put in no effort here, you can use that effort later, right? That’s how it works, isn’t it? Right? Right?!
>A couple of graphical glitches – because nothing makes your viewers tremble more than the screen flickering a little or some colours changed. This is a true fact.
>Noises. – More specifically, weird noises. Glitchy sounds. Muffled screaming. The usual.
Okay, those are some basic ones, but why not step it up? Add some blood! Lots of blood! Also, make sure to use some of these words at least three times in the story…
>Hyper-realistic
>Bloody
>Demonic
>Ghostly
>Scary
Alright, we’ve got some scary shit going on, but if the main character ran away now, the pasta would stop half-way, right? Let’s choose an excuse for them to stay around.
>”I thought it was just a glitch”
>”I thought it was just a glitch”
>”I thought it was just a glitch”
Just kidding. You get no choice on this one. Trust me, this is for the better.
Alright, now just fill in the rest of the story using more glitches (as always, consider adding more blood and hyper-realism to your story), until WHAM! Something really scary happens! This can be anything – hell, it doesn’t have to be scary. Just as long as your main character responds fittingly. Or, alternatively, not-so-fittingly.
How will your protagonist respond to the sheer creepiness? How will this story meet its conclusion?
>Throw their console out – Destroy their DS! Pulverise their Playstation! Erm, throw a TV out the window? Whatever. It works.
>AND THEN THE PROTAG DIED – Dead things are creepy. People dying are creepy. Why not kill off the protagonist? I’m sure that, with the large amount of characterization we gave them earlier, it will really shock the readers. Honest.
>YOU’RE NEXT – Did you know that all creepypasta readers have a constant fear that there’s a monster behind them? Use this to your advantage? Everyone’s terrified of walls!

Alright, now we have the main story and –
Oh?
Did you think that was finished?
Oh no, this is the fun part. Now we add some… er… personality to your story. And by ‘personality’, I mean ‘bad writing skills’. I mean, let’s face it, nobody really misses punctuation. I sure don’t.
Choose one of the following typing quirks – I mean, writing styles.
>capital letters. get rid of all your capital letters. no-one likes them at all. too old fashioned.
>WHY NOT HAVE LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS? BE NEW AND DANGEROUS. MAKE YOUR ENTIR STORY CAPITAL LETTERS. (Obviously, don’t use this one with the previous one.)
>Make Every Capital Letter Refined And Pronounced. This Makes You Seem Posh And Smart.
And at least one of these. You can have more, if you want to be EXTREME.
>Motherfucker, let’s get some fucking swears up in here. Swears are bitchin’ as shit. It makes you sound fuckin’ hip and cool. Fuck yeah.
>No punctuation ever at all because seriously having things just constantly flow is so much easier and better in every way wow
>Waht if you where unabel to spel things right? Sonds fun!
———————
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely just finished writing your first video game pasta! Now just publish your beautiful (read: horrendous) story (read: crap heap), and watch it get thousands of upvotes (read: downvotes) like it deserves! Good luck!

Credit To – Yu “The Operator” Meigns

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Succession Of Nightmares

August 8, 2012 at 12:00 AM
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Nightmares.

We all have them, one time or another.

Everything has a dark side, our dreams were meant to be a place of jubilation, and contain our most wonderful fantasies.

This is kinda like an award. Some of us work our asses off all day long, and then come home to a nice cozy bed. Sleep by itself is a nice gift for our turmoils, but dreams make sleeping hard for us to want to wake up sometimes.

But there is of course a darkside…there is always a darkside.

Nightmares have a certain way of creeping up on us when we don’t want them to…its almost like they know…

Some may say that nightmares are our own fault. Watching scary movies, or reading scary stories can fuel our nightmares.

But….what if there are things out there…that can control our dreams?

What if there are beings who can purposely give us nightmares.

What if these things are there to drive us insane…to the point where we want to sleep forever.

Now is when I tell you about my nightmares…

A couple weeks ago I started to get really into reading creepy stories. All humans have this certain want of excitement…but sometimes we take it way to far. You know what I’m talking about. Surfing videos on the internet late at night, reading creepy stories, or making our own stories.

You know how it works. You sit there, tired in front of your computer. The room is dark, the voices in your head are telling you to shut off the computer and finally get some fucking sleep. But then it happens. You find a video that has a creepy description. Perhaps a video about a ghost encounter, or a video of aliens.

This is how my nightmares started.

My friend Zack has a youtube account where he plays video games and gives them commentary. You know, a “Let’s Play.”

But one day he decided to do something different. He narrated a story off of a website called “creepypasta.com.”

I have heard of this somewhere, I know I have. Its hard to surf the interent for so many years and not hear about something so popular.

He told a story of a man called “Slender Man.” Now I had obviously heard of this character. I’ve seen the MarbleHornets videos, and I’ve seen the fan art, and the so called “pictures.”

The story was interesting, and it made me want to read more, so I did.

Within a few days, I had read all the populare stories that this website had to offer. “Squidward Suicide” “Ben Drowned” “Dead Bart” “Jeff: The Killer” “The Tails Doll” “Smile Dog” And all the Pokemon hacks.

These stories…they give you a feeling of terror. You start to notice all the small things around you, all the creaks and moans. You look over your shoulder and think you see a shadow of some sort. Nothing…huh…silly you.

You finally get the courage to go to sleep, and then you start to understand the position you just put yourself in.

I understood what I was doing to myself…but I didn’t stop.

I saw them all…I saw all the creatures from those stories in my dreams.

I saw the Smile Dog try to make me spread the word…I saw Jeff telling me to go to sleep…Squidward staring at me with his bloodshot eyes…

Jerking myself awake everytime I encountered one of these freaks got old real fast.

But then, the nightmares begin to get so much more real.

No longer was I imagining the characters from the stories…but now…my nightmares were taking their own shape. Contorting themselves to make me even more uncomfortable.

One night, I was laying soundly in my bed. It was almost like an out of body experience. You see, I had a bird’s-eye view of myself. It was as if I was laying on the ceiling. I was laying on top of the covers, and my eyes were closed. I must note that I was not breathing. No snoring, no indication of my stomach rising and lowering. In fact, I was utterly motionless.

My room was pitch black as it usually is when I fall asleep, but I could see myself perfectly. Its as if I had some type of night vision, but it wasn’t all green and shit like it usually is.

Then my eyes shot wide open. It startled me a bit. I just stared up at the ceiling. It seemed as if he was looking at me, like I really was on the ceiling.

A drop fell…a ruby colored drop of blood fell onto my face. Then another…and another…and another…
The drops began to fall slow, but then they picked up speed, similiar to when rain begins to fall.

The version of myself laying on my bed then begins to smile. The blood soaks his teeth, and started to drip into his eyes. But he did not blink or close his mouth. Just let the blood fall on him.

Suddenly, the view switched to me being on the ceiling. Now I was the one laying on the bed.

On the ceiling…was a bloody, mangled, wounded version of me. My eyes were missing, and my teeth were missing as well. But I had the same smile as the version of myself on the bed.

My hands and legs were pinned to the ceiling…almost…as if I was being crucified.

Then the view began to slowly zoom in on my face. Blood still fell, and my view was being distorted. I wanted to see what was going to happen, so I tried my best to see. The view then zoomed in on my face at an alarming rate, and then I spoke.

“I am your God now.”

I woke up. Breathing fast and hard. I felt paralyzed, like I was stuck.

I felt liquid around me. Did I really just piss the bed from this nightmare? Or….or was it blood? I quickly jumped up and found out that I had knocked over a cup of tea in my sleep, and I was laying in it.

Sometimes when I have dreams I feel as if the interactions of objects in the real world affect my dream. In one dream I was being stabbed repeatedly in the arm, and I could actually kinda feel it. I awoke to my friend obnoxiously poking me in the arm with a pen. I thought that him poking me in the arm made the stabbing from the nightmare be all the more real.

Since dreams and nightmares are derived from our brains, we can experience things in our dreams that seem real. When you eat something, you can taste it. This is because you remember how the object tasted.

This dream made me not want to sleep anymore that night, so I didn’t.

But that wasn’t the end.

I had this same nightmare over and over again for a few days. Happening the same way everytime. There wasn’t anything I could do. I couldn’t change the dream even if I wanted to.

This nightmare scared me everytime. You think I would have got use to it…but I didn’t.

I began to think about ways I could avoid this nightmare. This was my first thought.

I can’t remember ever having a nightmare while I was napping during the day. So my frist plan was to sleep during the day, and stay up during the night. Hopefully this would work.

First day, no nightmare. I was relieved. I thought that I had found the solution. I had no problem sleeping during the day, I didn’t sleep much as it was already.

Second day, my plan failed. The same nightmare happened again, but this time. There was no smiling from the body on the ceiling…actually…there were no emotions at all. My head was missing…more blood fell quickly this time making the dream end faster. My body laying on the bed looked down, and my decapitated head was laying in my lap. And it was smiling.

I’m pissed now. What, I just can’t fucking sleep anymore? Fine, I won’t. I’ll stay awake! Yes, that will work. I’ll stay awake until I pass out from exhaustion. I won’t encounter the nightmare unless I absolutely have to!

I wrote this…quite a while ago…back when the nightmares first started. It’s been about a week since I decided I wasn’t going to sleep.

I’m so tired…I don’t think I can stay awake anymore. My bed…sounds so heavenly right now. I guess my plan didn’t work how I thought it would…

I’m going to go to bed now…I think I could stay up for a few more hours but…I don’t want to.

I want to see my smile…I want to see my bloody body hang from the ceiling…It sounds so interesting to me now…Oh how that blood felt so refreshing cascading on my face.

I have a bottle of pills…extra strength…I’m going to take them all with some alcohol…

I don’t want to be awake anymore. I’ve been awake for a couple days…and I now realize how horrifying it is.

I’m seeing all those creepypasta characters in real life now…I’ve gone completely fucking insane.

I know they won’t be there in my dream…they were never there before.

I’ll sleep forever…so I can look and smile at my God for the rest of days.

I just swallowed the pills…I’m going to have a quick drink, then I’m going to bed.

Why not join me?

It will be your God soon enough.

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Lure

February 28, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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It was almost three o’clock in the morning when something woke Leah up. She stayed in bed for a few groggy minutes, warm beneath the familiar blankets. For the last three days, an enormous rain storm had been falling on the island of Kauai, bringing an unusual chill along with it. The rain smacked against the windowpanes relentlessly. Leah had grown used to its noise. So it was something else that had disturbed her, and she knew she’d never get back to sleep until she figured out exactly what it was. With a reluctant sigh, she sat up in bed and looked around.

The light.

Her bedroom was filled with strange shadows and a stark light she hadn’t recognized right away. The new security light Aidan, her brother-in-law, had put in for her just before the storm. Nobody had come by, and Leah had done a thorough job of making sure she had enough supplies to last out the bad weather. She’d never seen it switch on at night before. It was probably the wind pushing something into the garden that had triggered it. The system was supposed to shut itself off after three minutes. She wondered how long she’d been awake, and watched the clock tick one minute after another.

Four, then five.

The light stayed on.

Aidan wasn’t known for his amazing skills at electrical installation. Under normal circumstances, Leah would have insisted on hiring a professional, but she didn’t really see the point of having the security to begin with. She’d only agreed to it to make her sister happy. There weren’t many dangers in rural parts of the island, unless you were afraid of having to listen to hippies talk about carving gourds. Leah’s nearest neighbours were a fifteen minute drive away, and that’s how she liked it. She didn’t even have a paved driveway. Who, she wondered, would bother to go all the way out to her place to commit a crime? It was smarter to head to the coast and wreck up the big town.

She cursed and grumbled as she got out of bed, shivering in her shorts and long-sleeved tee. It was even colder than she thought it would be. The floor was like ice beneath her bare feet. She stepped quick and lightly to the window, hugging herself for warmth, and tried to crane her head to see where the security light was mounted. The rain was making a mess of her view, coming down in thick streaks that made the outside world look like it was twisting around in a crystal decanter.

A shape moved at the corner of her eye. Her heart pounded for a second or two, then calmed as she looked into her driveway. Standing a little ways to the side of her car was a figure. It looked like a girl with bright red hair, pinned up in the style of a surf bunny from the days of Frankie and Annette. She was wearing a long, floral print dress and standing right in the middle of the pouring rain. She was too far away and the weather was too bad for Leah to make out her features. As she watched, the girl in the driveway looked right up at the bedroom window and waved. A slow, robotic hello.

The tiny hairs on Leah’s arms stood up, and she ducked away from the window.
She took a few deep breaths.

Fine. The girl was there because her car had broken down, or she had some other kind of trouble. And she knew that somebody was home because Leah’s car was right there beside her, or maybe she assumed that somebody had manually turned the outside light on. But how could she have known exactly where Leah was? The room was dark, the security light was too bright and distracting, and there were other windows on the second floor. How had she known exactly which one Leah was standing at?

Calming herself, telling herself there was probably an innocent explanation for it all, Leah glanced out the window again. The girl was still there. Waiting. She looked young and delicate, like a teenager. There were all kinds of warnings and emergency procedures being declared because of the storm, and two of the nearby roads were flooded. Leah knew she’d never forgive herself if that girl was in need of help and she left her stranded. Shaking the doubts from her mind, Leah decided to make her way downstairs.

She tried not to think of the girl’s eerie wave. She tried to rationalize the strangeness of the shadows. Both the car and the small palm tree had cast long, deep shadows from the stark white light on top of the lanai. The girl didn’t have any shadow at all. But that could have been something to do with the angle, or a trick of the rain. The weather had blurred so many details, it was hard for Leah to be sure of anything she saw.

Just as her foot touched the bottom stair, the sound of the knock filled the house. A rhythmic slamming against the front door, in no way gentle or persuasive. It was loud, startlingly so, and strangely hollow. An angry demand very unlike the way Leah would have expected the girl she saw to knock. She tried to tell herself that her nerves were skewing things, making her edgy when there was no need to be. Maybe it had been a loud knock because the girl was feeling desperate, wanted to be sure that the people inside heard her. But then, why hadn’t she used the doorbell instead? Maybe there was someone else with her, and Leah simply hadn’t been able to see them from the window.

That changed things. That was a rational concern. What if there was a boyfriend? Someone big, strong and threatening.

Leah hurried into the kitchen and got herself a knife. Nothing big or menacing like one of the butcher’s knives on the posters for horror movies, just a small paring knife. Very sharp. The kind of thing that was guaranteed to hurt a man if you wanted him hurt, or stop him if he needed stopping. For the first time since moving out of the city, she regretted the seclusion she’d chosen. She’d take all the airplane flyovers, traffic noise and petty crime in the world to feel less vulnerable. The knock sounded again, with such urgency that Leah could feel the vibrations of it inside her bones.

She made herself think of flooded roads, stranded people, medical emergencies. With the knife at her side, she went to her front door and stood with her hand resting on the knob. Part of her was screaming to forget it, to go back upstairs and lock herself in her room until morning, but she couldn’t. In a quick, defiant motion, she swung the front door open and looked out into the pouring rain.
No one was there.

“Hello?” Leah called, stepping carefully onto the lanai. “Is somebody out here? Do you need help?”

She made her way forward very carefully, adjusting her grip on the knife handle. The rain was fierce and deafening, cold splashes of it coiling around her naked ankles like ocean spray. Everything smelled drowned and muddy. There was no sign of anyone, not even a set of footprints in the softened earth of the driveway. Leah stepped to the very edge of the outside steps and took one last look around.

“I’m going back inside.” She called, her voice quivering more than she would have liked.

As she turned, the front door slammed shut and shook the floor of the lanai. The security light snapped off so quickly, it was as if the bulb had suddenly burnt out. Leah sprang towards the closed door and twisted frantically at the knob, but it wouldn’t turn. Impossible. The only way to lock the door was from the outside. She hadn’t even had a deadbolt put in.

Finally, the door relented and swung open as though there hadn’t been any resistance at all. Leah dashed inside and slammed it shut behind her.

The house felt empty and full at the same time. The greyness of the rainy night settled on the familiar rooms in front of her like a layer of dust. She knew that the house had to be searched. Somebody could have been hiding close to the wall and ducked in when she was looking at the driveway. It took her a few moments, standing in the empty front room with the soft drumbeat of the rain mingling with the pounding of her heart, before she felt bold enough to do it.

When she found no one, she began to relax. She ended the search in the kitchen, and decided to pour herself a glass of water and check her phone. Just to be safe, she’d send a message to her sister. Nothing to worry her, just something to let her know about the girl in the driveway. She put the paring knife down on the counter and picked up her phone. No bars and no wifi. The storm had been upsetting service on and off for the last few days. Leah tried not think of it as isolation. It was just a nuisance. Her imagination was playing tricks on her. When morning came, she would laugh at herself and spend another cozy day curled up and watching whatever was saved on the DVR.

A razor-thin breeze whistled by her ear when she went to get a glass from the cupboard. There was a sound like nothing she’d heard before. A sharp, reverberating thud. Something had hit the cupboard door while she held it open. Slowly, nervously, she closed it to see what it had been. The paring knife was sticking out of the door, as though it had been thrown.

Leah turned. The kitchen was bright, well-lit, and empty.
She grabbed the phone off the counter, and hurried upstairs to the bedroom. She would throw on some flip-flops and proper clothes, grab her keys, and get the hell out. The goat ranch up the road was owned by two very friendly retirees, she was certain that they would help her. There was no guarantee that the roads would be clear, probably covered in water and debris, maybe even a fallen tree, some parts too muddy to drive on, but she had to try.

Her feet almost slipped on the hardwood stairs as she hurried to change. Nothing dramatic, just enough to feel like she wasn’t driving through a rain storm in her underwear. She grabbed a pair of jeans off the closet floor and pulled them on, her back to the window. As she did, the room filled with the pale white light that had woken her up less than an hour before. The security light, coming to life once more. She didn’t want to turn around and look out the window, but she made her body move to where she could look out and see.

There was no redheaded girl, but the light stayed on.

Calmly, Leah slipped on her flip-flops and headed into the hall. She breathed steadily, stepped carefully. The house was colder than it should have been at the top of the stairs. The smell of rain and boggy, wet earth was pungent and overwhelming. Leah swallowed hard, steadied herself. It would be a difficult drive to the neighbour’s – she wouldn’t make it if she was in a panic. But when she got to the middle of the staircase, she couldn’t control the surge of dread that overtook her.
The front door was wide open.

The security light caught the falling rain, casting patterned shadows on the floor. Leah braced herself and headed straight for the door. She would run right for the car and jump in, without any kind of hesitation. She made for the lanai, but something at the corner of her eye, in the dust grey shadows of the living room, moved.
Leah froze. She couldn’t help herself. She turned to look.

The redheaded girl was standing there, her head tilted to one side. This close, Leah could notice things she hadn’t been able to see from the upstairs window. Like the black dirt under the girl’s fingernails, the disarray of the orderly hairstyle, the rips and stains on the long floral dress.

“I’m sorry,” The girl looked over her shoulder, as though she were expecting someone else to step out of the shadows behind her.

The security light switched off.

Credit To – Susan Eckland

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The Pond

February 24, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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As I walked, the snow crunched beneath my rubber boots. Every so often I would step on a twig, sending a cracking sound into the air as it snapped in half. There was no wind, and almost no noise besides my footsteps, and the birds calling.

Hunting was a big pastime of mine. I would spend hours walking through the large forest, tracking down animals. I would venture out into any weather, it didn’t matter if it was raining, freezing, or blistering hot. It had been snowing a lot lately, which was good news to me, as I loved snow.

I was making my way over to a favorite spot of mine, a large pond in the middle of these woods. As I trodded along, I took in the scenery. It was beautiful, like a winter wonderland. Despite my happy thoughts, I couldn’t help but think of an awful incident that happened ten or so years back. A young man, around the age of twenty, went out hiking in this forest. When he never came home, the authorities were called, and they went out to find him. Sadly, what they found was his lifeless body, sunken to the bottom of the pond. The poor boy had drowned, and every time I went to that pond, I thought about how it was his grave. Since the accident, the children of the town would tell ghost stories about the forest, and would dare each other to see how far they could go out into it.

I reached the pond, frozen and glistening. It was so cold, I knew that I shouldn’t stay out to long. I started to make my way over to a large boulder. I liked to sit on it, and watch for wildlife. As I came to it, however, my foot got caught on a root jutting up from the ground. My body twisted, and I fell over. I fell flat on my stomach, and my rifle flew from my grasp. It landed on the ice of the frozen pond, and slid a little ways out.

I cursed to myself quietly, and stood up. I had to get it back, but I had to be careful not to slip and fall again. I carefully placed my foot on the ice. Then the other one. I started to walk across. I got to my rifle, and bent down slowly to pick it up. At that moment, I heard a loud crack.
Suddenly, the ice beneath me fell into the frigid water, and I fell along with it.

The water felt like fangs bitting into my skin, and my muscles tensed up and became stiff. I thrashed and gasped for air, trying to pull myself out of the hole in the ice, but it was so cold, and it hurt. Water began to fill my boots, making them like heavy weights. I started to sink downwards. I continued to thrash, only wearing myself out. I couldn’t see in the dark, murky water, and I feared trying to open my eyes, as the water was so cold. I couldn’t let myself hit the pond’s bottom, I knew I wouldn’t be able to find the hole I fell through, and I would be trapped. I fought for my life, I didn’t want to die, I didn’t want to end up like the poor boy from years ago.

I became light headed, and knew that it was over. However, just when I thought I was a dead man, I could make out something reaching into the water. It was a hand. I saw it moving, and reaching down within arms reach of me. I shot my own hands out, and grabbed onto it. It pulled me up, and my head emerged from the water. I kept my eyes closed and my head down, and with the person’s help I was pulled completly out of the pond.

“Oh….God…thank you, thank God you were here……” I said in a quiet, raspy voice. I opened my eyes to see my savior, but to my great surprise, there was no one there. I looked around, glancing everywhere, but there was no one anywhere.

I never went back to that pond. Whenever the children would tell ghost stories about the drowned boy in the woods, I would listen, because I was sure that I owed him my life.

Credit To – Mara

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Shadow Over Glass

February 17, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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When I was twelve, I gazed out from the window in my bedroom, which was on the second floor of my house. My body was well-warmed, but the sight locked my head and eyes in place as though they were chilled solid.

The frozen lake was lit in a pure, near-fluorescent light. The moon was hovering in a clear sky, shifting the the usual darkness to a form of near-daylight. A few scattered stars surrounded the gleaming sphere, but my attention was focused on the landscape below. At the other edge of the cove was a surrounding tree line, formed into a jagged silhouette.

I examined this image for a few days, until the moon appeared to be at its brightest. I stopped watching. I walked.

With my first step onto the solid water, the flustering cold of the air disappeared from attention. For the first time in my life, I had seen the moon cast my shadow. It followed me, along the new tundra that was the outdoors, my outdoors. I marched across the entire cove, sensing a newfound energy from the different land. I became numb to the winds, both physically and mentally. By the time I returned home, only just then did I realize my skin turned a vicious pale, even beneath my coat, gloves, and boots.

This was my lone “winter activity”. I wasn’t a fan of the cold outdoors, even at a young age, but walking on that ice made me forget my disapproval. My parents were, to say the least, quite alarmed when I told them of my first adventure. I was an twelve year old wandering alone, after all, let alone the fact it was in the winter night (with deadly water beneath my feet, of course). As years past, I began to sneak out while they slept. They eventually accepted my adventures, seeing that I hadn’t yet drowned or froze to death (or both).

I continued my night walks for years, on that same cove. An average night was satisfying, but the full moon was always a must. I walked during those bright nights at every opportunity, for almost five years.

After that time, I was stopped.

In the year of 1998, while I was seventeen, a severe, powerful ice storm overtook much of the state. Freezing rain and sleet fell at a near constant rate for a good few days. Homes lost power for weeks, roads became unusable, and school was closed for much of the recovery time. I spent almost the entire duration indoors. I was left sleepless most nights, listening to the pounding of frozen drops colliding with the roof. Every window in the home seemed to crack every few minutes. It was unlike any winter weather I had experienced, still to this day (and I live in Maine, for god sakes). “It’s almost supernatural”, my father had joked, stumbling inside after being pelted by sleet.

When the raining cold stopped, school was still closed due to the roads, as were many stores and town departments. Power was still in a blackout. When I wasn’t gathering wood with my father, I spent most of the time peering out the window. The lakefront, along with the woods, became a cross between a wasteland and a glass exhibit. The open sunlight casted through the frozen branches, trees, and surfaces, lighting up the area in an array of glimmers and reflective specks. Large areas of the lake were covered in a uneven, clear layer of ice, while the tree lines at the opposite shore were washed in a shade of white.

A night later, the full moon made its appearance. I saw the light glow from my window. It was about an hour before I would sleep, but it was the chance for me to see the lake in a way I never had. I couldn’t miss it. It was ten thirty. Like many times before, my parents were asleep. I walked out into the night.

The world outside was a foreign, frostbitten land. The sky was clear, allowing the moon to cast its full gleam along the ice and surroundings. The branches of trees became hubs of sparkles, every twig reflecting their own light. Other objects, both natural and man-made, were coated in a layer of fine ice. The snow, which crunched and shattered with my steps, was wet and heavy.

Despite the frozen features, the temperature was, at the time, rather warm. I felt no wind upon my face. As I left my yard, onto the cove, a few drops dripped from a branch above, onto my jacket and neck.

The solid lake was as white as ever. I couldn’t make out my shadow on the glare ice, though. It was my reflection that became visible. It was dark and shaded, but I made out the minor features of my form. I could spot the white tag on the bottom of my coat, as well as the darkish red color of the coat’s material. I spotted the outlines of my eyes, along with the frame of my facial structure. Though it first fascinated me, it became rather ominous. I turned away. The almost startling sight still held itself in my memory.

As I rounded the shores of the silent cove, I looked to the center of the area. I found myself squinting. There was a small, darker section of the ice, one that contrasted against the surrounding white. By the sight of it (in the night), I expected it to be a section of open water, but this didn’t make sense to me. The entire lake had been frozen from end-to-end for weeks.

I moved closer, in which the sight continued to appear the same. I reached the center of the cove, and paused. What lied ten feet away from me was a single, circular space of black, an area no more than five feet in diameter. It was a self-contained abyss, making no reflection with the moon, no connection with the ice that circled it.

It appeared solid, as no cracks sounded as I stepped around it. The sheer unknown of the surface only drew me in, sending a curious tingle about my limbs as I was standing no more than three feet from it.

A calm breeze brushed against me. The only matter that stood between myself and the black surface was a space of cool air, and the only object within a hundred yards of me was a frozen tree.

Two feet.

A nervous twitch went through me, as I made another step. “It can’t shatter”, I told myself.

One foot.

On the dark surface, there was no reflection.

My right foot pressed down on the space. Nothing changed, in stability, terrain, or sound. After pressing and tapping with the same foot, my overcurious mind convinced me to step on with both feet. I listen.

The moment both of my feet hit the surface, a lightheadedness set about me. At the time, I speculated that it was an onset of my own stress and imagination. I took relieving breaths, knowing that I was still above water. Though the panic subsided, I was still at question as to what this unknown, dark surface was. I thought about what could’ve been thrown here from the ice storm, but no explanation seemed plausible. A patch of frozen tar? A small container of oil that had been blown onto the cove? I knew finding it out would be meaningless, so I looked up, and stepped away.

I locked in place. The light breeze stopped.

In the distance stood a shrouded, oval-shaped silhouette. It stood in place, immobile, making no apparent intentions on moving. Against the backdrop of coated trees and glare ice, its details were invisible.

I trembled. It moved, thrusting forward by inches. Even in the distance, I could make out that it was twitching, in a strange manner. Its form went out of shape every second, warping into different patterns of splatters and curves.

A small, quiet portion of me wanted to investigate. The louder, more sensible part of me knew that one weird discovery was enough for the night. I turned, making large steps in the opposite direction. I started to run. My eyes adjusted to the dim image of the shore. I stopped when it came into focus.

My home wasn’t there. There was only a line of trees. I swung about in circles, peering in all directions. From north, to south, to southwest, the sight was the same:

Trees. I was in a natural cage, with a fence of towering wood.

The moon continued to stream its unblocked, white glare. My eyes were almost strained from the light, which suggested that it had become brighter in the past minutes. The stars were far more numerous. I spotted no constellations, only an infinite array of specks.

My head went in circles, searching for an exit, opening, anything different in the prison. I became nauseous, dizzy from the overwhelming restraint and stress arising in my system. I looked back to the center of the cove, shielding my eyes from the moon’s gleam. The figure was closer, making consistent, full steps towards my position. The form appeared human-like, then. It still shook, stretching and contracting its limbs as it made mangled steps towards in my direction.

For perhaps an entire minute, I stared into the dark form that drifted closer to me. It was no more than fifty feet away, then. It had begun to wobble less, but it then started shifting colors, flashing in an array of different shades and patterns.

I sprinted. I moved away from the form, but there was nowhere else. Gathering any sense I could in the panic, my attention flashed to the black surface, which still lied in the center of the cove. The being was close by the spot, yet I still sprinted towards it. The figure didn’t turn, but floated to the position, in front of the hole. It was looking at me, as I ran.

The sky then began to move. I wasn’t just the stars, though. The entire space above started to melt and warp down, collapsing like a soaked oil painting. The moon started to sprout black, spiked veins. The world was growing darker. I kept concentrated to the ground in order to keep sane. My steps felt heavier, crushing against the ice, which was then cracking under my feet.

I kept running. It was clear that there was no escaping this being. Whether I would be stopped cold or pass right through him, either fate was preferable to the sensual hell. A booming roar sounded from what seemed from above. As I neared the form, a distorted screeching clawed at the back of my head. It was unmoving, no longer twitching or shifting forms.

Fifteen feet.

I made a final glance at the sky. It was then a chaotic, disfigured slew of black with white speckles. Whether it had continued to melt or started to whirl and twist, became impossible to determine. The being had more detail. I could see it, even in the dwindling light. It was around my height, six feet tall, dressed in darker, more thiner layers. It had a face. It was white, rather pale, with an age that appeared young, not a full adult, but close.

Five feet.

I nearly stopped, in both question and terror. I could make out its clothing; a black coat, with red lines of color, along with blue boots and dark, grayish pants. It’s hair was a brown, short, tapered near the top. I discovered these features all at once, in a second, as they were familiar in the worst possible way.

Three feet.

Right before my feet dove on the dark hole, I looked at myself. It was standing with a confident smirk as I made a collision with it. Just as I passed through the mirror-self, it opened its eyes, which had remained closed until then.

One foot.

Its eyes were two circles of white, holding the image of the corrupted, veined moon.

The screeching, along with the booming, had disappeared in a second. I felt my face impact a layer of snow. I kept my eyes closed. I heard a gust of wind, sweeping about in an open space. I stood, and opened my eyes to whatever fate I had been left to. I was in the cove, my cove. I could see my house on the nearby shore, as well as the opening to the rest of the lake in the opposite direction.

Safe to say, I immediately went home, but not before checking the ice behind me. For the first time in my life, as I turned, I prayed. I hoped of seeing an open, clear space of ice.

The hole still lied there, its own, self-contained abyss.

I sprinted back home, without glancing back. I went indoors, and strut up to the supposed safety of my own room. I felt at the walls, at solid objects. They were real. I went upstairs, and glanced into my parent’s bedroom. They were both still asleep.

To no surprise, I didn’t sleep, but I also didn’t move. I didn’t look out the window, look at the shadows on my wall, or turn to adjust my uncomfortable, restless self. I only shook. Soon after, I began to sweat. The weather was still rather warm.

Winter was colder, for the rest of the season. My family and I spent much of our time indoors, while I wasn’t at school or work. I didn’t develop any fear of the outdoors, which surprised me. I could still go outside without anxiety, even during the night. I never told my parents of my experience, nor any friends, aside from the occasional reference that only I could understand.

There’s the obligatory “all just a dream” theory, but to trivialize my fears and experience of that night is an idea I can’t bring myself to. I want to. God, I wish I could.

There were no further trips onto the evening ice. Winter has became a period that could go without my care. I felt no more joy in it. I felt pressure in it, actually. The smallest details seemed to draw the most vivid scenes and memories. Summer came, eventually, in which the ice melted back to its former liquid, along with the other frozen layers. In the warm waters of the cove, I saw no disturbances, nor unusual patterns. It was part of the ice when it arrived, so I suppose it left all the same. I don’t wish to think otherwise.

I care nothing about that black void, though. It’s not what bothers me. There are two sights that send me off mental balance, keeping me in a near-constant internal fear. They started from the day after that night, and it will continue for as long as I have eyes to witness them.

The first is the moon. I can’t appreciate it anymore. I only view it as an eye, one that mocks me, looking down upon my vulnerable self. I can’t help but feel, somewhere, there’s a mouth that fits with it. I have nightmares of it laughing. I have a memory of it smirking.

The second object is my reflection.

Or more so lack of.

Credit To – Emeryy (Richard S.)

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