Gazing into the Abyss

May 16, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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“Robert Adam Lane the Third. You gave your soul to Him on May 7th, 1989, and it was a lie. A lie that you told the whole time you held your breath in that brownwater river. A lie you smiled out at that those holyrollers on the bank. Lies are mine, Lies are mine. Mine.” The last “mine” trailed off into a phlegmy wheeze.

These words were clearly audible, despite the man lying face down and away from the windowed door to the isolation cell. The heavy steel meal-flap was standing open to facilitate communication and accommodate feeding times, but usually the cell’s hard surfaces made an echo that distorted every sentence into chaos. This man’s words, though, were not only audible, but guttural, far deeper than the inmate’s normal speaking tones.

“I am His. I am His,” Robert whispered, his voice tight and his chest light from raw fear.

There was no way for this man to have known his full name, and there was no way for him to have known that dark and shameful secret that Robert had never spoken aloud.

He was just a kid when he was baptized. He didn’t really understand the significance or the need until he and his wife had their first son. Introspection accompanied late night feedings and changes; the need for something greater and a higher purpose drove him to accept the religion he’d long ago been a part of, but had never really had be a part of him.

He had taken the job in the county’s number two industry. First was farming, chiefly cattle. Second was the State Prison.

He had been on the job for three years when he encountered Simmons, David R., Number 200400097. Simmons had transferred in from another facility, and he was on year two of a six year sentence out of Atlanta. He had been in medical isolation for most of his incarceration, and he was now in segregation for his own safety and the safety of others. Medically speaking, physically, there was nothing wrong with him. Psychologically, he had several diagnoses that required a small buffet of medications morning and night.

Robert’s encounters with Simmons had been completely routine in nature. Meals were delivered, medications were administered, the head count was conducted. No conversations ever occurred outside of “Good morning, please, and thank you.”

But every day, each and every day that Robert stood shift in the isolation unit, Simmons would “act out” between 2 and 2:15 pm. These episodes mostly consisted of shouting, dancing, stripping, and speaking in tongues or singing. No seizures or convulsions, no physically damaging behavior ever presented itself and necessitated that restraints be used. So regular were these outbursts that somebody could set a watch by them, which was in itself odd…because inmates in isolation had absolutely no way to tell time.

To make matters even more interesting, after a few weeks, Robert’s supervisor claimed that the episodes only went down when Robert was in the building.

There was no exterior window nor any way for Simmons to have heard or seen when Robert was working a duty rotation in Isolation, until Robert himself came to his door.

Some days, Robert never went into the cell blocks, instead, he worked solely in the control room…and still, the episodes presented themselves at around 2pm.

Robert never told anyone at work about what Simmons said. He did his job, day in and day out, and he did his best to pretend that nothing had happened.

He always tried to avoid being in the cell blocks around 2pm.

For several weeks, this worked, until one day, time got away from him, and he found himself doing a head count…at two fifteen.

When Robert came to the window, his heart stopped.

Standing stock-still with his nose inches away from the reinforced glass, Simmons was completely rigid, absolutely, perfectly tense, and on the balls of his feet. Every muscle in his naked, wiry frame was taut, as though his whole body was experiencing a cramp. His eyes were saucers, opened as wide as they would possibly go, and they constantly rolled. Around, around, back until only the whites would show, and then back down, and around and around.

When Robert’s eyes met his, Simmons stopped his eyerolls. Silence filled the cell and the hallway.

Laughter, slow and low, greeted Robert, and then that same guttural voice that had haunted Robert for weeks, spoke.

“Adam Lane the Third. Would you like to see what We do to this man when no one watches? Let Us show you.”

With that, Simmons head-butted the reinforced glass window. His forehead hit with such force that the steel door shook in its frame, and Robert was amazed that the glass didn’t spiderweb. Twice, he hit the window, and before Robert could call for support to get Simmons restrained, a fourth and fifth impact sounded on the steel edge of the windowframe, and as suddenly as the assault began, it ended.

Simmons regained his tensed pose on the balls of his feet. His eyes, still wide as saucers, met Robert’s. Blood slowly poured from large gashes above the inmate’s eyebrows, covering his face in a red mask. There was absolutely no expression, no indication of pain, anger, or distress.

Perfectly impassive, Simmons stared.

Robert broke eye contact and walked on.

A short time later when medics arrived to clean him up, he had curled up and was asleep on his cot, and at final meal-call of the day, he said “Thank you” to Robert in his normal speaking voice as though nothing had happened.

Robert could barely hide the shake in his hands as he handed over the tray of food.

________________________________

Corrections Officer Lane had grown up in the Pentacostal church. His grandmother, 93, still went every Sunday and Wednesday, and twice a month she attended Sunday School.

He was driving her to a Wednesday evening service when he told her about Simmons.

Her hand, covered in parchment-thin skin and decorated with liverspots and bruises, gripped his on the steering wheel. He drove with his left as she, with surprising strength, took his right hand in hers.

“Don’t let him in, son. Don’t you let him. He knows when those b’long to Jesus come ’round. He smells it. He hates it. You pray on it, yhear? You pray to Lordjesus, I’ll pray with you. You pray with me today and you lookit that man in the eye the next time he acts the fool. You lookit’m and you tell’m to give you his name by the will of the Lord. He will. You ain’t gonna unnahstand him, son, but he will. He’ll do it if you’re right with th’Lord. Get right, boy, and stay right. And you get clear. You stay away from that’un.”

His grandmother was telling the truth.

__________________________________________________

Weeks went by, and Robert heard nothing unusual out of inmate 200400097. Just when he was beginning to think that the whole thing was a strange game, something happened.

Simmons had maintained his routine of “showing out” at around 2pm daily. By coincidence, and not design, Robert had not found himself on the floor at these episodes. Ever since the day he’d rammed his head into the doorframe, Simmons had been calmer, only whispering, whimpering quietly, or singing to himself during his regular shows.

It was mid-song that Robert entered line of sight for Simmons. Abruptly, the singing stopped, and Simmons faced the door.

“I don’t like it when you’re here, Lane.”

This came out as all one word, a husky whisper, but still that deep tone that was so unlike every other time the prisoner spoke. “Lane” became “laaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyynnnnnnnnnnn” in the latest attempt to rattle the officer.

“Hey. By Jesus, tell me your Name. Who are you? By Christ’s command, what is your NAME?” Robert shouted the last word, and the echoes filled the concrete hallway.

Simmons recoiled as though struck. He looked to be in physical pain, but Robert heard him speak. The jeering, cheerful face was pinched, and a word came from his lips in a rasp. Robert heard it clearly, but he couldn’t understand it. It sounded foreign, it sounded alien.

It sounded Other.

“I have heard your Name. Never. Speak. To. Me. Again.”

With that, the inmate curled up into a ball on his bed.

That was the last time that David R. Simmons ever spoke to Robert A. Lane, III.
______________________________________

Robert Lane’s hand shook as he snubbed out his last Marlboro Red. A collection of them sat bent, burned and broken in the silver ashtray between us. We both leaned our elbows on the pinewood picnic table where we’d shared a meal and a story.

He thumbed through the pages of the book by Malachi Martin I’d been reading before he sat down to eat with me today. Cover fluttering in the wind, “Hostage to the Devil” had gained its own seat at our table as he put it down next to the remains of my chicken salad sandwich.

“I don’t need to read about this in a book or see it in a movie, man. I’ve seen it in real life. What scares me most, though, is that it has seen me.”

Credit To – Nick O’Caliban

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A Slight Misunderstanding

May 12, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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*Introductory Note* What you’re about to read actually happened while on an internship during Fall of 2014. In order to protect people’s privacy, I’m not including the names of my friends, the name of the company I was employed with at the time, or the name of my university. But after you read my account, if you feel skeptical or otherwise have any questions about my experience, feel free to e-mail me at 2453396381@qq.com. I know the address looks like a spam e-mail, but QQ is actually an extremely popular social networking site in mainland China as Facebook, Twitter, and all the western networks are blocked by the Chinese government. The reason for the suspicious username is that your QQ number is randomly generated and assigned to you when creating an account (that’s right, your identity is literally reduced to an itemized number until you provide personal details on your account).

In fall of 2014 I got a job as a supervisor over 13 volunteer English teachers. I would be working in a Chinese city called Weihai [pronounced ‘way high’] located in Shandong [shawn doe-ng] Province. The company that hired me sends English teachers to Mexico, India, China, Russia, and Ukraine each semester. I was super excited at the opportunity because not only would I have the chance to live in China again (I’d originally been one of the volunteers for this same program several years prior), but my university was willing grant me a semester’s worth of Chinese language credits as an academic internship. I could get good job experience, live abroad in a country that I consider my second home and complete a semester of school, it was my dream semester!

In Weihai, the volunteers and I lived and worked at a prestigious international private school. They treated us really well, one of the biggest perks being that in addition to taking the same vacation days as the school’s faculty that took place over China’s national holidays, we also got an extra week or two of personal vacation time. It was during one of these vacations that I had one of the most disturbing experiences of my life.

Two of my friends from the group, I’ll call them Sara and David, decided they wanted to travel down south to China’s Guangdong [gwahng doe-ng] Province during the Dragon Boast Festival. I suggested that we visit Yangshuo [yahng sh-whoa] a little-known village surrounded on all sides by the region’s gorgeous mountains. I’d visited it a year before and wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to visit there again. Search Google images of Yangshuo’s scenery and you’ll understand why I’m so crazy about the place.

Yangshuo isn’t a large town, but even so, if you plan to do everything that you want to while you’re there, you need transportation since most of the things to do are out in the countryside. The problem was that we’d chosen a super busy time of year to visit such a popular tourist location. All the traffic in the area the entire 6 days we were there was literally a continuous traffic jam, so taking cabs or hiring rickshaws wasn’t an option. We were fine though, as we’d rented some bikes which gave us the freedom to go anywhere we wanted. It actually worked out even better than relying on cabs because we would be able to get to some of the places that were out of the way an inaccessible by car.

I remembered some mud caves pretty deep in the countryside that I’d visited before. It was about an hour outside of town by bike, so it was more than a little out of the way, but its secluded nature was one of the reasons it was such an appealing destination, especially during such a busy holiday where it was a nice to have a break from all the tourists. I convinced Sara and David to make the trip to these mud caves, explaining how we’d already done everything there is to do immediately around the city. They reluctantly agreed, and the morning of the 5th day, we grabbed our bikes and headed out.

We rode for an hour. An hour and a half. Two hours. After the two hour mark I realized that I must’ve gotten us lost. Granted, it had been quite a while since I’d last been there, so I think it’s understandable that I didn’t remember the route. Regardless, I felt stupid and guilty because I’d talked up the mud caves so much to my friends and it looked like we weren’t even going to make it to them. Not only that, we seemed to be in a completely isolated section of countryside. I spoke the language, so finding our way back to town wasn’t going to be a problem. Provided we found another person. From what it looked like, we were in the middle of the wilderness. I was worried that I’d inadvertently wasted one of the last days of our vacation.

I explained the situation to my friends who groaned and were noticeably annoyed at me but who, to their credit, didn’t complain or even blame me for ruining their vacation. That actually made me feel even worse about my screw-up. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I knew that losing a vacation day was no small matter to them.

We stopped our bikes and began discussing what we should do. Should we continue following the current trail and maybe find someone further along the way, should we try to backtrack and run into someone closer to the main road? Should we just abandon our original plan and try to find something else to do out in the country?

While we were deciding what course of action we should take, I noticed some old-looking buildings hidden within a valley, obscured by the thick vegetation clinging to the steep mountain slopes. I was elated; there was bound to be some people in or around those buildings and it couldn’t have been more than a 15-minute ride from where we currently were! Aside from which, some of the most memorable places in China are the ones that you stumble upon by accident, the ones that aren’t known as big touristy places. Our bad luck could turn out to be a good thing after all.

It was evident as we rode our bikes into the enclave that it had been abandoned for some time. The buildings were obviously once part of an old commune from the Maoist era when Communism was in full swing and everyone was required to live in communal compounds. After Mao’s death and Deng Xiaoping [Dung Shyow Ping] started on economic reforms to move China away from Communism, people deserted these communes to make a life in the city and chase a capitalistic dream. So what we’d stumbled upon was actually a really cool piece of Chinese history. We decided to check it out, look around, take some pictures, etc. etc. The entire compound was an enormous siheyuan [sih huh yuwhen], which is essentially a house contained in the walls surrounding a large courtyard that usually contain smaller structures (again, you can Google it for a better idea of what it looks like). In this case, though, it wasn’t just a single household, it was an entire walled community. The walls themselves comprised the living quarters, the central area contained an overgrown field where they would’ve kept the publicly-owned livestock. It looked like some animals had taken up residence since the people left; some goats and cows grazed the long grass and chickens clucked around their feet. Scattered around the perimeter of the field were a few run-down buildings dotting the compound which I assume at one point were the dining hall and some small for textile mills or small-time industrial production plants, depending on what this place specialized in.

We checked around the living area, and it was immediately clear that this place had been abandoned for several decades. The rooms were almost completely vacant, only furniture and a few odd assortments of possessions—woks, chopsticks, portraits of Mao—were left behind, creating a sort of gloomy atmosphere amid the cracked, crumbling walls.

We snapped some pictures, recorded some videos and just generally took in the scenery. We were getting ready to leave when I heard a voice coming from the far end of the commune. Was somebody still living here? It was possible. We had seen some animals left in the central area, after all. I’d assumed they were wild, but it made sense that somebody was still raising them. In fact, it probably made more sense because it didn’t seem very likely that stray animals would find their way inside a gated community like this.

We approached the apartment where the voice was coming from. The front door was slightly ajar and the rich smell of incense wafted out. The voice continued droning on, almost like a chant.

David spoke up. “You think this guy knows the way back to Yangshuo? You should ask for directions.”

I thought maybe the person inside was performing some kind of religious ceremony, so I was reluctant to interrupt him, and I said as much.

“We don’t know how long they’re going to take in there. Do you seriously just want wait outside their door for a couple hours like a bunch of creepers? Just knock on the door and if what they think they’re doing is really important, then they’ll ask us to wait and give us directions when they’re done.”

I was a little bit annoyed by that because David had a tendency to use our celebrity status as white people to expect special treatment from Chinese nationals. I preferred to try to blend in with the culture as much as I could, and I have a strong respect for local customs, particularly religious ones. But he also had a point—Chinese people are naturally hospitable and eager to help others. If this person was a devout Buddhist or Daoist, then their willingness to help us would be even greater, and would most likely drop whatever they were doing the second they saw us.

So I rapped lightly on the door. There was no response. I knocked a bit louder, and the person continued mumbling to themselves. I opened the door slightly and called out to them to alert them of our presence.

“Wei? (Way?) Ni hao! (Knee how!)” The the chanting stopped for a moment, almost imperceptibly, but then continued as though nothing happened. I pushed the door open all the way and saw an elderly, hunchbacked man wandering around the room, shaking a wooden tool as he hobbled about, mumbling his incantation.

He was certainly a Communist-era comrade. His hunched posture and wrinkled, yet calloused skin, told of years of hard work. He was practically doubled over at the waist and only had a few wispy white hairs on the top of his head. His clothes were the classical Communist fare; dark-gray pants with a matching button-up shirt that reached his Adam’s apple along with a squared-off cap. He must’ve taken great care of his clothing because they were in surprisingly good shape, considering they were from around the 1950’s. It’s not like anyone could find a replacement for era-specific clothing 60 years after the fact.

Even more surprising than his physical appearance however, was the state of his apartment. Given how empty the rest of the rooms were in this commune, I was shocked at how decorated this one was. It looked as though he’d scavenged everything his neighbors had left behind when they left. None of the walls were accessible because tables had been pushed up against them, occupying every inch of the room’s perimeter. The tabletops were completely covered by candles, statues of miniature Buddhas in various poses, wilted flowers, beaded bracelets and necklaces, the shoes of infants, calligraphy drawn carefully on rice paper, and what looked like the personal effects of loved ones who had either passed away or abandoned him. There looked to be thousands of other items that I couldn’t even begin to identify.

I approached him and began to speak, asking if he was familiar with Yangshuo and if he would be able help us find our way back to the main road. In response, he only muttered a short phrase

“Wo shao si ge ren [whoa sh-ow sih guh run].”

Wo shao si ge ren? ‘I’m short 4 people?’ Was this person expecting company?

“Excuse me?” I asked, in Mandarin.

“Wo shao si ge ren!” he repeated again, urgently. He glanced at me, and then his eyes darted to Sara and David. He looked between the three of us, repeating this phrase over and over. I felt bad. This poor man must have been senile. Maybe his friends or family had left the commune and promised to come back and he was still awaiting their return. Or maybe he was just pretty far gone and honestly believed he was preparing to receive 4 guests who hadn’t yet arrived. I tried communicating with him a few more times, but he simply continued mumbling this cryptic phrase, shaking the wooden object in his hand.

I took a closer look and realized I’d seen the object he was holding before. It was a religious instrument used for venerating statues of Buddha. Similar to how Catholics believe that partaking of the Eucharist purifies members of their sins, Buddhists use tools like the one this man was shaking to sprinkle statues of Buddha with water, symbolically cleansing themselves. They were shaped like Spanish maracas and were riddled with tiny holes that would allow for a several of water to escape from each hole with each shake. Sometimes people would infuse the water with lavender or other herbs to invoke a pleasant smell. I don’t know what this man had mixed in with the water, but it was a pretty putrid smell.

I ignored it and turned back to Sara and David.

“What’s he saying?” Sara asked.

“He just keeps saying, ‘I’m missing 4 people’,” I replied.

“What does that mean?”

“Honestly, I have no clue. But I have a feeling he’s not going to be able to help us. Should we just try to head back to the main road and hopefully we’ll run into someone there who can give us directions?”

“What the hell!” David yelled. Sara and I spun to look at him.

“That old guy just soaked me!” He complained, motioning to a wet spot on his shirt. I rolled my eyes.

“Give him a break,” I said, “He obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing.” As I said this, the elderly man continued to shuffle around the room, sprinkling water on the statues of Buddha and the other artifacts laid out on the tables, all the while muttering ‘wo shao si ge ren, wo shao si ge ren.’

“I’m fine with just going, but you should at least ask him if he has any water. My bottle’s completely empty,” Sara said. It was a good idea to get a refill before we left. Yangshuo is ridiculously humid and hot year round, so even though it was already late October, it felt like mid-July in Florida. We were so sweaty that we could easily get dehydrated just by standing around, even if without riding bikes.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” I responded. I was about to turn to the man for one last attempt at communication, to hopefully find out where we could get some water.

He violently shook the maraca-like tool, drizzling water on my shoes and the floor around my feet. Some even splashed up on the pant legs of my shorts.

“Wo shao si ge ren…” he muttered again, but this time, it caused a chill to run through me. Something didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was wrong.

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

I took a step towards the man and felt my foot slide slightly it touched the floor. I looked down and saw the unnatural layer of gray dust that had collected on the floor. How could there be so much dust on the floor if someone lived here?

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

I was getting increasingly uncomfortable and felt the urge to leave, but I couldn’t understand why. I glanced over to Sarah, about to speak, when I realized something I hadn’t noticed before. Maybe I missed it due to all the clutter, but this room was in noticeably worse condition than the others. The walls had black stains on them, the wood in the window frame was blackened and seemingly shattered, far more brittle than those of other apartments. It almost seemed like this specific apartment survived a series of accidents, but was still somehow standing. So why was this the only room left occupied?

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

The broken old man shuffled past once again and this time I got a quick spray in the face. The powerful odor assaulted my nostrils. The smell of the scented water was off. It was too potent, too abrasive. It almost had a…toxic fragrance to it. It made me want to cough, to get it out of my nose and throat.

“Wo shao si ge ren…”

An icy shiver ran through me as I made a sudden realization.

“Guys, we need to go, now.” I said. I didn’t wait for Sara or David to respond, I made for the door and ran until I reached my bike.

“Hey! What’s going on?” David called out as midway through the courtyard.

“Why’d you ditch us?” Sara asked. They’d both caught up to me and were mounting their bikes, slightly out of breath. I didn’t answer them. We rode the trail we entered through in silence. After only about half an hour of riding we stumbled upon some hikers, both Swedish. They spoke impeccable English, which was good because I wasn’t in the mood for talking and Sara was eager to take over so we could find our way back to the hostel. It wasn’t until later that evening when we were back at the hostel that Sara insisted that I tell them what had me so freaked out.

“What’s going on? Ever since we were at that creepy old guy’s house you’ve been acting really weird.”

I didn’t want to tell them because I was hoping that if I kept it to myself then maybe the realization I made would somehow be less real. Maybe if I didn’t say it out loud, then I could believe that it hadn’t really happened. But it had. Remaining silent about it wouldn’t change that.

I sighed.

“You know what the guy kept repeating?”

“Yeah, you told us it means ‘I’m short 4 people’. That can’t be what’s bothering you, though…”

“That’s not what he was saying. I heard it wrong,” I replied.

You see, the thing about Chinese is that tones make all the difference. For example, if you hear ge ge (guh guh), it could either mean ‘older brother’ or ‘each and every’, depending on what tones are used. What I thought was “I’m missing 4 people” wasn’t that at all. It wasn’t until I understood what he had actually sprayed me with that I realized I’d been hearing the tones wrong.

He wasn’t sprinkling water all over his apartment. He was sprinkling kerosene. And he wasn’t saying “I’m missing 4 people,”. What he was really saying was

“I burned everyone.”

Note*
The Romanization of the phrases and their Chinese translations are as listed below.

I’m missing 4 people:
wǒ shǎo sì ge rén
我少四个人

I burned (literally burn-kill) everyone:
wǒ shāo sǐ gè rén
我烧死各人

Credit To – nibris

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Old Man

March 26, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I don’t know how scary you will find this, but I can tell you that I was horrified.

When I was around 12 years old, my parents rented an old shingled house in Massachusetts, about a mile from the beach. We were staying there for the summer, and we were all pumped for 3 months in historic New England.

The house was previously owned by a woman named Virginia. She was unmarried and lived there for many years with her elderly father, whom I don’t know the name of. She was a perfectly normal woman who rode horses and kept a beautiful garden across the street. My parents never met her father, and we only talked to her a few times, as the rent transaction was done mostly through a realtor.

The house was quite nice. It looked small from the outside, but once you went inside, there were countless small rooms. There were many cupboards and closets and two slender spiral staircases leading up to one of four tiny rooms upstairs. One of these rooms was mine.

Being twelve years old and having an overly active imagination, I was terrified of staying upstairs by myself at night. My parents slept downstairs in a room that was a new addition to the house, and I hated the idea that they were so far away. Finally, after a few sleepless nights and plenty of power tears, my parents agreed to let me sleep downstairs in the old living room, which had a fireplace and two doors:one leading to the kitchen and one to the new living room.

I was extremely happy with this arrangement and I felt sure I would finally be able to fall asleep that night.

That night, after saying goodnight to my parents, I lay down on the pull-out sofa, contented. But not for long. Immediately after closing my eyes, I felt the weirdest sensation. I felt I was being watched, or like someone was just over my shoulder. I opened my eyes, fearing the worst, but no one was there. The room was silent. I was completely alone. A little unnerved, I shut my eyes again, and once again felt the presence. It’s hard to explain, but you know how blind people are more able with their senses? It was like that. Even when I opened my eyes a second time and saw no one, I knew there was a man in the room. I can’t really explain, but I felt certain that there was a man watching me sleep. However, since I had no evidence, I just shut my eyes, curled in a ball, and fell into an uneasy sleep.

Fast forward a few weeks. One of my friends was sleeping over and we were, of course, staying at the house. Despite her protests that we should sleep upstairs, I insisted we stay downstairs. Even though nothing ever happened upstairs, I was still a little wary.

That night, after gossiping for a few hours the way only two 12 year old girls can, we fell asleep. I should mention that I never said anything about the man in the living room (that’s where we were staying). I didn’t want my friend to panic.

I slept soundly that night. I guess it was probably because I had someone with me.

The next morning, when I woke up, my friend was already awake and staring at me. Katie, she said, I’m like not crazy. But like last night in the middle of the night I woke up and I felt like-

Oh my God, I said. Did you feel like there was a man watching you sleep?

At first, she said, her voice quavering. But when I opened my eyes, there was an old man standing in the doorway to the kitchen. He smiled at me and then he left.

Our eyes grew wide as we stared at each other in terror, and then slowly turned to the door. We had shut it the night before. Now it was open just a crack.

I told my parents about about this after my friend left and they disregarded it, thinking I was letting my imagination get the better of me. But at the end of the summer, when I went home and had internet service again, I searched the history of the house. Virginia lived there for almost 20 years with her elderly father, a registered sex offender who was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 83. He returned to the house with his daughter and died a few months later in the house.

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The Boy From Posey Chapel

March 7, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Going back, I remember it all vividly; my first time at Posey Chapel with a couple of my friends. Nobody was really scared; after all, the sightings were hoaxes and never supported with actual evidence. But, being Halloween, something was bound to happen—and something happened indeed, because that night was the start of a string of the most horrifying ones in my existence.

We arrived at the chapel, cracking jokes about the myths that were told about it while walking around aimlessly, not in search of anything specific. After about five minutes in our journey, I saw in the midst of the churchyard, an all-white figure. From what I could tell, he was near the age of 10, and had no eyes…just black pits where his eyes should’ve been. I looked at my friends for reassurance that this wasn’t just my imagination, this was real. They told me they could see him too, but just vaguely. As he was about a football field away, it was hard to tell what we were looking at. So, naturally, we strained to get a better look at him.

The four of us started to walk slowly toward him, not particularly looking to hurt him in away sort of way. Once we reached a certain point, I instantly felt a sort of connection with him. I was the only one he “looked” at, considering he had black pits for eyes. The others could see him looking at me intently, and we decided to leave; afraid.

We got back in the car and waited about five minutes before leaving, just to see if anything would happen. Nothing did, but the minute my head hit the pillow that night is when things did started to happen.

That first night, Halloween 2014, I had a dream about him—the boy from the chapel. It was all a recap from that night, except everyone’s teeth were rotted out and/or had cavities. These dreams occurred each night for eight days. Within each dream he would get about 10 yards closer, and the dream would always cut off just as I closed the car door. After eight nights, the dream had occurred eight times consecutively and he was about 20 yards away from me, so we went back to Posey Chapel. The dreams stopped after that visit.

January 8th, 2015.

I’d been staying at my grandma’s that week, as my bathroom was being renovated. I was on the couch, where I had been sleeping. This night had started as an otherwise normal one. I was casually browsing my Facebook and listening to a podcast with one earbud in. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but then the lights and TV went out and I heard scratching from the basement. It started coming up the stairs and gradually got louder and louder until I thought I was going to lose it. Then, abruptly, silence. I looked up toward the stairway door to see what it was, but saw nothing. Questioning it, I turned back, and I got a glance down the main hallway where I saw a streak of white. Terrified, I was hesitant to look back, but I seemed drawn to it. So I looked, despite my gut feeling, and there he was: the boy without eyes. He stood there with intent but lack of emotion for at least twenty minutes, and then he disappeared. Or so I’d thought.

I looked outside my window and there he was, hanging from the barren tree. I thought I was going insane; hallucinating. My brother claimed to not be able to see him, so why could I? I snapped a picture of the tree from inside, sending it to the group chat I was in. Nobody saw anything except what they thought was snow, but I knew it was him.

Gathering up my courage, and going against my own gut, I went outside to take a different picture, this time with the flash on. I only cracked open the door to do so, as I didn’t want to leave the comfort of the house, no matter if he could get inside. This time, he was sitting in the tree rather than hanging from a noose. That was what struck me as extremely odd. I took the picture despite his changed position and rushed inside, sending it to my group chat again. This time they could see him. He stood out against the snow as a lighter, blurrier white.

After this, I felt compelled to go back outside and face him; ask him what he wanted from me. So, once again, I gathered up my courage and went back into the freezing winter night. I looked up at him in the tree and yelled, “What do you want from me?”

Ten seconds of silence filled the chilly air.

And then, “Please, come back.”

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The Linen Closet

March 2, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Reading a couple stories here, and something that happened to me came to mind.
You ever have moments that you blip out completely? As if your brain can bother to remember something only so often, so it’s shoved into the depths of your memory? But something always seems to unleash it.

I’d forgotten the house on 12 Dahlia Road, in the little town of Mary Esther, Florida.

Though, “forgotten” isn’t altogether the right word here, because the truth is, I’d never really forget.

The things I’m about to tell you are completely true, in which even my family can attest to. Not one to be fictitious or exaggerating, I will tell you this story in its entirety. Names and places, however, have been changed to protect those that have witnessed it.

My husband passed away when I’d been pregnant with my daughter. On his way home from work one evening, he’d been T-boned by a drunk driver and had slid peacefully into a coma while on site. He’d simply never woken up.

During my mourning, I’d stayed with my parents until our daughter, Callie, was born.
She was, I want to say, nine months old when I’d been feeding her breakfast in the small kitchen one morning.

Her high chair was wedged between the table and the wall as best I could manage while still allowing room for movement in the little dining area.
My father hadn’t been able to squeeze through the gap and, I guess, that had been the snapping point.

“Lori,” he sighed, setting his coffee mug on the table heavily. Coffee sloshed over the rim and stained the table’s scratched and marred surface. “Katherine,” my mom,” and I have been talking for a while now, and we’d like to give you the other house.”

A little backstory here; when I’d been eleven, we’d moved shortly after my grandfather had passed, and into my grandmother’s house two cities over. My father had felt she needed someone to look after her in her age, and we hadn’t bothered to sell the other house.

Instead, we’d rent it out and save the extra money for emergencies. Occasionally, we’d lent it to children of friends, or a college graduate transitioning from school to the real world.

It was slightly damaged from over the years, but it was my childhood home. I was more than happy to raise my daughter in the house that had shaped me as a child.

It wasn’t as if I didn’t enjoy my family or didn’t love them enough. The memories I had after Kevin’s death were full of warm comfort and patience.

My parents were wonderful, and had made a point to make sure I never felt as if I inconvenienced them in anyway.

Looking back on it, I think they were a little sad I was taking their only daughter and granddaughter from their home, but they also understood my need for independence again. I needed my own home, my own space. Something in which I could carve out “MINE!” in the world, in big, bold letters.

And the house in Mary Esther seemed like a perfect opportunity.

It had taken almost a week to ready the house just to move in. Luckily, friends, family, and neighbors seemed to crawl out of the woodwork to help.

They’d installed a new garage door, a working dishwasher, helped fix the leaky roof. They’d even repaired the damages a previous tenant’s dog had wrecked.

The dog must’ve been a massive thing because it had broken a sliding glass bathtub door, shredded through cabinets, and taken huge chunks out of the hallway’s carpet.

In the end, we couldn’t save the floor and ripped it out. We’d placed down linoleum tile that looked like faux wood flooring, but much cheaper.

The linen closet at the end of the hall had been left unscathed, so the carpet in there remained. It poked out a little along the bottom of the door, but it was tolerable.

I wasn’t about to complain, after all. Everybody had put in so much effort to make me right at home; a little fluff under a door was the last thing I was going to gripe about.

I was thankful.

It was a Monday evening when I’d finally gotten settled into my new home. I had taken putting everything where it belonged on pause, so that I could give Callie a bath in the new tub.

We hadn’t had a tub in my grandmother’s home. The house had been fashioned around someone handicapped, so we’d had the big, bulky shower stalls.

In the new house, though, we had a big tub in the hall bathroom and Callie was more than excited to check it out.

Covered in bubbles of lavender-scented baby shampoo, she giggled and played until she was all tuckered out.

I realized I’d accidentally put up all the towels instead of leaving a handful in the bathroom for drying, and let Callie sit in the little remaining water as I went to the linen closet at the end of the hall.

It was only a short ten paces away, at most.

It had been the linen closet when I’d been a child and my mother had taken to putting the excess sheets, towels, and linens along wooden shelves that lined the interior of the spacious room. Having recently acquired the house, I took up the same habit.

Comforted by the familiarity of my childhood home, its familiar smell, I listened to Callie splash and play in the last few drops of water as I stopped short in the hallway.

It was the first time I actually noticed the doorknob. It wasn’t just a smooth, gold knob like the other closets in the hall, or even the bedroom doors, for that matter.

A turn-style lock on the doorknob, on the outside. It didn’t sit well with me.

Had someone been locking someone/something in the linen closet?

Maybe it was the dog that destroyed the house, I thought to myself. Maybe it got out of hand occasionally and they’d locked it in the spacious closet?

It was odd that the door would have a lock on the outside, and I made a mental note to change it.

What had the previous renters been doing here?

What if Callie locked herself in the closet by accident? She was autistic and would panic horribly. It would take hours for her to calm down if that happened.

I swaddled her in the oversized towel, which hung over her feet and pooled on the floor in heavy, maroon shades. Her blonde hair spiked all over her head in all directions and she giggled as I dried and tickled her mercilessly.

Afterwards, I slid her into her Hello Kitty footed pajamas and tucked her into her crib.

I hated that crib, to tell you the truth. It was massive, and being a small woman of only five feet in height, it was a real pain to get her in and out of the thing. It felt as if my abdomen was bruising every time I leaned over the wooden rails to pick her up.

I sat in the large rocking chair my grandmother had given to me as a housewarming present and read her the tale of The Last Basselope.

It was a book my father had read to me almost every night, in that very room, in that very chair.

Truthfully, I was a little homesick. I missed my folks, but more so, I missed Kevin horribly, wishing that he could see us more then than anything else.

I missed his smell, the texture of his clothes, the feel of his breath. It shattered my heart just to think of him.

He’d never even gotten a chance to see Callie, or read to her, or touch her face. He’d never gotten a chance to watch her first steps, hear her first words, or help her on the bus on the first day of school. All because some stupid kid had decided he’d been okay to drink and drive.

I was crying quietly by the time she’d fallen asleep.
Sniffling softly, I placed the book on the chair and headed to the bathroom, leaving her door opened a crack so I could hear her better. Her soft snores floated after me.
Leaving her room, the linen closet was directly on the left; the dead center of the end of the hallway.

That damn lock, I kept thinking. It just does not make sense. Who would put it there? Was it a temp fix for a broken knob, maybe? Why not just switch it out with one of the plain bedroom knobs then?

I dampened the corner of Callie’s bath towel and dabbed my eyes. I hung it over the shower rail and blew my nose in a handful of tissue paper.

No more tears, I told myself. It’s a new start, a new beginning.

The lights in the bathroom flickered briefly, which wasn’t exactly abnormal.

We lived rather close to the Air Force base, so the practiced bombings occasionally caused electrical interference.

Off in the distance, I remember, I could even faintly hear it. The heavy OOMPH noise that sounded like heavy fireworks in the distance.

I settled into the living room, keeping an ear open for the baby as I began to read in the quiet of the new house.

At first, I didn’t notice the sound. A new house, it’s bound to have some random ticks.

The steadily cracking along the top of the walls, a small scraping sound.

I muttered in disgust, “Great,” as I slid the bookmark into a page and set the novel down.

My first thought was, “There’s some kind of animal in the crawl space.”

From the way the scratching, scraping bounced up and down the wall suddenly, I assumed it was a squirrel.

It ran from floor to ceiling, a sound like scurrying and bobbing. Small claws rattled against the wooden posts of the inner wall and sheetrock lining.

I followed the noise, trying to track where it could possibly be.

It went along the top of the living room wall, down the corner, back up the cold air return in the mouth of the hall, and around the top of the door frame of the bathroom.

“Oh, it’s going to wake up Callie,” I grumbled, getting royally pissed off suddenly.
She’d already had a traumatic day with moving and all the people. The last thing she needed was to wake up and have a meltdown.

Like I said, she’s autistic and absolutely hated anything that wrecked with her routine.

Messing with sleep time definitely wrecked her routine.

A heavy thump and something that sounded like a slide, and I’d decided I’ve just about had enough!

I darted in my room, across the hall from Callie’s room, and next to that damn closet, and snatched the phone receiver off its charging base.

I punched in my father’s cellphone number instantly and listened to the ringing.
In the spanse of time it took him to answer, the thing in the crawl space had maneuvered to the ceiling right outside my bedroom door.

“Lori, are you okay?” was the first thing he asked, bless his heart.

“Yeah,” I reassured him instantly, feeling more than a little guilty and foolish for calling so abruptly. “It’s just that there’s something moving around in the crawlspace beneath the attic in the house.”

After a short pause, he laughed in his usual warm, grumbly way and said, “It’s probably a ‘possum or squirrel.”

I agreed with him. “True, but I don’t know who to call about it and I’m afraid it’ll wake up the baby.”

A few grumbling noises and the slam of a pickup truck’s tailgate later, he began, “I can head out in the morning-”

But my mother interrupted him. “Is that Lori? Does she need something?” her voice had begun to go a bit nervous around the edges and raising. “We can be over there in fifteen minutes, honey!”

“It’s just a rodent problem,” he tried to tell her, but being my mom, that was the worst thing he could’ve told her.

“A rodent problem? Dammit, Allen,” she’d gone into full raging by then. “Get the truck loaded up. Our grandbaby doesn’t need that crap!”

The scraping had intensified by then, and slithered around the wall in the corner of my room.

“Is that it?” Dad asked, hearing the sound over the phone.

“Yeah,” I answered, smacking the wall in an attempt to frighten and quiet the wretched thing.

It didn’t work.

Instead, it became more agitated and scraped with frantic claws that sounded as if they were the size of butcher knives.

“Jesus,” he muttered. “Katherine,” to my mother, he shouted, “get the shovel from beside the garage while I get the keys.” To me, “Don’t aggravate it. It might have rabies.”

Hell, I hadn’t even thought about that until then.

“Can it get in the actual house?” I asked, worry for my child seeping into my heart.
I darted across the hall and peeked into her room, but she was still fast asleep in the big crib, with her princess nightlight shining over her.

“Block off the cold air return and the closet,” he informed me. “If it’s in the crawl space, it might be able to get to the ventilation fan in the utility closet.”

A new set of worries plagued me as he promised to be there in no less than fifteen minutes, and if anything else happened, to call his cellphone right away.

I closed the door to Callie’s room as a precaution and kicked into gear as I slid the phone into my back pocket.

While the creature scraped and bounced down the walls, I somehow moved the small recliner in the living room down the linoleum floor of the hall, and positioned it in front of the cold air return below the utility closet. I’d successfully blocked both with one piece of furniture.

Feeling rather proud of myself, I sat in the chair for a moment and waited on Mom and Dad.

Silence abruptly filled the hall. The scuttling drained away as if it had never been.
It was so unnerving, the hairs on the back of my neck raised as gooseflesh marched up and down my arms, climbed my cheeks.

It hadn’t been silent for almost an hour. Nothing but constant scraping, slithering, bouncing, and scratching.

I’d have preferred the movement to the unsettling, deafening quiet. With her bedroom closed, I didn’t even have Callie’s light snore to drown it out.

I sat in that hall, in that chair, and listened to the sound of my own pulse rushing through my ears for I don’t know how long.

Each rhythmic rush of blood seemed louder than the last.

I tried to lick my suddenly dry lips but found my tongue had been equally devoid of moisture. I tried to swallow the lump in my throat.

My thoughts raced. Had it gotten hurt or maybe stuck? Maybe it had found an escape and I was wasting my parents’ time?

I felt like a fool sitting there, with my chair wedged against the wall, waiting for my heartbeat to slow.

But then something shoved the chair from behind and I was moved a good half-foot. Too scared to even scream, I shoved the chair back just as hard.
The only thought, I can honestly say, that filled my head at that precise moment, was of my baby.

Callie was in that house, with that creature that was shoving against my chair, shoving against my back. My baby was in possible mortal danger.

My heart soared as I went into some kind of protective overdrive.

I jumped up and whirled, shoving with all my might to slam that chair right back into that damn wall.

No creature on Earth was going to burst into my home and threaten me and my child!
The utility door tried to open once more, rocking the chair forward before I kicked it shut again.

Scraping, scratching, a kind of odd hiss, and it was back into the ceiling. It scrambled faster now, and I scrambled just as fast after it.

It darted down the hall, bouncing between the door frames of the guest room, the bathroom, my bedroom, Callie’s, before starting all over again.

I was going to kill the thing with my own hands at this point! Let it come down the utility closet. I was going to strangle it to death for doing this crap to me!

Squirrel, ‘possum, rat, whatever. It was dead, I tell you.

My pulse was pounding on the back of my tongue so hard, I could almost taste it.

I’d grabbed the broom from the bathroom and wielded it like a sword as I waited for the creature to seek purchase somewhere.

Hell, at that point, I’d probably slam the broom handle through the ceiling to kill that little devil.

I was snarling, stark-raving mad, trying to keep as quiet as possible. I felt as if I had become an overprotective mama bear and I needed blood to calm down.

Something shifted and the scrapings changed. It went into the ceiling space in the linen closet.

I was so enraged, I nearly ripped the doorknob off the door to open it, but before I could, what sounded as if boards, wooden boards, were being rendered and ripped from inside.

I stopped, the onslaught of fury in me feeding to near panic. It felt as if the fight had gone right out of me, replaced solely with horrifying, chilling terror.

It hadn’t sounded big enough to do that much damage. It hadn’t sounded like it had fingers or teeth that could yank the ceiling right out of the little room.

A heavy thump and a slithery shift before what I could only imagine sounded of heavy towels and sheets falling to the ground within the linen closet.

The growl that crawled from under the door sent shivers up my spine and arms.

Broom in hand, I was preparing to slaughter it while my heart was wedged in my throat and I wondered, for the first time, if I’d actually survive it.

It sounded like a dog. I know that sounds crazy, but it sounded like a dog pacing in the confines of the linen closet and fear, cold and real, iced my body from the inside out.

The doorknob grabbed my attention, and I swear to you, it started to turn.

That lock, that damn lock, and I clicked it home.

The creature howled, livid beyond all belief, and slammed into the door bodily, heavily.

The thick wood physically shook in the frame.

Phone retrieved from my back pocket, I frantically called my father as tears filled my eyes. I honestly did not expect to survive the otherworldly creature I’d locked in my linen closet.

How could I protect my baby if I was dead? I was almost crying.

He answered on the third ring, the sound of my mother laughing in the background.
“Where are you?” I demanded before he had a chance to say hello, my voice watery with unshed tears of horror and fear. I was full-out panicking on how to survive this thing long enough to see to the safety of my child.

“A couple blocks, what’s wrong?” his voice full of worry and concern. I could hear
the traffic moving around them, the flow of shifting tires, honking horns. The sounds of the city, my city.

“It’s some kind of dog,” I told him, all but actually crying now.

The doorknob shifted restlessly before it finally gave up, as if it had hoped to somehow break the lock.

“That’s impossible,” my father informed me, scoffing. “It might sound big in the little space-”

“I’m not making this up!” I hollered, and the door shivered under another onslaught again.

“Holy hell,” he whispered in my phone as the noise carried. To my mother, “Get the shotgun from behind the seat and load it.” To me, “Get Callie and get out of the house, we’ll take care of it. We’re almost there. At a red light right now, but we’re almost there.”

I don’t know if he was comforting me or him at that point.

I watched in horror as the carpet beneath the door moved as if something was yanking heavily on it. As if they were taking big handfuls and pulling.

Not wasting anymore time with that, I flung open the door to the baby’s room, threw the phone to the floor, and slapped the wall switch until brilliant light flooded the room.

She was still resting on her back, one tiny little fist clutched to her pale cheek as her fluffy blonde tufts angled out in every direction.

I wrapped her delicately, calmly in the pink little blanket and draped myself over the crib so that I had enough leverage to pull her out. My abdomen screamed in protest as the bars of the crib pushed into my middle.

The entire time, the creature in the closet was digging, digging at the carpet under the door. It pulled the fabric back far enough, I could see the glue to the floor.

Holding her to my chest, and bouncing her ever so gently, comfortingly, as she nuzzled into me, moodily waking up, I stepped as softly as possible out of her room as to not wake her further.

As I neared the end of the hall it howled, and I was too afraid to look back, too scared to look over my shoulder and double check that the linen closet’s door was still holding.

Instead, I all but crashed into the front door and ran into the driveway in time to see the spill of headlights illuminate my street.

My dad pulled up in his red Ford F150, shotgun clamped tightly in his hand as I rushed to the flinging open door of the cab.

“Are you okay?” my mother was already demanding as she jumped out of her side of the truck to run to me.
Dad was pulling the shovel from the back of the truck and moving it to the front porch as he glanced inside the screen door.

I assumed he meant to kill and bury the thing with the tools, and never once questioned it.

“It’s in the linen closet,” I told him, tears of relief streaming down my face as I clutched to my mom all but sobbing.

“Oh, baby,” she said, and held me close as she shifted Callie from my shoulder to hers. “Go help your father, I’ve got her.”

I kissed both their cheeks, tucked Callie’s little pajama-covered foot back in the pink blanket, and got to the porch.

I took the shovel from its resting place against the brick and stood with Dad beside the door.

He cocked his head, ear pressed to the door and listened. After a moment, he asked, “Is that it?”

After a pause, I could hear it, too.

It was a guttural, low growl, almost too quiet to have heard.

I couldn’t manage an answer. My voice felt dried and hollow in my throat, unable to force its way through my cold lips. I managed a weak nod, eyes wide and scared.

Switching off the safety, he opened the screen door and stepped inside. I mustered courage and followed him, shovel in hand.

The house went quiet and still as we moved through the living room.

He peeked into the den and kitchen for a moment before asking me to move the chair in the hall.

I propped the shovel and managed to shove the recliner to the side, giving him enough room.

He flung open the utility closet first, and studied the little room in the hall lighting.

A muttered obscenity and I realized what he’s swearing at as I grappled the shovel with numb fingers.

Claw marks, deep and wide, riddled the thick, wooden door and the sheetrock lining the room.

There was at least hundreds of them, gashing wide into the wall, around the backing of the AC unit, and down the door.

Chills ran rampant up and down my arms and face as he slowly closed the door and turned to the linen closet.

The lock, that damned lock, was twisted and free.

Had it gotten out?

We agreed he’d aim the gun and I’d open the door in the end.

With me to his right, my breath came in labored puffs, my pulse raced through my veins and pounded into my ears until I thought I might faint.

I grasped the cold, gold doorknob and twisted, resisting the urge to squeeze my eyes shut against the nightmare.

Yanking the door with all my might sent me crashing into Callie’s bedroom door frame.
My dad was as still as a tomb as he stood there. His eyes shifted from all over the linen closet, to me, back to the closet.

I peeked around the edge of the door and stared at the chaos as the shovel dropped from my loose, cold fingers.

Towels, sheets, pillow covers were littering the floor, covered in thick tufts of loose carpet.

Claw marks, matching the utility closet, riddled the walls and doors. The doorknob appeared to display a set of teeth marks.

The ceiling, however, was perfectly intact.

We spent the better part of half an hour tearing through shredded towels, hefting shelves, throwing sheets, but could not find a single hole into the room.

We searched the whole house, gun and shovel in hand, prepared to mutilate any living thing we found, but came up empty.

My mother helped me pack Callie’s things, some clothes, necessities, and we took their truck back to their home, forgoing my little mini-van in the driveway, as my fingers were still too number to drive.

The next day, I packed up as fast as I’d settled in, and, with Callie on my hip, we shoved the For Sale sign home into the dirt of the front yard.

I never spent another night in the home of my childhood.

Credit To – ilothopskaty

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Old Boo Diddley

March 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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It was the year 2000. I was 17 years old, a junior in high school, and I had a shitty, low paying job at a rinky dink discount store that, at the time, was just a step above something like a Dollar General or Family Dollar. My boss was a bitch and I only made $4.15 an hour, the bare minimum wage at the time, if I recall. Needless to say, I needed a better job.

This is what lead me to our local Dairy Queen in town and, in August of the year 2000, I began my tenure there as a cook. I didn’t really like the job and, at the same time, I didn’t really hate it either but, with a spiffy $1 (or therebouts) raise in pay, I couldn’t complain.

The weird stuff didn’t begin until about a month later. I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to look, it disappeared, much like one of those “floater” things that show up in your eyes from time to time. This went on for a while and it seemed like the more I tried to look at it, the more I thought about it, or the more attention I gave it, the more inclined it was to ”appear.”

Now, although it may sound like it, I hadn’t yet realized, or even thought, that whatever I was seeing was an intelligent entity. I guess I thought that it was just one of “those things,” whatever that means…

It wasn’t until a few months later, in the fall, that the whole supernatural element of it all dawned on me. Myself, our shift leader Danny, and Patricia, the drive-thru girl, were getting ready to shut down for the night when the drive thru window opened by itself. To my surprise, neither of them made a big deal out of it.

“What the hell was that?” I said with a chuckle.

“Oh, that’s just old Boo Diddley,” Danny said with a cheeky grin.

“Old Boo Diddley? What’s that all about?” I asked, intrigued.

“Whenever anything weird happens around here, we blame it on him,” he answered.

“You mean this place is haunted?” I continued.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he answered, slightly annoyed. “We just say old Boo Diddley did it when something like that happens.”

“What else happens?” I kept on.

“Sometimes people see stuff out of the corner of their eye. Sometimes they hear their names being called and stuff like that,” Danny didn’t seem to want to talk about it anymore.

“I’ve seen stuff like that. It goes away when I turn to look,” I said.

“Yep. That’s exactly what happens,” he concluded.

“The drive thru window opens by itself all the time. I’m surprised you never noticed before,” Patricia interjected.

“Cool,” I said.

Now, at the time, I couldn’t have been more excited about all this, and I’m sure my co-workers could tell. You have to remember, this was 2000 and it seemed like the supernatural and/or paranormal was flooding pop culture, almost as much or moreso than it is these days. Now, you have stuff like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Conjuring, and all the “ghost hunting” tv shows whereas, back then, The Blair Witch Project had been released a year prior, The Sixth Sense was fresh on everyone’s mind, and MTV’s Fear was popular in my circles. While there maybe wasn’t AS MUCH to wet everyone’s appetite, it was just enough to keep interests peaked; everyone was into ghosts.

It went on like that for many months; Seeing things out of the corner of my eye, the drive-thru window opening on its own, and I even heard my name being called once-in-a-while when no one was in the viscinity. Like I said before, the more attention I paid to it and the more I thought about it, the more it happened, and the ‘clearer’ things seemed to get.

And then something touched Patricia.

It was a particularly busy Spring. I live in a college town and the students had begun to move into their dorms and, with Dairy Queen being the only chain restaurant in our small hick town, they came in droves that day and night. I was finishing up an order when I heard a shriek come from the walk-in refridgerator. I and a few of my co-workers ran back to see what was going on.

We found Patricia on the floor. She was sitting up, but she looked almost like a broken doll in the position she was in… and she was fucking terrified.

“You okay, Trish?” Someone asked. She didn’t answer.

“Patricia?” Someone else said; No answer.

“TRISH!?” I said, louder.

“Hey,” she answered very meekly.

“You okay?” I asked.

“Something knocked me down. I don’t know what it was,” she said trembling.

“What knocked you down? You can’t fit two people in here on a good day and no one was back here with you,” a co-worker said. “Are you sure you didn’t slip?”

“I didn’t slip. Something knocked me down. I dunno…” Trish concluded.

To this day, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as scared as she was at that moment. She quit the next day. I’ve only seen her one time since then, and she was far from the same girl she was before. Her experience really fucked her up and, to this day, I think there’s more to her story than she was willing to share.

We were all sad to see Patricia go. She was a sweet girl and wasn’t hard on the eyes. Many of my co-workers chalked the incident up as “she was just crazy” and other shit like that. Myself, on the other hand, I couldn’t help but think it had something to do with Old Boo Diddley.

The usual weird stuff kept happening more and more; it literally became an every day thing. We all got used to it and would acknowledge whenever something happened and, being young and stupid, we laughed at it sometimes. This is around the time I started feeling a sense of dread whenever I would go out back at night for a cigarrette break or to take the garbage out.

The dumpster was about 20 yards away from the back door of Dairy Queen. Even with the “dusk to dawn” light, it was downright creepy and dark at night. Every time I went to take the garbage out at the end of the night, I felt like something was watching me or was about to jump me from behind. There is absolutely no mistaking that feeling.

All of this culminated one night when myself and Chris, a new trainee, were emptying the garbage at the end of the night. As I was tossing the bags into the dumpster, I saw Chris staring at something beyond the few pine trees that were planted behind Dairy Queen. He had a look on his face that reminded me of a kid whose dog had just been hit by a car.

“What’s wrong, dude?” I asked.

“What the FUCK is that?” He pointed.

I looked in the direction he was pointing and saw a disembodied head floating in the distance between two pine trees. That’s what it was; There’s no mistaking it. A floating fucking head. I could even make out a goatee and a very disturbing scowl or frown; this thing wasn’t happy.

Chris darted back toward Dairy Queen. I couldn’t move. I could only keep looking at it. I will never forget that face… or the look it gave me.
By the time I caught up to Chris, he was banging on the back door and begging for someone, anyone, to let him in. I scrambled in my pocket for the keys (the back door locked behind you). When I got the door open, he took off inside and, in front of a crowd of customers, he exclaimed:
“THERE’S A FUCKING GHOST OUTSIDE!”

He was sent home and, subsequently, fired the next day. Following that, we were all chewed out by our store manager.

“No more talk about ghosts when customers are around. You can talk about it amongst yourselves but I don’t want it getting out that our store is haunted,” she was dead serious. No pun intended.

As usual, the ”normal” stuff happened and, somewhat to my chagrin, there were no more disembodied floating heads behind the store. I won’t lie, and as I told you before, as much as this shit kinda scared me, it intrigued me even more… almost to the point where I encouraged it; I hate to admit it.
And then, 9/11 happened.

On September 11, 2001, I woke up around 2pm to a shit storm. I walked into my kitchen where my Grandma had the TV on. The tragedies of that day are well documented, so I feel no need to elaborate. Tragedy or no, I had to report for work at 5.

When I arrived at Dairy Queen, of course all anyone could talk about were the attacks and how horrible everything was. I recall people lining up in droves at the gas station next door and filling their tanks in fear of a gasoline shortage. There was absolutely no mention of Old Boo Diddley or any of the strange goings-on at Dairy Queen and I don’t recall any spooky activity that night. We were all so caught up in the 9/11 attacks that a ghost (or ghosts) were the least of our worries. In short, we weren’t fueling any activity, so I guess Boo didn’t bother showing up. In fact, after that, I don’t recall ever seeing or hearing anything at Dairy Queen ever again.

But that didn’t stop it from following me home.

I had a bad habit, at the time, of leaving my tv on all night long at a pretty loud volume. So loud, in fact, that my Grandma would come into my room at night and turn the thing off. One night, I woke up and I saw someone standing at the foot of my bed. I paid no mind to it because I thought it was my Grandma coming in to turn the TV off and to check on me. This was also a regular thing because I’ve been a severe asthmatic most of my life and, like any worrying Grandmother, she takes care of me.

I woke up the next morning and my TV was still on. This was weird because I had clearly seen my Grandma in my room last night so why would she leave it on? Especially with as loud as I had it…

“Hey, did you come into my room last night?” I asked my Grandma.

“Nope. I was so tired that I didn’t bother. Why?” She asked.

“I thought I woke up and saw you standing in there. Just asking,” I said.

“Nope. Wasn’t me. Maybe it was the Devil after you,” she joked.

“The Devil, eh?” I chuckled.

While I didn’t think was Satan after me, Old Boo Diddley certainly entered my mind.

Not long after that, my sister and I were sitting on the floor of my room playing a Playstation game. At the time, I had a 32” TV (this was before flat screens) sitting in one of those big plywood entertainment center deals with shelves and a couple of storage compartments on the bottom. We were very engrossed in our game when one of the doors of the storage compartment opened on its own. My sister was a bit startled. I didn’t even notice at first.

“What was that?” She asked.

“Do what?” I said, pausing the game.

“The door opened… by itself,” she pointed.

“Oh really? That’s weird..” I started playing the game again and didn’t really think about it again until I started putting this whole thing together in my head. Old Boo Diddley was just saying hello again, apparently.
By this time, I had moved on from Dairy Queen to a different job. I didn’t think much about Old Boo Diddley for quite some time until one day I had Danny, my former shift leader, over for a visit and, of course, the topic eventually came up.

“So, does Old Boo Diddley still come around?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah, but nowhere near as much as when you were there,” he said with a giggle.

This, admittedly, struck a chord with me. With as much shit that was going on when I worked there, you’re telling me that now all Boo Diddley was is just a minor annoyance? What was the deal?

I mentioned this to a girl I knew at the time who was heavily into the occult and a bit of witchcraft. She informed me of something that I didn’t really know much about at the time and have given a lot of though to since: I was giving this entity, whatever it was, energy by talking about it with my co-workers and encouraging it.

So, I go and do what any dumbass 19 year old would do: I started talking about it and encouraging it even more so than before.

After that, I began hearing little knocks, bangs, and clicks in my bedroom. I started seeing figures out of the corner of my eye again, just like I did at Dairy Queen.

Remember the story where I thought I saw my Grandma in my bedroom standing at the foot of my bed? That happened again, only it was standing by my head this time; That really gave me a start. The doors on the entertainment center continued to open on their own, and more frequently; often with witnesses, my sister once again being one of them. My bedroom was the only room in the house where anyone experienced anything; nothing happened in the rest of the house. All of this seemed very cool to me, at least for a little while.
Yeah, well, it stopped being cool and it started getting really fucking scary… as if it wasn’t fucked up already.

I’ve always been a fan, or enthusiast, of the dark side of things. Whether its movies, music, books, what-have-you, I have always ventured on the ”weird” or “different” side. Hence why I was so enthusiastic about the supernatural and/or paranormal. Having said that, the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis wasn’t unfamiliar to me. While, at the time, I hadn’t yet suffered from this, I had read a little about it. I had heard about how it is one of the most frightening, nerve-wrenching experiences that a person can go through and about how, back in the middle ages and perhaps even further back, they thought it had a lot to do with the supernatural/paranormal/spirit world/etc.

Around the time all of this paranormal activity hit its peak in my home or, to be more precise, my bedroom, I had my first, and most horrific to date, bout with sleep paralysis. (The first time is always the worst, I hear). While I won’t commit 100% to the idea that my sleep paralysis is/was a supernatural happening, I also can’t say that I don’t think its a coincidence that I started having this condition right around the time all of this stuff was at its most active.

My first bout with sleep paralysis was typical of the condition, but that made it no less horrifying. I woke up and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even move my eyes or talk. I felt like someone or someTHING was in my room with me; I could feel its sinister presence in the one corner of the room where I couldn’t see, but I KNEW it was there and, whatever it was, I could feel that it didn’t have good intentions. A deep sense of dread filled me. I tried to scream for someone… for anyone… and all I could muster was the tiniest hum or mumble. Eventually, after a few tense moments that felt like an eternity, I could finally feel that my body was coming to and I let out a very loud yell and my Grandma burst into the room.

“What’s wrong?” She asked, concerned.

“I don’t know… I woke up and I couldn’t move,” I wimpered; very manly for a 19 year old, I know…

“Are you alright?” She asked.

“I am now. That was scary,” I answered, downplaying how horrified I actually was.

After that, I stopped acknowledging anything strange that happened in my room and, slowly, things started to calm down. Since then, I’ve had two more bouts with sleep paralysis, but they were nowhere near as bad as that first time. Like I said before, I can’t help but think that there was something more going on that first time than your typical bout of sleep paraylsis. I guess I’ll never know, but the possibility that something was out to get me lingers in my mind.

In an interesting side note to this whole thing, I was talking with a friend of mine from this area who moved away way back in the early 90s, a few years before that Dairy Queen was built in our town. He recently moved back to the area. We met for lunch one day and caught each other up on what had gone on in our lives in the 20 or more years since we’d seen each other. We talked about how our little town has grown in the time he’d been away.

“I see they built a Dairy Queen on that little spot of land. That’s odd,” he said, taking a bite of his pizza.

“Yeah? Why?” I inquired.

“That area used to be so overgrown that almost nobody knew about the old graveyard that used to be there.”

Credit To – Pat ChoKo

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