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:

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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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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Abu Ghattat

February 2, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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This story is a Crappypasta Success Story – it got such a positive reception (additionally, the author has reworked it somewhat after taking his received feedback into account) over at Crappypasta that it’s being moved here to the main site. You may read the original Crappypasta post and comments here. Congratulations to the author and thanks to the Crappypasta community for the save!

It has many names, the Scandinavians call it the mare, the Turkish call it Karabasan, from where I come from we call it Abu ghattat; however, I suppose you had probably heard of it under the name the “Sleep paralysis”. First let me define it: Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which a person, either falling asleep or awakening, temporarily experiences an inability to move, speak or react. It is a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep characterized by complete muscle atonia (muscle weakness). It is often accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (such as an intruder in the room) to which one is unable to react due to paralysis, and physical experiences (such as strong current running through the upper body). One theory is that it results from disrupted REM sleep, which normally induces complete muscle atonia to prevent the sleeper from acting out his or her dreams. Sleep paralysis has been linked to disorders such as narcolepsy, migraines, anxiety disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea; however, it can also occur in isolation.

Hallucinations? Is that what those who do not believe in paranormality call an unexplainable phenomenon or its effects? There are many people who rely on science to clarify all phenomenons; yet there are mysteries that even science seems to fall in its shades. According to science, you can experience a certain hallucination between the phase of sleep and wakefulness. Still, just how can we all have the same hallucination? How can we all witness the exaxt same terror? To me this is an insult to all of those who have faced it; Abu Ghattat that is, and that is how I will always refer to it, not as a personification to a phenomenon but as the demonic spirit that it is. Most people will clearly change their minds about it if they had the same experience, and live in denial that it was nothing but a dream; even though, in that case it’ll ease their mind. You see, once you encounter Abu Ghattat, you’ll have every right to claim it was a nightmare, because if you realized its truth.. You’ll most certainly never be the same again.

This brings me back to quite a tragic story; the story of a close friend and a neighbor of mine, his name was Adam. I remember him very well, just two years ago back on a Sunday evening, I remember heading back to the neighborhood together, he had that cheerful happy-go-lucky personality, as we used to hang-out every week-end. Adam you were such an amazing person! On that exact evening, I bid him farewell and left him with his usual smile; that was a smile he would never put on his face again for the rest of his life.

The next morning he didn’t show up to school all day. It wasn’t really that much of a surprise because we skipped school all the time, I couldn’t ever visit him because his parents disliked me, for they deemed me as a bad influence on their child. It was all kind of regular, nothing to worry about up until now; but he skipped school the day after as well, and so on. He didn’t answer his phone, he’s never online on any social network, and he’s nowhere to be seen. I became worried sick about him, I just had to know what is going on. So I waited until Friday when both his parents aren’t home and visited him. But much to my surprise, both his parents were there. His dad had that creepy glare which he showed me everytime he saw me, but it was somehow different than before. I sensed that he wasn’t angry.. he was sad. Then he spoke with a sorrowful tone: “Hello there, good thing you came honestly! Adam is in his room, if it’s possible please talk to him for a bit” The situation was awkward enough for me, and I just couldn’t ask what’s wrong. So without further hesitation I went to his room.. The door was open, I stepped inside and saw Adam sitting on the floor. Dear God, the state he was in was indescribable. I greeted him but he didn’t reply and he kept shivering from the moment I showed up, I felt like my presence won’t help him through whatever he’s going through, so I just went out with an optimistic faith that he probably just had too many mushrooms again, but that most certainly wasn’t the cause for this. Anyway I decided not to visit him for a while, at least until he recovers a bit.

One week later, as I had been heading to school, I saw it.. The large tent-like structure that holds funerals in my homecountry, the tradition is to construct it close to the deceased person’s house, and to keep it there for three days to welcome condolences. What shocked me was that it was constructed near Adam’s house, I ran to get there fast as my heart beat even faster. I asked the first person I met shouting: “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? WHO DIED?” He then replied, informing me of Adam’s suicide, he slit his own throat. My God! Adam, how come that you disappeared from our lives? These news almost made my heart stop, it had broken my soul. A dark cloud covered the neighborhood propagating anguish and misery all over it, it was a great loss for everyone. I gave my condolences to Adam’s parents, his tearful dad told me to return tomorrow for a highly important subject.

The following day, I went to see Adam’s dad, only to find that he gathered Adam’s clothes and overall possessions in a big Cardboard box. He told me that since I had used to be a close friend of Adam that I should be the one to take them. This didn’t look right one bit. Adam was his child, and as his father he must keep his possesions in order to remember him. But looking at that face, I realized he already can’t forget the tragedy of his only son, he wants to take out anything that may remind him of that. So I accepted to keep them instead. He later informed me that his wife and him will move out of town, but that didn’t surprise me.

I took the Cardboard box home. I found within it a Photo Album, and nostalgically viewed it when something between the pages caught my eyes; it was a letter. It had a date which was the day before the one I visited him at. I started reading it and its contents brought me to tears. It was written as the following:

To anyone who is reading this, I’m writing this because I couldn’t share what happened to me with anybody. Even though, I wanted someone to look in my eyes and tell me it’s alright, I couldn’t bring myself to it. Oh God I just couldn’t!
On Sunday night, that cursed night that will forever be kept inside my memory. I was sleeping normally, traveling the fantastic dreamworld. I can’t recall what my dream was about, all I can remember that I was feeling really delighted, but then I fell into somekind of a pit, which woke me up. Upon waking up, I felt somekind of pressure on my body. I tried to stand up, but I failed to. I couldn’t move a muscle, I couldn’t do anything, neither move nor talk. I was clearly able to see the insides of my room, and was damn sure I’m not having a dream so why? Why couldn’t I move? I thought I’m having that thing my grandmother once told me about. Abu Ghattat, according to the myth she told me it’ll only last for minutes, and the paralysis will perish. But what creeped me out, was the fact she mentioned something about a demon being the one paralysing you. But I knew such thing is impossible, I really wanted to believe that. But then I heard a sound coming from the corner of my room. Since my eyes were the only part of my body that wasn’t paralysed, I tried to force them to focus on the room’s corner, and then I saw it. That sight terrified me to the fullest. The Jinn, the demon Abu Ghattat, the monstrous being sitting there with the most sinister smile on its hideous face, it noticed that I saw it and started crawling slowly until it reached me. I was dying from terror, I wanted to shout, I wanted to scream, I wanted to get off my bed and just run for it, but I couldn’t. Then it sat on my body and I could clearly see its grotesque image now. It wasn’t very big, it resembled a troll or something, only it was uglier and scarier. It then strangled me with its hairy hands while keeping that smile. Oh my God! How terrible that felt, then it started biting my torso and punching it, it got off my body for a couple of seconds to wonder the room laughing, while I could only watch, while I can’t do anything to save myself. It came back to me again and started strangling me all over again. I just wanted to close my eyes, I forced them with all my might to get closed. Then the paralysing feeling disappeared, I opened my eyes screaming as hardly as I can waking up my parents in the process, the demon Abu Ghattat vanished as well.
All what happened later doesn’t matter anymore, and now that night refuse to exit my mind, the same goes for Abu Gattat’s damned face. I don’t know what have I became anymore, I’m afraid to sleep, I’m afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of solitude. I keep feeling its demonic presence near me all the time. It’s like I’m loosing my mind gradually. I know that I should get a grip of myself and be strong but I cannot, I cannot.

The letter ends like that, Oh Adam I should’ve been there for you when you needed me the most, I’m sorry my dear friend, may your soul forgive my idiocy.
It was hard for me, but I had to look more to what he was going through, I made a research on Abu Ghattat or how it is formally known: The Sleep paralysis. As it seems, there are things that provoke it, but the way I see it, those were things that invite Abu Ghattat to your bed. I have discovered that many people had the same experience as Adam. Most of them saw it as well, the grotesque creature Abu Ghattat. All of them aknowledged within themselves that it was a dream, if only you had done the same Adam! Your fear took hold of you and swallowed you completely, it devoured you from the inside, to the point you gave up on your own life to end your suffering. Now I see that you thought it was more mercyful, if only I had realized all of this sooner. May God have mercy on your soul.

Many may disagree, but to me Abu Ghattat is real. I used to be horrified by the fact I could end up its victim anynight, and even though I got over it quite a long time ago; remembering the evil that took away my friend still haunts my mind. After all, unlike the common ghost stories and sightings, it is real. Now I know that all of this had horrified a lot of you people as well, all I can recommend is not to do anything that could invite it in. Do not get yourself into a nightmare you might not wake up from, as you may suffer the same fate as Adam. This is all my dear readers, have a good night. Although, I know you probably won’t.

Credit To – Writer: Faissal Ouard / Definition: Wikipedia

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Don’t You Just Hate Car Trouble

January 12, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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All too often, my nights would end with a freezing walk to the nearest payphone to reach out to a friend for some help. My car was a piece of shit. To be brief and spare you the mechanical jargon, it had a nasty habit of dying on me. Being a native to mountainous regions of Montana, this was a death sentence come winter. The snowy roads that cut through the American wilderness had long distances between cities. You could drive for miles and miles without ever seeing a sign of another human being. If you were unfortunate enough to experience some car trouble along the way, you’d have quite the long, and potentially treacherous walk before you reached any civilized portion of the landscape.

Luckily for me, I was located in Baker, a small town with a great community, and everything you’d need to get by: a gas station, schools, and even a few stores, so I didn’t need to drive around much anyways. Baker is a quaint little place where people tired of the mundane city life dream of vacationing. The beauty of the rural Montana landscape could fill a thousand art galleries. Great as this town is, it’s just great as a vacation destination. Being such a simple place, Baker doesn’t offer its residents much. For me, growing up in a small rural town wasn’t all that I could have ever hoped for. I wanted to see towering skyscrapers, colossus stadiums, and experience the spectacular flashy lifestyle of big cities like Los Angeles and New York.

I was stuck in Baker though. I was 22, and working in an oil field. I didn’t have some promising job that would send me all over world, or even out of the state for that matter. College was a no-go since my parents were of the working class, and the nearest college was hundreds of miles away from Baker. Things seemed bleak for me, until just a few weeks ago when an old childhood friend of mine, Dave had reached out to me. Somehow, Dave had made it out of Baker, put himself through school, and through some kind of business venture, had done quite well for himself. Now financially established, he was going to open a small diner in the much larger city of Billings, Montana. I couldn’t believe it. I can still vividly remember our childish conversations around the Nintendo 64, about the experiences we were going to have once we got out of Baker. At the time, our naïve promises held no real weight, but Dave stuck true to his dream, and he made it happen. Beyond that, after all of this time, Dave hadn’t forgotten about me.

The diner was set to open in less than a week, so Dave invited me to travel to Billings as soon as possible. Although it was a crappy fry cooking job at an even cheaper wage than I was getting paid at my current job, the prospect of traveling to a big city to work with an old friend was not a proposal I was about to wait on. After all, Billings had colleges, and so much more people to meet. The probability of finding an actual career or even finding someone to start a relationship with was an actual possibility now. I understand how wishful my thinking was to anyone who hadn’t come from a similar background, but coming from a place where opportunities like this were far and few, this was the break I had been dreaming of.

Since Billings was a little over 220 miles away, I thought it would be a good idea to ask a local friend to drive me there, instead of risking it with my own beat down car. He agreed, although a little bitter out of envy that I too had made it out of Baker. Later on that night, my ride Jacob, some family and friends, and myself had a little get together; a “going away party” of sorts. As the party died down, Jacob and I sat together on my front porch. He confessed to me that he didn’t want me to go. Even though we didn’t hang out much anymore, I understood. Good friends were hard to come by in a little town like Baker, and I would have been salty about it too if things had been the other way around.
The next morning, I knew that the next conversation between Jacob and I would be pretty awkward on account of the whole sappy, alcohol induced, “I’m gonna miss you.” talks we exchanged with each other. Regardless of all that, my anticipation for new life experiences overshadowed my apprehension, and I gave Jacob a call around 4pm. I expected Jacob to be just getting off of work, but to my surprise, he was still seemingly drunk from last night. He started to berate me, and put me down. “You’ll be back you fuckin’ loser. You’ll come back and I won’t be here for you.” I slammed the phone back on the receiver, and went to my room. I was so angry at my friend’s selfishness that I rounded up my things and threw them into my car. I didn’t care if my clunker could made it or not, I was at least going to try to get out of here. With all of my belongings packed up and ready to go, I started my car and began my 220 mile trek to Billings, Montana at around 5:30p.m. Since the sun sets about an hour earlier than that in the winter, it looked like I was going to make this drive in the dark. The thick snow that blanketed the surrounding landscape only further contributed to the riskiness of the situation.

After about 20 minutes of driving in my calculated, angry state, I settled down and recalled that this was a turning point in my life, and as such should be welcomed with a pleasant, peaceful journey. I put my anger behind me, reclined my seat a bit, and put on some soft music. Suddenly, the trip became a therapeutic godsend. I wasn’t even thinking of the new, exciting opportunities that awaited me in Billings, I just sat down, shut up, and appreciated the tranquility of it all. Before I knew it, I had arrived in Forsyth, Montana to fuel up and get quick bite to eat. I left home in such a hurry that I hadn’t gotten the chance to eat something before I headed out. Satisfied from a nice hot meal, I hit the road to tackle the remaining 100 miles or so left on my trip. Conditions were decent, and my car was performing much better than I ever could have hoped for. After driving uphill for quite some time though, that was no longer the case.

The weakened sound of my waning engine snapped me out of my euphoric state and brought about the gravity of the whole situation. Instantly, I processed all of the factors. The snow, lack of an emergency cell phone, and the immense emptiness of my surrounding area. My mind raced as I racked through my thoughts to remember the last time I had even seen another car: Not since Forsyth about 40 miles back. Not a single car or person since then. My stomach dropped, revealing the surprisingly deep void in my gut. Immediately it had all come to me, this wasn’t some insincere teenaged statement you make to your parents by running away, just to come home a pathetic 20 minutes later. This was a full scale, absolute, life threating situation. There was a very real potential that I could die out here. My terror escalated as I counted all of the possibilities, to the point where I found myself again afraid of childhood fears like the dark, and of monsters.

A mere 8 miles after my epiphany, my car let out a thud, and then sputtered to a slow winding death. There me and my car sat, in the middle of the road in a blackened forest. The gently rhythmic pitter patter of the snow pellets appeased me into a hypnotic state of shock for a minute, maybe more. Gradually, the creeping cold that began to envelop me awoke me from my episode of comatose. Pellet by pellet, it came back again: reality. The danger. The fear. After some time had passed, I realized that I didn’t have time to be frozen by fear anymore. The time had come to establish goals, and act on them. My first goal was to clear my car off of the road. The visibility was quite terrible by this point, the last thing I wanted was for some innocent traveler to smash into my obstacle of a car, and render the both of us helpless out here. I removed my seat belt, grabbed my jacket, and hopped out of the car.

Upon examination of the scene, I saw I was on a slight incline, so negotiating this maneuver in the snowy blitz would prove to be quite difficult. I placed my car in neutral and began to slowly guide the car towards the side of the road. The weight of the vehicle and slipperiness of the sleet-laden road caused me to begin to lose my footing. Now running backwards at nearly full speed, I stumbled and lost my shaky grip of the car. I fell to the ground on my back, and quickly sat up to turn and witness what would become of my vehicle. In the darkness, all I could see was the reflection of the moonlight on my car’s glossy white exterior. The car bulldozed on and continued to accelerate down the slope until finally being swallowed whole by the darkness of night. I heard it continue to wind down the hill until the violent sound of a distant impact haunted my ears. I got up and ran over to the grizzly site. With the aid of my flashlight, I found that my vehicle had ended its ride at the trunk of a large tree.

In my survivalist state, I did my best not to dwell too much on the carnage that I had just witnessed. My next move was to gather my most essential supplies from the vehicle, and establish a safe way to wait for a passerby. I must have known in the back of my mind that my car wouldn’t make it because I had brought tons of water, hand warmers, flashlights, a magnesium fire starter, rope, you name it. I tried to pop open the trunk, but the wreckage had destroyed it, so I moved inside the car to gain access via the backseat. I folded down the backseat and reached my arm through the opening and retrieved my backpack of survival gear. Amidst this terrifying trial I was facing, I managed somehow to appreciate the surprisingly decent job I had done in preparation. Everything was neatly contained, and readily accessible from this one bag.

Since I was alone, and with relatively few supplies, I knew that staying inside the car was a bad move. The snowfall was getting worse, and I knew that nobody would ever find me if my car got completely engulfed by the snow. My best course of action was to wait outside my car and try to stay warm until I could flag someone down. And that’s exactly what I did. For over 2 hours I sat in the blistering cold and waited for any sign of another person. Not a single living creature passed me by. This land was completely vacant. I was losing hope, I couldn’t sit here and wait for much longer. I can’t say that I was surprised, I knew as soon as my car had died that I had made a fatal mistake, and that this was going be a fight for my life. But I have got to say, it’s a frightening thing to see your car begin to vanish right in front of you little by little. If I had foolishly chosen to stay in my car for this long, there’s a chance that I never would have made it out of that vehicle alive.

I was done sitting. It was time to move on, if nobody was going to find me, then I was going to find them. I decided to head back toward Forsyth, because I thought that I had seen a small rest stop just about 6 miles up the road. Making that kind of a hike for me would have been difficult in the best of conditions, and given the current circumstances this was destined for failure, but it was much better than just sitting there and waiting around to die.

The first mile was easy. I was in full on survival mode, I couldn’t be bothered by any other thoughts, I was only thinking about what I needed to do next. I needed to trudge on, and find some way of contacting a loved one to come to my dire need of rescue. But my transition from survival mode back to normal scared and worried mode was coming through in waves. Terrified for a brief moment or two, then the horror would be cast out by my unconscious in order to make a productive effort at survival.

Nearing the second mile, I found myself again at the “terrified” end of the cycle. The adrenaline had departed far sooner than I was comfortable with. The expansive darkness that I found myself in was so unlike its daytime counterpart that it seemed to be an entirely different world. As a result, I found myself like a baby, scared of the unknown qualities of an unfamiliar new world. In the daytime world, I knew that monsters, ghosts, and all things supernatural did not exist, but under the veil of snow, and shrouded by the intense absence of light, I just didn’t know that with certainty anymore.

Walking down the absent street, I swayed my flashlight from left to right. First checking the foreground, then pushing my sight as far back into the brush as my flashlight would allow. From left to right I repeated this process for three and a half miles, with nothing to occupy my thoughts but stories of ghosts, zombies, killers, and other staples of the horror genre. Each time I brought my flashlight to the opposite side, I flinched in fear of what my eyes might meet. After about three and half miles down the road, I had seen nothing, until finally my eyes laid upon an amazing scene. About 300 yards off the side of the road sat a small, dimly lit cabin. The billowing cloud of smoke that rose above the house’s chimney was such a sight for sore eyes that I could almost feel the warmth from this far away. In utter excitement that my trip could potentially end over two miles sooner than I had projected, I made a mad dash for the cabin.

As I drew nearer to the small structure, details that were unseen from afar began to come increasingly visible. The house was in a pretty advanced state of disrepair. The home was slouching to one side, and its wood was heavily distressed. I was beginning to fear that house was abandoned, but then I remembered that the house was lit, someone had to of been inside. This realization frightened me even more, because whomever or whatever was dwelling in the house was obviously not the owner. No homeowner could allow their house to become so crippled with neglect.

I was just scaring myself, I needed to pull it together. My next hope at finding someone was over two miles up the road, and I didn’t know how long I handle the freezing weather. I pushed my fear and doubts deep down inside me, and mustered up the courage to knock on the door. Knock! Knock! Kno- I shuttered in pain as a sliver of the decrepit wood splintered into my fist. I shut my eyes tight as I attempted to pull the fragment from my hand. After a few seconds of gnawing, I opened my eyes and realized that the door was creaked open. I was sure that nobody had answered the door, surely they would have said something. Seeing the decaying state of the home, I realized that I may had accidentally broken their door. Balling up my fist in my sweater for protection, I proceeded to knock on the much sturdier door frame this time, and got to work conjuring up an apology for damaging the door. Much to my surprise, nobody came. Seconds turned to minutes, knocking turned to pounding, and calling became pleading. I walked around outside the home investigating to see if there were any other signs that someone was there. But still, nobody responded to me. The house was empty.

Within 30 minutes of arriving on the property, I was beginning to contemplate just walking in. If someone were to stumble upon my home in similar circumstances, and them getting inside could have meant the difference between life and death, then I would understand, I would have to. Besides, “Just look at this shitty home” I said to myself, “the person staying here probably doesn’t even belong here. What’s the difference if I squat here too? At least long enough to get myself warm, so that I can make the long trip to the rest stop.” I continued to ration with myself. 5 minutes later, I just couldn’t resist anymore.

After announcing, “I’m going to have to come inside, it’s an emergency!” I carefully pushed open the creaky door and stepped in. Immediately, a wall of warmth embraced me, and not long after, so did the smell. This place certainly was abandoned. It smelled like the people who lived here before had gone without clearing the fridge, or taking their pets with them. My face contorted in disgust, and I scrunched my nose in an effort to ward off the putrid stench. I swung my head from side to side, searching for the source of the grotesque odor. My slow, methodical footsteps came to a standstill when I realized the horrifying environment that I had found myself in. The shack in which I was residing was obviously occupied by some kind of dark summoner. Sacred jewels and pendants were abundant amongst the coffee table. Mysterious patterns of blood droplets filled pages scattered throughout the room. At the farthest wall opposite the front door stood a large shrine with an indecipherable character at its peak. Candles, pages, and other offerings accompanied the perplexing altar. Taking in the scenery, I tried my best not to theorize where the aroma might have been coming from; I really didn’t want to know. My knowledge of the occult, witches, and all things supernatural was limited to what I had seen in horror films, and those silly, late night History Channel specials, but I was absolutely certain that whatever had been going on in this house was not something that I wanted any kind of involvement with. Standing in the middle of the small room, I peered around for a phone. Along with the horrifying scene of bloody manuscripts and other cult paraphernalia, I observed that the house was only lit by the fireplace and candles. I concluded that it would be foolish to continue my search, as the house most likely did not have running electricity. I didn’t complain, I was just glad that I had yet another excuse to get the hell out of there. By this time, I had more than enough justification to turn around and freeze my ass off in even the worst of blizzards.

Suddenly, I heard a loud slam. I jumped. My heart pounded faster than I knew it capable of, and I whipped my head around to see what had caused the noise. The rhythmic crunch of feet on the snow scurrying away from the door filled my ears. I tensed up and attempted to process what was going on. Immediately, I realized that I didn’t need to know what was going on, I just needed to run. I threw my body around, and sprinted for the exit. A sensational feeling of satisfaction overwhelmed me as my shoulder reduced the feeble door to pieces. Keeping all of my momentum, my body flew out of the dreadful dwelling. In an instant that feeling was replaced by pain and terror as a hand emerged from the home and clutched a vicious hold on my head. The sharp, brittle nails buried themselves deep inside my scalp and extracted a handful of hair and tissue. The creature’s tearing jerk on my head pulled me back and caused me to lose all forward momentum. I fell to my back, striking the porch staircase with such force that all wind was sucked from my body in an instant. Panicked, I shot up to my feet, turned around and threw a punch with all of the vitality I had left in me. In the small window of time before my strike reached its target, my eyes caught a glimpse of the horrifying beast. Its body type was similar to a tall woman, about equal to my height, 6’1”. Its hair was matted and thrashed about, partially obscuring its face. The creature’s arms were unproportionally long for its already tall body. Its hands too, were long and thin, and dripped with blood from the havoc it had just wreaked on my scalp. The being did not wear clothing, its naked breast, and waist shape supported my inference that this monster actually used to be an ordinary woman. Although I only saw the abomination for a mere fraction of a second, my ability to recount its details is a testament to just how shocking its appearance was. Finally, my fist clashed with the creature’s face, and threw the monster to the floor. The unknown nature of this mysterious beast’s abilities convinced me that I shouldn’t stick around to find out. So immediately after impact, I turned around, and ran back to the road that I had walked in on.

I ran with such vigor, and determination that I almost didn’t recognize myself. Even in dire circumstances of life and death, I don’t think anyone else has ever dug down as deep as I had that night. I maintained a full sprint for the remaining two and a half miles until arriving at my destination, a small rest area with a gas station and a diner.

Upon arrival, both places were closed, as it was probably around 1am by now, but I was able to place a call to my parents back home at a payphone. They answered with a swift, “Hello?” after just a single ring. They were worried that I hadn’t called them by now, and felt that something had gone wrong. After my intentionally brief explanation that my car had broken down and that I was stranded, they told me that they were on their way. “Drive safe mom, love you.” I murmured before hanging up the phone. It was so hard to withhold my full experience from my mom, but I decided not to tell her. Not out of fear that she would think I was crazy; I really didn’t care what anybody believed, but because I didn’t want her to make a dangerous rush on the way over. The last thing I needed was for her to be so worried that she drove recklessly and got in an accident. I made it this far to reach my rescue, and I wasn’t going to let anything impede on me getting home safely this time.

For an hour and a half, I sat completely still at the bench next to the payphone. I wasn’t bothered. I wasn’t freezing. I wasn’t exhausted. And I wasn’t scared. My mother pulled the car over nearby, and my father retreated from the vehicle and ran up to me. “What the hell are you doing sit right out in the snow? You’re gonna…” he exclaimed, my strong embrace interrupted his more than appropriate statement. I must have held him for too long, and too hard, because normally, he would have pulled away within a few seconds. But he didn’t. My mom exited the car, and I shared a passionate hug with her as well. Wiping my tears, I motioned them into the vehicle, and we pulled away from the rest stop.

The car ride home must have been incredibly difficult for my parents. The scenes that I painted, and the horror that I described was probably unlike anything they had ever heard before. I told them first about the car, then I told them about my walk to the shack, and finally, I told them about my experience with the witch-like creature. They must have thought I was crazy until I showed them the horrible mess that my head was. My mom nearly slammed on the brakes, and exclaimed that we needed to get to a hospital. I pleaded with her to keep going, I wanted to get far away from this place before we stopped and did anything. To my mom’s credit, she listened; we drove for an hour before I was comfortable with looking for a hospital.

At the hospital, they explained the dire situation I was in. I was suffering from blood loss, hypothermia, and frostbite on the skin where the monster had attacked me. And now I’d like to retract a statement that I previously had made, I actually did care what the doctors believed, so I decided not to tell them my story about the creature that had attacked me. These people actually had the power to institutionalize if they thought I was insane, so I told them that I had gotten attacked by a mountain lion. Somehow, I convinced my parents to give the same story if the doctors asked.

Upon awaking after hours of treatment, a nurse informed me that a fragmented nail of the, “mountain lion” that had attacked me had been removed during reconstructive surgery. My jaw dropped. The possibility that I could have some real life proof of whatever that thing was, was staggering.

“Can I keep it, please?” I shouted.

The nurse gave a puzzled look and said, “I’ll check with the doctor, but I can’t see why not.”

Minutes later, she returned with the foreign material in a clear canister, and handed it to me.

“You sure that’s from a mountain lion? I have seen a few mountain lion nails in my days, but none of them ever looked like that.” said the nurse.

“No, I guess I must have been wrong, it was so dark out there, you know.” I replied.

“Whatever that thing was, you’re lucky to be alive.” she said.

“That’s one thing I can say for sure…” I said under my breath.

Back at home a few days later, the pain was subsiding, and I had a lot of questions that needed to be answered. I didn’t really know where to start, though. Even in a big city I’d imagine it’s quite difficult to find good information on this kind of thing. Not having much to go on, I set out for Susan’s house. Susan was the town nutcase, at least, that’s what her reputation was. My mother always told me and my friends to stay away from her when we were kids. I never thought that all these years later, she would be the person I needed to see the most.

I arrived at her front porch, and hesitated to knock. The last time I knocked on an unfamiliar door it ended with a monster tearing away at my scalp. However, I recalled that if I didn’t get in contact with this woman, I might never find out more about what I had encountered, or if I was in future danger. Like I said, my lack of knowledge on the vile creature left me unsure of its true ability. If I was ever going to have a chance at peace of mind, then I needed to talk with Susan.

I quivered, and proceeded to knock on the door. Knock! Knock! Knock! A few moments passed, and then I heard the sound of the door unlocking. An old woman creaked the door open some, and peered out through the opening.

“Yeah?” said the old woman.

“Um, are you Susan?” I replied.

“Yeah, why? Who are you?” responded Susan.

“Susan, you don’t know me, but I’ve been living in Baker a long time, and recently I had a very strange experience that I think you might want to hear.”

She didn’t say anything back. Fearing that she would shut me out, I pleaded with her.

“Susan please, I hate to waste your time, but I have some questions to ask, I’m afraid for my life. You are the only person I could come to.”
With that the old woman shut her door and walked away. I was not about to give up though. I extended my arm, ready to knock on the door again. Just as I lifted my arm, I could hear footsteps again growing closer to the door. This time, Susan unlatched the door and welcomed me in. As soon as I entered her home, she made a command to stop with a motion of her hand, and I heeded her direction. From a nearby shelf, she produced a thin incense stick, and a small bottle that appeared to be some kind of potion. She handed me the container.

“Do not sip. It is bitter.” said Susan as she motioned me to drink.

I halfway thought she was kidding, but I was so desperate for answers that I didn’t mind the humiliation, I took the shot of liquid in my hand and swallowed it. The taste made me cringe. Susan then proceeded to take her stick of incense and blow in wisps at my head, heart, and each of my hands and shoulders.

“This is for my protection, not yours.” she explained.

I gave a nod in respect, and allowed her to continue on with various ritualistic gestures. When she had completed, she invited me to sit at the couch across from her.

“Tell me, what have you experienced?” asked Susan.

“On a trip to Billings, my car broke down and I was stranded in the woods a few nights ago.” I explained, “In an effort to find aid, I stumbled upon a peculiar shack that had ritualistic items like bloodstained scrolls, pendants, and a candlelit shrine. Upon realizing that I was in danger, I tried to leave, but a woman with long arms and sharp nails attacked me. I was able to escape, but I fear that this is not over. I am afraid she will come back and haunt me, or even worse.”

“How long ago was the attack?” Susan replied

“About three days ago.” I answered

“So you have been experiencing hallucinations, and other paranormal phenomena then?”

“No, I haven’t, but the fear that I am not out of danger keeps me awake at night.”

“Young man, you had an encounter with the Amwisak.”

“What is that?”

“The Amwisak are a group of dark summoners. They were once members of the Native American Chippewa tribe here in Montana, long ago. When a great snowstorm fell upon this region over 200 years ago, many children and infants within the tribe did not make it. Angered and desperate, a small group of tribeswomen prayed to the dark gods to revive the young ones who were lost. Their results were potent, and the children were miraculously revived. When the rest of the Chippewa tribe discovered the truth about how they were saved, they killed the children, and cast out the band of dark women. Now isolated from their former tribe, the women honed their craft and expanded their mystical capabilities. They used their powers to transform themselves into fearsome creatures that haunt, curse, and even kill. You have experienced firsthand how wicked they can be. Young one, though it may appear that my knowledge is omnipotent, do not be fooled, for I am puzzled.”

“You are?” I questioned. “Why?”

“People who are attacked by the Amwisak rarely live to tell about it, and above that, those who survive suffer curses and haunting dreams for the rest of their lives. But you tell me that you do not encounter the same hardships. How can this be?”

I racked my mind for reasons why I wasn’t having such challenges. I almost wanted to give myself the credit, as it was my determination and strength that helped to ward off the foe, and get back to safety. I quickly checked my ego, and rejected this idea. I couldn’t possibly be stronger than a group of women who transformed themselves seemingly through magic.

“Tell me.” she continued, “Did you take something from the beast. A sacred necklace? A scroll?”

“Certainly not!” I replied hysterically. “As soon as I understood the danger of the place I was in, I tried to leave.”

But then I remembered that I had taken something from the creature. Even if not purposefully, I had in my possession one of its own talons.

“Wait…” I muttered as I reached into my coat pocket.

My hand touched the clear plastic container that encapsulated the monster’s nail given to me by the nurse at the hospital. I retrieved it from my pocket.

“What is it?” Susan inquired with wonder.

“They found this in my scalp during the surgery,” I said, “I think that this is its nail.”

She looked surprised. I began to open the container when suddenly Susan stumped my action with a quick swat of her hand.

“Stop!” she exclaimed. “You mustn’t handle it. There’s no telling what mysterious powers this fragment can hold. One thing that is clear though, is that you must keep this piece safe with you forever. This claw is what saved you from her. Without it, she is incomplete, and therefore powerless.”

Suddenly it was all coming to me, Susan was right, this nail is what saved me from her. It helped me to find the strength to deal a shocking blow to the creature. It helped me to run the long distance to the rest stop with incredible quickness and endurance. It aided in calming me on my wait at the payphone, when normally I should have been consumed by fear and pain. And it saved me from being cursed or haunted for the rest of my life like the others. All of this I explained to Susan.

“It’s apparent that even after being severed from its keeper,” said Susan. “This object still possesses supernatural powers. Although I cannot prohibit you from experimenting with its energy- for you have righteously earned it, allow me to provide you with some sage advice: Beware things in which we do not fully understand.”

I left Susan’s house with a new sense of power, and peace of mind. All of my questions were not answered though. What was the shelf life of the witch’s nail that I possessed? Would it fade away in a matter of weeks? Or would it last forever so long as I did not touch it, and use its powers as my own? Although I understood little about its mystical qualities, I felt a sense of confidence that I was going to be okay. The Amwisak were scattered all over Montana, that’s a fact that I now had to live with, but I was convinced that as long as I kept this fragment in my possession at all times, the Amwisak could not harm me.

While my experience at the shack in the middle of nowhere undoubtedly changed me, it did not leave me crippled, haunted, or living with intense paranoia for the rest of my days. It helped me to experience a sensation that I’ve never had before: absolute power, endurance, and will. In the moment, I experienced relative numbness, but looking back, I feel proud at what I had accomplished. Having conquered this most extreme of trials, I was ready to continue on with my plans to head to Billings to create a new life for myself, now unafraid of what challenges I might face.

Credit To – Frankie Navarro

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The Devil’s Perfume

January 11, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Growing up in the south, in a pretty religious family, folklore is always around. Being Mexican to boot, these stories were always a constant reminder to be a good child. My grandfather believed in this, wholeheartedly. He loved telling us that if we didn’t behave El Cucuy was coming to get us.

El Cucuy was the boogie man. Just like La Llorona was a woman who wept to lure children to the river to drown them as she had done to her own children. How were these age appropriate stories? My grandfather insisted that he saw La Lechusa – a witch turned into a large white owl – roaming in the backyard once.

I started to keep track of when he mentioned one of these names. If my cousins and I were too loud, El Cucuy was coming. If we ran around outside, Le Lechusa would take us away.

In my grandfather’s last few years of life, he never spoke of any of these ghastly creatures anymore. Albeit, we were older and less noisy around him. We would laugh as we’d recall him yelling at us, all the while my grandfather remained silent. Before his health started to decline, he would speak in hushed whispers about things… things that scared him.

What I remember most during his last year was that he was always afraid of the dark. He spent his nights pacing the house. He would call relatives at 3 – 4 am to see what they were doing. Like clockwork, he called my parents house.

3 am phone call. 4 am phone call.

One morning in the summer he didn’t call. He didn’t call because he said he smelled something. The story he told my grandma is one that is hard to believe…

He was walking the house, making his rounds. A slight shuffle in his house slippers over the tiled floor. Ssst ssst ssst ssst. He never really picked up his feet. Ssst ssst ssst ssst. He was moving from the kitchen dining area to the front living room. Sometimes when the street light is on, you can see the street from one side of his yard to the other. Cars lining the streets in front of houses where people were sleeping. All but one person.. or so he thought.
He heard something he wasn’t sure of. Was it talking or mumbling? Maybe it was humming? No one should be awake at this hour. My grandfather shuffled to the front door. That’s when he saw… Her.

A woman, dressed in dark clothing, walking down the middle of the street.

Ever curious, my grandfather opened the door. He stood behind the screen door in silence as the wind picked up and he smelled it.

In an instant, he smelled something foul. A wall of sulfur. And just like that, it was gone, leaving only a lingering smell of roses. He didn’t say anything, didn’t move. Then She turned to him.

An old woman, small in stature, with no real facial features he could recall. A darkness covering her face although she was within the beam of the street light. She was wearing a black veil, lacey, framing her oval shaped face. She looked right at him as she tried to get near. Her feet shuffling toward the edge of his driveway.

Ssst ssst ssst ssst.

Immobile with fear, my grandfather stood at the door, the smell of roses growing stronger as She approached. Her face beginning to compose features. Eyes, dark and set deep under her brow. Small mute mouth. Sunken cheeks that seemed to tug her face even more into an oval shape. Too elongated to be real.

As She approached the driveway, She stopped. The humming was back. Was she talking? Was she singing to him? My grandfather watched as She tried to step onto his property. She struggled. Something was preventing her from walking up the driveway.

Seemingly forced to remain on the street, She stopped humming. Her face was that black hole. The eyes… were they glowing? Was the jaw that far stretched down into a snarled howl shape?

The sulfur smell was back. She, this creature, was unable to cross over onto my grandfathers property. And with a screech, She moved back into the middle of the street

Ssst ssst ssst ssst.

This creature began its humming down the street, seeming to vanish in the darkness that went beyond where the light street could reach.

This went on, every early morning, for several weeks.

My grandfather never told a soul the first few nights. Who would believe him that he saw the Devil in the street at 3 am? The sulfur rose smell lingering in his nostrils so much that he began to overly use his nasal spray. He used these menthol inhalers, one every month. After his visitor’s appearance, he was using one a week until he was placed into ICU on his deathbed.

That holiday season, my aunt saw a woman, walking the streets at night when she went to the kitchen for water. She heard a song that she didn’t understand, with the smell of roses. When she approached the door, the woman stood at the driveway and sulfur stained the air. My aunt was too afraid to get any closer to the door and went back to her bedroom.

February of 2009, my grandfather laid with monitors hooked up to him. Delirious from pain medications and his body deteriorating, he began to say he could smell the Devil’s perfume. He was adamant of that rosy sulfur smell in the air. That She went roaming the streets, singing to people to take; sings to them to walk out of their homes. He said the creature would come out of the walls at the foot of his bed in ICU to visit.

This was the first time my aunt heard of someone else speaking of the woman walking the streets, smelling the roses and sulfur. This was the first time something this far-fetched was ever uttered aloud within the family. Everything was always some folklore story. But this? This happened to two different family members.

March of 2009, my grandfather passed away. I had to fly in thinking I wasn’t able to say goodbye, but he held on for me. When I heard the stories of this Devil in disguise, I shrugged it off with a smirk.

‘Oh right, like that *really* happened? Pfft!’

‘No, it’s for real, I saw it…’ My aunt loved to exaggerate but the look in her eyes made me skeptical.

That night, I dreamt of the story, as if I was there. I could smell the roses, the sulfur. I saw this small, frail woman walking the street under the street light. When she turned to me in my dream, her face was a black void.

At my grandfather’s funeral, the priest spoke of life and how in death we’re reunited with our loved ones and are at peace. I couldn’t shake that feeling of my dream. At the cemetery, by a crooked mesquite tree off in the distance, there was a woman. Small in stature, skinny….

Where were her feet?

Was she looking at me…. How? I couldn’t see her face…. It was broad daylight and I couldn’t see her face.

I smelled roses.

The wind whipped up and it was warm… and briefly, I smelled it. I smelled the sulfur. There was nothing around but empty fields. Where was this sulfur smell coming from?

I looked around and then back at the tree, but she was gone as was the smell.

Every now and then I hear a sound, like shuffling feet… ssst ssst ssst ssst…. and I smell roses…. ssst ssst ssst ssst…. if I close my eyes, I can see that small figure in black…. ssst ssst ssst ssst…. I open my eyes before She looks at me… ssst ssst ssst ssst….

Is that the Devil’s perfume I smell….?

Credit To – My grandpa, Senor Gonzales

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