Scary Paranormal Stories & Short Horror Microfiction


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I didn’t ask for this, you know. I mean, sure, I was curious about what it would mean to be “enlightened,” but meditation was never a means to end. It was the end itself. Plus, I always thought you had to be in a state of complete detachment in order for this shit to actually work. Turns out, all you have to do is practice the technique for a few years and before you know it, your mind is flooded with the cacophony of tripe that the average human mind transmits. Oh, and you can’t turn it off, either, so right now it sounds like a swarm of bees in my head with bits and pieces of discernible language. I now understand see why the great gurus lived in caves in the Himalayas.

That’s why I charge. I need land. I need land and a house in a very remote part of the world so that I can escape long enough to figure out how to block out the voices or how to shut this off completely. And I’ve tried medication. No thanks. The only thing that came close to working left me a drooling zombie. At least, that’s what the doctors told me after I came to. They said things like, “marked decrease in kinetic activity” and “demonstrates paraconscious behavior,” to which I responded, “Get that shit away from me!” Because the meds affected Wernike’s Area, it came out more like, “Muh.. Muh uhhhhnnnnnnnnNNNNNNNNNNNnnnn NNNNnn.” I want to be consciously aware of the life that I’m living. If I wanted to just check out, I’d do it the right way, all nice and permanent-like.

Ha! You think I belong back in that mental hospital. I can read your thoughts, remember? What, you want some other kind of demonstration? Fine. Take my last client. He was a lot like most of my clients: older, wealthy, a wife and three grown kids, and completely clueless as to why he was so unhappy. So, I helped him see why. I clarified things for him, and for my gift, he paid me a nice sum, much to the dismay of that now not-so-wealthy family of his. Now, regardless of what you think, this all above the boards. Technically, I’m a life coach. I just charge a little more than most. Oh, and this guy had a really bad stutter. I removed that at no extra charge. Don’t believe me? Go look at that guy. He’s as happy as he’s ever been and stutter-free, no thanks to that ungrateful family he’s got. I talked to him once a week until the restraining order arrived in the mail. It was his family! They’re now suing me– well, my lawyer has advised me that I can’t discuss it until the case is resolved, but trust me, it’s not like I’m independently wealthy. In cases like these, they freeze assets, alright?
Look, you can go wherever you want. Just march into that facility, and they’ll let you see him during visiting hours. He’s happier and healthier than he’s ever been, and now he sees the truth. He’s finally happy without money. His family is another story, but again, I can’t really get into that.

Alright, that’s not my best example, and no, I can’t demonstrate this on you. You have to genuinely want some kind of change in your life. I mean, this stuff isn’t motivational speaking. Well, some if it’s motivational speaking, but there’s some genuine hocus-pocus that’s involved. These aren’t parlor tricks or sleight of hand. I mean, if you’re not truly prepared, this stuff can ruin your life. It’s damn near doing that to mine. If I wasn’t able to actually help people from time to time, I’d have gone crazy by now. Still not convinced? Alright. Let’s see. There’s the hedge fund manager that has quit his job and started a foundation to teach high finance to kids in Africa…. There’s the publishing executive that went into standup comedy… There’s the Senator that went to art school… I cured three cases of ADHD, three cases of mild, plaque psoriasis, one case of seasonal allergies that had a touch of seasonal affective disorder, and even had one guy start growing his hair back.

What do you want from me? I’ve only been doing this for only a few months now, and yes, I primarily deal with people that you might consider to be of privilege. I’ve got to get a handle on this before I can start doing the big work! I’m still helping people out; I just have to get the voices under control. Once I can concentrate on one voice at a time all the time, then I can really start making a difference out there. Besides, between you and me, this is a highly valuable skill set that I possess, and I want to see what I can do with it. I mean, you don’t just leave a tech support salary without taking at least one shot at the big bucks, right? Surely you’re with me on this one. I want to know what it’s like to live in a big house and drive an overpriced sports car and fly in my own private jet. I’m still young and need to get those out of my system. Plus, God wants us all to be bountiful, right?

I can see that I’m losing you. Here. How about this: Tell me, do you believe in angels? I’m serious! Right, right, you’re the scientific type. I get it. Alright, let’s go at this from another angle. Have you ever done the trick with the black and white picture? You stare at a dot surrounded by a negative color image, and then you look at the dot while the photo turns to black and white. The black and white photo all of the sudden has color! The real world that you view every day is that black and white photo. You’re preoccupied. You’re thinking about your cases, or your wife, or your children, or what you’re going to have lunch today, or that girl with the big tits that rode on the elevator with you yesterday at 2:09 PM. The problem is that you’re only seeing part of the world. You’re only seeing that black and white picture. Now, imagine what would happen if you were able to find the real-world equivalent of that negative color image and imprint it over the black and white picture of your daily life. Imagine what you would notice.

You’re curious now, right? Think about the amount of cases you could close if you could actually talk to a ghost that was witness to the crime? Yeah. Now you’re getting it. If you want, I could help you do that, right here, right now, at no charge. Just as a token of my appreciation for all the hard work that you do. There. It’s done. Your third eye is now wide open. Open the blinds and look out the window. The one that’s walking across the lawn right now used to mow the grass here. Nat? Nate? Nate! That’s Nate walking on the lawn right now. Cool, huh?

You know, there’s one thing that I forgot to mention. Once you notice them, they notice you. There are some NASTY things out there whose attention you REALLY don’t want. There’s a particularly nasty one in the corner behind you. Don’t turn around. Don’t look at it. Seriously, if you look at it, that’s it. It’ll know that you can see it, and I have no idea what it will do after that. It’ll probably go after you, then Charlotte, and then little Jenny and William. Jesus, what have you people been doing in this room? How many people have died in here, exactly? Now, now, now. There’s no need to get upset or angry. Calling me names isn’t going to help you out, and no, I have no idea how to close your third eye. I haven’t gotten that far yet, but I’ll bet if you drop these ridiculous fraud charges against me, I can go about figuring out just how to do that.

For a modest fee, of course.

Well, then. I’ve got work to do. Remember, whatever you do, don’t let them know that you can see them. Unless you know how to block them out, you’ll just, well, go crazy, and that can simply ruin your life.

Credit To – Grant Robinson

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Rate This Pasta
Rating: 7.3/10 (130 votes cast)
The Charlatan, 7.3 out of 10 based on 130 ratings
  • FoodCritic

    Really, really great pasta. I haven’t looked behind me yet and am not planning on it.

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    Rating: +2 (from 6 votes)
  • Joey

    Not al that scary. I think you could have changed this into something awesome had you focused more on the “it’s in the corner right behind you”

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    Rating: -2 (from 2 votes)
  • ILikePeas

    Read it in the voice of Vince Offer (Slap Chop Guy). Makes it twenty times better.

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    Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  • Sepia

    This was a quite cleverly involved pasta. I loved the style of narration: the charlatan had a strong voice, appropriate considering his occupation. The pasta managed to deliver characterization using his rapid-fire used-car-salesman banter, giving the readers an actual feel for him, instead of being content with merely telling.

    Another thing I noticed was the reader involvement. For most of the pasta, the reader is practically being addressed directly by the charlatan. He pulls off all his tricks too- his appeals to emotion and anecdotes are seemingly aimed at the reader.

    I liked how the actual viewpoint character was revealed gradually. The charlatan never actually shows him anything – his examples are all anecdotes, flimsy banter or lies – but in the end even he is persuaded.

    Critically though, the pasta was mostly sleight. The devices to keep the reader hooked are all there, but there was hardly any plot, nor were there scares. The whole piece felt like a stream of inert facts that went nowhere- the charlatan was established as a character, but the plot did nothing with him. There were some hints of plot towards the end, but simply giving a character the third eye didn’t resolve anything.

    Had the plot been more compelling IMO the author could’ve played the readers like a fiddle. Overall, it was a pasta with a lot of potential that didn’t go off. 6.8/10

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    Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)
  • TimberWolf

    you did a very poor job of pretending to read my mind. but this might work better on someone who has a lawn, and lacks the courage to look at both of the corners behind them if told not to. still kind of creepy. 7/10.

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    Rating: -5 (from 7 votes)
  • RoboticGerbil

    That, was the best ‘there’s something behind you’ pasta. Ever. Good job. I wasn’t thinking that particular thing though. Over all, nine stars.

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  • Faith

    I really enjoyed this pasta. This was just … wonderful and the ending was rather surprising. It looks like you actually did some research into the dark magic meditation and the third eye theory. Very good.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • CMT

    Very well writte, great characterization, missing an actual plot as it is mostly a monologue, but nice nevertheless.
    I didn’t appreciate the ending too much, the two sentence seem not to have much in common with each other: is the problem that if they know you see them they can do something bad, or that if you keep seeing them you’ll go crazy?

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    • Madilyn Raye

      its asking which is worse, it wasn’t try to sound common, it was a question(: does that make more sense?

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      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • RiathLaz

    As soon as I read the ‘don’t look behind you’ bit, my little sister jumped on my stomach which made me double up in pain. So I looked in the cornor. Lol.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

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