Scary Paranormal Stories & Short Horror Microfiction

Creepypasta

FavoriteLoadingAdd this post to your list of favorites!
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.7/10 (594 votes cast)

My mother, dead now these past eighteen months – may God rest her soul – was a fanatically superstitious woman. Her ancestry, a combination of strict Catholicism and Irish folklore, had resulted in a potent blend which caused her to view life as a series of potential transgression (some valid, some merely fanciful) which might culminate in any one of a million unwanted outcomes should she step over some mystical line.
It was a matter of good fortune for me that my father, although a virtuous man, was totally lacking the imaginative capacity to believe very much in either religion or superstition. He would acquiesce to my mother’s demand that spilled salt be thrown over his shoulder where, she firmly assured us, it would hit the Devil square in the eye. Keys, errantly placed on the table, would be removed by him and the underside of ladders were always avoided. All these sanctions were borne well by him and he always played along with a look of mild amusement, total disbelief or loving indulgence, according to how whimsical mother’s demand might be. Never once did I hear him shout at her for the stupidity of her beliefs, nor did he ever refuse to play along. In time, I too learned to humour my mother and indulge her many whims. I walked a line between them and viewed the world of lore with a healthy scepticism and a pinch of open-mindedness.

Of all the stories my mother told me however, the one which scared me most as a child was the one about the Washday Demon. This was a potent morality warning, combining elements of superstition and retribution for wrongdoing. According to mother, if a housewife, or female homemaker (my mother had escaped the subtleties of women’s lib, but was nonetheless able to incorporate single women into her story) committed a black enough sin – such as shoddily darning her husband’s socks – she would be visited by the Washday Demon. This was a foul creature from the pits of Hell, who would pop up and visit the transgressing woman every washday, ensuring that her clean laundry would become inexplicably marked and soiled as it hung on the line. My father found this concept particularly hilarious – if the worst a woman had to deal with for her sins was a mucky-fingered pixie and some soiled linen, then the majority of womankind could happily sin away. Mother, however, always seemed to regard the concept of the Washday Demon with a little more gravity than any of her other bogeymen and hexes. I believe that it was this increased earnestness which made me particularly uncomfortable as a child.

My mother’s own washday was always a Wednesday and, more often than not, as I sat at her feet, watching her peg clothes on the line (undergarments always respectably hidden behind the sheets), she would raise the subject of the Demon. “Let’s hope the Washday Demon doesn’t come in the night and stain our clothes, Meg,” she would whisper. But in all the years that my mother hung up her laundry, he never did. In fact, the Daz doorstep challenge had been invented for women like my mother, and her clothes always glowed with a holy whiteness.
For all this, mother continued to obsess about the Demon. She claimed that when she was a child, her neighbour had been visited by him. Overnight the woman’s laundry became stained and foul smelling and no matter how many times she re-washed it, it refused to come clean until, finally, the woman went mad. I wondered why someone might go mad over dirty laundry, but my mother went on to tell me that the soiling of the washing was always accompanied by some other manifestation – a tangible by-product of the woman’s wrongful deed, and it was usually this which caused the woman’s fear.
The only way to appease the Demon, whispered my mother, was to acknowledge your wrongdoing – not as easy as it might appear, since the Demon could swing by years after a woman’s act of naughtiness. After pinpointing the problem, the woman in question would then have to burn every item of clothing and linen in her house, along with a lock of her hair, as an offering to the Demon. If she failed to do this, the mark on her soul would grow too large to eradicate and her sin would be discovered. Worse still, the Demon, a fractious and mischievous spirit who craved acknowledgement, would twist her wrongdoing into something far worse than it had originally been.

As I grew older, I heard the story less. Eventually, it was nothing more than a vague childhood memory, sharing limited space with all the other childish fairy tales I had heard throughout my youth. When I was eighteen, I moved out of my parents’ house and into a place of my own, by which stage the Washday Demon was a thing of the past. It wasn’t a hugely ambitious relocation, given that I bought a little terrace house a few doors down from them. It sat almost at the rear of my childhood home, separated by a tract of common land which ran in a strip between the back gardens of two rows of houses.
I remained close to my parents, up until my father’s death five years ago and my mother’s recent passing, but having my own place gave me a sense of freedom that I had never felt before, releasing me from the rituals of my mother’s superstition. Rituals which, thankfully, I didn’t feel compelled to take with me.

Since that move, eight years ago, I had barely thought about black cats and Washday Demons, except with an occasional sense of vague nostalgia. I certainly didn’t have cause to fear my mother’s shadow-demons until, that is, last week.
It’s odd but despite the superstitious conditioning of my childhood, the Washday Demon wasn’t the first thing I thought of when I saw the strange shaped mark on one of my white bed sheets. It appeared as a small, irregular handprint and as I peered closer, I saw that it had five long streaks above where the fingertips ended. The whole thing was dark brown in colour and stood out starkly against the purity of the rest of the sheet.
My first thought was that one of Sophie’s kids, from next door, was responsible. They were forever kicking their ball into my garden and letting themselves in the back gate to collect it. I tossed the sheet back into the machine to await the next wash load, thinking that I would let it slide this time. If the little buggers kept getting chocolaty hand marks everywhere, though, I’d have to speak to Sophie about it.

A couple of days later I was in the village running a few errands. I had just cut through to a maze of back alleys, shortcuts behind the shops when I sensed a presence behind me. Swinging round, I saw a child, eight or nine years old, silently following me. He had fluffy blonde hair which stuck up, chick-like, around his head and would have been cute or funny if it weren’t for his eyes. In twenty-six years, I have never met someone with eyes that have chilled me, far less the eyes of a child. For that matter, I have seen very few photographs of convicted killers who have managed to convey quite so much hatred and evil with their eyes alone. There is the infamous photo of Myra Hindley, but even then the image is flat and two-dimensional – seemingly very far removed from one’s own reality. The child’s eyes weren’t. Almond shaped and icily blue, they appeared to be sunk deep into his skull. A predatory, watchful gaze hooded them slightly, and this would have been disconcerting enough on its own. Disconcerting even without the air of full-bodied hatred which sparked off of them, like embers from a grinding stone.
All of this I took in, briefly, in the moment before I turned my back on him and stepped up my pace through the winding alley. It had been my intention not to look back, so unnerved had I been by the child. It was, however, this very sense of unease, heavy as a storm cloud, which forced me to turn again, almost against my will. His evil drew me like a magnet – he was an unwanted fascination; the accident at the side of the road which we glance at, even as we vow to avoid it.
Had I not looked back, I wouldn’t have seen his hands, which now hung limply at his sides. On each of his fingers, reminiscent of Chinese Mandarins, protruded long-taloned nails, curled under in a perfect arc. That time when I turned away I didn’t walk – I ran.

When I returned home, I busied myself with household tasks, tidying and dusting and putting on another wash. Still, at that point, I didn’t think of the Washday Demon. The child, I told myself, was part of a traveling group, just passing through. He’d meant me no ill-will, I had simply overreacted. I continued to tell myself this until, that evening, something pulled me out of a dreamless sleep and urged me to my bedroom window.
Flipping the curtain aside, I saw him there, in the center of my moon-washed garden. He was running a long nail tenderly, almost lovingly, down my newly washed sheet. As though sensing my presence, he glanced up and caught my gaze, his eyes hooding almost imperceptibly. Then, in a whirligig of impish delight, he set about ripping my sheets to shreds – his legs, arms, feet, hands all moving in a grotesque dance of destruction. When he had finished, he looked up again, triumphant and brooding, before setting each of my clothes pegs spinning with one hooked nail. Then he set off at a jog towards the back gate, letting it slam hollowly in the empty silence.

The next morning when I ventured into the garden, every item of laundry was either shredded or stained with his dirty handprints. Moving closer, I now saw that it wasn’t chocolate, as I had first thought, but dried blood. After all the years I’d spent denying my mother’s stories, it seemed that I had my very own Washday Demon. I also had a pretty good idea why he was there.
Within half an hour I had collected every item of clothing and linen in my house – from the timeless Chanel suit I’d spent months saving for, to my plain white sheets monogrammed with my initials – MJP- bought for me as a joke by my best friend when I’d first moved into my house. Everything dear to me was piled high on a bonfire of broken twigs.
I had just struck the second match, and set the whole lot smoldering nicely, poking it with a stick, when my front doorbell rang. Ignoring it, I continued to stir my offering – asking the Demon to remove the stain from my soul. The doorbell again, and then a pounding at the gate. Standing there, stick in hand, I watched as the latch unclipped itself and four policemen threw themselves into my garden. “Megan Patrick,” one said, and I nodded, even though I knew it was a statement, not a question. “I’m arresting you on suspicion of murder.” A blur. An awareness of water being thrown onto fire and a hiss as it died, along with any hope. Someone yelling: “There’s blood on these sheets too. She’s tried to burn the evidence, but it looks like there’s enough left to make a match.”
Then I was being dragged out of the back gate and down the no-man’s-land between the houses. Back towards the tract of land behind my parents’ house. Already there was the fluttering of yellow crime-scene tape, squaring off a small portion of mud. I was pushed forward and glanced into the hole and there, wrapped I was told in one of my monogrammed sheets, was a child of eight or nine years old. I knew his age, even though he was decomposing; flesh and bone falling apart. But he shouldn’t have been a child. “No,” I screamed, wanting to speak it out loud, “not a child.” A baby, yes. That was my sin. Pregnant at seventeen in a small community, with a devout mother. Instead of doing something immediately, I waited until I had missed six periods and then I turned one of my mother’s knitting needles on myself. I hadn’t expected the baby to be so formed; so perfect. Nor had I expected it to be quite so substantial. For a moment, I had been sure that it was still alive, but I hadn’t checked twice. Instead, I had run with my burden, in the dead of night, and scraped a grave in the common land behind our garden, where it had remained undiscovered ever since. That was nine years ago. A baby, unborn, but not this child – whoever, or whatever, it was.
Then I saw it. The hands, skeletal and rotting, were nonetheless finished off with long, curving nails. Nails which had taken nine years to grow – nine years in which a dead baby had also, somehow, kept growing. A youthful misjudgment which had evolved into something very different; a game for the satisfaction of the Washday Demon. A game nine years in the making.
As I watched, I saw the death-head turn towards me and one eye clicked open in a languid, conspiratorial wink, as if to say, “Here I am. I’ve caught up with you at last.” And it was then that I remembered the hair. I had started the fire burning but forgotten to add a lock of my hair. Too late. I knew, just as surely as I knew the blood on my sheets would match this child’s blood, that I could never prove the truth of what had really happened. The Demon had taken my sin and amplified it in the most hideous manner; turning it into something that no washing in the world would ever be able to remove.

Credit To – Adena Graham

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate This Pasta
Rating: 8.7/10 (594 votes cast)
The Washday Demon, 8.7 out of 10 based on 594 ratings
  • ITR

    Punishment due to abortion? A little stupid, but the rest of the story was good :D

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -28 (from 52 votes)
    • Hayden

      Yeah, I agree, that part was really weird

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: -22 (from 28 votes)
      • mmsf

        Well it makes sense because it is a sin to murder a baby, religion wise. And it’s not exactly legal to terminate a 6 month pregnancy. So yeah, it makes sense.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: +25 (from 35 votes)
        • Dani

          It’s a sin to murder without cause, period, Not just a baby.

          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
    • Hannah

      That’s a sin. The demon was punishing her for a sin! So chill out!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +1 (from 21 votes)
  • ChaoticMaddi

    This was awesome! Keep up the good work<3

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +4 (from 14 votes)
  • Arae

    I really liked this one.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +5 (from 11 votes)
  • Jesus

    Absolutely love love loveeeee. Very good pasta!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +7 (from 13 votes)
  • J

    Loved it. Well written and the perfect length. Even though I knew the Washday Demon was going to show up for the main character, the way you did it was super creepy. The amplification of the sin was also a nice touch.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +14 (from 20 votes)
  • Anonymous

    Loved it. 10/10.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +4 (from 10 votes)
  • Rob

    @ITR the way I saw it was that the ‘sin’ was amplified and it wasn’t the abortion but that she did it so late on and didnt bother to check if the baby was alive but hid the fact and buried it! I think thats a crime. Great story.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +14 (from 22 votes)
    • The Shadows

      The way I see it the dried blood gave away the sin indicating a murder, however I did not think it would be called murder if she aborted a child,(otherwise people that gave and get abortions would be called “murders”.)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: -3 (from 9 votes)
      • Anonymous

        They are murderers if they abort a child

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: -5 (from 21 votes)
      • Corina

        You can’t look at it as an abortion if the fetus was 6 months (around 24 weeks) old. Many babies survive being born that early. As far as the cops knew, she had given birth early and killed the baby. THAT is murder.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: +7 (from 13 votes)
        • Anonymous

          The cops didn’t come because she aborted a

          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • http://www.karlarei2003.deviantart.com KarlaRei

    I loved this one! 10/10!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 5 votes)
  • Anonymous

    Very well written, left me speechless at the end.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 5 votes)
  • dududu9531

    “Hey there woman! **wink wink**”
    That part felt kinda funny to me somehow. I like the fact that the demon is not entirely murderous or evil incarnate- it’s more of a playful, “I want to screw you up badly” type of creature.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +9 (from 13 votes)
  • Alli

    I don’t really understand this, will someone please translate this for mw? That’d be great.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -4 (from 4 votes)
  • Hopesworth

    Very chilling and intriguing. It would have been interesting to find out the circumstances of the protagonist’s mother’s death since her superstition is an integral part of the story. Overall though, 9.5/10. The depiction of the aftereffects of the abortion was powerful.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
  • lollipop_gestapo

    I really hope to see this on the Highest Rated list, because I really loved it. I loved the way it was told: crisp, fresh, poetry and horror. I really enjoyed the crime/punishment – I was raised very strict Catholic, and now as an atheist, I still have mild fears that arise out of habit. Catholic Guilt is hard to get rid of.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +5 (from 9 votes)
    • Disciple

      I agree, but for a minute there I thought that there was no great sin – that the demon had convinced her that this crime (which someone else committed) was actually her fault. Roman Catholic mysticism asserts an incredibly complex hierarchy of angels, demons, and approaches to handling them. Medals of saints, blessed by priests, are often hung in houses, and the familiar “rosary on the rearview mirror” is another example. But rather than sacrificing to the demon or bending to its will, which is where the superstition lies in this story, I was thinking that it would have all been taken care of if she had simply prayed. If demons exist, then their maker exists. And it isn’t far fetched to think that the maker would be more powerful than the demon…
      By the way, I hear it all the time that people raised Catholic end up atheist and I really do understand why. It happened to my mom and (if she came back to Catholicism) it would have happened to me. But it would give me so much joy if you (as well as anyone else in the same boat) would reevaluate the merits of non-Catholic Christianity. In other words, Christianity. The Catholic church has made up a lot of false and damaging things about God and Christ, and it has scared away so many children by emphasizing the wrath of God, conveniently omitting the fact that: “For God so loved the world that He sent his One and Only son so that whoever believes in him should never perish but have eternal life.” I know, John 3:16 has been so overused, but there’s a reason why. It’s the heart of the Gospel. Give Paul’s letter to the Romans just one more read, with an open mind, setting aside anything that any Catholic has told you. And I swear that if you ask God earnestly, sincerely, to show you the truth, He will. After all, if God did exist and He wanted a relationship with each person, then He would be hard-pressed to not answer a sincere prayer to show them the truth.
      Sorry to be preachy, but I’m actually a youth pastor and the number one thing that I come across is misinformation about true Christianity, which the nature of Catholic doctrine so easily executes. That being said, I think this pasta does have a shot at the highest rated page.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 18 votes)
      • http://loughboroughtattoo.com/content/view/16/31/ OjamaYellow

        Then why are you on a site like this? Surely your church wouldn’t agree with it.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: -4 (from 8 votes)
        • Biohazard

          I’m a Christian and I’m a regular on this site. Besides, your argument has nothing to do with the damn statement.

          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
      • Keeva

        Please man, we came here to eat pasta, not have religious bullshit force-fed to us. This pasta was quite fresh and delicious, but your comment left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m so fed up with proselytizing.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: -2 (from 6 votes)
        • Biohazard

          Whoever said the guy was forcing it down on you? Stop being such a wanker and man up.

          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • thatgirl

    This was amazing! Coming from a Catholic family, this struck a nerve. Excellent buildup with a grotesque, chilling end. Delicious, delicioua pasta.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
  • firstnamelastname

    10/10 for me:)

    what i loved about this, was how horribly cheesy it all sounded when the mother would warn about the washday demon,
    compared to just how awful and life-ruining the reality of it was once it had happened to her.. it was a bone-chilling concept, for me anyway.
    i’ve read it through twice, and i so liked the way it flowed, i was immediately engaged in this piece, it just sucked me right in and i couldn’t stop reading until i’d reached the ending.
    keep it coming please!!!! :)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
  • Zyx

    I myself liked it Untill i found that the crime was abortion… I mean no disrespect, but it seems to me like another “People Are All Sinners” Christian scare pasta… Just saying…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -5 (from 15 votes)
    • Adena

      Hi Zyx, I want to make clear that abortion wasn’t the sin. The ‘sin’ was the fact it was left so late and that she buried the baby without anyone knowing and without checking if it was still alive. If anyone were to do that, it’s a criminal offence. Plus, the Demon itself amplifies any so called ‘sin’. Different people have different views of what constitutes a sin and the Demon preys on what people’s own guilt-feelings are. Hope this clears that up. And by the way, I’m not religious!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
      • Zyx

        Thanks for the confirmation, i wasn’t sure though. I have been bashed many a time by religion. I just assumed and i am sorry. Now that i know, i retract my earlier comment, and I did truly enjoy the pasta. Thank you, and i hope to see more of your work.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: -1 (from 5 votes)
  • Alberto N.

    Oh splendid! excellent job on making one of the best pastas I’ve read in a while…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
  • Nerdy

    Loved it. The words painted a perfect picture, it ran like a little movie in my head. Also, I think it’s pretty clear that the sin isn’t abortion, but how she handled it. She waited six months and then didn’t even bother to check if it was alive? Harsh.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
  • http://twitter.com/thetruemarissa MJP

    This scared me, and it was very well written. My heart jumped when they mentioned her initials on the sheets, because those happen to be my initials as well. Made it a little more personal.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  • Dr. X

    Knitting needles

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Solemnus

    Someone can use a thesaurus, it appears.
    Bland and unevocative, constant transition between elementary and collegiate diction.
    Would a girl the protagonist’s age truly write like this?
    Twist was fairly imaginative, but this person definitely needs to find their actual “voice”.
    6 out of 10 for potential.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -9 (from 13 votes)
    • Jayne

      This is one of the best written pastas on here. I fond the ‘voice’ incredibly consistent and it didn’t jar with me in the slightest. A great story that really sent a chill down my spine. BTW – I’d like to see your attempts at writing Solemnus!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 8 votes)
  • Shut up, Meg

    Honestly. (Btw, the narrator’s name is Meg.) This story was ok at first, but then it made my vomit. My username says it all. 3/10. FAMILY GUY REFERENCE

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -12 (from 12 votes)
  • Trev

    Totally awesome! This was so well written with a killer sting congratulations on a great read!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
  • Rook

    Ah, my dear little pet does so love to make mischief.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
    • Anonymous

      Who are you?!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • http://www.darknesfalls.org.uk darknessfalls

    Wonderful I’m applauding here. Lovely build and a beautiful reveal. If you’re not writing as career/seriously paying hobby then you ought to be. Well done :-D

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)

This website contains fictional content that may be too scary for younger readers. Please verify that you are either at least 18 years of age or have parental permission before proceeding.