Estimated reading time — 13 minutes
There yet again, he found himself in front of his computer. Late at night, the wife asleep. His mind wondered to that wonderful conversation he had last with Heather, his favorite personality on an online MMORPG that he frequently plays. He wished to talk with her once again, so he sent her a message asking to join a Skype call. Roughly 15 minutes passed, and she finally accepted the call request. He eagerly closed out his current browser window and the call soon ensued.
Going back and forth, they discussed various things, the weather, as well as bitching about the time difference between them, and what each had done throughout the day. About an hour or so into the conversation, he groaned when he noticed the time: three AM. “Shit, this isn’t good.” He ignored the impulsive and silly fear of the witching hour and continued the conversation with his Australian friend. Throughout the duration of the call, he heard what sounded like whispering coming from behind him. Dumbfounded, he abruptly got up from his chair to investigate.
A disembodied voice quietly, almost whispering at the lowest audible level, uttered two words: “leave her…” Bob ripped his headset from his ears and furrowed his brow, anticipating anything at this point. A few more hours passed, and Heather eventually forced him to get to sleep, seeing as the 8 hour time difference had quite obviously taken its toll on him. Disgruntled and disappointed, Bob obliged with her, said a quick goodbye and ended the call at roughly four AM. He carefully powered down his computer and quietly made his way to the living room to plop down on the couch.
No point in trying to sleep, he thought. I have to leave for work in an hour anyways. He decided to pull out his cellphone and pass the time listening to some music. A voice from the back of his mind jolted him to attention. He quietly laughed to himself when he realized it wasn’t a voice in his head, but the singer of one of his favorite bands blaring lyrics in his ears. He locked his phone, slowly stood up, and made his way to the bathroom to start his morning shower.
Walking back to his bedroom to get his work clothes while the shower warmed up, he froze with terror when he got to the doorway. Standing there in front of him, was Heather’s purple haired fox avatar, but noticing that it was disturbingly different, he froze in his tracks, paralyzed with fear. Instead of purple hair, flames emitted from where it’s hair had once been, it’s eye sockets empty of eyes, replaced with crimson red orbs, it’s skin deteriorated to the point of decay.
“LEAVE HER!” it bellowed loudly at him. He tried to utter a reply but was too terrified to utter a sound. “LEAVE HER THIS INSTANT!” it screamed once again. Bob was speechless, he didn’t know what to do. As if coming out of a trance, he blinked his eyes and did a double take and realized he was hallucinating, as it was his loving wife who was standing in front of him. Not the hellishly terrifying entity of Heather as he had thought.
“Good morning babe” she said, while walking up to him to give him a kiss on the cheek. Both relieved and confused, he went to take his shower, and as he stepped under the hot water streaming from the shower head, he felt a surprisingly burning tingling sensation on his right shoulder. He screamed quickly in reply to the revelation as he lost his balance, slipped, and fell. Whilst scrambling to get back up, his wife knocked on the bathroom door in panic.
Bob’s ears began to ring loudly, as if he had just been punched in the face. It took him at least 30 seconds to regain his composure, but he eventually did just that, briskly hopping out of the shower to dry off and get dressed. He exited the bathroom only to be greeted by a concerned look on the face of his companion. “Hun, are you sure you’re ok?” Bob replied with a false answer of “Yeah, just the lack of sleep getting to me, I am fine.”
While eating the breakfast his wife had made him, his other half stopped what she was doing. She turned to face her husband, who was screaming and had grabbed the plate in front of him, smashing the plate on the floor. He stood up and backed himself into a corner while weeping. Brandi rushed to her husband. “Babe, are you ok? What the hell is going on?” Mad but understandingly so, Brandi said with a hushed tone in her voice.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me, hun.” They both slowly stood up, and Brandi wrapped her arms around him. Concerned for his well-being, she asked: “Do you need to stay home today?” Bob paused, and then replied. “Nah, just the lack of sleep getting to me.” Baffled, she said “Were you talking to that person on the online MMORPG again?” Knowing she would be angry, he lied again and said “No sweetums, I was sorting out some papers for work.” She sighed and said “Well, you better get going then, you don’t want to be late for work.”
Bob had a brisk pace in walking out the door, as he was not feeling himself, and needed some music to tune out the unusual things he was experiencing. The likes of Linkin Park, Three Days Grace, and Metallica blaring through his truck’s speakers, he smiled. A few minutes later, he arrived at work. Should I tell her? Should I come clean and confess? He thought as his thoughts turned to work. “No, not yet.”
He stepped out of his truck, locked it, and walked into the place he knew as his job. A employee of a decades old auto repair shop, in the middle of town. Before he started walking, he pulled out a pack of Marlboro Eighty-Threes, and proceeded to light the cigarette that was wistfully hanging from between his lips.
“Mornin’ dickhead!” one of his co-workers stated as Bob walked into the front office after finishing his smoke. Before he walked into the office, he flipped the bird at the co-worker who had so “eloquently” greeted him. “Here ya go, got 3 tickets that need printing and another waiting to be written up outside.” Bob nodded in reply to his boss. “Oh, and tell fatbody out there to shut up, there are customers here.” Bob grinned and said “I’ll pass it along” as he walked out of the office.
Before assuming his role as cashier/ general customer magnet, he approached Reynolds, the idiot that had greeted him that morning. “Boss man said shut that shit up, there’s customers around.” Reynolds bumped his head on the hood of the car he was working on, and nearly fell over trying to regain his balance. “Yeah, sure. Whatever man.” Bob inched closer to Reynolds’s work area. “Are you smoking reefer back here?” Bob asked, surprised at the smell he detected. “Nope, customer brought it in here like this, I take pills, I don’t smoke jack squat.”
Bob furrowed his brow in response. “Eh, sure. Whatever is right, I don’t want to stand around and smell that shit.” Reynolds did not reply, as he had already gone back to what he was doing. Going through the daily motions of his job, he noticed the clock, it read 1:15 PM. “Great, only a few hours left yet.” Can’t wait to get home and relax with Brandi, he thought.
The work day coming to a close, he assisted the other members of the shop in closing the place down, got in his truck, and started his drive home. He anticipated pulling up to his house, and being greeted by his wife, but this would not be the case. He finally arrived home, powered down his truck while in park, and stepped out.
“What the hell, it looks like a hurricane went through here.” he said as he walked into the living room, his wife entered the room, and in an angered state, walked into the back of the house. “Babe? What’s going on?” Bob said as he tried to figure out what had happened here, just moments before he arrived. Brandi ignored him and walked into his office/ work area, and started to unplug his computer. Stunned, he exclaimed: “What the fuck are you doing?”
Before anything else could be said, she hurled his computer’s display at him, not being able to react, the monitor struck Bob’s head and neck with a loud thump, before crashing to the floor despite Bob’s desperate attempt to catch the device. “You piece of shit! I knew you were damn well lying to me!” Brandi said in a harsh and resonating tone. She continued as Bob attempted to get up while in a fuzzy state.
“This Heather, this bimbo you’ve been talking to, are you even sure it’s a woman, it could be a guy for all you know!” Bob cringed, realizing that it could very well be true. “Shut up, damn it. Do you realize what kind of stress I am under at work?” Brandi took a step back, and attempted to be as calm as possible when replying. “Well, if you’re so stressed out about it, why don’t you just tell me? I’m your other half, babe. I am always here for you.”
Bob slowly walked towards Brandi, but while in the process of stepping towards her, something kept him from progressing towards her any further. “What’s wrong?” She said. Or it’s what he presumed to be Brandi speaking, although in truth, it was not her. Or anything physically close to him, for that matter. “You don’t need to lie to her anymore, my dear.” Startled, Bob froze in place. He turned his head to the left in an attempt to find the source of the voice, and then to the right. Nothing, not even a shred of physical presence other than Brandi and himself, occupying the kitchen. “You don’t have to scream into a pillow anymore, you don’t have to bite your tongue around her. Just hit her, beat her to death, pawn off everything, including your soul for forfeit!” Just after this comment was made, Bob shook his head and popped his neck to relieve a minor headache that had started getting worse when he got home.
Not having the energy to say or do anything, he got some things together, and started walking back towards his truck. The whole time this is going on, Brandi slumps down into a corner to cry about the sudden outburst. “Where are you going, hun?” Bob resisted the urge to snap his wife’s neck, and then stopped. “I am going to spend the night elsewhere, I can’t be here right now.” He turned, looked, and pointed at the rusty green ammo can his grandfather gave him years ago. “There’s about a gram of decent kush in there. Smoke some and then call me in the morning, I love you babe.” Brandi looked up at Bob with tears in her eyes and said nothing. She looked at the current occupant of the can her husband mentioned, and got up, walked over to pick up the can, grabbed the marijuana out of it, and looked towards the back porch. When she looked back in the direction of where Bob had been standing, she gasped. There was no one there, Bob was already outside.
The door closed quietly behind him as he made his way to his truck. While walking towards his truck, Bob was suddenly halted by a sudden blast of ice cold air. Confused as to why there was arctic cold air coming from nowhere during a hot summer evening deep within the southern United States, he turned around and his expression immediately turned to one of pure horror. “No, No, NO!” Bob froze, as if he was encased in ice. “You are not real! You can’t be!” He haphazardly shouted at the ghastly entity that manifested itself before him.
“Oh, but I am Bob, I am more attuned to reality than you might think.” The thing was completely see-through, an ethereal abomination that should not be able to make itself known on the plain of existence. It spoke once again, while hovering in place, just in front of Bob’s position. “Now that you and that ungrateful wench are no more, you and I are now capable of living in uninterrupted bliss.” Lacking his sanity, Bob dropped to his knees. He finally uttered something: “But how? How am I seeing you here, and now?”
The devilish and eerie nature of this scene made Bob uncomfortable, one hand propping him up, while the other hand desperately searched for the handle to his driver side door to his truck. Nothing but silence for about a minute, until the beastly apparition decided to explain itself. Angry, Bob shouted at the top of his lungs, straining his windpipe in doing so. “Tell me right now! Damn it! TELL ME! This shit isn’t possible, what the fu-“The entity did not appreciate this, it hovered over to within a few inches of Bob, and the deranged man started to levitate above the ground with the unworldly creature of the metaphysical.
Struggling to breathe, Bob was instantaneously silenced. “YOU QUELL YOUR TONGUE WHEN IN MY PRESENCE.” After this, almost within a matter of seconds, the ordeal was over.
The belittled wife came outside and got Bob’s attention. “What the hell are you doing out here? Why have you not left yet? Who were you screaming bloody murder at earlier?” Instead of trying to explain the situation, he got into his truck and drove away. Bob decided the next step would be to check in at the closest hotel and sleep on the matter at hand. “Maybe I can get a better grasp on things tomorrow, when I am not so exhausted.” He said out loud, to no one in particular. After paying at the front desk and receiving a key to a room, Bob made his way to his room, and threw his old Army duffel bag in a corner, and flopped onto the bed for what he hoped would be a restful night’s sleep.
His cellphone rang, he immediately silenced it and plugged it into the charger. It was Trey, his token pothead of a friend. Bob didn’t really have the energy or patience to deal with his stoned antics and slurred speech. He decided it would be best to just call him in the morning. He quickly climbed into bed and threw his head back onto the stiff hotel pillow. Promptly, he fell asleep, and was sound asleep until about 2:37 AM. “Time to get up, you vagrant.” Bob immediately opened his eyes, while within a dream-like trance. Bob slowly adjusted to his surroundings, it was still very much dark, and there was no one in the room. He was in the hotel room, but some things did not appear to be right. Everything around him had a purple hue around it. As if someone had detonated a radioactive cluster bomb of purple.
“Where am I?” He thought out loud. “What is this?” He looked down at his feet and noticed a solid object. He reached out for it, and held it in his right hand. It was a trinket, a keepsake his wife had given him shortly after they were married. It was a heart shaped pendant that had a picture inside. The picture was of Brandi and himself kissing under the sweet moonlight on their wedding night. He proceeded to open the trinket, and then an all too familiar voice said something that made his blood run cold. “What do you think you are doing sweetie? Nothing but shock awaits you if you open that.”
Ignoring the voice he opened the trinket anyways and was horrified at the revelation: as he opened it, it was the picture he imagined, but instead of Brandi being the one he was kissing, it was a faceless form in the shape of a female he didn’t recognize. Suddenly, the trinket erupted into flames, exploding out of Bob’s grasp, he reeled in terror as the disembodied voice overtook his senses. He was breathing heavily, and drenched in sweat. He kept explaining to himself that it was just a dream, that it was just fatigue from work.
Seconds later, and almost in sync with his breathing, Heather’s true form embraced him, suffocating him, and as he was struggling to get free, his body suddenly went limp. “NO!” He heard from a familiar voice within the realm of subconscious state between wake and sleep, as if muffled. “No, Nine Zero Wii !!!” He laughed, as it was just his cellphone alerting him that he had a new text message. “It’s NineZero Will, Salmon. Not Wii.” He grinned. “I haven’t played on a Wii since I was a kid.” He said to himself.
He picked up his phone and noticed that the text was from Trey. He called him back, and a delayed reaction from Trey caught Bob off guard “Oh, um could you bring me some food? I’m way too baked to drive.” Bob replied. “Sure, dumbass. I’ll surprise you.”
Driving through the shadier part of his city, Bob just focused on getting to Trey’s house. After he stopped and got some food, Bob silently turned onto the street Trey’s house was on. “Aren’t you going to share that?” An eerie and gravelly voice said. Surprised, Bob looked around and after his eyes found the backseat, his jaw dropped when he spotted Heather’s extremely suggestive appearance in the backseat. The loud and sharp tone of another car’s horn resonated as Bob snapped his eyes back to the road, just in time to avoid getting into a wreck.
A cop was waiting. He turned on his lights and sirens, and beckoned Bob to pull over. Just as he was starting to slow down to pull over for the cop, Bob looked towards him. Just as he opened his mouth to issue another warning to pull over, Bob noticed the outline of Heather’s not-so-suggestive form hovering alongside the police car, behind the officer. In what seemed like an instant, her form grabbed the police officer and threw him out the window. The fate of the cop now unknown and unimportant to Bob, he watched as Heather floated towards him with an ever growing pace.
He kept his foot on the gas pedal as the feeling of dread intensified. He now had a 3 mile gauntlet of narrow, curvy, and hilly road to navigate. He knew he was in mortal danger, so he took off down Trey’s street, the radio playing nothing but loud static. “What do you want? DO YOU HEAR ME? What the fuck do you want?” Heather stopped, showed an expression of pure annoyance, and watched as Bob’s truck flew past her down the road. She grinned, and laughed an evil laugh that would have rivaled the volume of a earthquake. Soon after finishing her laughing, the demonic visage of Heather turned around, and laid her uncanny eyes upon a scene of pure tragedy.
She smiled, and slowly approached the scene. One of mangled cars, body parts, gore, and burning tires. “You bitch, you ungodly spawn of hell!” Bob uttered as loud as he possibly could, one of his lungs punctured, and blood covering his face. He stood on both feet, despite being barely able to. “The fact that you survived this incident means nothing, your life is still forfeit.” Heather said. Bob stopped struggling and reached for something in his pocket. A picture, of himself and Brandi. It promptly burst into flames. “No! NO! NO! NO!” He screamed, now that his sanity had completely left him, he felt no need to hold anything back.
“It’s so nice this time of year, in hell!” Heather’s wicked form exclaimed. Her devilish crimson eyes piercing into Bob’s withered soul. Bob, who is now barely clinging to life, says nothing. He falls towards the earth, and rolls over on his back. He feels a numbing sensation overtake his body, and he begins to levitate about the dirt. “Any last words, my dear?” Bob struggles, and utters just one line: “Fuck you that is all.” Heather chuckles, and then begins to speak. “Even in the face of death, you hold nothing back. Foolish, but brave.” With a loud snap, the demonic and unnatural creature breaks Bob’s spine. His body falls to the street. Blood started to occupy the ground near Bob’s lifeless body, but Heather was not satisfied with this minor display of violence.
She took his corpse and ripped it in to two separate pieces. “I have succeeded! I have consumed his soul into my everlasting vortex of damnation!” Heather took the two separate chunks of Bob’s corpse and tossed one to the right, and the other to the left, and held his head in her teeth, and then disappeared in what seemed like an instant.
Having both heard the loud noise of what they thought to be a car accident, Trey and Brandi both dropped what they were doing and started walking towards the scene. The evening sky now painting a much more dimmed backdrop. “Trey, stop.” Brandi uttered in a shocked tone. “Like, what man?” Trey uttered, a joint between his fingers. Trey came to a stop and his eyes found what Brandi was talking about. His best friend was in pieces in front of him, his head nowhere in sight. Blood and remains were everywhere, Brandi kneeled down next to what appeared to be Bob’s legs, and reached in the back pocket of his pants. Her hand found his wallet. “It really is him, Trey. What the hell? Why?” Brandi started to sob uncontrollably. Trey felt numb, and confused. The tragic sight they were left with, will now haunt them forever.
Credit: Will Browning