One night a few years ago I heard the sound of someone breaking into my house. It was around midnight when this happened and up to this point I don’t think I had more than twenty minutes of sleep but as soon as I heard the window being broken I was wide awake and looking for my phone to call the police. My heart jumped into my throat when I realized that I left it downstairs charging in the kitchen.
At the bottom of the steps I saw the silhouette of a man sitting at my kitchen table. It was dark so I could not see him but the stink coming off the man was enough to curl my nose hairs. It was obvious even without the lights on that he was homeless.
I was about to throw him out but as soon as I turned on the lights I couldn’t help but to feel bad for the stranger. He was sickly skinny, dirty, with long stringy hair that grew in patches and a matching beard. The way he sat there motionless with tears forming in his thousand yard stare it seemed to me that he had given up on life. I was about to tell him to get out but as soon as I opened my mouth I noticed that he had a shotgun on his lap.
I nervously asked him what he wanted but he didn’t answer me, instead he just sat still and stared straight ahead as if I wasn’t even in the room with him.
This man looked like he hadn’t eaten in a month. As a kid I was instructed to give the homeless food instead of money since they might buy booze or drugs with it so I decided to warm up some leftovers in the microwave. As I did so I prodded the stranger with questions like if he wanted me to call someone.
He did not answer for a long time and hardly noticed the food I placed in front of him once it was ready. However once he started talking he told me a story that would change my life forever.
He said his name was Cole Dyer and admitted to killing twenty people.
I’m not at all embarrassed to say that I cried and begged for my life at this point. This only angered Cole who ordered me to shut up and sit down so he could tell me something.
Doing what he said Cole told me that his first victim was a hooker who he choked to death. This one wasn’t killed like the others because he didn’t know how he wanted to do it at the time or for that matter knew that he had a taste for it.
After killing her Cole expected someone to come by to arrest him but after a while with no detectives or police coming by Cole figured he was in the clear.
No longer feeling like some cog in the machine Cole’s murderous fantasies eventually took on a life of its own and soon he started to consider himself “The Pass it on Killer”.
The reason Cole liked that name could only be explained by his twisted sense of righteousness and questionable moral compass which was explained to me in great detail. The gist of it was that if he killed enough “pests” good things would come back to him.
Symbolizing this he would replace the head of his previous victim with the most current.
Realizing killing people he knew was a sure way of getting caught Cole learned what questions to ask complete strangers to discover the “pests” in their lives because “who didn’t like talking about themselves?”
Cole explained that he was great at talking to people and could “talk the devil into lighting himself on fire” so learning where these people lived, worked, what they drove and more was easy.
More often than not after finding the person Cole would decide to let them live because he called himself “paranoid and meticulous, always guessing and second guessing a perfect plan”.
Since the murders were spread out nationwide and none of his victims had any connection to the others authorities were at a loss and never even questioned Cole about what he described to me as his “hobby”.
It was at this point that Cole demanded that I grab a pen and paper and jot down his tale. Who was I to say no? Even though he had his hands on the table there was still a shotgun in his lap. I didn’t want to bet that it wasn’t loaded or that I was faster. The safe bet was just to write the story he was telling me.
While scouting for the next victim Cole found himself behind a small series of apartment buildings. It was dark while he was digging through some garbage in order to collect what he could about this next potential victim when he heard a small group of people huddled around someone’s basement apartment, whispering to whoever was inside.
Cole only saw them from a distance and at the time couldn’t see their features, though he described this group as being “greasy” and “dirty” with long hair and beards.
Even from that distance Cole could see that their eyes burned like anthracite. One by one they stopped their hushed whispering and turned their gazes towards Cole whose heart skipped a beat at the sight. When he went back to his car Cole dared a peek over his shoulder and saw them following him just out of the cone of light the street lamps provided.
“It creeped me out. I was already thinking of finding someone else to kill because I don’t like killing in apartment buildings. Too many neighbors, you know? When I saw them though that sort of settled it. I wasn’t going to go back there. Kept looking back in the mirror on the way home to see if I was being followed but in the five hour drive I didn’t see a thing behind me. The next day however I noticed a car driving slowly though my parking lot every few hours. I was smoking lots of weed at the time and figured I was just being paranoid but the next night I woke up to tapping on the door”.
As Cole explained to me what happened next he started to rock back and forth the way I’ve seen children do in an effort to calm himself down before continuing his story.
“Thought it was my imagination at first but then I started hearing my name being whispered from the hallway. When I realized I wasn’t imagining the noises I looked out the peephole”.
Cole described at least five filthy and malnourished faces partially covered by long unkempt hair that did little to hide their dark, sunken, almond shaped eyes that shined with a kind of hate and sin that even the Pass it on Killer feared.
“They spent the entire night begging me to come out”.
It was explained that in the building Cole called home it wasn’t uncommon to hear drunken exes pound on doors demanding to be let in so the begging went on for hours. Eventually a neighbor Cole never bothered to get to know but shared a thin wall with decided to open the door and ask the strangers to “shut up or something.”
“She stopped mid sentence the moment she saw them,” Cole explained. “They pushed her back into her apartment and all piled in. They were tearing through her place for a while and I could hear her cry which caused them to laugh. If I didn’t have number nineteens head in the freezer I would have called the fucking cops, man”.
Eventually they made the woman call out to Cole, begging him to come out from his apartment. Cole could hear them telling her what to say. When she did they would laugh and get her to say what they wanted louder.
When Cole refused to open the door or respond they grew bored and started getting violent with the woman. “First the sounds of punches and things getting broken, but then… Jesus. They were eating her, it was loud and lasted until the sun came up”.
I didn’t want to aggravate an already delicate situation so I remained silent and allowed Cole to go on for as long as he wanted.
Cole sounded like a man who was completely and utterly defeated. It was obvious that even if these people were all figments of his imagination he still believed it to be true so much so that I couldn’t help but to feel bad for him.
Cole didn’t leave his room until noon, by then he was confident they were gone and that it was safe to leave. “There was no way I was going to stay there. No fucking way”.
Cole barely touched the meatloaf I heated up for him because he was too distraught. Considering how he looked I thought he was going to inhale it.
After packing his car and making sure to remember the head of his previous victim who he kept on ice, Cole went to some army surplus store to get what he needed to “get away for awhile”. To Cole this meant staying at a seedy hotel whose main customers included hookers, drug addicts and other types of undesirables.
“About a week later I was getting some grub at some grocery store, just walking in the parking lot and minding my own business, right? That’s when I saw them again. Drove up right behind me and laid on the horn. I didn’t even bother getting something to eat. I just wanted to get the hell out of there”.
By the time Cole remembered that he left the head of his previous victim back in the freezer at the hotel he had already crossed two state lines. I could tell this bothered him.
At this point of the story Cole had to take a moment, and knowing that he had a shotgun on his lap I gave it to him. He finished the food I gave him so I poured him some milk and gave him the rest of the baby carrots I had in the fridge in hopes that my kindness would be repaid and I could keep my head.
Cole traded his car for a van shortly after that encounter because there was no doubt that whoever was following him knew what he was driving.
“At least I could sleep in the van, right? Saves money on hotels and shit”.
It only took five weeks or so after trading in for the van that Cole crossed his pursuers paths again. This time he was in deep sleep when he heard them say his name, causing his eyes to shoot open, immediately locking on the dark eyes of a woman with the same sinister resemblance as the men Cole had seen outside his apartment, but without a beard this woman’s disfiguration was more noticeable.
“When she smiled it was like she didn’t have nearly enough teeth. The few that she had were small and brown and grew fucking everywhere” Cole explained as his dirty fingers figetted with the gun in his lap. “Like the gums and the inside of the cheeks and shit”.
Even in the dark Cole could see their black eyes glow with hateful light and when he turned over the engine the headlights revealed dozens of “her family” standing ten or so feet apart. “Some were naked” Cole explained, his eyes growing distant. It was obvious to me that he was reliving that painful memory. “They were standing still, smiling and just looking at me. Like they were giving me permission to leave”.
Cole told me that he swerved to hit a few with his front tire or to at least clip them with the vans “fat ass” however they all stepped to the side, effortlessly avoiding getting run down.
When I got the opportunity to ask what he meant by “her family” he revealed that was a recent term given to them. At the time he thought they were demons or vampires but no longer thinks that’s the case for reasons he did not share.
After that encounter Cole abandoned the van and stole a car. It was confessed to me that this was done whenever he felt that they were closing in on him, usually with the sensation of a tightening of his chest or his balls. Triggered by anything from something he imagined seeing in the corner of his eye to the cries coming from a murder of crows.
Zig zagging across the country Cole made every effort to forever rid himself of these people and the hateful pulse that resonated from them.
Cole would stay inside at night and if he could he would sleep during the day. He would pass the time by listening to music. It was a surprise to me that he preferred classical considering how he looked. My shock must have been apparent because Cole explained that Vivaldi Concerto No. 5 was his favorite and thanked his mother for getting him into “tasteful music”.
While on the run Cole would take odd jobs here and there to pay for what he needed to survive. A tractor assembly line in Michigan, a toll booth operator in Florida and a semi weigh station in Nevada. Whatever job paid him in cash and as long as he didn’t have to work at night. No matter where he found work he would not stay long before feeling that they were closing in on him and would more often than not leave before getting his paycheck.
I will spare you the details of what Cole felt he had to do in order to survive up to this point. Up to now he had been talking to me, a captive audience due to the shotgun on his lap for well over four hours.
The night Cole came to my house was shortly after leaving a place he had stayed at for about three months, a loft above a bar in northern Canada. When asked why he would want to live above a bar while on the run Cole shrugged and said that he thought that a bar full of people at night would keep him safe.
When they finally arrived they softly cried out his name from the back alley under his window. With all the music being played downstairs Cole had no idea how long they had been calling but the moment knew it was them the giggling began.
They flattered Cole by saying they were his biggest fans and tried to prove it to him by telling him details that only the Pass It On killer would know.
“Cutting off a head is hard. Even if you have power tools it’s messy shit, man. Took a while before I got the hang of it though” Cole confessed, oblivious to my disgust. “I rigged a bike pump to a catheter, snaked it through the axillary nerve until it reached the superior vana cava. It only took about two minutes before the blood stopped flowing and by then removing the head was pretty much blood free”.
Cole swore to me that up to this point he never spoke to them, but that night he finally had enough and accused them of being vampires due to the fact that they needed permission to come in.
“As soon as I said that, everything went silent. I must have been used to the sounds they were making because I didn’t notice it until it stopped. That’s when someone with a strange accent told me that they were not vampires but in fact something else. Something that I—”.
Cole never finished this thought. In the silence that followed I didn’t know what he was going to do and this terrified me.
As if suddenly remembering that he was telling me a story Cole stopped staring at the wall and told me about how they then cut the power. Not only to the apartment but the bar under him.
“It didn’t take long before I heard the woman who was tending bar that night warning them not to come closer and them just laughing. They tore her apart and all I could do was wait until morning to come” Cole confessed with a shake of his head as if to eject the thoughts from his mind. “Thing is, Canada has some long nights during the winter and I only had enough food for a few days”.
Cole didn’t tell me how long he stayed in that room for and I didn’t want to ask. It was obvious from the thousand yard stare that these events were still fresh in his mind so I kept my mouth shut.
When Cole left his room he saw “gore sprinkled everywhere. Like a trail of breadcrumbs that started from behind the bar and led right to my apartment”.
Careful not to touch anything with his bare hands Cole told me that he emptied the cash register and stole a toolbox from the back office so he could switch license plates whenever he felt the need to in the future to throw his pursuers off his scent.
“I don’t know how to stop them but I think I have a good idea how to slow them down” Cole said, but before he could elaborate he noticed that the sun was shining through the window and we had been talking for hours. Thankful that he went another night without seeing them and having someone he could talk to Cole thanked me for listening.
I didn’t know what to say to such a story, I didn’t have anything to compare it to so I rambled on about whatever came to mind, eventually telling him about my boss and how he is always looking over my shoulder and wouldn’t leave me alone.
As if this was at all similar to Cole’s own story.
I didn’t think anything of Cole asking me if I liked my job or where I worked at the time and soon I was answering all of his questions. After a short while Cole thanked me, at the time I assumed that it was because I took the time to listen to him, then he took my car keys off the counter and left without another word.
It might have been ten minutes after Cole left before I called the police and all I said to them was that my house was broken into and that my car was stolen. After all, if I said anything else it might make me look as crazy as Cole.
Maybe it was just me being tired, but I was truly afraid that the police would think I was insane if I told them the story Cole told me.
The more distance I put between myself and that night the less real it felt. But then reality set in once I learned that my boss was found dead a few days later.
According to the local newspaper, The Whisper Alley Echo, pieces of my boss were found all over his bedroom. Most people in town considered this to be a rumor to stir up newspaper sales and I wanted to agree but it was hard to considering Cole’s tale.
In the back of my head the idea of what Cole told me being true kept teasing me. It bothered me so much that I ended up hiring a private investigator, a decision I came to regret because it didn’t take long before getting a phone call informing me that my boss’s head was found in the middle of another bloody mess all the way in Cleveland.
Over the next few weeks I kept thinking of the story Cole told me. If those thoughts weren’t front and center they were creeping in the back, ready to pounce on a happy moment to turn it sour.
It didn’t take long before I started seeing dark patches dart from one shadow to the next, disappearing as soon as I turned to look at it. At first I chalked this up to being a mouse or lack of sleep since I found it hard to sleep in a house that was broken into. Hoping it was the latter because I hate mice I bought some medicine in town to help with sleep. It worked wonders when it came to sleep but did nothing to stop me from seeing these shadows.
With an embarrassing frequency I would imagine seeing Coles night visitors on the side of the road when I come across reflecting eyes or think of them whenever I hear the house settle.
It was as though toying with the idea of them being real was enough to invite them into my life.
I don’t recall what came first, hearing my name being called out in public or the soft scrapping at my screen windows at night. I will say however once I realized that I was hearing these noises there was no way to block it out.
At night I could hear soft whispers that were hard to make out and the more I tried to ignore it the more it took center stage in my mind. It didn’t take long before I felt the need to know what was being said.
I could not tell you how many nights I stayed up just so I could put my ear up to the wall but I can tell you it was worth the effort because unlike Cole I know what they want.
The first night I opened the door for them was terrifying, like losing one’s virginity. Even with Cole’s descriptions there was no way I could have been prepared for their appearance because they resembled humans the same way a shark looks like a minnow.
During these conversations they instructed me to share Cole’s story with the world so some of his madness could rub off on others and “season the meat”.
If you see these shadows or hear these sounds after reading this it’s only a matter of time before they come to visit. And when they do you can thank me, a better and more successful Pass It On Killer than Cole ever was.
Credit: Dean Card
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