7 Unsettling Horror Stories GUARANTEED To Scare You (Or Your Money Back)

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📅 Published on June 3, 2019

"7 Unsettling Horror Stories GUARANTEED To Scare You (Or Your Money Back)"

►”The False Memory Experiment”
►”I Think My Therapy Patient Has Made ME Need Therapy”
►”My son’s been acting weird lately, so I checked his search history”
►”That was NOT gum stuck underneath the table”
►”He told me not to look in the backseat”
►”Something went wrong when I learned to code”
►”I’m a surveyor for Hillcraven Gold Mine. I think people are trapped in the tunnels.”

Creepypastas are the campfire tales of the internet. Horror stories spread through forums and blogs, rather than word of mouth. Whether you believe these scary stories to be true or not is left to your own discretion and imagination.

Narration by: CreepsMcPasta



the horror I experienced in that room
transcended time space and reason I will
never forget those words Zack Hanley
reached out to me two months ago from a
throwaway email address claiming to be
the sole victim of dr. Faustus horrific
study of 2014 this is an experiment you
have never heard of and probably never
would have if it was for Zach’s bravery
and willingness to seek me out it was
around 9 a.m. when I arrived at the
doorstep of Zach’s small-town home I
immediately noticed the camera mounted
to an awning and several security signs
staked along the walkway and not and
waited for a few moments as the dull
humming of a security camera adjusted
the sound of several locks unbolting
soon followed the door creaked open a
few inches and I recited the password
that Zach and I had discussed over email
after a moment of hesitation Zach
invited me into the darkness of his
small home I observed my surroundings
and quickly learned that he was recluse
the small living space was cluttered
with empty takeout containers beer cans
and miscellaneous possessions
the air was pungent with a smell of
stale garbage and burnt weed despite
having a bedroom
Zach’s bed had been moved to the center
of the living room even stranger all of
the internal doors had been taken off of
their hinges as I sat on the couch Zach
plops down on the edge of his mattress
he was thin very thin
his pale skin seemed to glow in the
darkness of his living space contrasted
only by shadows and the dark circles
that painted his green eyes Zach’s face
was unshaven and shaggy hair hung well
past his shoulders they cleared the
paper bags from my cushion and placed my
recorder on the coffee table before
speaking as you already know my name is
John I don’t want you to feel
intimidated by the recorder I simply use
it as a tool for compiling my personal
notes we can edit out anything you do
not like when we’re finished
Zack looked down to grab a glass pipe
from the table and began to pack it with
cannabis it’s all good then I trust you
I’ve read your other cases and stuff I
know you help people like me I tempted
to smile with sympathy I like to think I
can provide victims with a sense of
closure and help those who have
unexpectedly dealt with traumatic and
unexplainable experiences I clicked on
the recorder exact place the pipe to his
lips and ignited his lighter we can
begin whenever you’re ready
Zack excelled the smoke and extended his
arm to offer I declined
where should I like start he asked the
air conditioning kicked on and I noticed
Zack flinched before I responded we
could start wherever you like why don’t
you tell me what led you to being
involved with dr. Faust study Zack took
another hit well I went to university
from 2010 to 2014 I was doing a ride to
my classes except for abnormal psych I
thought it would be an easy a the
professor was tough and she docked my
grade every time I missed class
what was the professor’s name I asked
kimble-campbell something like that I
jotted down Kimball slash Campbell in my
notebook do you think she had anything
to do with what happened to you
Zack shook his head no not at all I
leaned in how did you become associated
with dr. Faust sacks leg began to move
up and down with anxiety as he spoke
like I said I wasn’t doing well in class
the school of psychology offered extra
credit for any student willing to do
Studies grad students put together all
you had to do was check the bulletin
board and show up dude I did as many as
I could I scribbled in my notepad as I
responded what kind of studies were they
Zack took another hit from his pipe they
were pretty goddamn unoriginal to be
honest usually some sort of rendition of
Pavlov Schrodinger ha Milgram some were
pretty cool though especially the ones
where he got drunk and they asked new
questions to see how long it would take
for you to mess up
I couldn’t help but laugh so Zack you
did all of these studies but you were
still failing the class he nodded like I
said kimble-campbell or whatever was
strict I still needed about 50 overall
points to be okay and most studies
offered between five and ten I was
running out of time
Zack sighed and looked down
it was Friday after class when I found
the letter at my doorstep
it had the University logo on it and
everything looks super legit it was the
letter from dr. Faust I Linden with
interest what did it say
Zacks leg fidgeted furiously something
along the lines of the psychology
department is very pleased with your
frequent participation dr. Faust
cordially invites you to an exclusive
study I’ll guarantee a full letter grade
increase for this semester
Zacks eyes began to twitch it went on to
tell me that my involvement must be
confidential as the study was per invite
I didn’t even question it
where did the letter tell you to go I
asked Zack
stared into my eyes the basement level
of DeMarco whole room b7 I’ll never
forget that room John and that’s why the
police haven’t taken me seriously
there is no basement at DeMarco Hall and
no room b7 but I swear to god there was
on that day Jack turned and wiped the
tears that were beginning to well in his
eyes I remember hitting the bottom and
the old elevator and everything lower
level room b7 was at the end of the hall
I quickly scribbled in my notepad and
looked back up at him and asked what did
the room look like
Zach looked around nervously and lowered
his voice as if it was in fear of being
overheard it looked normal just like any
other basement classroom white brick
walls and tile floors I was the only
person there the room was empty except
for a chair small table in an old
computer in the middle of the room the
table had a note in it that said Zach
please click the mouse to begin the
study were you concerned at this point I
asked Zach was looking back at the floor
not at all not until the test began I
clicked the mouse and the computer lit
up the screen said find the mistakes in
these photos as quickly as you can
I didn’t this kind of test before kind
of like that photo hunt game the first
photo showed the night sky but there
were two moons I clicked on one of the
moons and it showed the next picture
this one was of a ball of fruit but the
pear was red instead of green I clicked
the parent then he went to the next
his eyes welled up again and he choked
on his words what was the next picture
Zach I asked it’s okay
no it wasn’t okay the next photo was of
my family on vacation at Disney World
outside of the Magic Kingdom me my mom
and dad and my little brother Thomas
tears were streaming down his face you
know what was wrong with the photo John
I shook my head Thomas my little brother
he wasn’t on that trip that was the
vacation we took two years after he died
back when we tried to remain a normal
but there he was in the photo standing
right next to me with the biggest smile
you’ve ever seen
my snake felt uneasy as that continued I
got up and backed away from the computer
my mind was racing I felt sick confused
and I was furious I went to the door and
it wouldn’t budge I yelled and kicked it
as hard as I could
nothing I tried my cell phone but it was
useless no signal that’s all in the
place not only that but my phone
wouldn’t even respond
it was completely frozen I went back to
the computer to see if it had any
internet access the photo was still out
with Thomas staring at me that huge
smile I couldn’t get it off that screen
as much as I didn’t want to admit it I
had to continue
I moved the mouse to click on Thomas
nearly puked his skin had begun to turn
gray in the photo and his eyes black as
if he was rotting the smile on his face
grew larger I clicked on him and it went
on to the next picture
Zach buried his face in his hands as he
continued the next showed a photo of my
father’s funeral he took his own life a
few years after losing Thomas I felt my
own eyes tearing up I am so sorry Zach
he ignored my sympathy and continued
everyone was standing in black as a load
his casket into the ground it looked
like the photo had been taken from the
nearby woods
and zoomed in I lost it at this point I
picked up the computer and smashed it on
the ground I’ve never been so mad in my
entire life I turned around to go back
to the door
Zach paused this is where no one
believes me the door wasn’t there it was
just more white brick wall I was trapped
my head started to spin my heart was
beating out of my chest I turned back
around and there was the computer back
on the table in one piece with a funeral
image back on the screen at this point
my brain tried to comprehend the
situation I thought that I was having a
super-realistic dream or something
I started slapping my face to try and
wake up but I never did I was losing it
i sat against the wall of the classroom
for probably two or three hours trying
to get a grip on reality
eventually I submitted to the voice in
the back of my head I had to finish the
Zach sighed and continued I went back to
the photo to see what was wrong so I
could click it and continue and looked
at all of the people dressed in black
and standing around the grave I saw so
many familiar faces family and friends
after a few moments I saw it I was
ashamed I hadn’t noticed it it was my
own face my face in the photo I was
laughing hysterically looking at the
casket I felt like I was coming to puke
again I can swear to you that nobody
laughed that day I put the mouse over my
face to click and just before I did it
moved and stared directly at me through
the screen tears were streaming down his
cheek again the moment I clicked all of
the lights went out in the room I heard
the floor creak and felt something
behind me I was too scared to move it
was like I was paralyzed I just wanted
it to be over for a second I felt cold
air breathing down my neck
Zach excused himself to wipe his eyes
and knows what happened then I asked the
lights came back on but the room had
changed he whispered I looked at him
changed how Zach continued like
completely changed it wasn’t the same
room anymore more like a hallway but
really narrow too narrow I’ve never done
well with tight spaces I was still in
the chair but the computer and table
were gone I realized then that I wasn’t
alone the hallway smelled like death and
rot it was so bad I choked on it
the light behind me was disappearing
like the shadows and smells were
creeping towards me there was something
in that darkness John I heard it sweat
crackling footsteps on the floor I had
no choice but to move forward I started
to run the hallway twisted and turned
like a maze and became narrow as I
pushed on I’ve come to the realization
that I was being treated like a lab rat
but instead of searching for a reward I
was avoiding a punishment
eventually the space was too narrow the
footsteps behind me grew louder the only
choice I had was the push through the
narrow gap towards the cool air ranged
forward with all of my strength and
tried to ignore the pain and eventually
breached through the space was just
large enough like it had been built for
whatever that thing was behind me so
gets finger into my leg before I made it
to the room on the other side of the
wall what was on the other side
I asked SAP continued it was a large
sewer line on the edge of campus I ended
up finding a ladder and climbed out you
know the rest I charted a few notes in
one of the investigation in dr. Faust
Zach looked me in the eyes the only
record of a dr. Faust was in 1919 he was
fired and arrested when police
discovered a makeshift lab under his
home that he was using the torture
students he died in prison there was
much of an investigation I lost the
original letter and there’s no evidence
of any basement in DiMarco Hall the only
thing they can’t figure out was the
timing what do you mean they asked my
roommate reported me missing pretty
quickly three weeks had passed by the
time I climbed out of that sewer I
hadn’t eaten drank or slept the horror I
experienced in that room transcended
time space and reason
Zach let’s back down to the floor I’d
like to end the interview now
and so I did Zach and I parted ways I
listened to our conversation during my
drive home by the end I was skeptical of
his entire story that was until I went
to walk to my own front door I hadn’t
given Zach all the University my
information but sitting at my doorstep
was a letter from dr. Faust inviting me
to participate in his next study a new
patient I asked my secretary slightly
outraged please sir she tried to plead
with me you have to I am completely over
booked as it is I simply cannot take
anyone else but she’s my cousin she said
as she stood up from the front desk that
doesn’t mean anything I tried to explain
I cannot make exceptions with things
like this dr. Martin the secretary
raised the voice a little louder than
usual I looked at her with one curious
cocked eyebrow the secretary realized
the mistake and lowered a voice back
down she needs it she needs you I was
prepared to reject the proposition again
but I saw that hopeless desperate look
in her eyes she couldn’t bear to take
any answer other than yes
fine I finally submitted to my strange
gut feeling she was nearly jumping for
joy upon hearing the news thank you so
much doctor she quickly sat back down in
a rollin off his chair and began
frantically typing on a computer I’ll
tell her right now all right I began to
make my way back to my office just let
me know when you schedule her first
appointment my secretary
meekly looked up from a computer oh she
already has one set for today I stopped
and quickly ran back over to a desk
excuse me she has an appointment set for
three o’clock this afternoon she tried
to not be frightened by my slowly
growing impatience you mean to tell me
that you scheduled an appointment for
someone who wasn’t even a patient yet I
tried to keep calm but my anger was
practically bursting out of my ears my
secretary didn’t flinch she stared
directly at me
and then turned back to her computer and
repeated she needs you I sighed heavily
and walked back to my office defeated I
hate when she does stuff like that at
3:00 in the afternoon that day after
finishing up with another patients my
secretary peeked into my office and told
me that Phoebe using a different name
for privacy reasons and out of respect
was ready to come in who I asked the
woman I told you about this morning my
cousin I tried to roll my eyes in the
most inconspicuous way possible then I
said to let her in I sat back in my
chair lazily waiting the door to my
office opened up and in walked a
middle-aged woman with a beautiful long
black hair she looked about late 30s and
seemed very reserved and shy
you must be Phoebe I spoke as I began to
examine the woman’s demeanor I tried to
seem at least a little interested after
all she was my patient yes and thank you
for taking me on such short notice I
know how busy you are
Phoebe approached my desk and
confidently outstretched their hand I
leaned forward and shook her hand in
return it’s no trouble I assured I
motioned for her to sit in one of the
many chairs around the room once she was
comfortably seated I began the session
so first of all what brings you here
Phoebe shuffled a bit and a seat she was
clearly uncomfortable about answering
ma’am I gently prodded Phoebe took in a
deep breath my daughter has this sort of
friend I guess you could call it go on I
began to feel genuinely intrigued well
she was beginning to sound a bit more
comfortable but she was still holding
back you see this friend isn’t actually
there I mean she plays with him all the
time but I can only see her playing by
herself she’ll play in the backyard for
hours and it always looks like she’s
talking to someone all the little games
she plays I’m meant to be played with
two people then when she comes inside
she will talk about mr. whisper she and
him are becoming such good friends but
there’s never anyone there I’m getting a
little scared ma’am I did my best to
sound professional when saying this it
sounds like your daughter
made up an imaginary friend it’s very
common for little children to create a
friend of their own to play with I know
about imaginary friends sir she
continued but I think this is something
every time she talks about mr. whisper I
get this very uncomfortable feeling I
can’t really describe it but it’s kind
of like i’m in a submarine and the
pressure is imploding in on me from all
sides and I have a hard time breathing
and Phoebe he began to grow noticeably
dizzy and fell off of her chair I ran
over to her and helped her regain her
balance are you all right I asked yeah
sorry I guess I’ve just been a little
stressed lately her voice sounded
slightly breathy I walked over to the
water cooler and got Phoebe a cup of
water ma’am I started I want to help you
but I don’t know how any of this could
be possible
I took the cup over to her to drink it
doesn’t seem right listen Phoebe knew
she wasn’t being fully heard so she
tried one last time my daughter isn’t
some sort of danger I don’t know how to
prove it yet but I can feel it Phoebe
I’ll tell you something I tried to
reason go home and relax for a bit take
a nice long nap if you have to I began
walking over to my office door implying
that it was time for her to leave
if you feel these feelings again or
anything new happens give me a call but
I’m guessing that it’s nothing more than
a simple childhood imaginary friend I
open the door and turn towards Phoebe
again she slowly got up out of a chair
and walked over to the door an imaginary
friend is only real in your mind mr.
whisper is actually real I know it
walked out of the office without even
saying hello to a cousin on the way out
I felt bad about letting Swan leave who
is clearly in need of some sort of help
but there was nothing I could do a few
days later I was on my lunch break and
my secretary told me I had a call
waiting on line one I dismissed her
before answering it I wasn’t too
surprised with a voice I heard doctor
asked the voice it was Phoebe only she
sounded more anxious more paranoid I
could tell just by listening so that one
word that something had happened is
everything all right ma’am I asked truly
concerned I could sense Phoebe gathering
all the thoughts before she spoke I had
a slight breath in on the line I know
you think I’m talking nonsense
she began but you have to at least try
to believe me she waited for a response
but I was waiting for her to speak so
she went on I can sense him all around
me now at first I would just get that
weird feeling whenever my daughter
talked about him then I started getting
it when I saw her playing with him I
could tell the difference between when
she was playing alone and when she was
playing with mr. whisper she would act
differently I don’t know how else to say
anyway I started to get an odd feeling
that my daughter was getting stressed
out by something as well she seemed off
every now and then but my daughter has
always been the kind of child who
doesn’t want to show her weaknesses so
she never admitted anything to me then
one day my daughter told me she and mr.
whisper had come into a little argument
and that she wasn’t going to play with
him for a little while I did what I
needed to do and pretended to be upset
all that stuff
so she started playing with me a bit
more I didn’t force her to at all she
just came to me and wanted to play
together I didn’t complain at all but
then one day I noticed she had a few red
scratches on her back and on her arm now
she had played outside in the
playgrounds a few times recently so I
quickly assumed it had something to do
with that so I didn’t ask her however a
few days after that I saw her playing
outside again except I had that really
funny feeling again I knew she was
playing with mr. whisper again but she
didn’t seem to be herself she looked a
little scared when she came in for
dinner that night I could tell something
was different about her I told her I
noticed she was playing with mr. whisper
again and she looked up at me with a
pained expression I had never seen her
make that face before
but she quickly put on a fake smile and
said yeah we got into a fight before but
now everything’s alright I told her I
was proud of her for being a big girl
but I was so scared from that day on I
noticed something happening this sounds
awful to say but I started getting that
horrible feeling whenever I was around
my daughter I would see her walk through
the house and I would begin to feel
faint and everyday it would get worse I
could see it on my daughter’s face too
she was getting more scared every time I
saw her that’s when I began to notice
mr. whisper were starting to latch
himself on to my daughter I called you
as soon as I figured it out
i sat with a phone against my ear and a
dumbfounded look upon my face I didn’t
know what approach to go for so I just
began talking and hoped something good
would come out ma’am I’ve never
experienced anything like this it’s very
hard to tell exactly what we’re dealing
with here if what you’re saying is true
we could possibly be dealing with a
supernatural entity here and if that’s
the case I’m in no position to help you
know Phoebe exclaimed startling me for a
moment there’s no time to go to someone
else I’m afraid of what will happen if
we waste too much time my mind raced as
I attempted to come up with a solution
how about this I prompted I will come
see you after work and we can discuss in
person what the best solution would be
the other line went silent for a moment
all right Phoebe answered her voice
showed that she wasn’t completely
satisfied but it would work for now if
you send me your address
I’ll meet you there as soon as I get off
of work I added Phoebe
topping the address and we talked a bit
about the details before I said I had to
go back to work for the rest of the day
I conducted my other therapy sessions as
usual but my mind was unable to escape
the thought of Phoebe and a poor
and whatever ungodly thing was
terrorizing them the end of the day came
and I was packing up my things and
getting ready to head over to Phoebe’s
house I was just closing up my suitcase
when my telephone rang hello and said
doctor it was my secretary she sounded
very worried Phoebe is here to see you
I looked at my watch send her in please
right away sir a few seconds later a
woman walked in but it certainly wasn’t
the woman who had walked into my office
a few days earlier that woman was sharp
and confident
this woman’s long black hair had been
completely messed and had several small
gray streaks her face had been drained
of color and it wore a solemn and
fearful expression a lips looked cold
and chapped and out of them the woman
spoke I saw him I gazed at her but no
words were spoken I awkwardly motioned
for her to sit and then equally sat in
my own desk seat Phoebe slowly walked
over to the chair but she was clearly
shaken her hands didn’t stop moving the
entire time she was in the office and
she kept glancing around the room as if
expecting something to happen
she was majorly paranoid after I got off
the phone with you
she began I decided to have a little
talk with my daughter so I brought her
into the kitchen and sat her down at the
seats that was directly facing mind I
asked what was going on in the past few
days she looked at me with a confused
look but her eyes knew exactly what I
was talking about and they couldn’t lie
I told her that I knew something had
been going on recently and I was worried
about her she reassured me that she was
fine and that there was nothing to worry
I realized that if I wanted answers I
had to give her straightforward
questions so I leaned in real close to
her and spoke softly as I asked her what
is going on with you and Phoebe stopped
and looked frantically around the room
like a deer who hears a twig snap in the
woods she turned back to me and
continued her and you know who I nodded
in understanding she went on only I used
this actual name apparently when you
whisper his name he gets mad really mad
so after I asked her her face got very
scared and she gave me a look that said
I am so sorry for what’s about to happen
I would tell you to run but there’s no
Phoebe began to breathe more heavily and
was fidgeting more in a chair then this
thing came at me completely out of
nowhere he just pounced on me Phoebe
paused for a long time I I can’t even
describe it it was such an out-of-body
experience it’s like I still have memory
of it but I just can’t think of anything
to describe it with the doctor it was
horrifying as soon as it was over I was
lying in the floor wheezing in pain my
daughter came running over to me and she
tried to make me feel better but she
couldn’t not after what I just been
through I thought hard about this and
you can’t describe it Phoebe shook her
head sadly
it would be like describing music to a
deaf person I thought again I suddenly
got an idea but it would require a huge
risk I didn’t know if I wanted to
propose it or not but while my mind was
still deciding my mouth made the
decision for me how about this I started
you go home and tried to summon mr.
whisper again but this time I reached
into my suitcase and pulled out my
digital camera take a picture of it with
this I touched the camera – Phoebe may I
remind you that you absolutely do not
have to go through this if you don’t
want to it’s a good idea she said while
still looking down at the camera but I’m
still afraid of what’s going to happen I
got up out of my chair and walked over
to her that’s perfectly understandable I
reached my arm out and put in on her
shoulder but if you do this and then
come into my office first thing tomorrow
with a picture then we’ll have
conclusive evidence that this thing
exists Phoebe thought for a moment
longer then she slowly nodded I’ll do it
the next day I got to my office about an
hour early so I could meet Phoebe when
she got there i sat down at my desk and
anxiously waited for her to arrive I
began to think about what I would do if
she was successful in taking the picture
I would be able to see exactly what was
causing all the trouble with Phoebe and
her daughter but what would happen from
there I thought about bringing in a
priest or a demonologist it might work
it had to work
as the hour slowly passed my excited
anticipation soon turned to raw stress
it gained time for my workday to start
but there was still no Phoebe I walked
out to my secretary and told her to
notify me immediately if there was any
word about Phoebe I went back to my
office and started working with my other
patients my mind wasn’t in my office
though my mind was traveling all around
and the longer I heard no response
the faster my brain travelled what have
I done I thought to myself I’ve sent
this poor woman straight to a doom I
should never have told her to take that
picture I should never have given her
any advice about what to do I should
never have taken up this profession in
the first place
I continue to beat myself up all morning
then almost as soon as one of my
afternoon patients left my office my
telephone rang I picked it up almost
immediately upon hearing the first chime
hello and answered as soon as I spoke
sweat began to form around my head I was
breathing so heavily that it could
assure idli be heard on the other line
sir my secretary responded she sounded
almost as scared as I was turn on the TV
this was not the response I was
expecting but I still knew exactly what
I would see on that TV when I turned it
on I slowly bent down and grabbed the
small black remote off my desk which
channel right hesitantly asked
any of them she answered
I set the receiver down on my desk
nearly flinched as I aimed the remote at
the small TV on one of my offices corner
walls and press the power button there
was a reporter standing in front of a
small suburban house I don’t remember
everything she said because I was mostly
in shade at this point but I could hear
a general idea while reports are still
flooding in from neighbors about the
horrifying sounds they heard from this
house last night there is still a large
amount of evidence missing from this
crime last night at approximately 10:30
thirty seven-year-old Phoebe Callaghan
was attacked by something that is still
unknown the cause and the events of the
brawl are also a mystery at this time
but what is known is that many neighbors
nearby heard callaghan’s helpless cries
and many of them also heard a shrill
high-pitched screech that didn’t seem to
belong to any human or animal when
authorities arrived at the scene they
found callaghan body horribly warped and
mutilated her once dark black hair had
turned to a solid gray and her eyes and
face lacked color a small digital camera
laying merely inches from her body
Callaghan is sadly leaving behind her
seven-year-old daughter I shut the TV
off I slumped all the way back in my
chair and attempted to breathe but every
time I took a breath in and wouldn’t
come out I felt like I was suffocating I
tried to get up out of the chair but I
couldn’t move I was pinned the world
around me started to go blurry and dark
dr. Martin my secretary rushed into the
room and quickly attempted to bring me
back into full consciousness eventually
the board came into perspective again I
was able to constantly lean forward and
move around in the chair I was able to
exhale all of the air I was in constant
are you all right she asked me kneeling
concern Leigh had my side yes
I’ll be all right I managed to say in
between my deep breaths in and out I can
cancel the rest of your points today if
you know I quickly answered I’ll see you
all of my patients today the secretary
looked at me unsure all right as long as
you feel up to it but I began I paused
for a while
as I contemplated making this decision I
don’t think I should be a therapist
anymore my secretary stood up outraged
that this what you can’t quit there are
so many people who need you like Phoebe
Callaghan I reminded she sadly sighed
deeply defeated I don’t think you should
leave but if you truly believe you have
to then I went to stop you but I want
you to think about it long and hard I
nodded slowly oh she reached into a back
pocket and handed me an envelope the
police came by this morning and dropped
this off
they said Phoebe’s daughter wanted you
to have it I inhaled deeply before
taking the envelope from her I thanked
her before dismissing her back to a desk
once she was out of the room I stared at
the envelope
I was absolutely dreading seeing its
contents I held it up to the light and
saw the silhouette of a small black
rectangle which took up about a quarter
of the envelope I knew it was a printed
Polaroid picture of something before I
couldn’t let myself say no
I tore open the envelope and slowly
withdrew the picture from inside the
picture was blurry at best and the
camera seemed to be falling over as it
snapped the scene but the main focus of
the photo was still very visible once I
saw it it completely froze up letting
the photo slowly drop unto the floor as
much as I’ve tried to forget all about
this picture it will never leave my
memory the image is forever burned into
my brain the right side of the photo
seemed to be capturing a normal kitchen
the table and a stove in the background
but the left half of the photo showed a
figure dressed in all black reaching
directly for the camera with his long
and hideous hands the photo only allowed
the viewer to see the torso and above
the hair on the top of its head was
almost completely gone but its scalp was
old and had several cracks in it on the
side of its head there were two large
ears almost twice the size of normally
is and they stuck out of its skull like
sore thumbs
but the most terrifying part of this
beast was the face its awful face
consisted of two empty black eye sockets
that still managed to stare directly at
you just below the eye sockets was the
creatures nose and he was all crooked
and terribly bent out of shape like it
had been smashed with a mallet then
there was the mouth if you ever want to
call it that it was inhumanly wide open
no it was completely unhinged from his
jaw line which exposed several grotesque
layers of teeth had pointed in every
which way if the creature closed its
mouth it would possibly ponder itself in
several spots
when you stared directly at the creature
it seemed as though it wasn’t leaping
directly out of the picture and right
for you
it was merely waiting for you to whisper
its name and then it would wreak
unspeakable havoc and pain unto you this
is why you must be careful when
discussing this creature you must be
wary when it is around you
you must never whisper his name never
whisper mr. whisper
I shouldn’t have done it I know I
shouldn’t have done it but the thing is
Matthew is more than just the son to me
the kids one of my best friends it’s
been like that ever since his mom passed
away lately though ever since he came
back from university a couple of weeks
ago in fact I’ve been worried about him
really worried Matthew’s changed
University’s changed them and I don’t
just mean a flown the nest more
independent kind of way I don’t mean in
a partying too hard kind of way either
I mean the kid looks ill seriously ill
when I picked him up at the train
he had bags under his eyes that were
like bruises as though he hadn’t slept
in weeks
his hair was greasy even his breath was
not my Matthew when I dropped him off in
Exeter all those months ago he was a
different person entirely happy excited
not like now something happened to him
down there and in the days he’s been
home it’s only gotten worse over the
past week I’ve hardly seen him he’s out
all day and home late and a couple of
nights he hasn’t come home at all told
me he was staying at his friends but he
didn’t look me in the eye when he said
it this morning he got up early and left
just as I was getting out of bed said he
was off down the park to meet some mates
he didn’t look like he was going to meet
mates though he looked like he was off
to face a firing squad
anyway I know all this doesn’t excuse
what I’ve done I’m not saying that I’m
saying that when I went into Matthew’s
room after he’d left this morning I saw
that his laptop was on
well I only plan to take a quick look
just something to set my mind at rest
Matthews room is at the back of the
house overlooking the garden as I sat
down at his desk a soft patch of morning
sunlight spilled in through the curtains
lit the whole room up it should have
been Pleasant but it wasn’t it only
highlighted what a mess the place was
clothes strewn over the floor dirty mugs
textbooks and paper spilling everywhere
the top left corner of Matthews desk was
covered in soil which had been spilt
from a pot plant his grandmother gave
him and there was a funny smell in the
room too
an unpleasant mixture of laundry
detergents I had washed Matthews clothes
for him old food and something else
something I couldn’t quite place I ring
called my nose and resolved to get out
of there as quickly as possible then to
have a proper talk with Matthew when he
got home sit him down ask him once and
for all what was going on with him in
the meantime
I typed in Matthews password he’s had
the same one for years and opened up
Google Chrome I never get it to history
and hit ctrl Y to show full history the
searches from this morning were Google
Twitter and outlook and I skimmed
straight by those without reading them I
don’t really know what I was looking for
exactly but I guess I’m a visual person
rather than reading the text my eyes are
scanning the website favor cons as I
scrolled down
the history wasn’t too extensive now is
already a few days back in time when
something made me pause a collection of
darker logos that stood out among the
porn quite a bit of it – from the looks
of it Matthew had spent that particular
night browsing the stuff for at least a
few hours I stared at the logos and
scratched the back of my neck
my skin suddenly felt hot the light
coming in from the curtains was making
me squint was I doing here exactly what
had gone so wrong that I suddenly
thought snooping through my son’s
computer was ok the kid had browsed some
porn a few nights ago that was all so
wha he wouldn’t be the first 19 year old
to do it and I very much doubt it he’d
be the last so far all I’d succeed in
doing was invading his privacy and
making myself feel guilty in the process
No enough was enough I just have to have
a sit-down with Matthew when he got home
that was all parenting the old-fashioned
way before I went to close the tab I
scrolled back to the top of the history
page force of habit I guess
thinking back now I’m not sure what
exactly it was that made me pause again
what it was that caught my eye
an unusual phrasing maybe a stray word
that stood out among the rest either way
I suddenly found myself staring at a
collection of Google searches my son had
made the day before yesterday once I’d
missed before
and as I read through them I felt a worm
of unease stir in my stomach 8:30 p.m.
the silent chapter google-searched 8:46
p.m. silent chapter initiation rituals
google search
9:32 what is scrying Google search 1003
can I use scrying to open a portal
Google search 1028 box of black magic
spells Google search 10:57 what is
Google search there were other links in
between those searches to Wikipedia
email a few websites that looks like
obscure forums I didn’t recognize I’ll
admit it at this point I was disturbed
but I wasn’t that disturbed I had
already come up with an explanation for
the searches as I was reading them the
thing is Matthew studying sociology at
university he’s interested in different
religions too and he’s always been
fascinated by conspiracy theories he
loves all that stuff rereading those
searches I already knew what he was up
to some kind of university project that
was all it had to be Matthew had become
interested in studying witchcraft or the
occult something like that and he was
doing a bit of research into the subject
matter maybe even laying out the
foundations for an essay
or at least that’s the story I told
myself before I scrolled to Matthews
most recent searches the ones he made
this morning the same ones I’d scrolled
past at first without reading them
properly now I read them though now I
look closely at the text for each one
followed the links to aside from some
visits to outlook there were only three
other items in Matthews history from
this morning and by the time I’d
finished looking at them I felt dread in
my stack that was worse than anything
I’ve ever felt before in my life even
worse than the dread I felt when
Matthews mom was diagnosed the first
search was for a girl’s name rosie field
no one I recognized I popped it into
Google but nothing much came up some
LinkedIn profiles a few Facebook and
Instagram hits nothing interesting I
assumed it was some girl he’d met down
in Exeter the second result was
different though this one was a Twitter
link I clicked it and it took me to a
recent tweet from the local police a
photo they’d shared only a few hours
earlier not long before Matthew left for
the day the photo showed a little girl
young maybe around seven or eight big
gap-toothed grin blond hair in a
and one large word in red just below her
picture missing
something in my chest tightened my eyes
flicked back to the text above the image
girl had been gone since yesterday
evening apparently she’d been out to
play in the garden and hadn’t come back
she only lived a few streets away from
her name was Rosie field my hand was
shaking as I clicked back on the history
tab and stared for the final item the
most recent one
it was another Google search 8:57 am
best hiding places in a bathroom Google
search I stared at it for a second
longer then followed the link scanned
the top few results after a moment of
staring at the screen my eyes would run
away from it again over to the soil
scattered across the top of the Matthews
desk the soil from his plant but the
soil which he clearly spelled in a hurry
and hadn’t bothered to clean up it
didn’t take me long to find it from wood
my hand into the top of the pot digging
through the dirt and after a second of
searching my fingertips brushed
something that shouldn’t have been there
a small plastic bag buried just enough
so the top was covered I fished it out
it was see-through what looked like a
sandwich bag covered in dirt I reached
out with my other hand my fingers was
shaking so badly now I could hardly hold
the bag straight but eventually I
managed to brush the soil off I wish I
hadn’t I wish more than anything that I
had never gone into Matthews room in the
first place that I never looked on his
computer there were only two items in
that bag too small but unmistakable
items the first was a miniature vodka
bottle it was filled to the top but the
liquid inside it was red rather than
clear it sat in the back alongside the
second item a tuft of blond hair bound
together with an elastic band
I work at a restaurant same customer
came in three days in a row
he had long greasy hair sunken eyes and
a patchy beard he wore stained gray
sweatpants a ratty t-shirt that
celebrated Expo 86 he stood in line in
front of me and ordered a small black
coffee one dollar fifty two total he
fished around in his neon pink fanny
pack and passed me a handful of change
of other clammy coins touch my hand and
I shuddered he grinned at me took his
coffee and found an empty table off in
the corner unand over to my coworker
have you seen that guy before gives me
the creeps
she shrugged and went back to dipping
churros and sugar I helped the next
but I kept a watchful eye on the man in
the corner maybe I was just being
judgmental but there was some
indefinable quality about a man that
made me uneasy
I noticed he didn’t touch his coffee too
hot I presumed despite not ordering food
I could see that he was doing this
intense chewing motion with his jaw I
watched as he paused stuck his fingers
into his mouth and extracted a revolting
masticated mass slick with saliva a
glistened in his hand he then proceeded
to stick this group under the table
gross I thought he was just finishing
his gum then I saw him reach into his
fanny pack and insert a mysterious gray
morsel into his mouth he began the
process again grinding it up working it
out of his mouth into his fingers and
depositing it under the table I left the
front counter and spoke with my
supervisor we have a policy about
approaching customers who exhibit
questionable behavior apparently studies
show that members of the public are more
well-dressed management types than us
uniformed peasants I told him about this
creep and his gross habit
my supervisor shrugged and said whatever
he’ll be gone soon just clean up after I
waited and I watched the man repeat this
obscene ritual he left after an hour
my supervisor reminded me that I should
clean the table top and bottom before
the next customer complained I brought
out a bucket of cleaning supplies and we
gradually walked over to his table I
went down into my hands and knees and
looked up I had to retreat to avoid
vomiting there were over two dozen moist
bundles of chewed up goo that speckled
the entire underside of the table I took
out our chisel and managed to wedge them
all off into a waiting garbage bag after
the first piece plops into the bag
something struck me as strange this
wasn’t gone in fact I had no idea what
it was I’ve scraped off plenty of gum
and its appearance and shape is overall
pretty consistent gum looks like old
caulking that comes out in all colors of
the rainbow
in contrast the mysterious gunk was dull
gray and had the fibrous texture of
chewed up steak I finished cleaning up
and tried to put this revolting chore
behind me the next day at the start of
my shift
I saw the man again he was at the
different table and in front of him was
another small coffee standing behind the
till I scrutinized the man’s actions
again without fail he stuck his fingers
into his mouth extracted the Norden mass
and placed it under the table
I swore under my breath store policy be
damned I was going to speak to this
gentleman and tell him his behavior was
unacceptable I asked my coworker to
cover my tell I broached this table and
saw his eyes light up as I drew nearer
he spoke first would you like some jerky
excuse me
he reached into his fanny pack and
removed a strip of meat he held it up
and waited expectantly no no thank you
sir we actually have a pretty strict
policy on no outside food or drink
really he said that’s a shame Marv for
me then he opened his mouth and I saw
that he was missing all his teeth he
placed the jerky into his mouth and I
could hear his saliva churn as he gunned
the meat and switched it with his tongue
sir I need to speak to you about the
stuff you’re placing underneath the
table oh I’m so sorry I didn’t realize
it was a bother I will stop immediately
okay I said feeling more a little
embarrassed and grossed out I began to
back off from the table when he grabbed
my wrist and said I liked you I pulled
my arm back and shuddered I left the
table gave my hands a thorough cleaning
and went back to work
I didn’t trust this man to keep his word
and sure enough he continued depositing
bits of food under the table I saw him
leave and my supervisor encouraged me to
go clean up the table was worse than
yesterday it was like a star map of
chewed up food I grabbed the chisel and
again removed the disgusting meat
stalactites from the table the next day
and returning from my break when I see
the man again he’s at the different
and as a small cup of coffee in front of
him I resolve but there is no way in
hell I’m going to allow this to happen
I approached my supervisor and this time
I am fear meant I threatened to walk out
if he allows the man to continue it
surrenders practice unopposed
my supervisor relents says we can kick
the man out as long as I’m the one that
does it he ups to remain in the back
room while I do the confronting I begin
my approach determined to put an end to
this nonsense
I noticed that beside the man he is
numerous grocery bags filled with
economy sized containers of salt he sees
me sure you don’t want some jerky no sir
I spoke to you yesterday about the
chewed up meats you keep putting under
the table I asked you to stop and you
did not I’m going to have to ask you to
leave are you alone what no sir please
leave if you ever leave now I’m going to
call the police he frowned but did not
get up he pulled out a wad of jerky from
his fanny pack and placed it in his
then something fell out of his fanny
pack and dropped to the ground
it looked like a large french fry but at
the tip there was the unmistakable
impression of a fingernail there was no
doubt in my mind that before me was a
desiccated human index finger my jaw
dropped and I met his surprised gaze
such a shame you would have dried up
nicely I ran before he could grab me i
barricaded myself in the backroom and
phoned the police
my supervisor hassled me for answers as
i hyperventilated trying to regain
control the police came shortly after
the man had left by that point but given
my description they were able to pick
him up soon after over the next few days
the police asked me many questions and
provided few answers a few months later
I got the whole story turns out he was a
forward-thinking long-term cannibal he
wanted to find the best way to preserve
his kills some technique that retained
flavor without making the meat too tough
so he innovated he bought an
industrial-sized dehydrator chopped up
his victims and felt ziplock bags full
of people gum the media referred to him
as the jerky killer based upon his love
for spicing and drying his victims since
he didn’t have any teeth he could never
finish the last mouthful of fascia and
muscle once the last bits of meat lost
its flavor it had to go somewhere under
the table seemed like a reasonable place
investigators had found he had placed
pieces of his victims
beneath the tables in over a hundred
restaurants apparently one of his
favorite activities was relaxing with a
cup of black coffee
and chewing the fat of his old friends
I’m not the types try and hitch a ride
from someone else if I can help it I
would rather just get to where him going
huh my own accord when the engine of my
car started to sputter its final breaths
however it left me stranded the
particular stretch of road that my car
decided to break down on was pretty
removed from civilization the nearest
town in any direction is a 40 mile walk
naturally it was night the type of night
where you can see the stars darting the
sky but you couldn’t see seven feet in
front of you the dark wasn’t what was
crawling into my skin though it was the
rumors associated with the road or
perhaps the facts that created the
rumors being such a long stretch of
uninterrupted pavement the road was a
breeding ground for hikers not all who
wandered this road would make the return
trip home it’s estimated that around 70
hitchhikers would venture on the road
and leave without a trace law
enforcement eventually stopped
investigating the disappearances and
would assume anyone lost in the road
wouldn’t be making it back home the most
recent of these cases being Laurie
Mullins who was headed back home for the
holidays when she didn’t show up to a
parent’s place a day later they filed a
missing report she was a cute girl that
looked good on missing posters so people
paid more attention than they would for
the typical vagabond none of which had
commanding bright blue eyes and fiery
red hair like she did the rumors of some
serial killer patrolling the roads
sprang up along with more outlandish
ideas like aliens or mystical creatures
from the forest the road passed as
people tried to justify her
disappearance never the time for
superstition I have to admit that
surrounded by a globe of darkness that
stretched out forever the rumors got to
me I decided it would be just as
dangerous to sit by my car and wait for
the morning to rescue me
if something was out there lurking it
was going to find me whether or not I
was walking around so walk I did there
like tapping of my rubber soles and the
hard pavement was the only source of
noise other than the occasional cricket
every time I would pass by a patch of
turf that had grown particularly high I
could feel my body tense up for an
impact that never occurred as soon as I
cleared each patch the belt of tension
would release in a heavy sigh my breath
swirled in the cool air whenever I
pulled my cell phone out to see if I had
received a signal I was met with a red X
in the upper hand corner with a nearest
city so far away towers would be an
unlikely site I could have been walking
back hours with little progress each
small and timid step barely distancing
myself from the car but with enough time
that too faded from sight as I focused
on the white line reaching out in front
of me I saw a faint glow pressing
against the blacktop my feet began to
pick up a vibration as the yellow glow
grew brighter and brighter turning
around to face the source of the light I
observed a large truck barreling down
the highway I contemplated how I had
likely only made it a few miles at best
in a very extensive amount of time and
like I had seen in the movies I stuck
out my arm with my thumb pushed out as
far as I could the truck started slowing
to a halt my glee was immense the
thought that I was going to happily jump
into a truck of the stranger was an even
present trotting up to the door of the
18-wheeler I waited for it to open
I could hear a rustle from inside the
truck and I bounced a my increasingly
sore feet trying to get a glimpse inside
as I was about to speak the large metal
door pried open and revealed the cab of
the truck the large and imposing man
shrouded by the night sat by the
driver’s seat
that your car back there his voice
boomed from the cab he had to speak up
over the sound of the trucks various
mechanisms still running yeah I looked
back in the direction I had come from
the darkness had a slight scarlet hue
basked by the brake lights the thing
just crapped out without warning
my arms are crossing my chest as if it
would fight off the onslaught of the
chilled air I could feel a vague warmth
emanating from inside the truck and I
yearned for it I’m not much of a car guy
so I’m just going to head to town the
trucker turned away from me and looked
out the windshield
I could imagine his tongue clicking with
consideration inside his mouth he turned
in his seat and shot a quick glance to
the back of the truck
I could see well but it looked like
there was enough room for a row of seats
a lot of folks go missing around here
hop in I’ll get you there
his words themselves felt warmer than
the heat escaping the truck thank you so
much I genuinely beamed as I watched him
so I’ve a small pile of contents on the
passenger seat to the floor an odd array
of different thumps as the objects hits
the carpeting I quickly glance back
towards the back of the truck noticing
the side of the truck was lacking a logo
the seams were also starting to formed
spider webs have rust on them the driver
must have sensed my apprehension another
light from within the truck and flipped
on I ain’t gonna hurt ya he spoke his
deep southern accent soothing of my ears
I could see his face clearly when I
looked back to him he was a large an
intimidating man without the doubt his
face heavily covered by thick and dark
facial hair a beard the nearly reached
past his chest swaying as he talked like
blades of grass and gentle breezes he
was what I would imagine if I was told
to picture a trucker flannel shirt over
his large frame they could pass as a
bear in the proper light his voice
however was disarming the way he spoke
reminded me of a parent’s trying to calm
their rambunctious child I gave him an
acknowledging nod and put my foot on the
first step he quickly reached up and
turned the light off before leaning
towards me with my foot still on the
step one thing you are not to look in
the backseat
the calming aspect of his voice had
washed away and dried into a stern
cadence like if a drill sergeant tried
to calm down the rambunctious child I
froze for a moment but as he leaned back
in his seat I lifted myself into the cab
they urged the look into the back seat
was pretty immediate as I climbed into
the passenger seat even out of the
corner of my eye I failed to make out
any detail in the back seat there was
only the mask of darkness
I pulled hard to close the door it shot
with a resounding whack as if someone
had hit the door with a hammer I don’t
know why but I wanted the driver to
think I was strong and capable of
defending myself so I closed the door
really hard he didn’t pay any mind to it
though he just readjusted himself on the
seat and pressed down on the gas
lurching the truck forward even though
we were barely moving I could feel the
movement of the truck rattling my
insides and click my teeth together
watching other window and do my best to
fight my curiosity my senses began to
pick up on my surroundings the first
thing I noticed is that the inside of
the cab smelled absolutely horrendous
the heat was blasting onto my face and
while it didn’t seem like the driver was
an incredibly messy person the stench of
rotting garbage and iron wafting into my
throat compliant and ordering me I
didn’t want to come off as rude so I
initially did my best to ignore it but
as the smoke got to me more and more I
desperately wanted fresh air
my hand ran over the interior of the
passenger’s side door looking for a
button or a crank anything to crack the
window there was nothing other than the
handle I used the polar door shot the
deteriorating leather texture was bare
of any mechanism more troubling than not
being able to open the window was that I
didn’t even find a handle to open the
door with only a vacant differ wear one
once was doing my best not to jump to
conclusions or let on that I was
internally become troubled by my escort
my breathing had to remain convincingly
calm so I continued to let this will let
hung in the air dilute into my lungs
wanting something to focus on I shifted
my seat and looked straight ahead
watching the white line flowing like
water under the wheels of the truck so
what kind of cargo do you transport I
asked I figured I’d be more comfortable
if he had a conversation started and
maybe I regain information that would
put my worries to bed all the while I
was thankful that his rear view mirror
was poorly adjusted showing the ceiling
of the cab I wondered if he did that
before I stepped in I could momentarily
feel his gaze wash over me before
returning to the road meet he said in a
matter-of-fact tone
admittedly that was the last thing I was
hoping he would say I was turning to
face him when the headlights reflected
off the road sign briefly lighting up
the cab in a short time I was able to
catch a glance of the blue jeans he had
on more importantly I was able to see
that blotches of dark stains on said
jeans dark red stains a glinted in the
light splattered like a Jackson Pollock
on his ripped blue jeans I doubted that
a man like him was wearing fashionably
torn jeans it was getting harder to
steal my breath and I completely
forgotten my attempts to make
conversation with the driver I
appreciate the ride I’d like to get out
now though I tended to say my words are
limping and shaking my hand
subconsciously reaching for the door
handle that I knew wasn’t there
we’re not that far off it’ll just be a
few minutes he retorted you don’t want
to get so close and end up missing like
that poor Marlins girl his words about
like a house of cards in my head I did
fall apart in the slightest prodding I
don’t know why when I heard him saying
the girl’s name I started to turn my
head my vision landed on him but my head
kept turning my body reacted past my own
will as I tried to peek at the backseat
something was shiny I saw something
shiny my vision then went black as a
driver sucked me right in the face my
head flew back and bounce of the window
the bunch wasn’t hard enough to break my
nose but it was hard enough to make me
turn away from them back seat what did I
say the driver growled his words
becoming one with the hum of the truck
keep your damn eyes forward a bead of
blood trickled out of my nose as I
obeyed his command and tried going over
my options there was no way I would be
able to overpower him no way I could
just reach over him to unlock my door so
I could escape so deep in my thoughts I
almost didn’t hear the noise coming from
behind my head
his soft and wet groan saturated the dry
air as soon as the noise began it was
muffled out by the radio the drug has
massive hands turn the dial to the right
as he glared at me the whites of his
eyes slicing my intentions in to through
the blaring of some talk show radio I
could feel a pain growing on the back of
my head and a buzzing that accompanied
it I darted my vision around looking for
anything I could use to my advantage my
feet felt across the carpet thinking
that maybe something he knocked into the
ground would be useful i toted my head
down the soft glow of the radio really
illuminating the floor I could see the
green light falling and a length of rope
like a call for help whatever was in the
back seat started to press hard into the
back of my seat sharp pressure points
forming unto my spine
it had been so long since I had taken a
breath I hadn’t even noticed that I’d
stopped but when I could feel fingers am
i back through this seat I let out a
gasp and swallowed the stench the heat
and the smell had never been heavier
than they were in that moment the
trucker once again didn’t react both of
us just stared at the road we get both
feel it creeping up out of the corner of
my eye she was leaning forward the face
of Laurie Marlon’s appeared in my
peripheral her wild red hair hanging
ragged over her eyes
a panic swarmed over me and I reached
down to grab what little rope there was
hoping I could contain the driver but as
I hunted over and turned to the side I
locked eyes with Laurie
only the deep sea blue eyes I had seen
on missing posters weren’t there instead
I was paring into an empty cavern that
resembled a hole dug through Rock the
dark of which stretched on forever just
as the night did her face wasn’t pretty
and pristine it was stretched out and
clumsily helded wires into a raw body
that looked like it had been skinned the
trucker turned quickly and pushed the
thing back
all while spouting expletives it wasn’t
Laurie it was wearing Laurie
the way the thing tried to fight the
trucker was animal-like and the Shrew
cries it gave off roseabove of radio
I almost didn’t hear the clicking all
the commotion my door had become
unlocked and the hand will be damned
around my shoulder into it
I felt the heavy door move out a bit
before being halted by the hatch that
required the handle to move it something
had to give though and while I continued
to pound my shoulder into the door the
trucker grabbed the rope from my hand
burning it in the process and reached
towards the thing in the back the cab
continued to rock
is the pain in my shoulder crew – almost
unbearable levels but with gritted teeth
are continued while fighting back the
thing reached towards me and placed its
hand on my shoulder it’s wet and pulsing
hand when it was so close I was reminded
of slabs of meat I would seen the deli
aisle its veins moved like worms and
inflated his blood pumped through them I
could feel every detail through my
clothing this was enough to give me the
motivation to near break my shoulder
with one more assault on the door with a
hard impact
I felt something dislocate and then the
door give away the cool air rushed in as
I crumpled out of the cab falling
several feet
I met the ground almost landing my head
but managing to twist myself lifting
myself to my feet it became apparent
that I wasn’t able to lift my right arm
with the immense agony clouding my
thoughts my left hand would have to do I
rose it up as hard as I could and slam
the door shut the radio and the struggle
inside the car were muffled by the
trucks engines then I heard a tapping
faint at first but as the struggle
continued it grew
like stones being thrown at sheets of
metal I heard a chorus of tapping until
stones turned into a hailstorm the
source of the noise was the side of the
Logan astruc mindlessly
I walked along the side of the truck and
listened to the commotion going on
inside it’s estimated that around 70
people have gone missing on the highway
within the last three months alone at
the moment I was listening to the song
of those missing people trying to dig
their way through the metal I continued
to walk along with a truck until I found
myself staring at the back it was
blanketed in chains and locks the chains
were rattling as the tapping started the
sound against the back of the truck as
if the things inside knew where I was I
heard another door slamming and it
nearly threw me off my feet I stared at
the corner of the truck waiting to see
what would come around it the tapping
stopped in the sound of one set of
footsteps closing in on me was all I
could focus on my chest gaming lighter
and I heard the hard grunts of an
overweight man that sounded like the
Huff’s of a grizzly bear he placed his
hand on the corner of the truck and
brought himself into view he was
sweating and covered in scratches the
brake lights covered the both of us
in a deep red veneer it was hard to see
the blood oozing from his injuries in
the light he was breathing heavily as he
stared at me clearly trying to collect
himself they never go missing he started
out through the exhaustion
I always find them make sure they don’t
find no one else a few coughing fits
decorated his speech he looked up the
chain door and back to me
don’t know why don’t know how don’t care
he stated almost as if he was mining my
head for questions I considered he was
trying to save me from looking at the
thing maybe he had just caught it before
seen me its eyes I said almost beyond my
control I couldn’t get the image out of
my head
I’d seen pictures of caves found in the
forest how the brown of the rocks would
tunnel in until there was only darkness
how hypnotizing those places must be how
they feel like they’re calling out for
someone to explore them to pay them
attention he took his hand off the truck
and leaned back I did the same to see
what he was trying to look at he was
looking at the lights of the town we
must have been only about a mile out I
completely lost track of time and
distance through the ordeal once once
easier they all do
he warned I thought of all the faces and
vagabonds and weary travelers how they
were being worn like masks by the
numbers and that they were all looking
at me from inside the truck
I got a turnaround can’t go into town
like this his breathing had become
considerably karma I don’t think he was
exhausted from the struggle I think his
breath became riddled with frantic
anxiety I’ll be ok I replied I wanted
nothing more than getting to watch that
truck drive far far away from me the
trucker nodded and turned back to the
cab thanks for the ride I said empty
words filled the night as he vanished
around the corner I walked back by the
side of the truck and passed the front
of it I continued walking along the road
covered in the silk touch of the yellow
I heard the horn of the truck echo
through the night like a trumpet of War
had turned the face of the cab and meant
eyes with the trucker and lifted my arm
and stretch that my thumb as far as I
could see the headlights dimmed and the
truck drove through the grass that turn
it only took me about an hour and a half
or so to limp my body into town I was
thankful to find the mechanic before he
closed up shop he said he could help me
in the morning and gave me directions to
the hospital for my arm I spent the
night in the hospital being worked on
they popped my shoulder back into place
couldn’t feel a thing
I just kept thinking about those eyes
when the trucker honked his horn and I
turned to face him I could see her eyes
like they were only inches away my
vision tunneled in on them and they
became all I could see before he started
to drive away Laurie Mullins now has the
most alluring eyes I’ve ever seen I
didn’t think learning to code would be
like this switching from majoring in
business to computer science halfway
through college probably wasn’t my best
idea but then again neither was picking
business to start with heck up until
tonight I couldn’t even program my
thermometer settings but here in this
cramped dorm room with only the tiny
desk fan and my roommates snoring to
keep me company I had finally cracked
the case my first hello world program I
leaned back letting out a sigh of relief
this must be what a fledgling hunter
feels like when they shoot their first
deer all the medical residents
experiences when they first save a life
not that I would know I was going after
a business degree for two years after
all I looked again admiring my work like
I just sculpted the most beautiful
marble statue the world had ever seen
with the only illumination in the room
coming from the screen imprinted with my
beautiful code system dot out dot print
line brackets hello world but after
grinding through my textbook and my
poorly written notes for the past hour
with only my screen lights looking like
a dumb caveman I felt like Albert
Einstein with a feeling of finality is
courted my finger to my decrepit laptops
Enter key before I even got the chance
to feel nervous those two gorgeous words
manifested themselves in the console
hello world I would have shouted with
joy but I figured that waking up my
roommates probably wasn’t the best move
in my earlier college days I probably
would have made a cocktail to celebrate
but at that moment all I could think
about was a cold water I guess I learned
something in business after all as I
reached out of my chair for our mini
fridge just barely out of reach my
screen flashed in the corner of my eye
at first I figured the screen was
burning out on me that computer was
already unreliable but I just couldn’t
bring myself to replace it partly out of
respect to the service it had done for
me in the past few years and partly
because I’d blown all my cash reserves
and a few too many nights out in my
stupider days seeing what actually
happened to the computer jolted me out
of my self reflection bolting upright I
stared at the words that had just
appeared beneath my beloved hello world
hello John I definitely hadn’t typed
that besides that nobody has called me
John in years I’ve been going by my
middle name since high school as I felt
my heart rate increasing along with the
urge to wake up my near comatose
roommates I utilize a technique that had
helped me since the accident last year I
breathed out there was probably a
logical explanation behind the message
a prank a glitch in the settings or
maybe I was just more tired than I felt
despite the barrage of explanations my
brain produced none could seem to quell
the worm of anxiety beginning to ride
around in my guts I wondered if maybe I
should have stuck with business after
all just as I was about to close my
laptop and call it a night a new message
flashed in the console talk with me John
the explanation sank to the bottom of my
head whatever was going on we definitely
haven’t learned anything like it in my
programming class yet as them found it
as I was I knew it wasn’t Java and I
thought he was unlikely to be an issue
with my IDE I leaned in close to the
screen it seemed like the only
reasonable solution was to just ask the
clicking sound of the keys filled the
room as I went to work system dot out
dot print line brackets who are you I
slammed the enter key and the screen
flashed again
I admire the efforts you’ve taken to
improve yourself John you’ve come a long
way in the last year John the mysticism
didn’t help me I shuffled anxiously in
my chair unaware of how much I was
craning back to read the text as much as
I wanted to turn off the machine I had
to keep going I tried again system got
out dot print line bracket what are you
a flash
an error a mistake perhaps you could say
a glitch in the system John the sound of
my roommate changing position in his bed
nearly caused me to fall out of my chair
I pound it on the keys system dot out
dot print line bracket what do you mean
i sat there my hands hovering over the
keyboard my palms growing clammy
after a few agonizing seconds the
console flashed the game you lied about
what happened last spring goosebumps all
at once peppered my entire body my mouth
went dry I almost called out to my
roommate but as I opened my mouth no
sounds came out instead I turned around
and went back to typing my fingers moved
by themselves system dot out dot print
line bracket it was my fault a flash
again he didn’t have to lie you could
have and should have taken
responsibility you didn’t have to drive
that night John a strange mix of sadness
fear and an endless volume of guilt
infested my body I could feel my head
going light and I grew unable to resist
the chills working their way on my spine
the memories I’d spent the past year
working through the memories which led
me to change who and what I was slammed
into me like a trained ice a frozen
stunned by these words produced either
from the code my frantic tired brain
perhaps a force I did not entirely
understand the console flashed again
you killed her John I threw the laptop
against the wall edge shattered with a
loud crash unable to stop myself I
assumed the fetal position in the chair
like a coward I found a way to buy a new
laptop I might even find a way to work
through the memories which laid dormant
coming out to assault me and
unpredictable times I’m not sure what
the words from the console were
hallucinations maybe I was typing
frantically by the end it’s a wonder why
my roommate never woke up I unfold
myself for my position I could still
feel the heat of the tears in my eyes I
turned the chair around about to make my
way to my small dorm bed when I froze my
roommate was sitting upright in his bed
I couldn’t make out his feet as well
with only the moonlight from the window
barely illuminating parts of the room
the position of his body suggested he
was directly facing me the whir of the
fan had ceased by this point but I’m not
exactly sure when
but Brian I stammered out no response
I could hear the shuffle of his body
leaning forward his large body leaving
the bed a scampered from the chair using
the desk that prop myself up right Bry
what are you doing
as he near the window I caught a glimpse
of his eyes
they appeared glassy but he had
cataracts he let out a grotesque toothy
smile he opened his mouth essentially
and slowly breathing out hello world the
two words which I was so proud of only
ten minutes ago seemed to come from
everywhere encompassing my entire being
for what felt like an eternity and it
stoppable tide of fear and self-loathing
engulfed me as he said the words I
wanted to die I felt like I was decaying
awake in that cramped dawn my thoughts
scattered and my brain broken and then I
ran I sprinted for the door fumbling
because I tried to unlock it but Bryan
things steps growing louder and more
intense behind me I managed to undo the
lock running down the halls of the
dormant panic the next thing I remember
is heaving in the courtyard the breaths
stripped from our burning lungs I’d
apparently woken up some of the dawn and
a few of the guys there had followed me
out one of them freshmen thought I was
high and something I didn’t go back to
the dorm that night Bryan was never
found again the police questioned me
about it but they were never able to
establish a concrete connection they
even did a drug test on me but I’ve been
clean since the accident the laptop that
I demolished seemed to have no
abnormalities the hardware aside from
what I’d smashed
was fine the same unfortunately cannot
be said for Bryan
we were never particularly close but he
didn’t deserve what ever happened to him
sometimes I think it seemed out of the
corner of my eye but it’s always just a
trick of the lights like some kind of
Mirage at least I think it is while I
would not consider myself a
superstitious man I do all my coding
during the day now and always in a
public place
the constant paranoia since that
incident only adds to the immense
magnitude of grief
and I only hope that whatever that code
was and whatever happened to Brian stays
far far away from me it’s 2:00 a.m. I’m
lying in bed waiting for the day to
start so I can finally escape this
nightmare once thorn heads and jumping
out of bed running to the ops manager’s
office and handing in my resignation
I’ll explain to him that I can no longer
work here and thank him very much for
the opportunity but I’m seeking
employment elsewhere I’ll pack my bags
leave this place in the next bus out to
town for the last five months I’ve been
working at Hill Craven gold mine it’s a
relatively small operation the one
that’s been going on for over 200 years
I’ve been working as its surveyor much
to the dismay of my mother I was
originally supposed to study and become
a software developer after passing high
school and getting my degree alongside
the hundred other kids who had the same
idea I’d spent most of my days sitting
behind a computer monitor drinking
copious amounts of coffee while typing
code for hours on end luckily for me a
few bad marks my final report card
prevented that catastrophe from ever
happening as a result I’ve become what
is known as a third-generation miner as
my dad likes to call it he made his
living as a mine surveyor
his dad did as well it was fate really
that brought me to here the work is
tough but I found that the mining
culture and the routine of work is
extremely enjoyable I’ve been living in
a commune on-site with five of the men
provided to me free of charge by the
mine eating meals at the cafeteria for
pennies and only going into town once a
month for a whole week of drinking with
my colleagues the routine has created
what I can only describe as a kinship
between me and my coworkers we eat the
same food work in the same conditions
and sleep in the same house every
morning at 6:30 a.m. sharp we wake up
and make our beds rubbing the sleep from
our eyes and stretching out our stiff
limbs we walk out and join the other
hundred people in the locker rooms we
open up our sign lockers get changed
into our overalls and gum boots grab our
hard hats from the racks and make our
way to the lamp room the lamp room is
where you get the safety equipment
required for going underground the kit
includes one battery powered LED
headlamp which you attach to the top of
your hard hat an external battery pack
that provides power to the lamp which
you thread through one side of your belt
and one small oxygen tank that you clip
onto the other side of your belt so far
no one is bothered to explain to me when
I should use the oxygen tank or even how
so I pray that I won’t ever need to know
anytime soon once you’re kitted out you
make your way to the mineshaft the
shift’ bus will be waiting outside the
lift with his ragged clipboard and
leathery face you give him your name and
tell him which tunnel you’re going to
today and he’ll make a note on his list
that way they see who’s missing at the
end of the shift and who shouldn’t have
gone in in the first place the shift bus
is also responsible for checking if you
have the right equipment on if you don’t
you can’t go in
got your hardhat check headlamp working
check earplugs check last on his list is
your boots he will glance over his
clipboard and give your gumboots a quick
once-over to make sure you have them on
once he’s checked that of his list he’ll
give it a second check if your gum boots
have so much as a spot of dirt on them
you’ll raise an eyebrow at you and give
you a chuckle been working the night
shift whom he’d ask well the fellow –
will laugh at that having been asked the
same question at some point well what I
asked the first time it happened to me
my boots muddied and hardhat purged
awkwardly on my head
your boots the only people who have
reasonable excuse to have dirty boots
the people who work the night shift he
replied but we don’t have a night shift
they asked slightly confused exactly
make sure you keep your boots cleaned he
stepping inside to let me into the lift
and looking back down at his list
checking off the next person’s name all
the surveyors must also report to the
survey office for a briefing and what
parts of the mine you’ll be surveying
that day as well as to fetch the
equipment from lockup since I’m the only
surveyor on the mines besides mark I
have to log the near 10-kilogram
equipment by myself
mark is nearing a tech has severe
arthritis and spends his days in his
office blocking over the mine buns and
watering his beloved fern he retired
over ten years ago
hopping under the solitary bus that
takes you back to town once a week to
live with his wife of 50 years his plan
was to spend his last good years with
her doing some gardening on the two acre
property that he bought in the 80s until
he passed away
hopefully in his sleep after spending a
month living with her though he hopped
right back on that bus and begged for
his job back deciding that he
spend his last few years working away
from home his duties mainly comprised of
checking my work and updating the plans
were necessary an occasion though he’ll
grace you with one of his many pieces of
advice that he’s acquired through the
years always keep both feet firming the
ground wall in the tunnels don’t want to
slip and fall he’ll tell you as you pass
him in the kitchen or a sharp pencil his
a sign of sharp work one of his
favorites though that he never seems to
grow tired of his always check your
headlamp before you go down it’s easy to
get lost without a torch you’ll never
make it back I normally try to follow
the advice he gives me most of it makes
and has actually helped me at times
thanks to him I always check my lamp
before going down mostly just give it a
cursory click on and click off while the
lift takes me down to the right level
yesterday I was working alone in one of
the quieter parts of the mine it was an
old shaft that they were looking at
expanding and it was my job to make sure
they knew where they were going while I
was setting up the equipment I stepped
on something soft I picked up my foot it
was lying in the floor half buried by
dust and debris a small pocketbook
curious I dug it out and dusted it off
survey report mark Whittle it said on
the front in neat block letters
it was bound by a green leather cover
slightly scuffed and warped from sitting
in someone’s back pocket I chuckled to
myself as I picked it up he must have
lost this back in his heyday when he was
still making his rounds I thought it
would be funny to show it to him take a
look through his old notes and laugh
that’s how he’d lost it I slipped it
into my pocket and carried on with the
job forgetting about it almost
immediately once closing came I went
back up the lift locked up the survey
equipment and said good night to mark I
handed in the headlamp an oxygen tank
and went to the locker room it was there
that I remembered it as I was changing
into my normal clothes
by that point mark was most likely
asleep so I’d have to show him that next
day my colleagues and I ate dinner in
the cafeteria playing around the two of
poker before ultimately moving back to
the dorm
as I lay in bed winding down and getting
ready to sleep I decided to take a look
through the pocket book just out of
the first few pages were just random
personal notes and things to remember as
well as some drawings of different
tunnels all of them labeled I laughed at
a few of them the contrast between the
old mark I know and the young mark in
this book was startling after a few more
pages though something caught my eye
a note was written across the page if
you’re reading this please send help I’m
trapped down here with no idea how to
get out
I almost choked laughing at that the
mark I know could probably navigate
those tunnels with his eyes closed
there’s no way he’d lose the exit he
must have been very young I couldn’t
wait to show him this we’ll go through
it together
most likely in tears thinking about
young mark lost in the tunnels getting
found by a group of miners who probably
never let him hear the end of it I
turned the page and carried on reading
this time the page was full of texts
he’s none with the date at the top day
six it’s almost been a week since I came
down here and none of the tunnels seem
familiar I’ve been walking upwards for
what seems like hours now with no sign
of me getting closer to the surface I
was surveying tunnel b2l when my
headlamp turned off I stood there frozen
for a second and the darkness causing my
muscles the Caesar I reached for it
switch flicking it off and then back on
that I flicked back on luckily but that
was at least of my problems
I turned the page for a moment I
couldn’t believe what had happened I
wasn’t in the same tunnel I reread that
line again slightly confused
did he mean that he somehow accidentally
wandered into a different tunnel or was
he just magically teleported into a
different part of the mine I’ll have to
ask him tomorrow
I wondered around for a while calling
out hoping someone would hear me and
tell me which section I was in my
equipment was missing as well most
likely left behind when I was taken here
after what felt like hours I heard
noises what sounded like people digging
further in I made my way towards him
still calling out and so I heard them
stop and call back to me I’ve been
working here for over 10 years I started
as an ordinary miner rubbing shoulders
with everyone at some points before
getting promoted the chief surveyor in
all that time I have never seen these
men I turned the page again day 9
these men have wild desperation about
them some just keep hammering against
the wall ripping chunks out of it with
wild abandon for days on end
some just sit idle making small talk or
just staring at the wall they told me
there’s no way back up as far as they’ve
seen at some point they worked on the
mine and their lamps did the same thing
as mine when they turned back on they
found themselves here just like I did
the next few pages are filled with what
looks like scribbles drawn inside a grid
they all start in the center square and
stretch out until meeting back in the
middle hundreds of little strands of
stretching across the pages after a
while I realized that they were maps day
ten they call this night shift due to
the fact that all their watches stick at
2:00 a.m. sharp mine’s been reading the
same thing since I got here when I asked
them why they were digging they
explained that no matter how far up or
down you go you end up back here anyway
so they decided to go sideways I’ve been
here a week and to me that sounds like a
reasonable choice some of these guys
have been here for years since I got to
the night shift
I haven’t felt the need to eat or drink
sleep hardly comes and almost seems to
be more out of habit when it does I’ve
spent the week mapping out the tunnel
system there are hundreds of our shoots
that all seem to end up at the same spot
no matter how irrational it is day 11 I
think I’ve found something a small
stress seam at the end of a dead-end
tunnel it stretches from the floor to
the ceiling and it’s just wide enough to
stick my pinky through I can feel air
coming from it a small erratic breeze
the must come from outside I’m turning
back and finding the other guys to help
me dig this could be your way out
the next few pages were full of sketches
of the tunnel wall he labelled with a
stress Simas as well as the optimal
spots that dig it out I flipped through
them until I found that another full
page of text this time that looks like
it was written with a shaky hand there’s
no date on the top they haven’t stopped
chasing me since we led them out as far
as I can tell and the only one left
alive they were waiting on the other
side for someone to break the scene they
look just like us
same faces same clothes same everything
I’ve been hiding but I think they’ve
found me I can hear them coming they
have a good sense of smell I can hear
them sniffing the rest of the pages are
blank I turned off my torch and place
the pocket book on my nightstand as I
turned to my side
something caught my eye Fred was lying
in his bed his head turned towards me as
my eyes adjusted to the darkness I could
feel the hair on the back of my neck
rising he’s been staring at me his eyes
wide and his mouth is slightly open my
heart beat faster as I realized he
hadn’t blinked
I turned away from him my insides going
cold as I fought down my paranoia my
eyes shut I took a deep breath and let
it out slowly trying to calm myself down
as I opened my mouth to take another I
felt someone breathing in the back of my

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I awake, as always, to the click and whir of a thousand hidden cameras, and the rising glow of the ambient lights. Over the ...
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The Music Box

You know how it goes. When you were a child, your favourite thing was your music box. It would play a soothing yet haunting ...
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Johnny ran as fast as was physically possible. He avoided trees and jumped over rocks and fallen branches, moved purely by instinct. In other ...
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It’s night time. You’re in bed, trying to get some sleep. The TV is on. You’ve got it on the lowest volume setting so ...
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Well Water
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Well Water

We began feeling sick after the rains abated, and the backyard remained a slick muddy mess where the grass hadn't grown back, and the ...
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