Monday, August 3rd, 2009 Times are hard, and I work in a business that is slowly becoming obsolete. People are steering away from glasses and contact lenses to Lasik surgery and more permanent, feasible choices in the field of eye care. I've never been the type to collect my thoughts and put them down, and yet these have been the toughest months to endure as of late. My wife left me, along with alimony and a good chunk of everything I've struggled to build since I was in my early twenties. I don't know if I'll make my mortgage payment on time for the third month in a row. This hole is going to be impossible to climb out of. Thursday, August 6th, 2009 Got a phone call from corporate and had to terminate the positions of two employees. Stan has been here for seventeen years. He was a good eye doctor. I have a strong suspicion that more permanent layoffs are on the way. I had to go to a dealership and downgrade my vehicle, but the sales tax almost cleaned out my bank account. Friday, August 7th, 2009 I was helping Stan take his things out of the office today and a new vendor approached me. He works for some company called "New Vision," and their prices are better than every other type of lenses we carry. They don't do glasses or frames. Only contacts. He gave a pretty convincing argument, so I filled my own prescription with their lenses and I'm going to put them in tomorrow morning and try them out. This may be the small boost we need to stay open. I hope so. Saturday, August 8th, 2009 I called New Vision and told them my office was on board. I should have talked to our regional division manager before cutting the deal, but he treats me like garbage and routinely tells me that my office is in last place in every category but customer service. He says customer service doesn't make money if you sacrifice profits. He's not a doctor. These lenses feel more natural and it seems like the material adapts to light better than any other brand that I've seen in my twenty plus years as an optometrist. I'm going to keep using them myself. I mowed my lawn today, and I swear I could see every blade of grass. Maybe our patients will drop some greenbacks to try these out. Monday, August 10th, 2009 I prescribed my first pair of New Vision lenses to a patient today. He's a six year old boy who was blind as bat before we fitted his eyes. His mother was concerned that six is too young for contacts, but after she saw him looking around and nailing the entire test on the wall, letter for letter and number for number, I convinced her to try them out. If I can get a pair of these out every day, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. I've stopped taking mine out at night because they don't bother me like normal lenses do in the morning. I feel like I could leave them in forever. Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 I've prescribed them to thirty eight patients and it seems that word of mouth is sending more people my way. People are dropping HydraSoft and Toric left and right. The vendor from the company came by today and put a great ad in my office window. "See things in a new light. Fit some New Vision lenses today!" They also guarantee that you'll read at least a line below where you normally would on the wall with any other vendor. They won't tell me what the lenses are made of, but as good as they feel, I'm not hesitating to give my patients the best choice. The regional manager called again and congratulated me on turning business around. He'll probably take credit for it at the board meeting. What an ass. Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 I traded in and got a Mercedes, and I offered Stan his job back. I told him he'd have to convince people to go with New Vision when pitching patients because with the healthcare reform bill on the way, this product is our only trump card. Without it, people will go somewhere else. I'm going to install a plasma TV on the wall in the reception area so people can watch football while they wait on their appointment. People love football. Whatever it takes to get people in the door. Friday, August 21st, 2009 Stan tried them out and he's fifty five. He's reading better than he was in his thirties, or so he says. We went to lunch today and he drives faster than usual; maybe it's because he can see the road better. Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 I'm a little rattled. I called New Vision today to order more product and to fill some prescriptions with some pending patients, but the line has been disconnected. I called the vendor's personal cell and heard some sort of odd sound. You know when you're sitting at a campfire and you can hear wood burning and popping in the flames? It sounded like that. Maybe their phones are down or there's a power outage. I'm not sure. I'll call them on a regular business day. Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 I feel strange. I tried to go to mass with my mother today. I try to go to church with her at least once a month. I walked through the front doors of the chapel, and my vision started going blurry. The membranes around my eyes felt like they were going to burst open. I didn't bring my glasses so I had to sit outside before we went to Sunday lunch. I think it was just a headache or a spasm or something. I'm not too worried about it.

Loved this show. Horace Horrible was my favorite. I remember looking everywhere for his action figure but Kiddie City and KB had never even heard of the line. I finally found a talking Horace, good as new, at somebody's yard sale, though I didn't see...

Have you ever been taking a shower while alone in the house and felt like something was moving around behind the curtain? Or watching you? Did you look up? Did you catch the very vaguest hint of eyebrows or a tuft of matted, greasy hair...

Today was the day he was dreading. He knew they were going to be extremely busy, and quite frankly he wanted to call out seeing as he was already late. His thoughts were briefly distracted by his black tabby, quietly pawing at his legs, ready...

Go to any mirror and put your hand against the glass. Don't worry, nothing will grab you. Wait. Sometimes it takes half a day, sometimes it takes a moment. But you'll yank your hand away when you feel it. Worms or centipedes, who knows? All...

In a nondescript rural corner of the American midwest, in a long row of units at one of the many dilapidated mini storage businesses that dot that dreary landscape, is a unit, Unit 232, with barely-noticable scratches in the concrete in front of the sliding...

January 1st, 1786 1st Entry My name is James Hawk. I am an English explorer. This is the log of my ship, the Dasadania. Today, we set sail from Callorack Island, with fresh provisions and repairs. Our objective is simple; to find new islands, or possibly continents, for the Queen. Her majesty has commissioned us to find one island in particular, though; the island known as Sakonia. Why exactly Her Majesty wants us to find this one island is unclear to me; I do not ask questions, though. I simply do as I am told. Callorack Island is, supposedly, close to Sakonia, and so that is the starting point of our expedition for Sakonia. We have already located several other exotic islands. This will be our last island. After this we will return to England. I must end this entry now, for I am required on deck. James Hawk. January 2nd, 1786; Today, I had a most unsettling experience down in the hold. I had gone down to bring up certain objects of dubious legality when there was a thump ahead in the shadows. This in itself was neither disturbing nor unusual; it could be a barrel that fell over, the cat we kept down there to keep out the rats, or, heavens forbid, a rat itself. As I stepped forward, lantern lit, to check, I discovered that it was, in fact, none of these. Nothing was visible within the shadows, or the section, when my lantern chased them away. I looked up in time to see something darting around the crates where I could not follow. I stepped forward, noticing a small white patch of fur, stained with blood. Shifting the crates, I discovered a shocking sight: nothing. Whatever it was, it was long gone, and so, it seemed, was the cat. January 3rd, 1986; Today, I am proud to announce that we have sighted what we believe to be Sakonia. It looks like a quite nice place to relax; Perhaps that is why the Queen wishes us to find it. On a rather more grim note, the steersman, Alexander, has gone missing. This leaves us a hand short. We are conducting a search of the entire ship tonight. January 4th; 1786 Today, I am the herald of tidings both good and bad. The good news is that we have found Alexander in the hold, unconscious. The bad is that he appears to have come down with a fever of sorts. Upon revival, he began shouting and screaming, and now refuses to steer us into the island. Exactly why he does not want to land there is unknown; he simply refuses to move, shouting at us. What he is saying is both disturbing and cryptic; he speaks of the one-eyed torturer, the beast in the hold and other nonsense. However, as long as he remains in such a state, we can not steer into the island. Unfortunately, this is the least of our problems with him. He has injured himself and written cryptic messages in his own blood. The strangest message he has written, however, is "Croatoan > Roanoke < Croatoan." We do not understand what he means by this, although we do know that Croatoan and Roanoke are two islands discovered years back. However, Alexander has, to the extent of our knowledge, never heard of this. January 5th; 1786 Today, we woke to the crashing of rocks and wood. We all rushed on deck to discover a grim sight. Alexander had lasher the tiller and wheel in the direction of the island before winding his Crucifix tightly around his hand and committing suicide with a knife. The ship had driven straight into Sakonia. Nobody has been injured, other than Alexander. We are fortunate. After we have salvaged any supplies that we can, we will go ashore. January 6th; 1786 Today, we went ashore. The island is a pleasant enough place; however, there is a vague unease about the place. We will set camp and sleep on the shore of the island tonight. We have committed Alexander's body to the sea. The crucifix was in a death grip about his hand, so we simply left it there. Oddly, Alexander had carved a message into his own flesh before he killed himself; It simply said "He comes." The island is rather strange; although it is a tropical paradise, I have heard no birds or any other animals. The trees rustle and sway as though in a wind, and yet the wind is blowing in a different direction. We will discover more in the morning.

I had a dream last night. It was the kind that seems real right up to the point where you wake up. Some things were strange about it…certain things were really strange about it, but it never occurred to me that it might not actually be happening. I’m still not prepared to say that it didn’t happen. I’m not spiritual and I don’t really understand stuff like that. I just feel like I’ve been somewhere and now I’m back, and I know something really happened when I woke up…and I think while I was asleep too. I went to bed last night with a strange feeling. We all remember times when we felt like we were being watched, but this was more than that. I felt like there was someone there with me, but still I couldn’t keep from falling asleep. I don’t exactly remember the beginning of the dream. The first thing I remember was starting at my house and walking. I was just walking down the road. All of my neighbors’ houses were gone. I was just on a long, empty road and there was no one around but me. I don’t remember what I had been doing at my house before, but I may have been there a while before I started walking. I just recall feeling a strong urge to walk. I felt okay walking down that road. It was cold and dark and I felt a little lost, but I wasn’t afraid–not like I had been in my room. I don’t know how long I was on that road. It felt like a long time. I mean like days long, but I never felt tired and I just wanted to keep walking. The road changed after a while. It had been straight and nondescript the whole time, but eventually I reached a bend and then a fork in the road. When I reached the fork, I wasn’t alone anymore. A familiar voice called out to me from the side of the road. “It’s good to see you,” the voice whispered. “I’m just sorry to see you here.”

During your day, there are probably a half a dozen moments where you can’t see, if only for a split second. Not like blinking, of course, that’s far too quick . Just that moment when you’re taking off your shirt, or wiping your face with...

These bizarre instructions were found etched into the wall at the bottom of an old well, somewhere in rural Germany. They have been translated to the best of my abilities: Somewhere in Europe, there is an empty field of grass. Amongst the long, unkempt grass is a wooden hatch in the ground. The hatch guards an old storm shelter, but this is not your destination. In order to gain access to the alternate opening, you must spill your own blood over the doors. You will awaken at the edge of field; the doors will now be made of rusted iron. You may now enter the hatch. There will be a long, narrow shaft stretching deep into empty darkness. You must climb down a ladder fixed to the northern wall, keeping your eyes upward at the opening. If you are to glance downward into the darkness, then return your gaze upward, you will find yourself ten rungs away from where you started. If you look any longer downward, the echoing sound of someone climbing up the ladder will reach your ears, and a rotten, weather-beaten version of yourself will pull at your legs until you fall. After an undetermined amount of time climbing down; your feet will reach a floor. Keep facing upwards, if you look at your feet; there will be no floor. You must now choose your path.

Don't bother trying to find it. You won't find anything about the name of the town or what happened here. This manuscript will be found long after the events that transpired in this place, but I hope against everything else that you're someone in a...

The loud bang on her front door jolted Clara from her daydream. This was it. After all the careful planning and struggling to survive, the end would come now; 9 blocks up in room 934 of the now abandoned Marriott. She started to cry, not for herself, but for her little 3 year old son, Jeremy. He was the world to her, and she couldn't bare to think of his short life ended, not like this. "Open the door," she recognized the voice of her live in boyfriend of 4 years, Jerome. Quickly slipping off the guard chain, she opened the door and let him in. "I don't have much time. The boys are going to pick out what's left of the Pathmark and I want to be first in line," he suddenly stopped. "Damn baby, you smell good. What is that?" "It's called LOVELY, by Sarah Jessica Parker," she said simply. "I found it next to the mini bar. Only the best, right?" "Yeah," he said as he left two backpacks next to the door and turned to leave. "I'll be back soon. Keep the door locked, okay?" Jerome was a survivor. While everyone else was scrounging for supplies downtown, he had had the bright idea to take his little family to the local Marriot to wait it all out. 'No one is coming for us, they've given up on the major cities,' he had said simply. The plan was to just let everyone kill each other while they lived the high life, stories up in the now abandoned hotel. It had worked. Most of what was left of humanity and the creatures they became had pretty much wiped each other out. Not that it hadn't been a tough few months. The power was now out and they were down to canned goods. But they were still alive. Clara dragged the two bags to the kitchen area and pulled out the dented cans. From the bedroom, she heard Jeremy waking up. A few minutes later, he came into the main living area. "Mommy, mommy, look. I've got a gun shooter," his excited eyes locked onto hers and she sighed. He was holding some kind of plastic handle he had obviously broken off one of the cabinets. He pointed it at her. "Bang. Bang. Bang." It reminded her of the awful gang violence just a week prior. Both Jerome's crew and some Asian gang had had a disagreement over who owned what's left of a number of grocery stores. That had ended with a few of their good friends dead. She didn't show it. "Let me see, honey," she said, holding her hand out. He turned and ran into the bedroom. That was the annoying thing about the age, they never did what you asked. She quickly ran after him and pulled it out of his hand. She was now extremely careful not to let him have anything he could hurt himself with. It was safe enough. Other than the next two hours of constant noise, there was no harm in letting him run around with it. "Mommy can we play that gun game again. Mommy, look at me. Mommy. Mommy can we play that gun shooter game again. Mommy, I want to play the gun game. Mommy ..." "Yes, yes. We can play that game again," she hated that game. Every time she played it, it reminded her of the last couple of months. In the last hours of the city's death, both sides had come out of hiding and shot it out. It was unsettling enough to be on the outskirts of a war zone. What made it absolutely unbearable was knowing that one side of the conflict was composed of the walking dead.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the early part of the 20th century is one of the most important episodes in the field of Bible scholarship. They have been studied and transcribed for decades, so it was quite a shock when an unnoticed...

A few years ago I was spending some time with friends exploring old, supposedly haunted, places. We were at the Edisto First Presbyterian Church, where a girl named Julia Legare was buried in her family mausoleum in 1852. People reported hearing unearthly screams time and...

You know those long, involved ritual creepypastas, the ones that involve a million different steps, the ones where if you breathe at the wrong second you die? Ever wonder who figured it out? It couldn't have been trial and error - you don't get a second...

When Anita found him, her immediate reaction was to put him in the foyer next to the stairwell so he could be decorative. Not everyone would have one, and the way his arms stuck out just so would make him a suitable hat rack. She realized, almost too late, that this might have been in bad taste. But what, she thought, was a woman supposed to do when her husband went and turned into a glass statue overnight? She had heard of this happening, of course. It just seemed to happen to other people; one day they were perfectly normal and then the next, someone found them frozen. Clear. She had heard of it, but had never seriously considered it happening to her. The people this happened to were far too glamorous; celebrities and the like. Certainly not to him. She was a widow now. That made her feel old at thirty-seven years and she was sure she didn’t like it. After a week she quietly filed a mortician’s report and sat down to a cup of hot tea. She hadn’t broken it to his family yet, though his sister had been calling. She told her he was away on business. There was no reason to tell them yet. The Quentins could wait another day to hear their little boy wasn’t okay. At that very moment it occurred to her that using her husband’s remains as a hat rack might be poorly received by the general public. And so Anita began the difficult task of finding a place for him. At first she kept him to the study, in front of the fireplace. He kept her company with her tea. But soon she began to find that sitting with the countenance of her dead husband reminded her of her widowhood, so she moved him to the garden and used him to scare the crows away from her tomatoes. He did little to dissuade the crows, however, and soon became their favorite perch. Finally, she hauled him to the attic. She kept the rest of her glass figurines there, and didn’t see why he should be treated any differently. Somehow, it all seemed normal at the time. Everywhere you looked someone was at it. The glass bodies seemed to multiply. When she called her husband’s mother and told her, tearfully, that he had passed away, she burst into hysterics and told her that so had one of the grandchildren. Anita was uncomfortable, and then she hung up. When the man who cut her lawn succumbed as well, she began to worry. Now it was affecting her everyday life, which was something her husband and niece had not generally been part of. Her husband worked constantly and usually slept when he graced her with his presence. Her niece, whose name she couldn’t even remember, lived in Florida. She put entirely too much sugar in her tea and shivered as she drank it. She did miss her husband. Sometimes. And now she would have to trim her own lawn. Her first hint that something might have been a bit off was when she found her neighbor, frozen solid while pulling the weeds in his yard. The next day, while shopping for groceries the bag boy, with a crackle, transformed, still clutching her biscotti. She tenderly wrenched it from his grip, glanced around halfheartedly, and didn’t pay. Then the news reports began to get very tiresome. First it was strange, isolated events. Then it was an epidemic, then a pandemic, and then it was Susan Shepherd reporting to you live from New York City and…crackle. Ting. Suddenly, she wasn’t reporting. Suddenly, she wasn’t even alive.

"New York, September 30 CP FLASH "Ambassador Holliwell died here today. The end came suddenly as the ambassador was alone in his study...." There is something ungodly about these night wire jobs. You sit up here on the top floor of a skyscraper and listen in to the whispers of a civilization. New York, London, Calcutta, Bombay, Singapore -- they're your next-door neighbors after the streetlights go dim and the world has gone to sleep. Alone in the quiet hours between two and four, the receiving operators doze over their sounders and the news comes in. Fires and disasters and suicides. Murders, crowds, catastrophes. Sometimes an earthquake with a casualty list as long as your arm. The night wire man takes it down almost in his sleep, picking it off on his typewriter with one finger. Once in a long time you prick up your ears and listen. You've heard of some one you knew in Singapore, Halifax or Paris, long ago. Maybe they've been promoted, but more probably they've been murdered or drowned. Perhaps they just decided to quit and took some bizarre way out. Made it interesting enough to get in the news. But that doesn't happen often. Most of the time you sit and doze and tap, tap on your typewriter and wish you were home in bed. Sometimes, though, queer things happen. One did the other night, and I haven't got over it yet. I wish I could. You see, I handle the night manager's desk in a western seaport town; what the name is, doesn't matter. There is, or rather was, only one night operator on my staff, a fellow named John Morgan, about forty years of age, I should say, and a sober, hard-working sort. He was one of the best operators I ever knew, what is known as a "double" man. That means he could handle two instruments at once and type the stories on different typewriters at the same time. He was one of the three men I ever knew who could do it consistently, hour after hour, and never make a mistake. Generally, we used only one wire at night, but sometimes, when it was late and the news was coming fast, the Chicago and Denver stations would open a second wire, and then Morgan would do his stuff. He was a wizard, a mechanical automatic wizard which functioned marvelously but was without imagination. On the night of the sixteenth he complained of feeling tired. It was the first and last time I had ever heard him say a word about himself, and I had known him for three years. It was just three o'clock and we were running only one wire. I was nodding over the reports at my desk and not paying much attention to him, when he spoke. "Jim," he said, "does it feel close in here to you?" "Why, no, John," I answered, "but I'll open a window if you like." "Never mind," he said. "I reckon I'm just a little tired." That was all that was said, and I went on working. Every ten minutes or so I would walk over and take a pile of copy that had stacked up neatly beside the typewriter as the messages were printed out in triplicate. It must have been twenty minutes after he spoke that I noticed he had opened up the other wire and was using both typewriters. I thought it was a little unusual, as there was nothing very "hot" coming in. On my next trip I picked up the copy from both machines and took it back to my desk to sort out the duplicates. The first wire was running out the usual sort of stuff and I just looked over it hurridly. Then I turned to the second pile of copy. I remembered it particularly because the story was from a town I had never heard of: "Xebico." Here is the dispatch. I saved a duplicate of it from our files: "Xebico, Sept 16 CP BULLETIN "The heaviest mist in the history of the city settled over the town at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. All traffic has stopped and the mist hangs like a pall over everything. Lights of ordinary intensity fail to pierce the fog, which is constantly growing heavier. "Scientists here are unable to agree as to the cause, and the local weather bureau states that the like has never occurred before in the history of the city. "At 7 P.M. last night the municipal authorities... (more)" That was all there was. Nothing out of the ordinary at a bureau headquarters, but, as I say, I noticed the story because of the name of the town.

Footsteps aren't an uncommon thing to hear when you're sitting in a basement, so I think nothing of it when I hear quiet thuds coming from my upstairs hallway. I just assume it's my brother, and continue doing whatever pointless little thing I was doing...

The most amazing and the most horrible thing just happened to me. I’ve stumbled upon a discovery of a lifetime, but at the same time I wish I could undiscover it. I was actually just tampering around with some music programs creating ambience tracks. You see,...

Hello. I have spent the past months among humanity, and I am quite disappointed. After a great many queries and searching out suitable aspirants, it seems as though this age is rife with a population whom seem content to treat the unknown as naught but a...

You wake up to find yourself lying flat in an unfamiliar and utterly filthy room. Your head pounds as you sit up and survey your surroundings. "Ohhhhww. . . What hit me?" You notice the room is dimly lit by a hanging bulb that threatens to flicker out any moment. Large piles of debris are scattered about the small room, and there are no windows. "Hey, who said that? Where am I?" To your left, right and straight ahead of you there are sinister looking doors. You do not fully comprehend your situation, but you must choose one of these doors. One door- "Hey! Are you ignoring me?" -Leads to salvation. One leads to an endless maze of halls and passages that will trap you forever, and the third leads to eternal damnation. You must- "Wait, what? Are you serious?" YOU MUST CHOOSE A DOOR. "Why? The exit's right there." In the cold, frightened core of your heart, you know that there is no escape from the desolate predicament you now find yourself in. "Dude, the doors right there. It even says so. See? 'Exit', right on the front. Big letters too." After a moments struggle, you come to realize the futility of resistance and return once more to the crossroads of passages. There is no way out. "Only because some bastard locked up the exit-" You grumble to yourself as you contemplate- "It was you wasn't it? Jerk." CONTEMPLATE YOUR FATE. "Fine, fine. Eenie, meenie, miney. . . That one." -You say to yourself as you chose the door to your left. Unbeknownst to you is that that particular door leads only to misery, death, and the destruction of your very soul. "What? Oh HELL no!" A sudden burst of intuitive clarity causes you to leap away back before the door closes behind you, sealing your fate. "It wasn't intuition, you just said-" You must make your choice between the remaining two doors.   With a sigh, you go towards the one in the middle. "I know what I'm doing-" You mutter- "-I don't need you telling me. Prick." You take hold of the doorknob to the passage that will lead you to wander the maze for all eternity, oblivious to the fate that will soon befall you. Deathless, mindless and hopeless, your rotting corpse will still walk on long after- "Gah!" -You cry as you once again leap back from your choice of passage.