This journal was found in the attic of a fully furnished and abandoned town house in 2007 next to the last purported owner's death certificate. I. My life is so perfect that it scares me. I see smiling faces from my wife and coworkers, my boss tells me that I'm doing a fine job, and the pastor pulls me up in front of the choir to set an example for the congregation. They know nothing of my desire. If my priest knew what I was meddling in, he would condemn me to the fires of hell. When my life was difficult, I felt more alive. Each day when I open my eyes as a successful family man, I feel as though I've slipped one rung further on a downward spiral of age, wrinkles, and systematic failure of my body as it repeats a daily crucible of perfection that most would envy. I know some are jealous of my life when they see me on the street, and yet I would trade life, limb, and soul to live in their shoes for one day. I crave INTENSITY. The easy life is mind numbing. II. Routine, routine, routine. Every day is exactly the same as the one before it. There are a few minor details that I barely have a measure of control over. I can order a ham and swiss instead of a turkey and pepper jack for lunch, and I can scratch my dog's left ear before his right. Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, Budweiser Select, Sam Adams Summer Ale. It doesn't matter if I fuck my wife from behind, if I finish up on her glasses, or if she swallows. Drunk is drunk. Pussy is pussy. Everything is always the same. Soon, I'm going to try it. I've waited long enough. III. This is the last week I'm going to keep myself locked in this prison of endless repetition. I have all my affairs in order. I've written a note to my family and provided for everything and everyone. In case I get senile, this is a typical morning in my life on a normal day. I wake up at five thirty on the dot because my bones have internal timers in them, and my hip catches on fire at around five thirty four. I take a swig of mouthwash on my way to the toilet to save time, and I spend a three minute stretch swishing Listerine through my mouth and managing to squeeze out inconsistent bursts of urine. I've had to prop my hand against the wall since I was fifty. Standing straight up to piss is beyond me these days. My third young trophy wife Margerie can only make decent eggs over easy, and sunny side up is out of the question unless we go out. The bacon is microwaved for two minutes and thirty seconds because although her rack is perfect, she can't cook to save her life. She spends every morning breakfast session explaining to me that my children from previous marriages are ungrateful and deserve to be cut out of my last will and testament. This all comes while I'm chewing spongy bacon and drinking cofee that tastes like engine oil. By seven thirty, after I've shit, showered, and shaved, I'm in my boring Saab, puttering twenty minutes to work on economy cruise control. This twenty minute window is the highlight of my day. There's no traffic, the morning show I listen to is sometimes funny, and I take my first valium as soon as my rear tires hit Nutwood Street. For the record, my life was once gritty and unpolished, but also glamorous in a way that it was poetic. I miss being piss poor, living paycheck to paycheck, and not knowing what the next day would hold in store. I miss my first marriage, when everything was new, including some positions that I can't do anymore because my fake hip would crucify me with pain for trying. I miss my 1970 Oldsmobile 442 that got six miles to the gallon. It was a one fifty five big block with a superstroke and a twelve second ignition top out. You felt like you were going to die if you lost even a smidgeon of control on a country road. I was young then. It all comes back to age. Old people all go out the same way. Heart attack, stroke, brain aneurism, cancer. I want to be different. It's still sitting on my mantlepiece, but it doesn't have to beg me anymore. I'll soon be determined to take it down and use it of my own free will. IV. I did it. I've been carrying it in my jacket pocket. I can feel how cold it is through my shirt. In case I lose my mind, let me describe a normal work day, more for myself than for you. I am the second in command under a tyrannical office crone by the name of Jana. She runs a tight ship and she's only been in the business for five years. She inherited the company from her father ---- my old business partner. Soon, she had the support of everyone else, and I became the sideshow with some measure of plastic authority. She still wields the iron rod. I usually sneak a second valium in for the morning meetings, and I smile and nod more than anything else. I make Jana feel like her ideas are good, like the employeees actually care about what she has to say. When we break for lunch, I use my hour to go to one of five places. I can't go anywhere the costs more than eight bucks. I made one hundred and sixty two thousand dollars last year, but Margerie doesn't put out for me if I eat expensive food without her. She IS a trophy wife, after all. My choices are always limited to the Taco Bell Pizza Hut two in one, Wendy's, McDonald's, or the China Spring. The best deli in town is open before three, three blocks down, and I get to eat there once a week when our meetings cut short. They always have to put the meat back out because I stroll in at two fifty eight, and they glare at me with the utmost loathing. There's no telling how many pastrami and loogie sandwiches I've had, courtesy of Jana's rambling motor mouth. When I get back from lunch, Jana is always gone, and I spend three hours walking around the office and telling my employees how good they are at their jobs. The truth is, some of them really ARE good, and they know they deserve a raise. I have to tell them that I need more out of them because Jana is too much of a tightwad bitch to pay them higher salaries. She saves the extra cash for botox and the newest Corvette every year. No matter how good my day at work is, it ends in absolute frustration. I live eighteen miles from my office in the city, but in five thirty traffic, it takes me ninety minutes to get in to my driveway. The best day at work I ever had was the last day for one of our interns, Sally. It was about ten years ago, but I still remember when she unzipped my fly, pulled out my cock, snorted a line of cocaine off of it, and then drained me dry. It took me two hours to get home because of a jack knifed tractor trailer that day. Work always ends on a bad note, even when Sally is there for your afternoon delight. I hope my wife doesn't find this diary if something goes wrong. I never cheated to hurt her. I just like to feel intense. This fucking crazy thing is so cold in my pocket now that I have a red spot on my chest from where my skin is chafing against my shirt. I think I'll sleep with it under my pillow tonight. I've had enough of normal. When I wake up tomorrow, I'm opening it.

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Unlike the larger circuses that dominated the railroads, the little medical show still puttered along in the old ornate wagons and trailers. This made travel much harder but allowed for the doctor to make his own curious, meandering paths. Max often wondered how his life had been hitched to every whim of this strange little man, but as Arthur reminded him, if he really cared that much they could have just quit. This particular detour had led them to a small town in eastern Iowa. A brutal drought left the fields near scorched, and summer heat made the small crowds sluggish and irritable. The morning sun had only just begun to crawl up above the treetops and already Max felt his shirt clinging to him. The Doc wore his standard three piece suit and kept time with a polished cane. The old man rarely ever showed the wear and tear of the roads. Probably because his trailer had an icebox. As they made their way on foot, DuMonde informed Max that this was a house call. He was responding to a letter mailed by a desperate family seeking help for their unfortunate child. And why had he brought the former boxing champ along? Simple a precaution, rest assured. The young man had his doubts, but the farm house they were aiming for was no more run down than any other lonesome homestead in the middle of nowhere. As they approached, a solitary donkey sounded the alarm, and his braying brought the owner of the house out the door. He was a short, stout man with a weathered face and an unnaturally tired look. Max thought he saw others peering through the windows at them, but after very brief introductions, they were lead away from the house and over to a storm cellar. “Heard about you coming to Des Moines last season,” the man explained. “Thought you might be able to do something about this.” He threw back the cellar doors and led them down into the darkness. It was difficult to see much of anything with nothing but the morning light shining in to guide them. The stench down below was unreal. The unmistakable odor of rotting meat and feces reminded him of neglected monkey he had once seen locked in a barren cage. The only thing that kept him from gagging was the fear that the smell would get into his mouth, and even the decorous doctor covered his nose with a handkerchief. Once Max’s eyes adjusted to the lack of light, he realized there was a pile of badly stained blankets near the wall to their left amidst piles of dung and fly-ridden scraps he couldn’t identify. The farmer took a rake that had been resting near the stairs and poked at the lump. The thing that shot out from beneath the blankets was such a confusing flurry of limbs that even Max had a hard time understanding what he was seeing. It was human, though really only by technicality. The boy crawled about on four twisted limbs, but a fourth and fifth leg jutted out from his midsection and right thigh respectively. Though shriveled, these forgotten appendages twitched and flexed as he scurried about. His mouth was torn by a severe cleft palette, though that didn’t stop him from hissing and snapping with teeth grown long and somehow sharp like rodent incisors. He was naked but covered in sores, growths, mud, shit, and rust colored stains Max didn’t want to think about. One eye bulged out slightly, causing it to look off in a different direction, though the odd shape to the iris raised doubts over its ability to see anyway. The boy darted wildly to the end of the rope that had been tied around his neck and presumably anchored somewhere out of sight. He nearly choked himself trying to reach for the three men, and when that didn’t work, he resorted to spitting and finally pissing at them. “Don’t have a right mind,” the farmer said as he stepped away from the spray. “It’s our second boy, but you can see why we keep it down here. Eats just about anything and doesn’t do much but raise hell. Killing it would be a sin against the Lord though.” Max had to hold his tongue to keep from asking what that made keeping the boy alive down there. “Very unfortunate,” DuMonde agreed. He kept his face covered with the handkerchief, but leaned in as close as he could without getting hit. For a terrifying moment, Max thought the Doc might actually take the boy. While he understood wanting to put it out of its misery, accepting the thing instead meant trying to integrate it into the show. And that meant Max would have to deal with it. “I am sorry,” DuMonde said finally. “While this is a very sad case, I’m afraid I have no room for such a child in my show.” “What?” the farmer asked. His look of detached exhaustion gave way to a visible wave of grief and then rage. “You said you handled this kind of thing! You take these monsters off those folks’ hands! Now take this away!” The man’s rising tone made his son launch into a frenzy of yowling and jumping. Max was more focused on the rake the farmer was brandishing, however. He stepped between the farmer and the doctor and took in a deep inhale. He instantly regretted doing so, but at least it puffed out his chest and straightened his spine. The farmer was no weakling by the looks of him, but Max was well over six feet and nothing but muscle. He stared the man dead in the eyes. “Now, the doctor said there was nothing we can do. We’re real sorry about your son, but that’s all there is to it. If you don’t mind, we’ll be going now.” Max let his words hang in the foul air between them for a moment before waving his hand for the man to lead them out. The farmer looked as though he might argue but swallowed whatever bile he had brewing and said not a word to them as they took their leave. The only response a farewell from the Doc got was a spit straight into the dust. The pair got the message and wasted no time getting back on the road and putting the house far behind them. “Such a shame,” DuMonde murmured as the safety of their tents slowly came into view. “Such a poor, poor child.” “I’m glad you didn’t take it though,” Max admitted. “I would have made you carry that thing back.” If the story ended here, I’m sure that everyone would have had a good laugh, learned a little something, and the credits could roll safely. Obviously, that’s not the case. This wasn’t nearly the last time Max and DuMonde had to deal with the Unfortunate. Their troubles were only beginning.

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They say when you take a picture of someone you capture their soul in the camera. They also say if you print it off, that picture contains the soul itself and you can control them with it. I'm not sure where to start. Do you know what the Primordial Soup is? A veritable ocean of elements, all floating around randomly. And through millions of years of time, eventually the right set of random circumstances came to pass, and the elements were able to connect together and form the worlds first single cell organism. Now that's a really boiled down version of it but I'm sure you get the gist of it. Fast forward a few billion years to the early 1990s, when internet use began to rapidly accelerate. Every home had a computer, and new connections between computers were opening on a by the second basis. Trillions of bytes of data began to transfer around the world at the speed of light, music, text, sound, and most importantly; pictures. Now if, when you take a picture of someone and capture their soul, what happens when that picture is converted to data and placed on a hard drive? Does the soul follow? 15 years later we believe so. We believe that when you take a picture of someone and upload it onto your computer, alongside the image data a blueprint of the person's soul itself is imprinted on the file itself. Look at your pictures folder. How many souls reside in that folder alone? That's just the beginning though. These soul blueprints each retain pieces of a puzzle, parts of the soul itself as well. Recently a group of hackers, who referred to themselves as the Cardinals, took an interest to this theory and began experiments. They found anomalies within the binary sequences of images based on similar features of the person they had taken a picture of. A binary DNA if you will. Now these hackers had come to posses a set of three extremely important data files. One avi, one jpeg, and one .mp3, each of which possessing interesting unexplainable qualities. The first, cradle.avi, depicts what appears to be a group of teenagers with a low quality video camera, exploring the basement of a house. The quality of the video is distorted completely beyond any comprehensibility, and the video is very low quality. For most of the video the camera is passed around the group, handed back and forth and jerked around too much to make anything noticeable out. But near the end the camera turns at an odd angle, and you can semi clearly make out a young girl standing in the corner facing the wall. Her hair is long and black and she is wearing some form of white dress. You only see her for a split second but many people who have seen the video claim there just seems something wrong with her. A bit deformed but not in a way anyone can explain. But the truly peculiar property of this video is what happens to the users computer at the end of it. On the last second of the video, if not already so the video will force full screen itself. Along with this you are left with a one second looping clip of a window in a wall. It loops 15 times, and then the girl is seen again, standing on the other side of the window with her back to the viewer, slowly wavering back and forth. After a few moments the video ends and the user's computer permanently shuts down. Inspection has shown that the entire registry becomes completely corrupt, requiring the user to do a total wipe and reinstall. The second file is known as needles.mp3. This sound file, when played, plays for about 3 minutes. It is extremely distorted. One can occasionally make out some form of voice talking, but most of the sound is some form of growling, rolling crackled roar. Users who listen to this file often experience extreme nausea and loss of balance for a brief period of time. The final file is known as burningman.jpg. The file name has nothing to do with what the actual picture depicts. Instead it just displays a haphazard mess of overlayed and meshed images of dolls and a hallway. There also seems to be an image of a man standing with his head cast down in the background, but the image is too distorted to make anything out, much like the other files. The image, when downloaded and opened on a users desktop, will proceed to stay permanently open on whatever program it is opened through. Not only that, the program becomes disabled. Nothing else happens, the image just permanently sits there on your desktop, unclickable, unminimizable, and your just left there with the mans invisible gaze staring at you. From what the group of hackers were able to discern, this file seems to have precompiled into the data something along the lines of Cmdow. Yet, as complex and intricate as the program is (it works across all OS platforms) no one knows who the original creator is. In fact, few people have heard of it as the file is uncopyable nor sendable. This in fact further adds to the mystery, as often receivers of this file will obtain it from random anonymous emails, posted on forms on a download link. Posing the question, how was that poster able to upload it? If you ever see any of these files, refrain from downloading ANY of them. They all have varying detrimental effects on your computers, from practically taking out your whole registry, corrupting system 32, freezing your mouse or crashing your computer.