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Barricade



Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

I’m about to do a very stupid thing.

I know it’s stupid. I know it. But I don’t think I have a choice anymore. And I have to do it now, while I have the nerve and the will and while my hands are still steady.

I’m sick. I’ve always been sick. Some days are better than others. When I was young my parents prayed that it might just be a precursor of the onset of epilepsy, but the seizures never came. I just… can’t trust myself.

I see things. On some days, I can hear them and smell them too. I should say that I used to see them. After being on every possible combination of pills three doctors could come up with, I thought we’d finally found the right chemical key for my misfiring brain. It’s been six years of stability and relative normalcy, trading a halfway house for a tiny studio apartment, a collection of mostly tolerable side-effects, and a steady job. I realize this probably sounds dull for most people, but I cherished every moment of that achingly simple monotony.

It went bad all at once

Friday morning. I awake from the first dream I’ve had in years, a vivid phantasmagoria of colors and sounds, and begrudgingly leave my perfect and sterile clean apartment for the short walk to work.

I notice it as soon as the elevator opens, the unearthly stillness and silence in the heavy air. The front door of the complex is hanging open, unlocked and swinging gently, the faintest trace of smoke drifting inward in the damp breeze. Outside, the wide streets are empty and bare. My mouth is suddenly dry and I rock back on my heels, cresting a crippling wave of panic and déjà vu.

This particular hallucination, the quiet and the smoke and the emptiness, was always my most frequent; I haven’t had it in six years but the familiarity of it stings. I shut my eyes tightly, and jab my hand at the panels of chipped buttons. Moments later I am on the top floor, walking half blind the path to my door with practiced familiarity. Once inside I sit on my bed, gripping tight the handle of my cane, eyes closed, breathing slow and steady. Focused. Calm. Clear. I open my eyes.

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I can’t be outside like this, I know this. I was hit by a car when I was homeless, wandering dazed into the street, while my fevered mind saw only emptiness. I’ll need a replacement hip before I’m forty. I can hear the slivers of bone grind a little with every labored step. I call my boss, and leave a terse message, apologizing for being too ill to work today.

I hold my breath as I open the one tiny window in my studio. It’s so close to the building next to me, I can almost touch its brick wall and I can’t see the street from this height and angle: but as I strain to lean out the window, sounds of yelling and a few whining engines drift up to me. The pall of unearthly quiet is broken, and I feel a great sense of relief, knowing that my episode is over.

I am counting the pills in orderly columns on the table, proving a fifth time to myself that I have taken my daily regimen, when I start to hear the screaming. It builds from far below; riding the struts and supports of the tower until it seems to emanate from the bones of the building.

An hour later the sounds seem like they are right outside; horrid, terrified, inchoate clumps of half formed words and pleas, punctuated by wet, ragged shrieks and heavy muffled thudding. The breathing and relaxation exercises aren’t helping, and I’m gripping the edge of my bed, soaked in sweat. The idea appears fully formed in my mind: I need to barricade the door. I struggle to suppress it. It would be like- giving up, all progress I’ve made would be for naught if I entertain the notion that the episode is real.

But the screaming… this is a new one for me.

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There’s the shuffle of movement outside, and the knob of the door twists violently and shudders against the deadbolt. I try to cry out, but my throat is parched and only a dry croak comes out. The door starts flex slightly as heavy blows land on the outside, and a mad, gibbering chorus of voices spits out a strange nonsense of broken syllables.

It only takes me a moment to decide now. I burst to my feet and throw all my weight into the bookshelf, crashing into it with bright white bolt of pain. It topples slowly, leaning at first like a tree and then smashing to the ground. On top of the bookshelf goes my desk and chairs, my hip screaming with each step. I collapse again on the floor, grasping for breath, and listen to the pounding subside and the horrid voices retreat.

That was two days ago.

They come back every day and scratch at the door, whispering in that vile gibberish. Sometimes I allow myself to think I can recognize the voices. The phone is dead, and the power is out. When I lean out the window and yell for help, the only answer I get is the occasional shriek or ululating babble.

When I was younger, when I was at my worst, my episodes would last for hours, at most. I am at a loss. I have very little food left and the water pressure has already dropped.

Lying in bed in the late summer heat, in a moment of near total silence, the inevitability of it occurs to me. If I stay, I’ll starve. What happens to me on the other side of the barricade only depends on how sick I really am.

I want to believe with a sudden desire I am just ill, simply and profoundly ill. The sureness of it wells up in me, and I feel suddenly awake and lucid. I need a doctor, surely, but soon the hallucination will lift and my mind will heal. I just need to break through this.

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I need to go outside.

I remove the bookshelf slowly, rotating it away from the door gently to rest with the other furniture. This is right, I assure myself. This is healthy. I turn the deadbolt, put my hand on the handle, and try to suppress the rising terror in my guts. I give it a little pressure.

Outside, I hear a dry shuffling and a low rising murmur of unfathomable voices, and my surety drains from me, leaving only cold and naked horror in its place.

My hand is on the door.

I’m about to do a very stupid thing.


Credited to entropyblues.

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128 thoughts on “Barricade”

  1. Sans Hawthorne

    Ending Idea:

    Against my impulse, I turn the knob and step outside. My face pales when I see what is outside. My eyes go wide with horror and then they go blank, staring unseeing into the distance.

  2. The building was on fire, the banging on the door was firefighters trying to save him but he died. Now he’s just a ghost in that apartment.

  3. thank you for writing this. I could feel the terror welling up inside of me as I read. I loved the vague ending. this was perfect.

  4. I’m guessing the whole has been infested with zombies but he’s assuming it’s his mental state that’s playing tricks on him again? Nice work :)

  5. It’s amazing how many people just post and don’t read any comments. I get if it’s a terrible one, but if it’s one that at least piques your interest or has you questioning things YOU SHOULD READ THE COMMENTS. When you do maybe you’ll see a theory that fits better than your own questionable one or you’ll even get a definitive answer.

  6. Waaaaiitaminnit !

    Is this the former screen name of Josef K. ?? :O:O

    That’ll explain the effing awesome short story ! :D:D

  7. that story could be very true. there are many people that live in fear of what is outside there door or even in their bathroom. i know many people (and i do this myself too) that have to open their shower curtain in their bathroom before they do their business, it is extreme paranoia and sometimes is related to something in childhood. i have to do this because im scared something like a demon is going to be there. sometimes i hear voices coming from back there but i open it and there is nothing there. its very creepy.

  8. Ther are people that live like that.
    I’m one of them. Every time i take too long to take my pills, tney come back. And those few hours where they come back. Hell.

  9. \"When I lean out the window and yell for help, the only answer I get is the occasional shriek or ululating babble.\"

    …I laughed at this. I really don\’t know why :/

  10. Come on, don’t leave me hanging bro. All I want is to leave the room, and see if I’m just crazy, or really stuck in this story.

  11. Do know what’d be funny as hell?

    It turned out he was in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

    Come on, it does make sense. Would explain the screaming (Someone being eaten by zombies), the thudding (Zombies knocking the someone on the ground), and the scratching (Zombies trying to get in.)

    Still, it wouldn’t be any less horrifying for him.

  12. Very nice concept, though it did sort of bug me that in two days the power and phone were turned off and he’s almost out of food. For the sake of argument, I will pretend in the time he’d barricaded himself either 1) The monster people cut the lines or 2) He missed his payments.

    1. Either:

      1.) He’s only hallucinating the dead phone line and electrical failure

      Or

      2.) There has been some sort of serious crisis, probably a zombie apocalypse, and he is about to be killed.

      One of the two.

  13. LOL at I was Bookshelf’s name. Niceee.

    But this pasta is, yes, one of the best i’ve read too. It’s so cleverly written. I loved it.

  14. this was the best story I’ve read on this site thus far. some people commented that they didn’t like the ending, but I think its perfect.

  15. I thought it was going to be his neighbor. “WOULD YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP AND STOP THROWING FURNITURE AROUND IN THERE!? JEEZ!”
    And his landlord. “You haven’t paid, so we’re shutting off your electricity today.

  16. Jigsaw'sLolitaWhore

    Wow, that was one of the best pastas I ever read!
    Thanks for posting it, you really made my night ^_^#

    I’ve been in a psychiatry for a few times because of my personality disorder and there were also psychotic people, of course. You characterized that disease very well.

  17. @62

    Fetus, you cocksucker.

    It was brick-shitting enough without that revelation, a delicious mindfuck that made me shudder…. and then I went back and looked at it again, after reading your comment.

    Motherfuck. I don’t recall eating this many bricks.

  18. isn’t entropyblues josef k’s alias?

    whatever the case the moment i saw the credit i realized why this pasta was so damn good

  19. Don’t do it, Johnny! DON’T DO IT!

    *Johny is shot dead*

    I warned you, idiot.

    He was right, that WAS a stupid thing to do.

    If there’s a horde of zeds right outside, and you don’t have any weapons to take the fuckers out, leave the barricade alone, man!

    But srsly, epic, pasta is EPIC. a perfectly score-breaking 20/10 for the man, Josef K. Now to find his others and comment on them.

  20. Here’s what I think:
    1. He’s hallucinating
    2. He never actually hallucinated, just saw stuff that other people couldn’t
    3. He made his hallucinations real
    4. Someone else made his hallucinations real
    5. He saw the future in his hallucinations

  21. Well, that was interesting. I like the whole am I crazy or is there actually some sort of weird entity outside my door wanting to kill me? thing. Sure beats the whole typical ‘OMFG there’s definitely something out there I’m gonna die’ scenario, I like a bit of uncertainty.

  22. I wonder whether the “stupid thing” he’ll do is to simply get out, or also try to fight those “creatures”. Not exactly creepy, but definetly trippy. Well-written, also.

  23. The part about the drop in water pressure makes me think it’s zombies. Like, utilities are beginning to fail due to the chaos, and he can’t tell if the craziness is his condition or if shit is actually going down, rite? Yeay.

  24. I was thinking. So the stupid thing is probably him succumbing to his fear and closing and barricading the door again, right? Poor guy.
    Next post gets 69!

  25. Nice! But reading through the story I feel sorry for him.

    I have been with psyche patients in the wars cause im a student nurse. and that is great observation @ 62!

  26. @ 62. Fetus

    So does he have schizophrenia or something? Like that one story with the milk and eggs or whatever. Where the woman kept doing the same thing over and over when her mom was really dead on the couch..?

    Weird. I didn’t think of it that way.

    Good pasta, though.

  27. When you reached the end of the story, continue reading from the beginning.

    Notice something? I sure as hell shat a house.

  28. That was so cool.It only felt like one day in the story.I want to know more and find out whats behind the door.

  29. This was one of those rare creepypastas that made my stomach jerk and my eyes water.

    Probably because I’ve had troubles with hallucinations before, and the “what if it never goes away and I’m stuck here” thought was always horrifying.

  30. thepizzaelemental

    Cried from the occasional typo, this was a pretty good piece of writing. Though, i have a thing for the Unreliable Narrator device, personally.

    In regards to the ending, don’t change a damn thing. The reader is guaranteed to come up with the most outrageous thing possible to fill in the empty space after the story ends.

  31. that was some creepy ass shit!

    but well written shit, does the writer of this have any more things similar? because this was pretty damn awesome.

  32. I’m stuck between wanting to know what happens, and not wanting. I hope to never fall into that sort of madness, though, truth be told, I may all ready have. I suppose I’ll never truly know.

  33. I got in one little fight and my mom got scared. She said “You’re moving with your auntie and uncle in bel-air.”

  34. I was expecting yet another “LOL crazy narrator hears noises” pasta. Instead, I found a masterpiece of psychological horror, and a really effective mindfuck.
    Well done, OP.

  35. asdfghjkl;’

    In a way I want the ending to this really badly! But then again, I feel that the ending is better left for you to decide, like a cliffhanger.

    Very nice pasta. It makes for a great dinner.

  36. dude,that was WICKED!!!! i love how it leaves it open for perception,but,oh god,i love it,100000000000000000000000000000/10

    one question though,WHO WAS MAN?

  37. I didn’t get “zombies” either. More like… ghouls.

    Some demonic creatures of madness that have either drawn him into their world, fully this time, or taken over ours.

  38. the Person Formerly known as 'Noneya'

    I didnt get zombies from it untill you all said it. Then it reminded me of that movie with Will Smith.

    I was thinking interdimensional-psychic powers.

    Like he was actually seeing into other dimensions which happened to be full of monsters and things, and now after all that searching the monsters finally found him.

    0.0 Definate day-dream material.

  39. Still sounds like zombies.
    Sorta has a 28 days later vibe to it.

    Either that, or I’m missing something.
    Which is quite possible.

  40. it had to have been Zombies
    his medication caused his SUPER MUTANT POWERS OF ZOMBIFICATION to not be activated.
    the medicationg must have become ineffective, and he suddenly ZOMBIFIED everyone in the city…
    probably not.

  41. That’s it? I want more! This seems like a pasta that could go on for at least short story length. I couldn’t imagine having to live with an illness like that. I would probably kill myself.

    Also, BUT WHO WAS NOISES!

    Sorry. I’ve never done it before and couldn’t resist.

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