The snow rests pale on the naked metal of the shacks around me. The pastel paint stripped away in ugly patches, the rusted iron underneath leers orangish-red at my intrusion - like a thousand fiery eyes set in the suffocating whiteness that is all around...

Compared to most other towns, the one I live in is pretty high above sea level, and my house just happens to sit on the highest hill there. From my bedroom window I can look out and see the entire town, along with the surrounding...

The worst thing I've ever done in my life happened about twelve years ago, when I was a sixteen year old kid living in Cleveland, Ohio. It was the early fall, when the leaves were just starting to turn orange and the temperatures were starting to fall, hinting at the freezing chill that was only a few months away. School had just started, but it had been going on for about a month now, so all the excitement of going back and reuniting with old friends had been replaced by the realization that we were captives in a place that only wanted to load work upon us. Understandably, me and my friends were all eager to do anything that might remind us of the worry-free, responsibility-free days of summer. Earlier that year, about the time the last school year had let out, one of my friends from work, (McDonalds, which some people think is lame, but I always had a great time there), had taught me a technique to make yourself pass out with the help of an assistant. It worked something like this: One person would rapidly take ten deep, heavy breaths, and on the tenth, squeeze his eyes shut and hold his breath as tightly as possible while crossing his wrists over his heart. The assistant would then give the person a huge bear hug from behind and squeeze the person's wrists into his breastbone. Within seconds, the person holding their breath would lose consciousness. The assistant was then in a perfect position to make sure you didn't totally collapse and crack your skull open on the sidewalk. The effect only lasted for like a second or two--it wasn't like we were putting ourselves into comas or anything--but it felt like you had been out for hours, and when you came to, the disoriented feeling of not knowing where the hell you were and what you were doing there was awesome. Now I know some people are like "WTF, are you a fucking retard?" And yeah, I know, we were probably killing about a million brain cells each time we would knock ourselves out, and I think probably my memory has suffered for it. But to a bored-as-hell sixteen-year-old, I thought it was hella cool. All the effect of getting your lights punched out, with none of the pain of getting hit in the face. I'd tell you to try it to see for yourself, but after what happened; I would never recommend it to anyone.

While brushing your teeth in the evening, you catch a glimpse of your wall mirror, covered in fingerprints. Annoyed, you grab a towel and rub at them. They remain. Upon closer inspection, you realize that they seem to be on the other side of the glass....

If you are reading this, then I am dead, and you are standing aboard a derelict Cyclone class patrol ship, the USS Mistral, with her engines dead and her electrical systems nonfunctional. I am, was, the XO of this vessel, Lieutenant Commander Ryan Simmons. Please read this carefully. If you are an officer or enlisted man in the United States Navy, this is an order: Scuttle this vessel, immediately. Do not finish this letter. Get off the Mistral at once, and send her down. Consider this a quarantine scenario; all hands are likely dead. God help you if they are not. We are eight days out of Kirkwall, tracking an intermittent and scrambled distress call from what appeared to be a Icelandic fishing vessel, the Magnusdottir, deep in the no-fishing zone of the North Sea. We found the vessel, or rather, we found a mile wide streak of oil and fragments, the largest of them still burning. The night before, the enlisted man on watch had reported seeing a flash of light on the horizon. The Magnusdottir’s crew was no where to be found, except for one lone fisherman, unburned and floating at the far end of the debris field. He had been shot in the forehead with a small caliber revolver. When we fished his pale blue corpse from the frigid water, he was still clutching a fishing knife in one clamped hand. What we were able to piece together from the fragmented and confounding evidence was that for reasons unknown, the crew had been in conflict, resulting in the murder of the of at least one sailor, and the eventual sabotage and destruction of the ship. Visibility was only a few hundred feet as we spent the next day drifting silently among the debris, in hopes of finding a survivor. The crew was already visibly shaken by the discovery; the grim dread of the fog, and lone smoldering pieces of the Magnusdottir that collided with our hull unsettled even the most seasoned of us. We had expected an easy cruise, and the simple retrieval of a dozen thankful Icelandic fisherman. What we got, at first, was a silent and oil-slick coated sea, a single corpse, and more than a few nagging questions. The Mistral had just been serviced, after an extended tour with the Atlantic Fleet in Bahrain before her transfer to the North Sea. She was in good running order, so I can only assume that the initial mechanical failure was an act of sabotage, or of some external force. It happened the first night, when our final sweep had been completed, and we returned to the site of the Magnusdottir’s first transmission.

I awake, as always, to the click and whir of a thousand hidden cameras, and the rising glow of the ambient lights. Over the next 30 minutes, the curtains on my bedroom will slowly part, gliding on mechanized tracks, and the yellow sunlight of dawn will stream into the wide circular room. Like all mornings, I entertain for the briefest moments the thought of hurling myself at the windows and plunging the half mile to the ground. I hold on to the little fantasy of wind and sky and falling for as long as it will remain, dreaming of those magnificent moments of freedom and choice. Even if I were not a coward, there are a thousand unseen barriers and safe guards. I can not see them, but several parents are doubtlessly just outside the door, and would be between me and the window before I could leave the bed. I allow the dream of freedom to evaporate for another morning. The woman next to me, I can not recall her name, shifts and rolls to embrace me. I wrap my arms around her and return the affection, but there is no love in it. She is young and soft, skin still stretched taut over her athletic and perfect frame. I know that in my youth I would have been buzzing with anticipation and lust simply seeing her, but now I can only take solace in the momentary ghost of affection and emotion. Her skin is warm, and her fine and downy body hair is smoother than the silk of the sheets. I draw an abstract of pleasure from this closeness, feeling something akin to happiness when our bellies synchronize in breathing, pressed close as they rise and fall in an alternating rhythm. Her breath is hot and damp on my chin and neck. It only takes me a few moments to tire of her, and I swung my legs to the edge of the bed. The black marble of the walls and floor of my bedroom are heated to my exact preference, so I walk, naked, into the large bathroom. Like every morning, I try not to focus on the near-silent buzzing of small servos and motors as each of the cameras pivots to keep me in view at all time. They must be completely autonomous, but it amuses me to think of a thousand uniformed parents tediously tracking my every move, 16 hours a day. They would be madder than I by now.

This farm has been in my family for two generations. I've always enjoyed the peace and solitude since I was a boy, just me and my folks. Now, there's just me. They died a few years back, leavin' the place to me and I've been doing my best to keep enough cash coming in to pay the taxes on the land (though why anybody'd want this place but me these days is beyond me). My grandpa was kind of a recluse and wanted a 'fair piece o' distance' between us and the city slickers as he called them. It's about 15 miles to the nearest town, down a couple worn ruts in the woods, that turn into a strip more dirt than road, before it finally hits the rural route to town. The old joke about 'You know you're a redneck when directions to your house start with: After you turn off the paved road...'? Yeah, that always used to kill him. Sorry, its getting hard to concentrate, mind wanders. I'm leaving this recording on the off chance someone from town notices I haven't stopped by for a bit and sends the law down this way to check on me. My advice to you is leave now, while you still can. I know it sounds crazy, but.. its true. First thing I noticed was wrong was a couple nights ago, when Sammy, that's my dog, started barkin up a storm in the middle of the night. Not too surprisin', we live like I said, way out at the ass end o' nowhere, and there's possums and raccoons and a few wild dogs livin out in the woods and sometimes they come on my land to try thier luck. Anyhow, Sammy's a good dog and just a few snarls from him is usually enough to convince most critters to hightail it back into the trees. But that night, there was something different. It was like he was crazy or something, snarling and yelping like mad. Not a bark, mind you, a yelp. Y'all with dogs know what I mean, that kinda noise they make when they're caught someplace between territorial anger and fear. I grabbed my jeans, shoved my feet into an old pair of workboots and grabbed my shotgun figurin' something bigger might be about. This ain't bear country but in lean times I've seen a wolf or two pacing the edge of the fence, testin' the water so to speak. Once I seen a cat, almost as big as Sammy out there, I shit you not. I dunno what it was, maybe a cougar or something, you'd have to ask a hunter, which to Daddy's disappointment I never turned out to be much of. Slaughtering a chickens ot the occasional pig was as far as I went and I ain't ever been comfortable even with that much.

[A transcript of the first recorded interview with Subject H270, a victim of the recent "Interplanar Distress Phenomenon" that has taken approximately one hundred reported humans as of this date. Their numbers grow exponentially.] ----- MINISTRY FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WASHINGTON, D.C 17. October, 2005 To: Officer Kathe Waldheim From: Agent Olaf Kaspar-Gottfried, Unknown Beings Examinations Department MIPA FILE NO. 33-4215 LAB NO. 92475683-K NOTES: Subject H270 has been put under sedation and injected with truth serum to ensure accuracy of the report and my own safety. Interview takes place one night after his rescue. Subject remains shaky when regarding my person, yet is otherwise confident reporting the incident. BEGIN TAPE Part I Kaspar-Gottfried: Recount for us the events that led up to your capture. H270: Home... I want to go home... Kaspar-Gottfried: You will be returned to your residence after the investigation, provided you cooperate with us. H270: No, no. Not my home. The home. (Sounds of a struggle. H270 shrieks, then whimpers softly.) Kaspar-Gottfried: Now, please recount the events that led up to your capture. H270: It started with the noises. You've heard them, haven't you? The noises? They come out at night. Little clicks, whirs, taps, vibrating sounds, that sort of thing? Completely unexplainable noises that sound normal at first. But they only come out at night. Kaspar-Gottfried: So these "noises"... they captured you? H270: No. Not at all. Kaspar-Gottfried: Explain. H270: The noises grew louder and louder every night. I could never sleep. After a week of insomnia, I decided it was useless. I thought they were trying to dominate me and take control of my mind. I would not be a slave to them. So I embraced insomnia, used the night to truly listen to them. That's when I realized... their voices had a pattern. A language. Time kept passing by, and I was determined to learn their language. And so I did. They kept saying the same things over and over again to me. "It is not too late." "Come here, come quickly." And then there are the things they said to each other. "What is he doing?" "Is he asleep yet?" "It's okay, it's okay. He's coming soon." The waking birds would drown their conversations out when dawn broke. Then there would only be silence. And one night, I noticed they kept telling me, "Come down, and descend. Come down." I thought they were speaking metaphorically, about some descent into Hell. But it wasn't. One night, I felt compelled by some strange force. A spirit not my own, to leave my bed and descend. I resisted as much as I could. After all, if I were out of bed. It'd mean they'd stop speaking to me! But I left. And I went into the basement.

There are certain rules in this world that we must abide by. We don't always agree with them, and they rarely agree with us, but if we are to survive to see tomorrow, we need to place our personal feelings aside and just accept things...

I went camping about 3 weekends ago in the Huntsville national forest in Texas. Me and 3 friends that came home for the weekend, they are all in college and usually we all get together at least once a year, old friends from high school. For the camping trip we planned to go backpacking deep in the forest, live off of fish that we catch and animals that we can trap. We have been doing this for awhile in Texas and in numerous places, Arizona, Colorado (if anyone is familiar with the Spanish peaks there), New Mexico, so weβ€˜re pretty much used to anything youβ€˜d encounter out there. It was my turn to pick where we went camping, so I chose Huntsville (more accurately it’s Huntsville/New Waverly). So we drive up there park our car in a camping park spot and start walking off into the forest. We had some laughs along the way, everyone catching up with each other's lives. We walked until it started to get dark and set up camp where we stopped. Everyone gathered wood to make a fire and we set our tent up. And we do what we always do: try and scare each other with weird stories. Around this time we started to smell something very faint. It was noticeable, but not overbearing. We couldn't put our finger on what it was, so we just carried on. Mike had to go piss and he walked off in the forest. A second later he come running back, piss all down his jeans like he’d missed really bad. Immediately we all crack up and throw some jokes at him. Then we noticed that he was white as snow and trying to catch his breath. He starts screaming for us to follow him, and runs off. We all get serious and go follow him, not knowing what the problem was. We start to hear a faint scream and crying in the distance, in the direction we were running. It was pitch black away from the camp and Mike had the only flash light (we left ours at the camp, he had his from his trip taking a piss), so at this stage we didn’t have much choice but to follow the light, which was frantically pointing here and there in front of him. The scream gets closer and Mike starts to slow down. We then notice a ratty old cabin that looked like it was abandoned, except for a faint light that we could see from one of the old mildew covered windows. The crying was intense: whoever it was couldn't breathe enough to let out a full yell. We all followed Mike up to the front door and we could all hear the crying from inside. As soon as he knocked on the door it stopped. We all waited and heard really heavy footsteps walking fast to the door. There was a giant slam against the door and the sound of a bolt unlocking. Then nothing. We waited for a bit, knocked a few more times, but still nothing happened. We walked around the house (there was no fucking way any of us were leaving each other’s side) and noticed a window, which was a good way up. Alex took a deep breath and said asked us to give him a boost so he could see inside. Me and Mike lifted him up to the window. We watched him brush away dirt and webs from the window and place his face close to the window to try and see something.

There is a doorway, one that can be any door, at any time. This door leads nowhere, yet there lies a realm of twisted reality to the opener. This door exists for everyone - some never encounter it in their lives, others unknowingly open it...

Try this. Turn off the music. Turn off the TV. If you have to, turn off the computer. Then go to another room, and sit. In total silence. Do you hear that? That ringing? People say it is your brain making up a sound to...

I don't even know why I'm writing this. I can post this in a million different places, it won't matter. There's still nobody there to read it. Nobody left to hear my story. Yet this might be my last chance to do this, so I will. The feeling won't go away. They're watching. They're watching and getting closer every second. They can feel my terror. And I know they're enjoying it. It has been about four months since everyone disappeared. And I mean everyone. I woke up one morning for school. I immediately noticed the time. School started three hours ago. Must have just hit the alarm clock still half-asleep, and fallen right back to sleep. It happens to me sometimes. Why hadn't my parents woken me up? Probably just went to work early. The first time I started to notice was at the station. I usually take a train to school, since it's the fastest way to get there. I hadn't seen anyone on my way to the station, but I lived in a rather quiet area of the town, so going was slow at this time of the day. It happened, so I didn't think much of it. When I arrived at the station, I noticed there was nobody there. It was odd. There should have been at least a few people waiting for the train, even at this time of the day. I shrugged it off as an exceptionally slow day. It happened sometimes, too. I waited for a good while, but the train didn't come. I don't remember how long I stood there, but I grew increasingly frustrated. I decided to walk to school. After all, it was only a twenty-minute walk if I did it fast enough, and I was late for the next lesson anyways. I didn't see anyone on my way to school. Nor was there anyone in school. The school building was open, and lit. I still didn't think much of it, the lessons were on anyways. But the classrooms were empty. Every single classroom in the whole building. Some doors were open, some closed. But there was nobody there. I tried the teacher's lounge, and it was empty. I even recall the smell of fresh coffee in the room. I tried calling one of my friends to ask what was going on. No answer. The phone rang, but there just wasn't any answer. I tried another. Same thing. I ended up going through every single person I know from school. No answer. I rushed to the shopping mall nearby. It was empty. The entire building, normally bustling with life, totally empty. The shops were open, the lights were on, the music was playing, the info screens were on. There just wasn't anyone strolling around the mall, searching through the stores, manning the counters. It was like everyone had vanished entirely.

You could kick yourself. Its the middle of the night--or early in the morning, depending on how you look at it--and freezing cold because you, like an idiot, kicked off your blanket in the night. Nearly entirely off the bed, in fact, with only one...

I never saw the ocean till I was nineteen, and if I ever see it again it will be too goddamn soon. I was a child, coming out of the train, fresh from Amarillo, into San Diego and all her glory. The sight of it, all that water and the blind crushing power of the surf, filled me with dread. I'd seen water before, lakes, plenty big, but that was nothing like this. I don't think I can describe what it was like that first time, and further more, I'm not sure I care too. You can imagine the state I was in when a few weeks later they gave me a rifle and put me on a boat. When I stopped vomiting up everything that I ate, I decided that I might not kill myself after all. Not being able to see the land, and that ceaseless chaotic, rocking of the waves; I remember thinking that the war had to be a step up from this. Kids can be so fucking stupid. I had such a giddy sense of glee when I saw the island, and it's solid banks. They transferred us to a smaller boat in the middle of the night, just our undersized company with our rucksacks and rifles and not a word. We just took a ride right into it, just because they asked us to. The lieutenants herded us into our platoons on the decks and briefed us: the island had been lost. That was exactly how he put it. Somehow in the grand plan for the Pacific, this one tiny speck of earth, only recently discovered and unmapped, had gotten lost in the shuffle; a singularly perfect clerical error was all it took. It was extremely unlikely, he stressed, that the Japanese had gotten a hold of it, being so far east and south of their current borders, but a recent fly over reported what looked like an airfield in the central plateau. We hit the beach in the middle of the night. I'd heard talk of landings before, and I'm not ashamed to tell, I was scared shitless. I don't know quite what I expected, but it wasn't we got, that thick, heavy silence. Behind the lapping of the waves and the wind in the trees, there was... nothing, no birds, no insects. Just deathly stillness.

If you're lucky, you'll never know about it. Your life will be spent in the bliss that can only come from the ignorance of the dark horrors that scratch and gnaw at the edges of reality. You'll never hear the dark whispers coming from the...

It's been a while since I had anything like human contact, so I'll attempt to be as brief as I can. At least the sound of typing is noise, and the echoes it produces are the nearest thing to a reply I've had in months. I lost my job back in August. The dollar's dropping, the economy's poor, and son, you just aren't a competitive investment anymore. I'm young and I don't have bills, so I took it in stride. The days of day zero closure notices and no parachutes were stories I'd only heard from my bitterest relatives, and besides, it's hard to feel betrayed when you grow up learning these things really are only business. I collected my generous severance and decided to take a week off or so. A few years of being on call made me appreciate the value of a vacation, whatever form it was in, and my girlfriend and I had our savings. Like any self respecting nerd, the week quickly became a blur of pizza orders every two days, progressing day by day into a schedule defined by creeping nocturnalness. The girl complained, but she often did. To be perfectly honest, her sleeping form in the bedroom soon became far more familiar to me than her waking self, a persona I now only encountered during the blurry hours just before I slept and just after I woke. A week became two weeks, then a month. Slowly, the creaks and groans and occasionally startling shuffles of the old apartment building we lived in lost their frightening nature. I'd always been the horror junky, and I suppose my jaded nature made such assimilations much more graceful. In time, even the intermittantly flickering streetlights and faint chatter or the distant televisions, conversations, apparitions, or whatever existed in the building became more reassuring than unsettlings. I even began to fancy the old stain in the bathroom linoleum, which the landlord swore was wine and I believed was blood, had begun to fade.

SzomorΓΊ VasΓ‘rnap, or Gloomy Sunday in English, is a hit song written in 1933 by Hungarian composer RezsΕ‘ Seress. It's more commonly known as the Hungarian Suicide song because of hundreds (if not thousands) of suicides that had been inspired by listening to it. The...

You wake up one morning to find a note taped to your mirror: "Don't worry, I took care of everything." Your clothes have been freshly laundered, the bathroom is spotless, and your garage has been organized. Even your faithful old toolbox has been replaced. Later that...

A few months ago a friend of mine, who is an up-and-coming nature photographer, decided to spend a day and night alone in the woods outside of our town. She wanted to get photos of the woods and wildlife as naturally as she could for...