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Go Ahead, Scare Me

go ahead scare me


Estimated reading time — 18 minutes

Christopher rubbed his eyes. He was tired. What started out as a passion too quickly had turned into a job. He loved scary stories and the adrenaline rush from the thrill of being scared. That’s what prompted him to start his podcast. It took off like wild fire and he now had over a million followers. Christopher’s initial online persona was intriguing and charismatic. This had somehow warped into a cynical and unable to be satisfied attitude. He didn’t know when or how it had happened. He remembered his mother saying, “Honey, follow your passion and you will never work a day in your life.”

“Right!” Christopher thought. “What a load of crap!”

Even his thoughts had become tainted with contempt. Christopher took a sip from the steaming cup of coffee that Brandon, his producer, had given him. It was going to be a long night.

Brandon entered the studio and smiled at him. Christopher looked squarely at him and asked, “How did I let you talk me into doing a live show?”
In response, Brandon grinned which in turn caused Christopher to grin.

“Must be the payable ads. Oh yeah, and the livestream comments from your fans.” Brandon sarcastically replied.

“Touché.” Christopher responded still grinning. Then, on a serious note he stated, “I wish we would get a really scary story. The submissions we’ve received would barely rate a five. I want someone to submit a story that would rate ten out of ten.” He sighed deeply.

“I know. Hang in there. I’m sure one will be submitted soon.” Brandon said. He and Christopher had worked together for three years and during that time they had become close friends, almost like brothers. In an effort to lift Christopher’s spirits Brandon said, “By the way, I changed the submission guidelines to help weed out the crap. If they don’t include the phrase, ‘I’m scared’, in the body of the email submission, it gets filtered out. I programmed your inbox to automatically move it to the trash.” He looked hopefully to his friend.

“Thanks. Good job.” Christopher sincerely replied. He knew that Brandon was trying to help, but he didn’t have much faith that it would work. Christopher knew the programming would work, he just didn’t think it would remove all the dull stories.

“Even if I don’t think they’re scary, our followers do. So, I have to keep reading them.” Christopher stated flatly.

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Brandon smiled and said, “Get ready. We go live in three minutes.”

Christopher nodded. He closed his eyes and mentally prepared himself. Knowing he had to pull out his alter ego, his persona that built this following, Christopher took a deep breath, held it, and then exhaled slowly. “I’m ready.”

Christopher preferred to narrate from a paper, ‘hard’ copy versus reading an electronic version from a monitor. He enjoyed the feel of the pages.
Brandon held up three fingers and counted down, then pointed directly at Christopher to let him know he was ‘live’.

“Good evening!” Christopher began. “Welcome to another episode of ‘Go Ahead, Scare Me’, the podcast for eerie stories that will keep you awake. Stories so disturbing you will be too terrified to close your eyes. The dark will no longer provide relief and comfort. You will now see things lurking in the shadows. Remember, there are some things that shouldn’t be trifled with. Curl up and prepare yourself for tonight’s podcast.” The opening sounded corny and tired to Christopher but it had become his brand. Fans sent emails and posted to Facebook quoting it.

Christopher read the first story. It was a good story but not a great story. At the conclusion he commented, “Thank you Amy Solke for that scary story. It was good and gave me goosebumps. Based on the posted comments our followers enjoyed it too.”

The show continued and over the next two hours he read four more submissions that had qualified for narration. At the end Christopher said the closing comments that he did for each podcast.

“I’m Christopher Dibitello and thanks for joining us. Please follow us for more spine-chilling tales in our next podcast. If you were unable to join us live you can always access a recording of this show in the archives section of our channel. Remember to submit your stories through our website. I’m still looking for that one story that will truly give me pause. Make the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Make my heart skip a beat. So I challenge you. Go ahead, scare me.”

“And we’re out.” Brandon said after stopping the live feed. “I’ll have this session ready for upload in about three days.”

Christopher replied, “Ok.” He shoved the pages from the stories into a folder and pushed it to the side. “When will you have submissions ready for me to review?”

“I’m working on that tomorrow. I should have some for you then. Hoping to find some good ones.” Brandon answered.

“Cool. I’m beat and heading home. Talk to you later.” Christopher said trying to stifle a yawn.

“Get some rest. Looks like you need it.” Brandon said.

Christopher smiled, nodded, and waved goodbye as he left the studio.

The next day Christopher arrived at the studio, steaming cup of very strong coffee in his hand. He entered the studio and waved hello to Brandon who was in the control room editing their last session. Brandon nodded and jumped up from his chair.

“Hey bro. I put the filtered submissions in your network folder. I think there may be some decent ones for our next stream.” Brandon hoped to raise Christopher’s spirits. He felt as though he were watching his friend descend into a black hole of despair.

“Ok. Thanks. I’ll check them out.” Christopher replied flatly.

Not to be deterred, Brandon added, “Your package came this morning. I put it on your desk. What did you order?”

Christopher looked at him with surprise and replied, “I didn’t order anything.”

“Maybe it’s a gift from one of your fans.” Brandon said teasingly.

“Oh great! That’s just what I need.” Christopher said in a sarcastic tone. Then he smiled. He had to admire Brandon for not giving up on him and tolerating his moodiness.
Christopher entered his office, which was a room adjacent to the sound booth. He set his cup of coffee on the desk and turned his attention to the package. It was twenty-four inches long, twelve inches wide and eight inches in height. A plain brown box. No address or return address label.

“You said it was delivered this morning?” Christopher yelled from his office to Brandon.

“Yep.” Brandon hollered back.

A bit irritated, Christopher left his office and stood outside the control room doorway. “Who delivered it?” He asked.

Brandon thought for a moment and replied, “No one. It was on the front steps when I got here. Why?”

“It doesn’t have any mailing labels. Someone must have hand delivered it.” Christopher stated.

“That’s weird.” Brandon said.

“No weirder than our followers.” Christopher commented and walked back to his office. His attention was on the package. He stared at it for a moment then opened the box. It wasn’t sealed with tape or string. Christopher retrieved the contents, a vintage transistor radio, a thin essay binder, and an envelope. Intrigued, Christopher opened the envelope, withdrew the single sheet of paper and unfolded to read information it contained.

“Our thirteen-year-old daughter wrote this story for a school assignment then vanished. My husband never stopped searching for her. He continued up to his death. I know our daughter is in a place where we will never be able to see her. Please share this story so that other parents don’t have to live the nightmare that has been my life since Angie disappeared. She tried to tell me but I wouldn’t listen. She was special, but because I didn’t believe her, she is gone.”

Christopher sat there for a moment processing what he had just read. Then he smiled and thought aloud, “What a great lead in for a story! This one might be worth reading and airing.” He looked at the radio. It was a small model ten inches long and six inches high. Light beige in color the left side of the front of the radio held the tuning dial and volume/on/off knob. The right side contained the speaker that was covered in a faded brown mesh fabric. On top of the radio was a faded sticker. In bubble script, popular in the 1970’s, were two words, ‘Angie Baby’.

With his attention completely captured, Christopher picked up the binder and opened it. A single loose sheet of paper fell out and onto his desk. He picked it up and read the one sentence it contained. “Turn on the radio and tell my story.”

Christopher smiled. “Whoever set this up is a genius!” He thought aloud. Wanting to savor this tantalizing feeling he set the binder down and let his mind wander with the possibilities that could be detailed in the story.

“I’ll read the submissions and get them out of the way so that I can take my time and really enjoy this one.” He thought. At that moment Brandon poked his head in the doorway of Christopher’s office.

“What was it?” He asked.

Christopher replied, “It’s a story submission. I think it will be a good one. The one I’ve been looking for.” He smiled. He was actually happy, an emotion that had eluded him for some time. “I’m going to run through the submissions you sent me and then dive into this one.”

“Cool. Let me know if you need me. I’ll get everything set up for tonight’s live stream.” Brandon said and went back to the control room.

Christopher logged into the network from his laptop. “Maybe some background music will help me get through these.” He said aloud talking to himself. Christopher turned the volume knob until he heard a click, indicating it was on. Rock and Roll music from the 1970’s filled the room. He turned the knob so the volume was loud enough to hear but not to be distracting.

Reading through the submissions Christopher soon became exasperated. Aloud he complained, “Children with solid black eyes. A ghost lurking in the closet. A demon under the bed. I’m tired of these! They have been done to death! I want something original. Is that too much to ask?”

Although not speaking directly to anyone, Brandon heard Christopher and replied, “No, it’s not. You’ll find one.”

Christopher sighed deeply and slumped back in his office chair. Completely frustrated he shut the cover of his laptop unable to bear seeing the unsatisfactory submissions any longer.

The music on the radio stopped. A female adolescent voice emanated from the radio. “Tell my story.” Then the music resumed.

Surprised, Christopher looked at the radio. “Very nice. A device inside the radio programmed to say that line then play music again. I love how this person thinks! They know how to make it creepy!” A grin spread across his face. Christopher was now ready to read the story. He picked up the binder and looked at the hand written pages. The cursive text, written in pencil, was faded and smudged but still legible. Christopher took a deep breath, exhaled and read the story.

‘The Unspoken Truth, by Angela O’Day. October 7, 1971

Mom you’re not going to believe me but voices from my radio talk to me. You and dad gave it to me for my birthday. I wanted to be like my friends and have a radio. But this one is not like my friend’s radio. It’s different. I wonder where you got it.

Since I told you about the voices you and dad talk about me. Also on the phone with people I don’t know. You think you’re talking in private. But I hear a lot of things when you don’t think I’m there. I overheard Aunt Marie say that I was “touched”. After that you took me out of school. I know it’s because I told you about the voices. You smiled and said, ‘Angie Baby, you’re special and need to be in a special class.’ But you couldn’t find one that would take me. So you hired Mr. Ackers to be my tutor. You said he could help me. He’s a bad man. Nothing but evil on his mind.

The voices continue. Mr. Ackers tries to do things to me. To touch me in bad ways. It’s no use telling you or dad about him. You think he’s great. I don’t like him. I try to pretend I’m not there. Then I hear the voices. They are telling me to do horrible things to Mr. Ackers. No one else hears them. They only hear music. I hear music too most of the time. Sometimes I hear the voices from the radio. Mostly I hear them late at night when I’m alone.

For months I ignored them. I told Dr. Johnson about them. He just nodded and took a lot of notes. He doesn’t believe me either. He thinks I’m making it up for attention. I’m not. Each session we talk about the same thing. The voices. I don’t want to see Dr. Johnson anymore. I want to make him go away. I took the radio to our last session. I heard the voices. He didn’t. When it was time for our next session I was happy when you told me he was no longer available to see me. That he had left town and no one knew where he was. But I did.

Today Mr. Ackers reached his hand under my shirt. I froze. He started to breath heavy. I looked around the room trying to find a way to get away. I saw the radio. Then I felt my mind bend. Mr. Ackers had a funny look on his face. There was a lot of blood. It ran down the side of his face and from his eyes. He fell to the floor and was still. Then he was gone. Put him away. Never to be found. You didn’t ask me to explain when you saw blood on my bedroom floor. You pretended not so see it. You blame me. I could feel it even though you didn’t say anything. It wasn’t me. It was the voices.

Many different voices speak to me. Not all at once. Each one separately. When they do there is no music. I tried moving the dial to a different station but it doesn’t matter what I listen to, the voices are there. I tried turning up the volume to drown them out. But you told me to turn it down. One night I did. Then I felt strange. It was like I was floating. I felt thin. I felt my soul being separated from my body. It reminded me of when I peeled away sunburned skin from my arm. The volume knob slowly turned down on its own. The room was spinning round and round. As the music got softer I got smaller and was being sucked into the radio. Then I too was gone. I disappeared. So now all I can do is talk through the radio.’

Christopher felt his heart racing and his palms were sweaty. The binder slipped from his grasp and fell into his lap. He felt the spine-tingling rush that fear brings and thoroughly enjoyed it. A smile of satisfaction played over his lips. Just then an adolescent female voice flowed from the radio and filled the room. “Tell my story. No one will listen to me.”

Caught up in the moment Christopher replied. “Figures. No one listens to the radio anymore. Only podcasts. But I hear you.” He chuckled to himself because he was speaking to what he thought was a pre-recorded commentary. Then he heard something that made his blood run cold.

“Good.” Was the single word response spoken by the voice coming from the radio.

Startled, Christopher sucked in a gasp of air. He looked long and hard at the radio. Picking it up, he turned it all around. No cord to plug in. The back cover was gone exposing wires and the internal workings of a normal vintage transistor radio. The housing for the batteries was empty and the connections corroded. There was no device playing a recorded message. No way for the radio to receive electricity to make it function. Yet somehow it was working.

Elated Christopher let out a yell of delight. He didn’t know how the radio was reacting to him but was confident it was by some remote-control mechanism. He ran to the control room.

“Brandon! Brandon!” Christopher cried excited.

“What?” Brandon looked up at him with surprise.

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“I’ve got it! I’ve finally got it! A story worthy of a 10! A story that scared me!” Christopher was so thrilled he could barely get the words out.

“Awesome!” Brandon replied smiling. He was happy to see his friend so animated.

“I have to do it on tonight’s live stream. Have you set that up? Are you ready?” Christopher asked his words drenched with enthusiasm.

“I know I said everything was ready but I’m having some tech problems and can’t live stream. I’ll work to get it fixed for tonight.” Brandon replied then asked, “What other stories are you going to do?”

“It doesn’t matter. You pick them. I’ll lead off with this one.” A giggle escaped Christopher’s lips.

Brandon looked questioningly at his friend then said, “Ok. I’ll have them ready.”

“SWEET!” Christopher squealed. With that he quickly returned to his office to prepare for the show. Talking aloud to himself he said, “I only have five until we start.” Christopher set to work getting ready for the show. He was so excited he could hardly contain himself.

 

 

Later that evening Christopher was almost set for the live stream show. He was sitting in the sound booth getting his position just right. Brandon walked in, his face clouded.

“What?” Christopher asked.

“I haven’t figured it out the problem. The show won’t be live.” Brandon couldn’t meet his gaze and looked at the floor.

Christopher saw that Brandon felt bad. Brandon had been there many times during their friendship when he needed him. Gently he said, “That’s OK. No big deal. We’ll record it and blast it out later.” Pausing a moment as a sly grin spread across his face Christopher added, “I’ve been posting about it since I read the story. Telling listeners to get ready. That I had a story so scary it was a ten and that it really scared me.” Then he asked, “You can set it up so that our followers can still comment even though it’s a recording, right?”

Brandon’s eyes lit up. “Absolutely. They won’t know the difference.” He felt relieved that Christopher wasn’t upset.

“I’ve got everything ready for you.” He said with a smile.

“Excellent!” Christopher replied. “I’ll be ready in a minute.” He then walked to his office. Christopher picked up the binder and the radio and headed for the sound booth. Brandon gave him a questioning look.

“Props for the show.” Christopher said. Brandon nodded.

Christopher set the radio on the counter to his left and placed the binder directly in front of him not realizing the volume knob of the radio was in the off position. He adjusted the microphone so that it was directly in front of his face. He looked up and could see Brandon in the adjoining control room. Christopher put on the headphones and gave a thumbs up signal to Brandon that he was ready. Brandon motioned with his fingers a count down, three, two one, then pointed to Christopher that they were recording. He was unaware that Brandon, as a surprise, had also set up a camera. The podcast would have audio and visual when it aired.

“Welcome to another episode of Go Ahead, Scare Me. The podcast so terrifying you will have nightmares for months!

Many times I challenged you to send in a story that would scare me. We’ve received some really good stories, but none that truly scared me. None that made me not want to be alone in my bedroom at night. In the dark. None that sent chills down my spine.

Tonight we have a special treat. I’m proud to announce that we have received a story that is a ten! It scared me and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck! It is outstanding! The creep factor is off the charts. I’m eager to see your comments as you listen to this story.” Christopher paused for effect and then said, “Go Ahead, Scare Me.”

Brandon launched a products advertisement giving Christopher time to take a deep breath, a quick drink from his cup of coffee and clear his throat so that he would be ready to narrate the story.

At the conclusion of the ad, Christopher opened the binder. A single sheet of loose paper clung to the left side of it binder. He sucked in a deep breath. He was shocked to see the pages were blank.

“No! Where’s the story? The pages can’t be blank! It can’t be gone!” Christopher thought, fear gripping him. He flipped through the pages. All were blank. His head began to swim as thoughts raced through his mind. All muddled he couldn’t think. Grief stricken, he sat there motionless. He looked down again at the binder hoping to see the story. The pages were still blank. Then his gaze rested on the loose sheet of paper. He read aloud, whispering the words he saw, ‘Turn on the radio. Tell my story.’

The silence seemed like an eternity. Brandon looked hard at him and shrugging his shoulders held up his hands in a ‘what’s going on?’ gesture. Christopher looked at him, panic setting in. His eyes darted around the room then settled on the radio. With a shaky hand he reached out and switched the volume knob until it clicked and the radio came to life. He turned the volume up enough so that the listeners could hear the music in the background but not loud enough to overtake his narration. Christopher looked back to the binder. The words of Angie’s story filled the pages. Heaving a huge sigh of relief, a nervous chuckle escaped his lips. He thought he sounded like a madman.

Getting a hold of himself he said, “Apologies for the technical difficulties. Are you ready to be scared?”

Christopher then slowly and calmly read aloud the story in the binder. He hoped the followers would enjoy it and get the same impact he did from the experience. As he read a strange feeling overcame him. He felt himself floating. Getting thin and weightless. Ignoring these feelings he continued to read. It wasn’t a long story but it seemed to take forever.

“Had time stopped?” He wondered to himself while not missing a beat of the narration. Christopher was unaware the volume of the radio was getting softer. He felt an uneasiness take over his mind. Trepidation crept in. Even though he knew the course of the story a stark horror rocked him to his core. It elevated with every word. This wasn’t the tantalizing thrill from being scared for entertainment, it was sheer terror. A fear so overwhelming it eclipsed everything else.

Brandon watched in horror from the control room as Christopher was getting smaller as the volume of the radio went down. His voice faded as he gradually diminished in size. The music from the radio had stopped. As he neared the end of the story, his voice was almost inaudible. Christopher was translucent and then he was suddenly gone. He had disappeared.

Yanking off the headphones, Brandon leapt from his chair and ran into the sound booth. Christopher wasn’t there. Brandon could still see the steam rising from his cup of coffee. Frantically he searched the room. The binder was laying on the counter next to the cup of coffee. The radio, now silent, was to the left of the binder.
Brandon reached out and touched the seat of the chair. It was still warm. His heart was racing. Sweat covered his forehead. His heart was beating so hard he thought his chest would explode.

The radio broke the silence and he heard one word from a familiar, yet odd sounding voice, “Brandon.” It sounded like Christopher.

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Mustering all the courage he had Brandon asked, “Where are you?”

A hollow adolescent female voice radiated from the radio replied, “He’s with us now.”

Brandon put his hands up to each side of his head. An involuntary motion as he tried to mentally process what he had witnessed. He couldn’t speak. His mind raced. Christopher had vanished before his eyes! Unable to cope, Brandon shook his head in disbelief and quickly backed out of the sound booth. In his panic he collided with the doorframe. Unphased, he turned around and ran from the sound booth and down the hall, heading for the exit. He didn’t realize that he was screaming.

All the while the camera and audio continued to record and had captured everything. The radio came to life and rock and roll music from the 197’0s filled the sound booth.

Two months had elapsed since his last recording session with Christopher and Brandon felt anxious being back in the studio. The place where it happened. Brandon stood in the doorway of the sound booth not yet ready to go inside.

Followers of the podcast had been messaging him asking when this fabulous story rated a number ten would be aired. Christopher’s posts had done the trick. There were so many posts and comments it made Brandon’s head spin. He had responded to some but was overwhelmed. Brandon resigned to a single post that stated he would be live streaming the audio and video of Christopher reading the story. Simultaneously, using a split screen effect, viewers would be able to see him as well.

Brandon took a deep breath, exhaled slowly and stepped into the sound booth. He would be fulfilling two roles during the live podcast tonight, host and producer. Yesterday he had been in the control room and set up everything so he could run the show from the sound booth. He didn’t want anyone else around, just in case.

Anxiety gripped him and Brandon uneasily set the box on the counter that was below the microphone. He looked up and across the room. The camera was positioned to capture his full image, just the way he had it set up for Christopher.

Gingerly Brandon opened the box and took out its contents, the radio, the binder and a clipboard. He placed the radio to his left and the binder directly in front of him and the clipboard on top of it.

“I’m probably going to regret this.” He thought and turned the volume knob on the radio until it clicked. The sound booth was filled with rock and roll music from the 1970’s. He turned the volume up enough to be background sound but not to overtake the audio of the recording. To his right was a portable control panel enabling him to be a one-man-show. Brandon glanced up at the large clock on the wall.

“Two minutes til showtime.” He thought.

Brandon looked down at the clipboard which held a few sheets of paper containing his notes for the podcast. He had trouble focusing and the words became blurry. Then, in his mind he heard Christopher’s voice telling him something he had told Brandon many times, “Don’t read your notes. Use them as a guideline. Go from your gut. Keep it real.”

“Yeah, right. Keep it real.” Brandon said aloud talking to himself. He wondered if it was just a coincidence that Christopher’s words had a prophet ring to them. Brandon placed a cordless keyboard on top of his notes. That way he could easily respond to comments and posts from the followers.

He looked at the clock. It was time to start the show. He put the headphones on. Then, Brandon pushed the illuminated red button that started the live stream.
Putting on his best fake smile and trying to look genuine he started his monologue.

“Good Evening listeners. Welcome to another episode of our podcast, ‘Go Ahead, Scare Me’. Thank you for all the comments and posts. I know you have been eagerly awaiting this broadcast. Unfortunately, Christopher is not here for the show.”

Brandon paused for a moment then continued. “The recording you are about to see is real. It has not been modified in any way. I was there. I witnessed it. You will be able to see the recording on the right side of the screen and me on the left. This is the story you have been waiting for. The perfect ten guaranteed to terrify you down to your very soul. Please submit comments as you watch the recording. I will be able to see them and reply. Here we go.”

Brandon flipped a toggle switch next to the illuminated red button and launched the recording. He had previously positioned a monitor in front of the glass to the control room. Now he could see what the viewers were seeing, including their comments.

Watching Christopher on the screen was too much for him and after a moment he looked away. Near the end of the story he lifted his gaze and focused on the viewer comments. He was shocked by what he read. Comment after comment remarked on the same thing.

Comment 1: “What happened to the radio?”

Comment 2: “Neat trick. How did you made it fade and then disappear?”

Comment 3: “Brandon doesn’t know it’s gone.”

Comment 4: “Yes he does.”

Comment 5: “No. Look at his face. He’s not faking it.”

Slowly Brandon looked to his left. The radio was gone. He hadn’t even noticed that there was no music. Deep down Brandon knew what he had to do. He had to help Christopher.

“But how?” He thought as he responded to the comments from listeners. Brandon posted that this was a live stream and that everything was real. That nothing had been edited.

At the conclusion of the recording he paused for a moment. The comments briefly stopped. The viewers were stunned by the recording. Then, comments and posts flooded in. Most were agreeing with Christopher that this story was a ten. Others stated they would not be able to sleep. One asked how the story ended. Then an idea entered Brandon’s mind.

“It hasn’t ended.” Brandon thought. “I need to tell his story.”

He believed there was only one way to get the radio and Christopher back. Use the same tactic that brought it to them.

Summoning all the strength he could, Brandon leaned into the microphone and in a slow, deliberate, oddly calm voice said, “Christopher I need you back so that we can finish what you started. The ending of the story hasn’t been told. It’s not a ten yet. So Christopher I challenge you. Go Ahead, Scare Me.”

Credit : L.S.Strange

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