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Estimated reading time — 21 minutes

Edgar raised his head up from his chest; back pressed firmly into his favorite recliner, his entire body drenched in cold sweat. He stared into shadows at the edge of the living room, eyes welling with tears as he lifted the revolver slowly and deliberately to his temple. “Seventeen”, he whispered to the darkness.

The index finger of his right hand had already found its perch on the trigger during the weapon’s ascent, during which he had hesitated no more than a second, his only concern ensuring that the angle he chose would prove fatal. He clenched his left hand into a fist at his side, steeling his will. He inhaled sharply. And with further need of neither breath nor will, he clenched his right hand.

Darkness flashed brilliantly to light from the barrel of a .38 Special, as the gunshot’s dull thunder echoed around the room. The remains of Edgar Freeman slumped sideways in what had once been his favorite chair. The other man with him in that chamber smiled softly, the one in the shadows who had been briefly illuminated by the muzzle flare, that sallow man in the dark suit with the pale blue eyes. He smiled as everything turned gray.
Edgar flailed his way to a sitting position, ripping the covers off the bed as he always did when waking up from that goddamned nightmare. After the fourth night in a row with the same dream, he had taken to sleeping with his bedside lamp turned on. After the sixth night in a row, his frenzy upon waking had sent it crashing to the floor – bulb broken and shade cracked by the impact. Tonight had been the eighth night, and as he recited every vulgarity he could recall into the inky darkness of his bedroom, he swore that today he’d find the time to go purchase a box of light bulbs.

Involuntarily recalling the stranger in the dream’s inappropriately sweet smile, he reminded himself to ask the clerk for their highest wattage.
After a warm shower and a few minutes collecting his thoughts on the side of the bed, Edgar set about his day. Nearly-tasteless scrambled eggs and coffee which would have been merciful if it had been tasteless comprised his breakfast, and his thoughts turned to how absurdly better Haley’s morning meal would have been. Whatever other problems they had, Haley’s cooking had been beyond reproach. He would regularly wake to the mouthwatering aroma of a nutritious breakfast which she had prepared for him – usually egg whites on a wheat English muffin with a tall glass of orange juice – at least before the morning sickness had started and kept her occupied in her prayers to the porcelean goddess for her first waking hour of every day. All this, he reminded himself bitterly, was in the past now.

As the Vice-President of Marketing for the second largest athletic apparel company in the country (and, as he thought of himself, a reasonably attractive man) Edgar was more than used to the occasional flirting – both casual and aggressive – from young female interns and employees within his department. It came with the territory, and it was never anything he couldn’t brush off. Thoughts of either taking it further than flirtations or reporting it to Human Resources very rarely crossed his mind; the former on account of his pregnant wife, the latter on account of the ego boost it provided. One month ago, however, Edgar began an affair with a particularly buxom college intern named Samantha. Above and below the brassiere, she had been nothing special; just a warm body to quell the urges to which Haley had been unwilling or unable to tend after entering her third trimester. Even the sex was unremarkable.

Their first rendezvous took place in a motel a few blocks away from the office, the type of place with bay windows overlooking less than scenic freeway overpasses, and even the roaches use black lights before scurrying under the unmade bed. As a cursory nod to legitimacy, the establishment stopped short of offering rates on a per-hour basis – a fact known because Edgar had inquired upon checking in.

After that first encounter, the two grew bolder and less discerning in their indiscretions. Edgar’s office came next, and that time had been a little more satisfying – a combination of the danger and the skirt Samantha kept on at his request. But boldness turned quickly to carelessness, and Edgar was an apprentice of infidelity less than two weeks before Haley discovered his betrayal.

Whether it was a whiff of unfamiliar perfume or a phone call from one of Edgar’s jealous rejects who had spotted the two of them around the office, his adultery with Samantha was soon the topic to which Edgar returned home from work. The accusation was on her face the minute he walked through the door. He had come home late from a particularly wild romp with Samantha, and the words from Haley’s trembling lips quickly disclosed exactly how much she knew.
It would have been pointless to lie – she had too many details and he too little imagination – so Edgar confessed, and made a perfunctory effort to justify his behavior. She cursed him with a severity and intensity which Edgar had never seen from her before, and in her final words to him she made it clear that she was leaving, and that she would make sure he would never in his life have a role in raising their child. Despite his heartache at the prospect of losing Haley, Edgar had spent too long in a cutthroat business to take threats passively, even from his wife. He laughed bitterly, and reminded her of the quality of the lawyers within his means. When he was done, Edgar said with words he instantly regretted but found himself powerless to silence, she would be lucky to get weekends and a few holidays with the kid.

That was a lie and he knew it, but at the time his main objective was to get off the defensive and regain the upper hand in the fight – maybe even make Haley reconsider her choice to leave. He would happily cut some hefty checks to a marriage counselor if it saved him from the much larger ones in the form of alimony and child support. But something in the way Haley was smiling at him suggested that he had misunderstood her intentions. And as he realized far too late; if he had been more observant, he might have noticed an empty hook on their key caddy, and connected it to that sardonic grin she was wearing.


She hadn’t left right away, like he had expected. Isn’t that always the way it works in the movies and on television? The guy comes out of the bathroom or back from the bar a little while after the fight to find the gal’s suitcases dusted off and bulging with all the expensive clothes he bought her over the course of their relationship? Her haughty and defiant, him prostrate and pleading?

Edgar would have never played the latter role in his life, but he had fully expected the former from Haley. Instead, an hour after he walked away from their screaming match to take a much-needed shower, he stuck his head into the living room to find her sitting in his favorite chair (what a bitch) staring off into space and rubbing her (Goddamn is she ready to pop) pregnant stomach.

As far as Edgar was concerned, that was the end of the first of presumably many arguments on the subject. He ascended the stairs quietly, and slipped into bed. The day had been long enough, and she clearly wasn’t going anywhere or she would have left already. Haley never came to bed, but neither did he hear the front door slamming behind her before he drifted off – so it seemed she had decided to stay at least for the night. All will be well, Edgar told himself as sleep overtook him. But I doubt she’s going to fix my breakfast for a few days.

The noise which ripped him out of that deep slumber came just after five o’clock in the morning, according to his alarm clock. By the time consciousness took hold, the sound had died as quickly as it came. He stood reflexively, and scanned over the bed with eyes barely awake enough for even that simple task. Eventually determining Haley’s side to be empty, Edgar shuffled out the bedroom door and down the stairs to determine what caused the sudden clamor.

He didn’t need to reach the bottom of the staircase, or allow his eyes further time to adjust, to know that she had decided to leave him after all. One glance into the living room cleared up any doubt on that subject. There were no bulging suitcases, or haughty looks – just an unlocked and opened gun cabinet, a crimson splatter on the wall, and a steady trickle of the same beading down the side of his favorite chair and pooling on the hardwood floor beside it.

After a moment of shocked paralysis, Edgar lunged for the house phone in huge, desperate strides. The rapidity was not for the sake of Haley, through whose newly-ventilated skull he could clearly catch glimpses of the televised presidential debate at the far side of the room, but for her blameless passenger of seven and a half months. He gave all the pertinent information to the infuriatingly indifferent emergency control room operator, and waited in the hallway with the front door flung open wide.

The gunshot had drawn a crowd of early-waking neighbors to the driveway in front of the Freeman residence, a phenomenon bred not out of bravery in the face of danger but from the casual ignorance of danger reserved exclusively for neighborhoods peopled by the wealthy and sheltered. They eyed him accusingly, none with less than dawning suspicion in their gaze. Edgar raged at them for this; first with harsh thoughts, then with guttural growls and impotent flailing. They would collectively step backward when his fury and frustration flowed strongest, and advance again when the yelling waned in ferocity – a human tide of slack-jawed gawkers.

The spectacle was temporarily dissolved by the wailing siren and subsequent appearance of an Advanced Life Support ambulance, from which paramedics rapidly spawned just a few minutes after Edgar’s conversation with their dispatcher (another feature exclusive to the type of neighborhood in which Edgar and Haley Freeman resided). The crowd made way for the emergency vehicles, but soon found a new vantage point on Edgar’s lawn.
The paramedics discovered Edgar’s wife slumped over in his recliner, and strapped her lifeless form into a gurney. Once she was properly secured, they wheeled her rapidly out of the house and into the back of their ambulance. Edgar jumped in as well, and there was no time to either ask or answer any questions before the crew slammed the bay doors and sped off toward the county hospital.

Between checking vital signs and attempts to keep oxygen pumping into the corpse of his wife for the sake of her unborn child, Edgar noted the cautious glances being shot his way by the Paramedics – as well as the blue flashes from multiple police vehicles following close behind the ambulance. I didn’t have anything to do with it, he wanted to say – to scream – but in the back of his mind he knew that was just a degree or two away from being precisely the truth, and so he remained silent.

He had thought they would throw the handcuffs on him as soon as they arrived at the hospital, but instead the throng of police officers just explained they would wait with Edgar while the doctors did what they could for the baby – and maybe get some information from him if he felt up to talking. Edgar nodded assent, largely because the officers bore all the mannerisms of men who intended to get some information from him whether or not he felt up to talking.

They stood outside the operating room, lined up in the viewing area. The officers gave Edgar his space; his face mere inches from the glass, taking occasional breaks to wipe the window off with his sleeve after frantic breaths had fogged it to the point of opacity. They questioned him hesitantly; he answered them hastily and with little regard for the words he used. His concerns were elsewhere, and he knew there was nothing he could unintentionally blurt out to incriminate himself. He watched as the surgeon made a large incision into Haley’s lower abdomen (at least she’s sedated for this, Edgar thought insanely) and set about removing the baby from her womb.

Within a few minutes, everyone in the viewing area knew everything they needed to know. The officers knew that Haley had apparently died at her own hand (the autopsy would either confirm or deny that), that she had likely done it as a result of her husband’s infidelity, and that Edgar had seen little or no warning signs leading up to the suicide. Edgar, meanwhile, knew that the baby was alive but fading fast, that the baby was a boy (they wanted the gender to be a surprise, one of the few things on which he and Haley never disagreed), and that the baby was being placed in an incubator as a last-ditch effort to save its life.

Edgar stood outside the room, the police now keeping an even more respectful distance as he watched his infant son die. There was little commotion about it, and little the doctors could do to prevent it. The child’s eyes opened once the entire time, and the next thing Edgar knew they were pronouncing the time of death as 5:46 AM. They just cut him out of Haley at 5:29, Edgar thought frantically. My kid – my son – was alive less than half an hour. I didn’t even have time to name him. A girl and Haley names him, a boy and I name him; that was the promise we made since we couldn’t even fucking agree on names. Edgar slammed his fist against the wall, and distantly felt his knuckles grinding. As he fell to his knees, his hand hurt far less than the scalding hot tears welling behind his eyes.

That was two weeks ago. Today, Edgar ate nearly-tasteless scrambled eggs, and drank coffee that would have been merciful if it were tasteless. Eight nights now he lived with the nightmare of killing himself destroying any semblance of sleep. Eight nights now he lived with the man in the shadows of that nightmare smiling at his decision to do so. Light bulbs, a huge box of them, highest wattage the hardware store sells, today after work. Edgar again reminded himself of the errand as he threw on his jacket and walked out the door.

Work went much the same as always, only with the added distraction and morbid water-cooler fodder provided by his wife’s suicide. It was annoying, more than anything.

Edgar first became consciously aware of a man’s form standing just outside the threshold of his office’s open doorway when he glanced at the clock to determine exactly how far into the night he had been lost in paperwork. He came to work at dawn and knew it was now certainly dusk, at a minimum. The day had been typical office fare for the return of a bereaved coworker – mindless platitudes and weightless sympathy, empty words from the empty hearts of people paid just enough to pretend to care but not enough to do so convincingly. There was no telling exactly how long the man had been silently standing in the darkness of the hallway, but Edgar recollected the first vague feeling of being watched a few minutes prior. Everyone but the night shift security guard had left hours ago, giving him a welcome respite in which to concentrate and catch up on missed work. Or so he had thought, until this new interruption.

“Hello?” Edgar hesitantly greeted the interloper, fearing the inevitable next in a long line of ham-handed jabs at emotional consolation.
“Evening, sir.” the reply came, grating and phlegmy. His eyes still attempting to adjust to the drastic change from the brightness of his office to the hallway illuminated only by the ambient moonlight leaking in from sporadically-placed windows, Edgar judged by the unfamiliar voice that this was either a stranger – a vendor, perhaps – or a colleague with a particularly nasty cold that he’d better not be spreading around.

“Step inside, I’ve been burning holes in my retinas under this lamp for the past two hours, I can’t see a damned thing out there.”

“Really can’t stay,” the man intoned, practically gargling, “just passing through”.

“Yeah, I know what you mean; it’s been quitting time for hou… have we met?” Edgar’s eyes had begun to adjust, and he grew uneasy. The stranger was still dim and blurry, but clearly wearing a dark suit of indeterminable quality. Another minute and it would be clear if this was some sort of tight-assed internal auditor from the 14th floor, or another detective sniffing around after Haley’s death. Whoever it was, the suit betrayed him for a stranger. Fridays around the office were always Casual Day, when even the senior executives wore polos and khakis. The man was showing no signs of leaving, so Edgar made his eyes’ next mission determining whether or not he had one of those idiotic access badge lanyards they all had to wear around the building.

“I’m new. I’m a messenger. I’m here to deliver a package.”


Edgar cocked his head, dubious. A courier in a three-piece suit? Pull the other one. No badge, either. Edgar did not reply, hoping the (Process Server? Jehovah’s Witness?) stranger would state their business and move along.

“You work such long hours. Don’t you miss your family, sir?”

A knot materialized in Edgar’s throat, and he sat bolt upright in his chair. After the initial shock wore off, Edgar softened his posture, quickly convincing himself of the question’s innocuous nature. A labor union representative – of course. He slipped in here to try and play on some suit’s delicate sensibilities, blather about unpaid overtime and kids tucking themselves into bed. Just trying to get us to abolish our non-unionizing clause with factory workers. “I receive fair compensation for the work that I do, as does everyone in our employ. So no, I’m fine, really. Thanks.” That should get the point across, he thought with a certain grim satisfaction.

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. Well…” The stranger turned slightly as if to leave, paused, and leaned his head inside the office for the first time.

“They certainly miss you.”

The words scraped like icicles up the length of Edgar’s spine, gripping his skull with tendrils as cold as the grave. The face was gone from view as quickly as it came – the form of the man as well – but the hideous visage remained burned into Edgar’s brain, and in the recesses of his mind he was acutely aware that it would be etched there until his dying breath. The eyes were of a milky blue so pale and distant they suggested blindness, but met Edgar’s with an unerring gaze that insisted they saw him very well indeed. The rest of the face was unburdened with such signs of vitality. His skin was sallow and sickly, and even at a distance it appeared to be the texture of well-worn leather. The man’s cheeks and eye sockets were sunken, the flesh drooping loose in these places, yet drawn tight against the skull around his forehead and mouth. Gaunt and cadaverous, every feature from the greasy, matted hair, to the quivering wattle of flesh when he spoke was identical to that of the dark stranger in Edgar’s recently acquired nightmares. But everything else was peripheral to the all-encompassing terror which he felt at seeing those damned eyes. There was something unpleasantly familiar in them, something horrible which he found himself powerless to name or explain.

Once he regained control of his frozen limbs, Edgar lunged toward the doorway where the man had stood moments prior. The elevator hadn’t dinged its arrival, and the stubborn latch on the stairwell door hadn’t let out the audible clack customary to every opening and closing. ‘He’s still somewhere on this floor’, Edgar thought frantically. The idea gave him strength, but no real clarity of purpose. He knew only that he needed to confirm that the stranger’s presence here was more than merely a result of his overtaxed mind and guilty conscience. There were no desks, no bathroom stalls, no supply closets left unsearched by the time Edgar’s frenzied investigation reached its fever pitch. Motivational posters tacked to the walls of overbearingly congenial and downright suspiciously diverse businesspeople smiling and clasping hands warmly seemed to be mocking him, silent conspirators against Edgar in his quest. “Sure we know who he is and where he went,” Edgar could imagine them saying, “but we’re too busy leveraging our synergy and engaging in value-added interfacing to dialogue on your initiative.” He dragged both hands through his hair, gripping thick handfuls of it and tugging slightly. His visitor, if something more than a delusion, had departed unseen and unheard. Edgar could feel his heart pounding wildly, seemingly slamming against the back of his ribcage. He stopped only to grab his briefcase before sprinting down the stairs to escape the increasingly oppressive emptiness of the office.

The executive parking deck was windowless, and thus even darker than the building from which he had just departed. It was barren except for him and his Lexus, and likely had been since the security guard made their most recent tour through it hours ago – the guard having shut off all but the emergency lights on the way out. Despite that small assurance, Edgar found himself casting furtive glances over both shoulders, and quickening his pace each time they revealed a total lack of reason to do so. He had never been a superstitious man, any fear of monsters had been laid to rest long ago by the waking horrors which walk amongst men brazenly in the daylight. Student loan debt, insurance premiums, layoffs, mortgage payments – life, Edgar had learned decades ago, sports fangs and claws that make laughingstocks of those belonging to the vampires and werewolves man invented to cope with it. And yet, he scolded himself while fumbling nervously for his keys, all it takes is a little nudge from the imagination to awaken that primordial terror – to populate the uninhabited darkness with things which have no right to exist.

He was five feet from his car and had just unlocked it with the electronic remote attached to his keys when he heard the scream. It was high-pitched, womanly, terrified, and resonated from the office area directly behind him. ‘Did Haley scream that way right before she pulled the trigger?’ Edgar thought wildly. He stopped in his tracks, turned sharply, and saw nothing. Then, as if in response to his silent inquiry, the gunshot came. Edgar snatched the cell phone from his pocket, frantically calling 911 for the second time in as many weeks. He flipped the phone open to his ear, but the operator requesting the nature of his emergency sounded a thousand miles away. The clacking, dragging footsteps coming down the corridor from the sound of the shot and toward the executive parking garage, however, sounded very close indeed. Edgar dropped the phone and practically dove into his car. His foot was on the accellerator as quickly as he could throw the vehicle into gear.

The roads outside the office were illuminated solely by street lights and the occassional flash of a passing motorist’s headlights. The sun had vanished below the horizon hours ago – when people in khakis or sensible skirts departed on a fourteen hour break from pretending to care about each other’s children or gastrointestinal complications, and left Edgar alone with two weeks worth of backlogged paperwork. Stress, Edgar attempted to convince himself, can make you see things. Stress, he rationalized, can make you hear things. Emotional trauma. None of it took any pressure off of his mind or the gas pedal as he sped toward home.

Upon his frantic arrival, Edgar knew something was wrong before he ever burst through the front door. He hadn’t turned any lights off since the nightmares started, much less when he expected to be out past sunset, and yet he found himself fumbling around the darkness of his hallway for the lights. When his blind groping finally brushed across the light switch, there was very little surprise in finding the knob broken off – following the day’s events, it would have been a bigger surprise if the switch had been in working order. Instinct told him to turn and flee the house, but the flashing red number ‘one’ on his answering machine called with an even greater urgency.

Despite his hand’s anxious trembling, Edgar’s finger struck the Play button with unerring precision, a motion he had grown well-acquainted with over the past two weeks. People he hadn’t spoken to or thought about since practically before meeting Haley had seemingly not forgotten him, and had spent the interval between his wife’s death and now calling to offer their condolences. Their concern only served to compound his feelings of guilt with each message – what had he done to deserve such loyal friends? He fully anticipated another instance of the same consolation, when one of the last voices he would ever have expected emanated from the machine.

“Edgar?” the voice’s normally chipper lilt came, tinged with an unmistakable edge of caution. “It’s Samantha. I know I shouldn’t be calling you. I’m probably the last person in the world you want to hear from right now, and I can’t tell you how sorry I am for what happened.” There was a pause and what sounded like a sob. Edgar thought this was quite possibly the most real, orgasm-less emotion he had heard from Samantha since they first met. “Sorry for everything, really. I… we… we couldn’t have known how this would end. But I know I have no right to call. I’m just worried about you, is all. I laid out of work today because I heard you were coming back, and thought you didn’t deserve to have to bear seeing me on top of everything else… I could only imagine how hard it must be for you right now… and to tell the truth, I was scared to see you. Scared you might point at me every time someone asked, or something… I know, it’s stupid. And selfish. But I came by the office just now to pick up some work to take home with me, and I saw your car in the parking garage…”

Edgar eyed the time of the message on the answering machine. She had called sometime between the end of his frantic search of the office, and before he made it to his car. Which means that she was there right about the time that…

The voice on the machine had kept talking, and Edgar found himself now listening more intently than ever, his knuckles turning white from clenching the kitchen counter so tightly.


“…saw your office light was on, but you aren’t anywhere around. And man… this place looks like a tornado hit it. Someone really tore through here. I thought about you right away, so that’s why I’m calling. I don’t know if this is long overdue, or if I should have just done a quick fade and found another job and never called you again, or what… I mean, what’s the appropriate thing to do here? I can never make things right, but… I’m just so sorry, Edgar. Please call me back when you get this. I miss…”
‘Miss’ was the last word spoken by Samantha – unless one counts a bloodcurdling scream, following which came the sound that silenced whatever would have come next. The gunshot rang out like a thunderclap, and lost none of its horrible potency on the way through the phone lines to Edgar’s answering machine. The ensuing silence was deafening, and Edgar stood rigid in front of the machine, bent forward and staring at it intently – as if he expected it to begin displaying visual clues as to what had taken place. He got audio instead.

“Miss you, yes. You are very missed, indeed.” The male voice, undeniably the same as earlier that day, gargled as it chuckled into the receiver. The machine beeped, and a solid red zero informed him that he now has no unheard messages. But to Edgar the zero represented far more than that. It seemed almost an answer to not just how many messages he had, but to every question that mattered. What, why, who, how? What’s left, what matters, what will tomorrow bring? Nothing but zero, of course. Just a big blood-red negation.

Edgar released his death grip from the counter, and groped his way into the darkness of the living room. He passed another light switch on the way, noted with no real interest that the switch had been broken off of this one as well, then flopped down into his favorite recliner. “I have had”, Edgar whispered into the emptiness of the house that would never again be a home, “a very tough month.” The answer to his presumedly receipientless statement came in the form of a chuckle from a dark corner of the chamber. Edgar felt every muscle in his body go tense, and he lost all control of his bladder. He could not possibly have cared less about the latter, he merely stared into the darkness and waited for whatever must come next as the warmth spread across the front of his pants.

The man in the shadows stepped forward and Edgar winced away, sinking as deep into the plush chair as he could dig himself. The stranger, simply put, had gone from looking like his flesh was preparing to free itself from its Earthly prison – to actually having accomplished the task. Edgar was staring at the face and body of a man who had begun to lose some very respectable chunks of himself. Like butter melting in a warm room, some of it actually sloughed off as he made a methodical exit from the darkness.

“I know you’re wondering why I’m here, and why the past few weeks have seen your life seemingly spiral out of your control. At this point it comes down to fate. Fate is like playing tug-of-war with an adversary significantly stronger than you: There will always be times when you feel the rope inching your way, your heels dug in and your earnest exertions yielding the result you’ve worked so hard for, the victory you know you deserve. But even the times in which you feel the most control, the firmest ground, those are merely your opponent adjusting its grip. But this doesn’t preclude what you might call free will; the choices people make are what set fate in motion, and those are the pivotal moments.” He paused, then seemingly as an afterthought, “Like you, renting that motel room. Very few things from that moment to this one have been in your control, and none of them of any consequence. Your whore is dead now, and killed by your own gun. Her right eye looks a great deal like your answering machine, now. Just a big red zero. No new messages. By dawn, you’ll be in a cell. Your wife found out about you and the whore a few weeks ago. Maybe she took her own life, maybe you had a role in that. The whore, though… she was murdered. There’s not a jury in the world for whom your guilt is anything but a foregone conclusion.”
“Why.” Edgar breathed the inquiry flatly, incapable of inflection. He had never felt so tired – so completely drained and hollow – in his entire life. With each word the pale stranger spoke a deep burning emanated from every muscle in Edgar’s body, and yet the frantic scurrying of his mind remained as strong as ever, desperate to place those eyes he felt he knew so well.

“Why what? Why did you stray from the wife who once loved you? I couldn’t help you there. Not that knowing would change anything for either of us. But that isn’t the most important ‘why’ for you, is it? You want to know why this is happening to you, why I’m doing this. But for some reason you’re afraid to ask me who I am, the true question behind the ‘why’, to which I can only say that you must answer for both of us.”

The stranger resumed his lumbering gait towards Edgar, halting and awkward as he tottered ever closer. Edgar’s mind was drawn deep inside of itself to access the half-recalled memory of something he saw years ago in a mid-dawn walk across the parking lot on his way into work. A tattered salt-and-pepper moth, deceased at the base of a light pole; a coroner’s inquest doubtless would have revealed an acute case of banging one’s self repeatedly into a domelike miniature plastic electrical sun. Then came a stiff breeze which sent the moth airborne, flapping and tumbling toward Edgar’s path through the parking lot. The breeze settled, and the moth resumed being a body perfectly at rest; as all dead things should, Edgar reckoned, unless acted upon by an outside force. An unseen force, in the case of the moth; and, Edgar again reckoned, in the case of the man now standing before him. Because in his movements, Edgar saw that moth very clearly. These were the movements of something which once lived, and was now being acted upon by an entirely different unseen force – one which could only approximate the mechanisms of the vessel it now controls. The wind had been the name of that force driving the moth back into a perversion of life, but to name the force which could do the same for a man?

After a moment of silence which seemed to stretch for hours, Edgar met the stranger’s pale blue eyes with the last shred of courage he had. “Death?”

Then, a little more confidently: “You’re Death.”

The stranger laughed uproariously, his gaunt frame convulsing with the rhythm of his dry, wheezing cackles. The withered flesh of his face stretched away from blackened gums and all-too-white teeth in the most hideous approximation of a smile Edgar could have ever imagined. After his laughter subsided, the dark man spoke, wiping away tears which were not there. “You misunderstand me. It wasn’t my intention to be cryptic; I was merely requesting that you provide me with a name. This body, I’m approximating. It’s the body I might have had, had I lived to grow into it. But the eyes, they’re the windows to the soul so they say, and I had hoped you would remember mine. I forgive you though. You saw me only briefly, and under duress. But you were supposed to name me. Dying without a name was the worst part.”

Comprehension more horrible than the bewilderment had ever been began to spawn in Edgar, as an icy, all-encompassing chill washed over him. The man clapped him gently on the shoulder, and leaned in close, placing four pounds of cold steel into Edgar’s open palm. “I told you I was a messenger, and now my task is done. Mom asked me to give you that. She says to hurry. She promises not to be too hard on you if you come home quickly.”

Edgar quivered helplessly; his eyes had begun to water and burn, searching for any sign of consolation in those of his son. He parted his lips as if to speak, but could not find the words. His silent plea’s response came in presumably the most compassionate tone manageable by his visitor, “It’s not terrible there, it’s just…” The corpse-thing’s head cocked to the side, a very boyishly quixotic look in those pale blue eyes. “Gray. It’s gray there. Time moves much slower, if at all. They show you things. They’ve shown me all I would have known in the life which your actions denied me.” Venom in that decaying voice now, and Edgar knew that pulling the trigger himself would be the only mercy granted today.

The visitor turned, staggering clumsily into the darkness toward the edge of the room, as Edgar sat and examined the loaded revolver. His would-be progeny had almost completely exited from sight, and spoke without any discernable emotion. “One more thing. After they cut me out, how long did I last on that incubator? She doesn’t know, but I thought you might. I tried my best to hang on, but it couldn’t have been long. Fifteen minutes? Twenty?”
Edgar raised his head up from his chest; back pressed firmly into his favorite recliner, his entire body drenched in cold sweat. He stared into shadows at the edge of the living room, eyes welling with tears as he lifted the revolver slowly and deliberately to his temple. “Seventeen”, he whispered to the darkness.

Credit To – Dave Taylor

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220 thoughts on “Seventeen”

  1. I think this is all in Edgar’s head. He felt immense guilt over his affair, and he killed Samantha and went home to kill himself. His mind created the persona of death in the form of his dead child. Although this doesn’t explain why he saw his grown child in his dreams before this happened.

  2. Pretentious prose that’s so obscure it’s sometimes difficult to decipher what a sentence is supposed to say + a character who’s so unlikable I couldn’t wait for him to suffer aren’t the best foundation for a creepy story.

    Also, moves clumsily or can move skillfully enough to kill somebody and frame somebody else with the murder without leaving any trace, what is it?

    The supernatural element is forced, might as well have been a hitman and why the asshole protagonist should be rewarded by ending in the same afterworld as his wife and child is beyond me.

    Pretentious prose, pretentious story acting grander than it is.

  3. Despite how long ago this story came out, it is one of my favorites. Putting aside the personal turmoil infidelity, suicide, and infanticide presents. I love ❤️ how everything comes around full circle, and how one simple word can close such a tale.
    Yes , there is much fodder for intense discussion in such a short story, and it’s hard to ignore. Nevertheless, sometimes just being astounded by the sad/ hollow feeling is more fulfilling than arguing w people over personal beliefs. Thank you for the great story …

  4. I LOVE the “random pasta”-button. Without it I would never had found this one. And this one is frikking amazing!

  5. Wow, that had me in tears…
    I was thinking this would make a great movie, but it would be a traumatic kind of movie. I just love how everything just sets into place neatly.
    –Edgar was caught cheating, and Haley couldn’t go anywhere. After Haley and the baby died, Samantha was killed. The pale dude showed up a lot, then finally unmasked why Edgar found him so familiar. “Death” was his son that died 17 minutes after being taken out of Haley’s womb.–
    Omfg… I can’t take it.
    (This is my first time going into these stories and finding stories like this, I just love it!)

  6. “Mom said she wouldn’t be too hard on you if you come home quickly” the delivery of the language within the story for me is what made this an awesome creepypasta.

  7. Jesus, you english speaking people and your creative writing style. I loved the story and it was written quite well, but the expressions in the story were way too Jane Austen for a horror story (and for a non native english speaker). I don’t mean to offend, the story was great and well delivered!

  8. I think this story becomes even better with a touch of reality. If it is assumed that Edgar is tormented by guilt, and from that, on the brink of insanity: there was never a grown-man figure of his son killing Samantha, Edgar never saw him or spoke to him – everything was a figment of his imagination. In sort of a black-out stage he killed Samantha, drawn from guilt over loosing his wife and child, the guilt eventually leading him to commit suicide – using his dead man-child as an “excuse”, as the catalyst of the stories event (‘fight-club’ style).

  9. I loved this story. it pulled me in right away. just the right amounts of reality, creepiness and melancholy. well done.

  10. Brilliantly written! Sometimes I had to reread a few bits to fully comprehend the events. For example, when the son said something along the lines of “Mom says that she won’t be as mad if you hurry” I began to assume that the blue eyes man was a dead brother.. Quite stupid of me. You’re an amazing writer with a spectacular imagination. You’re writing is what I aspire for mine to be.

  11. Created an account just to say how impressed I am with your writing. His movements in comparison to the dead moth was incredible, and I’ve never heard that before in my life. For some reason my favorite part was his son describing their location in the afterlife as gray. I thought of the boy’s soul as just that, an extremely young soul in the afterlife. I always imagined that when someone crosses over, they’re suddenly filled with the infinite knowledge of everyone and everything. In the story, he mentions being “shown” what he would have been able to experience, changing my perspective in that it seems like you “grow up” and have an afterlife similar to mortals.

    Overall, very cool story and a great ending.

  12. Absolutely amazing. This story had me completely engrossed the entire time. Only one question, why was the son a grown, aging man? He even stated that time moved much slower in the afterlife so I’m not sure on that. Other than that everything ties together beautifully. Could definitely see something similar in a well selling book. ;) keep up the great work.

  13. AbsorbEverything

    Without the scream from the new lover on the answering machine this could have easily become a story about a man driven mad with grief after his wife’s suicide and her resulting murder of their son.

    I actually like it better that way. It’s scarier without the paranormal element simply because people can do crazy unexpected things when they are depressed.

  14. That is like one of the best things I’ve read on this site! It was a long read but it was all worth it! I loved how all the small elements meshed together and the pieces wonderfully fit! The images were clear, the whole environment was! Please do more on this genre! If you’re not a writer yet, then please be one! :D

  15. I was on a shift right now.. As I worked as acallcenter agent,and i really cant put down on reading! even if the customer was on the line with me.. I’m not understanding them anymore bcoz my whole being is on this story .. :-P I adviced you too pursue your talent my writer dear, you are really good at it !

  16. That twist at the end was so unexpected. I’m reading this in my study hall and I was so glued to the screen that I didn’t even notice the bell ringing. One of my favorite pastas for sure!

  17. why was ‘it titled ? seventeen?

    in my own curiosity and explanation . edgar maybe killed his dying child. he may have it lasted more than an hour .. but he lasted it in seventeen minutes so the baby have may died. yes haley may have been the one suicide/killed her baby but to my explanation they both killed the baby.

  18. This was so good!!! Very good descriptions.
    I did suspect it to be his son but I quickly doubted that theory though it turned out to be true.
    I am very glad I took the time to read all of this and didn’t over look it because of its length.

    This has to be one of the best creepypastas due to it’s story line factor. BRAVO.

  19. This was a nice one, however, I don’t get why do people call this a masterpiece. Like, can anyone explain why did the child inherit the body of the grown man falling apart? I bet I’m gonna get lots of minuses for this and zero explanation, because some people prefer to be led by emotions instead of thoughts, but still, why did this happen? Maybe I missed some important points or something.

  20. I could never hope to be half the writer you appear to be mate, but this is just my advice; this was an incredibly well-written story, but no offence, a little practice and maybe professional guidance and you could be an accomplished author. Iv read some really good stories on this website and love it for what it is, but this is the first piece iv really admired for its writing rather than just for the story. Its like reading tabloid news and then reading Foucault, different leagues entirely. Keep working at it mate, you have a gift

  21. Very good. I like the story, although, I honestly wish the child and mother were doing this to him for revenge but maybe my heart is just too black towards selfish people like that. I , too, think the mother was being selfish when she took her own life and, subsequently, killed the baby. I had thought of suicide a time or two when I was pregnant, but I never would’ve done it. My child did not deserve to have her life taken away so that I would’t have to deal with my stress anymore. Purely selfish. I would’t even try to commit suicide now that she’s been born, she needs me and I could never be so self-centered as to ruin her life in any way. But either way, amazing pasta.

  22. Oh, my freaking God! This is a story that pulled me in to the point where the actual title and the first sentence came to me as a genuine surprise at the end. Thank You for Your talent and creativity. It’s been awhile from the last time I’ve read a story this good.

  23. Masterfully well written. Your talent for crafting the perfect sentences is unparalleled. Not only one of the best pastas I’ve read, but simply one of the best short stories. You have an undeniable talent.

  24. Simply amazing story. This is 2 thing i am most fearful of, losing my wife and losing my child. I unfortunately have lost 2 children and the end of the story brought back feelings of a familiar and heartbreaking loss. This is by far the best pasta I think i have ever read.

  25. Wow. Just… Wow. From start to finish that was absolutely incredible. Possibly the best pasta I’ve read, and the only one I’ve read so far that can come close to Psychosis. 9.5/10

  26. Dave Taylor: monstrous overreaction to the affair

    “Hey girl, you’re carrying my baby and make time to attend to me like a maid, but I think I’ll pay that back by cheating on you with a college intern. Omg tho, you’ve no right to be THAT upset. You still have to be an incubator for my heir no matter how shitty I treat you, lol!”

    I feel like I needed to take a shower after that comment, Dave. Geez.

  27. WOW! that story was the best one I’ve read. I give It a 10 +.
    In fact you should publish that. I didn’t
    stop reading until I was done.
    KUDOS to you!

  28. Damn… My heart was pounding and my body was tense throughout the entire read! The ending especially was phenomenal. As for the length, it was perfect. 20/10 for me!

  29. This was great! One of my favorites! The only thing I could recommend was a little more detail about the relationship Edgar had with his wife, because it seemed like her mind went to suicide rather swiftly, but then again perhaps that’s how it works in real life, I don’t actually know. Still I am giving it a 10/10

  30. wow. just wow. i’m an aspiring writer, and this story both takes my breath away and makes me mad at myself for not being able to ever craft something this amazing. i literally sat with my hands on my head just going ‘wow’ for like 5 minutes after finishing it xD

    damn. give me your skill!

  31. This is excellent and the descriptive writing is beautiful. The middle was definitely creepy, but honestly I found the ending incredibly sad. Probably because I have a son myself, but I found myself almost tearing up at the end. Great twist though. 10/10.

  32. I really enjoyed this pasta. If the son should be mad at anyone though it should be the mom. Thanks for the pasta!

  33. omg! this is by far the best creepypasta i have read so far! loved this a lot. Yes it was long but definitely very worth it! please write more!!!

  34. Anonymous:
    Completely agree. Edgar had an affair, Haley killed the child. Still very well written, I dig it

    I know right? But its that kind of thing that makes you feel empathy for the character and as the reader you feel sorry for him and start to really feel the depression and horror that he goes through. Very well written and I really liked the full circle thing with the whole “seventeen” thing. 9/10

  35. This was one of the most vividly written stories I’ve read so far. I watched it in my head the whole time I read it haha it was like an old movie in my head. Idk something about the tone and the way things were happening I got this 1920s vibe. It was like an old black and white movie with hints of color for empathis. Amazing man. This was quite a story. Really really long but I enjoyed it. You put a ton of detail in this. Just amazing dude.

  36. Holy hell!!!! That was by far the best I have read on this site. I see people complain about the length, but there isn’t a single paragraph I could do without. I enjoyed this pasta from the first bite, to the last noodle. You are brilliant and I do hope I have the pleasure of indulging in more of your work in the future.

  37. I didn’t think this story was too long but was wondering how the dead baby was depicted as an elderly corpse. I enjoyed it, though, and would love to read more from you.

  38. As many have stated, it drags a bit long and you feel it on some parts when you get the sense you could do without some of the more mundane descriptions that are every bit as detailed as the more interesting ones (cuzz i have to give that to the author, the pictures painted are very vivid which is very nice).
    The twist at the end, however, is worth every minute you spend reading. I did not see it coming. And i loved it.
    And to the people worried about the message. I don’t see the story is trying to say that what happened to Edgar is a just punishment for infidelity. Haley was twisted enough to end her life and the life of her unborn child before letting Edgar have him. Of course she would be twisted in the afterlife, and only having his mother’s opinion to consider, of course his son is against him. I’d like to imagine he joined them and gave his version and now Edgar and Death are a buddy team and torment Haley for eternity.
    Anyway, great pasta, one of the best.

  39. (I know, old post). Am I the only person who thinks this is actually almost…. sweet? The only way for Edgar to join his wife and son is to kill himself, after all – assuming that this is based on the idea that suicides end up in Limbo, as would the soul of an un-baptised child…

  40. I absolutly ADORE this story.In fact, this story was a nightmare that I had 2 nights ago.I killed myself in the dream.It was freaky! Fantastic job, man.:)

  41. amazing. i cried when the wife shot herself,i cried when the son died (yes im an emotional woman!!). hell,i teared up again when edgar put the gun to his temple. never had that happen on this site. loved it,my favorite pasta hands down…would love to hear more from you

  42. Absolutely fantastic. Expertly written, relevant, and 99% error-free.
    Excellent use of so many literary conventions made this legitimately creepy.

  43. I’ve been making my way through the top stories on this site and this was the first one that gave me shivers when I got to the end.

  44. Did anyone else see that coming? As soon as I read that his wife killed herself, my first thought was; “The guy in the darkness is his son.”

    1. No, I even made the connection to 17 as soon as the times for extraction and death were given. But i never imagined the ghost guy to be his son.

  45. Your writing style is fantastic. It read like a Stephen King short story to me, and I’m a huge fan of his short stories. You have real talent!

  46. For anyone who sees this, I’ve created a Facebook page for my stories for anyone who’s interested. Previously they were just spread out over several different places. Thanks for reading this, and thanks to everyone who left comments. I appreciate all the compliments and the constructive criticism you’ve given.

  47. this is really creepy for me, to think the son wanted the dad to kill himself! but I thought you would go to hell if you commited suicide?

    1. I was about to comment on that, i wish it had come since the beginning though, my mental picture of the blue-eyed man became so much creepier once i read that, and i would have loved to have that image throughout the whole pasta.

  48. Wow. Very well written! I can honestly say I went slack-jawed when the “man” revealed himself; an accomplishment coming from a very picky writer. :)

  49. That was really good. The ending was very suspenseful and a good “Oh my gerrrrddd I get it now” moment.

    I applaud you for such a great pasta sir!

  50. I love this story, absolutely and completely. The writing is gorgeous to the point that, while reading, and much to the disturbance of those around me in my room, I had to verbally call out the sexiness of certain lines. Chills, man.

    I hope to find more of your work!

  51. I’ve been working my way down the ratings index, and, though not the creepiest (which has more to do with my personal tastes) this is definitely the best-written pasta I’ve read (eaten?) so far. You have an excellent voice.

  52. The story was haunting, and the visual descriptions were stunning. Although one thing I noticed was sometimes you used too many adjectives at once, for example “domelike miniature plastic electrical sun”. But yeah, it was a great pasta.

  53. well, I was able to figure out where the “seventeen” was coming from before the ending was revealed but I had no idea that the guy was his son! good surprise :)

  54. This was an amazing short story! I was engrossed in it all day long…not that it took me that long to read it! I was busy taking my patient to her appointments and couldn’t finish in just one read! I loved the writing style…the way the story was put together, the plot…everything! I give it a 10/10!

  55. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I give it an 8.5 out of ten (mainly because of a few words left out and minor grammar mistakes). A very delicious pasta.

  56. It tied in so nicely from the start to the finish. I felt somewhere in the center it dragged on but it is very detailed so I can’t blame you for that. Very depressing not sure if that’s a complement or not. take it how you see it.

  57. Perfectly written, beautiful elements of subtle humour and by far the least plot hole ridden script I’ve seen on this site.

    I look forward to seeing your name on book covers!

  58. That awesome writing made me feel I was watching an episode of masters of horror rather than reading a creepy pasta. 9.5/10

    -.5 for being too long against the climax. Awesome writing and as you said you haven’t written in quite a while so maybe we’d all be seeing something more outstanding and captivating in your next work.

  59. I was really impressed with this story. You have a way with words and found it very pleasant to read. Some authors/writers can take you out of the story/moment with problematic writing…but I never felt that way when reading. You have a great technique. My mother is an author and I proofread all of her work. I have learned a lot about what drives a story and what readers want and don’t want. You have something. Keep it up. Write more!

  60. Beautifully written story. The whole time I was reading it I was thinking it’s better than nearly all the horror books and horror short stories I have read on my kindle. Your level of description is up there with Stephen King and Dean Koontz in my eyes.

    You completely enraptured me with this story. It is written so professionally I cannot believe you are not a paid author!

    I was engrossed. I came away from it feeling very sad but in a good ‘this story moved me and made me think’ way.

    Brilliant. Can’t wait to read more of your work.

  61. This is all my fault! Maybe if I didn’t give in to Edgar or had let him in the first place…Although he might have found another girl I guess…Oh! But how terrible!

    I would never do such thing to my family! Edgar had showed his remorse. He wept for his child, yet it wasn’t enough. The blue eyes of his ‘child’ were unforgiving. I saw it in them before he pulled the trigger on me. Before I screamed into oblivion.

    They were family, no matter what they shouldn’t have… This is all my fault! I’m so sorry!*sobs*

  62. Not the best but not the worst either. Clearly you are not a professional writer but rather someone with a fair idea of what good prose sounds like attempting to emulate successful writer’s stories. I think the first mistake you made was using 3rd person; personally I think all creepy pasta should be 1st person. In 3rd person there’s an almost unbearable repetition of ‘he’, ‘his’ and ‘Edgar’. I don’t think the story was too bad but the style of writing is very amateur and the vocabulary seemed largely tacked on. For example when you referred to the office doorway as a ‘threshold’, it just seems over-elaborated. Obviously you take influence from somewhere because lines like ‘the waking horrors which walk amongst men brazenly in the daylight’ are very philosophic and just don’t seem to fit in the story. Sentences like ‘The withered flesh of his face stretched away from blackened gums and all-too-white teeth in the most hideous approximation of a smile Edgar could have ever imagined.’ seem to detract from the horror by adding the ‘all-too-white’ part. The vocabulary was unnatural; anyone can pick up a thesaurus and produce eloquent prose but it takes skill to actually make it flow with the text. For this reason I often found myself re-reading passages which seemed jam-packed with complex words or winding sentences. I admire your effort though since you’ve managed to produce a fairly long story however I don’t think I’d be the only person against asking for your future stories to be 1st person just to remove the unbearable repetition of ‘Edgar’ all the time.

    1. I agree with you on the first person part, but not for the same reason you do. Using “he,” “his,” and “Edgar(‘s)” doesn’t exactly drive me nuts, but when a writer uses 1st person in his/her stories, I feel more connected to the story, and can get into the flow of said story more easily.

  63. TAAASTYYYY PASTA!!! I can’t put words together to say how well crafted that was. I wish I could put my pastas together that well. Thank you for the wonderful read!

  64. Wow, simply incredible. I cannot find the words to describe how amazing this story was. It wasn’t terribly scary, but fantastically written. I loved it. 10/10

  65. I honestly loved it. This is the best CreepyPasta I’ve ever read, and that’s saying A LOT.
    And you seriously could make a living off of writing. This is better than most published books I’ve read.
    There’s just one REEEAAALLLY tiny mistake. Near the end of the story, when he was talking to his son, he says “Why.” The period should actually be a comma. But that’s it. :3
    Still, amazing read. I better see more of your stuff coming soon!

    1. Ooh, thanks for the correction! Dialogue has always been (at least in my mind) my weak spot. Punctuating it in the context of a narrated sentence always slows me down. Silly, I know, but it takes me out of the story and makes me think about what punctuation mark to use.

      So what I do is just write it however feels right, then go back and edit my grammar and punctuation errors. Only problem is, sometimes I miss stuff like this. Thanks for catching it, and for reading. I’m very glad you enjoyed the story!

  66. Christofer Belling

    That was an awesome pasta. Such a good descriptions and such good dialogue. The funny thing is that I was watching The Game with Michael Douglas at the same time as I read this, and I felt that the role he played in the movie fit so well into this pasta as the main character. I could totally imagine it, totally. And as the “messenger” relayed his explanation to the character, the dialogue was flawless. I imagined it being read by Hugo Weaving like when talking about purpose and stuff in The Matrix.


    1. Thank you so much for reading, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Especially because the messenger revealing his purpose was always my least favorite part of the story. I must have rewritten those few paragraphs seven times. I’m glad you (and others) seemed to enjoy it, and the story in general. Hope you’ll keep reading, as I’ve got plenty more on the way.

  67. This seriously was one of the best written pastas on here. I found it extremely captivating, unlike other pastas I’ve read. Though it was quite lengthy, and some parts did seem dragged out, it was possibly the greatest pasta on here. Thank you, I loved it.

  68. This pasta came at the right place, right time. Standards of pasta have of late been lowered due to decreasing quality and April Fool’s comedy still fresh in our heads, thus a “serious” pasta was needed to break the ice back to the usual routine. And what a pasta.

    Premise, while not exactly original, came in a very human and personable light. You sympathized with Edgar’s toils and understood his temptations; each and every character was human and believable. Even the buxom mistress wasn’t depicted as a heartless life-smasher like such characters usually personify as, rather human, compassionate, and vulnerable. The events that spiraled Edgar’s life out of proportion was in believable succession, and the twist relating to the phantom haunting him was absolutely fantastic. The moment the title made sense, was the moment you realized this was a great pasta.

    Thank you for this Dave Taylor, and being the fact this was not in fact a favorite story of yours, means that there is much more and much better to come.

    1. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and well-written reply! Of all the problems I imagined with submitting this story, too many kind comments to reply to individually was absolutely not on the list – but yours I really think I need to. You absolutely get what I was going for: Life isn’t black and white, and there’s multiple sides to every story. That bitchy cashier who gave you grief in the checkout line? Her dad is in the hospital for a stroke he had this morning, and the store manager said she would be fired if she didn’t show up for work.

      If the stories currently in the queue (I think there’s two… I may have neglected to submit the other, my brain really likes creating false memories. Definitely at least one pending) are received anywhere near as well as this one, I’ll be very touched.

      Thank you again!

      1. Depth and three-dimensionality are facets often lacking in the horror genre, yet they are things you’ve personally made your intent to convey. We are glad authors such as you are on this site, and give the fading horror medium a kick to life.

  69. Wow, this was brilliant. One of the most genius pastas I’ve read on here. It was pretty long and quite a bit wordy, but it was worth it. The concept of the story was captivating. And it’s so refreshing how very imperfect these characters were! Don’t cut yourself short, Dave, this was a great story. ^_^

  70. Hey guys, author here. I submitted this a while back (which is cool, I know derpbutt has been insanely busy/dealing with health issues) and I’ve written a great deal since then. This was the first story I wrote after taking years and years off from trying to write horror stories. It’s not my favorite, but at the time I thought it was worthy of submitting. I cringed a little when I got the e-mail that it was accepted, because I thought for sure it was going to be received poorly. I’m amazed at this response, and insanely grateful for everyone’s kind words.

    If you liked this, I really think you’ll love my subsequent submissions, once they’re (hopefully) accepted. Thank you all again!

      1. Thanks for publishing it, and for all the hard work you do on this site! I’m a big Crappypasta fan too, it serves a very noble purpose in helping aspiring writers (and provides a few good laughs along the way) though I haven’t been as active there as I used to be.

        You should have a couple more in your queue, if I didn’t screw up the Turing test. Hopefully they’ll make the cut once you get around to them. :)

        Hope your health is holding up okay!

  71. This story was amazing. The subtle plot points that you weaved in kept me pretty much nose to my monitor while reading and I absolutely loved the ending. There were so many other things that I thought “17” would be originally (like it would happen on the 17th night of dreams).
    Seriously, bravo. I would love to see this is a movie

  72. This is one of my favorite creepy pastas^^ I loved the ending especially. Oh and Arbitrary it’s called karma, his erm whore I guess wants to be with him…still and that’s just messed up on so many levels meh karma haha.

  73. This is one of the best pastas I have ever read. I just love how this story was told. I can imagine this being turned into a movie.

    1. The amount of minutes the baby lived.

      You should have just read the last part again, though and you’d have figured it out yourself.

  74. Death Becomes Her

    That was some tasty pasta! Probably one of the best. I look forward to future dishes :) Thanks for the read!

  75. I’ve been addicted to creepypasta for years, this is the best thing I have read in a long time. thank you for writing it.

  76. The very reason why this story exceeds being just a creepypasta is that it emphasizes the importance of living a chaste life. Whether the main character was haunted by death himself or he just went insane, no bad deed ever gets unpunished.

  77. I hope you realise you could make a living writing if you wanted to. If you persisted you’d get published and probably do very well. I read these sorts of websites because I like disturbing imagery, the sense of being watched, generally just creepy stuff. This goes beyond that. This wasn’t simply a decent creepypasta, it’s a really good short-story that did so much well to get the reader involved, and was structured very well. Your use of language was really good. I think I was reading the part about the moth when I realised you have proper novelist potential. I’m responding in this detail because I want to be a writer and If I put something this good up for people to read I’d want people to reassure me that I was on the right track.

  78. Simply fantastic. The only thing I didn’t understand was Samantha’s death, but that still didn’t take away from the story. Bravo.

  79. Very nicely done. This story was pretty much seamless. I love being able to dip into a story and then just flow with it right through to the end. The feeling of inevitability in this story was almost overpowering. I could see his death coming, but the whole time I was wondering what would drive him to finally pull the trigger and what the meaning of the word “seventeen” was. And then, when the realization came right before the end, it was a great feeling. It was one of those “Aw, I should have seen that coming!” moments great twist endings have. Excellent work!

  80. Well, I hope this makes it to the number 1 pasta position, cause it sure as Hell deserves it. I can’t beleive I’m saying this, but this is better than Bedtime.

  81. SinisterExaggerator

    Wow. Words just can’t describe the awe I feel right now upon reading that. This is one of the best pastas on this site, and believe me, it DESERVES that. 10 out of 10.

  82. Neo-noir social decay at its best. You could feel his endless abysmal depression right the way through.
    Magnificent pasta.

  83. Neo-noir social decay at its best. You could feel his endless abysmal depression right the way through.
    Magnificent pasta.

  84. A minor gripe: This is hard to accept as a morality piece because Haley was the one who knowingly ended the life of their unborn child.

    Still a very very well written piece though. There is a very distinct wit behind the narrative.

  85. The intricacies of this story are intense to say the least. Ill never look at a dead moth the same way again. I really hope this story has been published or is on it’s way to getting published as this author deserves credit for this work.

  86. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Very refreshing and original story unlike I’ve ever read before. :)

  87. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Very refreshing and original story unlike I’ve ever read before.

  88. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Very refreshing and original story unlike I’ve ever read before!

  89. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Fresh and original story unlike I’ve ever read before!

  90. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Fresh and original unlike I’ve ever read before!

  91. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Fresh and original pasta unlike I’ve ever read before!

  92. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Fresh and original pasta unlike I’ve ever read before! 10*

  93. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Fresh and original pasta unlike I’ve ever read before! 10* for me :)

  94. Wow. One of the best pasta I’ve ever had, this is amazing! Great job my good sir, this was genuinely creepy. Fresh and original pasta unlike I’ve ever read before! 10* for me :)

    1. it wasnt that good. i’ve seen better WAY better stories. But i agree with Crow, few stories have impressed meand this one didnt cut it.


    was long but worth the read really awsome pasta u should be a writer with the diction you use you could fill a good deal of books with stories 20/10

  96. That was the best pasta I have read in awhile. It was quite lengthy, but not in a bad way at all. The length was needed to fully explain the story, which you did quite well, I must say. Couldn’t pull my eyes away from the screen <3

  97. It’s been a while since I’ve read a pasta this amazing. Hats off to you, author! Very good read and that twist was really unexpected.

  98. Great writing but I didn’t like the overall message. I hardly think it was Edgar’s fault, especially not Samantha. I don’t condone cheating at all but I blame Haley for her own death and the unborn child.
    I also feel like it was dragged on a bit, but that is just my opinion. As I said, brilliantly written.

    1. I agree on both points. The message one was intentional, but the length one was just an unfortunate event brought on by being a little rough around the edges. I hadn’t written anything in a very long time, and the story definitely suffered as a result of the rust around my edges. If I could rewind time, I’d go back and try to trim some of the fat. But it was my best effort at the time, and I thank you for reading it.

      As for the Edgar/Haley/Samantha dynamic, none of them were really good people. Every character in this story, while writing it, made me feel like I just needed to go take a shower. Haley was completely responsible for the death of her little Timmy Doe, and her own monstrous overreaction to the affair. Edgar cheated on his pregnant wife. Samantha knew he was married and expecting his first-born child, but slept with him anyway.

      People make mistakes, everyone’s human. But sometimes those mistakes just spiral into a huge shitstorm, and an elderly-corpse-looking spectral nameless baby convinces you to kill yourself. You know, that ol’ chestnut. Thanks again!

      1. This is the perfect explanation of this story. Everyone wants a hero in the stories they read or so, but some of the really wonderful stories out there, the ones that make you think and actually FEEL what’s happening, have no one to root for, no hero. I gave this story 10/10, length and all.

    1. I agree. I wrote this months ago, when I first got back into writing after many years of non-productivity. In hindsight, if I could change one thing, it’d be the length. Thank you for reading, though!

  99. Very well done indeed, One of the best if not the best I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. I look forward to future stories by you.

  100. Almost more mysterious than creepy. A little creepy, though. It has a film noir feel to it, and it feels… depressed.

    More importantly, beautifully rendered and well crafted. You have talent.

  101. Oh my. This is not just among my favorite pastas here, but favorite short stories I have ever in my 18 years read. I was so engrossed in reading that when my cat literally launched himself onto my torso from the window sill I barely registered the event. I thoroughly enjoy your writing style and ability to weave those subtle elements of humor so seamlessly into the text. The descriptions are so vivid; you paint a flawless image in the mind of the reader. That is a true gift. The concept itself is simply brilliant. You have a great mind. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to enjoy this.

    1. I agree with jinx it’s a verry good story and unless you got this from someone else this could be in a book

  102. That was amazing.

    I don’t get why they did that to so-and-so though, but I guess they didn’t quite make it to any place better? Limbo?

    I imagine Edgar did it in a way.

    I’m not sure, I really liked it through apart from what happened with the woman in the parking lot.

    1. If you’re going to prison for murder, you might be more willing to commit suicide.

      The son and wife want him to kill himself, give him as much motivation as possible. Also, she knew he was married and was okay with that… I would want revenge on her too.

      1. I honestly think it’s her fault she committed suicide she chose to be selfish and took both her and her sons life the son should be pissed at her.

        1. Completely agree. Edgar had an affair, Haley killed the child. Still very well written, I dig it

        2. Edgar shows no remorse for his infidelity or his wife’s death; it’s only when his son dies does he finally muster some emotion. Dude was messed up, and got what was coming to him.

          That said, commenters mounting a half-assed defense of Edgar are ridiculously misguided. “Cheating isn’t NEARLY as bad as suicide/killing a baby! Suicide is SEEELFISSSHHH.” Holy shit, your condescension is insane.

        3. Cheating is shitty. However, her response was to say “now you’ll never meet your son!” and kill both of them. It doesn’t matter how selfish suicide is; she held her child hostage and used suicide as a weapon to harm him, then says “I’ll forgive you if you hurry.”

        4. Did y’all forget how he threated she wouldn’t get her son because of his well paid lawyers?? Or did you ignore that? While it doesn’t absolve her of responsibility, it’s a bit more understandable.. he expected to cheat AND keep his son despite not being able to stay loyal.

        5. She knew she had no other choice. She knew he would get some type of part in the childs life and the only way she coupld prevent that was to take the childs life. But she also knew she couldnt live with herself if she did. Not saying it was the right choice but it was the only choice she saw to ensure she got what she needed.

        6. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be suicidal? It has nothing to do with being selfish. And maybe she wasn’t planning to kill herself until he threatened to take the baby away from her

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