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Stay Away

Stay away

Estimated reading time — 4 minutes

Tyler and I have been friends for years. We met at the local church when we were little. We have been attached at the hip ever since.

For as long as I’ve known him Tyler has only had one rule in his house: don’t go in the closet. I’ve never really understood why. I’m a teen now, when you me not to do something…I want to do it.

Is it because he has an embarrassing collection or something? We’re not kids anymore, I know what Playboy is. Do his parents keep guns in there or something? I probably wouldn’t even care if he’d tell me something but he never does. So it’s become the itch that never gets scratched.


For a while I didn’t know if it was his rule or his parents. Honestly, I didn’t even know if he’s referring to his closet specifically or any closet in his parents’ house. I was always so confused.

One time I had to piss really bad. All the bathrooms were taken except the one in his Tyler’s parents’ room. I’d never actually been in their room before. There were two doors in there, I didn’t know which was for the bathroom, and grabbed the knob nearest to me. Before I could turn Tyler’s dad grabbed my arm.

“Marco. Do not go in the closet,” he said, glaring at me.

“I’m sorry sir. I was hoping this was the bathroom,” I replied.

“No. That’s the bathroom door,” he said pointing.



That’s how I found out it was a family rule.

For years we’ve hung out at his house only for me to get “the lecture”. I have always obliged. Today, Tyler had to go run to meet someone. He wouldn’t give me any details on who or why. I had asked if he wanted me to go with him but he told me I should stay here until he got back. Before he left, he gave me the usual spiel.

He didn’t say how long he was going to be. It didn’t take long for boredom to kick in. What’s the worst that could happen if I checked out the closet? He’ll never know. Just like that, my teenage mind was made up. You could say I’m an impulsive person.

So, I opened the closet.

In the corner was a basket of dirty clothes. They gave off a faint smell of body order. Shirts hung neatly. Other items were stacked on top of each other with precision. Nothing looked too out of the ordinary to me. I felt pretty stupid, having fallen for this long-running gag. It took me years to try it and this what I see?

I didn’t want to invade Tyler’s privacy any further and began to close the door. As I did so, there was one thing that caught my eye, forcing me to pause. Something high up, further into the closet had some shine to it. Moving some shirts out of the way I saw that the closet went much deeper than I originally thought.

A stack of boxes was behind the shirts. Sitting atop them was a half-eaten sandwich. It looked fresh. My stomach was rumbling. I picked it up and took a bite. Peanut butter and banana? We used to eat those as kids.


Next to the sandwich sat a small cup of water. My hand made contact and it immediately retreated. Damn that’s hot. I shook my hand before putting my burnt finger into my mouth. Then I began moving boxes to the side and the object of the shine had become clear it was duct tape. It was wrapped around something.

What was it? It was attached to a hook at the top of the closet. As more boxes were moved out of the way my line of vision followed the duct tape downward. My eyes kept following until it reached something recognizable.

It took a moment for my senses to kick in. When they did, I leapt back. What the fuck? I was looking at a human.

The entire body was covered in duct tape except for the face. There was an individual piece over the eyes, and another over the mouth. There was no way this was real. I started looking at how this thing was being held by the hooks.

The hooks were going through taped circular stumps at the end of the limbs. There were little red tubes attached to the hooks going into the stumps where the hands should have been. It must be a remarkably well-designed doll. On the wall behind it crosses were attached to the wall. Some sitting normally, and others upside down.

I took a step back to catch my breath. No wonder Tyler didn’t want anyone looking in here. They’d freak out and think it was real too. I don’t know what kind of hobby this is but it’s definitely unusual. Laughing to myself, I wanted to see this things face. I reached and pulled off the tape covering the mouth.



My body froze. The tape fell from my hands to the floor. That did not just happen. I remained completely still. That had to have been my imagination.

Help me. Please.

Holy shit. There was no denying it this time. I heard him speak. It was weak and shaky but I had heard it. This was a human.

I quickly pulled off the other strip of tape covering his eyes. In doing so I fell back. Looking up at this trapped man immediately drained the color from my face. It was Tyler. I heard the door to the room open behind me.

“I really wish you hadn’t seen that, Marco.”

Credit: Sam Gallenberger


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