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When Science Found God

When Science Found GodReading Time: 19 minutesI’ve never much cared for religion. I mean, it’s interesting and all; the old parables and philosophic insights from people two millenniums removed from the present. I particularly enjoy the books of the Apocrypha, and the Bible’s magnum opus of Revelation if for nothing else than the interesting stories. Even some of the tenants, like an emphasis on strong family bonds and moral stature I can resonate with, but in terms of a giant omnipresent entity that created everything yet loves us unconditionally watching our every move from unseen planes – yeah, I don’t know about that.

I still don’t ascribe to a singular religious doctrine, but knowing what I know now… well, let’s just say the title of atheist would be a little disingenuous. Staking my flag in that camp would contradict all the principals of which my life has been founded upon. Try as I may, I cannot in good faith deny or refute what I myself witnessed. Calling whatever we discovered ‘god’ may in time prove a bit inaccurate, but there is no denying it; we found something.

Science has at times become this sort of monolithic and infallible institution. One that suffers from the ostracization of fringe concepts that fail to breach the egotistic blockade. It is all too often wielded as a trump card to negate all that doesn’t assimilate to the prevailing narrative. Too often outlandish claims are torn asunder because no metrics exist to properly digest them.

For all the good it has brought, science is not and will not ever be an absolute. Nothing is. Absence of proof, is not proof of absence. And what happened out there, in that lab deep below the streets of Stockholm, now stands as a testament in my life, to all the ventures humanity has yet to embark upon. It serves as an anchor, and if ever I find myself drifting away into the blissful seas of cognitive dissonance, it is there to remind me how small and naïve I truly am.

I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s in physics and an incredible opportunity landed in my lap. One of my professors had put in a good word for me with a lab out of Stockholm. I was contacted and offered an internship. One of dozens to be extended the opportunity. I accepted the offer without a moment’s hesitation.

From there I uprooted my Californian lifestyle to move halfway around the world to the frigid north of Sweden. I was not prepared for the cold. Most of my summers were spent in a bikini, frolicking on the sandy beaches of Santa Monica and lounging in the sun. Sweden might as well have been another planet. Temperatures would plummet to a bone-chilling negative 30 in the winter. Luckily for me though, I had a marvelous host family who helped me acclimate myself and integrate into Valhalla.

I was brought on to the team and slowly began the arduous process of melding into the group. They were all incredibly kind and welcoming, but still the feeling of being woefully outclassed by my colleagues was thick as tar pitch. The project consisted of over fifty men and women, all of them among the best the world had to offer. They hailed from Germany, Japan, Poland, Hong Kong, South Korea and many other sovereign states. It was a melting pot of some of the greatest minds I’d ever met. Seeing them in their element, and marveling at the way their minds hurdled asinine topics to delve straight to the cortex was altogether incredible, and more than a little intimidating.

The expressed goal of the coalition was to study the behaviors of quarks, protons and other particles in the subatomic realm to further decode the complex world of theoretic energy matrices. By extension, the group also allotted resources to develop tools for observing and decoding quantum entanglement and string theory. These principles were still in their infancy at the time, and none of us could have ever imagined the enormous magnitude of the things that were to come.

The lab had its very own particle accelerator, which I myself pretty much obsessed over from day one. Most of the concrete data however, was relayed from the lab in Geneva, home of the large hadron collider. I even got to see the magnificent machine in person on a few occasions.

One thing that has always staggered me, is the amount of incredible achievements capable when pursuit of knowledge guides the way. However, the complete polar opposite is also true, as curiosity without empathy all too often yields crimes against humanity.

As you may already know, the large hadron collider was the first machine capable of synthesizing the particle known as the Higgs-Boson. The machine is a particle accelerator built in a 27-kilometer loop. It uses a state of perpetual vacuum and temperature colder than that of outer space to accelerate particles to 99 percent the speed of light. These particles collide with one another, creating spectacular outbursts of radiation and results which are believed to be similar to that of the big bang on a much smaller scale. It is also through this process that the infamous Higgs-Boson can be synthesized.

Some call it the ‘God Particle’, but many physicists are not fond of the omnipotent moniker. It is in a way suitable though, as it is ubiquitous and can spontaneously manifest or dematerialize through processes which are not yet entirely understood. It is a sort of bridge between matter and antimatter. The entity that binds the ethereal with the corporeal. It is the place between light and dark, hard to define, as once light ends shadow begins and vice versa. The exact moment of intersection is difficult to pinpoint, but there is a definitive moment, and that moment is the Higgs-Boson.

It was once thought that matter could only exist in one place at a time, however the particle slit test of our progenitors proved otherwise. A particle accelerator was used to eject electrons between one of two microscopic slits. They naturally assumed the electrons would pass through either slit A or slit B, and when directly observed their premise was corroborated.

However, when an imprint background was installed to bypass direct observation, they noticed a peculiar detail. The electrons produced what is known as a wave, or interference pattern on the imprint like ripples in a pond. This meant that the electrons were interfering with themselves while simultaneously passing through both and neither of the slits. It was at first thought to be a false-negative and outright impossibility, but thousands of repeated experiments all reached the same conclusion. There was denying it anymore. Matter can exist in more than one place at a time, and reality is altered simply by perceiving it.

The world of particle physics is a strange one, and one which we have only just begun to glimpse the majesty of. At times it may even require us to suspend our own limited human understanding of things, to contemplate things beyond our minds comprehension. It was this idea which was the tabernacle of all the group was trying to achieve. To unravel the mysteries of the subatomic universe, and better understand reality itself.

The group was funded magnificently, and state of the art equipment was provided from lavish donors from all around the world. My contemporaries and I began to study the processes again from square one. This consisted primarily of monitoring the nature of particles and testing the same process over and over ad nauseum. Progress was slow, and many failures were soon under our belts, but you can’t build a house without chopping down a few trees.

It took years to decode part of the formula, but eventually we learned that the behavior of these particles could be predicted under certain pretenses. They could also, to a certain extent, be directed. Programmed to inhabit separate locations at the same time, giving them the perceived ability to exist in two places at once. In reality though, it was more akin to a transfer of locale via microscopic slits in the Higgs-Boson. We realized it was not a matter of travelling to, but instead travelling through. Through the fabric of space itself.

With electrical stimuli and coordinate based geo-synchronization, one could manipulate these particles to transfer locations faster than the blink of an eye. The machine used was primitive compared to later iterations, but it’s true potential was not lost on us for a moment.

Time went on, and the technique was further refined, most readily in the distance particles were able to be transposed. It started as only a few nanometers, but eventually we could transfer particles several feet. It was through this process that blueprints for an entirely new type of machine were first devised. It was to be a machine unlike any before it. Instead of electrical stimuli sent through circuits and wires, it was transferred directly from one location to another. Wireless energy transposed through space. This greatly improved computing capabilities and allowed the machine to act and calculate much quicker than anything ever seen before.

Initial ideals for the machine were skeptical at best, but as time went on the real significance of its potential became apparent. When combined with a suitable processor and digital interface, it soon began decoding encryption and translating mathematic cipher in a fraction of the time of anything seen before it. It didn’t stop there, though.

With a binary converter, it wasn’t long before human physiology itself was soon able to be deciphered and converted into convenient little anagrams and simplistic formulas. This soon gave the machine the ability to replicate human tissue and organs from fetal stem cells. When given raw biomass it could manufacture a duplicate heart or lung. One which was genetically indistinguishable from that of the donor’s DNA.

On one occasion, the machine even managed to regrow the arm of an amputee war veteran. Most of us thought it couldn’t possibly work, that the nerve endings on the man’s arms would be unable to be resuscitated after so long. But after seventeen hours in surgery, when I saw the vet move his new fingers for the first time after transplant and cell resuscitation, I knew we had discovered something special.

Diseases became able to be observed on a molecular level and eradicated before gestation. A virus or bacterial strain could be genetically reprogrammed to attack and destroy itself rather than the host. HPV, AIDS, the black death, the common cold, strep throat, gonorrhea, none of them stood a snowball’s chance in hell against the unrivalled power of the machine.

It could even reprogram human DNA to desired proportions, eliminating extra chromosomes and restoring neural pathways to reverse entropic cognitive illness like Dementia and Parkinson’s. Even pre-birth conditions like cerebral palsy and microcephaly were in the process of being all but eradicated.

It wasn’t just organic material either. The machine could take a block of carbon and alter its isotopes to create carbon-14 and elicit radioactivity. This proved interesting for further power possibilities as the machine demonstrated potential of creating its own fuel source, but there was another more pertinent discovery.

By changing the number of protons or neutrons in the atomic nucleus, the given element’s atomic weight was altered, thereby turning it into another element altogether. The machine held the power to change the very building blocks of the universe itself. It could turn copper into gold, bromine into iodine.

I think it was then that we first realized the scope of what it was that we had created. The applications for the machine seemed endless. It could write books, clone living organisms and alter the very elements beneath our feet. It was the philosopher’s stone, the holy grail and the all-seeing eye in one convenient little package. The Deus ex Machina. The world’s very first quantum computer was born.

One important distinction I would like to make, despite the rumors; the quantum computer was not in fact an AI. It had computing power which was eons beyond that of a normal computer, and the ability to perform almost any task given to it provided the necessary accommodations were implemented. For this reason, it was not allowed to make decisions for itself. Many in the group were justifiably nervous at the prospect of an artificial intelligence somehow gaining sentience and going rampant with the power of quantum manipulation.

We really had no idea where our experimentation would lead us, and so the decision was made early on, to prevent it from thinking on its own and going all Skynet on us. The computer was a beast of burden, happily doing any task given to it, but it was us that held the reins.

That was when the bureaucratic troubles first began. A lot of donors for the project, and even a few of my fellow team members had their own ideas on how to best utilize the machine. Every nation involved wanted it for themselves and had their own vision on how best to implement it’s capabilities.

Several members of the coalition ended up leaving the project or being outright dismissed, promising to return with a battalion of lawyers at their back. One man was even caught attempting to smuggle data from the lab, and detained to await prosecution. The reigning project overseer was also relieved of duty. In his place; Dr. Henryk Lundgren assumed the role of director of operations.

Dr. Lundgren is a dear friend, and a brilliant mind. That’s what makes his fate lie so heavily on my heart. It’s a tragedy what befell him, but I won’t act as though he wasn’t responsible for stoking the flames.

Lundgren managed to settle the group down and unite a divided faction of researchers who all held their own agendas. He made the executive decision to keep the computer in the hands of the international team and continue to study it for continued data analysis and eventual replication. All those who didn’t abide were dismissed or removed physically as the need arose.

Lundgren had toiled for years on development of the machine’s virtual capabilities, and decided it best to invest more heavily into it. It took months of development, but soon, a fully-functional Sims-esque program was up and running. The simulation was modeled to be an exact carbon copy of our own world and held all the coordinating pieces within it. All the people, animals and nations. Augmented control apparatuses were then developed to allow us the ability to view the computer’s creation firsthand.

The simulation it created was so visceral, that none could even perceive that they were in a simulation at all. Test subjects were exposed to their own loved ones within the program and could not distinguish them from their real-life counterparts. I even took it for a spin a few times. I was hooked up to the monitor via a neural cortex interface, and had my mind rendered into the simulation.

I awoke to the sights of sunlight peeking through my blinds, and the sounds of cars outside. Around me on the walls were posters of Harry Potter, JoJo and the X-files among countless others. I recognized immediately where I was. It was my childhood home, an apartment complex in Sacramento. The simulation was so detailed, that even my old raggedy-Ann doll with the missing eye was there.

My parents were both there and acted in accordance to how they would behave in real life. My dad even made new corny jokes in a fashion that suited his personality. It wasn’t a memory though, it was an entirely new scenario, concocted by my mind and the quantum simulation.

My parents are both deceased in the real world and getting to spend time with them again was… indescribable. Even if they were just simulations, the experience was profoundly cathartic for me. I ended up leaving the simulation in tears, overwhelmed by the experience and the ability to speak with my parents once again. It even made dealing with their absence a little easier in the real world. After all, I could now speak to them any time I wanted. I found myself never wanting to leave the matrix.

Dr. Lundgren subsequently questioned me about my experience, and I was all too happy to relay the things I had seen. He listened intently, with simple occasional nods and one-word responses. His grey face wore a smile, and cheeks dimpled in delight, but his eyes were far from the present, and worried.

We held a meeting with all staff members sometime after. Lundgren stood and paced in front of the group, silent and mind swirling in thought. When he did finally speak, he held our undivided attention. He walked through all that our little group had managed to accomplish, and all the things we had learned on our journey. All the miracles unraveled and translated into digital coding, and all the advancements made. It was not a triumphant voice however, it was somber, as if none of it truly mattered. He then first proposed his new theory.

Here we were, with an entire simulated universe at the tips of our fingers. A digital reality created and maintained by a machine we had built. A simulation which was so authentic, that none could tell it apart from reality itself. And if we had the power to create that, how did we know that our own universe was not the result of the same process? How did we know our reality was not in fact a simulation?

An unnerving silence befell the rest of the group as Lundgren concluded his epiphany. All in attendance seemed to silently contemplate the idea, with a noticeably nervous aura now lingering. There wasn’t much said after that, but there didn’t need to be. We had an entirely new goal.

Upon returning for work the following day, I immediately noticed that several of our colleagues had abandoned the project without so much as a ‘goodbye’. Only 7 of us remained, among which was the prestigious Henryk Lundgren. He was changed though, his upbeat optimism and inquisitive attitude reverted to an impatient gibbering wreck of a man. He became hostile to prolonged questioning, and I could see the idea gnaw on his mind as he walked the tightrope between madness and genius. At times he even appeared on the verge of psychosis. He would ramble and talk to himself, and pretty much stopped leaving the laboratory altogether.

We set our sights on a new task; to dismantle and test the hypothesis of Lundgren. To develop an ability to break through the boundaries of our suspected simulation and pier beyond our own reality to glimpse whatever may lie on the other side. Nothing else seemed to matter anymore by that point.

Life may be accidental, consciousness too, hell even complex organisms like human beings the result of genetic evolution and a bit of luck. However, simulation is not accidental. It requires an immense amount of dedication, programming and logistics. Not to mention, power and maintenance.

The ability to synthesize digital worlds is not something learned or accomplished by accident. It takes time, resources and brainpower to even attempt it, and even then, it’s no guarantee. The one concept that was off the table immediately, was that the theorized simulation was the result of natural phenomenon or random cosmic alignment. If Lundgren’s hypothesis was correct, and our universe was indeed a simulation, then someone or something had to be pulling the strings behind the veil.

Powerful as the quantum computer was, even it did not have the ability to glimpse directly into higher dimensions. As stated before, it took commands only from us, and could only perform tasks which we could coherently articulate to it. We realized rather early that directly viewing outside the boundaries of the universe was likely not possible. The only option was to send a message.

Through remedial experimentation and dozens of ponderous sleepless nights, we finally had a breakthrough. Our reality is based on laws. Laws of motion, laws of attraction, laws of physics. These laws cannot be broken accidently, but with quantum technology, they can be manipulated. Many believe that intelligent extra-terrestrials were first alerted to humanity when the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ours was essentially the same idea. Demonstrating that we had the capability to toil with the quantum world in hopes of eliciting a response from a higher being. If we could ‘break’ or ‘bend’ one of these laws of reality, then perhaps the orchestrator would be compelled to respond.

One of the earlier discoveries we had made was that of the concept of reverse time. Time is a measurement of something that occurs, and without anything to observe, time is meaningless. The concept only makes sense when in the presence of matter. The two concepts of space and time are coterminous, like light and dark or hot and cold; one does not exist without the other. Where there is space there is time, and where there is time there must be space. The opposite of matter is not nothing, but anti-matter. A true nothingness or void of anything substantial does not exist. It cannot exist based upon the nature of existence itself. Anti-matter is the invisible material which operates unseen and fills all the gaps which matter does not. All of it held together by the Higgs-Boson.

If an opposite of matter exists, then an opposite of time must as well. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and all reactions must remain proportional to force exerted. By utilizing the quantum computer, we had the ability to send protons back in time, sort of. We could make them exist where they once had not before they existed there, by using dark energy matrices and particle superpositioning to make them exist in two places at once.

The discovery had actually been made some time earlier, but never officially tested. It was restricted and marked as unbroachable, as many of our patrons were rightfully concerned by the prospect of unintentionally altering the past. Doing so could create a butterfly effect and wreak havoc upon the present. We were told vehemently that the reverse-time experimentation was forbidden, but now we had a legitimate reason to take interest.

It took some convincing on our end, but eventually we were successful when we promised to unveil the greatest discovery yet. The parameters were set within the computer and the lab was prepped for the operation. A single seed of dianthus caryophyllus was placed in a transparent reinforced container in the center of the room. The specimen was placed on damp resin paper, and several little green tendrils had sprouted from its shell.

The idea was to reverse the symbiotic metabolism of the test subject and cause it to rapidly revert to a zygote state. The seed would be directed to perform it’s life cycle backwards, thereby contradicting the natural forward flow of life and time.

The parameters were finished, and Lundgren stood by the machine. He glanced to each of us individually with a sullen demeanor and nervous twinkle in his eye. He looked to me last and I nodded. Lundgren took a deep breath, adjusted his glasses, and flipped the switch.

Immediately the tendrils within the seed began to retract. They disappeared within the shell soon after, and the seed shrunk until the point in which it was no longer visible. The computer alerted us that the task had been completed, and silence descended upon the crew.

We stayed that way for several seconds until a commotion from the computer drew our attention. An array of flickering lights and sirens began to wail like banshees, indicating an error of some sort. Suddenly, the seed reappeared and began to grow at an impossible rate. A mass of wriggling green tendrils erupted from the shell and pressed firmly against the case within seconds. It swelled within and the chamber violently ruptured a moment later sending shards of glass catapulting throughout the room. I managed to duck away just in time, but others in the group were not so lucky.

One man, Reginald Diabek, was struck with a shard in the neck. The piece cut a gash across his throat, causing a thick crimson to spill forth from his gullet. He collapsed to the ground, as others began to rush to his aid. Before we could reach him, the engorged serpentine appendages of the seed ensnared him, slithering around his neck and abdomen. Diabek gurgled and terror filled his eyes as the green pythonic roots began to constrict him.

I watched, at a loss for words, as Diabek’s wound sealed. His grey hair turned to a dark brown. The wrinkles on his forehead and bags below his eyes dissolved into his skin in a matter of seconds. The blackheads and liver-spots on his cheeks soon followed suit. All of us watched, stupefied as the process continued onward and Diabek appeared to age backwards.

Diabek had to have been nearly sixty years old, but in a matter of moments he appeared as though he was a young man in his early thirties. He then went young adult, then juvenile, then teenager. Diabek screamed in terror as his voice cracked from a gruff, raspy tone to a high-pitched pre-pubescent shriek. His body shrunk in his clothes and his extremities retracted within his coat. By the time we had reached him, he was gone.

We didn’t have time to gawk, as our stupor was interrupted by the computer blaring a warning siren, and a flickering plethora of lights designated an external problem of some sort. The display was a failsafe designed to protect the computer from malicious outside sources. Most of us thought the firewalls of the quantum computer were enough to prevent any attempted breach, but apparently, we were wrong.

One of my colleagues scrambled to the kill switch. He was poised to throw it, when he was halted by a sudden shout from Lundgren. Lundgren stood, eyes wide as dinner plates and mouth agape as he stared at the main monitor of the computer. The warning display had ceased, and only a single screen remained active. Upon it was displayed a single loading bar, with approximately twenty percent of it being filled in. This indicated only one thing, something was being downloaded.

We immediately surmised that it must be a virus or other malware of some sort. A prospect once thought impossible based on the security measures of the computer, and yet the download persevered. All attempts made to restrict the download and halt its progress proved futile.

We exchanged nervous glances with one another, torn on whether to pull the plug and save our creation from hostile insurgence, or allow it to continue to whatever ends. The call was eventually made by the investors outside the room, who had since been notified of the development. They demanded power be cut, and the machine be saved. The computer represented a colossal investment, and the costs to repair or replace it if any damage were to ensue was not something taken lightly.

Begrudgingly, Lundgren followed orders and commanded shutdown protocol. It was done straight away, but the machine did not power down. It continued, impossibly, and without a direct power source sustaining it.

Panic began to erupt from the lab, and power to the entire facility was ordered to be cut from the mainframe. It was done within seconds, and the room fell into darkness. The only light that remained was that of the main monitor as the download reached the halfway mark. The computer groaned and whirred under enormous duress as hundreds of fans shot to life to attempt to cool the leviathan machine.

We stood back, unable to make heads or tails of the development. There was simply no possible way the machine should’ve remained active, and yet it was. It continued to fill up the progress bar, powered by the fuel of some unknown outside source. With no other viable solutions at hand barring physical destruction of the computer itself, we could do nothing but await the culmination.

The download finished several minutes later, and the room fell into pitch black. We deliberated for a moment, before deciding our only recourse was to power up the computer once again. The mysterious file weighed in at an impressive 100,000 terabytes, enough to fill hundreds of normal hard drives, but just another drop in the ocean for the quantum computer. Once full mobility was achieved, a single never before seen prompt filled the screen.

“Unknown file type. Do you wish to execute the file?” All attempts made to bypass the prompt failed. We quickly used a separate program on another screen to trace the file’s origin, but to no avail.

Now, there is no hiding from a quantum computer behind a proxy or VPN. It uses algorithm-based process combined with ping response speed to determine probable origin up to an accuracy of 99.999%. We’re talking response time measured in millionths of a second, but for a quantum computer, it’s like the ABC’s. Sure, it gets it wrong once in every million attempts, point being it always has a guess. This time however, we received a new message.

“Unable to determine file origin.” Lundgren took a step back and pondered the situation and wiped the beads of glistening sweat from his brow. With nothing else at our disposal, he realized there was only one option left. And so, he gave one last command.

“Open it.”

The computer began to render the file, the process taking several minutes to complete. It was entirely in binary code, and eventually translated to a single message. Upon completion, two words in a white font sat silently amidst a black background.

I never thought two simple words could have such lasting effects on my psyche. Those two words that have made me question everything I thought I ever knew. The computer fizzled out moments later and shut down. All of us just kind of left after that.

I returned home, overwhelmed by the events and left with a mystic sense of terror instilled deep in my stomach. The following morning, I was called by one of the investors. He informed me, that someone had broken into the lab late the previous night and sabotaged the operation. The lab was lit ablaze and soon reduced to a smoldering pile of ash, and the quantum computer was damaged beyond repair. Whoever had done it, possessed a security card and seemed to know the exact process required to dismantle the automatic sprinkler system.

Police held a single suspect in custody. A man who appeared as a neurotic mess in the center of a maniacal nervous breakdown. He was tried and convicted some time later and declared clinically insane. He was ordained to a mental health facility in northern Sweden, and it is there that he remains to this day. That man’s name? Henryk Lundgren.

I’ve never been able to properly assess just what it was that happened that day. The event has left me shaken and confused in more ways than I could possibly list. I don’t suppose I’ll ever be whole again, I just can’t be.

I know the truth, the reason for our meager existence. We had reached out far beyond, and something had answered our call. Whether or not it was truly what we would call ‘god’, I can’t say. But I will say, after what I saw happen to Diabek, and what became of Lundgren, I can’t think of a better word for it. I think god is something we never could’ve imagined. It holds us all within the palm of it’s hand, and with a simple flick of the wrist, we would cease to be. There is no love, there is no salvation, there is only that which lies beyond the margins of reality. That which we have no possible hope in understanding.

One thing is also certain; it is watching us, and it does not want us meddling in that which we have no business seeing. We are set amidst an ocean of infinite black seas, and it was not meant for us to travel far. That final message could not have been clearer, and anytime I find myself drifting, I remember those two simple words relayed by the quantum computer in its last moments of life.

“TURN BACK.”

 

CREDIT: Zacharius Frost

The post When Science Found God appeared first on Creepypasta.

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My Neighbor’s Dog Has a Zipper

My Neighbor's Dog Has a ZipperReading Time: 11 minutesAt first, I didn’t think anything of it. My neighbor would stop to chat with me, leash in hand, and I would catch glimpses of the metal slider dangling from its belly. I assumed it was wearing a piece of pet clothing, or that perhaps it was the byproduct of some awkward veterinarian procedure, but the more we chatted and the more I saw this mystery zipper, the more I realized it was out of the ordinary; clearly imbedded in the dog’s skin. It drew my attention every time we engaged in small talk, until finally one day, I decided to ask about it.

“Say, what is that zipper for on the little guy’s belly, anyway?”

“Oh, that? It’s a long story, I wouldn’t want to bore you.”

“I’ve got nothing but time.”

I wondered if she could see the beads of sweat forming above my brow.

“Really it’s nothing, just a safety measure.”

And that was it. She pretty much laughed it off, granting me little in the way of an explanation. Thinking back, her responses were downright vague and deflective. She could see how curious I was, so why not just tell me? And what exactly did she mean by “safety measure”?

As unfruitful as our conversation was, I didn’t press the matter any further. Days, weeks, months went by. I would occasionally see the dog’s strange cosmetic feature, but I brushed it off every time, knowing it would only haunt me if I dwelled on it. Still, the thought itched in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until a few months had passed that I would finally have the nerve to scratch it.

I was pulling up weeds along my fence when I looked over at my neighbor’s place, noticing the dog lying on the back porch. A stray cat wandered by, as often happened in our neighborhood. Without so much as a warning growl or malicious stance, the dog trotted over to the cat and scarfed it down, the sound of sharp teeth colliding with bone. The cat screeched in agony until it was no more. In a minute flat, its entire body was devoured. I was in shock.

The cat’s cries alerted my neighbor to the situation. She raced outside, grabbed the dog by the collar, and pulled him into the house. Through the sliding door, it was tough to make out, but I swear she unzipped him and reached inside, seemingly adjusting one of his organs. He didn’t flinch, not even a bit. After pulling her arm out, the dog dropped to the floor, dead as a doornail, from the looks of it. She then carried him outside and placed him back on the porch, arranging him into a sleeping position before getting in her car and leaving for the day.

This five-minute span of visual information was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed. Words like gruesome, strange, and horrific are too tame to describe what I saw. I was appalled beyond measure.

After the shock wore off, I hopped the fence and approached the dog’s carcass. I felt its neck; cold to the touch, no pulse. I looked to its underside, and there it was. That god-forsaken zipper in all of its mysterious glory. I felt kind of bad for the dog dying, but I had to know what that damned thing was there for. I needed an explanation for not only the dog’s, but my neighbor’s odd behavior just moments ago.

I slowly unzipped the dog’s belly, placating my curiosity with the satisfying sound of metal sliding across metal. I spread each side of the opening with my hands and peered in, divulging the animal’s inner workings. What I saw was absolutely dumbfounding.

My neighbor’s dog was… animatronic. There was wiring, gears, a tank where its stomach should have been; the whole nine yards. It didn’t make any sense, but there it was, staring me back from behind the zipper.

After scurrying back home in shock, I decided that my best course of action would be to call Animal Control. I could tell them my neighbor’s dog trespassed on my lawn and was attacking the neighborhood cats. They would show up, examine the robotic carcass, and then go from there. I knew there wasn’t a protocol for that sort of thing, but I assumed they could take care of things and contact the appropriate people, whether it be the police, the government, or The National Enquirer. As long as this weird predicament was taken care of, I could sleep easy, knowing that my neighbor’s strange robot dog wasn’t going around eating whatever it pleased.

Simple, right? Nope. Far from it.

Animal Control took a while to get there. By the time they arrived, my neighbor had come home and disposed of the evidence, hiding the dog somewhere in her home. The Animal Control officer apologized for the misunderstanding and left, leaving my neighbor on her front porch, glaring in my direction. It appeared privacy meant nothing to the local authorities. Just my luck.

The days that followed were… different. My neighbor’s dog had sprung to life, re-activated by its master, no doubt. They would walk their usual path around the cul-de-sac, but would not stop for small talk. I knew her dirty little secret, after all. I was no longer a friendly neighbor to be conversed with, oh no. I was an enemy; a danger to this woman’s unusual way of life. Even if I meant no harm to her or her strange choice of pet, she didn’t seem to see it that way. She continued to give me the cold shoulder for about a month and a half before finally speaking with me again on one of her daily strolls.

“Hey there!”

“Hello. Everything alright?”

“Just peachy. I’m having a cookout on Saturday at noon. You’re more than welcome to come.”

Strange. We weren’t on speaking terms for over a month, and now I was suddenly invited over? Maybe this was her extending an olive branch my way; her way of saying, “No hard feelings.”

“Yeah, sure. I can make it. Sounds like a good time.”

“Great! I’ll add you to the list.”

As she walked away, I felt the need to apologize, even if her dog was a weird, cat-eating robot.

“Hey, about that Animal Control call. I just wanted to say-“

“Don’t worry about it. Water under the bridge. See you Saturday!”

She hurried off home, and that was that. Problem solved.

Or so I thought.

The night before the cookout, I couldn’t sleep. I kept hearing what sounded like footsteps creeping around the perimeter of my house. Every time I got up to investigate, the sound ceased, and the coast appeared to be clear. It was either a prank at my expense, a burglar taking their sweet time to pull the trigger, or ghosts roaming around in the night. Either way, it left me anxious, making sleep a distant dream, just out of my reach.

During a particularly loud set of footsteps, I raced downstairs, just in time to catch four glowing dots peering in through my living room window. This was enough to make my neck hairs stand upright. Though terrified, I wasted no time grabbing a ball bat and storming out my front door to greet the would-be intruders. I may be old, but I can still kick some ass when needed, especially when it involves crossing my property line.

To my astonishment, my yard was empty. I covered every side of the house, only to find no one – not a soul in sight in any direction I looked. I don’t care how fast you can sprint, NOBODY could have made it out of eyeshot in such a short period of time, even in those low-light conditions. Baffled, and even more anxious than before, I locked up every last door and window in my home before crawling under the covers like a frightened child, scared of the mystery figures lurking in the shadows.

The footsteps dissipated over the course of the night, and as the sun came up over the horizon, so to did my fear. My waking nightmare had ended, but not before putting a weary, sleep-deprived frame of mind in its place. In a sluggish slur of movement, I grudgingly made my way to my neighbor’s house around noon, ready as I would ever be for the neighborhood get-together.

Oddly enough, there were no cars in the driveway, aside from her own. I wondered if I got the date wrong, but after knocking on the door, she greeted me with a smile and rushed me into the house. We exchanged pleasantries, and she sat me down at a bar stool in the kitchen. After a few moments of awkward silence, I mustered up the courage to ask about the elephant in the room.

“So… where is everybody?”

“You’re already here, silly.”

I tilted my head, puzzled.

“What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else. You’re the only person I invited.”

All at once the pieces clicked into place. I felt stupid for not realizing it sooner. Her sudden kindness, the noises the night before. There was no cookout. There was never any cookout. I was in the middle of a trap, lured in largely due to my own idiocy. I should have guessed that something sinister was going on the moment I unzipped that dog.

“So, what happens now?” I asked.

“You’ll see. Just sit tight.”

I quickly jumped up from my chair and turned towards the door. With inhuman speed, she bolted in front of me, a large kitchen knife in hand.

“Not so fast.”

I stood, still as stone, intimidated by her fluid motions and firm stance.

“We need to talk.”

“About what?”

I knew exactly what.

“Don’t play dumb with me.”

And that’s when I noticed it. On her chest, peaking through the top of her blouse. I would have missed it had the sunlight coming through the window not danced across its metal.

She had a zipper too.

Stricken to my core with fear, my gaze was interrupted by an angry hand gesture.

“My eyes are up here!”

The moments that ensued are a bit fuzzy, but I can only guess that I was knocked out or chloroformed, as I awoke strapped to a chair in a new room. Given the staircase, I assumed I was in her basement, though this realization didn’t help me any. I attempted to break free of my restraints, but it was no use; unless she were to free me herself, I was fastened to that chair for life.

In absence of mobility, I decided to give the place a once-over. The staircase was to my left and a concrete wall to my right, but directly in front of me was a work station, complete with about a dozen computers. This is where my neighbor sat, a USB cord snaking out of her unzipped chest, typing away at a blinding rate. Her motives were still unclear to me.

Though confined to the one view, I was able to turn my neck enough in both directions to form a decent picture of what was behind me. It was a wall of cages, each housing an identical copy of her dog. They didn’t move, even in the slightest, likely just as animatronic as she was. What on God’s green earth had I stumbled into?

Just then, my neighbor ripped the cord from her chest and walked over to me.

“Ahh, good. You’re awake. Did you have a nice nap?”

I refused to reply, looking her up and down in disgust, trying to make out what this thing was that was speaking to me.

“What’s the matter? Dog got your tongue?”

I remained silent, in lieu of her taunting me.

“That’s alright. You just need to listen. Sit tight. I’ll be right back”

She walked over to her work station and grabbed something before reclaiming her spot in front of me.

“I’ve worked too hard in this location to have you screwing things up on me. Then again, it’s my own fault. I was careless. I never should have left my core on the porch like that.”

I assumed she was talking about the dog.

“I want you to look at this.”

She placed the object at eye-level. It was a badge of sorts, upon which was a logo that read “Syntheti-Tech.”

“I’m an android. I work for a large company, moving from location to location, gathering specific information that is crucial to our initiative. You can’t know anything beyond that. Hell, you already know far too much.”

I hadn’t noticed it at first, but she seemed to keep playing with her zipper.

“God, I am so sick of this fucking meat suit.”

Before my very eyes, she removed her clothing and unzipped herself down to the groin. In the most unnatural way possible, she slid out of her own skin, revealing to me her true form. She was nothing but a pile of electronics, pieced together in a human shape. It was a strange sight, nauseating in every sense of the word. The way she moved and spoke while like this was downright sickening.

“I can’t say anymore, but I want you to know that our work is necessary. If you were to speak these truths to the world above, you would be jeopardizing everything we’ve accomplished. You have to submit to our intentions and see that they are just.”

I didn’t know what to make of this. I simply looked away, wishing not to see her grotesque, animatronic face any longer. Unfortunately for me, she grabbed it and forced it in her direction anyway, the feeling of cold metal enveloping my jaw.

“You need to PROMISE to me that you will submit. You are not to tell anyone of any of this. Do you understand?”

I nodded in agreement, but only because I wanted her hand off of my face. Luckily, she let go and backed away.

“Good. You know, we’re not so bad when you get to know us. In a sense, we’re just like you.”

Internally, I scoffed at the thought of this. I was nothing like her, and not just because of her appearance; I was never one to go around kidnapping my neighbors, holding them captive in my basement. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

“Well, this is it. I’ll need you to take over from here. Don’t make the same mistake I did, lest you regret it for the rest of your life.”

This was the last thing she said to me, though I had no idea what any of it meant. I must have been knocked unconscious again, because the next thing I remember was waking up on her basement floor, no longer bound by my restraints. For one reason or another, she didn’t kill me. I was a free man.

Without warning, a group of trained operatives burst through the basement door and raced down to help me up.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes. I’m fine. What’s going on?”

I noticed a few of the men walk on opposite sides of the room to gather evidence. One guy ripped open a cage, grabbed one of the dogs, and unzipped him, revealing it to be nothing but a hollow carcass.

“They’re empty, sir. A collection of shells.”

“Just as I suspected. No matter. Load them into the truck with the hard-drives. Hopefully she didn’t wipe them before she left.”

I must have looked completely bewildered, because the gentleman grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me straight in the eye.

“Everything’s fine now. We’ve been on this woman’s tail for a long time. We may not have captured her, but this is still a big win. And it’s all thanks to you.”

I was still confused, but more so relieved that it was all over.

“Are you sure you’re alright? Don’t need a ride to the hospital?”

I shook my head, not wishing to be poked and prodded after what I’d endured. I didn’t trust doctors much anyway. I just wanted to go home.

“Okay. Let me walk you to your house.”

I agreed, and we were off. I couldn’t wait to get inside and put the whole ordeal behind me. That was the plan, anyway.

Whatever government officials they were, the entire crew picked the place clean and left my neighborhood within a couple of hours. That night I received a call from them for a statement regarding the situation. I obliged and asked some questions myself. Though the information was privileged, I guilted them into giving up some details, claiming I needed some “peace of mind” so I could sleep at night. The fact that I was just a ‘frail, old man’ helped too.

It would seem my neighbor was a high-ranking disciple in an android cult hell-bent on infiltrating various government agencies. They were currently in the process of recruiting new members to aid in their cause. That’s all I was told, which was more than I thought I’d get. This was enough to placate my curiosity and keep me from dwelling on the events as they unfolded. I thanked the man on the other end and hung up, content with my findings.

After ending the call, I heard a knock at my front door. I didn’t usually get visitors that late at night, but I suspected it would be one of my neighbors, asking about the sting operation that just took place next door. I opened the door, and to my surprise, there was no person there to greet me. No. Not a person. Instead, there was a dog, identical to my neighbor’s. Before I could process its arrival, it trotted inside and sat on the floor. A voice then emanated from its collar.

“Shut the door.”

I did as the dog said, baffled and afraid.

“Hello. I am SERIAL #724234. I will be your core companion on your journey of fulfillment. True adventure awaits. Would you like to begin your first task?”

I didn’t know how to respond or what in God’s name was happening, but it was at this point that I felt an itch running up the length of my torso. It was subtle at first but grew to the point that I had to reach down my shirt and scratch at it. That’s when I felt a familiar metal caress my fingers. It took a moment for it to sink in, but I knew exactly what I was feeling.

It was a zipper.

 

CREDIT: Christopher Maxim

(Click HERE to check out Christopher Maxim’s latest book, How To Exit Your Body and Other Strange Tales)

 

 

The post My Neighbor’s Dog Has a Zipper appeared first on Creepypasta.

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Worlds Without Heroes

Worlds Without HeroesReading Time: 6 minutes*Static*

…Is it…

*Crackle*

No…just turn it…tha-

*Static*

*Pop*

KJ: Hello? *tap tap* Hello? There we go. Okay, starting now. My name is Katie Johns, and the following testimony from Andrew Kirby is being recorded in an attempt to preserve our history and make sure a tragedy like this never has to befall another soul. Andrew, can you share with us the earliest memory you have of the event, or those involved in it?

AK: I remember it like it was yesterday. *clears throat* I was in the car with my parents and my sister. Of course we were in the back seat, doing dumb things that kids do; counting how many of the same car was on the road, playing slug bug, you know. There weren’t any confirmed sightings yet. The most we had were blurry pictures, or videos so shaky that the most you saw was what someone could maybe argue was possibly a foot or hand… but here we are, the four of us in our little car, and out of nowhere this oncoming semi starts to drift into our lane. Damn thing doesn’t even try to slow down, instead it seems to be accelerating. It’s plowing through the cars in front of us, just about to collide… and then… *Sniffle*

KJ: Its ok Andrew, just take your time.

AK: And then that’s when I saw him. I had closed my eyes to brace for impact, and when nothing happened, I opened them back up, and he was just there, floating in mid-air with the semi held effortlessly above his head. *Crying* He was like something out of a comic book; cape flowing majestically in the wind, rippling muscles barely contained by the costume that covered them, a big symbol on his chest that must have been from some unknown language.  Sure, his skin was a shade of red, his eyes were totally white, and he had a strange fin on his head instead of hair, but as a kid, you know a superhero when you see one.

KJ: And then what happened?

AK: What do you mean what happened? He smiled, set the semi down, and then flew away. He saved my day, and then went to save someone else’s. The whole world knows what happened next; he kept saving the day. I still remember when he risked his like to stop a meteor from hitting the earth. We all thought it wiped him out, but of course, we were wrong. I mean, it was foolish of us to think that a simple comet could take out Red Ultra. *Chuckle* Yeah the name seems a little xenophobic or racist, but he seemed to like it. *Chuckle* And then who could forget when he rounded up all the nuclear weapons across the globe, took them right out of our galaxy, hurling them into a black hole? Like something straight out of a superhero movie. Or what about how he exposed the illuminati, while also providing the evidence that they had been behind all of the terror attacks and wars as far back as written record goes? On top of that, he helped us set up a one world government that ended poverty, famine, and even inequality. And then when he was elected as President, refused the position because it was not his place to rule us! …It seems like so long ago now…

KJ: What were some of the biggest moments for you, personally? The moments that really pushed him through to the status of superhero?

AK: The biggest moment for me personally was probably when he saved my family, but I think what really made me think of him as a full blown, straight from the comics, bonafide superhero, was when Jace Lincoln started his xenophobe terrorist group and declared war on him. The best comics always have a hero whose greatest enemy sprang up because of him, whether justified or not. To me, that was when I knew. Throughout all of the times they fought, all the terrible things Jace did to try to defame or destroy him, Red never killed him. Never even thought about it. He let our legal system do its thing. I think that’s why he became a hero to all of us. Why, even though he didn’t look like, we accepted him as one of us. *Heavy Sobbing*

KJ: I know this is difficult, Andrew. Are you able to continue?

AK: Yeah… yeah I’ll be fine. *Sniffling* I think that’s what makes today so hard. Remembering what we had, and trying to come to terms with what has happened since.

KJ: Do you remember where you were the day it happened? The day we lost our hero? *Whimper*

AK: Do I remember where I was the day we lost our hero? *Loud bang against wall* We didn’t lose him! He was taken from us! Implying that we lost him is placing the blame on the victim! He was stolen! His legacy shattered! Katie, I love you like a daughter, but fuck you for saying ‘we lost’ him! *Loud banging on wall* *Fast, deep breaths*

KJ: Andrew, please. That’s not what I meant, and you know that. This is hard for all of us. *Sniffle* If you need a moment, that is fine, just please answer the question when you are ready.

AK: Yeah Katie… I remember the day our hero was taken from us. *Slow, deep inhale* I had just gotten off work. I walked to my car and noticed an abnormal amount of police, firefighters, and EMTs driving by with their sirens blaring. The color of the sky was an unnatural orange. I drove home and didn’t see a single civilian outside their homes. The people I did see were all huddled around their TVs, watching the events unfold. Though of course, I wasn’t aware of what events were unfolding yet. When I got home, I flipped on the news, and that’s when I saw what everyone was so entranced by. *Hard swallow* Hundreds of ships had descended on the earth, one for each capital city. Leaders had been taken hostage, along with the world President, and were rounded up in a field in the middle of England like cattle. Along the bottom of the screen, I saw a tagline continuously scrolling that read, ‘Red Ultra missing, presumed dead’. I was more frightened than I had ever been. Then we saw the creatures emerge from their ships, clad in metal armor and space helmets… *Sobbing*

KJ: Andrew, before we continue, if Red Ultra was able to hear this, what would you like to say to him?

AK: What would I like to say to him? *Slow deep breaths* Red Ultra… if you’re out there… fuck you! How could you do this to us? You were our hero! We saw you risk your life for us! You taught us how to exist with those we don’t understand, and even those we once feared! You united us under your banner of heroism! But on the day we needed you the most… *Rapid breaths slowly becoming slow deep breaths*

KJ: Go on Andrew, what happened when we needed him the most?

AK: He flew down out of the sky the way he always did – right at the last second. He stared down the invaders…*Sobbing*…and then he knelt. The invaders took off their helmets, and to the horror of the world, they all looked just like him. The same species. And then, we all sat and watched as he used his strength, his speed, and every other power he once used to save us.., *pause…* to break us. He went through and proceeded to skin, immolate, electrocute, dismember, disembowel, and shatter every single leader we had. Then he casually walked into one of the ships and came back out with Jace Lincoln bound and gagged. *Long pause* That’s when we realized that every word Jace said was true. Every transmission between Red and his superiors, every blurry photo of clandestine meetings, every radar reading showing ships surrounding the earth, every bit of evidence he found that pointed to the catastrophes being created by an outside force, or that the meteor never even existed… all of it was true. *Long silent pause* Then we saw Red pull Jace’s head from his body and crush it beneath his heel.

*slight crying heard from both*

KJ: I’m sorry to make you relive this, Andrew. I know it’s hard. But you’re one of the last among us who remembers how this all started.

AK: I know… and that’s why it has to be done. For the last 30 years, they have harvested our planet to the point that there is nothing left – and then about a year ago, they all just flew away. Our world is falling apart. We’re all just waiting on one more natural disaster to wipe us out. We have compiled evidence that suggests that this isn’t the first planet they have done this to, or even the first universe, and my guess is we won’t be the last. But if we can get this message out before the last of our radio towers’ power plants collapse, then maybe we can save another world from sharing our fate.

KJ: We were able to get some readings from their ship as they left, showing that they are able to resonate at various frequencies, possibly allowing them to shift between dimensions. After spending the last year doing various tests, we have found a way to send this through to various frequencies at once, as well as encoding a written version within the waves that will be transcribed by me following this recording. We have no clue how it will reach you, or when, but hopefully someone out there will receive this while there is still a chance.

AK: We believe we may have been warned of this once before, but none of us saw the truth in the message. Please, if you are hearing this, reading this, or have received this in any format at all, and take anything away from this message, take away this; the red skinned, white eyed visitor is not there to save you, he is there to make sure you belong to a world without heroes.

Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.

LEARN FROM US.

 

CREDIT: Johaan Alfsen

The post Worlds Without Heroes appeared first on Creepypasta.

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Backwards

BackwardsReading Time: 4 minutesYou wake up to a text one morning. It is 7:03—you blink, sleepily. It’s from your best friend, Tom. The message reads,

hey! do you wanna hang out some time today?? i’m free whenever

You blink at your phone and then send him a response.

yeah, I can be there around ten

With that, you turn your phone off, roll over, and go back to sleep.

When you wake up, the clock beside you reads 9:26. Instinctively, you check your phone. You have a text.

cool! see you then

It’s from Tom, of course, so you roll out of bed to begin your day. You have some breakfast, throw on a pair of jeans and a comfortable shirt (a red one with the word “Adidas” spelled boldly across the front), and you head out the door.

You have known Tom for a very long time. He is a good friend of yours, and you have a lot in common. He loves music, is into photography, and is, in general, a very laid-back person. Today should be a good day.

You pull up at his house, and once the car is stopped, you text him.

can I come through the front?

…i guess so… are you here?

…yes?

oh…ok come on in

With this response, you head in through the door of Tom’s house, slightly confused about the conversation.

Once inside, you call to him: “Hey, what’s going on?”

“I don’t know, you tell me! What’s up?” The response comes from the kitchen, where you find Tom sitting and eating cereal. “You want some?” he asks. You shrug and grab a bowl from the cupboard. As you fill it, you ask him, “What’s going on, man?”

His mouth is full, so he responds with a, “Hm?”

“You asked me to come over… what’s up?”

He looks genuinely confused for a moment, but then starts to laugh.

“Oh yeah, I know… I was just messing with you back there.”

“Ok… well, cool. Any particular reason I’m here, then?”

“Not really… I guess I just wanted to hang out.”

“Nice. So do you want to watch a movie or something?”

“Yeah, if you want. It’s up to you—you’re the guest.”

As he says this, you notice something peculiar about his shirt. It’s clearly supposed to say, “Walt Disney,” underneath a blue castle, but the words are backwards. You question him about this and he responds quickly.

“Oh, this? It’s not really Disney—I think they just reversed the words so that they wouldn’t infringe on copyright or something. I don’t know. I got it from Wal-Mart.”

He laughs again, which is odd, because you don’t find anything particularly funny. It’s a nervous laugh. You forgive this, and chuckle with him.

“Ok, that’s weird. Well do you wanna—”

“No, it’s not weird, it’s just the way I bought the shirt.”

He interrupts you sharply with this thought. It catches you off guard.

“Oh, I know it is. It’s just kind of funny, that’s all.”

There is an awkward pause. You speak again.

“So do you want to watch a movie?”

“Sure… pick something out on my Netflix. I’m gonna grab some more cereal.”

You move to his TV and turn it on—you know how to operate it, since you’ve been over here pretty much every other day all summer. You find a movie, sit on the couch, and scoot to the right to make room for Tom, who plops down beside you.

You’re more concerned with him than you are with the film, though. Is there something wrong? You look over at him to see if you can discern any noticeable distress. He seems to be enjoying the movie well enough, but…

You blink. Something isn’t right about his face. After looking closely, you realize what it is—there’s a mole on his cheek just beneath his right eye. You know that he has a mole on his face, but you realize that it should be on the other side. You look away, and then look back. Are you imagining it? You must be imagining it. Moles don’t move like that. You must be mistaken.

You go back to watching the film, but you are eventually drawn back to his face. You couldn’t be imagining it—that spot was on the other side. A quick glance at a family picture on the wall confirms your suspicion, but you’re not quite sure what to do with this information. You try to forget it, and go back to watching the film, but your sense of unease grows. You have the irrational thought that Tom has been altered somehow, that someone has taken him apart and put him back together, but made a mistake somewhere. You try to shake the feeling.

Tom gets up from his spot beside you for more cereal, which is nothing odd—he’s always been able to put away at least four bowls of Cap’n Crunch. He comes back in with the box and pours it into his bowl. You blink. He then proceeds to pour milk over the cereal. You can’t put your finger on why this is making you so uncomfortable. He lifts his spoon and uses it to carry the cereal from the bowl to his mouth, and you realize what’s wrong.

He’s using his right hand. He should be using his left hand. Tom is left handed. Why isn’t he using his left hand? You feel an incredible wave of insecurity wash over you, but before you can look away, he notices you staring.

“What?” He says, in a more threatening tone than you’d expected to hear.

“Nothing—I just… um…” You get up from the couch. “I really need to go to the bathroom.” You begin to move towards the stairs.

“You can’t use the bathroom. Don’t use the bathroom!” Tom shouts in a dangerously urgent tone. You hear him get up from the couch hurriedly.

You move faster, determined to get away and get to the bathroom.

“STOP!” He yells after you. He is running now. “Don’t go in there!!”

You sprint to the bathroom door, slam it shut, and lock it. You turn around, expecting to be standing in between his two bathroom mirrors, but are greeted with a different sight.

The mirror above the sink is smashed. On the ground lays Tom, face up, with the words, “Walt Disney” written correctly on his shirt. The mole is on the left side of his face. He is not moving.

You’re about to shout something when you hear the sound of glass shattering behind you. Upon turning around, you see a figure springing through the newly broken mirror that hangs on the wall, and the last thing you see before everything goes dark is the word “Adidas,” spelled backwards across its bright red shirt.

 

CREDIT: Daniel Z. Miller

The post Backwards appeared first on Creepypasta.

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If Glass Could Scream

If Glass Could ScreamReading Time: 4 minutes“Purgatory on Earth” read the flyer as it flapped unevenly in the wind, poorly stapled against the wooden post of a power line. It was an interesting title, not exactly the alluring intro phrase most religious recruitment ads used. For what I knew of Purgatory, it wasn’t exactly a place most people were itching to get into in a hurry. Still, I was curious enough to see exactly what sort of sales pitch this group had prepared, and I had nothing better to do than wait for the bus to take me back home from work.

Are you tired of suffering? Are you tired of feeling guilty? Are you sick of having to confess your sins each and every time you stray from the path? What if you could say goodbye to all of that? What if you could purge your sins and all of those negative feelings for good? 

We don’t mean when you get to Heaven. We mean NOW. TODAY! Cleanse your soul forever by hearing His voice. The Choir of Heaven will deliver you to peace on Earth. Join us. Salvation is waiting.

Something was weird about the entire message. On one hand, it seemed like a normal new-age Church, drawing followers away from more traditional confession-based religions. On the other hand, it was quite the lofty promise that their Church could make a person never suffer or feel guilt ever again. Hearing the voice of God (whom I assumed they were referring to) and the Choir of Heaven just seemed like fancy ways of telling you they read from the Bible and sung church hymns. In their defense, it couldn’t be easy trying to lure people to a startup Church. We were in the Southeastern United States, after all. You could find churches of every denomination with ease, whether you wanted to or not.

At the bottom of their flyer there was only a website. No address or phone number to be found. I figured this was either a very new church or a glorified religious podcast.

“More like ‘Purgatory on Tape’,” I muttered to myself with a smile, overly amused at my own joke. I took a photo of the flyer with my phone and loaded onto the bus that had finally arrived.

A couple of weeks passed before I even thought about that flyer again. It had only been a passing curiosity while I waited for the bus. I wasn’t particularly looking for any religion in my life, let alone “salvation.” I was swiping through my pics in a vain attempt to find a better profile picture when it came to mind again. Thoroughly convinced I looked like a dad who had just discovered selfies, I came upon the photo I had taken of the website. Curious and with time to kill, I typed in the address and was redirected to an unremarkable page. The website was no more than a white slate with a play icon and a single sentence in black text that read “Please use headphones.”

I searched through my cluttered desk for a set of earbuds, wondering why I was going through all this trouble for what was probably no more than a low-budget sermon. Finding a tangled pair, I impatiently unraveled them, plugged in, and clicked play. I awaited to hear this ‘magical secret’ to living a life free of all guilt and pain.

The sound that came through those headphones did not belong to any preacher or church choir. I wish I could find the right adjectives to describe the horror that flew into my ears. It feels as though any word belonging to the English language is unworthy of being attached to it. Calling it a high pitched shrill might give you an idea, but it would be like giving you a candle so that you might understand the Sun. Imagine if glass could scream. That’s the only way I can put it.

I vomited instantly, ruining my laptop, and reeled back to escape the sound. My chair fell back and the earbuds yanked free of me. I came down hard on the ground, my head smashing into thin carpet. I felt nothing. The Sound did not stop. I flailed about trying to get to my feet. I could tell I was screaming. I could not hear my own screams, or feel them vibrate in my throat. But I knew I was screaming. I stumbled to my desk, grabbing my puke-covered laptop and ripping out the battery.

The Sound did not stop.

I vomited again. I could not taste it. My confusion was dwarfed by the Sound. It burned its way through my mind; my thoughts could not compete with its Scream. My legs buckled and I collapsed onto the desk. My entire body trembled. I didn’t want to move anymore, as if laying motionless would bring me some comfort. There was none.  No sleep ever came, but darkness did. I was blind before sunset.

I don’t know how many days passed. I only knew the Sound, and that it was the reason I lay unmoving in a puddle of my own filth. I wanted the end to come, but the Noise drowned out even my desire for death.

Then there was no sound.

There was only a Voice. I could not understand what it said. Its words were fire and light, and they enveloped me in a brilliant flash. I felt myself burn away, my last thoughts a mix of peace and ash. That was three days ago.

I’m writing this now from a print shop nearest to my apartment; my laptop is unrecoverable. I know you want to know what happened, but I cannot give you any explanation that will satisfy your curiosity. Nothing I can say will graze the surface of what I have witnessed. Only the Voice can show you. I can only tell you that I have found peace, and it burns.

I have to go, my flyers are ready and there is so much work to be done.

 

CREDIT: Jameson Curnick

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Let Me Take Your Picture

Let Me Take Your PictureReading Time: 5 minutesGuys, I need help. I’m posting this from my car parked at a truck stop just outside Keiser, Arkansas.

My parents own a cabin in rural Tennessee. Since they’re getting older, we’ve been splitting the responsibility of caring for the property. I go down there by myself a few times a year, to get away from the city and check up on the place. I usually stop in Keiser because they have gas, a grocery store, and a little park where I can stretch my legs if I need to.

I have the next couple days off work and decided to spend them at the cabin, so I packed up and left town. Everything was completely normal until I stopped in Keiser.

I pulled off the highway a little after three o’clock and went to the park, thinking I’d go for a walk before getting some food. Nothing was out of the ordinary at first, but as I crested the first small hill, I saw a woman with a stroller blocking the path. She was looking at her phone, unperturbed by the harsh sunlight beaming down on her.

I approached her with trepidation. I found it strange that she’d choose to text there, instead of in the shade of the pavilion to her left? Maybe she was having an intense conversation via text….? I tried to quash the more worrisome thought, maybe she’s on drugs.

I tapped her on the shoulder. “Everything OK, ma’am?” I asked.

The woman didn’t look up. She didn’t even seem to realize I was there.

I went to pass her on my left side when I saw the baby and stopped. It wasn’t moving. Its face was bright red, and chubby little arms lay listlessly against the navy fabric of the stroller. Orange-yellow vomit, long since dried, crusted around its mouth and down its shirt.

“Oh my God.” My voice trembled. That child was dead. I was sure of it. She was standing out here on her fucking phone, and her baby was dead and she didn’t even seem to notice. Gingerly, I reached out and tapped its hand. It was warm, but not as warm as a living human should be.

The woman snapped her head towards me and I jumped. She pressed her lips into a soft, vague smile. I smiled back, hoping it would dispel the confusion I felt.

“You’re so pretty,” she cooed at me.

My smile faltered. Before I could respond, she pointed her phone at me. I saw the minute movements of her thumb pressing down on the shutter button.

I held up a defensive hand and tried to keep my voice calm, but urgent. “Ma’am? You should move to the shade. I’m going to call an ambulance – ”

She released her hand from the stroller and started to walk towards me, still holding out the phone. “You’re so pretty,” she said, moving around to get different angles.

As she got close, I noticed something was wrong with her pupils. One was the size of a pinprick, while the other was fully dilated. I started taking steps backwards. I was officially frightened.

“Let me take your picture,” she cajoled.

“Ma’am, please. Can I use your phone to call for help?” I couldn’t help it; my voice trembled. The sight of that poor little thing in its seat, unresponsive, broke my heart. I cursed my decision to leave my phone behind. This woman was clearly having a mental health crisis.

Her face twisted into an ugly scowl. “Let me take your picture,” she growled. She started walking towards me, then jogging, her phone still extended in her outstretched hand.

I started to run, no longer interested in mediating this problem alone. She yelled after me, “LET ME TAKE YOUR PICTURE!”

I sprinted back down the path, digging for my keys as I went. I yelped when I felt nails dig into my shoulder. When I turned around, the woman grabbed my throat.

It took a minute to realize that she wasn’t trying to choke me. She was trying to hold me still. She centered her phone right in my face and began mindlessly hitting the shutter button again.

I took as deep of a breath as I could – then, I seized the phone. I don’t know where everyone else is, but it’s hot as fuck in Arkansas right now. So her hands were sweaty, and the phone left her grip easily. With a terrified cry, I threw it as hard as I could.

The woman’s eyes widened in shock at the thwack of the phone hitting the asphalt. She began to wheeze, inhaling sharply through her nose and exhaling in loud gasps. Her hands curled into claws, and I swear I saw her skin start to go gray underneath the pink tinge. She let out a shriek. I flinched; she sounded exactly like the coyote calls that sometimes echoed through the trees at night.

Then, to my surprise, she released me and hauled ass towards the phone. Stunned, I froze for a moment before jumping into my car. I pulled out of the parking lot and away from the woman, who had fallen to her knees next to the shattered phone.

I tried to call 911 as I drove, but I kept getting voicemail. I was relieved to see a cop car parked in a diner parking lot up the street. Getting out of the car, I approached the cruiser.

“Officer? There’s a woman in the park, with a baby – ”

A burst of static drowned out the end of my sentence. Voices from the cop’s radio. I could make out snippets – “We need backup”; “EMTs en route”; “-not responding, need-“.

I listened, the churning in my stomach getting worse every moment.

The officer leaned out of the window and smiled at me. “You’re so pretty,” he said.

I started to back away.

“Let me take your picture,” he repeated.

Unable to speak, I shook my head. The noise from his walkie stopped, replaced by a clear male voice: “Let me take your picture.”

What sounded like an explosion crackled through the device, followed by screams and shattering glass. A few seconds later, the original sound rumbled across the parking lot. I looked in the direction of the sound and saw a pyre of smoke rising into the cloudless blue sky.

The cop got out of his car, soft smile on his face, phone pointed at me. “Let me –”

I didn’t let him finish. I ran to my car and got the hell out of Keiser. I drove a few miles down the road and stopped at the truck stop where I am now.

So, can someone please help me get in touch with the authorities? 911 still isn’t answering and I really don’t know what else to do.

I can’t get the image of that baby out of my head. Even worse, although it might just be paranoia, whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface, I can’t help but think…I’m so pretty…I should take a picture.

 

CREDIT: Professional Succubus

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The Perfect Dish

I inhaled slowly, relishing the sharp, sweet scent of the fresh tomato sauce as I spread it. Though my touch was delicate and my movement precise, I couldn’t keep the swatches of bone-white dough from materializing in the ladle’s wake. But that was easy to correct.

Measuring the sauce by eye, I painted over each ghostly trail as an artist corrected imperfections on the canvas. Under appreciated as it was, cooking was still as much an art form as sculpting marble, or painting the ceiling of a chapel. The patience, skill, dedication, and raw talent necessary to combine the ingredients that inspired me into masterpieces of cuisine were no less than those of any Renaissance master applying themselves to their art. And if cooking was an art, then I was, without question, the Michelangelo of cuisine!

Tonight had been years in the making. The recipe was elegant in its simplicity, but the ingredients to do my masterpiece justice had taken time to procure and prepare. Shopping for the meat had been the hardest part. Nothing found in a supermarket would do, and though the farmer’s market had more organic options, it was often too crowded to judge the quality. I had a sixth sense when it came to knowing which animal would prove worthy of my efforts.

It was all in the eyes. A glance at the right eyes and electricity would hum through every nerve, arousing all my senses at once; it was all I needed to know I had found what I was searching for, and not two months back I had finally found Them.

I had felt the blood quicken in my veins when I spied her alone. The distended girth of her belly had filled me with awe and a tentative joy, but it was when I had discovered that she was but one half of a bonded (and obviously breeding) pair that my considerable, though already quivering self-control was pushed to its limits.

It had been a difficult acquisition, but they were mine now; my own little budding family.

I had never had a family before, and though I found myself enjoying the changes inherent in raising my new stock with affection, I quickly discovered it made the matter of selecting parts to harvest delicate. Now, I’m no fan of slaughter, so if I can harvest without killing, I will do so, and normally the selection process allows for a variety of cuts to be had without killing the stock. However, my beautiful pair were fickle. It seemed few of the available cuts would leave them in a state still willing to breed together. I was gentle in my treatment of them, but firm, and eventually I had settled on a portion of leg from each.

You may think me callus in this venture — harvesting without slaughtering, taking the meat and organs, yet keeping them alive — but I assure you, I hold my stock in the highest regard and tend to their every need, personally. Their quality of life does not lack for the parts I take, and I cherish them dearly, even after they have finally contributed their last.

Happily, my careful selection meant many more to come, and I rewarded them generously for their sacrifices.

Shortly after I had procured the leg cuts — fatty from him, and lean from her — I had cubed and ground both cuts to the dulcet strains of Mozart’s La Ci Darem La Mano, occasionally humming along with Don Giovanni as the marbled pink tendrils slithered from the grinder’s narrow slots, and blended it by hand into a mixture of cracked anise, sea salt, wine, paprika, a dash of sugar, and, of course, pepper; black and cayenne. After the spices had a chance to really saturate the meat, I passed them through the grinder again, bloating the taught casing gathered at the end of the hole plate until several links of glistening sausage were laid out before me.

Eight agonizing weeks later, the meat was cured enough to be painstakingly sliced into the rich burgundy medallions that would adorn my masterpiece. They smelled of the wine, fennel, and garlic I had used to season them, but there was a more subtle scent beneath the spice, a scent that was unique to my little family, a scent that made my mouth water in anticipation of the flavors that would unfurl upon my eager tongue.

On a blanket of fresh mozzarella made from the female’s own milk — made not an hour before I set about building my masterpiece for the freshest possible taste — I arranged the medallions of pepperoni in concentric rings. I finished with a garnish of more cheese, grating it directly onto my creation, and felt burning anticipation rake its hungry nails down my back. With a delicious shiver, as well as delicacy and deliberation, I slid my masterpiece into the simple brick oven built into the kitchen’s southernmost wall, to be lovingly toasted by a fragrant applewood fire.

Hands washed and apron retired upon the glinting stainless steel of a meat hook by the door, I joined the only member of my new family willing to behave at the dining table. Standing beside my seat, I gently enfolded the wine glass within slender, delicate fingers — the fingers of an artist — and smiled a dreamy smile. I hoped the pleasure welling within me might infect her and help to ease the admittedly rocky transition she’d so far experienced in her new home.

“You’re going to love this,” I said, leaning over to pour wine into her waiting glass, and sweeping a hand down my chest to keep the plum silk of my tie from falling into my own. I gave the bottle a little twist to stop the crimson flow, and set it on the table with a dismayed “cluck” of the tongue as I finally saw the state of her. I had been so careful when applying her makeup, and was not pleased to see tears staining her beautiful cheeks with dark streaks of ruined mascara. All smiles forgotten, I moved to her side and opened the carefully folded napkin from her plate with careless flourish and a loud snap.

“Really, Samantha,” I said, dabbing at her cheeks like a mother hen. “If you’re not going to keep yourself presentable for the dinner table, then you’ll spend the evening in the pen with your husband.”

Those bright blue eyes — those special, electric blue eyes I loved so much — widened in fear at the mere mention of the pen, and I gave a quiet “hm” of affirmation. Gripping her chin, I turned her head this way and that, looking for any blemishes I might have missed. When I was finally satisfied she was finished with her unsightly tears, I returned to the kitchen to fetch her a new napkin.

The kitchen was redolent with the scent of cooking flesh and baking dough.

My smile returned.

I made quick work of turning a clean square of starched white cloth into the remarkable likeness of a swan before I strolled back into the dining room to place it upon her plate with the “swan’s” head facing her. Once I had seated myself across from her, I sipped the dark red wine and closed my eyes in delight. Though tonight’s meal was, without a doubt, my most inspired use of ingredients, devising a way to properly ferment a truly sanguine wine had been my most ingenious; an undertaking of many years, I had finally created a vintage worthy of complementing the masterpieces I crafted in the kitchen.

I opened my eyes, gazing across the short distance between us to appreciate her loveliness, before raising my glass in giddy invitation.

“Drink up, Samantha!” I all but giggled. “Prime your palate, or you won’t be able to truly appreciate the complexities of tonight’s entrée, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a shame that would be.”

Tears shimmered in her eyes, but I was pleased to see they didn’t fall as she lifted a shaking hand to the wine glass before her. I didn’t even mind the rattling her chain made as it slid across the table behind her wrist. I smiled a little more as I tipped my glass in toast.

“To new beginnings, and happy meals!” I winked.

Her hand faltered.

Precious crimson stained the heirloom lace and pristine linen dressing the table.

“Samantha.” I sighed, and shook my head.

Her lip trembled as she fought back the tears.

I rose, reluctantly, and crossed to her with all the silent disapproval of a parent forced to punish their child. I gently wrapped my arm around her torso, lifting her from the chair and releasing the chains securing her in the same fluid motion.

“Please,” she whispered as I set her on her good leg.

“You know the rules, Samantha,” I chided, disapproval darkening my tone. “If I compromise them for you, I’ll have to compromise them for the whole family, and I just can’t have that kind of disrespect at my table.”

A small wail came from upstairs and we both looked up; I with interest, and she, it seemed, with fear.

I paused — listening, thinking — and the baby wailed again.

I supposed there would be no helping it.

“It looks like I’ll be needing you tonight after all,” I said as I led her to the stairs, the stump of her left leg dangling uselessly between us. (Her husband lacked the right, as I am rather fond of symmetry.)

I set her in the chair lift against the wall and leaned back to give her a stern looking-over.

“You see to the baby, Samantha, and you can stay inside tonight.” I tipped her forehead to my lips and placed a parental kiss on her brow just as the timer in the kitchen chimed.

“Pizza’s ready,” I sang, and patted the place where her knee should have been. I pressed the button that would activate the seat’s rail mechanisms and beamed as I watched her slowly ascend.

She was such a perfect creature, truly. Plump in all the places I valued most.

A shiver of unbridled anticipation stole my breath a moment before I turned from her and waltzed to the kitchen to free my creation from the fire that could so easily destroy what it had helped create.

The disappointment I felt at being forced to enjoy alone such a masterpiece as I had labored to bring to life over the last two months was not enough to dampen my mood, however. After all, with such perfect ingredients, this was destined to be the most delectable meal I’d ever made! Nothing could detract from my enjoyment!

Once I had taken my seat at the table, a perfect slice of the perfect meal displayed upon my plate, I swirled the wine still staining my glass, which released the deeper scents trapped within — oak, vanilla, tobacco, the sinfully sharp essence of copper. I inhaled deeply of its heady bouquet before teasing myself with a final, restrained sip.

It was just enough to color my tongue with its rich, sanguine essence.

This was it.

The moment had finally arrived.

I was ready.

Bon appétit,” I whispered, reverently lifting the pizza to my eager lips as I closed my eyes in anticipation of the delights to come.

An exquisite melange of flavor exploded across my questing tongue. It was everything I had hoped, everything the rich, complex fragrance had promised, and so much more. I sighed around the perfection of that first bite as something in my soul settled into place; like a crooked cog finally clicking into alignment as precision clockwork whirred into motion.

I was made whole with that single, perfect bite.

Too, with that bite, I was finally content. Content in my abilities, content that, at least in this way, Samantha had not disappointed me. And, for the first time in my life, I was content to simply exist in the moment.

This, I thought through a haze of fragrant steam and sensual sapor, is surely what awaits me in Heaven.

I lingered in the experience, high on my ambrosial masterpiece, and free of the burden of thought until long after the dishes were cleared and I found myself in the drawing room, basking in the afterglow of my peerless meal and sipping my favorite dessert brandy (my own mixture, of course). It was here, at last, that I allowed myself to begin mulling over what I could possibly do to top a meal that would have satisfied God, himself.

The floor shifted above me as Samantha, no doubt humming a soothing tune, rocked her babe to sleep, and I smiled a lazy cheshire smile.

Perhaps another Mediterranean dish, I mulled, my thoughts lingering on Samantha and her babe.

Yes. Something Mediterranean, with sweet grapes, and tart vinegar.

Something rich and tender. Something with “lamb”.

The babe gave a brief cry above, but settled quickly in its mother’s loving arms.

Yes, I thought, my appetite and imagination arousing each other in the back of my mind within the sinuous coils of endless possibility.

Lamb sounds just right.

 

CREDIT: Death By Proxy

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Buyer’s Remorse

When I saw the car for sale on Craigslist, I was shocked. Not only was it a good price, decent shape, and reliable brand – but it was custom built for someone who didn’t have legs! Both of my legs had to be amputated due to a childhood illness. Obviously, it made driving a lot more complicated. I learned to drive on a specially equipped car that had the gas and brake powered through a hand crank instead of pedals. I drove that thing for a decade before it was stolen. I still think about those bastards who took it…

I immediately called the owner. He said he had the car altered for his daughter, who became a paraplegic after a car accident the year before. Even though he had it altered his daughter refused to use the car and had given up driving all together. He said the car itself was bringing her a lot of sadness so he wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible. We arranged to meet that afternoon.

I could not contain my excitement. I took out my favorite prosthetics (the ones my girlfriend Dana had painted koi fish on) and fastened them in. Usually cars that were built for someone like me cost way too much to even fathom buying. Being disabled in this society is expensive! But this guy was selling the car for 1K. 1K! I would have given him three times as much and laughed it off.

Two o’clock finally arrived and I bused over to the seller’s place. It was in a nice neighborhood just twenty minutes or so from downtown. I got a few stares from my fellow passengers but I was used to that. It’s not every day you see a guy with fish on his legs. I got off a little early and walked to the house.

I which house it was because the car was sitting right out front. It was beautiful. I walked up so quickly I almost didn’t see the woman sitting on a picnic table in the yard. She was older than me, maybe in her early 40’s, with white hair. She wore a thick black coat. I waved to her but she didn’t take her eyes off the car.

“Hey, I’m Finn! I’m here about the car.”

Slowly she shifted her gaze over to me. The look on her face was one of fear. “There is something living in the backseat,” she said softly.

“Sorry, what?” I was sure I had heard wrong.

“There is something alive in the backseat.” She opened her mouth as if she were to say more but then shut it and turned back to the car.

A man rushed out of the house. “You must be Finn! I’m so sorry I didn’t see you walk up.”

“It’s no problem.” I rubbed my arm awkwardly. “Hey, so she said there was something living in the backseat? Is there like a rodent problem or something?”

The man turned around and saw the woman. “Oh shit, Jane is out here. I’m really sorry. She isn’t right in the head.” He ran over to her. “I told you to stay inside!”

“He deserves to know what’s living back there!” she shrieked at him.

He grabbed her and hoisted her up in his arms. Over his shoulder he called, “I’ll be right back, Jane needs some rest.”

As she was carried into the house she screamed, “Beware! It took my legs but it wants a life!”

When they both disappeared behind the door I strongly considered bolting out of there (which would have been hard to do, since I didn’t have my running prosthetics on). Jane must be the daughter he mentioned in his ad, considering the fact that she didn’t walk. For some reason I had pictured her younger. This situation was really weird. It didn’t sit right with me. But on the other hand, the car was such a good price…

The man came back outside with a bit of sweat on his brow. “Sorry about that. I thought she was inside. Jane is…well, she just has a few extra screws loose at the moment.”

“Is she okay?” Looking back that was a stupid question, but it was the only thing I could think of.

“The accident really got to her. Even though it’s been a while she can’t let go of it.” He sighed. “As you heard, she’s even invented some sort of thing living in the backseat. She’s convinced this is what caused her accident, not the fact she was drinking too much.”

“I’m so sorry,” I said quietly.

He shrugged. “But enough about the past. The car is in really good shape. After the accident I had the entire thing rewired-”

“Sorry, but are you saying this was the car that she was driving when she crashed?”

He shuffled, looking away from me. “Yeah, guess I should have mentioned it in the ad. But like I said, there’s nothing wrong with the car. No damage from the accident at all. I added the special hand cranks for her. It drives perfectly. Normally I would be asking a lot more, but I just need it gone. I think for Jane to heal it needs to be with someone else.”

I took a test drive and he wasn’t lying – the car was perfect. If not for the mileage you might have thought it was brand new. Driving again was amazing. For the past year I had to rely completely on the bus or Dana to get me anywhere. This would change my life.

Despite the strangeness of Jane and her odd comments, I bought the car. The man was so happy he nearly teared up. “You won’t regret this,” he said joyfully. I drove to the DMV, got the plates, and felt a freedom I missed dearly. I was on four wheels again!

I headed straight to Dana’s. She was going to be so excited for me. With this new car maybe I could try and find a better job, and finally get the money for an engagement ring. The thought of proposing made me even happier. Dana was perfect for me in every way. She was strong when I was scared, she was calm when I would freak out – we balanced each other. I was head over heels for her. I knew that everything was going to work out.

That’s when I heard the rumble. It was quiet at first, like a typical car sound. But as I kept driving it started to change. It began to sound more like a peculiar whisper. With every bump the whispering was louder. My first reaction was annoyance. I thought the car was in perfect condition but clearly something was wrong. I figured I’d take it to the mechanic tomorrow.

I spent the night with Dana, going over our dreams for future. She fit so nicely in the crook of my arm. I dated a few girls here and there, but Dana was my first real relationship. Not only did she not care about my amputations, she celebrated me and my disability. We ran a marathon together last year. I never would have finished without her encouragement. I couldn’t wait to marry her.

In the morning it was hard to get out of bed. Dana was still asleep, curled up beside me. I kissed her forehead. I had decided that I would take the car in early to be looked at, and then get a start on the job hunt. I put on my everyday prosthetics and headed out.

I was half way to the body shop when the rumble started again. I rolled my eyes. But before too long I noticed something odd in the rearview mirror. Every time I glanced in that direction something red flashed behind my seat. It was like a shadow. It disappeared right when I caught sight of it. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I couldn’t help but think of Jane. “There is something living the back seat.”

At the mechanic I watched as they did a thorough inspection of the car. They checked under the hood, in the seats…everywhere. They couldn’t find anything that made a rumbling noise. In fact, they said the car was in better shape than it should be for its age. I pushed back a little, asking again if there was any way an animal could be living in the car somewhere. Their exact answer: “Unless it’s invisible, there’s nothing living in your car.”

I felt embarrassed. Of course there was nothing in my car. I was being stupid. Jane was just a woman who was deeply affected by her accident. I headed back home.

I hit the first red light and something pulled my hair. I swung my head around but there was nothing. My shoulders got tense. I looked in the rearview mirror. The red flash bled into my seat. I kept staring, trying to catch another glimpse. The car behind me honked. I looked forward and realized the light was green. Reluctantly I went ahead.

Not even a minute went by before I felt nails on my neck. I turned around but again nothing was there. I tried to focus on driving. “You’re freaking out,” I whispered.

The whispers replied, “Out out out.”

I looked in the rearview mirror and saw what looked like a sick red arm sticking out behind my seat. It recoiled in an instant. Suddenly there was a resounding crash. The air bag slapped me back to the seat, my neck pinned sideways. I screamed but my lungs were compressed. I must have rear-ended the car in front of me. It was my fault, I hadn’t been paying attention. My imagination had nearly gotten me killed.

The air bag deflated quickly and the police were on the scene. I had completely smashed the car in front of me. Luckily there was no one in the backseat of their car. Strangely, my car had no damage. Not even a scratch. I realized slowly that I had only just gotten the car and hadn’t bought insurance yet. Needless to say I spent a lot of time apologizing and talking with the police.

When the incident was finished and we had all run out of things to say, it was time for me to drive home. I dreaded it. Clearly Jane had gotten into my head. I was seeing things, hearing things…I felt like I was going crazy. Even while I was talking to the police I felt insane. They asked what happened to cause the crash. I had to pause and decide whether or not to say “Something in my backseat was talking to me and I saw a red arm and I wasn’t paying attention to the road.” Instead I just told them the last part. “I wasn’t paying attention to the road.”

Before getting into the car I called Dana. I told her about the crash but left out the thing in the backseat. She told me to come over. Her apartment was actually closer, so I agreed. Plus some snuggle time could make this all go away. Hesitantly I got into the car. I inspected the backseat as thoroughly as I could. There was nothing there. Nothing wrong with it.

Slowly, I pulled into traffic. I drove as slow as possible. The people around me were not happy with my speed and I got honked at quite a few times. But I didn’t care. I was not going to endanger any more lives. I spent the entire time in the car in a tense, statue-like pose. All of my muscles were ready for anything. I realized my hands were shaking a little. Stop it, I told myself. You’re making this all up.

It was a miracle that I made it to Dana’s without incident. I almost cried when I pulled in front of her apartment building. She was outside waiting for me, a concerned look on her beautiful face. I got out of the car and went to hug her. She backed away, worried. “What is it?” I asked.

She was looking at the car. “Who is that?” she pointed.

I followed her finger with my eyes. There, sitting in the backseat with its face pressed against the glass, was a figure. A red human-like figure. One large eye was open and nearly digging into the window. It raised an arm as if to wave before completely disappearing.

I felt like fainting. But Dana, being the person she is, turned to me. Her chin was squared and she was angry. “We’re going to that bastard who sold you this thing and getting your god damn money back.”

 

CREDIT: EZmisery

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Acrimony

AcrimonyReading Time: 4 minutesTwo whiskey sours, one Old-Fashioned, and a Madras. Two whiskey sours, one Old-Fashioned, and a Madras. Where’s the cranberry juice? I’ll have to cut up another orange. I can’t find a sugar cube; I wonder if Mr. George will notice it missing. Be very careful about which whiskey sour gets the antifreeze. Add extra lemon juice to that one, so that Larry doesn’t notice the chemical sweetness of the methanol.

The drink on the far left is the one I want him to take. I’ll make sure to hand out the glasses as soon as I reenter the living room, so that no one has a chance to grab for something that’s not meant for them. I’ve read that people sometimes piss all over themselves when their heart suddenly gives out from poison. The waste that chokes Larry’s bloodstream after his kidneys go offline will probably cause his fat-marbled heart to seize up, and maybe if I’m lucky he’ll ruin his nicest pair of pants when the big moment occurs.

These glasses are dirty around the rim, near the gold-foil lip. Larry will definitely notice. He’ll get the fire poker tonight after all the guests are gone, if he’s not already too weak from the poison, and he’ll use it on me like a truncheon. I tip more antifreeze into his glass. I’d rather him be perturbed by the taste of the drink, but die quickly. He’s too stupid and vain to ever suspect an attack against him, and I’d much prefer that he croak during the party if the alternative is that he enjoys his drink and then beats me senseless a few hours after everyone has left.

I reenter the smoky darkness of the living room. Larry’s laughing at something one of the prettier girls has said. His eyes flash towards me. I can tell that he’s already displeased with me tonight, because the corners of his eyes are sharp. They’re strained with the effort of artificial gentleness. I enter the circle of his friends and their immature, young dates. Hands reach for drinks. I’m too paralyzed by Larry’s smile. Pursed lips and raised eyebrows. He’s going to knock me around until I’m like a ragdoll, and then he’ll go to bed once I’m broken for the night.

The tray I’m carrying is suddenly empty. Oh, Christ. Who took what? Which glass does Larry have, and which of the whiskey drinks went to Sarah? That glassy-eyed girl is cracking her gum again and again into my good ear, and so I turn away to stifle the sound. I haven’t heard so well on my right side since I went too fast over a speed bump, and dented the undercarriage of Larry’s new coupé. He caught me across the face with a phonebook later that afternoon while I wasn’t paying attention, and later I found that my eardrum had burst from the impact.

Larry asks why the hell I didn’t make myself a drink. I laugh nervously, and apologize, and then laugh again. Then, I make a screwdriver and stand in the kitchen for a while. They won’t miss me, and I can’t bear to watch them slurp their cocktails. God – which glass did Sarah take? I’m sure Larry grabbed first, but which side did he reach from? Sarah is Mr. Clark’s date, and Mr. Clark was sitting on my left side. Still, I think I remember her taking from the far side of the tray. Damn – I don’t remember!

After what must have been a half-hour, I rejoin the party with my drink and my most winning smile. I don’t want to seem anxious, especially if someone’s about to cough up their drink and die. My eyes adjust again to the dark, and I see that Sarah’s gone. Mr. Clark, too. Larry informs me that they’re in the washroom because something made Sarah very, very sick. Larry wonders out loud whether it was my dinner, or the drinks I made, which have stricken our guests so ill. The tendons in the sides of his neck are coiling; he’s tensing with barely-pent anger. Mr. Clark’s stringing together obscenities from the hall bathroom, only stopping to shout, “Where the hell did your wife learn to cook?” to Larry through the closed door. The guests that are still in the smoky living room circle are jeering too, playfully telling me that they’ll all sue if anyone else gets sick from my dinner. I refuse to look back at Larry. I won’t frighten myself needlessly.

Did I put the antifreeze back under the sink, or is it still on the counter? Maybe I can talk Larry and all his friends into one more drink before we all call it an evening. Something sweet to settle everyone’s stomach, along with my sincerest apologies, would be very pleasant indeed. There’s an expensive amaretto we still have from our trip to Italy, and it’s so syrupy that I don’t believe that anyone here would notice an extra little swish of something saccharine and noxious. If I have to, I’ll even pretend I enjoy everyone’s company terribly, and beg them all to stay for just a little longer. I’m not worried though. Which of these churls would ever turn down a nightcap?

 

CREDIT: David Feuling

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Satan Offered Me a Job

Satan Offered Me a JobReading Time: 3 minutes“I’m sorry, did you say Satan?”

The young man standing on my porch nodded eagerly.

“Yes, sir!” he said. “We have come to spread the message of our lord and savior Satan.”

I looked from him to his companion. Both were dressed in ill-fitting white button down shirts and black slacks, with gelled up side part haircuts and slightly manic smiles.

“Okay…” I said. “Well, I’m not really into the lord and savior thing so I think I’m gonna have to pass.”

I closed the door only to find the young man’s foot obstructing it. I opened it back up and sighed.

“Just a moment of your time, sir,” the young man said. “Perhaps a look at our literature could convince you.”

The other young man lifted up his suitcase and popped open the latches. When I saw what was inside, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest.

“Is that…real?” I asked.

“Oh yes sir,” the first man said, “Go ahead and take a closer look.”

I slowly reached out and picked up one of the bundles and inspected it. I’m no expert, but it certainly looked like a real stack of hundred dollar bills to me.

I looked from the money, to the creepy but overall harmless seeming young men, and then I waved them inside. We sat down around my coffee table and there was a moment of awkward silence.

“So uh…” I began, clearing my throat, “My name’s David. And you two are?”

“Oh, forgive my rudeness, sir,” the first young man replied. “I am acolyte Paul, and this is acolyte Stephen.”

“Uh… well, would you like anything to drink?”

“Oh no, sir. We do not require sustenance as mortals do,”said Paul.

“…Right,” I said.

I picked up my half-finished beer from the night before and took a swig.

The two young men just sat in silence, grinning at me as I drank. I coughed a little bit and the end of the beer and wiped the foam from my lips.

“You said you came to spread a message, right?” I asked. “So what’s the message?”

“We’re really glad you asked,” said Paul. “Satan is recruiting for skilled labor positions in Hell, and we’ve identified you as a top candidate! Congratulations, sir–this is fantastic news for you.”

My eyes wandered to the suitcase full of money.

“And uh… what does this job consist of?” I asked.

“Asking all the right questions,” Paul replied. “You’re a sharp guy, David. The details are all laid out in this contract here. Stephen?”

Stephen produced a single piece of paper from somewhere I couldn’t see and laid it on the coffee table.

I picked up the paper and stared at it.

“This is a contract?” I asked.

“Oh yes sir,” said Paul.

“What language is this?”

“It’s written in Old Enochian, sir, the language of angels.”

I set the contract back down on the table.

“Well, what’s it say?” I asked.

“I’m sorry sir,” said Paul. “I can’t read Old Enochian. We were just instructed by our superior to deliver the contract along with your signing bonus.”

“Signing bonus?” I asked.

Stephen popped open the latches to the suitcase once again.

“So you’re telling me,” I said, setting down my beer, “that if I sign that piece of paper, you’re just going to give me a suitcase full of money.”

“Yes sir, that’s the deal!” Paul said enthusiastically.

I took another swig of beer.

“Got a pen?” I asked.

Paul handed me the pen and I scribbled my name messily on the bottom of the paper, which Stephen promptly snatched up and stowed away somewhere I didn’t see.

“Wow, that’s great,” said Paul. “I guess we’d better go now.”

“Alright,” I said. “I’ll see you later.”

“Very funny sir,” said Paul. “Of course I meant we three had better go.”

“What do you mean by—”

My voice was cut off by a roaring sound as the three of us fell through the floor. Hot air rushed past us as we fell towards a distant red glow below us. Paul and Stephen’s faces remained frozen in their manic grins as their ties flapped up and whipped around their faces.

We fell hard on the glowing red dirt below, sending up a cloud of dust around us. When the dust cleared I found myself in a strange cross between a cave and an office, facing a large obsidian desk behind which sat a high backed leather chair.

The chair slowly swung around to reveal a smiling red demon in a suit.

“Hi David,“ he said. “I’m Satan. Now let’s talk about that job.”

 

CREDIT: lifeisstrangemetoo

(Click HERE for Part 2)

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