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The Curse of Luck

Reading Time: 12 minutesMy life hasn’t been what most would consider to be… great. As you will read, I have always had terrible luck. I was an infant when a drunk driver decided one night that he wanted to drive on the wrong side of the road at twenty-something miles over the speed limit and killed my parents. In his drunken stupor, the drunken man passed out in a stupor of too much cheap beer and veered straight into oncoming traffic. Thankfully, I wasn’t in the car. My aunt and uncle were babysitting that night so my parents could have a night out to themselves for the first time in a while. I don’t remember any of that, but it changed the course of my life, and the first instance of the terrible series of events known as my life.

Throughout my childhood, I bounced between various family members. My aunt and uncle took care of me for a while, until they said they couldn’t afford to take care of me, along with my cousins any longer. My father had no siblings, and both sets of my grandparents were too frail to look after me, and so, I was handed over to the state, where I was moved from one ‘shelter’ to another, shelter being the nice word they use for orphanages these days.

The rest of my life was spent going from one bad relationship to another, quitting or being fired from a series of bad jobs, and then I met Leigha. I had considered her to be my first real instance of ‘good luck’ and I’ve been thankful for her for everything she has given me in the eleven years we have been married. One of the saddest, and most stressful parts of our marriage, is that we were never able to have children. That was in one thing that I have considered the worst luck of all. The sadness that would envelope her when the pregnancy tests came back negative, and the resurgence of positivity each time we would again and again, with all that hope and aspiration, until we concluded that it was just wasn’t meant to be.

A few weeks ago, my job at a call center was cut when they decided that my skills were no longer needed (they explained so eloquently), so Leigha had been working herself to exhaustion at the hospital to make up for my lack of income. Her R.N. pay was great and all, but I felt guilty whenever she came home so exhausted that she just collapsed on the bed. Sometimes I’d put pajamas on her while she snoozed away in her deep, tired sleep, and tuck her in.

It was only a couple of months into my unemployment that I started feeling strange; I had no energy, lost my appetite, but then I started vomiting blood. I managed to hide it for a couple of weeks, but when Leigha found out, she made me see a doctor. A few trips to the hospital, and it was confirmed that I had developed stomach cancer. Chalk that up as another lucky strike for ol’ Frank Shaffer.

I thought all was hopeless and slipped into a deep depression. I purchased life insurance years ago, and I know that my wife made more than enough money to take care of herself once I was gone, but then a glimmer of hope showed itself several days ago.

It was a typical morning, consisting of me on my laptop, looking at the latest news sites, reading articles about more mass shootings and civil unrest across the world, when I heard someone knocking at the front door. I opened it, and there stood a strange man. He was wearing a neat, black suit and a leather chauffeur cap, like what you’d see. He bowed toward me, and when he rose, his face was stretched by a warm, friendly smile.

“Afternoon, sir! Are you…” he said, looking quickly at the envelope he held, “Mr. Shaffer?”

“Yes. What is this about? You’re dressed fancy for a process server.”

He laughed, “Oh no! I’m not a process server. I was sent to you with this letter from my employer. It is an offer letter for a brighter future,” he replied, his broad, white smile stretched across his young, clean shaven face, “Oh! This as well!”

The man turned and grabbed a briefcase that sat beside the bottom step of my porch. It was quite large and heavy. He grunted when he heaved it onto the porch.

“My boss wanted me to bring you a sample. Read the letter first, and then you can see what’s inside,” he said to me, still smiling as he patted the outside of the case.

What he handed me was a letter, neatly typed in a curvy font, on thick, cream-colored parchment, and sealed with a strange symbol on red wax, like something from a movie based in a time long, long ago. I flipped it around in my hands a few times, examining it for anything suspicious before I opened it. The letter read as follows:

Hello, dear friend,

This is an offer letter, one that you have probably never received, nor will you again. After much deliberation, you have been chosen. If you choose to do so, your family will be rewarded with a very large sum of money for your contribution.

Let me explain first.

Have you ever wished for something? I’m know you have; everyone has. As a little kid, we have all wished upon a star, wishing for something selfish, like a toy. Some of us had the maturity to wish for something other than childish possessions, like for daddy to stop hitting mommy or for your pet dog to come back from the grave. I am here to tell you about my wish, a wish that I would give anything to take back.

It was the year 1847 and I was ten-years-old. Much of Ireland was starving to death and were fleeing for American in great droves. I was part of the mass immigration to the promising lands of America. We had been told tales of great flatlands, with farms bigger than the eye could see. We also heard of buildings as tall as the sky, filled with jobs and homes, where great wealth was just waiting for you to take it. It sounded too grand to be true, but some recruiters from America told us they were true. Some came offering jobs in the coal mines or in factories, others offered only tales and false promises.

My father took an offer to work in a steel mill in New York City. The poor fellow couldn’t contain his excitement when he came home to tell us about it. Within a week, we packed up what we could bring along, sold the farm, and made our way to America. The ship was packed with people. By packed, I mean packed. People were shoved from wall to wall with barely room to move your elbows. They told us the ship used to be a slaver before being refitted to haul starving Irish families to become something not much different than slaves. The floors were covered in filth from the sick, and some had died and were tossed overboard. We only heard coughing of tuberculosis and the dry heaving of those suffering from cholera. My sister, Winnie, was part of those who died on the way. I tried not to cry, to be strong for mother, but even the toughest boys cry when their sister dies.

When we arrived, we were greeted with horrific racism. It was common for us to be spat on while walking down the streets, to have names yelled at you for just being on the same street as someone, and to have your father come home from work with cuts and bruises from fighting those who thought of the Irish as invaders, who thought of us as being dogs rather than men.

It came to me one day, in my childish ponderings, how I could relieve us of our woes; I could just wish it away. There were old tales, tales older than even the Romans, about leprechauns who grant wishes for those, usually in exchange for something. There are lots of stories about how one can summon a leprechaun. No, it is not by singing a stupid song, or finding one at the end of a rainbow. Leprechaun are always hungry, and the best way to summon one is to leave it some bread and cream as an offering, wait a while, and they will come. This is how I did it.

My father was gone to work and my mother was out to the market with my older brothers. Mother told me to stay at home and finish my chores. After waiting a brief time to make sure no one was coming back, I put the dish of cream and a small piece of bread by the kitchen windowsill and sat there. Children tend to have very little patience, so I got up and did as mother commanded not long after. As I was sweeping the floor, I heard a voice call out from behind me.

“Aye! That was a mighty fine offering, muh boy!”

I turned and saw a man only slightly taller than I was. I had always imagined leprechauns being barely taller than a cat but this man was not.

“You’re welcome?”

“America! I have never been here! You summoned me all the way from the ol’ Emerald Isle to here! What a trip!” he chuckled, “Now, to the business-at-hand. How can I assist ye?”

“I have a wish.”

“Of course, ye do, lad. Now, out with it.”

“I… I wish that we were rich. I’m so tired of being poor and seeing my father get beat up every day and come home so tired that he can barely stand. I want us to have a good life, a life without the mean people who hate us for being Irish.”

“Aye. I can understand that, lad. I can’t do anything about the other people but are ye sure that money would solve yer problems?” he sat down and scratched his head, “How old are ye? Nine? Ten? Are you sure you’re ready to make a wish at yer youthful age? Maybe I should just go.”

“No! I’m ready! Don’t leave! Please!”

He paused, staring out the window down into the streets. “I know what it’s like over there. I see it all. People are dying. They try to summon me but I don’t go. I let them keep their food. But you. I could sense your sadness. You’re too young to be this sad,” he paused again, taking in a deep breath, “I’ll tell ye what I’ll do. I never do this but I will for you. I’ll grant ye two wishes, but the trade will be much more severe.”

“Two wishes? Oh my. What would I have to do?”

“Well, I would normally ask for your most treasured possession, but to grant two wishes, I would need something more than a mere possession.”

“What would that be?”

“Depends on what your second wish is.”

“I wish… that… we could live forever. That none of us would die. That we would all stay young and healthy forever.”

“Aye, riches and immorality. Should’ve guessed,” he laughed, “well lad, you’re not going to like this, but there is only one way that I can grant immortality. You must appease Death to keep your life. Once a year, each of you will have to kill another person to replace your own. If you fail to do so, Death will come for what it is owed.”

“I don’t know…”

“It is too late, lad. Your wishes are granted. In one year the ritual will begin. Your riches will fall into your laps soon enough. I.”

The leprechaun stood up, stretched his back. “If you know anyone who needs a wish, send ‘em my way.” He winked, and then he was gone. I never saw the leprechaun again.

A few weeks later, the owner of the steel mill died. My father was summoned into the manager’s office, who handed by father a document.

“Mr. Storey, the owner of this mill, died yesterday. His lawyer wanted me to deliver this to you.”

“What is it?”

“It’s his last will, and a letter from the bank. For some reason, I didn’t know you two knew each other, but he left his entire fortune to you. He had no surviving children, and none had produced heirs either, so I suppose you need not worry about court battles. The letter from the bank is for transitioning the account from his name to yours. I’m sorry for your loss, but congratulations, Michael.”

With the money, we bought a massive farm in Iowa, hired workers, all of which were former slaves. It wasn’t common to pay Africans back then but we did because we knew how it felt to be considered less than human. Also, because it was easy to kill them without anyone noticing. Later, it became any passerby looking for a job, usually bums or vagabonds with no ties to anybody or any place. When fingerprints and DNA became very easy to tie you to a crime, we realized it was only a matter of time before we were fingered for a murder. It was my brother, Shane, who came up with the idea to find those who were doomed to die anyway and offer them a large sum of money in exchange for their shortened lives.

It has been a bloody life. At this point, each of us has killed 169 people to keep our immortality going. After I made the wish, my father’s health improved to that of his twenties, as with my mother. My brothers and I reached maturity and never aged past that. We now currently are co-owners of one of the biggest retailers in the United States and are richer than we could’ve ever dreamed possible.

The downside? Well, not for us, but for you. You have been specially selected to be sacrificed for our immorality. As for if you believe any of this, I don’t care because it doesn’t matter. Your family will be paid handsomely and will live the rest of their days with more than you could’ve made in your entire life.

How much? Does three million US dollars sound fair?

Now, just sign and hand it to the messenger. We will deliver the money as soon as the deed is done. I sent a small sample with him. I’m sure you’ve seen that briefcase he has with him. Does this sound good to you? If so, just sign on the dotted line. The driver will arrange for a chauffeur to pick you up on a later date, and they will bring the rest of the money with them. Your family will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, of course, and then all will be taken care of.

In my most sincere regards and condolences,

A wealthy friend

* * * * * *

“This has to be fake,” I thought to myself. I nearly wadded the letter and threw it it back at the man. There were dozens of TV shows over the years of camera pranks, and I began to assume this was another one. Someone had gone through a lot of effort, and spent a good amount of craftsmanship, making this silly note with the detailed story to go with it.

The man in the suit saw the look on my face and he spoke up.

“Would you like to see what’s in the suitcase now?”

He didn’t wait for me to answer before he popped open the latches. Inside, it was packed with more green than I had ever seen in my life. He took out a wad of hundred-dollar-bills and reached it toward me.

“They’re real, I assure you. I withdrew them myself this morning. See for yourself.”

Sure enough, they were; I checked the serial numbers, they were all different, and I even held one up to a light to check for the little strip of metal inside and the watermarks. All of this made me even more baffled that I was before. I stood there for a few moments, staring at the bills like a monkey examining a smart phone.

“This is yours. My boss said even if you said no, to let you have it anyway. He’s very generous and the most selfless person I have ever worked for. To him, even being considered for this offer is lucky, and the money is just part of the luck. Now, before I leave, I need to get your answer.”

I thought about it for a while. I knew that I couldn’t possibly decide on something like this without discussing it with my wife first.

“Can you come back tomorrow? I want to talk it over with the wife. I don’t want to agree to dying without her consent.”

“Not a problem! I will find a hotel and stay there. I like this part of the country. It’s quite beautiful in the fall. Let me get your phone number and we can arrange a time for me to come back.”

Leigha came home around nine that night, after working a fourteen-hour shift at the hospital. I was sitting on the couch in the living room, the suitcase lying on top of the ottoman.

“Frank, what is that?” she said, pointing at the case, curious but alarmed.

“Well, it has something to do with an offer I received today,” I said to her as I popped open the latches.

“Is that… is that money?” she said, almost screaming. It was too much for her to process at once, and her brain began to go into chaos mode. “This can’t be real. Is it? Is this real? Is this a joke?”

I handed a wad of money, so she could examine it and re-examine it just like I did, and she also concluded they were real.

“What was the offer? Did someone offer to buy the house?”

“Oh, baby, there’s more money than that. Here,” I said as I handed her the letter. She read it, pausing sometimes to guffaw and gasp, and “oh my god” under her breath. After she finished reading it, she stared at me blankly, her mouth agape.

“Did you agree to it yet?”

“Not yet. I wanted to talk it over with you first. We agreed a long time ago; no major decisions without the other spouse’s consent.”

“I appreciate you upholding this, Frank, but really. The doctor said there’s no hope. I also don’t find this story plausible but that is a large sum of money they gave you as a ‘sample’. That suitcase probably has more money in it than our house is worth. How did they find out about you anyway?”

“Well, I thought about it, and if they really do own a huge retail business, I’m sure they have ties that give them access to medical records, or they pay doctors commission for referrals.”

She looked at me for a few moments, her mind wandering deep in the chasms of thought. Her face seemed solemn, yet devoured with concern. “Frank. How are you feeling lately?”

“Terrible. I can’t sleep. I barely have an appetite. My hair has started to fall out. I haven’t told you yet because I didn’t want to make you worry. I don’t want to spend the remainder of my life feeling sick and going to the doctors constantly. I’d rather somebody offer me a cure than a case of money.”

“A cure isn’t likely, dear,” she stood up, placing her hands over her face and breathing out slowly in frustration. “I don’t want you to die, but you’re stage 3a and it won’t be long before the chemo becomes pointless. What will happen after you’re gone? I’m here alone, stuck with the bills, house payment, car payment, and clearing whatever debts you had?”

“I have life insurance, Leigha, but I see your point. The life insurance will only last so long, and they’ll probably do their best to lower that payout as much as possible.”

“I don’t want you to think that I’m exchanging your life for money, Frank, but I don’t want to see you suffer either.”

“I know, Leigha, I know,” I said, staring at the money, “I think I know what I’m going to do.”

The next day, the man showed up at 11 AM sharp, just as he promised. I signed the letter and handed it back to him. He pulled up the calendar app on his phone and scheduled an arrival date for me, and said they would send me plane tickets to take me to my destination. It will be one week from today that I will leave my wife for the last time, kiss her one last time, and hopefully, with the money I am giving her, she will be happy for the rest of her life. I suppose this is how the curse of luck goes; what comes easy, comes with a price.


Credit: Brandon Wills (AmazonFacebookTwitter • Instagram)

The post The Curse of Luck appeared first on Creepypasta.

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The Empty Apartment

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I moved into my apartment complex two months ago.

I started hearing things a week later.

It was subtle at first. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I would wake up to a faint scratching sound from somewhere behind the walls. I thought it could be mice. Or rats. I have lived through enough shitty one bedroom apartments in Manhattan to recognize the signs. Small little turds on the floor. Tiny holes in the plaster. An unending scratching that sounds like a thousand little feet marching to the beat of my headache.

My symptoms fit the bill.

It had to be a mouse.

And so I put out traps. I invested in a little steel wool. The Internet says the best way to catch a rat is peanut butter. I slathered spoonfuls of the stuff all over a fresh Tomcat trap. Amazon’s best. I went to bed with the expectation that a fat rodent would be dead in my living room by the following morning.

I laid awake eagerly awaiting their demise. But it rained a lot that night. After I turned off the TV, I tried to listen for the sounds of my furry friends falling for the bait. But the storm overtook almost every sound. Cracks of thunder shook the glassware on my kitchen counter. Water got inside through the cracks and spaces between the window’s framing. I had to put a towel down. The dripping started to annoy me more than the rats ever did in the first place.

But, somewhere, underneath it all; I heard something else. Something a lot more frightening than rats.

A voice whispering “Help me.

I never really believed in the paranormal. I told people that a lot. I never saw signs, or spirits, like everybody else. Part of my subconscious felt like maybe this was my come-uppance. The ghosts on the street had heard me talking shit and now they were going to come for me. Maybe just to show me who is boss, so to speak. And I had nothing for protection. Nobody to verify my experiences. I lived alone in the middle of a lightly occupied sky-rise. A demon or poltergeist could fuck with me all they wanted.

And so I pulled the sheets up to my chin, while the scratching started to overtake the storm, along with my rationality. The constant repetition of ‘help me’ floated further through the walls. She started to get louder. More urgent. My fear paralyzed mind told me that she was getting closer. I knew that was impossible, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I got out of bed and marched out of my apartment, nearly stepping on the unoccupied rat trap myself. The building kept a guard on desk duty throughout the night. He needed to know about the voice.

I hopped in the elevator with sweatpants and no socks. When it opened on the ground level, a surprised security guard waited for me behind the desk.

Sir? Are you okay?

Can you check if the apartment next to me is occupied?

The tall Hispanic man furrowed his brow worriedly as he eyed my evening wear with distaste. He wore an official looking blue buttoned shirt with black slacks with a radio clipped to the belt.

We really should not divulge…

Somebody has been screaming ‘Help me’ all night. I think they are in trouble. But I have never seen anyone go in there.

The man looked worried as he pounded into the small laptop placed on the desk.

Okay, what apartment number…

522.

We haven’t rented many units up there since we took over…

That’s what I said.

Yup, 522 and 524 are empty. You have one other tenant at the other end of your floor. Maybe you heard his television. The walls here are very thin, sir, and we are actively working on the rodent issue.

I think we need to call the police.

The man flashed a smile that made the goosebumps on my skin slide up like candy dots. Like he was prepared for the accusation. Like he knew something that I didn’t. His cool expression placated onto such ordinary features made my stomach turn uncomfortably.

Like I said, the apartment is empty. Would you like to go and see for yourself?

I would.

My willing response definitely took him aback. He punched again at the laptop nervously. I had no idea what he was typing. After a minute’s hesitation, he walked past me towards the elevator.

Let’s go. 522 first. I’ve got the key.

I followed the guard into the elevator. Something about his demeanor continued to make me cautious. He seemed confident. Excited, even. At the time I chalked up the oddity to over interest in the mystery before us.

It’s possible some kids broke in. But I doubt it. These locks are pretty secure. I still think you heard a neighbor…

I nodded wordlessly. When the doors opened again, we marched together down the hall towards apartment 522. I waited patiently while he opened the lock and beckoned me inside.

It was empty.

Our voices echoed across the recently finished floors and furniture-less void inside the studio apartment. I paced around and checked the nooks and crannies. I waited a couple minutes and listened for the voice. I even called out to it. But nobody answered. The only sound I heard were the steady ricochet of raindrops against the windowsills.

Satisfied?

We still have 524.

My new friend started to look a little less confident.

Look, it’s late, and somebody has to watch the desk. Do we need to do this now?

I know what I heard.

He stared at me and studied my demeanor for a moment. I shifted awkwardly and tried to appear intimidating.

Okay.

The guard once again flashed a friendly smile as he gestured me out into the hallway and locked up behind us. We passed my own apartment on the way towards 524. I thought about going back inside and locking the door. Something about the situation made me squirm. But I didn’t.

My name is Michael, by the way, what is your name?

Matt.

Well, Matt, I’m sorry we have to meet under these circumstances.

I nodded and waited while Michael opened up the door. His casual attitude continued to make me uncomfortable.

524 wasn’t empty. Boxes upon boxes were stacked on the floor with neat little labels on each. Spare kitchen chairs made the studio tough to navigate. Once again, Michael waited by the door, while I navigated the junk and tried to investigated the other rooms.

The small corner kitchen contained the usual boiler plate electronics. The drawers appeared untouched and empty. A thin line of dust formed over the counter tops.

I moved onto the bathroom and found a recently renovated shower head sparkling against a fresh paint job. I started to get jealous, and let my guard down a bit. This place looked nicer than my own. I bet they would be renting it out soon. I was prepared to write the entire thing off as an odd experience, before a voice spoke to me inside the bathroom.

Help me.

It was closer this time. In the same room. I nearly jumped out of my skin, but tried to keep my cool around Michael, who was still outside creeping in the hallway. There was a closet in the bathroom. I opened it.

Sitting inside was a teenage girl.

She wasn’t wearing any clothes. She pushed her knees up to her shoulders and linked her feet together in a sad attempt to remain modest. Sweat poured down her brow. It caused her pretty brown hair to become matted and tangled on her forehead.

I covered her mouth and mine after she whispered again.

It’s him. He did this.

Footsteps approached from the hallway. I raised a finger, as if to tell her to wait, and closed the door in the poor girl’s face. Then I rushed over to the toilet and flushed the handle.

The footsteps stopped.

Everything alright in there?

Yeah, yeah, sorry. Just had to tinkle. This remodel is nice. Gotta get you guys to update my apartment.

I opened the door and was immediately greeted by a very suspicious looking security guard.

You know, I’ve got a leaky window frame. Who can I talk to about that?

Michael stared at me for about thirty seconds. At first he looked angry. Then he looked confused. Finally the suspicion faded from his wrinkled features.

Property owner. Not me.

I laughed awkwardly and pushed past him. I walked out into the hallway in a rush, never bothering to look behind my shoulder as Michael followed anxiously after. I could hear him locking the door to 524 as I jetted towards my own apartment.

You don’t want to check anywhere else?

I called out something back. I don’t remember what. The adrenaline coursed through my veins so quickly that my futile attempts at being casual dissipated the moment I got to my door. I fumbled for the keys in my sweatpants pocket. I clacked them awkwardly against the metal lock. Finally they found a groove and the door handle turned willingly against my hand.

Anything else I can do for you tonight?

Michael had caught up to me. He looked suspicious again. I could sense that he might try to stop me. I had to come up with something.

Sorry, man, that last trip to the bathroom didn’t cut it. Too much chili last night. Gotta go.

Michael guffawed over my shoulder as I opened the door and slammed it in his face. I tried to wait a few seconds before applying the chain lock. I waited for his footsteps to fade away first. I didn’t want to spook him. Only then I released my hand from the handle and collapsed to the floor.

* * * * * *

The first responders arrived about ten minutes later. I have to commend them for the speed. Part of me worried that Michael would try to run. Part of me worried he would go back for the girl. Part of me worried he might try to come after me.

He didn’t.

Police rescued the girl from the bathroom closet. Her name was Molly. She was sixteen years old.

And she wasn’t the only one.

Seven other women were rescued from empty apartments throughout the complex. Each identified Michael as their abductor. Apparently, he kept them drugged and locked inside various rooms inside the building. He returned to visit them every night. Some were tortured. Some abused.

One was already dead.


Credit: Matt Richardsen (FacebookTwitter • Reddit)

The post The Empty Apartment appeared first on Creepypasta.

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The Apartment Next to Me is Supposed to Be Empty

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I moved into my apartment complex two months ago.

I started hearing things a week later.

It was subtle at first. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I would wake up to a faint scratching sound from somewhere behind the walls. I thought it could be mice. Or rats. I have lived through enough shitty one bedroom apartments in Manhattan to recognize the signs. Small little turds on the floor. Tiny holes in the plaster. An unending scratching that sounds like a thousand little feet marching to the beat of my headache.

My symptoms fit the bill.

It had to be a mouse.

And so I put out traps. I invested in a little steel wool. The Internet says the best way to catch a rat is peanut butter. I slathered spoonfuls of the stuff all over a fresh Tomcat trap. Amazon’s best. I went to bed with the expectation that a fat rodent would be dead in my living room by the following morning.

I laid awake eagerly awaiting their demise. But it rained a lot that night. After I turned off the TV, I tried to listen for the sounds of my furry friends falling for the bait. But the storm overtook almost every sound. Cracks of thunder shook the glassware on my kitchen counter. Water got inside through the cracks and spaces between the window’s framing. I had to put a towel down. The dripping started to annoy me more than the rats ever did in the first place.

But, somewhere, underneath it all; I heard something else. Something a lot more frightening than rats.

A voice whispering “Help me.

I never really believed in the paranormal. I told people that a lot. I never saw signs, or spirits, like everybody else. Part of my subconscious felt like maybe this was my come-uppance. The ghosts on the street had heard me talking shit and now they were going to come for me. Maybe just to show me who is boss, so to speak. And I had nothing for protection. Nobody to verify my experiences. I lived alone in the middle of a lightly occupied sky-rise. A demon or poltergeist could fuck with me all they wanted.

And so I pulled the sheets up to my chin, while the scratching started to overtake the storm, along with my rationality. The constant repetition of ‘help me’ floated further through the walls. She started to get louder. More urgent. My fear paralyzed mind told me that she was getting closer. I knew that was impossible, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I got out of bed and marched out of my apartment, nearly stepping on the unoccupied rat trap myself. The building kept a guard on desk duty throughout the night. He needed to know about the voice.

I hopped in the elevator with sweatpants and no socks. When it opened on the ground level, a surprised security guard waited for me behind the desk.

Sir? Are you okay?

Can you check if the apartment next to me is occupied?

The tall Hispanic man furrowed his brow worriedly as he eyed my evening wear with distaste. He wore an official looking blue buttoned shirt with black slacks with a radio clipped to the belt.

We really should not divulge…

Somebody has been screaming ‘Help me’ all night. I think they are in trouble. But I have never seen anyone go in there.

The man looked worried as he pounded into the small laptop placed on the desk.

Okay, what apartment number…

522.

We haven’t rented many units up there since we took over…

That’s what I said.

Yup, 522 and 524 are empty. You have one other tenant at the other end of your floor. Maybe you heard his television. The walls here are very thin, sir, and we are actively working on the rodent issue.

I think we need to call the police.

The man flashed a smile that made the goosebumps on my skin slide up like candy dots. Like he was prepared for the accusation. Like he knew something that I didn’t. His cool expression placated onto such ordinary features made my stomach turn uncomfortably.

Like I said, the apartment is empty. Would you like to go and see for yourself?

I would.

My willing response definitely took him aback. He punched again at the laptop nervously. I had no idea what he was typing. After a minute’s hesitation, he walked past me towards the elevator.

Let’s go. 522 first. I’ve got the key.

I followed the guard into the elevator. Something about his demeanor continued to make me cautious. He seemed confident. Excited, even. At the time I chalked up the oddity to over interest in the mystery before us.

It’s possible some kids broke in. But I doubt it. These locks are pretty secure. I still think you heard a neighbor…

I nodded wordlessly. When the doors opened again, we marched together down the hall towards apartment 522. I waited patiently while he opened the lock and beckoned me inside.

It was empty.

Our voices echoed across the recently finished floors and furniture-less void inside the studio apartment. I paced around and checked the nooks and crannies. I waited a couple minutes and listened for the voice. I even called out to it. But nobody answered. The only sound I heard were the steady ricochet of raindrops against the windowsills.

Satisfied?

We still have 524.

My new friend started to look a little less confident.

Look, it’s late, and somebody has to watch the desk. Do we need to do this now?

I know what I heard.

He stared at me and studied my demeanor for a moment. I shifted awkwardly and tried to appear intimidating.

Okay.

The guard once again flashed a friendly smile as he gestured me out into the hallway and locked up behind us. We passed my own apartment on the way towards 524. I thought about going back inside and locking the door. Something about the situation made me squirm. But I didn’t.

My name is Michael, by the way, what is your name?

Matt.

Well, Matt, I’m sorry we have to meet under these circumstances.

I nodded and waited while Michael opened up the door. His casual attitude continued to make me uncomfortable.

524 wasn’t empty. Boxes upon boxes were stacked on the floor with neat little labels on each. Spare kitchen chairs made the studio tough to navigate. Once again, Michael waited by the door, while I navigated the junk and tried to investigated the other rooms.

The small corner kitchen contained the usual boiler plate electronics. The drawers appeared untouched and empty. A thin line of dust formed over the counter tops.

I moved onto the bathroom and found a recently renovated shower head sparkling against a fresh paint job. I started to get jealous, and let my guard down a bit. This place looked nicer than my own. I bet they would be renting it out soon. I was prepared to write the entire thing off as an odd experience, before a voice spoke to me inside the bathroom.

Help me.

It was closer this time. In the same room. I nearly jumped out of my skin, but tried to keep my cool around Michael, who was still outside creeping in the hallway. There was a closet in the bathroom. I opened it.

Sitting inside was a teenage girl.

She wasn’t wearing any clothes. She pushed her knees up to her shoulders and linked her feet together in a sad attempt to remain modest. Sweat poured down her brow. It caused her pretty brown hair to become matted and tangled on her forehead.

I covered her mouth and mine after she whispered again.

It’s him. He did this.

Footsteps approached from the hallway. I raised a finger, as if to tell her to wait, and closed the door in the poor girl’s face. Then I rushed over to the toilet and flushed the handle.

The footsteps stopped.

Everything alright in there?

Yeah, yeah, sorry. Just had to tinkle. This remodel is nice. Gotta get you guys to update my apartment.

I opened the door and was immediately greeted by a very suspicious looking security guard.

You know, I’ve got a leaky window frame. Who can I talk to about that?

Michael stared at me for about thirty seconds. At first he looked angry. Then he looked confused. Finally the suspicion faded from his wrinkled features.

Property owner. Not me.

I laughed awkwardly and pushed past him. I walked out into the hallway in a rush, never bothering to look behind my shoulder as Michael followed anxiously after. I could hear him locking the door to 524 as I jetted towards my own apartment.

You don’t want to check anywhere else?

I called out something back. I don’t remember what. The adrenaline coursed through my veins so quickly that my futile attempts at being casual dissipated the moment I got to my door. I fumbled for the keys in my sweatpants pocket. I clacked them awkwardly against the metal lock. Finally they found a groove and the door handle turned willingly against my hand.

Anything else I can do for you tonight?

Michael had caught up to me. He looked suspicious again. I could sense that he might try to stop me. I had to come up with something.

Sorry, man, that last trip to the bathroom didn’t cut it. Too much chili last night. Gotta go.

Michael guffawed over my shoulder as I opened the door and slammed it in his face. I tried to wait a few seconds before applying the chain lock. I waited for his footsteps to fade away first. I didn’t want to spook him. Only then I released my hand from the handle and collapsed to the floor.

* * * * * *

The first responders arrived about ten minutes later. I have to commend them for the speed. Part of me worried that Michael would try to run. Part of me worried he would go back for the girl. Part of me worried he might try to come after me.

He didn’t.

Police rescued the girl from the bathroom closet. Her name was Molly. She was sixteen years old.

And she wasn’t the only one.

Seven other women were rescued from empty apartments throughout the complex. Each identified Michael as their abductor. Apparently, he kept them drugged and locked inside various rooms inside the building. He returned to visit them every night. Some were tortured. Some abused.

One was already dead.


Credit: Matt Richardsen (FacebookTwitter • Reddit)

The post The Apartment Next to Me is Supposed to Be Empty appeared first on Creepypasta.

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Dead Arm

Reading Time: 9 minutes

I’ve been completely clean for about two years, now, and I owe it all to the last drug I ever took. It apparently goes by many names, and it’s not easy to get your hands on it. The people who use it only give it to close friends, or people who they mean to do harm. Nothing can prepare you for the experience, not even smack.

Myself, I did Dead Arm when I was a senior in college. Finals were getting rough. I had a group of buddies that I took things with. Not exactly the type of friends your parents hope you’ll make – none were students like me, just townies, all different ages from seventeen to almost sixty. None of us were alike in any way, except for the one thing we had in common: what we were putting in our bodies. We’d veg out, high as kites. Escaping the world. Escaping our problems.

The more pressure I felt in my “normal” life, the more I turned to smack to help me through it. I would never even associate with these other folks before I started using, but they were slowly becoming my only friends. There was this one dude whose house we went to that we only knew as “Moses”. He had a two-bedroom apartment but somehow we fit almost fifteen of us in there to chill at “parties” that he threw.

I hardly ever spoke to Moses but he took a liking to me for some reason. He’d share some of his extra-potent shit with me, at times buy me pizza and beer, and generally just acted cool. He must’ve been forty-something but never had a stick up his ass or anything. Very laid back.

One day I hit up Moses after failing a final and asked him if he was having a get-together that night. He texted back “No”, so I started making plans with other people. Like ten minutes later, he texts me again:

“Actually, yeah. But can u just come? dont bring anyone else”

Naturally, I head over to his place because I want to get fucked-up, regardless of who else is there. I knocked on his apartment door and he let me in. The place was empty.

“Woah, man. Where is everyone?” I asked.

Moses looked at me seriously, a look I had hardly seen on his face before. “Hey, [my name], listen. You’ve been pretty chill and level-headed at my parties, and I want to offer you something. I’m going to this dude Ted’s house tonight, he’s got some of this new shit that he’s super-exclusive with. He’s down for you to tag along, but you have to really keep it on the down-low. You in?”

“What is it that he’s got, exactly?”

“I…it’s just…you’ll see. But trust me, it’s out of this world. You in?”

Bitch, you serious? You might as well have just described a Thanksgiving feast to a starving man. Ten minutes later we had arrived at Ted’s apartment complex.

It was the dingiest shithole I had ever seen. Trash was lying around the front of the building, broken glass was scattered about, and the place just had a certain stink to it. Although I wanted to leave, my itch to get high was stronger. We went up to the third floor, where Ted’s apartment was. Moses had a brief conversation with whoever opened the door before we were let in, assuring him I was cool.

Ted’s apartment was even more disgusting than the rest of the building. Almost no furniture, just dirty blankets and towels thrown on the floor with like ten people laying around on them, still as corpses. In the corner, someone was having sex with another person who looked barely conscious. All of them were moaning in such a bizarre way, almost like a death rattle from The Grudge but a lot louder. It was freaking the fuck out of me, but I figured I wouldn’t care about it at all soon enough.

The doorman came to me and Moses.

“You guys ready? You know the deal, it’s a hundred-fifty for a hit.”

“I’ve got it covered,” Moses said, pulling out a small wad of cash. He gestured to me. “It’s this kid’s first time doing Dead Arm. Get him first.”

He handed the cash over and the doorman grunted in approval. He took a belt from off the only table in the place and from its drawer he conjured a syringe. It looked to be full of a brown substance that looked to me like liquid dirt. He wrapped the belt tight around my arm. Moses made conversation as the doorman got the needle ready.

“Where’s Ted at?” he asked.

The doorman replied, “In his room. Don’t fuckin’ bug him.”

“Fair enough. No Ben tonight?”

“Nope. Remember what happened to his arm last week? He’s too embarrassed to be seen like that, I guess.”

“Shoulda just cut it off.”

“No doubt, brother.”

The doorman approached me with the needle. I nodded at him and he stuck it into one of the protruding veins in my arm. I watched the brown liquid leave the syringe and make its way into the bloodstream.

As soon as the needle was out, I immediately and unwillingly dropped to the floor. My knees just stopped working. Everything stopped working. I couldn’t move my head, arms, legs, even my mouth was hanging open. Completely numb, completely paralyzed. My head started ringing terribly. It was terrifying. I started to try and call out, but all I could do was moan, and I realized with a jolt that the noise I was making was not at all unlike the noises everyone else in this room was making.

Then, suddenly, the ringing in my head stopped and was replaced with such a deep relaxation that I cannot even describe to you through words. It was unlike anything I had ever felt, almost otherworldly carelessness. My paralysis suddenly did not matter, my finals did not matter, nothing mattered. My muscles felt like they were being lightly tugged in every direction. It felt like my body was dissolving into a puddle onto the floor, and it was incredible.

Not long after, I saw Moses fall to the floor by my side. The doorman stepped over us both and put the syringes he had used on us away. Then he went back to standing by the door, playing on his cell phone.

An hour passed. Nothing but pure bliss and silence, apart from the moaning and the humping in the back. Soon, though, that latter noise stopped and suddenly, this bare-naked dude was standing above me, the guy who was doing the banging. He crouched down to me, this hungry look in his eyes. I didn’t care – I couldn’t care. All that mattered was that I was lying down, with my muscles being deliciously pulled by whatever this shit in my veins was. Unable to move. Unable to think. Only existing at bare minimum.

The naked stranger started whispering something to himself and licking his lips. He got closer to me, his face mere centimeters from mine.

“Hey!” the doorman yelled. The naked stranger was yanked off of me and thrown into the apartment wall. The doorman raised a fist to him threateningly. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? You paid for that one in the back, not this one.”

“Come on, man! Let me have this!” the naked man screamed.

“Is this going to be a fucking problem? Do I have to bring Ted in here?”

I heard the naked man whimper in fear. He shook his head, hustled to grab his clothes, and then ran out of the apartment with them.

And still I was on the floor without a care in the world. Almost raped by a stranger, and couldn’t be bothered to give the slightest shit.

I lay there for another hour. Slowly, I felt myself coming back down to Earth a bit. Although I still couldn’t move or think straight, I started becoming a bit more aware. I wondered how long I would be like this. I wasn’t worried about it, it was just genuine curiosity. I also started to ponder about where this Dead Arm stuff could’ve possibly come from and what was in it.

Call it my inner conscience, call it God, or call it voices in my head, but something answered my bemusement:

Don’t worry about where I’m from. Just keep yourself still. You belong to me right now.

I could live with that.

Another hour gone by.

Discomfort started coming into my lower back. I still couldn’t move, but it was a bit of a relief knowing that my body was starting to respond to the things around it. Shit, even the relief itself was a relief.

Some of the other people around me who were on Dead Arm started to come out of it and stumble out of the apartment, thanking the doorman as they passed. By then it was like 2 AM.

At probably around 2:30, the doorman got off his phone and went out of my sight. I heard him knock on a door – most likely to one of the bedrooms – and call out, “Yo, Ted! I’m out, man. You still got six or seven out there so just a heads up.”

Although I could hear noises in response, I couldn’t exactly tell what was being said.

The doorman spoke again: “Yeah, alright, man. Have a good night.”

The doorman came back into my view, stepped over me, and walked out of the apartment.

Another hour passed when I heard one of the doors in the back open. At the same time someone came walking out. One of the people who had been high on the floor started coming to – a woman.

I heard her say to someone softly, “Oh! Hey, Ted. Thanks for the hit. Do you think you could help me to the door? My legs are still a little numb.”

The noise that replied almost completely killed my high. It was a mix between a scream and wet gurgle. If I had heard it a couple hours ago, I wouldn’t have cared, but I could feel myself coming down and I was suddenly absolutely terrified…but still couldn’t move.

Two pairs of feet started making their way towards the door. One after another, two people came into my line of sight: the first was a thirty-something blonde woman. She was stumbling a bit, using the wall as support before making her way out the door. Couldn’t recall exactly what she looked like.

But the second person I will remember until the day I die. He was a man, but unlike any person I have ever seen, before or since. His body looked like it had been stretched, pulled every which way like elastic. His arms were so long that his fingertips were touching the floor. His jaw was so wide open that the entirety of his mouth had to be at least a foot long, and it was full of jagged, broken and yellow teeth. The skin under his beady eyes was black and sunken. The hair on his head was grown in uneven patches. Brown patches were all over his face, arms, and legs, and they were disgustingly leaking a similar-colored liquid onto the floor – it looked quite a lot like Dead Arm.

This man was practically inhuman. Nobody in the human race, regardless of our breakthroughs in cosmetics, looked like that or was ever supposed to look like that. It was a fucking monster standing over me.

And even still I could not move.

All I could do was scream, and even then not very loudly. When I did, the wet, beady eyes of the monster-person looked down at me. The thing’s head cocked slightly and a look of confusion came over its face – as if it couldn’t understand why the fuck I was screaming at the sight of it.

It shook its head and walked out of my view, which terrified me more. I didn’t want to look at it, but I also didn’t want to be unaware of what it was. My mind was racing furiously, wondering what I should do, if maybe somehow I could roll myself to the door…

No. No. Just relax. You belong to me for now, remember? It’s not so bad. Just look at Ted.

That fucking thing was Ted?

I tried to fight the overwhelming urge to just lay there, but found myself just as helpless as before. The straining to move at least one of my muscles was fruitless and started paining me greatly. Suddenly my muscles weren’t relaxed, they were flaring up. It hurt so badly I didn’t even scream – I just passed out.

When I woke up, I was myself again. And I immediately started screaming as the memory of what went down last night came rushing back to me.

Moses, who looked like he had just woken up himself, was crouching next to me instantly.

“Dude! Get a hold of yourself!” he yelled. “Relax!”

I told him everything that had happened – from the naked stranger to the voices I had heard after taking the Dead Arm and the oozing monster that had come out of the back room. Throughout my explanation, Moses’ face fell.

He said, in a low voice, “You need to leave right now. Ted’s insecure enough as it is, and you’re not gonna help by calling him a fuckin’ monster. Thankfully for you he’s asleep right now.”

“What the fuck? Dude, he was stretched out, he didn’t even look like a person!”

“Side-effect of the Dead Arm, man. Ted knows how to party.”

“Are you fucking telling me that we could end up like that if we keep using that shit?”

“Dude, don’t you remember how good it felt? Are you telling me it’s not worth it?”

By the time he finished his sentence, I was already out the door. I got out of the apartment complex and turned my head. From one of the windows on the third-floor, I saw a glimpse of Ted, the monster-person, staring down at me with those tiny eyes, the impossibly-wide jaw still agape in a permanent state of relaxation.

I screamed and sprinted away. I couldn’t help it.

Ever since that night, I refused to touch another substance. I never spoke with Moses or the old crew again. And I never even once walked near Ted’s house. Not long after my night there, he was gone and I never got the invite to come back, and part of me was glad. He’s what I was afraid of the most.

Because I know someday I’m going to end up just like him.

I’m off drugs now because nothing can compare to Dead Arm. Nothing at all. I’ll find it again and will use it. This is one addiction that no amount of rehab can help. The relaxing helplessness, the stillness of the mind…

Oh, and that soothing voice, too. I hear it even today, all the time, whispering to me.

You’re still mine and I know you’ll come back.


Credit: Thaddeus James (FacebookReddit)

The post Dead Arm appeared first on Creepypasta.

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I Met the Rat King

Reading Time: 18 minutes
I found it three weeks ago, or rather, I found them. A knotted circle of fur, claws, and death. Six rats, tangled together by their tails, thrashed about my front lawn with little direction. Their shrieks pierced the air of what was normally a quiet street. I was going outside to get the mail when I spotted them. I approached as close as I dared to get a better look, I couldn’t imagine the diseases they were carrying. At least half of them were dead or dying, their weight a hellish burden on those still cursed with life. They would flail vainly against the knot trapping them together, before briefly fighting amongst each other whenever they collided in their confusion. They did not understand why they were stuck, and they took their confusion and fear out on one another. Even from a safe distance, I could tell the bodies of the dead rodents had been partially eaten away. I could feel my breakfast threatening to free itself at the sight. I had never seen anything so horrid and depressing, but I’d be damned if I went anywhere near that collage of nightmares. I safely retreated back inside my home and called animal control.

In a few short hours my doorbell rang. I was greeted by two animal control workers with a third worker standing on my lawn. He held a clear plastic bag, the awful circle of rats motionless inside. The first man introduced himself as Brian. He was a tall, heavy-set gentleman who stared at me behind a dark pair of aviators and held a toothpick between smoke stained teeth. He immediately asked if I had experienced any other rodent issues in or around my property. When I explained that I had not, he simply rolled the toothpick from one corner of his mouth to the other, grunting in acknowledgement and fidgeting with the bill of his beige company hat. Kevin, the younger worker, explained to me the significance of what I had stumbled upon. His over-enthusiasm was a little unsettling.

The jumble of rats I had found was called a rat king. It was a phenomenon that resulted from a population of mice or rats that had become stuck together and been unable to free themselves. This was often after coming into contact with some sort of sap or tar-like substance. Once enough of the rodents became stuck this way, their flailing would result in the crude circle formation that had found its way onto my lawn. As Kevin gleefully described this peculiarity, I silently decided to skip lunch. He only stopped to breathe once Brian put an imposingly large hand on his shoulder and interjected.

“The thing is, these rats were tied together by their tails. That only happens when there’s a huge mess of ‘em somewhere, but this is the first one I’ve ever seen,” confessed Brian.

Well that was comforting. I explained that I had only been in this home a few months. My wife and I had bought it and I had moved in ahead of her while she finished the final few months of her contracted employment.

“Is there any chance I just didn’t notice the signs of an infestation?” I asked, imagining my walls filled to the brim with rodents.

Both workers shook their heads immediately. “With the amount of rats it takes to make one of those things, you’da known this place was infested after about five minutes,” Brian said, his southern accent soaked into the emphasis.

I was partly relieved, knowing that we hadn’t purchased ground zero of the next plague. Still, that didn’t explain how the rats had made their way onto my lawn. As if reading my mind, Brian quickly attempted to assuage my fears. He explained that animal control was going to check to see if there was any sign of an infestation in the nearby drainage system. Kevin recommended that I have some pest preventative services done around the exterior of my home just to be safe. I went ahead and scheduled an internal inspection as well, not fully trusting my own ability to spot a rat infestation. I figured that being proactive was the best way to get ahead of the game.

It was a over week before I heard anything regarding the rats again. The exterminator thankfully saw no signs of any infestation in or around my home. I opted for some outside traps anyways, unable to fully shake the sight of the tangled mess of rats from my mind. I hadn’t received any updates from Brian, so I assumed animal control hadn’t discovered some awful rat colony making their home in the sewers. I wasn’t particularly afraid of rodents, but the thought of the circumstances which produced a rat king were enough to give anyone chills. I pictured thousands of rats piled on top of each other with nowhere to move. In that horrid pile of confusion their tails becoming knotted, joining them for the rest of their inevitably short lives. I could almost hear their squeaks and shrieks of fear and instinctive rage, attacking their fellow prisoners who were just as innocent as they were in the tragic merging. But it would be a different sound that brought them back into my life.

I was busy unpacking boxes for our study. My wife was the one who owned all these books, and for months I had procrastinated in unpacking them and putting them up. Unenthusiastically, I cut the tape on the third box when I heard a noise. It was faint, but still clearly the sound of scratching. I immediately stood and walked out into the living room, which served as the center point of the house, to listen for where the sound was coming from. It took only a moment to determine that the scratching was coming from the front door. It was similar to the scratching sound our cat Kane made when he wanted to come back inside. Knowing Kane was still three states away with my wife, I approached the door slowly and peered through the peephole. It was difficult to see the porch surface, but it didn’t appear as if anything was there. I unlocked and opened the door, but I found nothing on the other side besides an empty porch. I thought that maybe some animal had wandered up to the wrong house. I took a few steps out into the night to see if could catch a glimpse of anything. I did. In fact I caught a glimpse of twelve things.

The second I saw the rats they screeched, as if the approach of some predator sent them into a panic. I would be lying if I said I didn’t scream too. How could I not? This rat king was twice as large as the first one, and this time it seemed most of the unfortunate were still alive. They attempted to flee every which way, falling over each other and dragging the smaller ones about. I had heard that rats were normally clean creatures, but whatever pit these had crawled out of had branded them with a foul rank that brought on just as much nausea as the sight of it all. I stumbled back, nearly retching then and there.

 What the hell was going on?

 Why was there ANOTHER one?

These among many other questions rattled my brain as I retreated back into my home. The scratching sound I heard, there was no way that screeching circle of hell had caused it. And what of Brian and Kevin? Weren’t they supposed to check to make sure there wasn’t an infestation? I had no answers, and all I could do was wait until the morning to call animal control again.

I had a nightmare that night. I dreamt I was lost somewhere in the sewer, blindly trying to find my way around with no light source of any kind. I began to panic, quickening my pace until I was sprinting through the damp, foul labyrinth. I’ve never recalled being able to smell in a dream before, but I sure could in those sewers. The same awful stench belonging to the rat kings possessed my nose, only intensifying as I ran with reckless abandon. Inevitably I tripped, and I awaited the awful splash of sewage as my body toppled towards the ground. The splash never came. I instead landed on hundreds of small, furry bodies.

I knew.

The lake of rats squealed both beneath and around me, swelling in size as my terror became their terror. I tried to stand, but they were already crawling over me, weighing me down. I screamed, but it was a whimper compared to the endless screeches of a panicked horde. I flailed wildly, trying to shake myself free and push them off in an identical frenzied fear. I looked down at my feet, only to see countless tails wrapped around my ankles, tied together in fleshy pink and beige knots. I tried to scream again, but I was silenced under the pile of fur and tar.

Nothing kept me from screaming when I woke up. I wanted to cry. I’m not ashamed to say that. I do so every time I have to put a pet down or while watching the first twenty minutes of Disney’s “Up.” But I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I was so afraid that I was nearly brought to tears. Only the fact that it was a nightmare kept me from losing it. I called animal control immediately, and was fortunate enough to be transferred directly to Kevin due to it being an open and ongoing case. I think he could tell how shaken I was over the phone despite my best efforts to keep it together. He promised me they would head to my house immediately.

An hour later I had regained my composure, and I wasn’t shaking like a fool while I stood out on the lawn watching Kevin slide the second rat king into an even bigger bag than the last time. I had asked that they wait to fetch me until after they did what they needed in order to deal with the rats that were still alive. I didn’t want to watch that part, a mercy or not. Brian was scratching his head, not quite as bewildered as I was, but he certainly lacked the reassuring demeanor he wore when we first met.

“I’ll be upfront with you, we’re a bit stumped on this one,” he admitted, continuing to his scratch his head.

“I don’t understand, you said that there had to be a huge infestation to make these things,” I said, incredulous at his complete lack of insight.

“Yes and I’ll say it again too. These things don’t just happen when there’s a handful of rats around.” His tone suggested he had taken a slight offense to me quoting his own words back to him.

“So what did you find in the sewers?” I pressed, ignoring his tone. I didn’t have the patience for his pride while giant circles of rats were still appearing on my lawn.

“That’s the thing. We found nothin’,” he said with a shrug. “There’s a couple of ‘em running around down there, always is, but nothin’ near what it would take to make one of those suckers.” He gestured back towards contents of the bag as Kevin sealed it up.

I ran my hands back up through my hair, trying not to get frustrated. Taking a moment to calm myself, I managed to ask “So what do you suggest I do?” my tone as respectful as I could muster.

Brian and Kevin shared a reluctant look, one that created a pit in my stomach. That pit ballooned into a canyon when the senior of the duo broke the news.

“Honestly sir, it might be time to consider that it could be somebody’s leavin’ these things here,” Brian said. Even behind his aviators, I could tell his face was grimacing behind the weight of his words.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” I asked. Honestly, I heard him word for word. My mind however, wasn’t ready to process the implications of what he just said.

Brian sighed, removing his hat and revealing his heavily balding scalp. I imagine something like this was out his depth, but how did he think I felt?

“I’m sayin’ you might want to notify the police,” he clarified, which only added to my mountain of questions.

“Because someone might be leaving those things in my yard… on purpose.” I laid out his insinuation as if he had just asked me to believe in the Tooth Fairy.

He nodded, “‘Fraid so. I’m tellin’ you that these things don’t just pop up.” He gestured to the direction of our sewer drains. “There’s nothin’ down there close to what you would need to make these things”

“Which means that some sick freak made that thing and dropped it off in my lawn?” I knew the answer, it wasn’t that hard to piece together. Saying out loud just made it a bit easier to believe, if not to stomach.

“We don’t know for certain, but for your safety I’d file a report if nothing else,” said Kevin, chiming in. “Anyone who would do that to an animal, pest or not, is just not right in the head.”

Despite the fact the day was now worse than it had started, I thanked both of them for getting out here so soon and being upfront about everything. At the very least the second rat king was gone, but I needed to decide if I was going to tell the police about it, not to mention my wife. As a token of goodwill, Brian said he would come by the next day to check the drain near my home again. The first inspection had already shown that there was no infestation, but I appreciated that he was willing to check once more if only to confirm the initial conclusion of his work.

That evening I called the local police station, who said they would send an officer by in the morning to take my statement and file a report. Afterwards I called my wife, but for the life of me I could not bring myself to tell her anything about the rats over the phone. She was so busy trying to meet the deadlines of her contract, not to mention packing up the rest of our stuff, that it felt wrong. I felt that adding a nice stack of ‘we might have an animal-torturing stalker’ to her plate would only give her a panic attack. Regardless, it wasn’t as if she could help from where she was. I promised myself that I would tell her soon, but at the very least I wanted to wait until I had a chance to speak to the police and figure out my next steps.

That night I dreamt I was in the sewers again. This time, I wasn’t lost or panicked. Instead, it felt like I knew exactly where I needed to go. Eventually I came upon a woman, who looked as if she had no business being in a sewer. She was tall, draped in a spotless black dress that contrasted her pale skin. Much like her dress, her skin was flawless like it had never suffered so much as a scratch. Her delicate hands tucked jet black hair back behind her ears, revealing bright red lips curved upwards in a disarming smile. Calling her beautiful would sell her woefully short. She reached out a hand and beckoned for me to join her. She spoke to me, but I couldn’t recall what she said. I only remember that her voice was inviting and I walked towards her without so much as a second thought. The moment I took her hand the dream ended and I woke up to the blare of my alarm.

Guilt loomed over me during breakfast. That dream was infinitely better than drowning in rats, but it still felt overtly real. I thought of my wife and felt ashamed of how easily I went to the woman when beckoned. I know it wasn’t real, but the fact that I didn’t even think of my wife in the presence of this impossibly beautiful woman still upset me. Luckily, I wasn’t able to mull in my shame for very long when I heard the police knocking on my door. They had sent a single uniformed officer, whose face I couldn’t read very well as I recounted the grotesque events of the past week. I made sure to mention that animal control should have my case documented, so that I wouldn’t come off as a paranoid nuisance or a LSD enthusiast. Fortunately, Brian’s van pulled up alongside the curb while I was giving my statement. I pointed to him and waved, not so subtly hinting that he was the man who could verify my sanity. The officer gave me a card with the information I needed if I wanted to follow up on the report, and left to go speak with Brian. I felt better after reporting what all had happened, and while still troubled by the whole debacle I was at least comforted by the fact I wasn’t sitting on my hands and waiting for the worst.

That evening I went out to check my mail. It wasn’t until I was already at the mailbox that I noticed Brian’s van was still parked near the curb. I walked over to and found no sign of Brian but I did find the manhole cover removed and placed to the side. I called out into the circular opening, but there was no answer. I used my phone’s flashlight to try and see down into the sewer. I was worried that he may have been injured and unable to call for help. The flashlight wasn’t much use, and I couldn’t see the ground very well. The light did, however, reflect off the metallic frames of a pair of aviators I recognized instantly. I called out for Brian again, louder and less composed than before. There was always a chance he had just dropped them when descending into the drain, but in the back of my mind I feared something much worse.

In hindsight, I should have called the police first. Instead I sprinted inside to grab a flashlight and put on a pair of more durable pants and boots. Dread tends to fill the mind with worst case scenarios, and I imagined the overweight smoker having some sort of heart attack while he was alone and out of sight. Brian had come out for a second inspection to alleviate my fears, and now my guilt fueled my obligation to help. Running back outside, I quickly climbed down the iron bars fastened into the concrete wall. The reality of my own naivety didn’t strike until I reached the bottom.

The neighborhood and the region around it was prone to flooding. When we bought our house, the Real Estate agent made sure to inform us of that fact. She had reassured us that the government had installed large drainage piping to reduce the risk. She wasn’t lying, the tunnels were massive. I stood over six feet and even I would have no problem walking straight into them. That would be good news if it weren’t for  the complete lack of lighting beyond my flashlight. The manhole connected to the middle of a large concrete pipe, with only a black void of darkness waiting on either side. I wanted to call out for Brian, but something told me I shouldn’t. There was this odd, instinctive voice that just kept repeating “Be silent.”

With nothing more than Brian’s glasses at my feet, I had no idea which direction to search first. Suddenly, I heard the faintest sound of scratching down the right path. The noise sent chills across my body and goosebumps covered my skin. It was just scratching, but I couldn’t help but think back to the sound I heard before I found the second circle of rats. Despite my fears, I knew there was a chance Brian was hurt and that noise could be only way for him to call for help. I headed down the path on my right, my flashlight barely strong enough to avoid getting swallowed by the dark tunnel. It had been nearly two weeks since our last rain, so only the faintest trickle of water flowed steadily down the middle of the pipe.

I had always imagined the sewers as a much scarier, dungeon-like underworld filled with corridors and iron barred grates. I should have realized the plain reality would not match the medieval European picture I had seen in movies and video games. Part of me had worried it would match the sewers of my recent dreams, but I was so far off base that it made me feel silly as I thought back on my nightmare. The pipe was just a straight shot, with smaller pipes leading into its sides as it headed towards whatever waterway it emptied out into. It didn’t smell great, but the unchanging grey of concrete was much less imposing than what my imagination had cooked up. I was confident that I would have to run into Brian with how straightforward this system was. After a minute or so of walking, my flashlight found a point in the pipe up ahead where it connected to another large pipe.

I didn’t like the idea of another potential path. Every added turn made my chances of getting lost that much higher. I decided I would peak down that path, but would turn around if I didn’t see any sign of Brian. As I neared the intersection, the smell in the pipe began to worsen. It didn’t take long to recognize it as the same stench I had come into contact with twice before. I could also hear the scratching, louder and more plentiful than before. I covered my nose and pressed on.

No infestation. Yeah, right,” I thought to myself.

Maybe Brian had found the elusive infestation of rats and had just been down here dealing with them. If they were bad enough to create one of those awful rat kings, then I could see how it might be an all day project. As I rounded the corner I was prepared to call out and make sure that I didn’t scare the man while he worked. I bet I looked rather stupid with that relieved look on my face and a mouth already open to make a snide comment. Whatever I expected to find, my jaw snapped shut and I froze in my tracks as I saw a horrendously different scene.

Rats.

 Thousands.

 They covered every inch of the pipe’s floor, swelling halfway up the sides. The piping echoed with the scratching sound of their skittering feet. The huddled masses made no other sounds as they shuffled about in a busy fashion. In their silence I had confused them for being much further away when I turned the corner, and the primal fear that gripped me locked my feet up in place.

 In the middle of the horde was large pile of what looked like to be a mixture of trash and sticks. Soaked cardboard folded over twigs of every size, with piles of wet leaves filling in the gaps. The rats surrounding it circled continuously, as if patrolling a small perimeter. A nearby storm drain opening dropped just enough natural light for me to see exactly what sat on top of the pile. It was much too large to be a rat. I’d have guessed it was a large dog suffering from severe mange if it weren’t for the hulking, pink tail that curled around its resting place. Its flesh was pale, bare except for inconsistent patches of black fur. The fur was thickest at the head, with long black locks that looked more like human hair than that of a rat. Yet the pointed snout, thick whiskers, and bulging eyes screamed rodent much louder than any human trait. Its jaw hung slightly agape, as if malformed to the point where it did not match the top of the mouth. Drool poured out of the sides in slow drooping streams, dropping onto the circling rat guard below. The awkward jaw curled up, and it almost looked like the creature was smiling as it watched the endless parade from what I figured to be a bed.

Slowly, it reached out its hand. It’s fingers were thin and excessively long. The pale digits gently reached into the marching black mass and plucked a single rat from his patrol. The rat sat completely still in the delicate grip as the overlord picked another worthy candidate from the endless flow. I watched in nauseous horror as the monstrosity slowly gripped the motionless rats and began to tie their tails together. Not unlike the rest of the horde, there wasn’t so much as a squeak of protest from the two victims. Holding them gently, the horrid thing reached back into the infinite supply below to select a third member for knotting. It didn’t take me long to figure out what it was making. A gasp escaped my throat before I even had the chance to stifle it, and the creature’s head snapped in my direction.

Every tiny foot in the pipe became still. The rat beast seemed to study me for a moment, but I could not see any curiosity in the murky white pools that made up its eyes. Slowly, it rose up as if to sit up on its hind limbs and I discerned that I had greatly underestimated its size. Six pairs of swollen nipples jutted out from chest to stomach. Surrounding them were endless bed sores, oozing with puss and staining the alabaster skin a bruised red. Beneath where the creature had been laying, I spotted the pool of bright pink. Hundreds of baby rats lay shifting and squirming as they fought their way to the top of what I now understood to be a nest. None of this made any sense. I needed to run.

“Don’t run,” commanded the voice in my head. My feet wouldn’t move. Or maybe I just didn’t want to run.

“It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.” The voice was soothing, familiar. I felt myself relax. Some part of me resisted, screaming to hold onto my fear. I still didn’t run.

“Come here,” she beckoned.

I knew what called to me. The black sea of rats slowly parted, opening a pathway to the swollen monstrosity. Her arms slowly reached out as if for an embrace. My mind was cloudy, but still I did not run.

I walked towards her.

As I walked, the obedient rodent children sat still as stones, putting the silence of mice to shame. My mind struggled, failing to grab and hold onto a single thought other than the command to walk. My vision blurred, and the monstrosity had that summoned me began to change. Her features warped and twisted, and soon the woman in black from my dream stood in her stead. I had never been near something so beautiful in my life. Her arms were still outstretched, waiting for me to join Her. Little by little, my thoughts melted away until there was only Her. I stepped into Her arms and wrapped my own around Her pale body.

She had chosen me for a purpose. The dreams, this kingdom, and a crown handmade by the Queen Herself were all for me. In Her embrace I came to understand the truth. I was always destined to be right at Her side.

I am the Rat King.

She leaned down and whispered into my ear, “You are mine,”  and I was…for a moment.

Somewhere in the farthest reaches of my mind a single memory persisted. It was the only image remaining that was not of Her. It was my wife. The one who I had bought a home with. The one who was working to exhaustion so that she could join me in our new adventure. The one who was waiting for me to call her. I grasped that memory and held on as hard as I could, tearing myself free from the force that had caged the rest of my mind. I pushed her off me and I saw not the alabaster beauty but instead the monstrosity for its true appearance. Her bloated frame swayed backwards and her weight carried her off the nest and onto hundreds of her loyal servants. Her massive tail failed to balance her and instead swiped another tens of rodents into the air. Her clouded eyes shot towards me and for just a second, I could swear her deformed, ill-fitting face looked sad. That sadness was replaced by the most horrid of shrieks.

I staggered back, trying to cover my ears from the piercing sound as it nearly ruptured my ear drums. Her legion of previously mute and motionless rats joined in with their chorus of shrieks and squeals as I turned to run. I could feel the sound of her fury cut into my bones. My legs carried me faster than I think I’ve ever run. I could feel the vibrations of thousands of large, angry rodents giving chase. I never looked back, but their sound carried so horribly well through the pipes that I thought they were right on my heels. I expected my legs to soon be overcome by the horde, swallowing me in a most excruciating death, but the moment never came. I made it to the iron barred ladder and climbed up and out of the manhole without a single glance to the rabid void that chased. I sprinted to my car, grabbing the magnetic spare key under the tire and peeled out of my driveway. Half an hour passed before I felt safe enough to pull over.

Eventually, I begrudgingly gave into logic. I had taken off without my wallet, keys, or phone. I had to go back. Eventually Brian would be reported missing, and it wouldn’t look good that I had just driven off in a panic. I dreaded the trip back, half convinced that the black fur army would be waiting inside my home to drag me back into the sewers. Surprisingly, nothing awaited me when I arrived. My home was as empty as I had left it. I closed the front door behind me before I slumped against the wall and broke down crying. When I composed myself I called my wife, just to hear her voice. I assured her everything was okay, even though she could tell it wasn’t. I promised I’d explain it all to her soon, and this time I really will. My next call was to the police.

I don’t have much to say about the investigation, but I can tell you I’ve been questioned repeatedly. I haven’t been charged with anything yet, and they haven’t found Brian’s body. Even his aviators were gone, along with any sign of the rat kingdom I stumbled upon. The only new evidence was a third rat king. Twenty-four of the biggest rats I’d ever seen all neatly tied together like before, placed right on my porch. A call to the police and another round of questioning later, I’m here writing this tale.

I’d give anything to just pack up and leave this place tonight, but with the investigation it’ll only make me look responsible for Brian’s disappearance. Still, I know I’m not safe here. Even now that monster is down there in the sewers, plucking rats from her crowded kingdom to make another offering, the third of which proved she has not given up on her King. My wife and I just wanted a place to make new ties. Instead I’m stuck here, alone, tangled in knots, and I can feel them getting tighter.


Credit: Jameson Curnick

The post I Met the Rat King appeared first on Creepypasta.

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The Swing

Reading Time: 14 minutesWhat do people usually fear when moving out to live on their own? What sort of problems does one normally encounter when finally venturing from the safety of their parents’ home, into a place of their own? Perhaps it’s paying their rent on time, or having to do all the cleaning without any of mommy’s help. These were things I anticipated. I never could have predicted the events of the past week.

We had finally moved the last box into my new house. Single level ranch and only two bedrooms, but for a bachelor like me, it was a dream come true. The house was right in the heart of a great suburban neighborhood, with a two-car driveway and a pretty big backyard. When I had seen the yard, the first thing I thought of was all the parties I’d be hosting. I stepped onto the deck and took a breath of the fresh air while closing my eyes to imagine the endless nights of friends, booze and, of course– women.  I stretched my arms out and let out an exuberant sigh of relief.

As I scanned my surroundings, I couldn’t help but notice the elevated deck gave me the proper vantage point to see into my neighbor’s backyards. I figured since I hadn’t formally met any of them yet, I would try and guess now whom I’d have to worry about if my parties got to rowdy and the risk of 911 calls would become a harsh reality. To my right, I saw a vibrant garden, a grill and hammock. I figured it was a middle-aged couple.

“Hopefully they’re not too old and cranky,” I thought to myself as I turned my head to view my neighbors to the left. That’s when I saw… him. Under a large oak tree, adorned in colorful Christmas lights, was what looked to be a young boy swinging away on his play set. “Great”, I thought, “I bet his bedtime is a lot earlier than any party I throw would be ending.” I continued to look at the boy. His back was turned to me. He wore a hoodie and gloves, which I struck me as odd, since it was summer and pretty warm outside. I brushed it off and assumed the boy was sick.

I went back inside and began to unpack everything. With the help of some friends, we managed to put together all my furniture, hook up my entertainment system and more-or-less get the house in working order. “I just sent out the texts guys! Get ready to party tonight!” I exclaimed as I leaped off the couch and finished my beer. The guys all began to cheer and a round of high fives were exchanged. By now, the sun was setting, as it had been several hours since we first had brought in all my belongings.

My friend Dan was unpacking one of the last boxes as he eagerly looked out of the window. “Have you met your neighbors yet? Any fine young ladies gonna be comin’ around here asking to borrow some sugar?” he asked in a sarcastic tone as he turned to me with a lewd gesture.

Smiling and walking over I replied, “Nope not yet, but I don’t think I’ll have much luck in that department. From the looks of it, it’s just a bunch of normal families. One of them even has a kid.”

As I pointed to the house I had seen earlier, my face scrunched to show a look of confusion and surprise. The boy I had seen swinging earlier was still there. He was still swinging under the ambiance of the lit-up tree.

“Weird… that kid was swinging when we first got here too,” I said to Dan as he looked at his phone. Barely acknowledging my comment, he raised his hand up and mumbled, “Must be a Special Ed kid or something.” He walked off, calling more people to invite them to the house warming party. I turned back to the swinging boy. He couldn’t have been swinging this whole time… could he?

That night, as planned, we had my house warming party. It was such a great time. I greeted my friends and cousins as they arrived, handing them all the beverage of their choice. We were outside until around 3 or 4 in the morning when the weather suddenly got cool and it began to drizzle.  I would have been willing to stick it out until it passed but the girls all began to freak out, claiming their hair would frizz and all ran inside. Naturally, the guys followed, holding makeshift umbrellas over the girl’s heads. I laughed to myself at how hard they were trying to get lucky.

I took the opportunity to quickly clean up some of the trash that had accumulated before going inside. I scooped up a bunch of cans and bottles before I turned around and was left in awe. I guess we were all distracted by the music and alcohol to notice earlier but now, with everyone inside I saw it… the boy was still outside and on his swing. He was still in the same position and outfit I had seen in him all day, back turned to me, wearing the same hoodie and gloves.

I stood there for a minute, lost in thought when from behind me I heard a loud, “Hiya neighbor!” I jumped and did a quick 180, dropping the trash I had been carrying.

“Whoa, sorry about that, bud! Didn’t mean to startle ‘ya!” laughed an elderly man. He was wearing pajamas and slippers as he held his hand out, waiting for a shake on my end.

“Oh, hello, sir,” I said as I cleared my throat and shook his hand, recollecting my thoughts. He smiled and began to fumble with his hands.

“I hate to be that guy, especially since you just moved in and everything, but you think you guys can turn down the music a bit? The wife and I are pretty light sleepers and at this age, we tend to be early risers,” he said bashfully. I smiled and laughed as I put a hand to my face in embarrassment.

“Oh jeez, I’m sorry sir. I guess things got a little crazier than planned. I didn’t think people would stick around this long.”

I really did feel bad. I half expected the man to come out yelling, demanding us to keep it down, less he call the cops. His gentle demeanor was refreshing and I was more than happy to oblige.  I laughed and replied, “I’ll go let everyone know they need to stay inside and take it down a notch. I’m Peter, by the way.” I shook his hand.

“Pleasure to meet you, Peter. I’m Paul!” he said with a grin. As he smiled, his eyes drifted past mine and towards the swinging boy. “I assume you’ve noticed the Langer’s kid by now, huh?” asked Paul, as he cupped his hands and breathed into try and keep warm.

“Yeah,” I said as I turned to face him. “What’s the deal with him? He’s been on that thing all day.”

Paul shrugged.

“Not sure. No one really knows the story. He just swings and swings, until eventually.” Paul stopped and his eyes widened. “Wait, it’s happening! Check it out!”

I turned my around to find the boy had stopped swinging. He sat completely still for a moment before slowly rising from the rubber seat of the swing. He began to shake violently, falling to his knees and scraping the dirt below him. Even from where we were standing, we were able to hear his quick bursts of shrieking and gurgling. I became concerned. Was the boy okay? It looked like he was having an asthma attack or a seizure.

I started to run to the boy in order to help but stopped after a couple steps. His mother had run out. I looked at her, completely sober now from the adrenaline that was pumping through my body. It was not a pleasant sight. She was a frail, haggard woman, with a gray, knotted mane of hair on her head. Her skin was pale and her eyes had dark bags underneath. It looked as if she hadn’t slept or had a proper meal for ages. Mrs. Langer rushed out quick, holding a small, orange bottle– the kind one would receive from a pharmacist. After she reached her boy, she knelt down and poured several white pills into her hand. Before she could even finish offering the pills to her son, he had grabbed arm and buried his face into the palm of her hand, inhaling the pills.

Mrs. Langer pulled away and began to rub her wrist. It appeared the boy had hurt her, which did not really surprise me due to how skinny the woman was. Paul and I watched intensely, without uttering a single word. After a moment or two, the boy simply rose back to his feet, sat back down on his swing and resumed his leisurely activity. Mrs. Langer grabbed the now empty orange bottle and proceeded back inside, still clutching her wrist.

Paul and I were both shaken up. We had no idea what we had just seen. “Wow. I’ve seen the boy spas out before but never that bad. I bet whatever condition he has is getting more severe… poor kid,” Paul said as he rubbed the back of his head.

“What… what exactly is wrong with him?“ I asked, with my eyes still glued to the child.

“Like I said, I don’t know. No one around here does,” Paul replied, turning around and walking back his door, “Anyway, my wife is probably getting worried. You have a good night Peter.”

“Yeah,” I sighed, arranging my thoughts. “Nice meeting you, Paul.” We both exchanged a final wave and returned to our respective households. The party was dying down when I entered… and I was glad. What I had just seen took a lot out of me.

The next morning I felt like shit. The copious waves of alcohol I had carelessly consumed the night prior had finally caught up to me. My head throbbed and I was severely parched. I stood up and the arid sensation in my mouth and throat was quickly replaced by feelings of nausea. I shambled to the bathroom and dropped to my knees, clutching the porcelain for dear life. “At least I have the day off to recover,” I thought to myself.

I grabbed the sports drink I had strategically placed in the bathroom the day before in anticipation for my hangover and chugged it down in only a few gulps. I was no stranger to this feeling, and I knew what to expect. Within a couple minutes I began to vomit and immediately felt better; though, not enough to have a very productive day. I mentally prepared myself for a day of movies, video games and junk food.

After a couple hours of lying in my borderline vegetative state, I heard the mailman make his stop at my door. In no mood to get off the couch, I ignored it and continued binge watching the zombie show everyone was raving about. It probably was not the best idea to be observing such grotesque gore while it felt as if a war was being waged in my stomach. I sucked it up and continued to watch. Several episodes later, I made my way to the kitchen and popped in a giant TV dinner in the microwave. While it cooked I decided I would bring in the mail from earlier. I unlocked the front door and let in some much needed fresh air.

I stood at the door and scooped up the contents of my mailbox, sifting through the junk mail and bills, when I saw I had received a package. Without scanning the box for more details I brought the small box inside and cut off the tape. I opened it only to find a small orange bottle… like the one I had seen my neighbor holding last night. I was puzzled and searched for the mailing label on the box. The mailman had delivered it to the wrong house. Annoyed, I let out a big sigh. I was not in the mood to get dressed and leave the house for anything, let alone to awkwardly meet new neighbors in order to tell them I have the pills for their weirdo son. I looked out of my back window and saw the boy was swinging away, as usual. I heard my microwave go off, indicating my food was ready. With one last glance at the child, I told myself the pills can wait, as the boy had scarfed down several the night before. I tossed the bottle of pills aside and made my way to the kitchen. After eating, I felt fatigued, which caused me to fall asleep on the couch.

I woke up from my sleep to sound of commotion outside my home. The repetitive beeping of a large vehicle in reverse echoed through my brain. Nightfall had arrived and my house was engulfed in almost absolute darkness. The only light I could see was the dull gray from my now idle television… and the swirl of red and blue illuminating through my windows. The scene that I awoke to was almost surreal and I thought for a moment that I was dreaming. I got on my feet and looked through my front window. A crowd had gathered on my front lawn. They were facing the ambulance that was parked in the driveway of my Langer house. I threw on a light coat to hide my stained, most likely rancid smelling shirt I had been stewing in all day.  In the crowd, Paul stood amongst several other people, whom I presumed to be residents of the neighborhood.

“Hey, Paul,” I blurted as I cleared the phlegm from my throat. “What the hell is going on?”

With his eyes still glued to the scene that unfolded next door he replied, “We’re not exactly sure. We think something may have happened to someone in the house. Mr. Langer is speaking with one of the paramedics and he looks panicked.”

I saw the man Paul was referring to. Like his wife, Mr. Langer also looked as if his body was depleted and barren. He wore a loose tank top that showed just how skinny he was. His ribs poked through the pale, tight skin on his torso. He was pacing around frantically, covering his eyes and mumbling something to himself. I was still gazing at the distraught man when the soft murmuring of the crowd around me erupted into a frenzy of screams and cries. I turned to the door of the Langer house and dread began to fill my body. Two policemen exited the house followed by a paramedic who wheeled out a gurney. Atop of the gurney was the bloodied body of the seemingly lifeless Mrs. Langer.

From where we were standing, we were able to see the pale, bruised wrist of the poor woman hanging from the side, blood running down and dripping from her fingertips. It began to twitch and her head bobbed around as the paramedic pressed an oxygen mask to her face and hoisted the gurney into the back of the ambulance. I turned to Paul who was standing on the tip of his feet in order to see over the crowd. One of the policemen made his way over to our now frantic group of screaming men and women, ordering us to disburse and return to our homes. Everyone began to bombard the officer with questions, asking what happened and if they were safe.

“You have nothing to worry about people. It appears a group of coyotes attacked Mrs. Langer in her backyard. We have since located and neutralized the animals,” remarked the officer, avoiding eye contact with anyone before him. It was clear he was lying through his teeth.

I raised my hand and shouted above the crowd, “And what about the boy? Was he hurt?”

The officer shot me a look of irritation as he cleared his throat and hesitantly announced, “He was not anywhere near the scene of the attack. We assume he got scared and ran away for safety, and were in the process of locating the child. If anyone sees him, please call 911 immediately.”

With that, the officer turned his back to the less-than-satisfied crowd and almost ran back to his cruiser. I turned to Paul who bared a look of dismay. He turned and shot me an apathetic smile before patting me on the back and making his way inside. I stood there for a moment after the crowd slowly disbanded. Was this my fault? Did it have something to do with the pills? I quickly disregarded the paranoid thoughts that plagued my mind, and walked back to my home.

I slid through the front door that I had carelessly left ajar and shut if behind me as I slid down and cupped my hands around my head. There was a legion of emotions coursing through me as I pondered my next move. I knew I had to get the pills out of my house. Though the chances were slim, I did not want any blame being directed at me for not returning the pills sooner. Hell, I knew I had committed at least one federal crime when I unknowingly opened someone else’s mail. I decided I would anonymously place the box of pills in the Langer’s mailbox and dash back inside. I grabbed the pills from my couch and glanced out of the back window. The Christmas lights in the oak tree were bright as ever, illuminating the grizzly crime scene that lied just below. Blood and ripped clothing veiled the ground.

That’s when I saw them.

The boy’s gloves and hoodie were lying amidst the carnage. My heart sank. I was sure the boy was dead, or at the very least, critically injured. Tears began to fill my eyes as I banged my fists on the windowsill. The sudden burst of sound emanated throughout my home. I hadn’t made a peep since I entered. The sudden contrast in sound made the shameful silence that followed even more noticeable. In the midst of the grim silence, I heard it:  the low, spine tingling gurgle that flowed from my bedroom.

I froze. Barely breathing, I listened keenly for another sound. To my dismay, I heard it again… another disgusting gurgle, now louder and fiercer, almost like a growl. The lights in my home were still all off, aside from the weak aura that radiated from the idle television. I was frozen still. My body rebelled against my mind’s desire to move. Instinct began to kick in as my eyes adjusted to the darkness and fight-or-flight became a quick reality. I did not know what was in my house. All I knew was I definitely was going to choose “flight.”

I pulled out my phone and fumbled for the flashlight app as I took a step towards my backdoor. My eyes were glued to the short hallway that connected the main area of the house to my bedroom. That’s when I saw it. A small creature began to crawl from the hallway. I could barely make out any of its features. It looked human, but on all fours. The way it moved was eerie and awkward. The appendages moved sloppily and its head was to the ground. I heard the same terrifying gurgle from the creature and realized it was sniffing the floor. What happened next still fills me with dread when I look back. The flashlight app I had opened had finished loading up and powered on through the phone. The bright light pierced the darkness and lit up the monstrous figure.

I felt sick. Do you ever get the feeling in the middle of a nightmare where you start to suspect you aren’t in reality and you are begging yourself to wake up? That desperate feeling of despair coursed through ever fiber of my being. In front of me stood the Langer boy. Without all the layers of clothing he usually wore, I was able to see him for what he really was. This was not a normal child. His skin was tattered and worn out. Wrinkles and scars embellished his body. He slowly raised his head to the source of the light. Our eyes met. His eyes were worst part. However intense the darkness around his mother’s eyes were, they could not compete with the boy’s. The black around his peepers only worked to showcase his dilated pupils and the unnatural color of the irises.

I might as well have been made of stone. All my ability to move had completely ceased. I could only stand there and watch the situation unfold before me. The boy slowly turned his body in my direction and began to take steps closer and closer. He left bloody prints where his hands met with the wood grain of my floor. It was not long till he was less than a foot from me. For what seemed like an eternity, he did move. Neither of us did. My mind was warped in panic and I thought I would pass out.  Before I had the chance, the boy rose from his animal-like posture.

He was now standing on his feet, arms dangling to his sides. His eyes peered into mine. I stared back, still paralyzed with fear. He began to sluggishly turn his focus from my eyes, to my hand– the one that still clutched a bottle of the pills. As soon as he realized what I held, he broke the silence and let out a demonic shrieked, like that of a banshee. Only his mouth moved as his jaw dropped. This awoke me from my trance and I fell down, still facing the boy. He crouched so that his face met mine. His mouth was still agape, exposing his sharp, mangled teeth. The tiny razors still contained small shreds of, what I assumed to be, his mother’s flesh. He stretched his arm towards me and unraveled his blood stained hand. Instantly, I knew what he was after.

“You,” my voice trembled, “you want your pills, right?”

He continued to stare at me, unfazed by my question. I lifted up my hand and began to open the small, orange bottle. With shaking hands, I poured several pills into the palm of the child. I waited for a minute. I did not know time could move so slowly. I just wanted him to leave. Eventually, the boy’s mouth shut and curled into a faint smile. He turned and made his way to the backdoor. He shot one final glance over to me as he tiled his head back and consumed all the pills I had given him. With an audible gulp, he pushed open the door and wandered back to his sanctuary. I watched as the boy took a seat on his swing and began to sway forward and back like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I managed to shut the backdoor before collapsing on the ground.

It’s been a week since that night and I’ve returned the pills as planned. Mrs. Langer is still in critical condition and now her husband has taken over, feeding the mysterious pills to his son whenever he needs them. I was never questioned by anyone about what transpired that night. I did not report the incident. I plan to move out soon. Maybe to an apartment in the city, where there are no yards or play sets. The nightmares and fear from that night have run rampant in my mind. My backyard is still a mess from the party. I have not dared to go back there in order to clean things up. This is due to the fact that… since that fearful night, the boy makes sure to swing facing my home.

Whenever I even glance out of the window, I see his haunting eyes peering into mine as he smiles that horrid smile. The last I saw of the boy was his father coming out to give him another dose of the medication. Mr. Langer was down to his last bottle. That… was three, long nights ago. I am looking out of the window now to see what I expected to see… an empty swing.


Credit: Dan David (Nope Too Creepy YouTube Channel)

Click here to check out the Chilling Tales for Dark Nights narrative radio theater-style production of this story, as performed by Jeff Clement.

The post The Swing appeared first on Creepypasta.

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I’ve Always Hated Dolls

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Everyone has their fears, whether they are rational or irrational. Mine has always been dolls. Not all dolls, mainly just the ones that are a bit too human. I think it’s mainly the eyes that get to me.

So I’m sure you can imagine I was ecstatic to find out I was the inheritor of my very own clown doll.

It was a gift from my late great Aunt. I’d met her maybe once or twice in my life, so why she left this of all things to me was beyond me.

This doll was something straight from my nightmares. I mean, a doll was bad enough, but then you throw in the clown element as well?

The doll’s glass-like face was painted white, with red accents and markings over the eyes, mouth, and cheeks. The eyes themselves however were nothing but a black void. It has thick white hair jetting out the sides, and a round hat that almost resembles a cherry on top.

Its outfit is essentially your typical clown attire. Like the face, it was a mixture of red and white. This doll is about the size of a toddler. In other words, way too big for me to feel comfortable anywhere near it.

I would have given it away, but out of respect for my grandmother, I kept it.

So, naturally, it’s new home would be my closet. I placed it in the back on top of an old dresser that held clothes which no longer fit me.

I thought that would be that, and my life would go on as it always had.

Unfortunately, that would not be the case.

I’m not exactly a tidy person, so my clothes rarely made it back to my closet. As a result, I didn’t have to see my clown friend for quite a while. It was a few weeks later before I finally went into my closet in the quest for a clean pair of jeans.

There he was.

Sitting on the floor in front of the dresser.

I assumed he must have fallen off the dresser somehow, because I clearly remembered setting him on top.

Those empty black eyes were too much for me, though. I grabbed my jeans quickly and left without bothering to put him back on top.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about how that doll could have fallen off the dresser.

So, as a curious person, I decided to check out the closet when I returned home.

The doll was there, of course, but it was back to its original position atop the dresser. I approached it and looked into those empty eyes.

Nothing.

As much as it creeped me out, it was just a doll, right?

I must have just imagined seeing it on the floor. I live alone, so there’s no way anyone else could be moving it. Regardless, I decided to stay clear of the closet as much as possible.

A couple nights later, I was awoken to the sound of what seemed to be laughter, and it appeared to be coming from the closet.

It was very faint, which is why I was a bit surprised it woke me. Generally, I’m a very heavy sleeper. For something like this to wake me was quite odd.

The last thing I wanted to do was go into that closet, so I decided to attempt to wait it out.

After about thirty seconds I heard a loud thump, and then the laughter stopped.

After turning on every light possible and arming myself with a kitchen knife, I decided it was time to check the closet.

I slowly opened the door and…

It was completely normal, absolutely nothing was out of place. Even the doll was sat upon his normal spot on top of the dresser.

I picked up the doll and felt around it to see if there was any sort of speech box, but there wasn’t.

With a loud sigh, I set the clown back down and left my closet. Perhaps I was finally losing it.

Over the next couple days, I was on high alert. I began to notice small things here and there had gone missing, or were moved, most notably small bits of food that I swear I hadn’t eaten.

I relentlessly searched every nook and cranny of my small house, looking for any possible signs of vermin or other intruders. Everywhere, that is, except the closet.

Alas, my searches turned up nothing, further confirming my idea that I was in fact losing it.

That was until a couple nights later, when the laughing returned. Only this time it wasn’t just faint laughter. This was a booming cackle. The laugh seemed to reverberate throughout my whole house.

I was petrified, I didn’t dare move an inch from my bed.

The laughing persisted, and I began to hear loud banging noises coming from my closet, until suddenly its door swung open.

A large. dark figure emerged and stormed out of my room. I heard it sprint through my house, opening my front door and leaving. As soon as this happened, the laughter stopped.

After reminding myself to breathe, I was finally able to move from my bed. I approached the closet.

What I found devastated me.

My old dresser was no longer against the wall. Instead, it was now in the middle of my closet, and where the dresser had been was a hole. A hole easily large enough for a human to fit behind, but small enough that you would never notice it if it was being covered up.

Beside the hole was the doll, seated perfectly upright, with one arm outstretched towards the hole.

I didn’t dare look in to the hole, afraid of what I might find. Instead I grabbed the doll and locked myself in my car as I called 911.

The police later confirmed my suspicions of what had happened. Someone had been living in my home.

Inside the hole was a pallet where the person had been sleeping, as well as a small amount of trash. Worst of all, the person had a small collection of pocket knives. They were probably not meant to be used as weapons, but it’s still not exactly comforting thinking about it.

Since that night my clown friend has not left my room. He now has his own special perch on the table next to my bed.

I’m still not a huge fan of dolls, but perhaps they aren’t all so bad.


Credit: Devin Hoover (TwitterReddit)

The post I’ve Always Hated Dolls appeared first on Creepypasta.

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Goodnight Precious

Reading Time: 3 minutes
My son is 2 years old and does. Not. Sleep.

So when I saw an ad online for Goodnight Precious: the only book GUARANTEED put your child to sleep, I clicked. I was skeptical — but there was a video demonstration on the website.

“I’m going to show you how this works. Right now, I’ve got a child in bed.” The goateed man motioned to a 3 or 4-year-old boy lying in bed, wide awake. “I’m going to read the book to him. Watch what happens.”

The video cut to him finishing the book. “The sun is set, and you slumber. Goodnight precious, little wonder.”

As soon as he closed the book, the boy’s eyes fixed straight ahead. Blank. Motionless.

Then they fluttered shut.

“No wakeups in the middle of the night, either. Once he falls asleep with this book… he stays asleep,” the man said, over the boy’s light snores.

I was sold.

I clicked the order link. In three days, I had the book in my hands. It was a lot thinner than I expected — only a few cardboard pages. The cover was a drawing of a boy sleeping in bed, as an old woman (maybe his grandma?) watched them from a rocking chair in the corner.

I read it to Jackson that very night. “It’s time to go to sleep, little dear. When you wake up, I’ll still be here,” I read softly. The illustration showed an old woman tucking a child into bed. She wasn’t smiling.

I glanced at Jackson. Still wriggling and wide awake. But he seemed to be enjoying it, at least.

“Night has fallen, stars are out. Go to sleep now — don’t you pout.” This image showed the same woman, sitting in a rocking chair next to her sleeping child.

“You’ll sleep through sadness, sleep through pain. And when it’s done, we’ll do it again.” That rhyme’s really a stretch… I glanced at the image. The woman was getting out of her seat, walking towards her son’s bed.

“Go to sleep now, little one. Be patient, now — we’re almost done.” In this drawing, the woman was looking down at her sleeping child from the bedside. She was holding a pillow.

I turned the page, to the last one.

My heart stopped.

The old woman was pressing the pillow over the child’s face. Smiling, with one of those cartoonish grins you often see in kids’ books.

I read, in a soft, cautious voice: “The sun is set, and you slumber. Goodnight precious, little wonder.”

I closed the book and looked over at Jackson.

He was fast asleep.

It really works! I moved him to his bed, and enjoyed some well-earned alone time. Who cares if the book is a little weird… it really works!

An hour later, I was asleep.

* * * * *

I woke up at 8.

Jackson didn’t wake me — at all. A welcome change from the usual. I looked over to his still, slumbering body and smiled.

But by 11 AM, he still hadn’t woken up.

He never sleeps this late.

Maybe he’s sick?

I turned on some light music, talked to him. I patted his back. No response. “Jackson?” I said. I picked him up, put him on my lap.

His head slumped against my chest.

“Jackson? Are you okay?”

Nothing. Just his soft, deep breaths against me.

“Jackson? Jackson, wake up!”

Nothing.

I yelled in his ear. I bounced him up and down. I brought him out in the sun.

Nothing woke him up.

Now, it’s almost 3 o’clock. He’s been asleep for 19 hours. I’m about to load him into the carseat and drive him to the doctor. I think something is terribly wrong with him.


Credit: Blair Daniels (Official WebsiteAmazonFacebookTwitterReddit)
(You must ask permission before narrating this work. Contact the author here to do so.)

Check out Blair Daniels’ critically-acclaimed collection of short scary stories, Shadow on the Stairs: Urban Mysteries and Horror Stories, now available, on Amazon.com.

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Better Watch Out, Better Not Cry

Reading Time: 12 minutes
My parents own a Santa animatronic. I think it tried to kill us.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. This story already sounds like a kid’s overactive imagination during a season that relies on the magic of imagination. I don’t mean to oversell it either, this wasn’t some decades long haunting where it terrorized us every Christmas. This was a single incident, but one that my brother and I would never forget. Let me give some backstory first to paint a better picture.

My parents have always owned a Santa animatronic that we kept inside our house during the Christmas season. I assume my mom inherited him from my grandparents, as they sold the home we grew up in to my mother and father. He stood just under six feet tall, and looked like a stereotypical Santa Claus. He was wide, with rosy red cheeks and a reserved smile underneath a massive beard reaching down to his belly. The traditional red and white attire was topped off with shiny black boots. To be honest there was nothing particularly creepy about him to me. Even through the years his color held well and he wasn’t like those dolls from the 1800’s that I find absolutely terrifying even today as an adult. I’ve included a picture of him in my parents’ current home, so you know this isn’t some oddity I just made up.

Calling him an animatronic was generous, but I guess that’s roughly what ‘it’ was. He had a single, way too short power chord that you plugged into a wall. There was no switch. When you plugged it in, Kris Kringle began his jolly little movements immediately. He had a super limited range of motion. His legs were motionless, and instead he swiveled back and forth at the hips. His right arm would raise up as if waving in greeting as he turned, and then it would lower back down as he returned to his starting position. His left arm stayed as motionless as his legs, and wasn’t even adjustable. There were no lights or sounds other than the sound of the moving parts. Having him plugged in didn’t make sense more often than not, considering we had all seen what he could do and the sounds of him moving were more annoying than anything else. He was mostly plugged in for about thirty seconds for the sake of guests who thought his little wave was cute before we unplugged him once more and he returned to a motionless festive space taker.

Over the years even his minimal use began to wear on him. His waist would still rotate but his waving arm would stutter as it struggled to raise. I remember that it sounded like a creaking door that just couldn’t finish opening. Eventually it stopped working altogether, and we stopped plugging him in entirely. Well that’s not completely true, my brother and I did it a few times to get a laugh out of watching Santa doing the Twist over the years. My father moved him closer to a window near the Christmas tree. It looked better that way, having Santa peeking out into the yard near our brightly decorated tree was an upgrade from him standing in a corner staring at us. Inevitably his side to side rotation quit working as well, probably the result of being moved up and down the stairs for over twenty years, the basement being his home during the other eleven months of the year. Our incident took place well before his rotating days were over.

My brother, Chase, was about ten years old at the time. I was twelve. I don’t remember exactly when my parents started putting out Santa, but as far back as I could recall celebrating Christmas he was always there. Personally, at that point the Santa animatronic barely caught the corner of my eye during December. He stood out at the beginning of the month, sure, but like all the other decorations my brain just became used to him being there. It didn’t come so easy for my brother. In later years we’d both come to laugh at his meager side to side twist, but the years where his arm started to fail were much less entertaining to my brother. Kids are afraid of a lot of things, so who could blame him from being spooked by a stuttering animatronic twice his size? His fear wasn’t limited to Santa’s jagged movement either. If you walked down the hall and forgot that Santa had been put out on display, his presence would catch you off guard and cause quite a scare. It happened to all of us, save our father, but it seemed to catch my brother unaware more often than the rest of us. That year, Chase decided he had quite enough of the already dated St.Nick, and let my parents know about it. It was still November, but now that Thanksgiving was over there wasn’t even a week before it was time for Christmas decorations.

“Can we just keep him in the basement this year? He doesn’t even work anymore!” protested my brother as I walked into the kitchen for breakfast.

“Chase, we bring him out every year! He’s almost as much of a tradition in this house as the REAL Santa,” my mother replied. She was busy packing our lunches while she argued with my clearly cranky little brother. My father was in the other room ironing his shirt for work, never really getting involved in morning chatter.

“But he’s old! Why can’t we just get normal decorations? None of my friends have a giant creepy Santa staring out the window,” he whined with all the energy only a ten year old could have at 7:30 in the morning.

“Doesn’t that make us unique then?” My mom mused. You could hear her beginning to relent. Packing lunch and getting her kids ready for school before heading to her own full time job was tough on only half a cup of coffee.

“No. It makes us weird.”

And that was the end of that. It was easier for my mom to give in than to stand there and argue about Christmas decorations with her ten year old son. Plus, it meant one less decoration they had to lug up from the basement. I had to admit I was impressed, as Chase had come up with a handful of reasons to keep the fat man stored away without ever admitting he was actually scared of our aging Santa. I think I was just so used to having that Santa around that I didn’t notice, but I guess I could see how someone might find him creepy. Thus, the old animatronic stayed downstairs when it came time to fill the house to the brim with decorations. It was weird to see the living room without Santa peeking out the window, but much like when he had been there I stopped noticing after a few days.

A week later, our cousins Ben and Ty came over to stay the night. While most of our time was spent huddled around the N64 playing Mario Kart or GoldenEye, we liked to mix it up by playing hide and seek in the basement with the lights off. It’s not as freaky as it sounds. We had a large basement, and thanks to a few windows along with the light of the moon you could see pretty well once your eyes adjusted to the darkness. Once you walked down the stairs, on your right was an unfinished room filled with a freezer, fridge, and a mountain of boxes and plastic crates filled to the brim with decorations and nick knacks for other seasons. It lead to another smaller room that was filled with nothing more than our father’s outdated workout equipment surrounded by foundation concrete and drywall. On the left side of the staircase was a large furnished room that served as me and my brother’s hangout room. It lead to my Father’s workshop and our basement garage. Connecting the weight room to the workshop was a long, thin corridor that my parents kept cluttered with all sorts of rarely needed miscellaneous items. All in all,the basement was pretty well set up as a hide and seek arena.

I was the oldest of all the cousins, which of course naturally meant that I was never ‘it’ to begin the game. I wish I could say that I didn’t swing my weight and age around a lot as a kid, but I’d be lying. Ty, being the youngest, inevitably inherited that unfortunate title and the rest of us scattered throughout the basement. I quickly made my way into the corridor, hoping to slip back into my Dad’s workshop into a spot I had scouted out earlier. The corridor itself was actually a miserable hiding spot. There was so much junk that whoever was ‘it’ would naturally bump into anyone dumb enough to try and hide there. Still, it made for a good short cut and I figured it would keep Ben or Chase from seeing where my perfect hiding spot was located. About halfway down the corridor I came to an awful realization, something was blocking the rest of the path. My eyes hadn’t adjusted to the darkness yet so I reached out to see if it was something I could just push past. My hands found a large surface of fake hair, and I realized exactly what was blocking my way.

My parents had left Santa Claus stuffed into the corridor thanks to my brother’s persistent complaining. He wasn’t heavy per se, but I didn’t have the room to move him out of my way in the narrow hall. Before I could head back the way I came I heard a voice call out from the top of the stairs.

“Ready or not here I come!” yelled Ty, his feet stomping on the wooden stairs as he made his descent into the basement. Out of time, I tried to stand up as straight as possible and flatten myself against the wall next to Storage Claus. It wasn’t a great plan, but it was the best I had at the moment. As I waited for Ty to hopefully find Ben or my brother first, my eyes finally adjusted to the darkness. Slowly looking over to Santa I could see that he was facing me. His lifeless eyes were narrowed from the molded smile placed on his face. He had probably just swiveled after I ran into him, but it felt as if he had turned to stare at ME. I stood motionless, hoping that he would stay as still as he did when standing in our living room. I held my breath, feeling the pounding of my heart beating harder and faster.

“GOT YOU” screamed Ty as he grabbed my arm. I screamed too.

It was not my proudest moment. It didn’t help that it took a solid five minutes for Ty to stop his laughing fit set off by my reaction. Afterwards I sat on the couch in the main room while he hunted down Chase and Ben. When they were finally found, all three laughed themselves to tears as Ty did his best impression of my scream. Not only was it embarrassing, but the rules we played by dictated that the first person who was found was ‘it’ for the next round. Being the oldest, I felt my wounded pride take the place of my fear as I counted aloud at the top of the staircase. I resolved that I would find them all so rapidly that my hide and seek dominance would erase the squeak of puberty’s scream that I had shrieked out.

Counting to fifty, I bounded down the stairs and immediately headed back into Santa’s corridor. It was common for people to hide precisely where the first person had been caught in the round prior, so I was betting on some double reverse psychology. I grinned as I spotted Santa, my eyes still adjusted to the darkness. His body was turned away from me this time, meaning that one of them had obviously squeezed by in hopes that I couldn’t follow, turning Santa’s hips in the process. As I approached him, I grabbed him in an attempt to maneuver him out of the way so I could slip by. His body immediately swayed back to face me, and what I saw horrified me so much that nothing but panicked air escaped my throat.

Pinned between his wide body and his left, immovable arm, was my brother. His eyes bulged in a panic as they found my own, and I could see the cord wrapped tightly around his neck. Santa nearly leaned against walls when plugged in, since the power cord was so short. But it was long enough to wrap around the neck of a ten year-old boy. I was frozen in shock as my mind tried to process the scene in front of me, and I only broke from my spell when Chase’s one free arm reached out towards me for help. I instantly lunged to save him, but an arm shot up and caught me square in the jaw and sent me flying backwards. Dazed, I looked up to see the raised arm of Santa. The same arm that could no longer even move properly when he was plugged in. The rest of his frame slowly creaked away from me again, his swiveling frame carrying my brother out of sight. I had no idea what was happening. My legs were shaking and the rest of my body soon joined them in a tremble. What the hell WAS this thing?

I was so, so frightened.

But then I thought about Chase, being strangled on the other side of whatever this terror was. I thought about his bulging eyes, his face turning a deep purple that I could see even in the darkness.

“NO!” I bellow, and vaulted up and into the animatronic with all of my weight. All three of us came crashing down onto the concrete floor, bringing down a cavalcade of other loosely stored items in a resounding crash. I immediately pushed up off of the now motionless Claus and grabbed for my brother. Finding his legs I pulled with all of my might, and to my relief I yanked him free of the arm that had pinned him. The power cord was no longer wrapped around his neck, but as he cough and wailed I could see the strangulating marks very clearly. Pulling him to his feet we ran towards the staircase, where we were met by our parents who had heard the loud crash and hurried to see what had happened. Our cousins quickly emerged from their hiding spots as our mother freaked out over my brother’s injuries and our Father shouted about our reckless behavior.

My parents listened to neither my brother’s nor my own frightened rendition of the events that had transpired. They assumed my brother had simply gotten tangled in the cord while trying to hide, getting stuck when his smaller frame was wedged between St.Nick’s arm. The resulting fear, panic, and pain were responsible for his story that he had been grabbed by the machine. My attempts to validate his story, even though I didn’t see everything, were dismissed as attempts to avoid punishment. Two weeks of grounding put a pin in that and the truth was stuck with Chase and I forever.

My father eventually brought Santa upstairs to see if he had taken any significant damage. Surprisingly, the archaic contraption was not broken or bent despite the force of my tackle and the unforgiving concrete floor. His only blemish was from some dust he picked up from his fall. My father cleaned him up and was going to take him back down into the basement when surprisingly, my brother protested.

“Can we put him in the living room? Not the basement, please.” he pleaded. He had wailed for hours after the incident, and fresh tears threatened the corner of his eyes. With his bandaged neck, he made quite the sad sight. Our Father relented, probably out of pity, and returned Santa to his spot looking out the window near our brightly lit tree.

He was brought out every year after that without so much as a peep from my brother. I’m nearing thirty now, and my parents still have him up every Christmas. That was the only incident we ever suffered at the hands of our odd animatronic. It only took my brother a few years to seemingly get over it. Most of our Christmases during High School involved laughing at the side to side rotation while The Beatles’ rendition of The Twist played in the background. It did, however, take nine years before we spoke to each other about what happened with Santa in the corridor that night.

My brother was a Senior in High School at that point, and I was visiting from College. I smuggled home some booze that I had bought with my fake and we were hanging out in the same basement that we had spent most of our childhood in. We joked about the old TV we used to watch, and laughed at how busted the joysticks on our N64 controllers were from skin peeling Mario Party games. We were pretty drunk when the topic finally switched to hide and seek and the Santa Incident.

“Mom and Dad never believed us,” Chase stated. “Hell, some days I’m not even sure what all I remember,” he finished with a laugh.

“I don’t think any adult would believe what we saw. I still remember how your face looked when it turned purple,” I replied, wincing as the image replayed in my mind.

“You know…I never told you ‘thank you’ for saving me.” He admitted, shaking his head as if ashamed for never doing so.

“Well, you’re welcome for me saving you from Santa Claus,” I quipped, and our drunken laughter filled the echoing basement. After a few moments, Chase’s face was serious again.

“There’s something else I never told you,” he said in a more solemn tone.

“What is it?” I inquired, not having realized my brother had held onto something else after all this time.

“When it…when He grabbed me, he whispered something in my ear before he started strangling me.” Chase confessed, his shoulders sinking as if he had just unloaded the heaviest of burdens.

“What? What the hell did he say?” I managed to sputter out, my surprise outpacing my words. Chase looked at me and shook his head.

“It was just a jumbled sentence, but I remember every single word. His voice was hollow, and each word came out like they were made by grinding metal.” My brother seemed to lose focus as he said this, as if remembering for the first time in years. I snapped my fingers a few times until his thousand yard stare refocused.

“Jesus Christ Chase, what did that thing say?” I insisted, having no idea how my brother held onto this for so long. He blinked at me a few times, and finally spoke.

“He said to me, Santa…decoration…Santa…upstairs…Santa…still works….plug.. Santa…IN” with that Chase covered his eyes with his hand, trying to hold the tears that came with the memories.

We didn’t talk about it anymore that night, and to this day we’ll only mention it briefly to assure each other we didn’t imagine it all. I also use those moments to make sure Chase is doing okay, because he probably never sought out the therapy he should have. You might be wondering why the hell we don’t take this thing out into the woods and just burn it to ashes. Well there’s a few reasons for that. First of all, I don’t want to have to explain to my parents that their twenty-nine year-old son burnt their Christmas decoration to a crisp because it scared him once when he was twelve. Second of all, it’s been seventeen years and not a single other incident has occurred with the now motionless animatronic.

Finally, I don’t know what my brother actually heard that night. But, if what Chase said is the truth, then all this Santa wanted was to be included alongside our other Christmas decorations during the holidays. I’ll probably never know what the hell this thing really is, but I do know that one day my parents will pass it down to me. When that day comes, you can bet he’ll be standing by the window in my living room for all the passing cars to see. If that spot in my home for one month a year is all I need to make sure I never see another purple, gasping face like my brother’s, then I’ll gladly give that gift every year as long as I live.

Tis the season.


Credit: Jameson Curnick

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I’ve Always Hated Dolls

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Narration by Otis Jiry, host of the Scary Stories Told in the Dark podcast.


Everyone has their fears, whether they are rational or irrational. Mine has always been dolls. Not all dolls, mainly just the ones that are a bit too human. I think it’s mainly the eyes that get to me.

So I’m sure you can imagine I was ecstatic to find out I was the inheritor of my very own clown doll.

It was a gift from my late great Aunt. I’d met her maybe once or twice in my life, so why she left this of all things to me was beyond me.

This doll was something straight from my nightmares. I mean, a doll was bad enough, but then you throw in the clown element as well?

The doll’s glass-like face was painted white, with red accents and markings over the eyes, mouth, and cheeks. The eyes themselves however were nothing but a black void. It has thick white hair jetting out the sides, and a round hat that almost resembles a cherry on top.

Its outfit is essentially your typical clown attire. Like the face, it was a mixture of red and white. This doll is about the size of a toddler. In other words, way too big for me to feel comfortable anywhere near it.

I would have given it away, but out of respect for my grandmother, I kept it.

So, naturally, it’s new home would be my closet. I placed it in the back on top of an old dresser that held clothes which no longer fit me.

I thought that would be that, and my life would go on as it always had.

Unfortunately, that would not be the case.

I’m not exactly a tidy person, so my clothes rarely made it back to my closet. As a result, I didn’t have to see my clown friend for quite a while. It was a few weeks later before I finally went into my closet in the quest for a clean pair of jeans.

There he was.

Sitting on the floor in front of the dresser.

I assumed he must have fallen off the dresser somehow, because I clearly remembered setting him on top.

Those empty black eyes were too much for me, though. I grabbed my jeans quickly and left without bothering to put him back on top.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about how that doll could have fallen off the dresser.

So, as a curious person, I decided to check out the closet when I returned home.

The doll was there, of course, but it was back to its original position atop the dresser. I approached it and looked into those empty eyes.

Nothing.

As much as it creeped me out, it was just a doll, right?

I must have just imagined seeing it on the floor. I live alone, so there’s no way anyone else could be moving it. Regardless, I decided to stay clear of the closet as much as possible.

A couple nights later, I was awoken to the sound of what seemed to be laughter, and it appeared to be coming from the closet.

It was very faint, which is why I was a bit surprised it woke me. Generally, I’m a very heavy sleeper. For something like this to wake me was quite odd.

The last thing I wanted to do was go into that closet, so I decided to attempt to wait it out.

After about thirty seconds I heard a loud thump, and then the laughter stopped.

After turning on every light possible and arming myself with a kitchen knife, I decided it was time to check the closet.

I slowly opened the door and…

It was completely normal, absolutely nothing was out of place. Even the doll was sat upon his normal spot on top of the dresser.

I picked up the doll and felt around it to see if there was any sort of speech box, but there wasn’t.

With a loud sigh, I set the clown back down and left my closet. Perhaps I was finally losing it.

Over the next couple days, I was on high alert. I began to notice small things here and there had gone missing, or were moved, most notably small bits of food that I swear I hadn’t eaten.

I relentlessly searched every nook and cranny of my small house, looking for any possible signs of vermin or other intruders. Everywhere, that is, except the closet.

Alas, my searches turned up nothing, further confirming my idea that I was in fact losing it.

That was until a couple nights later, when the laughing returned. Only this time it wasn’t just faint laughter. This was a booming cackle. The laugh seemed to reverberate throughout my whole house.

I was petrified, I didn’t dare move an inch from my bed.

The laughing persisted, and I began to hear loud banging noises coming from my closet, until suddenly its door swung open.

A large. dark figure emerged and stormed out of my room. I heard it sprint through my house, opening my front door and leaving. As soon as this happened, the laughter stopped.

After reminding myself to breathe, I was finally able to move from my bed. I approached the closet.

What I found devastated me.

My old dresser was no longer against the wall. Instead, it was now in the middle of my closet, and where the dresser had been was a hole. A hole easily large enough for a human to fit behind, but small enough that you would never notice it if it was being covered up.

Beside the hole was the doll, seated perfectly upright, with one arm outstretched towards the hole.

I didn’t dare look in to the hole, afraid of what I might find. Instead I grabbed the doll and locked myself in my car as I called 911.

The police later confirmed my suspicions of what had happened. Someone had been living in my home.

Inside the hole was a pallet where the person had been sleeping, as well as a small amount of trash. Worst of all, the person had a small collection of pocket knives. They were probably not meant to be used as weapons, but it’s still not exactly comforting thinking about it.

Since that night my clown friend has not left my room. He now has his own special perch on the table next to my bed.

I’m still not a huge fan of dolls, but perhaps they aren’t all so bad.


Credit: Devin Hoover (TwitterReddit)

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