CREDIT : Max Mayfield
-Dean Koontz, Brother Odd
Winter’s bitter chill drifted in from the open window. Frost laced the dried wooden frames of the window sill and empty countertops still littered with verglas painted pots. The harsh burn of the cold clawed the walls of his throat, biting at the lining of his lungs and firing at the center of his chest. His brittle lips split as he opened his mouth to take a drink from his canister. Blood stained the frost coating the stubble on his jaw. He could feel the freezing water glide over his taste buds and settle down into his stomach, temporarily easing the exasperated burn.
The mountaineer looked down at himself as he leaned against the dilapidated wooden wall beside him. His bright orange thermal coat had been torn. Blood oozed out through the stuffing and soaked into the fabric surrounding it. His hands were scraped, torn bits of skin hanging off from where the elements got to his exposed flesh. His knees were bloodied with small pebbles embedded into the skin from his rapid climb up the mountain. He couldn’t feel his fingers anymore. Whether that was because he had lost too much blood or it had gotten too cold out, he didn’t know.
A shrill howl sounded out from the woods riding along with the eerie breeze of Ngazodig. Or, as the tourists called it, Suspiria. He understood now why it had been nicknamed that. When you sat still and listened to the wind, really listened, you could hear the voices. He didn’t know who the voices belonged to. He didn’t care much to find out. The sighs and whispers drifting in through the haze gave him comfort. If he was going to die, at least he wasn’t going to die alone. He wondered how many people before him had sat in this same shack and heard these same voices.
The shack… Why was it up here? He looked around himself at the glaze coated surroundings. The shack wasn’t much bigger than a school classroom. The walls were made of a dried wood with cracks and holes peeking out between the boards. Two big windows sat at the east and west of him, the one he was closest to having been shattered across the shelter’s floor. A worn rug with faded red wool woven into the middle sat in the center of the shack. A broken table and two chairs sat at the north end of the cabin, the chairs pointed outwards towards the slanted door of the shelter. They looked solemnly towards the exit that allowed death to sweep itself in on the white speckled wind. Two tin cups sat frozen to the wooden surface of the table. The rim of their folded metal was lined in crystals and the faint brown tint of dried blood. It was lacking, but it gave him lee from the storm outside. As long as he wasn’t going to die lost somewhere on the side of a mountain he was fine with dying in a secluded cabin.
Another howl carried in with the wind, this time, closer than before. It was tracking him. Probably following the smell of his blood.
“God damn it…” He muttered through gritted teeth.
The man pulled himself up to his feet, placing one hand on the wall behind him to help steady himself as he stood. He didn’t have the energy to run anymore. Even if he did decide to run he had no idea where he was going. He’d be lost in the snow storm raging outside in a matter of seconds. Easy pickings the lurking beast.
The man hobbled over to the table, clenching his jaw at the throbbing coming from his abdomen and knee. He had no idea how or when he hurt his knee, but whatever he had done to it, it sure was biting him in the ass now. Each deep inhale he took made his throat fire up in parched protest. The man threw himself into one of the empty chairs resting at either side of the table and fished around in his survival pack for a pen and paper. Though the sensation in his fingertips was dulled, he could still faintly make out the thin spiraled lining of his notebook. He pulled it out, placed it on the table, flipped to the next clean page, and retrieved a pen from the front pocket of his bag. With some pressure, the silver sprayed plastic clicked into place, breaking through what thin layer of ice had formed around its edges. It took him a few moments to work his hand into the position he needed to hold the pen properly. The stiffness in his knuckles made his fingers awkwardly curl around the pen’s base in what would serve as a weak grip. With a few scribbles along the margin and some light pressure, the ink ran free onto the paper.
To whoever it may concern,
I’m writing this while sitting in a cabin located somewhere on the east side of Ngazodig. Or, as some of you may call it, Suspiria. I understand now why the townsmen nicknamed the mountain that. While I sit here and await my untimely demise I can hear the sighs ride in with the wind. The inaudible voices mutter phrases that I don’t understand into my ear. Though it’s ominous, in some strange way, the gentle whispers provide me with a sense of comfort. I wish I could fade off listening to these voices. I wish I could lay down on this table, rest my head in my arms, and slowly drift off into the abyss as the cold overtakes me. I wish I could die of dehydration or starvation, or perhaps even simple infection. But, alas, the beast outside draws near. This letter will be my final contribution to this world. I pray that you read it through, whoever you are, before venturing further into the banks of Suspiria.
My name is Clark Wright. I was born in Florissant, Colorado to Wendy and Alan Wright. I have two older brothers, Jack and Gerard, and one younger sister, Josie. I’m 42 years old. I have a wife and two little girls. The youngest one is Belle and the eldest is named after her mother, Ingrid. I’m a self-proclaimed mountaineer, explorer, and I have an unhealthy addiction to Lil’ Biggo’s fruit snacks.
I climbed up this mountain with a group of my closest friends (Larry Forde, Harrison Wolfe, Jerry Springhouse, Marcia Richards, and Mark Sephneck) in hopes of reaching the top within a couple of months or so. We hired ourselves a guide. A nice man named Namito Wôbi. Everything had gone alright for the first two months. Every night we would huddle together in our tents and sing to our hearts content any song that reminded us of home. John Denver, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac, you name it. At the time it seemed a simple gesture to remind ourselves what would be waiting for us back at the bottom. Now I think it this that lead the monster to us.
It all started with Mark saying he was off to take a piss. “Two minutes, just wait two minutes,” he said. We were required to carry a bright orange extension cord with us at all times so we could follow it back should we wander off. Mark tied one end of his cord to the base of a small pine and walked off into the white. One minute passed… Two… Then three, four, five. Mark never came back. But the cord just kept going, kept shaking like he was still walking further into Suspiria. We hollered out into the wind, calling his name, flashing our lights and pulling at the cord. No response. Marcia took first in following the cord off into the snow and the rest of us trailed behind. It took fifteen minutes for us to finally reach the end… Or more so the abrupt end that shouldn’t have been there in the first place… The cord was chewed off, thin tangles of wire and thick orange plastic hanging out in frills where whatever had gotten to it gnawed through. A small collection of blood blotched the snow in front of the cord. The center of the puddle was slowly melting down deeper into the cushion its crimson shade stained, signifying that the blood was still warm. We looked around the alp for any signs of were Mark could’ve gone, even ventured further off into the wild in hopes of finding him. Maybe he just hadn’t realized his cord had snapped. Maybe he just thought he still had more leverage and kept walking without realizing his safe line had been broken. Who’s to say the blood in the snow was his?
“Mark! Mark!” Marcia called out. Nothing. Not a single goddamn thing.
We were informed beforehand of the very likely chance one of us may die along the trek to the summit but Mark’s disappearance struck an uneasy chord within us all. Of course, him being gone in itself was very upsetting and weighed heavily on us all, but there was something else to his sudden absence that haunted us from behind the crowded treeline of the mountain. Something about that chewed off the end of the cord end that just didn’t seem… Right. I realize how stupid it must sound now that I’m reading the words in front of me but there’s simply no other way to put it. It’s one of those feelings where you just… Know.
We headed back to camp once the sun started to lower itself behind the peak’s frosted tips. It was a unanimous agreement to begin our descent back down the mountain immediately.
Marcia seemed most affected by the suddenness of Mark’s mysterious fate. She was the first one to discover the broken cord after all. When we arrived at the scene all she did for the first few minutes was stare aimlessly out into the flurry. Her eyes seemed glazed over like she had somehow gone somewhere else while looking off into the veil of snow. She wouldn’t talk for the first two days of our descent aside from informing us she was going to go pee or that she needed a refill of her water. It wasn’t until the third night of us pitching our tents behind a small formation of boulders that we finally heard her speak.
She sat in front of her bright red tent, knees pulled up to her chest and distant blue eyes glued to the ground in front of her. “It never stopped”, she mumbled. Her voice was just barely audible against the whistle of Ngazodig zipping over the mountainside.
“What?” said Harrison in return.
“The cord. It stayed stretched out like he was still walking the entire time until we reached the end. It was a tight as a rope when we started but it went slack right before we found that it was chewed off.”
She was right. None of us had noticed it at the moment, or perhaps she was simply too in shock to comment on it at the scene, but the cord had indeed gone limp when we reached its end.
“What about the blood? It was only a few dots nestled together at the base of the cord. If he was hurt, where was the trail? Where were the tracks- the path in the snow of where he wandered off after the cord stopped?”
The rest of us fell silent. Where were those tracks? It was as if he just vanished into air, swept off by the never-ending wind. If he was gone with the wind, was he watching us now from some unseen, cloud-topped fortress? Our silence continued throughout supper, as we settled into bed, and all throughout the next day as we thought of just what may have happened to dear old Mark.
As we passed treeline after treeline we began to see things. Paranoia seeped into us all, burying itself at our cores as we watched the blanketed branches for the monster that took our friend. Eyes reflecting off of our flashlights in the dead of night, footprints in the snow beside our camp, misplaced bags, and water bottles, a burning gaze that followed us wherever we went. It never stopped. We were going crazy.
Namito would sit outside as the embers of our fire died long after we all went to sleep, staring off into the mountains as if he were waiting for something. He’d have his ax in one hand and a lantern in the other, sitting silently, unmoving, unblinking, waiting for whatever it was to come out of the trees and present itself to him. One night I crawled out of my tent to join him. I asked, “Namito, what are you doing? What are you looking for?”. All he did was shake his head and mutter for me to go back inside. I tried to follow his gaze off into the night but all I could see was the faint luminous reflection of the moon against the snow in the forsaken black of the woods.
Then, one morning, he was gone. We awoke early and crawled out of our tents into the crisp fog that draped itself over the mountainside to find Namito was nowhere to be seen. He left no tracks, no blood, no signification of where he had gone aside from his ax still sitting lonesome next to the spot he perched himself the night before. He left no map, no sense of direction, no bright orange cord leading off into the wilderness, no supplies, no note of farewell. He took his pack, he took the flare gun, he took the rest of our climbing rope and he took our hope. Whether he left of his own accord or the beast got to him I’ll never know. In hindsight, I wouldn’t blame him for leaving on account of the events that would happen next.
With no guide and a second missing companion, we were left to wander aimlessly along the mountainside. All we could do was hope we were still going in the direction Namito had led us upon. Marcia had gone silent again. She trudged along quietly in the back of the group as we made our trek back towards base camp. We had taken our cords and tied them together, looping them through our carabiners to keep us close to one another. Every time she stopped and slumped down into the snow we’d feel a heavy tug that would lurch us backward. Four times this happened until finally, she said she couldn’t go any further. Her feet ached, her hands were numb and her heart even number. Larry simply couldn’t handle it anymore one day. He marched over to her and pulled her up by the collar of her jacket.
“Damn it Marce, we don’t have time for this!”
His voice boomed, piercing the almost deafening silence between us. It echoed off the white walls around us and down into the trenches beneath, carrying itself across the land in a small outburst of frustration. He threw her up over his shoulder and continued forward. He hauled her for what seemed like hours, stopping every now and then to collect himself before throwing her back over his shoulder and carrying her again. The entire time she kept her gaze focused at whatever blank canvas painted itself before her. We tried to persuade him to stop and put her down, to rest, allow himself to breathe while we made camp. But he just kept going. Kept trudging through the knee-high snow. Hours turned into days and days turned into weeks. Sweat collected on the inside of his shirt and around his hairline. His lips became cracked and brittle, blood seeping out whenever he stretched his lips to speak or drink. They gained a faint blue tint towards the center, and as time went on, the hue spread itself to the outer corners of his mouth. His fingers no longer stretched out the way he wanted them to. The pain in his knees from the constant weight subsided into a faint tingle as the cold seeped in. Larry didn’t die at the hands of whatever monster was prowling around us. He died in the dead of night from exhaustion. While the rest of us slept he took his final labored breaths before ascending to whatever life lay beyond. The next morning we took what supplies remained from him and buried him the best we could under a lonesome pine tree.
With only Harrison, Jerry, Marcia and I left a new challenge arose between us. Marcia had completely shut down. She had no will left to keep going. No smile to be shared, no voice to speak with, no spirit left within her. It seemed she too had left us though she sat beside us the whole way. As much as I hate to say it, she was becoming a liability. We thought about leaving her. Stationing her under the next tree we found and giving her what little supplies we could spare. But such acts would be inhumane. She was still our friend after all. She was still Marcia Richards, mother of two and esteemed photographer. This trip was not only supposed to be a way to get her motivation back, it was also supposed to serve as an opportunity for her to snag some once in a lifetime pictures. Throughout our trial, she remained completely unresponsive. And then it happened.
It was dawn. The flamboyant colors of the sunrise began to paint themselves over the horizon, dancing and twirling around the clouds, bringing life to the depressing grey that filled the sky. A peaceful silence had settled over our camp, and for once, I didn’t feel the watchful eyes of the beast burrowing into the back of my mind. Her scream ripped through the air. It was a cry full of terror and pain, filling the space with a sense of dread and panic, racing over the mountainside and bouncing off cavern walls. I was paralyzed where I stood for a few brief moments, startled by the thrashing and muffled growls coming from Marcia’s tent. Cries and shrieks of anguish as well as gargled pleads for help began to fade just as quickly as they had started. We burst out of our tents and sprinted in her direction once our bodies allowed us to become mobile again. Her tent lay torn and in shambles, ripped right out of the ground and cast to the side. Bright crimson trials streaked the barren landscape from where she once lie. They lead off further into the mountain with heavy indents of where she and whatever was dragging her had been. We plowed through the thick blockade of white and our throats quickly became dry and stung at the sharp bite of the cold as we shouted her name over and over again. Though, no matter how loud we yelled or how much we pushed ourselves to go faster, she and whatever beast had claimed her disappeared into the mountain. The only thing we found left of Marcia was her detached arm torn straight from the socket, wedding ring still stationed perfectly on her ring finger.
We went from hopeless, to angry, to confused, to scared shitless in a matter of seconds. A brand new kind of fear settled in deep, and suddenly, exhaustion didn’t matter anymore. We turned back and ran towards the camp as fast as we could. We ignored the burning sensation and cramps that formed in our thighs and feet as we quickly threw together our supplies in a panicked scramble. It didn’t matter what direction we were going in anymore as long as we were going down. To hell with the safety cords. We bounded down the side of the mountain as fast as our feet could fly. Jerry and Harrison were in front of me as they had lighter loads than I and were quickly beginning to disappear off into the haze of Suspiria.
“Wait!” I called, “Wait-”
A sickening snap echoed back at me followed by a pained cry. Jerry had been zipping through the snow so fast he’d send himself flying in short leaps as he strained to get ahead. He had landed wrong on his ankle, snapped it backward and sent himself tumbling down the mountainside. His body thwacked hard against the rocks dotting the slope we bounded down. He smacked into trees, boulders, logs, flew over hidden caverns and slide down snow covered passageways. The fall itself was enough to kill him. Soon the grotesque sounds of his flesh colliding with the earth faded off into the white the farther his corpse rolled away.
From behind a shrill screech sounded out across Ngazodig. It was too high pitched to be human and too loud to be of any earthly creature. It bellowed and shook the very mountain we stood on as whatever it was began to leap across the banks towards us. We couldn’t see it, we couldn’t hear its paws plowing through the snow towards us, but we could feel it. It was another instance of where you just… Know. As we passed by the bottom of a steep ridge surrounded by pine and rock I quickly cut to the left and took shelter behind one of the formations. Harrison continued ahead without even noticing I wasn’t behind him anymore. I’m sure it was only minutes after I’d stopped, but it felt like hours before the beast behind us drew near.
I could hear its heavy breaths escaping from whatever ghastly maw served as its mouth. Hot, heavy, lined with a faint undertone of wheezing, they came closer and closer. Strained growls escaped its throat that sounded more like a suffocating cow. Whatever served as its hands and feet dug deep into the ground underneath it and propelled it along. Thundering booms sounded as the beast slammed down into the snow again and again. It slid right past me, its feral howls fading further and further off into the direction of Harrison. I don’t know what ill-gotten fate fell upon him, whether he died at the hands of the mountain or the beast. Either way, I pray he didn’t suffer long.
As soon as the monstrosity seemed far enough off I began to scramble back up the slope in hopes of losing it. Rocks and wood dug deep into my hands as I clawed my way up, puncturing through my gloves and nipping at my skin. The snow whipping around in the wind felt like spiteful needles pricking at my face in scorn that I had evaded the creature. I’d dropped what supplies I’d carried in my scramble to safety, hoping I could somehow throw myself up Suspiria faster. Below me, the creature’s shrill cries rose up from the depths. My heart hammered against my ribs, threatening to break through and flee from what abomination lurked below. My lungs flared, throat scorched, my very core throbbed in a sharp stabbing pain from the dry mountain air I was forcing in. The more I heaved the less air I seemed to be getting into my lungs. The harder I had to focus on getting myself up the ridge, the more my muscles burned and cramped. I lost myself somewhere along that mountainside. At some point in my scramble for life I was no longer present. My body went into autopilot and the pain faded off into the cold. I didn’t feel the fear anymore. I didn’t feel anything anymore.
It wasn’t until I found this shack and managed bust open the door from its frozen hinges that feeling finally returned to me. It came in like a wave and knocked what breath I had in my lungs back out through my throat. The only supplies I have with me now are in the backpack that stayed on my shoulders throughout the climb. I’m too exhausted to try and run now. Even if I could, I still have no idea where I’d go. I’d be lost in the wilderness in a matter of minutes.
I can see it now! It’s lurking just outside the cabin walls, staring at me through the spaces in the wood with yellow eyes. To whoever reads this, remember my name. Tell the world what horrors took place on this cursed mountain. Turn around and never look back. This… Thing. It isn’t earthly. It’s a demon of the snow. Christ, it may even be the Devil itself. It’ll smell your blood for miles. Heed the words of a dead man; If it doesn’t already know you’re here, it will. You’re better off finishing it yourself than waiting for it to finish you.
Best of luck,
CREDIT : Cecilia Vasquez
I drew the pentagram and symbols on the hardwood floor, lit the candles, and recited the spell that was written in the ancient leather-bound book. Squaring my shoulders and setting my jaw might have made me look more confident, but I was nervous as hell. I doubt anyone would blame me. Summoning one’s first demon is more than slightly terrifying, but I needed to do it. I had tried everything else I could think of to set my crumbling life back on track, and supernatural intervention was my last resort.
Thick black smoke swirled within the circle of symbols as tortured screams filled the room. Just a few short minutes after I had spoken the last word of the spell, a giant creature stood before me.
It sniffed the air before locking it’s bulging orange eyes on me. I imagine it would have narrowed them in its expression of disgust, but it didn’t have any eyelids. It wrinkled it’s bulbous nose and brought its thick, chapped lips into a sneer around two thick fangs.
“HUMAN, WHY YOU BRING ME HERE?” Its voice boomed, like it was speaking through a microphone and my ear was right next to the speaker.
“I – I – uh..” I stammered, “I want to make a deal with you.”
Its rotund belly bounced as it laughed hysterically for a moment.
“I MAKE NO DEAL, DUMB HUMAN.”
“What?! Why not?!” I demanded. “The book said-”
“BOOK WRONG. HUMAN SOUL WORTH NOTHING, LIKE HUMAN.”
“No! I did not waste all this time and money for some idiot demon to tell me it was for nothing. You’re going to help me, or I’ll-”
I was interrupted by an angry roar. The demon clenched its clawed fingers into a fist and came at me, splintering the wood beneath its enormous hooves with each step.
I don’t know if the creature didn’t see the ceiling fan because the room was dark or because it was so furious that it wasn’t paying attention, but I was given the opportunity to run when its head smashed through the wooden blades and the globe around the bulb shattered.
The abandoned house where I had performed the ritual was unfamiliar to me, and I prayed that I was running toward the exit as the demon crashed through the door of the empty room I had chosen for my venture. It slammed into the wall and raced after me, stumbling over decaying furniture left behind by the long-gone inhabitants of the dwelling.
I let out a half-victorious, half-terrified yell as I found the stairs to the first level and began my hurried descent. Just as I reached the front door near the base of the steps, I heard a deafening yelp followed by a loud crash.
The demon had tripped at the top of the stairs and tumbled down them. Once it’s massive body hit the landing at the bottom, the floor collapsed and the monster fell to the basement below.
The sudden silence intrigued me, so I cautiously walked to the giant hole in the floor and peered through it.
The creature let out a groan and gingerly sat up while rubbing its head. It looked around the rotting basement before shifting its gaze up at me. The dazed look on its face was replaced by one of embarrassment, followed by one of fury.
It got on its feet and reached for the remnants of the floor above. When it realized that it couldn’t quite reach, it jumped. You would think that such a powerful creature would have no problem leaping the 2 feet it needed, but it wasn’t even close. When it landed, one of its hooves awkwardly hit some rubble, and the beast fell on its back. It growled in frustration, sat up, and glared at me intensely. I suddenly felt freezing cold and blazing hot at the same time, and decided that was the time to get out of dodge. I ran to my car and thanked God that I picked a place in the middle of nowhere. At least no one was in imminent danger if that thing ever escapes.
At least if it decides to attack you, you’ll hear it coming from a mile away.
CREDIT: Christine Druga
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Jobs come and go. That’s part of the beauty of living in America – you can change jobs freely if you aren’t happy. It’s a luxury not everyone in the world has.
For years and years, my life was consumed by business – retail, specifically. It wasn’t my plan…I sort of fell into it. My part-time cashier job turned into a full-time management job and, as anyone who’s worked in retail knows, once you get to that point it’s hard to get out. I wasted about five years at Target until my career path unexpected changed for the better.
It was a chance encounter – fateful, even. She came into the store to return a set of lingerie but our guest services team member wasn’t letting it happen. It was a no-receipt return, and she didn’t have the method of payment or her I.D. with her. Typical scam set-up. As those usually go, she asked to speak with a manager. I have no doubts she caught me mouthing “damn” as I walked up to the front end to speak with her. She was a tan goddess, about 5’3″ with a perfect, Playboy-esque body, brunette hair, and a lip ring. She looked like the type of girl who could post a single cleavage shot on Instagram and become an overnight internet celebrity.
On the surface, she looked like the type that might use her looks to be able to swoon guys into mindlessly doing what she wanted. A little flirting, a slight lean over the counter, and anything she needed was done – regardless of policy.
Well, maybe not just on the surface. I did exactly that.
I couldn’t resist her allure.
I thought about her non-stop for a few days after that. She was visually perfect in every sense of the word. Her body inspired me. I wanted to capture elegance like hers to look at anytime I desired.
Transitioning into a photographer seemed natural after meeting her. It was as if she rewired my brain, causing me to notice the beauty in everything I saw. Every second I wasn’t at work, I was adventuring and capturing the sights of the world surrounding me. Some days I even had to call off because I had let my passions take me too far away to be able to drive back for my shift.
Only a couple of months had passed until I ran into my muse at the local Starbucks. She was in front of me, ordering a grande white chocolate mocha – no whipped cream. A delicious drink for a delicious woman, of course. After I ordered the same drink as a venti, I nervously walked down to the end of the counter to wait for my drink…and silently observe her magnificence.
“Hey! Aren’t you the guy from Target that helped me return those undies?!” She spoke to me. I almost died.
“Oh, ha. Yeah, I believe that was me.” I always hated my ugly, nervous laugh.
“You were so awesome!” She said as she gave me a tight hug. “I was able to get a new set because of you, see?”
She pulled down her deep-cut v-neck, revealing to me a lacy, purple bra that hardly covered her voluptuous, tan breasts.
“I’m Jess, by the way. I’ve gotta run but I’m sure I’ll see ya around!”
She wasn’t wrong. We seemed to bump into each other almost daily after that moment at the coffee shop. If it wasn’t a face-to-face encounter, when I would go home and upload my photos she would be in them to some degree. Every. Day. I didn’t mind – she made my photos come to life, enhancing the already spectacular scenes with her own stunning looks.
I’m not sure if she knew I was taking her picture or not. Some days she would appear oblivious, and the photos would come across voyeuristic. Maybe she would be turned away, eating an ice cream cone. Tying her Vans. Fixing up her hair. Just casual things. Other times, she seemed to be staring right at me as I clicked the button. A few times she was putting on a blouse. Another was she putting gas in her white Beetle. Once, she was nude in the forest. Always facing directly towards me. Always staring into my soul.
As guilty as it made me feel, she never took legal action, nor made it seem like she wanted me to stop. To be honest, shewas the one showing up in all of my pictures. She wouldn’t really have had the basis to take up recourse. The longer it went on without any signs of discontent, the less guilty I began to feel. In my mind, it became a game. Two lovers, flirting without ever needing to meet. I was sure we were both in on it, but one of us had to win eventually.
I was out late last night, trying to catch photos of the super moon over train tracks – a truly stunning scene. Pines lined both sides of the tracks, the rock hills were even and undisturbed, and the sky was clear aside from the massive, massive moon. I’ll admit, I went a little crazy with the picture taking and filled up the remaining space on my SD card trying to capture the perfect scene.
She was in the photos.
There was no way Jess was able to have been there. The area was completely void of life while I was capturing it!
She was in the middle of the tracks, entwined with a man.
They began kissing.
He touched her skin, and she wrapped her hands around the back of his head.
He was looking directly at me. His body hadn’t moved.
Jess held his head in her hands, his body was on the ground.
She faced me directly, with that soul-stealing glare.
Dozens of small, white creatures piled over the man’s body. Jess had disappeared.
The creatures and the body were gone.
Jess was sitting indian-style mere feet away from the camera.
I screamed and ran into the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet. I couldn’t believe it. There was nobody on the tracks. How could she be in every single picture?! In hopes that I was losing my mind, I drowned myself in cold water from the sink and went to try looking at my gallery again.
The pictures were empty.
My mind and body decided that I couldn’t take this anymore and I had to sleep. I woke up in my chair about an hour ago. The pictures were still void of Jess, the man, and those weird fucking creatures…but she was outside of my window, sitting on my lawn staring directly into my eyes as I looked outside.
I’ve never seen her outside of a photograph since the coffee shop.
CREDIT: Mikey Knutson
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His frown momentarily changed to a look of disgust. “I hate oranges.”
That was odd, since it had been our ritual since his twenty-first birthday to always get that brand together when we were out at the bar because fruit’s good for you! Therefore, this beer is healthy! But it was his birthday and he could do what he wanted, so I didn’t ask about it. Rebecca, however, had already had a few. She cut past the group conversation to proclaim, “But isn’t the orange the healthiest part?”
Connor shook his head. “No way. Oranges are gross.”
Across the table, Dan said, “Oranges are great, man. They’re nature’s candy!”
Rebecca’s older sister Shannon was with us that night; she countered, “No, beets are nature’s candy.” When we stared at her blankly, she asked, “Doug? You know, the Nickelodeon show Doug? With the dog, Porkchop? Best friend Skeeter? Everyone in that world loved beets?” When we only vaguely recalled the show she was talking about, she threw her hands out in defeat.
Near us, an older regular was watching a television above the bar. He sneered. “Man, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with this country. It’s them.” He pointed at the screen. “I hate ’em.” Around him, fellow regulars cheered, and he grinned with pride. He held his hands up high and said, “Round of shots for the whole bar! On me!”
And that was all I really remembered of the first night things began to unravel. After that, my memories got blurry, and I woke up under a villainous beam of sunlight with overwhelming nausea and a killer headache. My first mighty act of willpower was to close the blinds and hide us from the monstrous Sun; Dan was on the floor of my room under my computer table, and Rebecca was in the hallway swaddled in every single blanket the house had to offer.
With relief, I saw that Connor was propped up on his bed by an array of pillows that kept him on his side. A trashcan below him was filled halfway up with vomit, and Shannon sat in the corner on her phone. Upon seeing me, she said, “Oh, does your head hurt? Good. He’s all yours now. I’m going home and going to sleep.”
I was left to take care of the birthday boy, which admittedly was much easier now that he was half-awake. The one thing I did ask him during his stupor was: “Do you really hate oranges?”
“Always have, man,” he groaned.
And I was left feeling as if our roommate ritual for the entire last year had been some weird sort of lie that he’d grown tired of carrying on. I stewed on that feeling for the rest of the day. What if he didn’t really consider me a friend? What if he was just humoring me because we were roommates? It felt as if my entire position in the group was in jeopardy, as if the way I thought of myself was under threat. It was a gnawing, lonely, and terrible feeling that kept me up all Sunday night.
On Monday, I downed coffee and sat morosely at my computer. This was my first job after graduation, and I was finding it unfulfilling. Did we even do any real work? While my coworkers spent most of the day huddled around a meeting room television watching the news, I could only think about the orange issue. By the end of the work day, I’d decided to cave.
I was the first one at the bar that evening, and Dan sat next to me about twenty minutes later. He looked at my stout and said, “No Blue Moon today?”
“I, uh, hate oranges,” I lied with a grimace.
To my surprise, he said, “Me too.”
That was weird. “Didn’t you say they’re nature’s candy?”
“Not even close.” He looked to be rather offended. “Oranges are the highest carrier of disease among all fruits and vegetables.”
Mortified, I asked, “Seriously?”
He folded his arms. “Yup. Absolutely disgusting fruit.”
That was a bold enough claim that I put down my stout and picked up my phone. After a few searches, I began to grow very confused. “Citrus greening, citrus canker, citrus black spot, gross. Sweet orange scab. How have I never heard of these diseases before?” The pictures were horrifying. “Oh, but wait, these only affect oranges and are not dangerous to humans.”
Dan just shrugged. “Science says a lot of things are safe, then suddenly they find out they’re not. I’m not eating anythingthat looks like that.”
I didn’t agree with him, but the images had still unsettled me. Maybe there was a reason to avoid oranges after all. The rest of the gang showed up soon after, but the disturbing images never truly left my awareness.
Later that night as we all spilled out of an Uber in front of my place, we were laughing and joking again as normal, and I was starting to feel a little better. I’d overblown the whole issue, really. There was nothing to worry about. These people didn’t secretly hate me, and I did belong.
Across the street, one guy began yelling angrily at another. The Uber pulled away, removing the barrier between our group and the guys; we saw them push at each other, scream back and forth, and then begin trading punches. This was a nice college-age neighborhood where nothing of the sort had ever happened before. What were they thinking? We stared until they noticed us. Abruptly, they stalked off and returned to their separate houses—next to each other. They were neighbors.
“How ridiculous,” Connor said with a laugh before leading us inside. “We’ll have to make sure not to invite them over next time we have a party.”
He didn’t seem to be in any sort of deceptive or bad mood, so, once we were all sitting around the kitchen table drinking water, I took the opportunity to ask him about what had been bothering me.
“Yeah, I do hate oranges,” he told me. “You’ll never catch me eating the damn things. They’re like, the biggest carrier of disease among all fruits and vegetables.”
“Never?” I joked. “What about the last year of us getting Blue Moons?”
He tilted his head at that. “I never get that beer. It comes with an orange slice, and I hate oranges.”
That was when it finally occurred to me that something was seriously wrong—either with my memory, or with the world. No longer smiling, I said, “We’ve been getting that beer every time we go out since your birthday last year when that hot girl that night thought your joke about it being healthy was hilarious.”
His expression darkened. “That never happened. I don’t drink Blue Moon.”
“That’s how I remember it,” I insisted flatly.
“Then your memory’s messed up,” he retorted, growing strangely angry. He balled up a fist between us. “I never drink that shit. I never have. You stop saying that shit now. Oranges are disgusting.”
Rebecca and Dan watched us in awkward silence. I figured I had one more back and forth within the bounds of politeness; I decided to make it count. “Dan, you remember us getting the orange slices with our beer, don’t you?”
Dan stiffened in his chair. “Oh don’t bring me into this. I hate oranges too, always have. I wouldn’t hang out with people who didn’t.”
I stared at him. “What? What the hell does that mean? Since when is this such a big deal?” I turned to Rebecca. “You remember, don’t you? That whole exchange with your sister about oranges versus beets on Saturday night?”
She kept her eyes on her water and did not reply.
Connor stood and approached me with menace. “Look man, you’ve been a good friend for a long time, but you’re gonna have to cut this shit out if you wanna keep hanging with us.”
Was he serious? How could he possibly be serious? I looked to Rebecca and Dan, but neither one met my confused gaze. “I was just joking,” I finally told Connor. “You know, messing with you guys.”
His face immediately lit up. “Oh, damn, you got me good!”
“Ahh, yeah,” I laughed with him, secretly terrified.
Rebecca and Dan finally looked up, relieved, and the mood immediately went back to happy and carefree. I hung out and pretended to be normal until everyone finally went to bed—Rebecca in her room downstairs, and Dan and Connor in the hallway next to my room—before I finally had a chance to investigate. For the first time in months, I closed and locked my door. The wonderful atmosphere that our house full of friends had started with was now one of fear and suspicion. I sat in the dark in front of my computer and began to scour the Internet in search of answers.
I’d seen enough science fiction to hazard a few guesses. Was I in the wrong reality somehow? Was my timeline changing for some reason? I didn’t know enough particulars about history to see if anything was different on Wikipedia. No. This was my room. My credit card worked, and my social security number was correct. If reality or time had changed in even the slightest way, those randomly-generated numbers would have been different. This was my world—just changing for some reason.
And because of that small and utterly inconsequential change, my home life and friends group were on the line. Was I going crazy? The only conclusion left was that I was the problem. Something was wrong with my memory or belief that had left me at odds with those I cared about.
Just then, as I sat in the dark, I heard my door knob turn—and fail to open, since I’d locked it.
Someone had just tried to come into my room.
And something told me it wasn’t for cuddling. It had been a subtle and stealthy attempt. On a horrified hunch, I quickly and quietly opened my window and slid out into the night. Five houses down, I saw a roof ablaze—someone’s house was on fire! What the hell was happening?—but I couldn’t worry about that at that particular moment. Peering in another window, I saw a silhouette of darker darkness move near a gleam of metal.
Someone had just tried to come into my room—with a knife.
The silhouette disappeared into deeper shadow, leaving me with no identity beyond the fact that it had to have been one of my roommates. How in the ever-blazing Hell had a like or dislike of oranges come to such a point? This was not normal. This was not natural.
Crouched out there in the chilly night, illuminated only by the house-fire five lots distant, I was forced to face the only conclusion left: something supernatural was going on. As soon as I truly entertained that notion, the fire-lit darkness felt suddenly far less solitary. Were eyes upon me? Was something watching me even then? I found it hard to believe that hating oranges was the primary goal of whatever was happening—rather, just the side effect of a slowly creeping insanity or possession of some sort.
There was nothing to do about it at that particular moment. I didn’t feel safe outside, but I didn’t feel safe back in my room, either. I barricaded the door and windows and found only the least satisfying half-awake form of sleep. In that odd mix of dreaming and waking, images of diseased fruit tortured my awareness.
I didn’t get a chance to catch Rebecca alone until Wednesday. She was the first to show up to the bar that evening, like Dan had been on Monday, but she seemed uncomfortable and apprehensive. After she looked over her shoulder for the third time at the entrance to the bar, I asked quietly, “Are you afraid, too?”
Her gaze spoke volumes; she bit her lip, looked at the door again, then told me, “Just stop screwing around with the oranges thing, alright?”
“What is the oranges thing?” I demanded in a whisper. “What is going on?”
Half-panicked at my questions, she insisted, “Just tell them you hate oranges, alright? Just freaking tell them you hate oranges! Stop asking about it, stop poking at it! I like my life! I like you guys! I like my house! Stop disrupting everything!”
I grabbed her hand as it lay on the table between us. “I just want to understand. Where did this hatred for oranges even come from? What is going on that is making our roommates act like this?”
She finally looked me in the eyes, and I saw bloodshot exhaustion there.
“Wait,” I whispered. “Have you been sleeping poorly, too? Bad dreams?”
Her eyes opened a little wider; she went to speak, but she saw someone come in the back door of the bar and quickly pulled her hand away from mine. Connor fell upon me rather forcefully from behind, but only to wrap his arm around my shoulder and neck. “Ooh, what are you two lovebirds up to?”
He knew we weren’t a thing anymore. What was his problem? Following the cue from Rebecca’s masked terror, I said, “Just talking about how much we hate oranges, bro!”
Connor jerked his neck toward her. “Is that so, Rebecca?”
She didn’t speak. She just forced a smile and nodded weakly.
“Awesome, awesome,” he said with genuine relief. He let go of me and sat between us. “I knew you two would come around.”
Dan arrived soon after, complaining of a vendor selling oranges he’d seen on the way over. “Grossest pile of disease you’ve ever seen.” He shuddered.
I looked to Rebecca, but she silently warned me to just go with it.
And I did. For the next hour, I carefully observed Dan and Connor, trying to figure out what was going on with them. It wasn’t until I went up the bar to get Rebecca and myself more drinks that I saw something that chilled my soul. A girl took a picture of three of her friends to my left; the angle was such that my table was in the background. While waiting for the drinks, I happened to glance at her phone.
My table was indeed in the background. There was Rebecca, there was Dan, there was Connor—
And someone else.
I only saw her phone for an instant before she turned away, but I was certain enough to surreptitiously turn around and pretend I was texting while I angled my camera up at my friends.
There, among the crowded patrons of the bar—and shown only in choppy frame-by-frame rendering—was the shadow of a person bent down near Connor’s ear.
As I stared at my phone in paralyzed terror, that shadowy head tilted up, as if it was looking at me with concern. Rather than react and give myself away, I shouted to my friends, “Picture time!”
The silhouette turned a half-step and vanished as if a gust of wind had dissipated it in one fell swoop. My friends smiled and made faces; the flash irritated a few surrounding patrons, but I’d gotten away with it.
And there was something among us. Holy Christ, a literal shadow whispering in Connor’s ear—murmuring insidious words of hatred, no doubt.
But why oranges?
That Wednesday night, at 8:42 PM EST, a runaway car crashed into the front of the bar, smashing all the windows and killing a woman. I know the exact time because the police forced us all to give statements before we could go. We’d been across the entire bar and had only seen the aftermath, really, but I was still pretty unhelpful. All I could think about was the shadow lurking among us.
As the Uber pulled onto our street that night, I absently studied the blackened shell of the house that had caught on fire five lots down. It was still smoldering, and it looked like nobody had come to put it out. In fact, it looked like nobody lived there at all. Looking left and right, I noticed that half of the houses on our street had no cars in their driveways. We weren’t so fancy as to have garages.
Was the lurking shadow driving people away? Why hadn’t anyone said anything? Were they even conscious of the shift in tone of our community? It had been the best time of my life until suddenly neighbors were getting in fistfights in broad daylight, my roommates had developed a random weird hatred, and houses were burning down without anyone calling the fire department.
We sat in silence around the kitchen table for at least ten minutes. Shaken by the car crash that had killed someone across the bar, Rebecca finally spoke. She murmured, “I hate oranges, too.”
Dan and Connor moved to her and hugged her tight. “It’s alright. You’re one of us. We’ll always be here for you.” As they held her, they glanced at me a few times, and I joined the huddle to avoid starting another fight.
I wondered if the shadow was there with us, embracing us the way we were embracing Rebecca. I could even feel the issue clouding in my mind. Did I hate oranges, too? I mean, everyone else did. And those pictures of diseased oranges weredisgusting. Had I really liked orange slices with my beer this whole last year? If I had, I might have just been horribly mistaken. Misled, even, by beer advertisements. Those ads never said anything about the diseases oranges could catch. That was odd, wasn’t it? It was like they didn’t want me to know. It would hurt their sales for me to know.
These thoughts plagued me that night and all the next day. At work on Thursday, while my coworkers randomly cried in their cubicles or had hushed discussions that broke up as soon as a manager neared, I sat on my computer and researched paranormal possessions and hauntings.
One of the things I learned was that demonic beings—that is, entities from a religious sphere of ideas—hated signs of God and good, and tried to get those they were trying to possess to destroy crosses and pour out holy water and the like.
That made sense.
But if the being haunting my friends, my house, and my street was not from the religious sphere, but perhaps a different space—what if oranges were a representation of the things that made it vulnerable? If this was some sort of anti-nature spirit, maybe it was pouring hatred of oranges into my community because oranges could drive it away.
But that was crazy. I actually laughed out loud in my cubicle as I internalized the idea, and one of my crying coworkers looked at me like I was a monster. “Oh, sorry!” I told her, grimacing awkwardly. “I was just thinking about something else.” She glared and rotated away in her chair.
Thursday night wasn’t one of our usual bar nights, so I was at home when Rebecca’s older sister Shannon stopped by. It was for something trivial, but on the way out, I caught her on the porch. I needed reassurance. “Hey, Shannon, you remember that whole conversation about oranges versus beets last Saturday?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah. What about it?”
I gulped. “So that did happen?”
“And Connor and I have been joking about orange slices for the last year?”
Narrowing her eyes, she said, “Yes. Why?”
“I don’t know,” I told her truthfully. “I’m just starting to doubt my own reality. I had to be sure.”
She scrolled through Facebook on her phone, then showed me a picture. “Look, it’s the two of you on his twenty-first birthday last year, when I was designated driver as usual.”
In the picture, we were both holding our beers forward, orange slices on full display. The hot girl who had sparked the entire tradition was sitting next to Connor, exactly like I remembered. “It’s real.” I looked up at her. “How do you feel about oranges?”
She grimaced, but not out of disgust. “What? Why? They taste alright I guess.”
“Seriously. What’s your opinion on oranges, beyond just whether you personally like their taste?”
“Neutral?” she replied. “I literally don’t care. Why would anyone have an opinion on oranges unless they’re like, a botanist or a farmer or something?”
That was an incredible point, actually. “I wish I knew.”
As she turned to leave, we began to hear a commotion at the end of the street closer to campus. We were only a few blocks away from campus, and still close enough that street vendors often passed this way. When I saw an older man pushing a cart of oranges being surrounded by a group of my peers shouting profanities, I knew exactly what was happening.
And I could see Dan and Connor among them.
Rebecca came out onto the porch at hearing the violent shouting, and the three of us stood staring as the mob began to push at the unfortunate cart owner. We started running toward the fray after Dan sent a wild punch—and the man fell. The mob was screaming with furious bloodlust and stomping en masse by the time we got there.
But the cart owner was fine, if shaken.
The mob was stomping his oranges.
It was some eerie otherworldly version of a group murder. Bits of orange peel flew this way and that with the force of the stomping below, and fruit juice splattered across clothes in every direction. The gore would have been vomit-inducing had it been human; as it was, I was still mortified by what was happening. These people, my friends and neighbors, had become rabid animals full of irrational hate.
Shannon looked at me in confused askance.
I shook my head. I had no idea.
But Rebecca, terrified as she was, chose to join in. Running forward, she started screaming profanities and stomping on the last of the oranges while the others began cheering. Soon, they would notice that we had not joined in.
“Shannon, you better go.”
She took my advice immediately and began walking away toward her car.
Covered in the juice-blood of his victims, Connor glared at me with the eyes of a devil. “Why aren’t you helping?”
“I got here too late,” I lied lamely.
Dan, his gaze red with anger, fixated on me as well. “There’s one left.” He held his arms out. “Everybody leave that one.” He pointed down. “Come on.”
I needed to buy time for Shannon to escape, but I also knew I had to live with—and sleep near—these people. The thought of that silhouette with the knife promised no good end for anyone that defied the group. It might have been the shadow itself that had picked up the knife—but it also might not have been.
The cart owner looked at me in terror from down on the sidewalk as I approached his last orange. “Please, no, why you do this? Why you do this? I just sell orange. Please no!”
I closed my eyes and stomped.
The orange splattered under my shoe, and arms grasped me from every angle as my neighbors jeered and cheered. I opened my eyes and shook with shame as the cart owner got up and ran off. Dan lit a match and set the wooden cart on fire while the others began dancing. I had no choice but to dance with them. They wouldn’t let go of me. They shook me and made me chant with them and tested me constantly to make sure I wasn’t faking. To get through it, I had to temporarily convince myself they were right and that oranges were an abomination. To get through it, I had to give up part of myself, and, after, I returned to my room, locked the door, and sat crying under my computer table.
But then, I got angry.
I got mad.
I was not going to let my community be consumed by this madness. The entity whispering in our ears would pay. I was a man, goddamnit, no longer a boy, and I didn’t have to grin and bear it. These people weren’t my parents.
I got in my car and drove the way the cart owner had gone. I found him five blocks down, forlorn and sitting at a city bus stop. He began to panic as he saw me, but I held up my hands peacefully and asked him a question that immediately changed his mood.
I didn’t make enough to save any money, but I had a credit card. I bought the entire rest of his inventory, and took it all home with me. When the crates didn’t fit, I just plain dumped the oranges in my trunk and back seat. My car would smell like fruit for months, I was sure, but it had to be done.
When Dan got home that night, I caught him behind the front door and held a knife to his throat. “Sit down,” I directed, tying him up on a chair in the kitchen.
He shouted when Connor got home, but it was too late. I put Connor in a chair, too, and tied him up. Then, I stuffed clean socks in their mouths so they wouldn’t warn Rebecca.
I didn’t grab her. I didn’t tie her up. I simply held the knife and said, “Sit.”
She nervously took the third chair.
I’d thrown the oranges from my car all about the kitchen. They were on the table, on the floor, and in the sink. I picked one at random, peeled the skin off, and held it in front of Connor. “Eat it.”
“Why don’t you make me?” he spat.
“I won’t.” I told him. “But I also won’t let you out of this chair until you take a bite of a goddamn orange.”
“We used to eat them all the time.”
“That didn’t happen!”
“It did.” I showed him the picture on my phone of his birthday the year before.
He frowned. “Is that photoshopped?”
“It happened!” I screamed in his face. “Eat the orange!”
He pulled his head away. “They’re the highest carriers of disease among all—”
“Yes, yes I know the sound bite,” I yelled. “It’s wrong! Those diseases aren’t dangerous to humans, and this orange isn’t diseased! Eat the orange!”
“But we hate oranges,” Connor insisted, indignant. “Right guys?”
Dan bit down on the sock in his mouth. “Mm-hmm.”
Connor looked to Rebecca.
About to cry, she hid her face and did not respond.
Connor seemed more shaken after that. After gulping down hesitation, he warily took a bite from the orange. He blinked. “Oh. It’s… fine.”
Dan seemed surprised, and Rebecca just cried harder.
I pulled the sock out of Dan’s mouth and held the other side of the orange. “Try it. If you hate it, that’s fine, I’ll let you go either way. Just try it.”
Seeing Connor break, Dan hesitantly tried a bite, and then pushed back in his chair. “That doesn’t taste like I remember. I swear it used to have a horrible antiseptic taste.”
“No,” I told him. “Our heads are being messed with! We just attacked a street vendor and stomped on his oranges because we’ve been worked up in a frenzy of hate. Does that make any sense to you objectively?”
Blinking as if waking up from a dream, Dan began to look horrified. “Oh my God, we did do that, didn’t we? What were we thinking?”
Connor looked up at me with the same guilt. “Oh man, I—” He cut off as his eyes jumped to something behind me.
That warning gave me just enough time to shift to the side. The knife went into my left shoulder, and I slipped on rolling oranges and fell to the floor on top of a splatter of my own blood. Above me, I could see a knife dripping with red—and the shadow of a man beyond it. Its hollow eyes were red.
Dan and Connor began screaming and fighting their bonds as the shadow stepped near, but I’d tied them in too well. The shadow’s red eyes moved from me to their squirming bodies, as if it was deciding which of us to kill first.
“What do you want?” I screamed at it. “What the fuck do you want?”
Those red eyes swung to me and seemed to bore into my soul. A sinister chill raked across my senses as it whispered, “Buy lemons.”
I stared. “Buy lemons?” I hesitated. “Why would you even care about that?”
“I don’t,” it rasped, bringing the knife nearer. “It is simply what my master wishes.”
It couldn’t be so absurd as that, could it? Had some lemon-farming company hired a demon-worshipper and summoned an entity from beyond our world just for profit? Had they brought the incarnation of Hate among us just to make money?
But it was that simple. It had always been that simple. Why else would anyone do anything?
It moved to stab me—but Rebecca leapt against it, and a piece of the shadow tore out where she passed. It screamed in pain, dropped the bloody knife, and grasped at the hole she’d made. Darkness sifted out of its wounds like black sand falling from a sideways hourglass; it flared its red eyes, hissed venom, and vanished.
It had gone.
The demon that had been among us and whispering in our ears all week had gone.
We all remained frozen in shock for thirty seconds before Dan snapped out of it and said loudly, “Would someone pleaseuntie me already?!”
We did, and then we patched up my arm.
As a group, we didn’t know what else to do, so we went and sat at our regular table at the bar. It was early on a Thursday, so few other people were there. We didn’t get Blue Moons, but not because we hated oranges—no, our house was full of hundreds of the fruit, and would smell forever.
“I can’t believe it almost got us to go from loving oranges to hating them in less than a week,” Connor murmured sadly, crouched over his drink.
I shook my head. “I even doubted myself there for a minute. Did things I’m not proud of.”
Dan looked up at us. “What even hurt it? Why did a being made of Hate get wounded by Rebecca just moving through it?”
She looked at me; I looked at her. We both looked back down at our beers. She’d hadn’t just moved through it. She’d jumped at it because of me. We both knew the answer, but that was private.
Near us, an older regular was watching a television above the bar. He sneered. “Man, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with this country. I hate—”
The four of us shouted in unison. He jumped in his chair and looked over at us.
“Don’t,” I told him calmly and sadly. “Please. Just don’t.”
He watched us for a moment, then, subtly embarrassed, he gave a slow haunted nod and turned back to his drink.
CREDIT: Matt Dymerski
**Click HERE to check out creepypasta’s official YouTube channel**
Dating sucks as an adult. The only way to meet new people is either on the internet or in a bar, and I’m not comfortable trying to start a relationship with someone I’ve come across in either of those scenarios. At 28 years old, not being romantically interested in any of my unmarried friends or coworkers, I figured I was just doomed to be single the rest of my life.
But then I met her.
I was walking home from my favorite local comic book store, nose buried in my newest purchase, when I walked straight into the woman of my dreams. Her piercing blue eyes crinkled a bit at the corners as she laughed at my bumbling apology. She looked down at the ground briefly and tucked a bit of her dark brown hair behind her ear before looking back at me and sticking out her hand.
“I’m Miranda,” she cooed as I shook her hand. She was beautiful, and I was hooked.
Introductions turned into small talk, small talk turned into conversation, and before I knew it, my watch informed me that we had been sitting on the grass next to the sidewalk for 2 hours chatting. I regretfully announced that I needed to get home, then nervously asked Miranda if she would like to meet me the next night for dinner. She agreed, and we set the time and place for our date.
I was over the moon the rest of the night and most of the next day. My nerves kicked in on the way to the expensive Italian restaurant we decided on. It suddenly occurred to me that we hadn’t even exchanged phone numbers. What if she was just being polite and had no intention of coming? What if she was in an accident or her car broke down and she couldn’t make it? A million scenarios raced through my head as I began to sweat and my heart started to race. My stomach was in knots when I walked through the doors of the restaurant, but the bad feelings fell away as soon as I saw her standing in the corner wearing a purple dress that perfectly complimented her slim figure.
The hostess looked at me funny when I asked for a table for two, and my anxiety perked up again. My panic had left me sweaty, and I was suddenly aware that I had run my fingers through my hair a few times while in transit. I must have looked a mess despite my nice pants and shirt. I used my hands to ensure my hair was put back into place and wiped my forehead with my sleeve as I followed the hostess and my date to a table in the corner of the eatery.
The date went amazingly well. Miranda let me order for both of us, telling me that she trusted my judgement. We chatted and laughed through the meal like we had known each other forever. The world around me could have been in shambles and I wouldn’t have noticed; I loved being with her so much.
Of course, the joy of new love was short-lived, otherwise I wouldn’t be posting this here, of all places.
We decided to go for a stroll through the nearby park after I paid the bill. I worked up the courage to reach for her hand as we happily walked along the concrete path lit by soft yellow lights. My fingers linked with hers, and just as I felt how cold her skin was, I noticed that she had stopped talking and the air around us had grown tense.
My first thought was that I fucked up. I looked at her, already asking if she was alright.
She changed. Her skin had turned a bluish-gray, marked with deep purple bruises around her throat. The left side of her face was so rotted away that I could see her teeth through her cheek. The bright blue of her eyes was now covered with a milky film, and they stared at me with a hatred so deep that even the bravest soldier would have likely cowered.
I choked on a gasp and tried to back away, but she strengthened her grip on my hand so that I could only move as far as our combined arms’ length. My fingers throbbed and the muscles in my hand and wrist started burning while I tried to pull free from her grasp. Her fingers were so decomposed that I could see tendons and bone, but they were strong. Inhumanly strong.
My yells for help echoed off the surrounding trees. I pulled with all my might, but Miranda wouldn’t let go. She just stood there in her dirty tattered dress, staring at me like I was the worst form of scum. My heart was beating so hard that I could feel it pounding from my chest to the top of my head. Tears streaked down my hot face. I stopped yelling. Even if my labored breathing allowed the effort, I knew no one could hear me. I fell to my knees, forcing myself to stare at the ground instead of the rotting woman before me. I begged in between panting:
“Please, please don’t kill me.”
Miranda started laughing then. Not the musical laugh that had hypnotized me earlier, but a deep, menacing cackle that made me shiver. When she stopped, she crouched down so that we were face to face. She tilted her head, the bones in her neck cracking and popping with the movement, and grimaced.
“I said the same thing, you know. Didn’t help me one bit.”
She brought up the hand that wasn’t on the verge of breaking mine and stroked my cheek, leaving a sticky trail of rotten blood behind as her skin tore on contact. Once she met the base of my jaw, the tender gesture ended and she wrapped her hand around my throat. She pushed me to my back and brought her other hand to my throat as well as she straddled me. I gasped and fought, alternating between trying to push her off of me and attempting to pull her hands away. The edges of my vision grew hazy, the picture of her ghoulish complexion blurred, and I was sure I was about to die.
Just before I lost consciousness, she lowered her face until it was just inches from mine and screamed. I brought my hands to my ears to try to block out the piercing shriek and shut my eyes tight. After a brief moment, I realized that the pressure around my throat was gone and I could breathe again. I rolled onto my side, coughing and rubbing my throat, as Miranda’s screams faded into echoes.
She was gone.
I laid on the ground for a few minutes until my breathing and heart rate returned to a semi-normal state, then I ran to where I had parked my car at the restaurant and drove home.
It took a few days for the bruising around my neck to heal, but physically, there was no permanent damage done. I counted my blessings, and haven’t gone on a date since.
CREDIT: Christine Druga
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I’m an introvert with a counter-intuitive hobby: eavesdropping.
It’s not an ethical hobby. That’s the thrill, isn’t it? To know the secrets of a hundred strangers… Rest assured, their secrets are safe with me. That doesn’t make it okay, but I considered it a victimless crime. Less than a crime– a prank. Harmless.
Until it wasn’t.
Recently, I met a man I’ve come to call Mr. Soap. I can’t describe him in a satisfying way; I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a line up. I couldn’t tell you the color of his hair, or even his skin… trying to remember is like picking up an extra-slippery bar of soap. I can’t hold on to the details, they slip away– leaving nothing but suds.
However, he did leave an impression… I can’t forget his eyes, or what he said to me that night. I guess to sum it up, Mr. Soap is a man with eyes and a mouth. That’s the only way I can put it. He isn’t meant to be remembered; a predator’s camouflage. Maybe you’ve talked to him, or something like him– there’s no way to know.
Not unless it wants you to know.
I was at the bar, my favorite haunt; a place where alcohol brings up a backwash of honesty. I’d snagged my favorite corner booth, wore my muted Bluetooth headphones and played mindless phone games between fizzy sips of ginger ale. If anyone tried to talk to me, I’d pretend not to hear them. In other words: the perfect Friday night.
My ears picked through threads of conversation, seeking something sordid to pique my interest. I dove in and out of discussions; swimming through the currents of confabulation like it was an Olympic sport, until one voice cut through the noise:
“What would you trade your soul for?”
The voice had a velvety baritone, with an air of confidence that belied the bizarre nature of his question. I took note of this strange pick-up line, pausing to listen with rapt attention.
“Eternal life, of course! If I don’t die, I’d never have to pay up, right?” A feminine titter followed the question, her voice pleasantly soft and slurred.
“You are as clever as you are beautiful.” the man chuckled with an edge of condescension. Surprised, I glanced over– nearly dropping my ginger ale when I met his waiting gaze. The man’s eyes seemed to smile, though his mouth was an impassive line. The woman he’d been flirting with left without a word, smiling with a glass in hand to rejoin a group of giggling young women.
A swing and a miss?
I quickly looked away, pretending to be preoccupied by my phone. I hated being noticed. I preferred to be a fly on the wall– at most an extra– background to the drama that played around me.
Once again I began sifting through the conversations, but I was pulled back by that same voice from before.
“What would you trade your soul for?”
My head swivelled in the direction of his voice; this time, the man– Mr. Soap– was not at the bar but leaning with his elbows on a table, speaking to a muscular man who had lost his shirt and stared, glassy-eyed, at the table.
“I want to be rich and famous.” the shirtless man said, not looking up.
“Classic. No one ever wants that.” his sarcasm was obvious, but Mr. Soap’s eyes still hadn’t left mine. I watched, transfixed, as he scribbled something down in a notebook I hadn’t noticed before.There was no point in pretending I hadn’t been listening in… I was thoroughly unnerved.
I tried to flag the server for the check, but she didn’t notice…. Walking right by. Compelled by nervous impulse, I looked back at Mr. Soap. He was closer than before, yet no more distinct… I realized with a start that each time I looked, he was one table closer– closing the distance between us.
We were separated by one table, locked in a staring contest. I never saw him blink; in fact, his eyes– whatever color they were– had no reflective qualities; the light did not catch in his irises or have the same glossy, wet quality as eyes do. His dilated pupils were a dull darkness, one that couldn’t be explained by a need for eye drops.
My line of sight was broken by the server who took the seat across from him, not seeming to notice that the table was already occupied by some indistinct demon. I could not see his face, but I still heard him ask that very same question:
“What would you trade your soul for?”
There are some things you know without having to be told. What I knew in that moment… was that I couldn’t let that man reach me. I fumbled for my purse, fishing out a few bills to leave on the table. If I hadn’t had cash, I would have tried to dine and dash– that’s how desperate I was to leave.
I didn’t dare my eyes to wander, moving towards the door—
“What would you trade your soul for?”
The same question; a phantom outline hovered dark on my periphery, a blackness that bid I turn around. I reached for my phone, intending to turn on music to block out that voice and the answers that followed–
I’d left my phone on the table.
I know it was stupid, but these days losing a phone is like losing a finger– and that’s putting it lightly. The table was mere footsteps away, I’d grab it and go!
I hurried back, but… Mr. Soap was waiting for me there. My phone was where I’d left it, daring me to pick it up. The man didn’t say a word at first, watching me with an unsmiling mouth and those strange eyes. I found myself locked in place, an unwilling competitor in another staring contest– until he gestured and said:
I did, my own will was irrelevant; I was compelled to comply. Running was no longer an option.
“How about we start with an apology?”
My tongue was heavy with nerves; I heard something I shouldn’t, something beyond the realm of even the juiciest gossip. I didn’t understand it, but that didn’t matter… I knew that to my core.
Mr. Soap reached across the table and pulled out my earbuds, they came out with an uncomfortable pop that had me reaching up to rub my ears. It was clear the conversation was far from over.
Before I could think better of it, I asked:
“Aren’t you going to ask me?”
“Ask you what?” he knew, even without asking– this exchange was as entertaining for him as it was terrifying for me.
“What I would trade my soul for?” my voice was stilted and unsure; I didn’t want him to ask. I didn’t want to answer– I instinctively understood that this question couldn’t go unanswered, as though it were an implicit law of the universe.
“No.” his abrupt answer left little chance to feel relieved, Mr. Soap spoke matter-of-fact, adding: “You have nothing to trade…” a remark which jolted any sense of relief into an unsettling uncertainty.
“What do you mean?”
Mr. Soap laughed low, pausing to decide if he’d answer my question. To answer was simultaneously an act of generosity and cruelty:
“To keep up with production, souls are a lot smaller than they used to be. Many humans don’t even have one– about half the population. In fact, you don’t even need it– it only matters when you die.” I didn’t want to believe him, but I did. I hung on to every word. He let the implications sink in, pausing for dramatic effect: “Of course, that makes you inconsequential to me… although I don’t appreciate your rudeness. No one likes an eavesdropper.”
“I am sorry about that… I was only interested in gossip, not an existential crisis. Can we forget this ever happened?” I implored earnestly, eager to end the conversation. I’d apologized, I had nothing to give him– why couldn’t we leave it at that?
“Do you want to know how to tell?” Mr. Soap continued as though he hadn’t heard my question.
“Tell what?” I asked haltingly, hesitant.
“Who has a soul and who doesn’t.”
“I don’t want to know, no.” I honestly didn’t; this was forbidden knowledge, the kind that came with consequences I couldn’t begin to comprehend.
My answer was irrelevant.
“I’ll tell you anyway, it’s nice to have a real conversation for once– however one sided it might be. Your kind are never much for conversation.”
“My kind?” despite my desperate unwillingness to talk, I found myself asking anyway.
“Introverts. The soulless.”
“Introverts? Is that really the distinction?” I dubiously shook my head, unsettled by the thought.
“It’s the most common symptom, which makes my job easier.”
“… Your job of trading for souls?”
That earned a laugh; he shook his head. “No, that’s above my pay grade. I’m just a scout looking for leads. I find the better-sized souls, see what sort of trades would interest them– then give the leads to someone in Sales, so to speak.”
“What are you?”
“You’ve already guessed the answer to that. I’m what the religious would call a demon. My disguise isn’t perfect, but you wouldn’t be able to spot someone from a higher order.”
“Your eyes…” those blank, unblinking eyes– even up close, I could see nothing in them. No light; no reflection…
“I live in a very dry climate, as you might imagine.”
I leaned back in the booth, closing my eyes and mashing my fingers into my temple. A headache had already formed, and bile threatened to bubble up with every exhalation…
“What’s going to happen to me?” I ripped off the Band-Aid, flinching in fear as I anticipated his answer.
“When you die, or right now?”
I was speechless at the question, and honestly too terrified to know the answer to either. However, at least I could infer from his reply… I wasn’t going to die. Not right then.
“You will be punished, of course. But when you die… you will rot in the ground. That’s about it. Or you’ll be ash, depending on your arrangements.”
I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. I was regretting everything– but regret isn’t a time machine; my actions weren’t undone by my remorse.
“What?” I had to have misheard him.
“I’ll have your ears.” he fingered napkin-wrapped cutlery in a thoughtful way, as though he were debating between the knife and fork to do the deed. I immediately clapped my hands over my ears, squeezing my eyes shut as if it would do me any good.
“The punishment should fit the crime.” He stood up, and walked over– sliding into the booth beside me. “If you’re going to listen to things you shouldn’t… it’s poetic justice, isn’t it? Now… lower your hands, unless you want me to take them as well.”
My hands dropped down to my sides, dead weight, but the choice hadn’t been mine. Mr. Soap licked his index finger, flexing it for a moment– he didn’t break eye contact, but did offer a grin before he suddenly plunged his finger into my right ear. I cringed in revulsion, disgusted by the sticky wetness of his finger…
It didn’t stop there.
The demon drove his finger deep into the canal, perforating the eardrum– and beyond. I couldn’t even scream, but I could feel everything; his finger moved like a snake, creeping and curling into the folds of my brain.
I don’t know how I didn’t die, or go deaf.
I do know that it was agony beyond anything I’d ever felt, or would ever feel again. Seconds stretched out like hours, but it did end… after the tip of his finger erupted from my other ear, wiggling as if to wave ‘hello’.
“In one ear, out the other.” Mr. Soap laughed at his joke, abruptly jerking his hand away. He proceeded to use the napkin on the table to wash up, dipping it into a cup of ice water and humming to himself as he mopped up a surprisingly little blood. He even used the tines of a fork to clean underneath his fingernails!
“W-w…wha….” I managed to sputter out, still trying to process what exactly had happened. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t think straight.
“You are my ears now.” was all he said before he excused himself from the table and left. He took my earbuds with him, swinging them jauntily at his side.
I don’t know how long I sat there, but eventually… I made it home… even convinced myself it was a dream– that my brain hadn’t been rewired by a demon’s index finger.
Life continued as normal for awhile, but I didn’t go eavesdropping again for a long time. Eventually, the old itch came back– and I had to scratch it. I’d rationalized that Mr. Soap was a figment of my guilty conscience.
When you do something you know is bad… it’s bound to manifest as a guilty nightmare now and then, right?
Same bar, same booth, same hobby… and a gnawing tension, competing with denial. I closed my eyes, and sorted through the clouds of conversation for a gem… when I heard a voice whisper against my ear.
“Go ask them.”
I could feel his arid breath– I swiveled my head to see– Mr. Soap was not sitting next to me. I let out a sigh of relief and sagged back into my seat, but my relief was short lived.
“You’re my ears, my dear. Or have you forgotten? The women you were just listening to— go ask them.”
I found myself standing, walking on stiff legs to a cluster of middle-aged women at the bar. You can probably guess what I asked…
“What would you trade your soul for?”
I spent that night– and every following Friday– scouting out leads for Mr. Soap, forced to follow his every directive; asking that same question over and over. My voice would vibrate with the words… I’d always get an answer, usually followed by the demon’s sarcastic commentary. His punishment was a life sentence; I’ll always have his voice in my ear.
But it didn’t end there; He sent me a “gift” for my hard work.
One day, I found a square cardboard box sitting on my porch. Scribbled in black sharpie were the words…. Soul: Choose wisely.
I wasn’t meant to laugh, but I did. Trust a demon to give me a soul, only so he could take it back later.
He’s already showed me his cards. I know exactly what he’s trying to do. For the soulless, there is no afterlife– there won’t even be blackness, I’ll simply blink out of existence.
As terrifying as that might sound… it’s actually a blessing. I can’t imagine Heaven awaits a demon’s accomplice, unwilling or otherwise.
“Nice try you slippery bastard!” I laughed, wiping tears from my eyes.
The box collects dust on my bookshelf.
Mr. Soap already has the rest of my life, I won’t let him have my death too.
CREDIT: Penny Tailsup
(You must ask permission before narrating this work. Click HERE to do so)
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“The water is perfect at this time of night.“
Shana lifted her long, white dress over her thin shoulders and dipped under the cool depths of Lake Diamond.
“Don’t be such a baby, Freeman. We didn’t come out here at two AM for nothing.“
She smiled when she spoke. I loved that. After five months of sulking through Stanford High’s senior year, Shana looked so absolutely amazing when she finally just… smiled. It was stupidly simple.
“Not too hot, not too warm. The Goldilocks Zone.” She tilted her tendrils of water logged black hair to the side, attempting to shake some of the fresh lake out of her ears as she floated effortlessly in the waves. “Do you know the reference?“
“They say something lives at the bottom of this lake, have you heard that story?“
She lowered her shy green eyes with a sly grin as she spit some water at me. “Its real deep here. Most people don’t even know how deep.“
I peeled off my shirt and stepped over the missing planks of the old wooden dock.
“Did you know that?” she asked.
“Well, Mr. Freeman. It does appear you knew everything!” Shana replied with a shocked shout.
“I do,” I replied, right before jumping in like a cannonball, shamelessly spraying some water into her eyes. I reached out to grab her, and she played like she was putting up a fight. I kissed her neck softly and it tasted like perfume and sweat.
“Are you scared to be in here tonight, Mikey?” she asked while staring straight ahead.
As if in response to the words, a weak wind started to pick up in the willow trees surrounding the coast. The branches swung back and forth lazily as a storm started to pass through. Tiny droplets of rain and discarded leaves dotted the lazily drifting waves as we struggled to stay above the surface.
“A little,” I admitted. “My mom used to say I get seasick.“
“You can’t get seasick on a lake, Michael,” Shana said in a daze as she stared at something beyond the shore. “Did you know people have died here?“
I didn’t. It was never in the papers.
“So you don’t know everything?” Her tone turned cold and lonely. “My great-grandfather did. In 1875. He was swimming here, in the middle of the night. The same as he had done a million times before. Same as we are doing now.” She paused. “This shitty dock is ours, after all. His wife always said he needed to get more use out of it.“
“Sounds like a good reason to get out of the lake, Shana.” I said, insistent and confused. “Let’s fucking go.“
She stared at me from the bottom of the ladder and shook her head. She was soaking wet and stunned by the significance of something I could not see beyond the trees. “He drowned. I was with him.”
“What are you talking about?“
“Grandpa told me he could do it. We saw a bright light under the waves. It was so warm. It was… it was beautiful, and comforting, and perfect all at the same time. But so strange. Where did it come from? What did it want? It was like somebody turned on a heater on the lake floor.“
It didn’t make any sense. Nothing she said was making sense anymore. I was just an innocent seventeen-year-old kid, hoping to score with the hottest girl in school.
“I wanted to touch it. The light. Grandpa said he would swim to the bottom to get it for me. He held his breath real big and went to look. Like this.” Shana disappeared.
“Motherfucker… this is not funny! I screamed to the empty night.
I looked around and no one was nearby. I reached underwater and caught a flailing foot. She surfaced with entangled limbs and hopeful screams.
“Can you see it?” She slapped me in the face as I tried to pull her away from the waves. “LOOK!”
A bright luminescence lit up underneath the surface. It was absurd… and exactly as she described. The light encompassed every inch of the storm fused lake. I leaped onto the deck and grabbed Shana by the arm. As I started to pull her towards me, she pulled back with surprising force. I landed back in the water with a belly flop.
She wrapped her thin arms around my shoulders. “Grandpa never came back. I hope you do.“
Shana kissed me. The same as she had done a thousand times. But something was different. Her lips were dry and crackled. A warm and sticky liquid flooded over her teeth and into my mouth. I opened my eyes and spit out the liquid. It was blood; redder than her underwear.
Then she dunked my head without any explanation.
The light was pulsating at that point. I could see it even through closed eyes. I screamed, but water filled my lungs. After it felt like there was no fight in me left, something relented as I broke the surface.
But the face in front of mine was not the one I recognized.
She still wore the same bikini top. It was crimson red, with tiny little hearts rounding the corners. But the skin behind it was old and grey. Layers of it raised up to form complicated wrinkles on her chest and arms. Her teeth were decaying and that illustrious black hair was falling out by the root.
As I looked into her eyes, they were still the same color green.
“I need the light, Mike. Go get me that fucking light,” even her voice was different. It was tired, old, and angry.
A neighbor must have heard the commotion. He opened his door from a few hundred feet away and called out into the dark.
“Are you kids alright? It is too late for swimming!“
“NO!” I shouted back. “PLEASE HELP ME.“
When I turned to face Shana, she was gone. The lake was dark again.
A dive crew searched Diamond’s grounds for hours. They never found my girlfriend, or anything that suggested an electrical source.
The body of a deceased senior citizen washed up on shore the next morning. I kept my mouth shut, even though the reveal answered my own haunting question for sure.
Shana really did need the light that night.
CREDIT: Matt Richardson
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WARNING: This post contains some graphic sexual content
Every city claims to have them, and every city will tell you that theirs is the best. Most larger places will lay claim to having quite a few. I am of course speaking of secret bars. The kind of bars with no name out front, where a secret password is required to get in. This is what started my obsession, and may have cost me my soul.
The year was 2001. I had turned 21 earlier that year, and had already done up all the new freedoms that come with that age. I had done bars, casinos… you name it. At first it was so cool, because for years I had felt like a kid, like some wet behind the ears idiot that the rest of the world sort of just patted on the head. Even after turning 21, things remained annoying. People would hear that I was 21 and treat me not like an adult, but as a new adult, like a grown-up that still needed grown-ups. I was annoyed. I worked downtown in a dreary office job, inputting data. The nice thing about it though were my hours, 3pm to 11pm. For a single guy in his early 20s, it was perfect. I got to sleep in everyday, and I would get off of work just in time to take the quick walk from the New Orleans central business district, cross over Canal Street, and bam, I was in the French Quarter, land of booze and women. Lots of fun times were spent down there.
But as I said, even that began to get boring. Really boring. So, I began to research “secret bars.” I found a few right away, and most of them were just as boring as the regular bars. One in particular, called Mythique, was located up a narrow stairwell, accessible only through a tiny door located under the bar downstairs. Once I got up there though, it was just another bar. The clientele was a bit more pretentious; most of them thought they were the second coming of Lestat, but in the end, it was the same thing—a bar, drinks, people and usually crappy music. I remember one night I was at home in my tiny apartment, using Metacrawler (remember, this was 2001) and searching for more secrets in my city that I was now old enough to exploit. I kept finding links to the same boring places I always went to. Then my email binged, or I should say, announced, “You’ve Got Mail!”
I clicked open my email and saw the heading for the message read “Secret Bar.” Now, I was sure if I had asked anyone on my AOL buddy list for help, and I didn’t recognize the sender. I figured maybe I was in a chat room one night and asked around, but I figured it was worth a check. The email was simple and short, and read something like this…
SECRET NEW ORLEANS BAR: Looking for a journey, not afraid of hell, not too shy for heaven, then come visit us. Be in Jackson Square tonight at 2am. Wear a black shirt and grey pants, and have a cup of coffee in your hand. Seat yourself in the 3rd bench. This is your only invitation, miss it and you will never be invited again. PS: Come alone, tell no one.
That was the end of the email. I was lucky that my job required me to wear a suit, because it just so happened that I had a pair of grey slacks. I pulled on a black t-shirt and realized that I actually looked pretty good. I figured this could be a prank, but even if it was, even it if turned out to be nothing, I would go out and have a few drinks anyway, maybe even get laid. I didn’t have to go into work the next day, so this night could turn out to be fun anyway. However, I may have been a bored, idiotic 21 year old, but I wasn’t totally stupid. This could also be a trick, a trap or something worse. So, I called my best friend Mike up. I told him that I was going out with some strangers from work, and that I wasn’t sure about them. I told him I would call him by 4am, and if I didn’t, for him to call and check up on me. I told him I would be in the Quarter. Mike had to be up for work at 4am, so it wouldn’t put him out of his way to call me when he got up.
I left my apartment at around 1:30am. I only lived about 15 minutes from downtown, but I figured I would make sure I was on time. By 1:55am I was sitting on the third bench in Jackson Square, sipping my coffee, and waiting.
At 2am, the Cathedral bells rang out twice, and I received a tap on the shoulder. A gorgeous woman was sitting next to me, and I thought to myself…..this is too cliché to be real. To me, she seemed like a walking cliché for a “hidden bar.” Goth girl, mid 20s, really hot….yeah, she was from the bar, I knew it from the start.
“I’m Jodie,” said the woman.
“Well, at least you’re not ‘Raven’ or ‘Death’ or ‘Lilith’ or some other stereotypical goth name,” I replied, but I did so with a smile.
She returned my smile with one of her own. “Nope, always been Jodie, and you must be Kurt, right?”
She knew my name…very cool. Of course, my name was on my AOL profile where the email was sent, so if this was her attempt at a cool trick, I was one step ahead.
“Yes, Kurt, that’s me. I guess you’re here to show me to the secret bar?” I asked.
“Only if you’re ready to journey to hell, or heaven…depending on your tastes. We like to consider this to be the first ‘back out’ point for new clients. You can decline the invitation now, and go home, or to some other bar, or wherever you’d like. Only be warned that no other invitation will ever come to you again.”
I considered this, and decided that it was already after 2am, I was out, dressed and full of coffee. I wanted to see this place.
“Lead on, Miss Jodie,” I replied.
She stood up and began to walk ahead of me—at a rapid pace, I might add.
We walked in silence for some time, weaving deep into the Quarter, past Bourbon Street, past all the loud and drunk tourists, past the warm and safe lights, the cop cars, the music from the bars. Before long, we were in the dark part of the Quarter, mostly residential, and very few people were on the streets this way. She suddenly stopped and walked up the stoop to a private residence. She fiddled with keys, opened the door, and gestured for me to enter.
“Wait, is this someone’s house?” I asked.
“This is the house where the dead scream in silence, where the walls rot, where pain becomes pleasure, where pleasure becomes death. This is the House of Din, He who dwells on the black star. Enter.”
I thought this was the coolest pitch for a bar I had ever heard. I figured it was rehearsed, but she said that whole little phrase with a lot of conviction. I had no idea who Din was, and I certainly didn’t know about black stars, but I did have a desire to push on.
She walked me into the house, which was empty. No furniture, no nothing. Now, French Quarter real estate isn’t cheap, so if this place was renting a house, just to serve as the cover for a bar, they clearly took themselves seriously. This might not be so boring after all.
What happened next was strange. She turned me towards a small hallway with an elevator. Now, I know that some houses back in the day had elevators. However, this one only appeared to go down. New Orleans isn’t exactly known for having basements, especially in homes. As I went to step in, she stopped me once more.
“This is your second ‘back out’ chance. Same as before, you can turn around and leave, no harm, no foul.”
“Push the button,” I replied, pointing at the down button, and stepped in.
The elevator ride felt long. Really long. At first, I was thinking that this was impossible, no one builds down in this city; hell, we even have to bury our dead above the ground. As far as I could see, though, we were going down. This was one of those older elevators with just the metal grate door. I could see wood and metal going past us, and this eventually gave way to stone. I was about to question this, when it occurred to me…
“Cool trick,” I said.
“Trick?” Jodie asked.
“Yeah, the elevator is rumbling in place while a rolling graphic goes by outside to look like we’re going down, right? Because, while I am no expert on elevators, I would say that we’d have to be at least 20 stories below the city right now, and I know that just isn’t possible.”
“You’re right,” she replied, grinning. “We aren’t 20 stories below the city. We are, by now, at least 2000 stories below, if you are using ‘stories’ as a measurement.”
I wanted to say something back, about how that was a lie, had to be a lie, we hadn’t been riding that long, and that amount of depth wasn’t possible on a tiny elevator like this. However, I figured this was all part of the act, like her whole speech about the “House of Din” and all that crap. I didn’t want to become too obnoxious or pushy. She might end up asking me to leave, figuring I would ruin the scene for other patrons. Instead I just smiled and decided to play along with a really cool and elaborate bar scene. Fake or not, this was by far the most ambitious effort I had ever seen put forward for a drinking establishment.
Shortly after, the elevator stopped. Jodie stepped in front of the doors, but before she opened them up, she turned back to me. “This is your final chance to back out. If you wish, I will take you back. However, once I open these doors, you will be in hell. You may find your way back to the surface tonight, but some find that leaving is just impossible. Some stay forever. In the interest of free will and fair play, I am bound by the Council of Nod to offer you this final chance to return to your life. Choose now.”
“Amazing speech Jodie,” I replied. “Really great, you guys clearly put some thought into this. Yes, I want to go to this bar.”
She smiled and opened the doors. A small door sat at the end of a wooden hallway that looked like it may have been built around the time of the pyramids. There were no lights, I could only see by the small electric light in the elevator, and the light coming from the door ahead. I walked forward, and as soon as I stepped off of the elevator, the heat hit me. It wasn’t so hot that I couldn’t take it, but if anyone has ever experienced being in an attic on a really hot day, with no ventilation, then you’ll have an idea of how this felt. The air was thick beyond description. I instantly was covered in sweat, and I knew that if I stayed in this hallway for too long, I would pass out. I turned to look back, and saw the elevator already heading back up. From what I could see, there was no button to call it back down either. I guess Jodie wasn’t kidding when she said that was my last chance to back out. I crossed my fingers that the bar would be air conditioned, and walked forward, into the light.
What happened over the next couple of hours is largely a blur. I will tell it as best I can.
I entered that bar. It was small, very small, about the size of a bedroom. There was a single wooden bar, 3 bar stools pushed up to it, and 3 small tables in the corner area. The room was poorly lit; only a small light bulb, hanging from the cord, was providing the light. However, it was well-lit enough to see everything, and sitting right on the bulb seemed the most logical. There was a small shelf behind the bar, typical set up, liquor bottles in front of a mirror. There were 5 others in this room, plus the bartender. I saw a Gothic girl sitting at one of the tables, sipping a drink with a rather plain dressed man. There were two gentlemen at the other table. One was wearing a business suit, the other was wearing that awful ‘cowboy’ attire that was popular in almost all walks of life, even secret bars. There was another woman, average in appearance, probably in her mid 30s, smoking at the other side of the bar. Of course there was me too, so that completed our little circle. There was no music playing. The walls were old wood, oak maybe. The bartender, now he was a classic. White shirt, black pants, suspenders and bow tie. Like something out of the roaring 20s. It was still hot too. Not as bad as the hallway, but pretty awful. Liquor would only make me hotter, but I was here now. I figured I would test the waters.
Now, as for liquor, I saw no bottles that I could recognize. None were labeled. There was no beer either. No name brands. No cash register. No bar mat. This place was as simple as you could want. After a moment, the bartender spoke to me.
“Welcome to Hell!” he announced, smiling.
“Cool name, sort of expected it, though.” I tried not to sound rude or pretentious. They had put on a great show tonight, but calling the place Hell…really? Too predictable.
“Well, it translates differently in lots of places. Hell is just the way you know it. Shall I call it something else?” he asked, and he didn’t seem to be joking or annoyed.
“No, Hell is fine, how about a drink…Jack and Coke please,” I said.
“No Jack here, and no Coke either,” he answered at once.
“What do you have then?” I asked.
“Well, most people down here have a drink we call Regret. I can also serve you Loneliness. Or if you’re feeling particularly bold, our house special is Damnation.”
“Wow, you guys are really playing up the hell thing. Okay, serve me some Regret please.”
He handed me a drink poured from a brown bottle. It tasted amazing too. I figured it to be a bourbon, and wished I had some Coke to mix it with. Apparently there was no ice here…I chuckled, of course not, ice in hell…what am I thinking? The drink was tasty though, and the buzz hit me quick.
I ordered up a Loneliness and begin to look around at my fellow patrons. None of them seemed to even notice me. The goth girl was cute though, so I picked up my drink and decided to walk over to her, when suddenly the woman sitting at the bar began to whimper.
“I am so thirsty…can I please have some water,” she seemed to be pleading this to the bartender.
“No ma’am!” He replied with that same stupid grin. “No water in Hell, not even a small amount. Have another cigarette, though. Wash it down with some hard liquor.”
“No more smoking…my mouth is too dry…no more liquor…water please,” she continued, and to me, it began to sound a lot like begging.
Instead of handing her water, he held out an unlit cigarette. It was then that I noticed the overflowing ashtray, the size of a damned punch bowl, sitting next to her. It was full of butts, had to be over a thousand of them in there. Had she smoked them all herself? I strained my eyes and studied her harder. He lips were blistered badly. She had been at it for a while. The bartender patiently held out the cigarette, grin never leaving his face, until she finally sighed and took it. He produced a lighter and she took a drag. She began to cough violently, gagging too. I decided to chime in.
“Hey man, she doesn’t look so hot, and I really don’t think she needs another smoke. She looks like she dying of thirst too. Call the elevator, man. She’s had enough I think.”
The bartender turned his big smile on me. “Who? Ol’ Nancy here? Naw, Nancy is a trooper, man—smokes a couple packs a day. And as far as her thirst, well, she knew this place was a thirsty sort of dive before she walked in the door, but she wanted to be here. She is getting exactly what she wanted.”
I walked over to Nancy and placed my hand on her shoulder. “Ma’am, if you want to get out of here, I’ll walk you over to the elevator. You don’t look so great right now.” I tried to sound as concerned as a 21 year old kid could sound.
Nancy looked at me and smiled. “Oh, I’m fine…just fine,” she said, but her mouth quivered as she spoke.
The bartender was watching us like a hawk, still smiling, but his smile no longer looked so friendly. “Everything okay?” he asked, beaming like a used car salesman.
Nancy shakily replied yes. The bartender turned around, and in that second Nancy gripped my arm hard, pulled me into the smog that was her breath, and whispered…
“Leave while you can,” so low that I almost missed it. Her breath was like a chimney, she must have been chain smoking for days. I smoked, and so do most of my friends, and even on nights when we would chain smoke and pound booze until the sun rose, none of us were ever that toxic.
I walked over to the man in the business suit. He at least appeared sane.
“Hey sir, I think that lady over there needs help,” I said to him.
The man looked at me and laughed. “We all need help, kid. We’re in Hell after all!” he shouted.
As he did this, I looked over at the goth girl, just in time to see her begin to cut herself, deep and hard from the looks of it. The plain dressed man sitting next to her begin to laugh in a high pitched tone, almost a giggle, and that was when I noticed that he was masturbating. Only, not in the sense that we all do, at home. No, his penis was raw, bloody, torn away in places, but he just kept going at it.
“Stop that! Look at what you’re doing to yourselves!” I screamed at them. They looked at me and I noticed that the girl was crying, but also smiling. Her eyes were practically begging to her self-inflicted pain to stop, yet she just kept cutting.
I had seen enough. I reached over and attempted to pull the knife out of her hand. Just then, I felt a strong grip on my shoulder, stronger than anything I had ever felt in my life. It was the bartender, he had come around the bar to grab me.
“No, NO sir!” he screamed into my ear. “Every patron of Hell gets to enjoy their treats without judgment. After all, judgment has already been passed. We exist beyond that now. Let her cut, she loves it after all, can’t you see she loves it, she is smiling ear to ear!”
The bartender dragged me back to my stool, and with great speed, was somehow back behind the bar again.
“Now, you wanted secrets, right, Kurt? You were bored and wanted more. That is what you came for. Now drink your drink before I beat your fucking face in!”
Through all of this, he never stopped smiling. He slammed a glass before me. I murky liquid was inside. He grabbed my arm and begin to squeeze, the pain becoming unbearable. My mind began to race…this was no bar—this was something, but not a bar. I wasn’t ready to believe I was actually in hell, but I knew I was somewhere bad.
“DRINK YOUR DRINK SIR!” he screamed again, and fearing that I would pass out from the pain, I slammed down the liquid in front of me. It tasted horrible. I couldn’t describe it then, and I can’t now, but it was fierce.
He let go of me, and suddenly the room got much hotter. The light began to flicker, and suddenly I was afflicted by knowledge. Things I didn’t want to know, things that no one would want to know.
My mother had an affair…and the man I had grown up calling dad was in fact not my father at all.
I had a brother who died. I never knew that.
My boss at work hated me.
My grandfather committed suicide…all these years I just thought he died naturally.
My mother was going to abort me…but changed her mind because she couldn’t afford the abortion.
I was going to die alone.
My wife, a woman I would meet in six years and fall madly in love with, would die in a car crash with my three year old son in the back seat. There was nothing I could do to change this.
I would go blind in my 60s from a work related accident.
There were currently 34 people in the world right now, some who I thought of as friends, who wanted me to die. They hated me.
No one, not my mother, not my father…no one had ever loved me, at all.
Those were just a few of the secrets that suddenly hit me. There were thousands, maybe millions more, but by then my mind couldn’t process them all. There were some things, things about me, things about people I knew, that were so dark that I am thankful that I cannot remember them, because to dwell on them for even a second longer would have brought on madness.
Frantically I looked around the bar. The woman, Nancy, was still smoking, only her throat was on fire…a small red glow, smoldering, right in the middle of her throat. She was clearly in the worst pain of her existence, but she continued to take puff after puff of her cigarette. Each time she did, the glow on her throat would get brighter.
I looked straight ahead into the mirror behind the bar, seeing the gore fest that had begun behind me. However, what took my attention was the small, black figure, standing directly to my right. It was maybe 5 feet tall. Its skin was jet black. The only thing that stood out was its eyes. They were human eyes, but bright. Not glowing, just….bright enough to stand out from the onyx of its face. It had small horns on its head. It had very white, very sharp teeth.
Somehow, I knew this was Din, and I was in his house.
I looked towards the door, but it was gone. The heat continued to get worse. The secrets were still popping into my mind, each worse than the one before. Entire dimensions of my soul were being revealed to me. All of it horrible.
Just then, my cell phone rang. The ring tone, something from my world, something from up above. It grabbed my attention, and in that moment, the secrets slowed down a bit. I looked down, it was 4am…Mike, Mike was calling to check up on me.
His name, Mike…yes, I have a friend named Mike…my best friend. The more I focused on things that were real, the more stable things became around me. The secrets were almost stopping now. The macabre scene around me was slowing down too. Nancy was back to just smoking again. The goth girl wasn’t cutting. That sinister face of Din…it had also retreated just a bit.
MIKE…MIKE…my oldest friend…yes, we grew up together, we rode our bikes together, we had sleepovers, pizza parties…and the more I focused on the real world…if I could just…
The door was back. I bolted for it.
“Stop! You had your chance to back out!” screamed the bartender, and I looked back just in time to see him leap over the bar behind me.
I shot through the doors and back into the tiny, impossibly hot hallway. The bartender burst through the doors, and I did the only thing I could think of. If thinking about the real world, weakened this place, then perhaps a real link to the real world would break it. I hit “answer” on my cell phone, and the voice of my best friend, who was calling from the safety of his apartment, greeted my ears. I could even hear music in the background, real music.
“Mike…call the cops, I am in real trouble here,” I screamed into the phone.
“What, I can barely hear you man, your connection sucks,” he answered.
The bartender was still coming, still grinning. I had one last idea.
I pushed “speaker”.
Mike’s voice, a product of the living world, owned by someone who had not made a deal to enter some level of hell, flooded the hallway. The bartender stopped.
“He is not allowed to know of this place…to have any contact without being invited…even voice contact…it violates the Council of Nod.”
That was when the final blow to the bar from hell was delivered. I heard Mike, in his sleepy yet concerned voice, say, “What is the Council of Nod?”
Contact had been made. Whatever rules governed this place had been broken.
Suddenly, the elevator came down. The bartender, still smiling, looked down at me.
“Sorry, sir, but you have violated the rules. You are no longer welcome at this bar. Please leave.”
Jodie was standing in the elevator. I stood up and climbed in. The effects of the drink I consumed were gone. No more secrets.
My phone had died; I guess calling from hell drains a battery. However, the effects were enough. We rode up in silence.
When we reached the surface, Jodie walked me out of the house, onto the stoop. Then she spoke. “You may think you won tonight, but you didn’t. You had a chance to ride this elevator up, as well as down. Your heart wanted secrets instead of happiness, though, so it went down. You could have gone up, and everything you could ever have possibly desired would have been yours. So, go on, feel proud. We like proud mortals, because the proud ones always find their way back to Hell.”
“Fuck you, Jodie.” I replied, but did so as I was walking away. I didn’t want to tempt these people anymore than I had.
When I got home that night, I remembered almost all of the secrets. Over the years they have slipped away, slowly at first, then, like a dream, I would wake up and more would be lost. I wrote down the ones that I listed here, because I didn’t want to forget them all. However, when I read them now, they don’t seem like secrets anymore, just like weird lies.
Of course, I called the police the very next day. I wanted to help those people down there. I had to dress up the story a bit. I told the cops that I was led there by Jodie after meeting her in the Quarter. I left out the part about the place possibly being a level of Hell, and simply described it as a basement where people were being tortured. The cops got a warrant and went in. The house was empty, as I said it was. However, there was no elevator found. The cops said there was a large closet area that appears to have had an old elevator at one time, but it was long gone now. The house itself was still on the market; it had no owner.
For a few years I would go down to Jackson Square around 2am, hoping to catch Jodie luring another victim into the house. However, I never saw her again. Years went on, I did marry, and no, my wife was never killed in a car accident. We don’t have kids yet, though. Perhaps when I violated the contract, the Council of Nod, or whatever, I somehow broke that cycle. I’ll never know, but I will be careful. After I posted this, I burned the list of secrets that I had written down. Of course, I could always read them on here, but I won’t. And in time, hopefully I will forget them too. I never confronted my mother about the abortion plan, or asked who my real dad was. Those secrets seemed so real, but Satan is also called the “Father of Lies” for a reason. I am not sure if Din is Satan or just a lesser version of him, but I doubt that Din is a very honest sort either.
I post this as a warning though. A warning to be careful when seeking out secrets. Some things are kept secret for a reason, and to know them, is to know madness.
CREDIT: K. Banning Kellum
(Click HERE to check out creepypasta’s official YouTube channel)
This had apparently been going on for a few years.
Still, something about the way the cop came in on Tuesday, white as a sheet, asking about the case, probably should have at least somewhat set off some alarms. I was ignorant.
There I stood, in the living room of the Bedford family home on County Street, beside myself as the story unfolded. Dan, the father of the three children, spoke first with tears in his eyes.
“I’m so glad somebody called on us; my wife and I would have never had the courage to contact anyone about this.”
This struck me as odd, seeing as most people don’t want the authorities or social services knocking at their door.
“Can I offer you some water? Coffee maybe?” That’s what Valarie, Dan’s wife asked me in a hushed voice.
They both looked exhausted, and unbathed, like they’d just been stranded on an island for weeks and were just rescued by me. They seemed indifferent to their surroundings. Calm at the moment, but the tension was kinetic.
“No thank you,” I passed up the offer, I wasn’t comfortable accepting anything from the couple just yet.
“Tell me, as we need to get started here, what are your children’s names and how old are they?”
I already had this info, but I needed to survey how these two reacted to questioning. Valerie answered me.
“Well, Damien is 17. He dropped out of school last week, but he’s not here today. And there’s my little sweetheart, Kelsey. She’s 11. She’s with her grandmother for the weekend.”
“It’s Wednesday, m’am.”
“Oh right, I’m sorry. She’s with her Aunt. I lose track, since they’re never here anymore. She’ll be home soon, though.”
Her husband stared at her intently, almost not staring at her at all. More like through her. I took note of all of this.
“Please note that you’re being recorded for this interview. I apologize If I’m mistaken, but I says on file here that you have a third child.”
They both stared coolly into my eyes. A chill ran up my spine, and my left leg went numb. This is a feeling I would get as a child if I ever made a joke that offended someone, except now at thirty four. I suddenly felt out of place.
“Jessica.” They both spoke in unison.
I relaxed, slightly.
“Jessica. Okay, yes I have that here. Seven years old?”
They nodded together. Their faces twisted into an uncomfortable expression, both suddenly wringing their hands. Dan glanced over at the staircase to his left, I guess to silently signal as to Jessica’s whereabouts.
“She’s up there.” Valerie told me, suddenly sobbing.
A pang hit my heart like knuckles to a tether ball. I could feel my emotions swirling around my ribs. My stomach started to turn.
“Excellent, can I meet her?” I asked, stiffly.
“Yes, but…” Valerie wiped her nose with a tissue and looked at the stairs, “…but you have to go get her.”
Another odd feeling; I was beginning to get suspicious, but I wasn’t sure just what I was getting suspicious of. These two seemed like a train wreck, and I was certainly one to judge. Still, they didn’t seem like bad people. They felt like victims to me.
I decided to accept their request.
“Okay, um, where upstairs is she. In her room?” I scratched at the back of my neck, as I do when I’m not comfortable.
“Yeah.” They both answered at the same time again.
I stared at both of them for a bit before standing up and heading toward the stairs.
My heart jumped as my foot hit some metal across the floor. I looked down to see an empty pet dish of some kind.
“Don’t worry, sorry about that.” Dan picked the dish up off the floor for me.
“That’s our cat, Evie’s dish.”
I nodded, but didn’t respond. I just climbed the stairs to the top floor.
The creaks of the steps were eerie and loud as I made my way up to a dim, badly lit hallway. I couldn’t quite collect my thoughts. There was something strange going on, but I didn’t know what. Why were they sending me up to meet with their daughter? Why couldn’t they retrieve her for me? Why did I accept their request?
Upon checking out the long hallway, I noticed one door at the end. It was bedazzled with stickers and letters, appearing to be a very normal young girl’s room. The letters spelled out Jessica’s name, except the “S” next to the “E” was missing. I also noticed there appeared to be no light coming from within the bedroom.
I was taking mental notes of everything for my report.
I opted for knocking on the door out of respect, but received no reply. After three or four tries, I decided to just open it, figuring they were wrong about her whereabouts.
The door slowly creaked open under the grip of my left hand. My other hand clutched my clipboard, perhaps tighter than it should have. Just as I expected, the room was dark. Only a small amount of moonlight shined in from the cool autumn night. I found a switch on the wall to my right, and clicked it on.
“Holy hell…” My heart skipped a beat, as what I saw in the center of the room was unexpected.
A little girl with dark brown hair sat cross legged on the bed, smiling at me. I didn’t notice her before, with the lights off. I was startled, but I couldn’t be stirred.
“I’m sorry, uh, Jessica. I didn’t think anyone was in here.”
“Hi!” Is all she said, still smiling at me.
“Hi, I’m here talking with your parents and they told me you’d be up here. I just need to ask some questions. Is that okay, Jessica?”
“Is this… like a game?” She asked. The smile never left her face. The problem is, what seemed like a happy smile at first, suddenly seemed a little off. I’m not sure what the feeling was that I was getting, but it definitely made me unnerved.
“Um, not exactly, but it will only take a moment.”
She just stared at me, her off kilter smile never changing.
I moved toward the dresser across from her bed, and pulled out my pen.
“Jessica, how are you feeling today?”
I blinked a couple times.
“Hungry, huh? Okay. Haven’t you had dinner yet? It’s pretty late right now.
“They had dinner, but I feed myself.”
I blinked at her again.
“They don’t feed you?”
“It’s okay, I eat whenever I want.”
That smile on her face… it sent chills down my back much cooler than the air outside. I cleared my throat a little.
“Do you like your parents?” I asked.
“I used to.” She dipped her head down a little bit, looking at me with her neck arched, still grinning as ever.
“Jessica, I need to get the full story here so I can make sure we find out what’s going on, okay? If you’re honest, I can help you.”
Still smiling away, she nodded.
“Where are your brother and sister today?”
She didn’t reply.
I noticed the cat jump on the bed, and lay by the post. It was staring up at Jessica.
“Oh, I see you have a little friend! Do you like your cat?”
Jessica’s grin grew wider and her eyes flashed with mischief. Then, she titled her head to the side and spoke, but not in her own voice. This voice was deeper, and gravelly.
That’s when she snatched the cat up from the bed and pulled it’s neck to her mouth. She crunched down, causing the poor thing to hiss and screech with agony.
I gasped and fell back against the dresser. Jessica tilted her head back and gave the most maniacal laugh I’ve heard in my life. Blood was dripping from her teeth and lips. She took the cat in both hands as blood splattered onto the bed. Then, I heard a snapping sound and the poor creature went silent. Jessica flopped down onto her stomach, continuing to bite into the cat’s fur and flesh. I could hear her lips and teeth smacking and crunching. That’s when I puked all over the god damn floor.
After spilling my guts, I lunged for the doorway, colliding with the opposite wall just outside. I stumbled and stomped my way back downstairs, to where Dan and Valerie were sitting. They both just looked at me, obviously knowing I had just witnessed the reason for their strange behavior.
I looked at them both, not one of us saying a word for the longest time. Finally, as I began making my way to the door, Valerie spoke.
“Wait!” She exclaimed.
I turned around, my hand on the door knob, fear still present in my watery eyes.
Valerie looked at me with the saddest face, gripping her husband’s arm so tight and said,
“Aren’t you gonna help us?”
CREDIT: Mike Maxim
(Click HERE to check out creepypasta’s official YouTube channel)