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Cat’s in the Cradle

Estimated reading time — 13 minutes

Author’s Note: This story is a prequel and takes place before all of the previously released Father Cooke and Magister Alexander stories, which you can find here. The author invites you to click here to read the other tales in the series after completing this one.


Oh shit, I thought as I walked through the front door and saw the little furry body of my daughter’s pet hamster, Cee Cee, lying on the floor in front of me.

Cee Cee wasn’t the hamster’s real name, it was Chubby Cheeks, but Samantha’s sister Allison had trouble saying that, so we came up with the nickname just for her.

I nudged Cee Cee’s body with my shoe just to be sure he was really dead. He was. I was afraid this was going to happen. Our cat, Baal, loved to catch things and leave them for me to find, and his favorite place to leave them was right by the front door.

Samantha must have left her bedroom door open when she left for school. I warned her that this would happen. Every time that door was left open, even for a second, Baal would come running from wherever he was and try to sneak into the room.

I figured Samantha was going to want to bury the hamster in the backyard, so I went into the garage and found a suitable box to bury him in. Then I used my car key to flip the body into the box. I know I wasn’t being delicate, but the hamster was dead. I don’t think he minded.

As I stood there with the box, I briefly considered throwing it in the trash and telling my daughter that Cee Cee must have escaped. I wanted to spare her the heartache of losing a pet, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that was a bad idea. Pets die, that was something she was going to have accept.

I took the box into the kitchen where I stuffed it with paper towels to keep the hamster’s body from sliding around. When I finished, I walked over to the junk drawer to grab some tape to keep the box closed. That was when I saw the note I had written on the dry erase board.

EARLY RELEASE TODAY, the note said. I had underlined it three times and I still forgot about it.

If today was an early release day, the girls should already be home. I checked the time just to be sure. It was after two o’clock. They should have gotten home over an hour ago.

“Samantha! Allison!” I called out as I walked through the house. I called out again when I got to the foot of the stairs.

No one answered, but I did hear a soft thump from one of the upstairs rooms. As I walked up the steps, I noticed that Samantha’s door was wide open. She had to be home. I could see her backpack sitting on the bed.

Once I made it to the top of the stairs, I walked over to Samantha’s room and peeked in, but she wasn’t in there. I did notice that Cee Cee’s cage was sitting sideways on the floor with the top lying a few feet away. I shut her door and continued to call out, wondering where they were. They knew better than to leave the house on their own.

When I got to Allison’s room, I noticed the door was slightly ajar. I don’t know why, but when I grasped the knob, I got the sudden feeling I shouldn’t open it. I figured it was an irrational fear, likely caused by my growing concern over where my daughters were. I wasn’t going to let that stop me from searching for them though. I took a deep breath and swung the door open. What I saw made me take a step back and place my hand over my mouth.

Sitting on the bed, with her knees tucked underneath her, was my daughter Allison. She was leaning on her left arm while she licked blood off of the fingertips of her right hand. She licked her fingers the way a cat would lick its fur, with long strokes of her tongue. Around her neck was Baal’s collar.

When she noticed me, she stopped what she was doing and made a soft mew sound. Then she started purring. It sounded so unnatural coming from her.

“Allison,” I said as I slowly approached her. She just stared and me and continued to make those unsettling cat noises.

That was when I glanced down and noticed the black furry legs poking out from beneath her bed. I squatted down, grabbed the closest one, and slowly slid the body of Baal out into the open.

I looked up at Allison and watched as she continued to mimic the movements and sounds of the dead cat, right down to the way she cocked her head inquisitively at me.

“SAMANTHA!” I yelled suddenly. That startled Allison. She hissed at me and produced a low growl from deep in her throat.

I ran out of the bedroom and shut the door behind me. I rushed frantically from room to room, calling out for Samantha. She wasn’t supposed to leave Allison alone, but I couldn’t find her anywhere. I was hoping she could tell me what the hell was going on.

I searched the entire house until I came to the door of the one place I had yet to check, the basement. Please be here, I thought as I slowly opened the door.

“Samantha!” I called out to the darkness, but no one replied. I didn’t expect her to. She was afraid of the dark. If she was down there, the lights would be on. I still wanted to check though, just to be sure.

I turned the lights on and walked down to steps into the basement. When I reached the bottom, I looked around and called out her name one more time. There was no response. I was about to go back up to the kitchen when the door that lead to the backyard swung open and Samantha poked her head into the room.

“Mom, is that you?”

“SAMANTHA!” I rushed over and wrapped my arms around her as she walked into the basement.

Happy that she was safe, my fear quickly turned to anger as I tried to make sense of what was going on. I pushed Samantha away and held her at arm’s length, “What happened to your sister?” I demanded.

She started to sob, “I don’t know. I was laying on my bed when she crawled in on her hands and knees wearing Baal’s collar. When I yelled at her to get out of my room, she attacked me.” She showed me the scratches on her arms.

“Allison did this?” I looked down at long red welts.

She nodded, “I tried to force her out but she was like a wild animal, so I ran over to April’s house. I tried to call you, but you didn’t answer.”

I reached for my phone, which I normally kept in my back pocket, but it wasn’t there. I must have left it in the car. I did that frequently when I had it connected to the car’s USB port.

“Come on,” I grabbed her hand and led her up the basement stairs and into the kitchen. I was going to take her into the bathroom and clean her wounds, but I stopped when I saw Allison sitting on the kitchen counter.

“Allison,” I held my palm out towards her in a placating gesture.

“That’s not Allison,” Samantha said.

“What do you mean?” I asked

“It’s Baal.”

Before I could ask Samantha to explain, Allison leapt off the counter and ran at her sister, hissing and snarling as she closed the distance.

I pulled Samantha back into the basement with me and shut the door right as Allison collided with it. I held the door shut as she clawed at the other side, trying to open it. I didn’t let go until she gave up and walked away.

I turned towards Samantha, “I need to go and get my phone out of the car.”

“No,” She said while shaking her head.

“It’s okay. I will only be gone for a few minutes.” I reached into my pocked and pulled my car keys out. “Come here and hold the door closed. She won’t be able to open it if you’re holding it.” I figured that would give her a sense of security while I was gone.

She reluctantly reached out and grabbed the handle.

“I’ll be right back,” I assured her.

It took me less than three minutes to run out to my car and retrieve my phone.

“Everything’s going to be okay,” I told her when I returned. “Why don’t you go back over to April’s and I will come get you in a little while.” She just stood there and stared at me. “Go ahead Sam, its ok. Allison isn’t going to leave the house.” I wasn’t positive of that, but I hoped it was true.

Once I convinced her to leave, I pulled out my phone and opened my contacts. I scrolled down until I found my husband’s number and tapped the screen. I stared at the ceiling, wondering where Allison was while I waited for my husband to pick up the phone.

“This is Father Cooke,” I didn’t recognize the voice that answered.

I pulled the phone away from my ear and looked down at it. The number showing on the screen was not my husband’s.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I must have dialed the wrong number.”

“If you are looking for Pastor Reed, he won’t be in today. Perhaps I can be of assistance.”

That explained what happened. Pastor Reed’s number was listed right above my husband’s. In my haste to call my husband, I must have accidentally tapped the wrong contact.

“I’m sorry,” I apologized again, “I really need to get in touch with my husband.” I hit the end call button. I didn’t want to be rude to the priest, but I didn’t have the time to explain.

I opened my contacts again and made sure to tap on my husband’s number. After several rings, it went to voice mail. I left a message telling him to call me back as soon as possible. Then I hung up and called him again. I tried calling him several times, but I kept getting transferred to his voice mail.

I leaned my back against the door in frustration and slid down it until I was sitting on the steps. I didn’t know what to do at that point, except wait. So, that is what I did.

When the phone rang a few minutes later, I jumped up and answered it, thinking it was my husband.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, Mrs. Duncan, but I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I hope you don’t mind me calling you back. I just wanted to make sure you were okay. You sounded upset,” Father Cooke said.

“No!” I yelled into the phone, “I’m not okay! I have a dead cat and a daughter that no longer thinks she is human…so no…I am not okay!”

“Maybe you should start at the beginning,” He said calmly, “Tell me what happened and don’t leave anything out, no matter how crazy or irrelevant you think it might be.”

I was surprised by his response. He was nothing but polite to me and I just screamed at him. He seemed like he genuinely cared and wanted to help. Maybe he could help. He was a priest after all and what I was dealing with seemed a little outside the bounds of reality. I felt bad for yelling at him.

I was originally going to have my husband come home and help me catch Allison, so we could take her to the nearest hospital. But as I thought about it, maybe that wasn’t the best idea. I took a deep breath and told Father Cooke everything that happened since I got home.

“Stay where you are,” he said after I finished telling him what happened and given him the address. “I will be there shortly.”

He seemed convinced that my phone call wasn’t an accident. He believed something had guided my hand and brought the two of us together so we could help Allison. I hoped for my daughter’s sake that was true.

Twenty minutes later, there was a knock on the basement door, the one that led to the backyard. I walked over and opened it. Standing before me was Father Cooke. He was dressed exactly as you would expect. When he saw me, he pushed his thick rimmed glasses up the bridge of his nose and introduced himself with a smile.

“Please come in,” I stepped to the side.

“Where is your daughter now?” He didn’t waste any time getting to the point.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, “Probably upstairs”.

I followed Father Cooke up the basement stairs and into the kitchen. He stopped and listened. I could hear the soft thread of footsteps above us.

“Is there anyone else in the house besides your daughter?” He asked.

“No.”

He walked through the house until he came to the staircase. He placed his hand on the banister and started to climb the steps. “Which room is Allison’s?” He turned and asked before continuing.

I pointed to her door. I waited and watched as he walked into her room. A few moments later he walked out and continued down the hall. I could no longer see him, but I could hear him.

“Hello, Allison,” He said. “I’m Father Cooke. I’m a friend of your mother.”

Allison hissed in response and then started to growl.

Father Cooke backed down the hall slowly. He had his hands out in front of him as he tried to calm Allison down. When he made it back to the stairs, he descended them backwards, keeping his eyes on my daughter. She followed him, hissing and growling the entire time. She didn’t stop until she reached the steps.

“Let’s go,” He said and put his hand on my shoulder to guide me away. I let him lead me into the kitchen then back down into the basement.

“The collar your daughter was wearing, did that belong to the cat?” Father Cooke asked me once we were safely behind the closed door of the basement.

“Yes, it did,” I answered.

“Where did you get the cat?”

“It was a stray. It just showed up one day and started hanging around the house. The girls started feeding it and letting it into the house and we just sort of adopted it. It didn’t seem like a bad cat.”

“Was it always wearing that collar?”

I nodded.

“I need to make a call.” He pulled a phone out of the pocket of his jacket. “This is a little outside my area of expertise.”

“Do you still think you can help her?”

“Yes, I think so,” he said, then excused himself to go make his call.

When he returned, he was smiling, “Help is on the way.”

While we waited for whoever was coming to help us, Father Cooke did his best to ease my fears and reassure me that everything was going to be alright.

A short time later, there was a knock on the back door of the basement. Father Cooke walked over and answered it.

“I’m Father Cooke. I’m the one who called,” The priest introduced himself and reached out his hand to the tall thin man who stood before the open door. He looked like he could also be a priest, but he wasn’t wearing the white collar.

“Father Cooke? The exorcist?” The man asked as he clasped the priest’s outstretched hand.

“I guess my reputation precedes me,” The priest seemed uncomfortable.

“Theodore Alexander,” The man introduced himself.

“Magister Alexander?”

The two men seemed to have heard of each other. I could tell they had a great deal of respect for each other as they talked.

“I’m a bit surprised they sent you,” Father Cooke said to the man he called Magister Alexander.

“They didn’t send me. I was dealing with another matter when I overheard your call. A priest calling us and asking for help is a rare occurrence. I was intrigued and had to come and see what was so important for myself. I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to find you here.”

“I was also in town for a separate matter, one you might be able to shed some light on involving a local pastor.”

Magister Alexander smiled, “I’m not sure I know what you are talking about.”

It was obvious to me that he was lying.

“We can discuss it later, after we deal with the matter at hand.” Father Cooke could tell he was lying as well.

“Of course,” Magister Alexander said, then asked, “Where is the girl now?”

“She is upstairs,” I blurted out and pointed to the ceiling.

“You must be Mrs. Duncan,” Magister Alexander walked over and offered me his hand, “It is a pleasure to meet you.”

“Same,” I said. But I wasn’t being honest. There was something unsettling about the way the man looked at me.

“I’ll show you the way,” Father Cooke offered.

I followed the men through the house until they stopped at the bottom of the stairs. Father Cooke pointed at my daughter where she was sat at the stop of the steps.

“She is wearing it on her neck,” the priest said.

I watched in amazement as Magister Alexander walked up the stairs and placed his hand on Allison’s head. To my surprise, she leaned into his touch and started to make that unsettling purring noise.

While he was stroking her hair, he used his free hand to reach into his pocket and pull out some sort of pendant. I couldn’t make out the design from where I stood. He placed the pendant against her forehead and started to speak in a foreign language. When he finished, Allison’s eyes rolled into the back of her head and she slumped to the floor.

I gasped and placed my hand over my mouth. I was about to run up the steps, but Father Cooke stopped me by placing his hand on my arm.

“She’s fine,” He whispered in my ear, “He knows what he is doing. This way was much safer than having to perform an exorcism.”

I looked over at the priest than back up at Magister Alexander. “Why would she need an exorcism?”

“Your daughter was possessed by your cat.”

“How is that even possible?”

“With this,” Magister Alexander had removed the collar and held it out towards us.

“It’s just a collar, isn’t it?” I knew something was seriously wrong with my daughter, but hearing she was possessed by our cat was hard to believe.

“This is much more than just a collar,” Magister Alexander said as he slid it into his pocket, “It’s a simulacrum.”

“A what?” I had never heard that word before.

“It’s a possessed item,” Father Cooke said, “If it is worn, it allows the spirit bound within it to possess the wearer.”

Before I could ask one of the thousands of questions running through my mind, Magister Alexander bent down and lifted Allison up off the floor, “Which room is hers?” He asked as he stood up.

I pointed to her open door then walked up the stairs and followed behind him. I entered the room as he gently laid her down on the bed.

“She will probably sleep for the rest of the night,” He said as he stepped out of my way.

“Why was the cat wearing that collar?” I asked as he walked out of the room.

“I don’t know.”

I didn’t believe him. I could tell he knew more than he was saying. I wanted to confront him and demand an answer, but I didn’t have the energy. I was too tired after everything I had been through. Instead, I sat on Allison’s bed and ran my hands through her hair while she slept.

“Why did you lie to her?” Father Cooke had come up the stairs and confronted Magister Alexander right outside the bedroom door. Even though he was trying to keep his voice low, I heard him clearly.

I got up and quietly made my way to the door so I could hear them better.

“I did it to protect her family. If she knew that cat once belonged to her grandmother, how do you think she would react? Her mother gave her life to leave the coven. She paid the ultimate price so that her daughter could have a normal life. I am obligated to honor the deal she made.”

My mother died when I was young and I never knew my grandparents. What I just heard alarmed me. Was Magister Alexander implying my mother was a witch?

“If her mother made a deal to leave the coven, why was the cat here?” Father Cooke asked as they descended the stairs.

“I was hoping you could help me with that,” Magister Alexander responded, “This cat shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t be here and yet we are. We were brought together for a reason and we need to find out why.”

That was the last thing I heard as the men let themselves out the front door.


Credit: Ken Lewis (FacebookReddit)

The post Cat’s in the Cradle appeared first on Creepypasta.

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When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Estimated reading time — 12 minutes

When I first saw Arron, he was lying on the floor of the Thompson’s bedroom, still as death.

“Hey! Are you okay?”

I prodded him with my toe. Then I crouched down and shook him, like mad, until his eyes fluttered open.

“Don’t do that!” he yelled in my face. His breaths were panicked and fast, as if he’d just come up from underwater. A rustling noise came from the other side of the room, and I noticed there were several other people sprawled out across the floor.

“Sorry,” I said. “I thought you were passed out.”

“No. I was sleeping.”

“Everyone else is out there drinking and dancing, and you’re sleeping?

“Not sleeping,” one of the girls piped up. “Astral projecting.”

“Seriously?”

I’d heard the stories. I didn’t believe them, of course — but I’d heard them. In the past several months, all kinds of wild stories had popped up. Especially on internet forums and amateur websites.

Some of the stories were wonderful. Like the girl suffering from macular degeneration, who said it let her see for the first time in years. Others were terrifying. Like the teenage girl who realized one of her classmates was using it to spy on the girls’ locker room. Others were just… confusing. Like the woman who preferred the astral plane to real life. Now her family waits by her bedside, watching her comatose body, waiting for her to come back home.

“Does it work?” I asked.

“Yeah. And it’s wonderful,” Arron said. His ocean-blue eyes met mine, and he smiled. “You should join us.”

“No thanks.”

“It’s far better than dancing to crappy music and drinking cheap beer.”

“I wasn’t drinking. I was talking to people.”

“Well, this is much better than talking to people. You’ll soar among the clouds. See the stars up close. Swim in the ocean, without ever coming up for air. It’s the best thing in the world.”

Arron’s voice rippled with excitement as he talked. For a moment, I was tempted to just lie down on the filthy carpet with him, and try it out for myself.

But I couldn’t.

“Maybe some other time,” I told him.

I left the bedroom. As I walked towards the hall, though, footsteps sounded behind me. I turned to see Arron following.

“What are you doing?”

He shot me another hypnotizing smile. “I changed my mind. There is something better than astral projection.”

“What?”

“You.”

I laughed. “Nice pick-up line, there.”

“Come on. You liked it.” He shot me a wink. “I’m Arron.”

“Billie.”

We took a seat in the corner of the room, away from the thrashing mass of teenagers in the center. “Do you go to Glenmont High? I haven’t seen you around before,” I said, over the music.

“I’m new. My family just moved here from Pennsylvania.”

“Oh. Do you like it here?”

“Yeah, I –”

A scream rang out, above the music. Then a girl broke through the crowd — face red, eyes wet with tears.

“He won’t wake up,” she screamed. “He won’t wake up!”

Arron leapt up and ran back to the bedroom. I followed. Several people crowded around a still form on the floor. Arron pushed through them. “Eric, can you hear me?” he shouted, shaking him. “Eric! Hey, come on!”

He didn’t respond.

Arron thrust a hand under his back. In one quick, strong motion, he pushed him up. Eric’s eyes shot open. He began to cough.

“He’s okay. He’s okay.” Eric began to cough. Arron smacked him on the back. “That’s it, Eric. You’re okay.”

My pounding heart filled with admiration. Arron wasn’t just handsome and kind — he was a hero.

***

The next few weeks were a blur. Arron texted me every day, and we often stayed up until the wee hours chatting. He’d tell me about his experiences traveling, his excitement at us being together. Finneas didn’t approve; he and Arron were both seniors. “He’s too old for you,” Finneas would say. “And he’s kind of weird. Hangs around with that astrological, spiritual crowd.”

I didn’t see him like that. I was falling in love.

We’d been dating for almost a month when Arron brought up astral projection again.

“So, I don’t want to pressure you or anything, but… I was wondering if you’d project with me.”

I turned to him, frowning. “I don’t know, Arron. It seems dangerous. After what happened to Eric –”

“That was his fault. He didn’t have a partner. You always project with a partner, in case something goes wrong.”

“I don’t know, Arron. It’s not really my thing.”

“But you’ve never tried it!” His blue eyes took on that faraway look — the same look I’d seen when he was driving me home that very first night. “Come on, Billie. It’ll be romantic. We’ll soar among the clouds, together.”

“But just last week, some woman projected for several hours. And some people are saying she isn’t the same, like she’s possessed or something –”

“That’s like, one out of thousands. Besides — you’ve got someone with tons of experience to pull you back if anything goes wrong.” He looked into my eyes, again. “Please? It would mean so much to me.”

I sighed. “Okay, okay. I’ll try it.”

He grinned. Gently holding my hand, he guided me into the bedroom. “Go ahead and lie down on the bed. On your back.”

I quirked an eyebrow at him. “You better not be trying anything.”

He laughed and lay down next to me.

“Just a few things to remember, before we start. First — don’t lose sight of me, okay? I’ll be keeping you safe. Second — if anything looks off, don’t approach it. There are… things, in the astral plane, that you don’t want to interact with. Third — we can’t stay longer than an hour. The longer you stay, the harder it is to come back.”

“That’s not encouraging.”

He turned to me, blue eyes locked on mine. “I will be with you every step of the way, Billie. You’re going to be fine. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“Now… close your eyes and relax. Fade out all the sounds and sights around you. If you feel a heavy, tingling feeling — as if you’re falling asleep — that’s when you want to act. Imagine you’re being pulled out of your body by a rope, or climbing up a ladder.”

“This is so weird.”

“Just try it.”

I closed my eyes and tried to relax. Within ten minutes, I felt the heavy, tingling feeling that he described. I imagined a sort of endless ladder sticking out of my abdomen — and then me, climbing up it, out of my body.

pop filled my ears.

And then I was staring down at myself.

“Holy crap,” I said. But it came out as more of an ethereal echo, vibrating through space itself.

“I can’t believe you did it on your first try!”

I turned to see Arron hovering beside me. He looked the same — except his clothes and body were washed in neon, as if he were standing under a blacklight. When he smiled, his teeth glowed brightly.

“Are you ready?”

“I guess.”

He took my hand and pulled.

We soared right up through the roof. Higher and higher into the sky, until the town below shrunk to tiny pinpricks of light.

“Watch for your tether.”

I looked down to see a white string coming out of my chest. It extended down into the darkness, far below, like some sort of ghostly umbilical cord. “What is that?”

“The thing that tethers you to your body.”

“But you don’t have one.”

“With enough practice, you don’t need one. You just snip it off.” He reached for my hand again and tugged. “Come on. Let’s go.”

I didn’t reply.

Something had caught my eye. An orange light, in the distance, shimmering and flickering between the mountains. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?” Arron asked, scanning the landscape.

“The light.” As I spoke, it started to grow. A glint turned into a flame; a flame grew into a river of orange. It bled towards the town at frightening speed. Puffs of black smoke clouded the sky, blocking out the moon.

“Arron! Is that fire?!”

He didn’t reply. He just stared at me with those ocean-blue eyes.

The orange reached the first few houses at the edge of town. As soon as it touched them, they burst into flame. Then it spread further into town, pooling in the roads and crevices. As soon as it came into contact with a house, it burst into flame.

Then came the screams.

Horrible, shrill screams of pain. Rising up from the town like a chorus. “Arron!” I yelled over the sound. “Please, do something –”

Then I was falling.

Fast and hard, yanked forward by the cord in my chest. The cold air quickly warmed as I neared the town. The orange light licked my face. I closed my eyes. My scream joined the others.

Thump.

My eyes flew open.

“Arron! We have to get out of here. The fire, the fire –”

“Billie, it’s okay.”

He wrapped his arms around me. The window outside was dark and cold; not a single flicker of light.

“But the fire –”

“Just your imagination.” He pulled away from me, ran his hand through my hair. “Sometimes, if you’re not totally relaxed… if you’re stressed, or distracted… your own thoughts can pollute the experience. Especially the first few times.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that?”

“I didn’t want to scare you. I thought maybe –”

“Maybe I’d say no?!”

He sighed. “I just wanted to have a fun with you, Billie.”

I grabbed my things and stormed out. Then I went to sleep, fuming mad.

***

We spent a few days in silence. No texts, no calls, no emails.

Finally, I broke down and drove to his place. After five minutes of knocking, he opened the door.

“Billie.” As soon as he saw me, those ocean-blue eyes lit up as if the sun was hitting the water. “I’m so sorry.”

He pulled me into a hug. The two of us stood there on his doorstep, hugging each other like we were afraid the other might slip away at any moment.

“I love you, Billie.”

“I love you too, Arron.”

For the next few months, our relationship was incredible. We spent our days exploring town, and our nights looking up at the stars in Groveland Park. It was on one of these nights, around 1 AM, that astral projection came up again.

“We should be getting back, shouldn’t we?”

“You go on ahead,” Arron said, stretching out on the blanket. “I’m going to sleep out here. I want to astral project again. See the stars up close.”

“Okay. Goodnight.” I started across the grass. The park was so quiet, so empty at this time of night. I thought of my bed, too, empty at home. Without Arron.

I turned around. “Actually, I’ll stay here with you.”

His eyes lit up. “Really?”

“I want to see the stars with you.” I took a deep breath and squeezed his hand. “I’ll try it just this one more time. For you.”

We lay back in the grass. The sky hung over us, scattered with stars. Arron reached for my hand, and we closed our eyes.

It came quicker this time. The tingling, the heavy feeling… it all came on within minutes. I felt my spirit peeling off my body, lifting out of the ground.

Then I was hanging in the night air, looking down at our bodies below.

“Wow, that was quick,” Arron said.

“Practice makes perfect, I guess.”

The park shrunk away as the two of us soared up towards the stars. “They’re so much more beautiful up here, see?”

But I wasn’t looking at the stars.

I was looking down at the forest. Something was wrong. The trees were shaking, swaying, knocking into each other. A few toppled to the ground.

“What’s happening down there?”

“I don’t know.”

The trees roiled and quaked, as if something immense was passing through. “Is something in there?” I asked.

Crack!

An immense shadow stepped out of the forest. Thick and tusked, like an elephant; lithe and graceful, like a jaguar. It crossed over the park in quick, rapid strides. The earth shook underneath its feet.

“Arron! What is that?!”

Crrrrraaack!

The field tore open under its feet. Grass gave way to a fissure of rock, dirt, and darkness — just several feet from our comatose bodies. The figure had stopped in the middle of the park, sniffing the air.

“We have to get back! Arron, we have to –”

I stopped.

Arron was hovering a few feet below me. Holding my tether in one hand — and a knife in the other.

“What are you doing?!”

But I was too late. The knife touched the tether. Immediately, a shockwave of pain rippled through my body.

I yanked away from him. But he held fast to it; I snapped back, as if on a leash.

“Arron!”

“I want you to be here, with me, forever.” He slashed at the tether again. I screamed in pain. Crrack! Crrack! More fissures erupted underneath me. The whole world shook.

Another sharp pain stung my chest.

And then I was floating. Drifting away, as if blown by some invisible current. “Arron — help!” I screamed. The world started to blur and shift.

My tether was gone.

I looked around wildly — at the shaking, splitting ground. At the swaying trees. Where is my body? Where is it?

There. A speck of white among the dark grass.

I forced myself to fall towards it. With every fiber of my being, I concentrated on that speck of white, among the blurry, shaking landscape. The current tugged at me, trying to pull me away. I wouldn’t let it.

With a pop, I opened my eyes.

The sky lay above me. The earth no longer shook.

I scrambled up.

A hand grabbed my ankle, hard, and yanked me back.

“Arron! What are you doing? Let me go!”

He didn’t reply. He just stared at me, his ocean-blue eyes burning with anger.

I yanked as hard as I could. Then I ran. I sprinted through the park, past the trees, to the car. Arron’s footsteps thundered behind me.

I yanked the door open and dove inside. I pressed the locks just as Arron’s hand hit the handle.

“Let me in, Billie.”

“No,” I sobbed. “You were trying to hurt me. Why, Arron? Why?”

“Come on, Billie.”

“You’re scaring me,” I said through the glass. “Please, just go.”

“I just wanted us to be together.”

“Why did I see those horrible things, then? The monster? The cracks in the earth? The fire?”

“It’s the future, Billie.” He sighed, as if what he was saying truly pained him. “Humanity has sinned against the earth far too much, for far too long. We break through the gates, cleanse the Earth, and start it anew.”

“We? Who’s we?”

“Us, on the astral plane.”

“You aren’t making any sense.”

“Didn’t you ever wonder why I don’t have a tether?”

The pieces slowly fit together in my mind. “No. You’re possessing Arron?” I filled with anger. “Get out of his body! He’s mine! You can’t take him away from me!” I pounded the glass and screamed.

“No. I am Arron. But this body… it belongs to some guy in Nevada named Derek.”

My heart plummeted. “What?”

“Don’t worry. You, Billie, don’t have to suffer like the rest. You’re one of the good ones. We’ll stay in the astral plane, while the rest of the world burns.”

“I just want to go home.”

His expression turned angry again. “Home? What’s there for you, at home? Your brother? Your parents?”

I nodded.

“Then I’ll bring them with us.”

“What? No, Arron –”

He took off across the park. He lay down in the center of the lawn, on the rumpled blanket, where we had held hands just an hour before.

I leapt out of the car and ran. I didn’t stop until I was standing in front of my house, weak and breathless.

I ran in the door and ran up the stairs. “Mom? Dad? Finneas?” I shouted.

I ran into the master bedroom first.

Mom and Dad lay on the bed, silent and still. “Mom?” I yelled. I grabbed her shoulders and shook her. “Mom, please. Wake up.”

Nothing.

“Dad?”

I ran out of the room. “Finneas! Finneas!” I shouted as I ran down the hall.

Finneas lay in bed. His body jerked and twitched wildly.

“Finneas!” I grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. “Finneas, please! Wake up!”

He fell still.

Then he rubbed his eyes. “Billie?”

“Oh, thank God. Finneas, we need to get help. Mom and Dad won’t wake up. We need to get out of here, before –”

I stopped.

His eyes had fluttered open.

They were a bright, ocean blue.

“Hello again, Billie.”


Credit: The Dead Canary (Chilling Tales for Dark NightsYouTubeReddit)
If you wish to narrate the story please contact Chilling Tales for Dark Nights for permission by clicking here.

The post When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? appeared first on Creepypasta.

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Everyone My Daughter Loves Goes Missing

Estimated reading time — 9 minutes

When I became a father, my whole world started revolving around Marie. She was the most perfect, most treasured little thing in my world. We are kind of an unconventional family; my wife Taylor is a CEO, while I’m an artist and stay-at-home dad.

Taylor and my parents are people I cherish and am grateful for, but I felt like I never knew what love was until I held my little Marie in my arms for the first time. I know everyone thinks their kids are amazing and special, but believe me, Marie is amazing and special.

I had no problem living almost exclusively in order to take care of her, raise her, help her and please her. Marie is my whole universe. I was grateful for the precious being I was given.

I woke up in the middle of every night to feed her when she was a baby with a smile on my face. I taught her first words. I put her to bed with a princess story every single night as she grew up into a sweet kid. We became the best of friends, watching cartoons and chasing butterflies together.

Taylor was so thankful to be able to be a mother and still focus 100% on her career. She would come home every night to a hot meal, happy baby girl and overjoyed husband. I never knew a family as happy as ours – until the incidents started.

First it was Marie’s cousin, Victoria. They pretty much were born together, and spent the early years of their childhood constantly playing together and being really close. When Victoria and Marie were 5 years-old, Taylor’s sister announced she would move away to another state; being a single mother, she was too tight on money (even with Taylor helping), and was to move back to my in-laws house.

Marie found out she wouldn’t be able to see Victoria more than thrice a year and cried her eyes out the whole night in my arms. We fell asleep in my rocking chair next to the break of morning. It was heartbreaking.

I hated seeing my perfect little angel cry; she seemed to be in so much pain. I promised her that we would visit Victoria. Marie would soon start going to school, and I assured her she would make a lot of new friends.

A few days after that, Victoria went missing. Everyone in the family was crazy after her, but nobody was able to find a clue. It was like the girl disappeared into thin air.

Taylor’s sister was devastated at first, but she followed up with the plan of moving away. She soon married a nice man and had another child. Taylor doesn’t talk much with her now because she thinks her sister moved on too fast and completely forgot about her first kid. Victoria was never seen again even after all these years, nor her remains were found.

As a family, we did our best to get over this tragedy together. Kids’ brains are amazing to process everything. After a few months, it was like my daughter was past her loss.

When Marie was in second grade, she was crazy about her teacher, Ms. Martinez. She was a fairly old lady, chubby and gentle, and treated all the kids like their own granddaughters (the school was girls-only).

Her warm smile could make an adult feel as if they’d been tucked into a comfy bed with a teddy bear. She was the greatest and, despite her loving nature, the girls were perfectly disciplined and had amazing grades. It was like they would do anything to earn and keep Ms. Martinez’s affections.

Marie was raised without a constant presence of a grandmotherly figure; I moved from England to marry Taylor, while her parents live in another state and don’t visit too frequently. So you might imagine how overjoyed Marie was to finally have an older lady showering her with constant attention and unlimited affection.

But, being an older lady, Ms. Martinez was close to retirement. She clearly loved her job and was postponing this moment but, when she got sick, she had no option other than take a leave.

Marie freaked out, feeling abandoned and depressed. I assured her she would still see Ms. Martinez when she got better, but she didn’t; the school was more incisive about making her retire, and she no choice but to acquiesce.

Marie’s new teacher was way younger, perfectly nice and adequate. But Marie hated her guts because, in her 8-years-old little mind, she was just an intruder. A usurper.

Ms. Martinez went missing from the hospital just a few days after deciding to retire.

After that, little by little, we moved past against yet another traumatic experience. My heart was shattered to a million pieces when Marie asked why everyone she loved had to suddenly disappear. I could do nothing but promise her I wouldn’t.

I took Marie to a great therapist, and we even went to Disneyland, just the two of us. Marie and Taylor loved each other, but they weren’t super close; since my wife couldn’t take a break from her job often, most of our family fun times were just me and Marie, and they were perfect.

Being showered with all my love, Marie started to improve again, but she only got better when she became friends with Bruna; they were both 9 at the time.

Bruna was a classmate and lived nearby. She was a polite and easy-going girl, and I couldn’t be happier than to see my daughter excited to go to school again, and having such good company.

This time, I thought the peace would last. Our family had an amazing 4 years and 10 months, until Bruna, at age 14, announced she would go to an internship in France. It was her childhood dream and she finally got it. She would study abroad during the entire duration of high school.

Bruna called me uncle and I grew to like her like she was my real niece, but I couldn’t find it in me to be happy for her accomplishment. I knew what would happen. I just knew it.

Marie, of course, was devastated. She felt abandoned and betrayed. I gently explained that she could still be friends with Bruna overseas, that they would have so much exciting things to share with each other, and that Bruna still loved her and cherished her as a most important friend, but it was an once in a lifetime opportunity to fulfill her lifelong dream. I emphasized how we should be happy and proud for her, and that Marie could spend all her vacations in France if she wanted.

After our constant talks about it, Marie seemed to deal better with this loss. I never felt more relief than when the day of Bruna’s trip came and nothing happened to her. Some hours later, Bruna texted me “Uncle, arrived at the airport. Getting a cab now!”

But she never got in the cab. She simply vanished from the airport.

Up to that moment, that was the loss that I grieved over the most. Poor little Bruna, just 14 and full of dreams. This hit Taylor and me really hard but, strangely, Marie seemed almost fine with the disappearance (and possible death) of her best friend.

Bruna’s tragic disappearance brought Marie and her long-time crush, Ian, together. Ian was a sweet boy, despite being a sports enthusiast. His heart and brains were in the right place, just like his muscles, so I didn’t freak out when my then 15-year-old daughter started to date. I felt so happy for her. She had confided in me regarding her passions a year ago, but never made a move.

When he learned what happened to Bruna, Ian immediately took upon himself the task of cheering Marie up and distracting her from her pain. He was such a nice boy. They were a happy couple for precisely 19 months.

“Ian broke up with me!” Marie said one day, as she entered the house screaming and crying. “He said I’m too clingy!”

I raised my daughter to be affectionate, and I see no problem with that, but maybe she crossed the line and became possessive. I suggested we see her therapist to help her deal with this kind of problem, so she can talk again to Ian and try to fix the relationship. I pointed out that romance takes time and work, and that her mother and I have been happily married for almost 20 years because we are always doing our best to become better people for one another.

I tried to calm her down, assuring her that anyone can see Ian is head over heels for her, and that they can improve their relationship.

Marie hated the idea. She felt like the breakup was definitive, and wanted the problem solved right in that moment. She wanted to keep feeling loved by him the whole time. Can you blame her? The first one is the worst one when it comes to a broken heart.

That same night, Ian went missing while out of town with a few friends. Like all the others, he was never found – dead or alive.

By this time, my heart was unbearably aching, but my daughter’s existence kept me going. My love for her hasn’t wavered or faded since I first saw her, it has only grown. I was grateful and overjoyed to see my baby maturing into a sweet kid, and then into a beautiful and capable young lady.

After Ian went missing, everything was a blur to me for weeks. I was depressed and heavily-medicated, and my love for my daughter was everything I felt I had, but I didn’t know if I could carry my heavy heart any longer.

Eventually, during dinner, Taylor suggested that Marie go to college in another state. She’s smart, she reasoned, and in our city we don’t have such great options.

“Do you want me to leave?” Marie asked, unspeakably hurt. “Am I a bother to you, Mom?”

“Of course not, sweetheart. You just deserve better,” Taylor said, attempting to calm her down.

“Why don’t you and Dad move with me then? I don’t wanna be without him.”

Taylor explained she couldn’t just transfer from her job, and Marie, once again, freaked out. They had never fought before.

After that, I was afraid I knew what was going to happen, so I had to call Marie to my studio and talk to her.

“Baby, are you aware of your doings?” I softly asked.

“My doings? What do you mean, Dad?”

“I mean this.”

I opened a curtain and showed her a small body, completely surrounded by shiny golden thorns. They were like a cage, enveloping a fragile human being. The tiny body was neither alive nor dead, it was something else. It was cold like death, but showed no signs of decay. No blue dead lips, but no breathing. It was like they were asleep otherworldly beings.

Needless to say, the tiny body belonged to Victoria. It showed up in my studio just after her disappearance and, I swear to God, it was floating. The golden thorns were sheer, but it was impossible to get through them and touch the person.

I honestly spent weeks thinking it was a hallucination, but when Marie started to move on, I finally understood. Every time, the missing person related to my daughter showed up in my studio, which Marie, Taylor and the cleaning lady never set foot in.

Marie’s feelings of loss and despair produce a prison of golden thorns around people she loves and believes to have lost, and they promptly vanish from whenever they are. They were never kidnapped by a person, they are just left unconscious and frozen for eternity – right here in our basement.

“Dad… I didn’t! I swear!

She didn’t have to say it twice. First of all, she’s my special little girl and I believe her. Secondly, it’s obviously she didn’t have the power to kidnap Victoria and Ms. Martinez without a trace as a little child, and never left home when the other two disappeared in another town, in another country even.

“Whenever someone disappeared, I felt better than when they said they would leave me, Dad,” she simply stated. “Knowing they are choosing to leave me makes me broken and empty, but when they are gone this way, I feel whole again.”

Marie has no queasiness about it. As long as the people she’s losing are gone for good, she will feel better. She didn’t take them, but she doesn’t feel bad about what actually happened, either.

No matter how I assured her that Taylor loves her to bits and wants to be by her side, she felt rejected. So you can imagine what happened to my wife a few days after the discussion.

It all makes me sad, but Marie’s my whole world and I’m not only going to let her feel and do as she pleases… I’m turning the people she loves into art. I want her to keep them untouched as they were before they almost left her, so I’m creating a giant mural with their frozen bodies, peacefully and forever preserved inside a cage of golden thorns.


Credit: Thamires Luppi (a.k.a. Polonium Poisoning)

The post Everyone My Daughter Loves Goes Missing appeared first on Creepypasta.

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Burning Down the House

Estimated reading time — 11 minutes

This story is part of the author’s Father Cooke series of interrelated stories. If you enjoy it, the author invites you to click here to read the other tales in the series.


“1…2…3…4…5…6…7.” I flicked the light in the bathroom off and then on again seven times, counting every flick of the switch. Once I finished the routine, I could feel the sense of doom start to dissipate from my mind.

Before leaving the bathroom, I walked over to the toilet and took a piss. As I turned to leave, that sense of doom started to cloud over my mind again. The light switch routine wasn’t enough. If I didn’t perform the toilet routine, something bad might happen. I reached down and flushed the toilet, then proceeded to push the handle down another six times.

I decided to skip washing my hands. I didn’t want to risk triggering the hand-washing routine. I couldn’t handle scrubbing my hands seven times and then turning the water on and off again seven times.

I don’t know why the number seven became my magic number. I just know that all demands must be performed seven times. If I don’t do it, the feeling that something bad is going to happen just gets worse.

I never know when the demands will make themselves known. They come whenever they want, as often as they want. Some of them happen so frequently that I have started to preemptively perform them to prevent that overbearing feeling of dread.

“Bad day?” my wife asked as she walked into the bedroom, “I heard you jiggle the toilet handle.” She knew about my condition and tolerated it as long as it didn’t interfere with my life or inconvenience her too much.

Technically, my routines interfered with my life, but not in a way that debilitated me. They were just annoying and time consuming. Thankfully, my issues were confined to the house. I could function like a normal human being when I was at work or out shopping, but once I got home it was only a matter of time before the clouds moved over my brain.

“Just a little,” I said. “Work has been a bit stressful, and these things always seem to get worse when I am stressed.”

She walked over and hugged me from behind. I leaned my head against hers, where it rested on my shoulder. “We’ll find someone that can help,” She said. She had taken it upon herself to cure me.

“I’ll be fine,” I said.

I didn’t think I needed to be cured. I just needed to find out why things started to escalate when we moved into that house. Something about that house was making me worse. I always had little quirks, but they were manageable, and I could go several days without an incident. Once we moved into that house, the demands started to come one after the other until I couldn’t go a day without having to perform several routines.

“Don’t get mad.” My wife circled around me, keeping her hands around my waist. When she was standing in front of me she looked up into my eyes before continuing, “I invited someone over… someone who may be able to help you.”

I sighed in frustration and rolled my eyes.

“Just give him a chance… please… for me.” She gave me her best doe-eyed look.

It was hard to say no to her, so I just squeezed her shoulders seven times then stepped away from her.

She started to walk out of the bedroom and I followed. As I closed the door behind me, I started to pull on the knob seven times. When I counted the sixth pull, my hand slipped off the knob. That was not good. In order for the routine to work, I had to maintain contact.

“God dammit!” I cursed. I could feel my wife’s eyes on the back of my head knowing she had turned around to stare at me.

The air around me became heavy as the feeling of dread intensified. I quickly grabbed the handle and pulled on it seven times. I then performed the routine six more times to erase the failed attempt.

By the time I finished, a light sheen of sweat had formed on my forehead. I took a deep breath, let go of the handle, and stepped away from the door. The feeling hadn’t left completely, but it subsided enough for me to walk away.

If I am honest, that feeling of dread never went away completely. Not since we moved into that house. I could always feel it hovering just outside my perception as it waited for an opportunity to invade my thoughts. It didn’t matter how perfectly I preformed my routines. It was always there.

When I got downstairs, I went into the living room to watch TV while my wife put on a pot of coffee in anticipation of our guest’s arrival. As I scrolled through Netflix, trying to find something to watch, that familiar feeling came over me. I could feel it worm its way into my brain and start to demand I turn off the TV.

A new routine was being thrust upon me. I’ve never felt compelled to turn the TV off. I tried to fight it, but I couldn’t. I turned the TV off and then on again seven times. Disgusted with myself, I walked into the kitchen.

“That probably isn’t good for the TV,” my wife said as she pulled some mugs down from the cabinet.

“You’re probably right,” I snapped at her, “but it’s not like I can stop myself.”

She gave me a look that warned me I had almost crossed the line of her patience.

“Sorry,” I apologized. Her expression softened when she saw the pained look on my face. I didn’t mean to snap, I just get so frustrated at myself for giving in to the demands so easily.

That was when the doorbell rang.

“Why don’t you go have a seat in the dining room,” my wife suggested as she went to answer the door.

When she returned, she was followed by two men. The shorter man, who she introduced as Father Cooke was obviously a priest. The taller man, dressed entirely in black, who she introduced as Mr. Alexander, made me feel uneasy. There was something off about him. He had this way of looking at me that made me feel like he could see right through me. That look seemed to exacerbate my sense that something bad was going to happen.

“This is my husband Gary,” she said as everyone took a seat around the table.

I nodded at the men then slid my hands off the table and placed them in my lap. I didn’t like shaking hands and thankfully neither man offered theirs in greeting. As I sat and waited to hear why my wife had called a priest and whatever Mr. Alexander was, I clenched my fists six times and tried not to make a fool out of myself.

Father Cooke laid the large roll of papers he was holding onto the center of the table. As I eyed Mr. Alexander, I noticed he was carrying a small black box that he sat on his lap. He smiled when he noticed I was watching him and placed his hand protectively over the box.

“Coffee?” my wife asked as she set the mugs on the table and began to pour the steaming liquid into them.

“Thank you,” both men said almost in unison as they reached out and took the offered cups.

“I’m sorry,” I finally blurted out. “I don’t understand how you can help me. I’m afraid this is just going to be a waste of your time.”

“On the contrary, Mr. Bower, I think we may be the only ones capable of helping you,” Mr. Alexander said. As he spoke, he helped Father Cooke unroll the large sheet of papers to reveal a set of blueprints to our house.

I looked over at my wife while I waited for them to continue.

“Your wife explained your situation to us.” Father Cooke noticed me looking over at my wife. “While OCD isn’t reason enough to call in a priest, it can be a sign that something more sinister is at work.”

“Sinister?” I raised my eyebrows.

“Heaven and Hell exist.” Mr. Alexander set the box he was holding on the table. “And they are nothing like you’ve been led to believe.” When he finished speaking he turned the box towards me and slowly opened the lid.

I quickly stood up, causing my chair to fall over backwards as I moved away from the dismembered hand that crawled out of the box, “What the hell is that?!” I cried out. My wife came over and placed her arm around my shoulders to calm me.

“I didn’t believe it when I first saw it, either,” she tried to reassure me.

I stood and stared at the hand as it began to tap its index finger impatiently. I didn’t notice it at first, but I had started to tap each one of my fingers against my thumb while I counted to six repeatedly.

“Did you really have to do that?” Father Cooke chided Mr. Alexander.

“My apologies, Mr. Bower. I felt the best way to introduce to the world that haunts you is to just throw it out there.” Mr. Alexander sounded sincere.

“What?!” I exclaimed. Things had gotten really weird, really fast.

“I think you need to hear them out,” my wife said as I picked up my chair and sat back down. “I’m going to step away for a moment and give you boys some privacy. Trust them.” She kissed me on the top of my head then left the room.

“This is Lefty,” Mr. Alexander gestured to the animated hand. “He is the unfortunate victim of a botched summoning spell.”

“Victim?” Father Cooke laughed while shaking his head before turning to me. “Lefty is a demon. I won’t get into the specifics of how he came to be trapped in that hand, but I assure you he is not a victim.”

While he spoke, Lefty rolled over onto his knuckles and gave the priest the middle finger.

“I think that’s enough out of you,” Father Cooke said as he scooped up the hand, placed it back in the box, and handed the container to Mr. Alexander.

“Have you noticed anything different about your routine since we got here?” Mr. Alexander asked.

“No… wait.” I didn’t realize it at first, but I had been counting to six instead of seven since they arrived.

I looked up to see Mr. Alexander smiling. “You’ve started counting to six instead of seven, haven’t you?”

“How do you know that?” I didn’t think I was counting out loud.

“Numbers have power. The reason you have been counting to 6 is because you are an empath. You can feel the presence of angelic and demonic creatures. You subconsciously became aware of Lefty’s presence. That triggered a change to your routine as you unknowingly tried to defend yourself against the perceived threat. The greater the threat, the more often your routines are triggered.”

I scoffed. “That’s insane.”

“Is it?” Father Cooke nodded to the box as Lefty started knocking to be let out.

“How does that explain why I’ve been counting to seven?”

“That is where these come in.” Mr. Alexander pointed at the blueprints. “Let’s start with this one.” he pulled out the sheet that showed the floor plan of the basement. “Now watch as I line these up.” He placed the rest of the blueprints in order with the basement on the bottom and the attic on top.

“Okay… what am I supposed to be looking for?” I should mention that as I spoke with the priests, I continued to perform different routines, mostly with my hands or feet, to keep them from becoming a distraction.

Father Cooke produced a book from the inside of his jacket and opened it to a bookmarked page. He placed the book on the table and pointed to a symbol drawn on the page. “It might be hard to notice at first, but keep looking.”

I glanced at the stack of blueprints. The paper they were printed on was semitransparent, allowing the darker lines of the bottom sheets to be slightly visible. I then glanced back to the picture in the book. As I did so, I started to see the similarities between the symbol in the book and the layout of our home.

“What is it?” I asked,

“This is an Enochian Nexus.” Father Cooke pointed to the symbol in the book.

“For reasons we haven’t been able to discern, your house was built to resemble a three-dimensional nexus,” Mr. Alexander explained. “That is why you have been counting to seven. Angelic creatures are drawn to your house because it is a weak point between Heaven and Earth. Whenever you feel their presence, your defense mechanisms are triggered and you perform one of your routines. You count to seven because seven is the number of Heaven.”

I stammered as I tried to make sense of what they were saying. I couldn’t put into words all of the thoughts that were racing through my mind.

“It’s a lot to take in,” Father Cooke said. “The good news is we can help you.”

“The bad news,” Mr. Alexander cut in, “is that we are going to have to destroy your house to close the nexus.”

Right at that moment my wife returned carrying two large suitcases. “They already explained everything to me,” she said as she set the bags down.

“They can’t just destroy our house!” I raised my voice.

“I can’t keep living this way.” My wife fixed me with her tired eyes. At that moment I could see the toll my issues had placed upon her. She was as much a victim of my condition as I was. “They assure me the insurance will pay for the house. We just can’t be here when they destroy it.”

“What about work?”

“I already took care of that. I told your boss I was taking you on a surprise vacation.”

“Where?” I asked.

“It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you.” I loved seeing her smile.

“Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay,” I said.

“You said that seven times,” Mr. Alexander noted. “I think it’s time we conclude our business before the creatures using this nexus figure out what we are up to.”

As we all got up from the table and gathered our things, I stopped and turned towards the priests. “How are you going to do it?” I had to know.

Mr. Alexander opened the box that held the demonic hand. “Lefty has become an accomplished arsonist during the short time he has been with us. I am confident he can make it look like an accident.” The hand rolled over onto its side and gave a thumbs up.


Credit: Ken Lewis (FacebookReddit)

The post Burning Down the House appeared first on Creepypasta.

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Never Use a Voice Recorder While You Sleep

Never Use a Voice Recorder While You SleepReading Time: 16 minutes 

I am a chronic sleep talker. Always have been. Everyone who’s ever slept in the same house as me will tell you that. My parents, siblings, friends, and especially my exes. They’re the ones who got an ear-full. It was something we’d laugh about in the morning, because most of what I’d say would be incoherent or nonsensical. Some of my famous lines included, “There’s too many helicopters in the pool!” and “My balloon’s on the wrong foot.” It never bothered anyone around me; my friends and family pretty much just got a kick out of it.

One day at work, the subject of sleeping came up. My co-workers threw stories back and forth about some of their weirdest dreams. I chimed in with my sleep-talking antics. Everyone laughed as I raddled off some of the crazier shit I’ve said while zonked. One of my co-workers, Bill, really busted a gut. After he finished hyper-ventilating, he told me that I should set up a voice recorder while I sleep so I can play it back at work every morning. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a bad idea.

That night, I downloaded a decent voice recording app on my phone and placed it on my nightstand before I went to bed. Being single and living alone, I had no way of knowing what I said in my sleep anymore, so I was looking forward to hearing what it would pick up. It would be a humorous way to start my otherwise dull mornings.

For two months I recorded a lot of great stuff. One night in particular, I kept screaming, almost as if I was running from something in my dream, but after a few minutes I said, “Bad fridge!” I couldn’t stop laughing at that one. Neither could my co-workers when I showed them.

Eventually, the app picked up something unsettling. Listening to the audio for any trace of funny banter I might find, I heard a loud bang. It sounded like a door being slammed shut with great force. Hearing that, my heart sank. I wondered if an intruder had made their way into my home.

My house is a small cottage on the outskirts of town. I was able to get it at a great price due to its location and age. As such, some of its components are antiquated. I knew after hearing the recording that the only two doors sturdy enough to make that loud of a thud were that of the attic and the basement.

Basements and attics have always freaked me out. Never liked to go near them as a kid, and I still don’t as an adult. They kind of terrify me. The ones in my house, even more so. Something about them being old made them all the more sinister.

Despite my fear, I had to make sure no one was in the house. I got up out of bed and headed straight for the basement, as that was the door closest to my bedroom. I hesitantly opened the door and descended into my home’s depths. I was nervous, but I was desperate for some peace of mind.

The basement… was empty.

I quickly ran back up to the first floor and proceeded to journey upstairs. Once I reached the attic door, I froze. As much as basements make my skin crawl, I find attics to be far worse. Maybe it was because they were always a big unknown to me. I had only ever been in an attic once my whole life and that was to help my dad unload some Christmas decorations. Even then, I was spooked.

Because of my phobia, I installed a dead bolt on the door when I moved in. It sounds foolish, but hey, it helps me sleep at night. Looking at the door, I noticed that the dead bolt was still locked. An intruder could have gone in and then re-locked it on their way out, but at least I knew they weren’t in there anymore. This was my excuse not to go inside. I went back downstairs and put the noise out of my mind.

Forgetting all about the loud bang, I continued to record at night in the hopes of catching more sleep-talking. I did, but it wasn’t of the hilarious, absurd variety. The night after I recorded the noise, the only thing I said the whole night was, “Where are you?” I didn’t pay it any mind, as I’ve said similar things in my sleep before. It wasn’t until I heard the following night’s recording that I became alarmed. I said the same thing, “Where are you?”, only this time it was followed by a strange, static sound. This was odd, but I chalked it up to coincidence and a phone malfunction.

I quickly discovered that neither of these things were to blame.

Every night after, I got almost the same exact thing. I would ask, “Where are you,” and then I’d get some sort of static interference. I couldn’t explain it, and it left me rather frazzled. I showed my co-workers, but they weren’t able to offer me any insight. I thought about not recording anymore, but not knowing would make me more uneasy. I wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on.

And then, one night, I caught something different. Listening to the audio intently, I heard two distinct things. During a two minute stretch in the recording, there were footsteps in the background, almost as if someone was pacing. It was very faint, but it was most certainly there. The second thing I heard was me asking the same question, “Where are you,” only this time I received a response. It was a low whisper, but I could make out what it said.

“I’m upstairs.”

***

Deeply unnerved by my findings, I set up the app again the next night. I also took the liberty of setting up two digital cameras; one in my room, and one facing the attic door. After adjusting the light settings on each, I felt confident in my approach. I didn’t have time to deal with this bullshit, so I wanted nothing more than to get it sorted out, somehow. Unfortunately for me, it just wasn’t that simple.

I slept through the night, like normal, but I did have a weird dream.

In my dream, I was at home. I was sitting on my couch watching TV when I heard a scratching sound coming from upstairs. Naturally, I assumed it was mice, but as I sat there, the noise grew louder and louder. It eventually morphed into a horrendous knocking sound. That’s when I got up to investigate.

I made my way up to the attic door and the noises ceased. I stood there for a moment, expecting it to start up again, but it didn’t. Complete silence for what felt like a few minutes. Then, without warning, a loud clicking sound broke the tension. The deadbolt had unlocked itself. And that’s when I woke up to the sound of my alarm going off.

I immediately got up and gathered the cameras, as well as my phone. I was eager to see if they’d captured anything. They did, but it only left me with more questions.

Halfway through the audio on both my phone and the camera in my room, I heard once again, “Where are you?” There was no response and no static, but there was a loud bang, just like the one I’d caught before, only more distinct. It was most certainly a door being slammed shut. I quickly grabbed the second camera and began looking through the footage. The attic door never opened. Instead, I heard the bang in the background, ever so faintly. Given the volume in each of the clips, it seemed as though it might have been the basement door. After skimming through the rest of the footage and finding nothing else out of the ordinary, I decided to check the basement again.

With a mixture of nerves and adrenaline, I ran over to the basement door and swung it open. I hurried downstairs and turned the light on. I was fed up and a little annoyed, thinking someone was somehow having a laugh at my expense. However, when the room lit up, I was greeted with the familiar sight of an unfurnished basement. It was completely empty. No intruder and no answers.

Frustrated, I went off to work and tried to keep my mind off of my odd dilemma. That proved to be a difficult task. I kept playing out different scenarios in my head during the work day, but nothing made sense. The only logical, though somewhat illogical explanation that I could come up with, was that I was being harassed by a spirit. I didn’t want to give in to that notion, but I was running out of ideas.

I tried to talk with my co-workers again, in the hopes that they would tell me it was nothing to worry about. Instead, I received the opposite. One of my co-workers told me to call the cops and have them look through the house for signs of a break-in. Another told me I should stay at a friend’s house. Bill told me to abandon the house and run for the hills. He was only joking, but it didn’t make me feel any better about the matter.

Things took a turn for the bizarre when I arrived home that day.

Opening the front door to the cottage, I stepped in and set my jacket down on the couch. I then plopped down in an attempt to unwind. Immediately after sitting, I heard the bang again. It was clear as day. It was the same sound from the audio and footage, but this time I was hearing it in person.

I jumped up and looked straight ahead at the basement door. You could see it from the couch – it had been in my line of sight the entire time. Though I hadn’t been looking directly at it, I was fairly certain it hadn’t moved. Still, the bang definitely came from that direction. Spooked but curious, I decided to check it out.

I walked over cautiously and examined the door. There was no indication that it had been slammed shut. The wood around the door was pristine, and the floor below had not been scraped. I opened it and trotted down the old, creaky stairs to investigate the basement for a third time. After reaching the bottom, I turned the light on. I expected to see nothing, just as I had before. While scanning the room left to right, nothing is mostly what I saw. After doing a double take, however, I realized that something was amiss.

Off, in the center of the far wall, was a door. This sent a chill up my spine. My basement had no doors. That I was sure of. I knew this before purchasing the place almost a year ago, when I first took the grand tour. I also didn’t see the door when I went down there that morning or the other day. It didn’t make a lick of sense.

I walked towards it, bewildered. I wasn’t sure of the door’s origins, but I knew that it had to be the cause of the sounds I’d been hearing. There was no other explanation. As I approached the impossibility before me, I realized something that made my skin crawl. I recognized the wood, the design, and the deadbolt.

It was the attic door.

I didn’t want to open it, for fear of what might be lurking behind. Instead, I ran upstairs and checked to see if the attic door was still there; the actual one. It was indeed. I then ran back downstairs into the basement, only to find that the door down there had vanished. Had I merely imagined its presence?

Thinking I had gone completely mad, I went back upstairs and sat down on the couch. My mind was running haywire, trying to comprehend things, but it eventually gave in to its own weariness. I ended up taking a short nap, and that’s when I had another weird dream.

This dream was similar to the one I had before. I was sitting on the couch, watching TV, when I heard a scratching noise. The only difference was, it was coming from the basement, rather than the attic. It too progressed and turned into a voracious knocking that I couldn’t ignore. As such, I got up from the couch and went downstairs to put a stop to it.

In my dream, the basement was empty. No mysterious door in sight. That, and the knocking and scratching ceased upon my entrance. At my wit’s end, I went back upstairs. The sound then returned with a vengeance, only this time, it was coming from the attic again. I ran up there as fast as I could, but the noise stopped. I waited. Following the narrative of my previous dream, the deadbolt clicked, signaling that the door had unlocked itself. Unlike my previous dream, however, the door opened up a bit and a hand reached out from within. That’s when I woke up.

I wrote the first dream off as the byproduct of an over-stressed mind, but to have it reoccur? That wasn’t ordinary, at least not for me. Between the door in my basement and my strange nightmares, I was a mess. Both perplexed and frightened, I called my friend John.

John is an eccentric fellow. He’s the kind of guy who believes in UFOs, ghosts, conspiracy theories, the occult, and other things of that nature. Not only does he believe in them, but he studies them. He knows more about Roswell than I do about myself. Being a skeptic, I always thought the massive amount of information he retained was borderline useless. I changed my mind about that after seeing my attic door pop up in my basement. If anyone could help, or at least steer me in the right direction, it was him.

I spoke with John for a couple of hours. He was ecstatic after hearing about my experience. He began raddling off all of the different things he thought it might indicate. Some of his theories included a wormhole, a gateway to the other side, and even a glitch (one of the many theories that he subscribes to is that the world we live in is a simulation). He told me that he couldn’t be completely certain about what it was without seeing it for himself. Unfortunately, he lives too far away to just stop by and visit.

Instead of leaving me empty-handed, John gave me some advice on what to do next. After telling him about the voice I captured and the dreams I’d been having, he started leaning towards the ghost idea. He thought it might be trying to communicate with me. Because of this, he told me I should set up the voice recorder in the basement and ask the spirit some questions. I could play back the recording after and listen for the voice. John said that I should do it in the attic as well.

Though weary of his methods, I told him I’d try it out. After all, I couldn’t just sit around and expect the situation to resolve itself. I didn’t like the idea of going up into the attic by myself, but I needed to do something.

After getting off the phone, I immediately put his plan into action. The basement would have to be first, as I was still apprehensive about going upstairs.

I set up the app and put my phone on the basement floor. I proceeded to ask questions, leaving enough space in between for someone… or something to answer. I asked for normal things like its name, its age, and what it wanted. After roughly five minutes of interrogation, I stopped the recording and played it back.

I must’ve listened to my own voice a million times, hoping for anything audible to present itself. To my dismay, I caught nothing of the sort. It seemed as though the attic would indeed have to be my next venture.

I reluctantly climbed the stairs up to the attic door. I looked at it for a few moments, took a deep breath, and unlocked the deadbolt. I opened the door and braced myself.

There was nothing there, save for the previous owner’s belongings.

When I first purchased the house, I had to do a little bit of renovating, so to speak. The owner before me had no cable, electricity, or proper plumbing. On top of that, they left all of their stuff behind. I had most of it removed, but left everything that was in the attic. I had no need for the space, and I didn’t want to put any more money into emptying the house than I had to.

I perused through the attic’s wares for a bit, curious as to what it was that I technically owned. Some of the interesting items that stood out to me were an old postcard from Paris, a strange-looking dog collar, and a book on witchcraft. The fear set in while going through the contents of my new collection. The angled ceiling, antiques, and large window overlooking my yard did give the place a dose of charm, but I still didn’t like attics.

I quickly hit the record button on the app and set my phone on the floor. I asked the same questions as before, but didn’t leave as much space in between as I really wanted to get the hell out of there. Before stopping the recording, I had a thought. Perhaps the spirit would respond if I asked it the same question that I did in my sleep.

I cleared my throat and asked, “Where are you?”

After asking the final question, I stopped the recording and played it back. It sounded almost identical to the one I’d recorded in the basement, complete with a lack of answers. That is, until the very end. After I asked the last question, I heard a familiar, low whisper.

“Behind you.”

After hearing this reply, I immediately turned around. There was nothing there. Despite this, I hightailed it downstairs. That eerie voice reinforced my phobia of attics and instilled in me an indescribable dread. I could no longer bear to be in that house by myself.

I called John again and begged him to help me out. I told him I’d give him the gas money for the 8-hour round trip. He was reluctant at first, knowing that he’d have to spend the night and call out from work the next morning. Curiosity got the best of him in the end. After much deliberation, he agreed to come over.

I waited for John in my car. While sitting there, I couldn’t help but examine my house. I began asking myself questions, like is it really haunted, do ghosts really exist, and my favorite, is this what my life has come to? Though the questions were speculative and rhetorical, I pretty much knew the answers. As I gazed towards the house in disappointment, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

It was a silhouette, standing at the attic window.

Holy shit. What the fuck. What do I do?

Those were the only retorts that crossed my mind after seeing the shadowy figure. After a few moments of staring, the figure stepped back from the window, completely out of sight. I sat and pondered about it for a few minutes after its departure.

In a moment of bravery, I chose to go back in the house and up to the attic. Crazy, I know, but it’s my house, and I needed to show this thing that I wasn’t interested in playing its games – even if I was scared shitless. Besides, John would have my head if I didn’t follow the damned thing.

Feeling confident, but still shaky, I ventured up into the attic. I swung the door open without hesitation and waltzed in like I owned the place. After all, I did. The attic was void of any ghostly figures, but it did harbor the faint scent of candle wax. Unsure of how to proceed, I started talking in a loud and firm tone.

“This isn’t your house. I’m tired of your bullshit games, spirit. I demand that you leave at once!”

I knew this wasn’t going to work, but it was almost cathartic. I felt a hell of a lot better fighting back. I walked around the attic, satisfied with my rant, thinking that I had actually conquered my fear. My smug demeanor wouldn’t last more than a few moments.

Soon after I spoke, a gust of wind blew through the attic and hit me like a bus. Nearly knocked me over. I knew it was the ghost’s doing. I tried to stand my ground, but I was pretty damn frightened. I watched as everything around me flew about, creating a tornado of mementos and keepsakes. I was about to retreat, when I noticed something that hadn’t budged an inch. It was the book on witchcraft that I’d seen before. Upon noticing it, the wind inexplicably stopped and everything fell to the floor. I walked over to the book, curious as to why it remained stationary. As I did, it opened up on its own. It was startling, but I somehow sensed no malice. I was coming around to the fact that the ghost might really be trying to communicate with me.

The page the book landed on was a spell. The whole thing was in Latin, but from what I could make out, it had something to do with growing plants. Confused, I reached out to the ghost for help.

“What do you want me to do?”

After asking the question, the attic door slammed shut. I thought for a moment and gathered that it wanted me to recite the spell in the attic. I was still confused, but somehow calm. It felt as though I was helping the spirit in some way.

Before I could read from the book, my phone went off. It was a text from John:

“So, so sorry. I can’t make it out there. My boss won’t give me the day off tomorrow and I’m not sure my car will make it there and back. It desperately needs new tires and I won’t be able to buy those until Friday. Give me a call back then and I’ll see what I can do. Good luck.”

Fuck.

Even though I wasn’t freaking out anymore, it was nice knowing that someone was on their way to my house, just in case things went sour. I didn’t like it, but I was on my own. I accepted this, and turned my attention back to the book. It was time to deliver the spell.

I cleared my throat and began reciting the text in the book. I took Latin in college, and although I didn’t retain all the information, I knew enough to make the proper pronunciations. Even still, I stumbled over my words during certain parts. Because of this, I had to restart a couple of times. I wanted to get it right, especially if it was truly what the ghost wanted.

After finishing the spell flawlessly (for the most part), the attic door opened. I walked out with the book in hand, wondering if everything was over. When I reached the bottom step and turned around the corner, it became quickly apparent that it wasn’t. The basement door was wide open.

I was in uncharted territory, taking orders from a ghost, but I hoped I was following along alright. Seeing the basement door ajar convinced me that I probably needed to recite the spell down there as well. I still wasn’t sure why, but it felt like this was the spirit’s will. As such, I obliged.

I walked down into the basement with the book and turned the light on. A quick glance around revealed that I was alone and that there was no door. I cleared my throat once again and began reciting the spell, word for word. Honestly, I was a little excited. It felt like I was doing something productive about my ghost problem, and that it might actually help put it to rest. This time, I got it right on the first try.

Upon finishing the spell in the basement, the house began shaking. When I say the house, I mean the whole house, basement and all. I ‘d never experienced an earthquake before, but it seemed like the only logical explanation for what was happening. It wasn’t until I looked around the room during the madness, that I realized it was the spell’s doing.

There, on the far wall, shaking with the rest of the house, was the attic door. I wondered if the spell had somehow summoned it, simultaneously causing the house to wobble. The tremor eventually stopped, and I was left with the door, lending credence to my theory. I waited for a few minutes, thinking the door would open, but it did not. It seemed that I would have to do that myself. I wasn’t too happy about it, but I’d come too far to back out now.

I gathered my wits and walked over to the door. I proceeded to swing it open, without fear, just as I had upstairs. Behind the door was a surprise.

It was the attic. The attic, upstairs. Everything was the same, only there was a man standing at the window. Hearing me open the door, he turned around. His eyes widened when he saw me. He ran so fast in my direction that I didn’t even have enough time to take more than a single step back. He rushed through the doorway and into the basement. He turned back around and slammed the attic door shut, making sure to lock the deadbolt. He turned to me, grabbed my shoulders, and looked me dead in the eye. I was baffled and scared for my life.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you so much!”

After expressing his thanks, the man let go of me and ran upstairs, but not before turning back around and offering me some advice.

“Whatever you do, don’t go in there!”

He gestured toward the attic door before bolting upstairs. I ran after him, wanting to ask some questions, but when I got upstairs, it was already too late. My front door was open, and I could see him running down the dirt road towards town.

And that was that. I’ve slept every night since then with no noises or paranormal issues whatsoever. I even set up the cameras and voice recorder a few times to make sure. They didn’t catch a damned thing. I don’t know what the hell happened, but I am sure of one thing. The man that came out from behind the attic door was no ghost. It was a living, breathing person.

 

Click HERE to find out more about the man in the attic.

 

CREDIT: Christopher Maxim

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

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The Attic in the Basement

The Attic in the BasementReading Time: 16 minutes 

(A short film based on The Attic in the Basement, winner of Best Director in the BC Student Film Festival)

 

*NOTE: This creepypasta was originally published on the site in April of 2016. We are republishing the post because it has been edited and rewritten by the author. Enjoy.*

 

“Quiet down, back there!” I yelled whilst driving down an all too familiar road. My best friend and his girlfriend wouldn’t stop laughing loudly with each other, much like young couples do. I almost regretted bringing them, but I really didn’t want to go alone, and inviting one of those two love birds meant inviting the pair. They were a package deal. Lucky for me, the torturous sound of laughter would soon cease, as we were approaching our destination.

“We’re here,” I stated; less to point out our arrival, and more to shut the two of them up. I just wanted some peace and quiet so I could think clearly. I wasn’t exactly mentally prepared for what needed to be done.

My aunt’s old house was just as I remembered it; a rickety old cottage down a dead end road in the middle of nowhere, complete with woods, wildlife, and the welcoming smell of roses that she often planted near the stone walkway. That was when it finally hit me. While traversing that very walkway, smelling those very roses, I stopped dead in my tracks, tears welling up in my eyes.

“Are you okay?” My friend’s girlfriend asked.

“Yes, I’m fine. I just need a second.”

They looked concerned, but understood. What else would they expect of me coming back to my aunt’s house right after she died? Honestly, it felt a little weird. I may have been her favorite nephew, but after leaving me everything in her will, it seemed wrong to go out there so soon. The service was held just a day prior. I knew everything she had wasn’t much, and I knew I wasn’t really there to collect my inheritance, but I still felt bad – and at this moment, I felt even worse.

The memories I had of her were being dredged up with every step I took towards the front door. I hadn’t seen her since I was ten years old, but I could play every memory in my head like a movie. I was very close to her in those days. She might as well have been my mom. My actual mother cared for me, but she wasn’t loving in the way that my aunt was. I remember visiting her after school and being greeted with some cliché milk and cookies. Instead of watching television like a normal kid (she didn‘t own one), I would listen to my aunt play the piano for hours on end. We would sometimes go bird watching or work in the garden; things that I have not done or even thought of doing since. These are some of my most treasured memories; and just like treasure, I kept them locked up and hidden away for many years, until now. As I approached the door to the cottage, I stopped in my tracks once more.

“Seriously, are you okay?” My friend asked this time, seeming very concerned. He had never seen me like this before.

“I’m fine. Why don’t you two take that hike you were talking about? I’ll go on in and take a look around. You guys can meet me back at the car later.”

“If you say so…”

The two of them took off down a trail in the woods, and I was left standing there, looking at the house that I’d not seen in many years. The feeling that overcame me was so strange. It’s hard to put into words. It was more than grief, greater than sadness. I guess the best way to say it is that I missed her. It’s funny; if she could see me now, she probably wouldn’t recognize me. I’m tall, bearded, and wear glasses – almost the polar opposite of my appearance as a child. Thinking of this just made me more sad. She would never get to see the man I had become. With one last sigh of emotion, I marched on and reached for the handle on the front door.

My aunt didn’t have locks on her doors or windows. The house was constructed so long ago, that it wasn’t even built with them. She could have had some installed, but she didn’t feel she needed them out in the middle of nowhere. She brought it up one of the first times I stayed there, saying, “Trust the world, and it will set you free.” When I was a kid, hearing her say this made me feel safe, somehow. Being full grown and recalling this statement now, I find it very peculiar. But then again, that was my aunt for you; unpretentious and oblivious to the rest of the world around her. Honestly, I missed that part of her the most. All of these memories came back to me piece by piece as I pulled the door open. The bittersweet release I felt was interrupted when I saw the inside of the cottage.

Everything, and I mean everything, was exactly in its place. It was like I was a kid again, coming over after school to enjoy my aunt’s company. My memories were projected right in front of me like a nostalgic outburst of energy. I could see my aunt sitting at the piano, playing as she often would. I could see me, sitting there, eating some homemade cookies, listening intently to the music. I could see her again, cooking dinner in the kitchen as I sat on the couch reading one of her old books. I walked past these living recollections and went upstairs to see more.

I stopped quickly when I reached the top of the staircase. I realized that it only led to the attic. I had no interest in it, remembering that my aunt used it for storage, so I traveled back downstairs. I didn’t know what I was looking for, exactly; maybe just a little peace of mind to put my heart at ease. Maybe just something that would let me know without a doubt that my aunt passed away peacefully. In truth, I felt an immense amount of guilt being in that house again. Almost too much to bare.

When I was just shy of eleven years old, my parents moved out of state. This is when I stopped seeing my aunt. We kind of lost touch, especially seeing as she didn’t have any real means of communication out there – no phone, no computer – she didn’t even have a mailbox, and the nearest post office was over twenty miles away. Being older now, I could have easily paid her a visit, and I am sure she would have loved to have seen me. I guess I just thought she would always be there. Unfortunately, she had a heart attack, and with no hospital or neighbors for miles, death came knocking on her unlocked door in a hasty fashion. At the very least, this visit had put the fleeting quality of life into perspective for me. At this point, I figured it was the only thing that I would end up taking away from the place.

As I made my way down the stairs and back into the living room, I noticed something. I was in such a hurry to escape my corporeal memories that I didn’t notice it before. It was the desk – the desk where my aunt would sit and write for hours at a time. She said that it helped her experience the world outside of her cottage, by writing about how she imagined and wanted it to be. The more I remembered my aunt, the more I could see how isolated and somewhat unstable she really was. She was odd, but I loved her just the same, even now.

What I hadn’t noticed upon entering the house was that the desk drawer was open. I looked inside and found a single sheet of paper with my aunt’s handwriting on it. This is what it said:

 

To my dearest nephew,

If you are reading this, then the cold tides of death have swept me away once and for all. I know that we’ve not seen each other since you were a child, but I hope you still think fondly back on our time together. I was happy to look after you, and I know that you were happy to spend time with me. I don’t want you to be sad, or feel off-put about my death in any way. This is how it is, and in turn how it was meant to be. I will always hold you dear in my heart, and I hope you’ll do the same for me. I want you to live freely despite this, and enjoy each and every moment of your life, just as I did mine. I will see you again someday, and I look forward to it. Trust the world, and it will set you free.

 

I shed a single tear reading this passage, knowing that my aunt wanted me to find peace in this old house. The very closure I was looking for was in her desk the whole time. The elation I felt almost distracted me from the post script at the bottom of the page:

 

P.S. Don’t go in the basement.

 

How peculiar. What was down there? Was my aunt hiding something? If so, what was it?

Curious as ever, I walked over to the basement door with the letter in hand, knowing that the answers were down there. I took one last look at the warning. Don’t go in the basement. It was most likely the ramblings of an unstable woman on the verge of death, but what could be the real meaning behind it? Why the basement? Why me?

I could recall the basement from when I was younger, but I didn’t remember much. I had only been down there once. My aunt was outside gardening while I was inside reading one of her books. I grew tired of reading and set the book down on her desk. Soon after, I began wandering around the house out of boredom. I walked around the entire cottage rather quickly. Eventually, I came upon the basement, somewhere I had never played before. Knowing my aunt wouldn’t be in for a while, I decided to venture on. I turned the knob, and swung the door open. I could only see the top of the stairs descending downward into darkness. Despite the bit of fear rattling in my chest, I pressed on. Once down there, my field of vision was filled with pitch blackness. This caused me to scramble about, looking for a light-switch. After a few moments, I bumped into a string, dangling from the ceiling in the middle of the room. Upon pulling it, the room lit up, however dimly. What I saw disappointed me.

It was a typical basement, but smaller, with concrete walls, a concrete floor, and some pieces of wood sitting off in the corner (probably some old floor boards left over from the house’s construction). When you’re a kid, there’s a bit of mystery and adventure injected into everything you do. This adventure ended on a flat note, leading me to an unused space, lost to the depths of the house. The next thing I remember was my aunt’s voice as she came down the stairs yelling, “You can’t be down here!” She sounded more worried than angry – probably scared I would somehow hurt myself down there. There was more to this memory, but that was all I could recall while standing in front of the basement door.

I turned the knob and swung the door open, revealing only the top of the stairs and the basement below, completely void of light. Instead of feeling adventurous like I did as a child, I now felt nervous, repeating the words my aunt had left for me over and over in my head, and then asking myself once more; why?

I crept down the stairs slowly, so as not to shake the foundation. That’s what I told myself, but I guess my sluggish pace was largely because I was frightened at what I might find when I reached the bottom. Growing impatient and uncomfortably anxious, I picked up the pace a bit. I felt the concrete below my feet, and I rapidly darted towards the center of the room, reaching for the light, praying that it still worked. I felt around for the string and then pulled it. To my delight, it still harbored electricity. The room became dimly lit. In a panicky state, I spun around looking every which way as I did. What I saw, surprised me.

There was nothing there. It was just how I left it when I was a kid. Even the old floorboards were there, still untouched. I felt relieved, but far more confused than before. Why didn’t my aunt want me to go down there? I pondered for a bit and figured that maybe there was asbestos or mold in the cellar walls. This would explain why she didn’t want me playing in there as a kid, and why she didn’t want me there as an adult either. She just wanted to keep me safe, like she always did. This made me feel better, but deep down I knew there was more behind my aunt’s plea. As I made my way over to the stairs, something gave me reason to pause. Memories were coming back to me. I could recall being in the basement when I was younger, but there was something different about it. Different than how it looked now. There was a door. A door that led straight to the attic.

How could I have forgotten? It was all so clear to me now. I remember finding a door down there and entering the attic. I knew that it was attic, because I peered out the window and saw my aunt gardening two stories below. I waved to her, but she was too busy to notice me. I found it odd at the time that I was able to travel directly from basement to attic without so much as climbing a single step, but I brushed it off. After all, I was only ten, and I had no interest in getting caught up in the semantics of how a house was built. Being older, this strange memory was perplexing. How could the basement lead to the attic? It isn’t even remotely possible. I tried to call on some more memories, but the details of that day were still fuzzy.

I tried convincing myself that it was a dream I was recalling. How could it have been anything else? It was nonsense, right? There’s no way it really happened. Somewhat comfortable with this hypothesis, I continued to the stairs, but not before giving the basement another once-over. What I saw eliminated all doubt from my mind.

There, in the middle of the far left wall of the basement, was the door from my memory. I squinted and rubbed my eyes, keeping them closed for a good few seconds before opening them again. When I did, the door was still there, as tangible and existent as ever. This couldn’t be. It just couldn’t. I knew for a fact that the door was not there just a few moments before, and I had already convinced myself that my childhood memory was nothing more than a bizarre dream. What the hell was going on?

There was only way to find out.

After regaining some composure and mustering up a small amount of courage, I walked, however slowly, towards the inexplicable door. My unhurried movements mirrored my hesitant exterior, allowing me to stall for a moment while I gathered some nerve to actually open the damned thing. Despite my slothful motion, I covered the gap in a few seconds; a testament to the basement’s small size. The moment of truth was upon me. I took a deep breath, turned the knob, and pushed the door open. This was it. I would finally get to the bottom of my aunt’s plea and my own odd memories.

The door creaked and revealed the room behind it. Low and behold, it was none other than the attic; just as I remembered it, window and all! But how? The sunlight came through the window and danced across the room brilliantly, leaving me awestruck. I walked forward to look outside; to make sure that this was indeed the attic and that I hadn’t gone completely crazy. After peering out the window, that verdict was still up in the air.

Two stories below was my aunt’s yard. The grass was green as ever, and the sky was clear as day. Everything was so vibrant. I looked over at my aunt’s garden, and to my surprise there was a person there. It was a woman, and she was gardening. Who was that, and why was she in my aunt’s garden? She turned around revealing her face, and to my surprise… it was my aunt. What? How? My aunt was dead! I watched as she was lowered into the earth.

Just then, I heard the sound of footsteps from behind me. Startled, I turned around to face the noise.

“Who are you?” a soft voice asked.

It was my ten year old self, standing just twenty feet away from me. I was in such a delirious state by this point, that I decided to just go with it and converse with myself.

“I’m… a friend.” Is all I could think to say.

“You’re a friend of my aunt’s?” He asked innocently. I had forgotten just how curious I was as a child.

“Yes… a very dear friend.” My younger self walked over to look out the window where I was standing. I stepped aside and let him do so. He saw our aunt outside gardening below and waved at her. She didn’t notice.

“Do you have an aunt?” He asked.

“Yes… but she passed away.” I said.

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

Just then, an epiphany struck. Maybe this was the reason I was here. Maybe this was the closure I needed all along.

“Listen to me. I know it’s hard for you to understand right now, but someday your aunt will pass away too. I want you to spend as much time as possible with her and visit whenever you can. You mean the world to her, and you will regret it if you don’t make an effort to be with her now, while you still can.”

“Okay.” Is all he said. That’s all he needed to say.

After walking around and looking at some of the old stuff in the attic, including some old books that caught his eye, my younger self left the attic to venture back to the basement, and shut the door behind him. I looked out the window and noticed that my aunt had finished gardening and was now walking back to the house. This was when my next epiphany struck. I was beginning to remember more of the events from that day. It was all coming back to me. I remembered me as I look now, standing in the attic; the friendly bearded man with glasses! I remembered the conversation we had and even discussing it with my aunt afterwards.

My astonishment was interrupted by more footsteps in the next room. This time, they were my aunt’s. I ran over to the door and listened.

“You can’t be down here!” She yelled in a worried tone.

I wanted to open the door and confront her, just to see her one last time and to tell her that I’m sorry for never visiting. I reached for the knob, but I thought it best not to go out there. She would probably have thought that I was an intruder, lurking around her house. As I said before, she wouldn’t recognize me all grown up. My apology would have to go unspoken.

I could hear her scolding the younger version of me and then bringing me back upstairs. Instead of listening to find out what happened next, I just remembered. I could recall telling my aunt about the attic door in the basement and the friendly bearded man. She told me that I had “quite the imagination,” and told me to wash up for dinner. Looking back now, I remember a troubled glint in her eye, especially after divulging what the bearded man told me. She seemed to know more about my experience than she let on.

I stood there for a while, taking everything in. Eventually, I decided it was time for me to leave. I grabbed the knob and jiggled it. It wouldn’t budge. I turned it a little bit harder, but to no avail. A wave of terror consumed me. This didn’t make any sense. The doors in my aunt’s house had no locks. Then again, nothing made sense up until this point either.

I backed up a little and ran into the door. It remained still. I did this a few more times, and even tried breaking the window. Nothing happened. Feeling weary, I sat down and took a breather. This is when I heard a distant echo of footsteps and voices coming from within the house. It was my friend and his girlfriend! I had almost forgotten about them. I was saved!

In a relieved stupor, I called out to them. It became quickly apparent that they could not hear me from wherever I was. I heard them walking around, calling out my name. I increased my volume and started banging on the door.

“I’m in here, guys!” I yelled, not knowing whether I was below or above them. They still couldn’t hear me. I began to panic.

I started screaming at the top of my lungs and banging as hard as I could on the attic door. I received no response. With a dead voice and pained hands, I gave up. I put my back against the wall and slid down to a sitting position, a few tears streaming down my face. I just sat there and listened as my friend and his girlfriend conversed from within the house.

“Where could he be? He said he would meet us at the car, right? If he’s not in the house, then where the hell is he?” My friend asked his girlfriend.

“Did you try the basement?” She asked.

“Yes. There’s nothing but some old floorboards down there.”

“What about the attic?” She asked.

“I tried there too. It’s just filled with a bunch of old, dusty antiques.”

“We’ll have to call the police and have them look for him too. He must’ve gotten lost in the woods looking for us.”

As they made their way out of the cottage, my heart sunk. If they’d already searched the basement and attic, then where was I? I quietly sobbed in the corner for a while before looking through some of my aunt’s old things. It was all I could do, at this point. I didn’t care for any of it, save for one treasure of hers that caught my eye. It was a book with a blood-red symbol hand-painted on the front. I had never seen anything like it before. I opened it up and read the beginning aloud:

“The spells in this book are to be followed precisely. If even one step is not executed properly, you might endanger yourself and those around you. Use these spells at your own risk.”

The odd nature of the preface littered my nerves with a sense of worry. Was my aunt a witch? Before turning the page, I noticed an old lace bookmark saving one of the pages. I opened up to it and looked at the chapter heading:

Chapter VIII: Horticulture

I glanced over at the next page and saw a spell meant to “bring your garden to life.” The ritual involved lighting some candles and making a circle of some special sand I’ve never heard. From within the circle, you are to recite the spell, verbatim. My Latin was a little rusty, but from what I could read of the incantation, it said something along the lines of “bring above that which is below,” which I assumed referred to the growing of plants. I gathered that my aunt performed the ritual in the attic, as there were some dormant candles in with her stuff. The inclusion of this book in my aunt’s collection now made sense to me. She wanted to spice up her dull garden with a bit of witchcraft. I can say with some confidence that it more than likely backfired. I’m now stuck in this damned place; a place that seems to be a realm of its own. I will more than likely spend an eternity here.

I am growing now to accept my fate. She did warn me after all. I should have listened. This is my fault, and mine alone. With the endless paper and writing materials here in this old attic, I am left to do nothing but write down in words what has happened to me, in the hopes that someone may come across it, somehow – the words of a living ghost. If you are reading this, please listen to what I have to say. Your time here is not boundless, and at any moment the horrid hand of the unknown could come knocking at your door, there to bereave your loved ones, and steal you away from your blissful, ordinary existence. The cause of this sudden upheaval will be death, or in my case, something far worse. Last but not least, if you are ever in this neck of the woods and feel a need to stop in and say hi, go right ahead. I can’t promise you that you’ll get a response. I just want you to remember two things; your life is fleeting, so spend your time wiser than I did mine – and whatever you do, don’t go in the basement.

 

 

CREDIT: Christopher Maxim

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

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Tales from the Gas Station (Part Eight)

Tales from the Gas Station (Part Eight)Reading Time: 22 minutes 

 

*PART 1 // PART 2 // PART 3 // PART 5 // PART 6 // PART 7*

 

 

It’s been about an hour since my last post.

We haven’t had any customers yet, and if the gas station weren’t an active crime scene I might have asked one of the other employees to squeegee the large pool of blood into the drains by the cooler.

For those of you out of the loop, you may want to catch up by reading my earlier posts via the links above.

***

I don’t know what Arnold’s personal grooming routine looks like, and I have to assume he spends at least twenty minutes a day in mustache prep, but even factoring that in, he should have made it to the gas station by now.

I called him a few minutes ago to make sure he hadn’t gone back to bed, and to make sure I hadn’t imagined the phone call in the first place. The conversation went something like this:

“Yeah?”

“Hey, Arnold? You on your way?”

“Sit tight, we had a little emergency.”

“Okay.”

“The road between town and you is blocked off.”

“Okay… Which one?”

“All of them. Even the service roads. It must have been a freak storm. I’ve never seen anything like it. All the roads are covered in trees. But they aren’t, you know, fallen. The trees are growing in the middle of the street. I’ve been trying to find a way around all morning, but I’ve given up. I’m about to head through on foot. Just to be clear, you said you heard from Spencer Middleton last night? Has he made any other contact?”

“Well, actually, he’s here. He came in and some stuff happened; now he’s dead.”

“What!? You’re telling me there’s a dead body at the gas station?”

I already told him all of this. Man, I really miss Tom.

“Did you not realize that?”

“I’m sorry,” he answered, “When the phone rang earlier I had just woken up from this beautiful weird dream of a… dark god… calling me into his eternal grace, taking me by the hand and guiding me into blessed oblivion, freeing me from all the pain and suffering of this mortal prison. Nurturing me like a child and inviting the world into a realm of higher existence, allowing me the privilege to devote myself to his glorious servitude.”

“Okay,” I said. “I guess I’ll see you when you get here.”

I ended the call and checked the charge on the phone. The battery was sitting close to fifty percent.

“What’s the deal?” asked Benjamin.

“Arnold is on his way here on foot. But we might have another problem.”

“Holy shit, you guys see that?” Carlos asked, pointing out the window. I couldn’t quite make it out from where I was seated behind the counter, and I didn’t feel like hobbling over a corpse just for a look.

“What is it?” I asked.

“There’s a bunch of naked people out on the road walking this way.” Carlos answered.

“The hell you say?” said Marlboro, who had suddenly taken interest. He pressed his face against the window for a better look. “Those aren’t just any people. I know them. That’s Marla! And Tyler! And there goes Fred! At least, those were the names I gave them.”

Benjamin crossed to the frozen drink machine, throwing over his shoulder a quick “They friends of yours?”

“Family, actually. Well, they were anyway, before they disappeared. But I don’t remember them looking like that.”

“Like what?” I asked, starting to get an uneasy feeling.

“Like…” He took a second to find the words, but all he came up with was “They look funny.”

They continued walking closer to the gas station. Close enough by now that I could see them. At least a dozen people, stark naked. The closer they got, the more details I could make out, and the more I wish I couldn’t. Their eyes were milky and pale, maggots crawling out of infested crevices all over their bodies. Their skin dirty and covered in lesions and bruises. Marlboro was certainly not wrong, they looked funny.

I’m sure you know the Hollywood-style Zombie walk. The shuffle of an undead body with impaired motor skills. The scariest part of these “people” approaching the front doors of the gas station was that they were walking one hundred percent perfectly normally. Just a bunch of decaying nudists out for a stroll.

There was a loud crash that snapped us out of our probably-rude staring. We all turned to see that Benjamin had pulled the frozen drink machine to the ground, and was attempting to drag it over Spencer towards the front doors, the sticky syrup concoction spilled out all over the ground, mixing with the congealed blood and coating the floor in a red, brown, and purple viscous soup. There’s no way we won’t have an insect problem after this.

Marlboro and Carlos didn’t have to ask what was going on. They instantly knew the plan and began yanking down whatever fixtures weren’t bolted in place and piling them up in a barricade against the glass doors.

I would have helped if it weren’t for this broken leg. Besides, it looks like they’ve got this under control.

“You boys think you can stay alive long enough for help to arrive?” Benjamin asked.

“We’ve got almost ninety years experience staying alive between the three of us,” Carlos joked.

Benjamin directed his next question to me. “You got any weapons in this place?”

I told him no. The only thing I have is a half-empty canister of gasoline in the supply closet and some really hard jerky, but he was welcome to whatever he could find. That’s when he started Macgyvering some spears out of chair legs and broken glass from the drink case.

About ten minutes ago, the gas station lost power. Now really would be a great time to have a giant pet glow-in-the-dark butterfly.

Stupid raccoons.

It’s been pretty quiet, save for the wet guttural whispering coming from those “people” outside. Benjamin is still searching for weapons while Carlos finds things to push against the front door, and (assuming he hasn’t fallen asleep) Marlboro has taken the back door. I was feeling pretty useless after Benjamin confiscated my crutches, so I figured I would take this opportunity to type up the account of what happened, just in case Arnold gets here too late. And in the spirit of preparedness, I should say a few things to whoever finds this message (or is it “whomever”? I never could get that right.)

First, to the owners, I’m sorry about the mess.

Second, to her, I’m sorry we didn’t run into each other one last time.

Third, to whomever keeps dumping tar into the ditch outside of the gas station, I hate you.

I guess that’s all I have to say. It’s been a weird, crazy ride. This is Jack from the gas station, signing off one last time…


I didn’t die!

Sorry it’s been so long since the last update, I just got my laptop back from the police. I know you guys are probably wondering what happened. Well, last week I met a dark god…


We were in that gas station without power for hours. It’s cold this time of year, so we huddled together around a plate of scented candles and ate pork rinds and canned beans. Marlboro almost dozed off a couple times before Carlos decided to loot the energy pills behind the counter. He handed them out and we all took a few, washing them down with cold coffee and telling ourselves it was for “alertness,” but all they did for me was create a heartbeat arrhythmia. That sure would be funny, if those things finally broke in here just to find the four of us dead from heart attacks.

Well, not “funny.” But, you know.

Carlos tried to strike up a conversation with Benjamin a couple of times, but the bearded man wasn’t very social.

“You Army?”

“Nah.”

“I knew a guy. He was a ranger in the Army. You remind me of him.”

“Alright.”

“Those things out there, any idea what we’re dealing with? You ever see anything like that before?”

“Nah.”

“You got any family?”

“Nah.”

I checked Spencer’s phone throughout the day, but it wasn’t getting any service anymore. I tried 911 a few times, but even that wouldn’t go through. When the battery got to five percent, I turned it off. We might need it later for an emergency call.

Eventually, the adrenaline and pills started to wear off and I remembered that my leg was still healing from a complex fracture and that maybe I shouldn’t have agreed to come back to work so soon. I limped back to the front desk to grab my meds. While I was there, I spotted the still-unopened gift-wrapped package on the shelf beneath the register. I decided to ignore it and instead grabbed the employee whiskey bottle that was behind it. We told ourselves it was for our “nerves” but all it did for me was give me an even worse heartbeat arrhythmia.

A few more hours passed. After we killed the first bottle we opened another, then Marlboro got into the energy drinks because we needed mixers. At some point the former cultist pulled out his stash and lit a joint and (without asking, I might add) turned the whole station into a hotbox. I couldn’t remember if I’d taken my pain meds yet, so I went ahead and took them.

As the sun started to set, I had two thoughts competing for first place in my mind. First, it sure is getting dark early these days. And second, I think we might be getting a little too fucked up to handle what’s about to happen.


Time became even more illusory than normal once the laptop died and we had no way of knowing how long we’d been waiting. We started measuring the time in candles. Our snack food and morale raced each other to depletion.

At some point, Carlos got me away from the others to ask what I thought about Benjamin. I told him he was the nicest guy that had pointed a gun in my face all week. But Carlos told me that he had a weird feeling about him. I reminded Carlos that he had killed Kieffer a couple times and maybe he should get off his high horse.

“Hey!” Benjamin yelled at us from across the room. “What are you two talking about?”

“Anime.” I lied. I think he bought it.

“Get back over here. I don’t need any more dead bodies piling up tonight.”

Benjamin was in the corner, warming his hands over the candle plate. It was the only source of light in the building, and was casting shadows that could maybe be described as “spooky” if I weren’t in such a serious life-or-death situation. Some of those shadows looked like faces, smiling, laughing at us idiots. One or two looked like historical figures. One of them asked me what time it was, and holy crap I was tripping!

“You okay, man?” Carlos asked, pulling me back to earth.

“I honestly have no idea.”

Did you ever figure out who placed that bomb? asked Spencer Middleton in a gurgle.

“What do you mean? I thought you did it?”

Not me. Bombs aren’t my style. Who do you know that can build a bomb?

“Hey, where’s Marlboro?!” I asked.

Benjamin picked up his spear – formerly my crutch that he had paracorded his knife to – and asked, “Who the hell is ‘Marlboro?’ Is there someone else here?”

“Marlboro. The other employee.” I looked at Carlos, who just shrugged and said, “I don’t know no Marlboro. How many of them pills did you take?”

Had I imagined Marlboro this entire time? I tried to sit down on the tarp, but it turned into me lying on my back while the room spun. I could feel the human debris squish beneath the tarp fabric as I rested my head. How much of any of this was real, anyway?

You’re losing it, you know.

“I know.”

All those years ago, the first doctor tried to prepare me for life with my condition. There weren’t that many other cases before me, so they didn’t know exactly how everything would play out. But every case had a few of the same side effects. Of course there would be weight loss, fatigue, headaches, all of the signs of a normal physical illness early on.

As the condition developed, there would be more “interesting” side effects. Hallucinations, memory loss, the works.

And of course, I can’t be properly anesthetized. They tried in other cases to induce medical comas, but that just messed things up further. I’m always wide awake and halfway lucid during surgery. If you want to know what that’s like, I’ll tell you the truth. It’s boring.

You know what? Usually when I hurt someone bad enough, they pass out from the pain.

They gave me a couple years, tops. I haven’t been keeping track of time.

Right then, Marlboro walked into the room, zipping up his fly. Presumably, he had just come from the bathroom, but who really knows? I pointed at him and yelled, “That guy! You see him, right?! It’s Marlboro!”

Carlos looked where I was pointing, then back at me. “What, you mean Jerry?”

Oh. That’s right. He has a real name.

“I hate it when he calls me Marlboro.”

Benjamin set the improvised spear down and turned his attention back to the fire. “You better get him under control.”

You should open your package. Said Spencer.

“Hey wait a sec, aren’t you supposed to be dead?”

Well, aren’t you supposed to be dead? he said back.

Touche, Spencer.

“Who are you talking to?” asked Carlos.

“Spencer,” I answered.

“Well stop that. It’s freaking us out.”


Two candles burned from start to finish before Benjamin decided that help wasn’t on the way and our best chance of survival was to fight it out with the things outside.

I disagreed, but Benjamin informed me in his own polite way that it wasn’t up for vote.

He peeled back the layers of the barricade just enough to get a view of the outside. Once we knew what we were dealing with, we could come up with a better game plan. Only, he couldn’t actually get a good look because something was blocking the view. Something just on the other side of the glass doors.

Benjamin yanked the rest of the barricade down and took a few steps back to marvel at it.

“Well, you don’t see that every day,” said Jerry.

Nope, I can’t do it. I’m sorry. His name is Marlboro.

We were trapped there, inside the gas station. On the other side of the doors, a network of trees had grown together, twisted into knots, and pressed against the glass. They were so densely pressed into a single wall of tree trunks that not even light could get through. For all we knew, it could have been daytime outside.

“We have to get out of here,” said Benjamin.

We checked the back door, but it was the same thing. I often wondered how long a person could survive inside the gas station without any new supplies coming in. I had run the scenario in my head a million times. On boring nights, what else is there to do? I had run the thought experiment for countless different contexts. How long could I survive if the gas station were transported back in time? To another planet? If there were a zombie apocalypse? Etc.

What I had deduced was that, under ideal circumstances, I could live off of the supplies on hand for four years if I could find a source of water. Six weeks if not.

These were not ideal circumstances.

We had already smashed up, weaponized, or eaten almost all of our supplies. If we were trapped here, it wouldn’t take long for us to go all Donner party on each other.

While I was pondering this in the hallway by the cooler, we heard the sound of glass shattering from the main room. Benjamin raised his spear and led the way back.

The wall of trees was still there on the other side of the doors. Our mess was still there. Everything was as we left it with one exception. The tarp was pulled back, and Spencer’s body was gone. A series of footprints coagulated in the blood leading from where he should have been to the shattered glass of the front door. Like he had just gotten up, walked over, and was absorbed into the trees.

“I need you boys to think real hard,” Benjamin said. “Is there any other way out of this place?”

“Well,” Marlboro started. I shot him a look and shook my head, but I guess he couldn’t see it in the dim candlelight. Or maybe he was just too dense to understand. “There is that hole.”

“Hole? What hole?”

“The hole in the secret room back here past the cooler.”

“Secret? Room?”

“Yeah, right over here.”

Marlboro pointed at the blank space on the wall where the door used to be. The owners had decided that the smartest thing they could do when they found out about the secret room was remove the door, build a good-old fashioned wall, and forget all about it, but that only works if everyone agrees to forget all about it, Marlboro!

“You’re telling me there’s a secret room behind there? And a hole in that room that we can maybe fit inside and escape? Why didn’t you boys tell me this earlier?”

He didn’t wait for an answer. Benjamin went straight to the wall and started smashing it to pieces with his spear and then, after he got it down a little, his bare hands. After a minute, the wall was once again a door.

While Benjamin lit and placed a few candles around the giant hole in the floor, I grabbed Carlos and pulled him aside.

“Hey,” I said, “I should tell you something. I opened that package. The one that looked like a present.”

“Yeah?” He said.

“Yeah.” I said.

I’m not sure at what point I’d finally cracked and opened it, but I had been carrying around the content of the box in my pocket for at least one candle. Just like the last package, there was a note with this one. It read:

“I didn’t expect you to use my letter as part of the story, but thanks lol. I didn’t mind you using it , that was very neat! I liked it. I was very surprised. Thank you. I enjoyed your stories and I knew it would be really great from the beginning. That’s why I wrote what I did. I was surprised, but in a good way, that you used my letter lol. Thank you. I’m honored, really honored.”

Underneath that letter was a small handgun. I knew enough about pistols from playing video games to know how to check the clip and sure enough, it was loaded.

I showed the gun to Carlos, who said “That’s a Ruger 380!”

“Is that good?”

“Well it’s a gun, so it’ll probably have more stopping power than a chair leg. Why didn’t you give it to him?” Carlos gestured at our fearless leader.

“I don’t know or trust him.”

“Good point.”

“Here,” I said trying to hand it over, “I’m not a gun guy.”

“No way man. You keep it. I got both legs, you need it more than me.”

Benjamin yelled to us from the secret room, “Ya’ll ready or what? Time to see what’s down here.” Then he jumped in.

I may have neglected to mention that it was a ten foot drop to the cave floor below. I also may have taken a little pleasure in the sound of him crash landing and the pain moan that followed. For the rest of us, we rolled up a tarp and put some knots into it like a poorman’s rope ladder, and I have to give credit to tarps. Those things are incredibly useful.

We had spent hours above ground in a room with a dead body, unrefrigerated food, and Benjamin’s body odor. We were all eating canned beans and I think somebody probably threw up in the garbage can. My point is this: we were all smelling pretty bad, to the point where I was doubting that I still had a sense of smell. But once we went into that hole, I knew for a fact that I had. The smell down there made our gas station funk seem like cologne. The very worst putrid odors from the storm drains around the station were nothing compared to this. Is it possible for a smell to be heavy? Because that’s the best word I can think of for it. Not thick. Just, heavy.

Carlos and Marlboro took turns barfing. When they were done, Benjamin handed out the torches he had made from gasoline soaked rags and chair legs. I don’t know what that guy’s deal is but he sure is crafty.

The cave was a straight tunnel starting under the gas station and heading away from town. It was plenty tall enough for all of us to stand comfortably, and there was a slight incline, taking us downhill as we walked further into the hole.

“What the hell is this?” Benjamin asked after about twenty feet. He waved his torch at the wall and I saw that somebody had spray-painted a message on the cave wall in red. It said in shaky handwriting: “Rita the Raccoon Ate the Caccoon!”

I said it a few times in my head and was pissed off at just how close it came to rhyming but didn’t. The handwriting was eerily familiar, especially that capital “R,” but I couldn’t remember why.

There was another lawn gnome on the ground beneath it.

We continued further into the cave, Benjamin way ahead of us, me bringing up the tail, hobbling along the best I could with just a single crutch. The deeper we went, the narrower the cave, the stronger the smell. Nothing about being down here away from the gas station felt like an improvement from our previous situation. But it wasn’t until we made it to the tree that I really decided that we had messed up.

I don’t know how long we had been walking down there. Maybe a half-mile or so. Crutch-miles feel a lot longer than normal miles. But we eventually came upon an enormous black tree taking up the width of the cave. It looked like one of those thousand year old sequoias, big enough to put a two-lane road through.

“Ho. Lee. She. It.” enunciated Benjamin. I was the last to see what everyone else was wide-eyed and gawking at. The tree, in addition to being enormous, had some characteristics that you wouldn’t expect a tree to have. Specifically, human body parts. A few arms and legs poking out at random spots. And right at eye level, a human face.

“Hey,” said Marlboro, “I know that guy. It’s Patrick.” He touched Patrick’s face and it peeled off and plopped to the ground like a wet Halloween mask.

“I don’t think he’s going to make it,” Benjamin said as he pulled something out of his jacket pocket and stuck it to the tree.

“What is that?” I asked.

Surprisingly, it was Marlboro who answered. “That looks like C4 plastic explosives to me.”

Benjamin chuckled, “Wow, you win the prize for that one, Rain Man. Yeah, it’s the last of my explosives. I’ve been trying to kill this thing one piece at a time for the last week, but it just keeps growing back. I have to kill the root system, blow it up and kill the brain so the rest of the network will die.”

“That was you that put that bomb in the gas station,” I said.

“Yeah, well, back then I thought the building was the epicenter of this whole thing.”

“Hey,” interrupted Carlos, “Jack was still in the building when you planted that.”

“I know.”

“Um, guys?” Marlboro tried to get their attention, but it wasn’t working.

“You knew? He would have died if that thing went off.”

“Guys?”

“Look assholes, this is war. And in war, there are always casualties. You can’t make peanut butter without smashing a few nuts.”

“Hey, guys!”

“What?!” screamed Benjamin. “I’m a little busy.”

Marlboro pointed back the way we came. We all turned to see Spencer standing in the middle of the path, a wicked smile on his face.

“Hi. Miss me?”

Carlos screamed at me, “Jack! The gun!”

I pulled the weapon out of my pocket and chucked it as hard as I could. It smacked Spencer right in the face and he fell over. I was very proud for the two seconds it took me to realize what I had done wrong.

What came next almost happened too quickly for me to comprehend. Something burst out of the wall next to us. An enormous object, the size of a car and mostly hand-shaped. It wrapped its giant fingers around the other three and pulled them into the wall. And then, I was falling. The earth had opened up below me and I was sliding through a dark tunnel. No, I was being pulled. More like swallowed, really. It went for a while, dirt filling my nose and ears and mouth and then whatever it was spat me out into a pitch black room onto a rocky wet piece of ground. I landed on my bad leg and probably broke it again.

Well, I thought, at least this time I managed to hit Spencer. As far as last moments on earth go, this one was a slight improvement over last week.

The room I was in was cool, not cold. And cavernous. I could hear my breath echoing off the walls. I could also hear something else breathing. All at once I became aware of another presence down there. An entity in the room with me. It’s hard to explain, in the same way I remember it being hard to explain a dream right after you wake up. It’s something you have to experience to understand, but the feeling was something like being plugged into a shared consciousness with another intelligence that was putting thoughts directly into my head.

Of course, it might have just been all the drugs.

“Welcome to my home,” came a loud voice from somewhere in the pitch black room. “I’m sorry it’s taken this long for us to meet face-to-face.”

“I can’t see anything.”

“Yeah, what part of ‘Dark God’ don’t you understand?”

Oh shit. I’m in the throne room of a dark god, and he sounds like an internet troll. I guess that makes sense. Might as well get this over with.

“Do you think you could maybe turn on some lights so I can actually see who I’m talking to?”

He let out a very human sounding sigh and exclaimed, “Fiiine.”

Out of nowhere, the entire room turned into an intense, furious bright white. All I could see was pure light. I covered my eyes, but even then I could see the bones of my hands through my eyelids. Even with the meds, that shit hurt.

“Too bright! Too bright!” I yelled, “Split the difference!”

“Wow,” responded the voice, “I didn’t realize that you were going to be such a big baby.”

And then, just as suddenly, the brightness relented. After a moment, my pupils adjusted and I could see what I had been talking to.

“Behold!” it exclaimed, “and tremble before the dark god!”

He (if it was a “he,” I’m just going off of the sound of his voice) was about the size of an elephant, swollen and round with a tanned yellow hide. The best animal I could think of to compare him to would be an enormous tick, with six rows of stubby arms on either side, six rows of sagging breasts, and a human-sized head on the top. The head contained a somewhat human face and no neck. The body connected to the earth at the widest point of its stomach, like it was half buried. And, to top the whole thing off, he had a red mohawk.

He smiled at me.

“Eh? What do you think?”

“About what?”

“My hair! Isn’t it amazing?” He looked up at his mohawk.

“I guess.”

“You guess? Do you have any idea how much effort I put into doing my hair like this? You know what, it’s fine. I shouldn’t have wasted my time trying to impress you. That’s on me.”

“Okay,” I said, attempting to push myself to my feet only to remember that my leg was pretty broken. I was immobilized, underground, high, and without any weapons. There really was no chance of escape. “If you’re going to kill me, do you mind just getting it over with?”

“What is it with you people? SO UNTRUSTING. So prejudiced. Why is it that ANYTIME you see something you don’t understand, you think it’s kill-or-be-killed? I’m not the monster here. You are. I can see into your soul. I’ve seen your sins. Remember that time when you were fifteen and you keyed the principal’s car?”

“No.”

“Really? Maybe that wasn’t you. Humans all look a lot alike.”

“Why am I here? Why did you drag me underground?”

“Because, Jack, I can’t find any other way of talking to you, and I wanted to tell you to stop killing my children! You’ve burned up so many of us, and what did we ever do to you, huh?”

“The Kieffer plants?”

“Yeah, just backups because that idiot is so clumsy. They’re harmless though. I’ve been trying to put some people in office so I can get a little political influence in this awful town.”

“To take over the world?” I asked, even though I was starting to see where this conversation was going.

“No! I want to pressure the city council to cut back on logging. I’m trying to save the world. But you and your awful friends keep killing us and trying to blow me up.”

“But Spencer, he beat the shit out of me. That guy is awful, and he’s following your orders!”

“Well excuse me for thinking that people have the potential to be rehabilitated! I hired Spencer because I needed someone to protect Kieffer. And I gave him very specific orders not to kill anyone, which he agreed to.”

“But you’ve killed tons of people! The cultists! Their entire compound!”

“Yeah, actually no. I hate to be the one to say this, but those guys killed themselves. Yeah, it was a really sad mass suicide. But if you listened to them, I think it was pretty obvious. You guys should have seen it coming from a mile away. I mean, consequentialism mixed with a moral obligation to end suffering?”

He waved one of his six arms in a jerk-off motion before continuing, “I didn’t want to let all those perfectly good fully-formed adult bodies go to waste. Do you even know how hard it is to make one of those from scratch? It’s not easy.”

“But you sent those things after us at the gas station.”

“Again with the self-centered hero complex. It was never about you. I sent my children to bring Spencer’s body back here. I was hoping I could get him home in time to rebuild him without any permanent brain damage. I think next time you see him, you should apologize for what happened. I swear, ever since Romero made zombies cool, people see a dead man come back to life and instantly they get this urge to kill, kill, kill. What ever happened to calling this a miracle? Nobody freaked out when Jesus came back.”

“Are you saying that Jesus was like those Mathmetists? Just a reanimated corpse?”

“Is this really what you want to talk about, Jack?”

“But doesn’t ‘dark god’ mean, like, evil?”

He sighed.

“The last time I was awake, dark god had a completely different connotation. But you can’t use my branding as your excuse for burning up Kieffer. You ask me, you deserved the ass-whooping you got.”

“But…” I searched my mind for any proof that the dark god was the monster I knew him to be. But the only thing I could come up with was a sad icy-cold realization. “We’re the monsters?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Good. That’s a start.”

“So this is it? You’re the reason for all the weird stuff going on out here at the gas station?”

He laughed again and wiggled his head, which I took for his version of shaking “no.”

“Nope. I’ll be honest with you, I have no clue what half of these things are. Your gas station is weird, and even I do not know why. The hand plants and Kieffers were me. The smell, I’ll fess up. That’s me too. But all that other stuff, man, it gives me the heeby jeebies. You know that weird glowing worm-bug thing? That was pretty weird, huh?”

“So… What do we do now?”

“Now, I send you and your friends back home, and you quit killing me. That’s my deal. Can we agree to that?”

“Um, yeah, I think so.”

“Good.”

“Should we shake on it or-”

At that moment an enormous hand burst out of the wall and wrapped its fingers tightly around me. The next thing I knew, I was coughing up dirt, down on all fours in the street outside of the gas station.

It was morning.

“Oh good,” said Benjamin, “You made it out too.”

I looked over and saw the other three standing there, covered in black dirt. I was back where it started. The trees were all gone, leaving no sign that they were ever even there in the first place. The gas station was a wreck, the front doors were smashed out and the raccoons were excitedly running a loot train for whatever edibles they could carry from the front to their nest behind back.

“What happened, man?” asked Carlos.

“I’m not really sure,” I answered, digging the clumps of dirt out of my nose and ears.

“Well, you’re lucky. Your friends made me wait a few minutes to give you a chance to get out.”

I looked at my hands, they were nearly black from all the layers of dirt coating them.

“Wait for what?” I asked.

“For this,” Benjamin answered as he pressed the button on his remote detonator.

Somewhere deep in the woods came an explosion that rocked the earth and sent birds flying into the sky. Carlos’s car alarm went off and the pavement cracked. A black cloud slowly started to fill the skyline and I felt something inside my mind scream and die.

“Whelp,” said Benjamin. “My work here is done. If you don’t mind, I’m going to get lost before the police show up.” Then he walked off into the forest, hopefully never to be seen again.


And that’s what happened. If you can believe it, I’m back at the gas station, working again. Arnold is on personal leave from the police force and I didn’t care to ask for details, so we have a new deputy babysitting us. I’ll tell you all about her another time, maybe. The police investigated the incident, and ultimately concluded that we were victims of hysteria brought on by a gas leak, and once again, there was nothing supernatural to be reported.

I don’t know if this is the end for the dark god, but I do know that I haven’t felt any compulsions to continue digging ever since Benjamin blew up that underground tree.

Things are settling back into our brand of normal. I still work way too much. I’m still keeping a journal. And weird things still happen at the shitty gas station at the edge of town. In fact, just yesterday, people started reporting that they had seen something in the woods that looked like an enormous raccoon with bat wings, stealing small animals before flying off into the forest. They even said this winged raccoon monster glows in the dark.

Marlboro just came up to me and asked, “You know there’s a guy in the bathroom dressed like a cowboy?”

I assured him that I did not know that.

This may be the last update for a while. It’s going to be a lot of work putting this place back together, and I’ve got a whole new crew of part-timers to train, so, until next time…

 

 

CREDIT: Jack Townsend

Click HERE to pre-order Jack Townsend’s latest book, Tales from the Gas Station: Volume One, a collection of both old and new tales revolving around everyone’s favorite gas station clerk

Tales from the Gas Station: Volume One

**Click HERE to check out creepypasta’s official YouTube channel**

 

The post Tales from the Gas Station (Part Eight) appeared first on Creepypasta.

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Blood Magic

Blood MagicReading Time: 8 minutes

I was almost friends with a monster when I was eleven years old. I would have preferred a human friend, but my family had just moved to a new city where everyone was cold and distant. My father promised that I would meet new people at school, but there were still a few weeks of summer and I had nothing to do.

Elisa Williams was the one I really wanted to be friends with. She lived next door in a beautiful gray house with a high fenced yard.

I used to sit with my back to the fence and listen to her playing and giggling, the sound bubbling up like music made for everyone but me.

I wasn’t brave enough to introduce myself, but after a few days of moping around the house my mother volunteered to do it for me.

I stood behind her, carrying a basket of cookies while she knocked on the neighbor’s door.

“Elisa!” The man who opened it looked like a poorly shaved bear. “Get over here and meet your new friend.”

“We’re busy!” came the shrill response from somewhere deeper in the house.

My mother marveled about the woodworking and craftsmanship and asked the age of the venerable structure.

“Now, Elisa!” the bear bellowed. “I know you’re alone up there.”

A short, angry sigh, like what circus lions must do before they’re forced onto the stage.

Then footsteps creaking down the stairs.

“I’ve got cookies!” I supplied hopefully.

“Elisa spends all day playing by herself,” the bear said.

“She’s been so lonely since her mother passed.

Some company will be good for her.”

I thought about the giggling I heard through the fence, and I didn’t understand how someone could have such a good time on their own.

Elisa appeared a moment later, her head hanging low in surly obedience.

She wore shorts and long socks pulled halfway up her thighs: one bright green and the other purple.

That’s all I really saw, because I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t look up from the basket of cookies I held out.

Elisa snatched the whole basket and briskly turned around again.

I glimpsed a wave of black hair, curly like her father’s but not so wild.

After a few steps she turned to glare over her shoulder with the expression a vegan might give a BBQ.

“Well? Are you coming or not?”

I hadn’t taken my second step before she cut in.

“Shoes off.” I hasted to obey. “No, the socks stay on. What are you, some kind of barbarian?”

“No ma’am.” I don’t know why I said that, but I was scared of her and I didn’t want to give her any reason to send me away.

Elisa seemed satisfied with the answer though, and she permitted me to follow her up the stairs toward her room. I felt like I was on solid ground until she said:

“We don’t need any more friends. None of our games have room for a third person.”

“Your dad said —”

“He isn’t my dad.

He killed my father and took me prisoner.”

“Um—”

“Oh yes,” she said, pivoting her socked-heel on the wooden floor so smoothly that she seemed to almost float.

“But that’s okay, because sometimes he brings me little boys to eat.”

I could only hope that my stunned silence was mistaken for composure.

Elisa rolled her eyes and opened the door to her room.

“Just kidding.

You’re not stupid, are you?”

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until that moment.

“I’m sorry. That wasn’t a fair question. Most stupid people don’t know they’re stupid, and I suppose it’s perfectly fine if you are as long as you don’t try to perform surgery, or vote, or do anything a normal person would do,” Elisa rambled.

The stairway and hall we passed were heavily decorated with framed portraits, hanging tapestries, and ornate tables littered with precious and intricate things.

It was a stark contrast to Elisa’s room which had a simple metal-frame bed in the corner and a dark-wood cabinet on the other side.

The walls were painted black, and the window was concealed beneath a thick curtain. There was nothing on the hard-wood floor to disrupt the monastic austerity.

“How do you play games without any toys?” I asked.

“We play blood games,” she said, stressing the plural again. “The kind that need magic to work. You do know about magic, don’t you?”

“Yeah sure. Of course.” I didn’t want to say anything more to betray my ignorance.

I reached for a cookie from the basket, but she slapped my hand away.

I stood in disbelief as she ate one of the cookies herself.

“My mother taught me after she passed,” Elisa said casually, moving to set the cookies on the cabinet.

She retrieved something and turned to face me again. “If you want to play then you’ll need to give me your hand.”

“What do you mean after she passed?” I tentatively stretched out to her.

“Now close your eyes.”

She could have told me to jump out the window and I probably would have done it. She had the sweetest smile on her face, and the soft brush of her fingers tracing my palm made me blush. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“Don’t scream. Mother hates screamers.”

I opened my eyes a sliver, just in time to see a metallic flash in the air.

Elisa’s grip tightened around my wrist while her free hand gouged a needle into the center of my palm.

I didn’t scream exactly.

It was more of a shrieking yelping sound, like a rabbit trying skydiving for the first time. I tore my hand away with the needle still in it, blood freely running between my fingers.

“Come back here!” Elisa shouted. “You’re going to make a mess!” We both dashed for the door. I hesitated to avoid running into her, but she pushed me aside and didn’t slow until she’d slammed it shut and locked it from the inside.

“You’re wasting the blood. Give me your hand.”

“No! You’ll stab me again!” I gingerly pulled the needle out of the skin, prompting a fresh swell of blood. I felt dizzy.

“Baby.” She snorted. That hurt slightly more than the needle. “You’re already bleeding, so I don’t need to stab you, now do I? Here, wipe some on me.”

She offered me the back of her hand.

Bewildered, I rubbed a long smear on her pale skin. Her dark eyes sparkled as she watched with eager fascination.

I almost took the opportunity to flee, but I couldn’t resist asking:

“How does blood magic work?”

“Mother said that when the world was young, all living things were connected and the same blood flowed from one to the next.” Elisa plucked the needle from my fingers and pricked her clean hand daintily to draw forth a single drop of blood. “We started to fight one another though, and it got worse and worse until we had to pull apart into separate entities. We became so distant the we started taking different shapes, and some animals even preyed upon others until we forgot that we were ever the same. The blood is the only part of us that never forgot.”

Using the nail of one index finger, she deftly traced a pattern in my blood.

A circle, with a triangle inside, and a square inside that, and perhaps even a tiny pentagon within.

With deep concentration she pressed the single drop of her blood into the center of the design.

“Now what are you doing?” I asked.

She smiled, but the gesture seemed strained and unnatural, like a dog baring its teeth for a dog food commercial.

“Duh,” she said.

“I’m making magic.”

And she was.

The pattern of blood on her hand was glowing.

Soft at first, but growing brighter in even pulses.

My heart began to race with excitement, and the pulsing light increased to match its rhythm.

“What’s it do?” I asked.

“I’m going to grow you a friend,” she said.

“That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

I wanted to tell her that I didn’t need a friend anymore, because I had her.

But we don’t always get what we want, even from ourselves. Especially from ourselves.

“Yeah sure.

That’s what I came here for,” I said.

“Okay watch.”

The light grew stronger, but I couldn’t look away. The pattern was moving now. The triangle was turning within the circle, and the square within that, which moved in the opposite direction. And from the center grew a red stalk, like a time-lapsed bean struggling through her skin to sprout and curl into the air.

Within a breathless moment the stalk had grown over a foot. The veins of Elisa’s hand glowed beneath the skin like a network of roots. And from that strange plant, an even stranger fruit began to swell.

“What is his name?” Elisa asked.

“Um, how about Sid.”

The fruit looked like an organ with a face.

I didn’t know what a fetus looked like at the time, but when I saw pictures when I was older I knew that’s what it was.

“How big will he be?”

“I want to be taller than he is,” I said.

She smiled.

“What?” I said. “We’ll be playing sports and stuff. I want to win.”

“What does Sid like to eat?” she asked.

“Uh…” I glanced around the empty room, spotting the basket. “Cookies, I guess.”

It was larger now. I could make out tiny hands and feet pressing against its transparent cocoon.

“And what does he love?” Her voice was fainter now, straining with exertion.

Her glowing veins extended all the way down her arm now, and for the first time I realized the concentration on her face was mixed with pain.

“I don’t know. I don’t think I like this game. I don’t want to play anymore.”

“You can’t stop now. What does Sid love?”

Elisa took a sharp intake of breath and grimaced.

The plant had stopped growing, and the swiftly gorging fruit was about the size of a watermelon. How was it getting so big? Was it filling up with her blood?

“Stop it,” I said. My voice cracked, but I didn’t care. “Make it go back. Cut it off.”

“It’s not an it,” she grunted.

“His name is Sid, and he is already alive. You have to tell me what he loves or he will be nothing but—”

“I hate it. I hate him. Make him go away, please.”

“Hurry! You’re part of the spell too. I can’t do this alone,” she said.

It wasn’t a watermelon anymore.

It was the size of dog and beginning to grow course fur. Now it was heavy enough that Elisa had to kneel and rest it on the ground. The hands and feet were becoming more defined and solid by the second. It’s eyes fluttered once, and then opened to pierce me with pale sightless orbs.

“Mr. Williams!” I screamed.“Mr. Williams help! It’s hurting her!”

Thunder on the stairs, but the wretched thing reacted to the noise and flailed its arms. One wild claw pierced straight through its encompassing sac and clawed the open air an inch from my face. Bright red fingers clutched the tattered opening and ripped it wide in a rush of blood.

All at once Sid was free and on the ground, standing almost as tall as me.

Pounding on the door. It was still locked. “What’s going on in there. Elisa? Are you okay?”

She lay panting on the ground. The blood was beginning to evaporate into a thick red mist.

I choked and fell to the ground to avoid breathing in the heavy wet air. The tattered sac, the discarded dying stem, both withering before my eyes. Sid was crouched in terror, its matted blue fur showing through the evaporating blood.

“Open the door! Boy are you in there?”

I crawled across the ground to unlock the door. More pounding, louder and more desperate than ever.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Sid flinching at each resounding crash.

The instant I fully turned away from it to unlock the door, I heard Elisa scream.

I pounded back the lock and the enormous pressure on the other side made the door spring like a trap. The man was roaring, but it was too late.

Elisa’s stomach had been savagely opened. Sid loomed over her, digging through her stomach as though searching for something. When it turned to face Mr. William’s onslaught, it was shoveling a bloody clump into its mouth.

Mr. Williams almost caught it, but it bounded away just in time. The bear man moved to the window to block its retreat, but he missed again when Sid lunged for the basket on the cabinet instead.

By the time Mr. Williams caught up with it, Sid had already fled through the door.

“It’s my fault.” I heaved for air.

Mr. Williams knelt above his daughter, clutching her soaked body to his chest.

“I could have shaped it,” I said. “I could have told it not to hurt anyone. I’m so sorry.”

“We need to get out of the house,” he said.

I followed him downstairs, though I knew it wouldn’t return. The monster had been born with but one desire, and it would stop at nothing to get it.

There was nothing left to satisfy it here.

A cookie monster was born that day.

 

CREDIT: Tobias Wade

**Click HERE to check out creepypasta’s official YouTube channel**

The post Blood Magic appeared first on Creepypasta.

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The Monster in the Pantry

The Monster in the PantryReading Time: 8 minutes 

 

*NOTE: This creepypasta was originally published on the site in May of 2016. We are republishing the post because it has been edited and rewritten by the author. Enjoy.*

 

Unexplained phenomenon is a staple in human culture. Strange goings-on, paranormal in nature, are prominent in our lives, in one form or another. You may not think about them all that often, but there’s always a piece in the news or a crazy story from a friend or passerby that makes you recall such strangeness. No matter how many times you forget about the subject, there will always be a moment that drags the notion back to the surface of your memory. For several years, I had forgotten all about the monster living in my mom’s pantry. I had forgotten all about it, that is, until now.

I was ten years old when I first became aware of the monster’s presence. It was a normal evening at home; my mother and I awaited my father’s arrival and I helped her out with dinner preparations. I look back on these memories fondly – I loved cooking with my mom and was overjoyed whenever my father came home from work. I had what some would consider a picture-perfect childhood, save for one peculiarity. The thing that resided in the pantry would audibly reveal itself that very night.

While cutting up vegetables for my mom’s famous beef barley soup, I heard a scratching at the pantry door. Startled, I jumped, nearly cutting off one of my fingers in the process. My mom looked over at the pantry, then to me with a concerned smile. I looked to her for answers, utterly baffled by the noise.

“There it goes again, scratching at the pantry door.”

“What is it, mom?” I asked.

“I’m not too sure, sweetie, but it’s been here ever since we moved in. Sometimes it scratches at the door, other times it will knock food off the pantry shelves. Some nights, it doesn’t make a sound at all.”

There was no comfort derived from her explanation. I was still frightened, and my mother noticed this.

“It’s nothing to be scared of, honey.”

“Is it something… bad?” I asked.

“No, of course not.”

Just then, the scratching recommenced. I jumped a second time. My mother then walked over to the pantry door.

“Here, look…”

She opened it up as the scratching continued. Once the door was completely ajar, the sound ceased.

“See, sweetie? There’s nothing to be worried about.”

Despite my mother’s comforting words, my ten-year old heart couldn’t help but race with fear. In the coming years, I continued to help her cook, but I never once set foot back in that pantry; convinced that the thing living in there was a monster, out to get me. This fear was kept alive by the scratching that would interrupt otherwise happy moments. I ignored it the best I could, but sometimes I would have to leave the kitchen.

Eventually, the sounds stopped all together.

 

***

 

It’s now been many years since then, and both of my parents have passed away. In their wills, I was left everything, including my childhood home. It took me a while to come to terms with their deaths and move back in, but I eventually accepted the situation and embraced the living space where I grew up.

It was the little memories sprinkled throughout the house that helped me cope. Sometimes I would walk into the living room and see my dad sitting in his chair, smoking a cigar and watching his favorite sitcom. At other points, I would see my mother in the kitchen, making us dinner. These corporeal fragments of a time long since passed kept me going. After a while, the house felt like home again… until one day.

I had just arrived home from work when it happened. I sat down on my dad’s favorite chair and flipped on the TV to unwind. Something crossed my mind; minus the tobacco, I had actually become my father. This thought put a bit of a smile on my face as I reclined the chair to relax. Relaxation never came though, as an all too familiar scratching sound emanated from the nearby pantry. My smile quickly vanished.

I jumped up and ran to the kitchen to investigate. The scratching continued and increased in volume. I stared at the door hoping an answer would jump out at me, but also hoping whatever was inside wouldn’t do the same. Without many options at my disposal, I was forced to open it.

Much to my anticipation, the noise ceased, and I found nothing behind the door but some empty shelves and an old broom. This was the same thing that happened when my mother opened the door many years ago.

I was no longer a frightened child, but the sound’s return was still unnerving; at least, it was at first. After a while, it became nothing more than a bothersome fixture in my otherwise normal days. Whenever I came home from work, woke up in the middle of the night, or sat down to watch television, that terrible scratching would invade my ear-space, not stopping until I opened that damned pantry door. This routine continued for over a year. One night, however, everything changed.

I had just gotten home from a long day of work and flung myself into the comfort of my bed sheets. I wanted more than anything to drift off into a peaceful slumber, hoping the day’s troubles would melt away in the form of happy dreams and restful sleep. Unfortunately for me, the moment my head hit the pillow, the scratching started up once more.

I groaned in anger, not wanting to leave my bed for anything, much less that damned noise. Because of this, I made the mistake of not getting up right away. I hit my internal snooze button and allowed myself to drift off for a few moments. When I came to, something was amiss. I didn’t notice it at first, but the unsettling silence made way for a startling revelation.  The scratching had stopped.

How strange. It’s never stopped on its own before.

 Perplexed, I jumped out of bed and ventured downstairs to investigate. What I saw upon entering the kitchen alarmed me – the pantry door was wide open.

That can’t be… it was definitely closed when I got home earlier…

 Turning the light on only revealed the usual empty shelves. It wasn’t until my hand met the wood of the door that I noticed something unusual. Embedded in the hard oak were deep gashes; claw marks that covered the entire bottom half of the door.

Those weren’t there before… what the hell is going on?

 My childhood was beginning to catch up with me. Memories of the pantry came bursting through the floodgates; the scratches, the nightmares… the fear. But I wasn’t a child this time, and I wasn’t going to let a little superstition get the better of me. It was just a raccoon or a large rat, that’s all. At least, that’s what I told myself.

I scoured the house for nearly an hour, ignoring my fast-beating heart the whole time. Whatever escaped from the pantry was nowhere to be found. As I stepped back into the kitchen to close the door and call it a night, something stopped me in my tracks. A shadowy figure raced across my field of vision and into the pantry.

 

CRACK

 

The pantry door shut on its own, shaking the walls around it. A bone-chilling vibration reverberated throughout the entire house in an instant and was then followed by an eerily dead silence. My heart sank to my bowels. I was officially rattled.

Running on pure instinct, I grabbed the heaviest things I could find and piled them in front of the door, including my dad’s old chair. Once satisfied with my blockade, I raced upstairs, locked my bedroom door, and jumped underneath the sheets. I was a kid again, scared shitless of the monster living in my mom’s pantry.

After the fear and adrenaline tapered off, I managed to get a little bit of rest. My late-night adventure had come to an end.

 

***

 

I woke up the next morning in denial; a defense mechanism of a mind bruised by fear. Pretending nothing happened the previous night, I went about my morning routine as normal. After breakfast, I was able to walk right past the pile of crap in front of the pantry without flinching. I even ignored the scratch marks on my front door as I left for work. Everything was fine. There was no monster. No supernatural entity taking over my home. That was absurd. It was just a raccoon. A very large raccoon.

The lies only lasted for so long. Driving away, the terror set back in, sending me into a desperate frenzy of distress and unease. Though distracted by my strange predicament, I managed to make it to work in one piece.

Work brought me no solace. All I could think about was what awaited me at home. I was on edge and my boss noticed this. He asked if I needed to leave early and get some rest – I practically shouted the word NO at him, begging him to let me stay. I wanted to be away from that house for as long as I could. Though confused by my unorthodox behavior, my boss obliged.

I might have been able to stay at work, but I had to clock out eventually. The day went by far too quickly, and before I knew it, I was back home, sitting in my driveway, dreading the thought of opening the front door. Because of this, I sat in my car for a while, attempting to come up with a plan of action.

What do I do? Who can I tell? Where will I stay?

 The questions swirled around my tired mind until I shut my eyes and took a deep breath to relax. The weariness caught up with me in this moment, causing me to drift off into a stress-induced coma of sorts. I woke up a few hours later to the terrifying sight of scratch marks on my driver-side window. That was the last straw.

“That’s it!” I proclaimed out loud.

I wasn’t going to let this thing control my life, and I certainly wasn’t going to let it drive me out of my own home. This is where I grew up; where I spent my childhood with my mother and father. They were still with me; the recollections scattered throughout the house, reminding me of who they were and the impact they’ve had on my life. No amount of scratching was going to tear through the memories I had of them.

Fed up, I got out of my car, walked up to the house, and swung the front door open. I was greeted with the sound of scratching, but this time it was louder than it had ever been before. As I stormed over to the kitchen, the noise morphed into a thunderous banging at the pantry door, causing the stuff I piled in front of it to move a bit. Whatever was inside really wanted to get out this time.

Adrenaline coursed through my veins. My fight-or-flight response was begging me to run, but it was too late. I had already made up my mind. I was going to face this thing head on and get to the bottom of the mystery. This was my home, after all. It belonged to me and my family – not whatever this thing was.

In removing the stack of furniture, the banging continued and grew louder. The kitchen cabinets around me swung open. Various pots and pans fell off the shelves. An earthquake of supernatural proportions filled my home, but I didn’t allow it to rattle me. I knew what I had to do.

After a moment of mental preparation, I opened the pantry door…

There, sitting behind the door, was a dog. It sat there and looked up at me in confusion. I did the same to it. After giving me a once-over, it walked over to me and nuzzled up against my leg. I instinctively reached down and pet it, as I would any dog. But this wasn’t any dog. After a few minutes of getting to know each other, it walked back into the pantry and vanished before my very eyes.

It was… a ghost.

 

***

 

My fear completely dissipated after that day. I now come home to the sound of scratching and smile. I no longer open the pantry door in fear, but instead, to let my new friend out. He walks around the house, exploring, just like a normal dog would. He even sits down and watches TV with me from time to time. He is a bit shy, though, vanishing whenever I have company over. Still, he is a good dog. A very good dog. I assume he belonged to one of the many owners of the house, seeing as it had been built long before my parents moved in. I guess he just couldn’t let the place go. Neither could I.

A few weeks of bonding later and I realized that I didn’t have anything to call him by. I walked over to the little guy and pet him on the back of his neck – that was his favorite spot. I thought about it for a moment and then came up with the perfect name.

“I will call you… Monster.”

 

 

Credit: Christopher Maxim

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A Shattered Life

Reading Time: 14 minutes

I don’t know when you’re going to read this, but I can tell you when it started: I was out for a walk alone in the woods when the entity came for me. It was beyond a blur. It was, for lack of a better term, absence of meaning. Where it hid, there were no trees; where it crept closer, there was no grass; through the arc it leapt at me, there was no breeze of motion. There was no air at all.

As it struck, I felt the distinct sensation of claws puncturing me somewhere unseen; somewhere I’d never felt before. My hands and arms and legs and torso seemed fine and I wasn’t bleeding, but I knew I’d been injured somehow. As I fearfully ran back home, I could tell that I was less. I was vaguely tired, and it was hard to focus at times.

The solution at that early stage was easy: a big cup of coffee helped me feel normal again.

For a while, that subtle drain on my spirit became lost in the ebb and flow of caffeine in my system. You could say my life began that week, actually, because that was when I met Mar. She and I got along great, though, to be honest, I’m pretty sure I fell in love with her over the phone before we even met.

It was almost as if the strong emotions of that first week made the entity fight back—it was still with me, latched on to some invisible part of my being.

The first few incidents were minor, and I hardly worried about them. The color of a neighbor’s car changed from dark blue to black one morning, and I stared at it before shaking my head and shrugging off the difference. Two days later, at work, a coworker’s name changed from Fred to Dan. I carefully asked around, but everyone said his name had always been Dan. I figured I’d just been mistaken.

Then, as ridiculous as this sounds, I was peeing in my bathroom at home when I suddenly found myself on a random street. I was still in my pajamas, pants down, and urinating—but now in full view of a dozen people at a bus stop. Horrified, I pulled up my clothes and ran before someone called the cops. I did manage to get home, but the experience forced me to admit that I was still in danger. The entity was doing something to me, and I didn’t understand how to fight back.

Mar showed up that evening, but she had her own key.

“Hey,” I asked her with confusion. “How’d you get a key?”

She just laughed. “You’re cute. Are you sure you’re okay with this?” She opened a door and entered a room full of boxes. “I know living together is a big step, especially when we’ve only been dating three months.”

Living together? I’d literally just met her the week before. Thing was, my mother had always called me a smart cookie for a reason. I knew when to shut my yap. Instead of causing a scene, I told her everything was fine—and then I went straight to my room and began investigating.

My things were just as I had left them with no sign of a three month gap in habitation, but I did find something out of the ordinary: the date. I shivered angrily as I processed the truth.

The entity had eaten three months of my life.

What the hell was I facing? What kind of creature could consume pieces of one’s soul like that? I’d missed the most exciting part of a new relationship, and I would never understand any shared stories or in-jokes from that period. Something absurdly precious had been taken from me, and I was furious.

That fury helped suppress the entity. I never imbibed alcohol. I drank coffee religiously. I checked the date every time I woke up. For three years, I managed to live each day while observing nothing more than minor alterations. A social fact here and there—someone’s job, how many kids they had, that sort of thing—the layout of nearby streets, the time my favorite television show aired, that kind of thing. Always, those changes reminded me the creature still had its claws sunk into my spirit. Not once in three years did I ever let myself zone out.

One day, I grew careless. I let myself get really into the season finale of my favorite show. It was gripping; a fantastic story. Right at the height of the action, a young boy came up to my lounger and shook my arm.

Surprised, I asked, “Who are you? How did you get in here?”

He laughed and smiled brightly. “Silly Daddy!”

My heart sank in my chest. I knew immediately what had happened. After a few masked questions, I discovered that he was two years old—and that he was my son.

The agony and heartache filling my chest was nearly unbearable. Not only had I missed the birth of my son, I would never see or know the first years of his life. Mar and I had obviously gotten married and started a family in the time I’d lost, and I had no idea what joys or pains those years contained.

It was snowing outside. Holding my sudden son in my lap, I sat and watched the flakes fall outside. What kind of life was this going to be if slips in concentration could cost me years? I had to get help.

The church had no idea what to do. The priests didn’t believe me, and told me I had a health issue rather than some sort of possession.

The doctors didn’t have any clue. Nothing showed up on all their scans and tests, but they happily took my money in return for nothing.

By the time I ran out of options, I’d decided to tell Mar. There was no way to know what this all looked like from her side. What was I like when I wasn’t there? Did I still take our son to school? Did I still do my job? Clearly, I did, because she seemed to be none the wiser, but I still had a horrible feeling that something must have been missing in her life when I wasn’t actually home inside my own head.

But the night I set up a nice dinner in preparation, she arrived not by unlocking the front door, but by knocking on it. I answered, and found that she was in a nice dress.

She was happily surprised by the settings on the table. “A fancy dinner for a second date? I knew you were sweet on me!”

Thank the Lord I knew when to keep my mouth shut. If I’d gone on about being married and having a son, she might have run for the hills. Instead, I took her coat and sat down for our second date.

Through carefully crafted questions, I managed to deduce the truth. This really was our second date. She saw relief and happiness in me, but interpreted that as dating jitters. I was just excited to realize that the entity wasn’t necessarily eating whole portions of my life. The symptoms, as I was beginning to understand them, were more like the consequences of a shattered soul. The creature had wounded me; broken me into pieces. Perhaps I was to live my life out of order, but at least I would actually get to live it.

And so it went for a few years—from my perspective. While minor changes in politics or geography would happen daily, major shifts in my mental location only happened every couple months. When I found myself in a new place and time in my life, I just shut up and listened, making sure to get the lay of the land before doing anything to avoid making mistakes. On the farthest-flung leap yet, I met my six-year-old grandson, and I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said, “Writer.” I told him that was a fine idea.

Then, I was back in month two of my relationship with Mar, and I had the best night with her on the riverfront. When I say the best, I mean the best. Knowing how special she would become to me, I asked her to move in. I got to live through what I’d missed the first go-around, and I came to understand that I was never mentally absent. I would always be there—eventually. When we were moving her boxes in, she stopped for a moment and said she marveled at my great love, as if I’d known her for a lifetime and never once doubted she was the one.

That was the first time I’d truly laughed freely and wholeheartedly since the entity had wounded me. She was right about my love for her, but for exactly the reason she’d considered a silly romantic analogy. I had known her my whole life, and I’d come to terms with my situation and found peace with it. It wasn’t so bad to have sneak peeks at all the best parts ahead.

But of course I wouldn’t be writing this if it hadn’t gotten worse. The entity was still with me. It had not wounded me and departed like I’d wanted to believe. The closest I can describe my growing understanding was that the creature was burrowing deeper into my psyche, fracturing it into smaller pieces. Instead of months between major shifts, I began having only weeks. Once I noticed that trend, I feared my ultimate fate would be to jump between times in my life heartbeat by heartbeat, forever confused, forever lost. Only an instant in each time meant I would never be able to speak with anyone else, never be able to hold a conversation, never express or receive love.

As the true depth of that fear came upon me, I sat in an older version of me and watched the snow falling outside. That was the one constant in my life: the weather didn’t care who I was or what pains I had to face. Nature was always there. The falling snow was always like a little hook that kept me in a place; the pure emotional peace it brought was like a panacea on my mental wounds, and I’d never yet shifted while watching the pattern of falling white and thinking of the times I’d gone sledding or built a snow fort as a child.

A teenager touched my arm. “Grandpa?”

“Eh?” He’d startled me out of my thoughts, so I was less careful than usual. “Who are you?”

He half-grinned, as if not sure whether I was joking. Handing me a stack of papers, he said, “It’s my first attempt at a novel. Would you read it and tell me what you think?”

Ahh, of course. “Pursuing that dream of being a writer, I see.”

He burned bright red. “Trying to, anyway.”

“All right. Run off, I’ll read this right now.” The words were blurry, and, annoyed, I looked for glasses I probably had for reading. Being old was terrible, and I wanted to leap back into a younger year—but not before I read his book. I found my glasses in a sweater pocket, and began leafing through. Mar puttered in and out of the living room, still beautiful, but I had to focus. I didn’t know how much time I would have there.

It seemed that we had relatives over. Was it Christmas? A pair of adults and a couple kids I didn’t recognize tromped through the hallway, and I saw my son, now adult, walk by with his wife on the way out the door. As a group, the extended family began sledding outside.

Finally, I finished reading the story, and I called out for my grandson. He rushed down the stairs and into the living room. “How was it?”

“Well, it’s terrible,” I told him truthfully. “But it’s terrible for all the right reasons. You’re still a young man, so your characters behave like young people, but the structure of the story itself is very solid.” I paused. “I didn’t expect it to turn out to be a horror story.”

He nodded. “It’s a reflection of the times. Expectations for the future are dismal, not hopeful like they used to be.”

“You’re far too young to be aware like that,” I told him. An idea occurred to me. “If you’re into horror, do you know anything about strange creatures?”

“Sure. I read everything I can. I love it.”

Warily, I scanned the entrances to the living room. Everyone was busy outside. For the first time, I opened up to someone in my life about what I was experiencing. In hushed tones, I told him about my fragmented consciousness.

For a teenager, he took it well. “You’re serious?”

“Yes.”

He donned the determined look of a grown man accepting a quest. “I’ll look into it, see what I can find out. You should start writing down everything you experience. Build some data. Maybe we can map your psychic wound.”

Wow. “Sounds like a plan.” I was surprised. That made sense, and I hadn’t expected him to have a serious response. “But how will I get all the notes in one place?”

“Let’s come up with somewhere for you to leave them,” he said, frowning with thought. “Then I’ll get them, and we can trace the path you’re taking through your own life, see if there’s a pattern.”

For the first time since the situation had gotten worse, I felt hope again. “How about under the stairs? Nobody ever goes under there.”

“Sure.” He turned and left the living room.

I peered after him. I heard him banging around near the stairs.

Finally, he returned with a box, laid it on the carpet, and opened it to reveal a bursting stack of papers. He exclaimed, “Holy crap!”—but of course, being a teenager, he didn’t really say crap.

Taken aback, I blinked rapidly, forgiving his cussing because of the shock. “Did I write those?”

He looked up at me with wonder. “Yeah. Or, you will. You still have to write them and put them under the stairs after this.” He gazed back down at the papers—then covered the box. “So you probably shouldn’t see what they say. That could get weird.”

That much I understood. “Right.”

He gulped. “There are like fifty boxes under there, all filled up like this. Deciphering these will take a very long time.” His tone dropped to deadly seriousness. “But I will save you, grandpa. Because I don’t think anyone else can.”

Tears flowed down my cheeks then, and I couldn’t help but sob once or twice. I hadn’t realized how lonely I’d become in my shifting prison of awareness until I finally had someone who understood. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

And then I was young again, and at work on a random Tuesday. Once the sadness and relief faded, anger and determination replaced them. After I finished my work, I grabbed some paper and began writing. While the weeks shifted around me, while those weeks became days, and then hours, I wrote every single spare moment about when and where I thought I was. I put them under the stairs out of order; my first box was actually the thirtieth, and my last box was the first. Once I had over fifty boxes written from my perspective—and once my shifting became a matter of minutes—I knew it was up to my grandson to take it from there.

I put my head down and stopped looking. I couldn’t stand the river of changing awareness any longer. Names and places and dates and jobs and colors and people were all wrong and different.

I’d never been older. I sat watching the snow fall. A man of at least thirty that I vaguely recognized entered the room. “Come on, I think I finally figured it out.”

I was so frail that moving was painful. “Are you him? Are you my grandson?”

“Yes.” He took me to a room filled with strange equipment and sat me in a rubber chair facing a large mirror twice the height of a man. “The pattern finally revealed itself.”

“How long have you worked on this?” I asked him, aghast. “Tell me you didn’t miss your life like I’m missing mine!”

His expression was both stone cold and furiously resolute. “It’ll be worth it.” He brought two thin metal rods close to my arm and then nodded at the mirror. “Look. This shock is carefully calibrated.”

The electric zap from his device was startling, but not painful. In the mirror, I saw a rapid arcing light-silhouette appear above my head and shoulder. The electricity moved through the creature like a wave, briefly revealing the terrible nature of what was happening to me. A bulging leech-like mouth was wrapped around the back of my head, coming down to my eyebrows and touching each ear, and its slug-like body ran over my shoulder and into my very soul.

It was a parasite.

And it was feeding on my mind.

My now-adult grandson held my hand as I took in the horror. After a moment, he asked, “Removing it is going to hurt very badly. Are you up for this?”

Fearful, I asked, “Is Mar here?”

His face softened. “No. Not for a few years now.”

I could tell from his reaction what had happened, but I didn’t want it to be true. “How?”

“We have this conversation a lot,” he responded. “Are you sure you want to know? It never makes you feel better.”

Tears brimmed in my eyes. “Then I don’t care if it hurts, or if I die. I don’t want to stay in a time where she’s not alive.”

He made a sympathetic noise of understanding and then returned to his machines to hook several wires, diodes, and other bits of technology to my limbs and forehead. While he did so, he talked. “I’ve worked for two decades to figure this out, and I’ve had a ton of help from other researchers of the occult. This parasite doesn’t technically exist in our plane. It’s one of the lesser spawns of µ¬ßµ, and it feeds on the plexus of mind, soul, and quantum consciousness/reality. When details like names and colors of objects changed, you weren’t going crazy. The web of your existence was merely losing strands as the creature ate its way through you.”

I didn’t fully understand. I looked up in confusion as he placed a circlet of electronics like a crown on my head in exact line with where the parasite’s mouth had ringed me. “What’s µ¬ßµ?”

He paused his work and grew pale. “I forgot that you wouldn’t know. You’re lucky, believe me.” After a deep breath, he began moving again, and placed his fingers near a few switches. “Ready? This is carefully tuned to make your nervous system extremely unappetizing to the parasite, but it’s basically electro-shock therapy.”

I could still see Mar’s smile. Even though she was dead, I’d just been with her moments ago. “Do it.”

The click of a switch echoed in my ears, and I almost laughed at how mild the electricity was. It didn’t feel like anything—at least at first. Then, I saw the mirror shaking, and my body within that image convulsing. Oh. No. It did hurt. Nothing had ever been more painful. It was just so excruciating that my mind hadn’t been able to immediately process it.

As my vision shook and fire burned in every nerve in my body, I could see the reflected trembling light-silhouette of the parasite on my head as it writhed in agony equal to mine. It had claws—six clawed lizard-like limbs under its leech-like body—and it cut into me in an attempt to stay latched on.

The electricity made my memories flare.

Mar’s smile was foremost, lit brightly in front of a warm fire as the snow fell past the window behind her. The edges of that memory began lighting up, and I realized that my life was one continuous stretch of experience—it was only the awareness of it that had been fragmented by that feasting evil on my back.

I’d never managed to be there for the birth of my son. I’d jumped around it a dozen times, but never actually lived it. For the first time, I got to hold Mar’s hand and be there for her.

No. No! That moment had shifted seamlessly into holding her hand as she lay in a hospital bed for a very different reason. Not this! God, why? It was so merciless to make me remember this. I broke down in tears as nurses rushed into the room. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to experience it. I’d seen all the good parts, but I hadn’t wanted the worst part—the inevitable end that all would one day face.

It wasn’t worth it. It was tainted. All that joy was given back ten thousand fold as pain.

The fire in my body and in my brain surged to sheer white torture, and I screamed.

My scream faded into a surprised shout as the machines and electricity and chair faded away. Snow was no longer falling around my life; I was out in the woods on a bright summer day.

Oh God.

I turned to see the creature approaching me. It was the same absence of meaning; the same blank on reality. It crept forward, just like before—but, this time, it hissed and turned away. I stood, astounded at being young again and freed from the parasite. My grandson had actually done it! He’d made me an unappetizing meal, so the predator of mind and soul had moved on in search of a different snack.

I returned home in a daze.

And while I was sitting there processing all that had happened, the phone rang. I looked at it in awe and sadness. I knew who it was. It was Marjorie, calling for the first time for some trivial reason she’d admit thirty years later was made up just to talk to me.

But all I could see was her lying in that hospital bed dying. It was going to end in unspeakable pain and loneliness. I would become an old man, left to sit by myself in an empty house, his soulmate gone long before him. At the end of it all, the only thing I would have left: sitting and watching the falling snow.

But now, thanks to my grandson, I would also have my memories. It would be a wild ride, no matter how it ended.

On a sudden impulse, I picked up the phone. With a smile, I asked, “Hey, who’s this?”

Even though I already knew.


Author’s note: Together, my grandfather and I did set out to write the tale of his life. Unfortunately, his Alzheimer’s disease progressed rapidly, and we were never able to finish. He’s still alive, but I imagine that, mentally, he is in a better place than the nursing home. I like to think he’s back in his younger days, living life and being happy, because the reality is much colder. It’s snowing today; he loves the snow. When I visited him, he didn’t recognize me, but he did smile as he sat looking out the window.


CREDIT: Matt Dymerski (Blog FB Tw.)

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A Shattered Life Book

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